Archive for messiah

Tangled Threads of Belief

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2014 by chouck017894

The average person’s familiarity with scriptural texts (of any faith system) is selective at best, and typical seekers are content to surrender the tricky situations of otherworldly powers to those representatives who claim to be blessed for interpretation. That leaves the range of “spiritual” control open for swarms of heaven’s self-promoted ambassadors who happily provide the detours around the many “revealed” messages which ordinary persons could often find to bristle with inconsistencies and contradictions. In other words, what we are led to believe as holy truth depends upon the perspective that is brought to bear by those self-promoted interpreters.

Judaic and Christian texts, as an example, tend to revolve around a longed-for coming of corrective influence by some anticipated messiah–i.e. a deliverer or liberator or savior. The Hebrew meaning of mashiah (messiah) is “the anointed,” which suggests that a qualification for being a messiah is that the person must first be anointed (consecrated) by some heavenly certified person and thus made ready to take up the obligations of guidance. By some interpretations the act of being baptized has been erroneously regarded as virtually carrying the same significance, but baptism is the symbolic washing away of “original sin” so a soul may start life with a clean slate, so to speak. An anointed one, on the other hand, was deemed to have been chosen, elevated and supposedly instilled with blessings to fulfill God’s higher purpose. The OT kings Saul, David and Solomon were said to have been anointed, for example.

Unlike baptism, an anointing was a selective ceremony reserved to signify some alleged God-selected purpose for an individual, such as royalty or dignitary or messiah. The esteem that was placed upon the anointed one was signified with the use of very expensive oil made available for the ceremony. It is this expense–the high cost–which clouds the depiction of Jesus’ anointing. The oil was a cosmetic luxury, particularly of the Near East and Greek cultures where it had been the highlight in a ceremony establishing kingship. The practice, however, was condemned in the book of Amos (6:6). In the Gospel texts of Mark, Matthew and John, each gives a different version of where, when and by whom the anointing occurred. All agree on one odd thing, however; that it was a woman who anointed Jesus. That is because in those pre-history Creation-cosmology lessons upon which the stories were modeled feminine qualities symbolized energy-substane out of which visible matter evolves. According to John that anointing episode occurred only after Jesus had allegedly raised the dead man, Lazarus, who had “…lain in the grave four days already.”

The name Lazarus appears only three times in New Testament texts; once in Luke 16 as a leper supposedly healed by Jesus, and twice in John, chapters 11 and 12, in regard to an alleged miracle of raising up the dead man. The name Lazarus is claimed to be abridged from the Hebrew name Eliazar (Eliezer), which is said to mean “God has helped.” Strangely it is only in John that the re-invigoration from the dead of the man Lazarus of Bethany is addressed, an alleged miracle which is suggestive of far greater power and consequence than any of the miracles presented in the books of Mark, Matthew or Luke. The plot-purpose of Lazarus in John is to serve as a kind of prelude to Jesus’ own greater miraculous resurrection that is to come. As noted in a previous web-post, the characters of Lazarus and his sisters in John’s account have a peculiarly close relationship to a far older Egyptian story concerning a man named El-Azar-us and his two sisters named Meri and Merti who happened to live in a village called Bethanu. The Egyptian name of the village meant “house of god,” referring to the Egyptian god Anu. The god Anu happened to be honored in the even older Sumerian culture and was known as the “first among the gods”, a reference to the quantum Source. The Egyptian version also exposes where the Hebrew word beth, meaning “house,” originated (as in Bethany and Bethlehem.

Once again the Genesis plotline is followed in the Luke tale, and the Genesis account leaned heavily on the pre-history Creation lessons which were once illustrated with groups of stars (constellations). That connection to pre-history Creation lessons is guardedly apparent in the seeming indifference of Jesus upon hearing of Lazarus being “..sick unto death” and saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God.” Then in John 11:17 it avers that Lazarus had “…lain in the grave for four days already.” Only in understanding the ancient lessons concerning pre-physical energies which involve as Creation do these story elements hold any rationality. In ancient cultures the first four phases of primal energy involvement which pass over to congeal as matter were often likened to a grave or tomb: the reason for that metaphor being that the primordial energy conditions hold only the potential for purposeful existence which must be raised into life by the Life Principle. (This is a fact of Creation that anti-abortionists should understand.) The “four days” (as in the “days” timeframe of Creation) of Lazarus’ alleged entombment are therefore in reference to the four earliest periods–or pre-physical stages–of primal energy involvement. The mid-range of energy involvement between prototype and first visible energy-form was known in those ancient teachings as Devolution.

Verse 16 of John 11 then affirms this meaning, saying, “Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.” This bizarre suggestion has long puzzled many Gospel scholars. Didymus, the which not the who of the quoted verse, refers to the constellation Gemini with which was once taught the ancient lessons of Creation energies which are to involve as prototypes of a matter form. It was these involving energies which were equated in those ancient lessons to mental matter, as taught and illustrated with constellation Gemini. In zodiac depictions Gemini is said to govern–to direct through mental energy–the shoulders, arms and hands; Thomas, remember, had to see the two scarred hands of the resurrected Jesus to be sure the transformed man was truly Jesus.

Figuratively, the prototypal forms within the elementary energy planes must die (or be passed over) in order to involve as defined matter. Note also that near the conclusion of John’s version of the crucifixion events the “grave” of Jesus was described as: “It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.” (John 11:38) In those prehistory Creation-cosmology lessons the void (quantum energy source) out of which Creation takes place was commonly allegorized as a cave. The stone said to be laid upon the cave symbolized the taking on of dense matter form, which is to say, this energy plane where each of us is conscious of self as biological life.

Thus it is that faith systems have been woven from threads of very ancient teachings which once offered genuine scientific understanding of universal principles. Unfortunately those threads tended to be unraveled and recast into contorted assertions. For example, an interesting side-bar to the alleged Lazarus incident is something of a stretch: a tradition in the Roman Catholic Church has it that the resurrected Lazarus later became the first bishop of Marseille. And such is holy truth.

Pre-Christian Jesus Cult

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Belief in a soon-to-come messiah was deep-seated among the Jews after the time of the Maccabean revolt (144 BCE), and the fervor of that belief virtually elevated that expected savior into a secondary god. The book of 1 Enoch,* for example, reveals that entrenched veneration saying, “Before the sun and the signs (constellations) were created, before the stars of heaven were made, his name was called before the Lord of Spirits.”** In this glorification of the expected messiah there is found the influence of Babylonian myth. And in this veneration there is also found the seed from which Christianity would evolve. (*If you are unfamiliar with the book 1 Enoch it is because it was one of many quasi-religious Jewish writings that was not included as part of the Old Testament because it did not contribute to the idea of church authority. Consider the reference to astronomy/zodiacal influence. **It is from this passage in 1 Enoch also which inspired the claim that Jesus of the New Testament Gospels is the “Word” in the fourth Gospel According to John.)

The Jews yearned-for messiah was fashioned upon the legendary Israelite deliverer Joshua (Jeschu, from which the name Jesus was derived), and Jewish literature such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastics and Enoch reflect a background of centuries of polytheistic ideas among the Hebrews. Hellenism became an influencing factor upon tribal Jewish faith, causing mounting dissatisfaction with Judaism among the Jews of the Dispersion (Diaspora) before the destruction of the temple in the sixth century BCE. Ceremonial “law” and endless taboos, sacrifices and superstitions provided individuals little inspiration to act virtuously. Almost in defiance of these prohibitive characteristics there developed an association of Joshua with the Greek Logos, and that association as son or god or messiah is present in the Pentateuch. Thus the name Jesus, derived from Jeschu/Joshua, became revered among some factions of Judaism long before Christianity developed in the Roman Empire. This claim is strengthened in the fact that about a century before the death of Herod (4 BCE, there is recorded the stoning and the hanging upon a tree of a man named Jesus. The name given for this ritually executed man was Jesus ben Pandira, and it occurred in the reign of the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus.

There are ancient documents which show that the early Jewish cult of Jesus, in rivalry with Judaism, was attracting converts among the Jews of the Dispersion. In the oldest document of this cult the central feature was the Eucharist–the sacrament in which bread and wine (or water) are consecrated, then consumed in memory of the revered deity (a deity who was customarily sacrificed). This rite was common in many faith practices of the region in this timeframe, but was practiced in secret among the Jews who were becoming discontented with the futility of tribal ceremonial law. The point is that this places familiarity with the name Jesus as messiah nearly a century before the Roman authors of Mark and Matthew introduced the character of Jesus to the Roman public. On the whole, therefore, those texts were written and designed originally to attract those discontented Jews who wanted a more moralizing and unifying form of faith. To satisfy the messianic yearnings of the discontented the character of quasi-rebel Jesus was declared in the evolving Gospels to have descended through the royal line of David. Elsewhere in Gospel, however, an insertion has Jesus repudiating that assertion, but both versions remain in Gospel and continue to contribute to confusion.

The original character of Jeschu/Joshua in Hebrew scripture had several attributes which were always associated with Pagan sun gods–the alleged power of halting the course of the sun, for example. But in the Yahweh priests’ version the starring character was reduced to human status who happened to have god-blessed powers. This sun god relationship became echoed in Christian scriptures with Joshua’s namesake, Jesus, allegedly declaring of himself, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:23). It is thus from this sun god association that most Christian sects proclaim their faith on Sunday, the day of the sun. (The day for holy observance among the Jews is Saturday, the day of Saturn.)

In the year 60 BCE Jerusalem was captured by Rome; in 06 of present calendar notation (CE) Judea was annexed by Rome; by 55 CE the proportion of Jews in the Roman Empire was over twenty percent. In 66 CE the constant antagonism of the Jews flamed into a rebellion under the leadership of the zealot named Menahem. Briefly put, there was continuous hostility from the Jewish portion of the Empire.

The Jewish Jesus cult had not gone unobserved by the Roman aristocrats and literati. By the time that Emperor Augustus died in 39 BCE the Roman populace had become fascinated by the exotic character of cults and rituals such as Mithras (Persian), Isis (Egyptian), and Cybele (Phrygian). Their acceptance within Rome made for easier transitions with these conquered regions. When Octavian became sole master of the Roman world in 29 BCE, his empire spread from Africa, Asia, Gaul, Spain and Dalmatia, so preserving order within the Empire was vital for its continuance. But the Empire still continued to be constantly troubled with Jewish haughtiness. Thus around 50-55 CE, as the more hard-line Jews kept being fanned into periodic insurrections, a few Roman aristocrats began to toy with the idea that it could be politically advantageous to nurture that digression regarding Jesus within Jewish culture. So is it simply coincidence that it was in this general timeframe that the first version of Mark and then Matthew happened to make their appearance in the Roman Empire?

And isn’t it strange that later New Testament books appeared either during or shortly after other periods of conflict with the Jews? There was war in Judea in 69 CE, and Jerusalem fell in 70 The revisions of Mark and Matthew occurred between 70 and 80, or during the troubles that led to the destruction of the last three outposts of the Jewish resistance at Machaerus, Herodian, and Masada. After another long siege in 79 Jerusalem was captured. The book of Acts of the Apostles dates from c. 84-90 CE.

Continuing acts of civil disobedience throughout Jewish centers of the Empire necessitated constant monitoring, and in this general timeframe, 94-100 CE, the books of 1 Corinthians, Galatians and Ephesians were composed. Also in this timeframe the Pharisees declared that Italy, and especially Rome was “unclean.” The composition of the book of Romans just happened to occur c. 100; then 2 Corinthians, the re-editing of Ephesians came about c. 103-105: the books Timothy and Titus c. 103-105: Colossians, and 2 Timothy, 105-107. The second great revolt by the Jews began c. 115, and one million Jews took over Alexandria, Egypt and held it for nearly a year. By 116 there were also Jewish uprisings in Parthia and other places. Coincidently, the books 2 Peter, John and Jude all date c. 110-115.

Another great Jewish revolt began in 131 CE under the leadership of Bar Cocheba, and Roman troops were sent then to restore order but suffered a surprising defeat. Roman patience was running thin. The violence of the rebellion in Jerusalem lasted for four years and was climaxed by Emperor Hadrian having Jerusalem destroyed and forbidding any Jew, God’s alleged “chosen people,” from setting foot on the site. It is not exactly coincidence that the book of Revelation was written c. 135-138. But the book of Hebrews was actually the last NT book to be written, c. 135-140. In that book, 8:6-13, there is professed a new “covenant” for the Jewish people. Even at that late date the Roman rule was not out to destroy Jewish culture; Rome sought only to soften the Jewish obsessive pretense of godly favoritism.

The world would not again see a nation called Israel until 1948–one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight years later. In that time and up to the present not much in the way of “faith” has evolved, unfortunately.

A Longed For Messiah

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, Hebrew scripture, history, religion with tags , , , , on October 27, 2012 by chouck017894

Belief in a soon-to-come messiah was deep-seated among the Jews long before the time of the Maccabean revolt (144 BCE), and the fervor of that belief by that time had virtually elevated that expected savior into a secondary god.  The Ethiopic book of Enoch, for example, reveals that entrenched veneration by saying, “Before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were made, his name was called before the Lord of Spirits.”  In this glorification of the expected messiah there is found the influence of Babylonian myth.  And in this is also found the seed from which Christianity would evolve.  (If you are unfamiliar with the book of Enoch, it is because it was one of the many quasi-religious Jewish writings that were not included as part of the Old Testament because the zodiacal references did not contribute to the idea of a cult leader authority.)

The yearned for messiah was fashioned upon the legendary Israelite deliverer named Jeschu (Joshua), and Jewish literature such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastics, and Enoch reflect a background of centuries of polytheistic ideas among the tribal Hebrews.  Hellenism became an influencing factor upon tribal faith, causing mounting dissatisfaction with pure Judaism among the Jews after the Babylonian captivity (c. 597 and 587/586 BCE), but before the destruction of the Temple (August of 70 CE).  Ceremonial “law” and endless taboos, sacrifices and superstitions  provided individuals little inspiration to act virtuously.  Almost in defiance of priest control there developed a correlation of Jeschu/Joshua with the Greek Logos, and that association as Son of God and messiah is suggested in the Pentateuch.  Thus the name Jesus, derived from Jeschu/Joshua, became revered among some factions of Judaism long before the appearance of the Jesus cult in Rome.  This claim is strengthened in the fact that about a century before the death of Herod (44 CE), there is recorded the public execution of a man named Jesus and his body was hung upon a tree.  The name recorded was Jesus ben Pandira, and it was recorded in the reign of the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus.

There are old documents which show that the early cult of Jesus, in rivalry with law-obsessed  Judaism, was attracting converts among the Jews after the Babylonian captivity.  In the oldest document of this older cult the central feature was the eucharist—the sacrament in which bread and wine (or water) are consecrated, then consumed in memory of a revered deity (a deity that usually had been sacrificed).  This rite was common in many of the  so-called faith practices of the Mideast region in this era, but the eucharist rite was practiced in secret usage among the Jews who were becoming discontent with the frustration and futility of tribal ceremonial “law.”  The point labored for here is that this places familiarity with the name Jesus as messiah nearly a century before the Roman authors of Mark and Matthew introduced the character of Jesus to the Roman public.  On the whole, however, those early Jesus cult writings were aimed primarily at those discontented Jews who wanted a more moralizing and uplifting form of faith.

The original character of Jeschu/Joshua had several attributes which were always associated with Pagan sun gods—the alleged power of halting the course of the sun, for example.  But in the Yahweh priests’ version Joshua was reduced to human status.  This sun god relationship thus became echoed throughout Jesus cult writings with Joshua’s namesake, Jesus, saying, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).  True of the light from the sun, the verse declares, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  It is from this sun-god association that most Christian sects proclaim their faith on Sunday–the day of the Sun.  (The day for holy observance among the Jews is Saturday, the day of Saturn.)

In 60 BCE Jerusalem was captured by Rome; forty-six years later, in 06 CE, Judea was annexed by Rome; by 55 CE the proportion of Jews in the Empire was over twenty percent; by 66 CE the constant religious egotism of the Jews flamed into rebellion.  That portion of the Roman Empire was a source of continuous friction.

When Octavian became sole master of the Roman world in 27 BCE, becoming Emperor Augustus, his empire spread  from Africa, Asia, Gaul, Spain and Dalmatia, so preserving order in each part of the empire was vital for unity and continuance.  By the time that Emperor Augustus died in 14 CE, the Roman populace had become fascinated by the exotic character of cults and rituals such as Mithras (Persian), Isis (Egyptian), and Cybele (Phrygian).  The acceptance of these gods within Rome had made for easier  transitions and cooperation with these subdued regions.  So the Jewish Jesus cult in the Judean region would not have gone unobserved by the Roman aristocrats an literati, for the Empire continued to be constantly troubled with Jewish haughtiness.  Thus, around 50-55 CE, as the more hardline Jews kept being fanned into periodic insurrections, a few Roman aristocrats and literati began to toy with the idea that it could be politically advantageous to cultivate that deviation of the Jesus cult that struggled within the substrata of Jewish culture.  So, can it be simple coincidence that the first versions of Mark and Matthew happened to make their appearance in the Roman Empire at this 50-55 CE timeframe?

And isn’t it strange that later New Testament books appeared either during or shortly after other periods of rebelliousness by the Jews?  There was war in Judea in 69, and Jerusalem fell in 70.  So is it simply coincidence that the revisions of Mark and Matthew came to pass between 70 and 80?  This was also the timeframe in which the destruction of the last three outposts of Jewish resistance took place; the Jewish strongholds of Machaerus,  Herodian, and Masada.  After another long siege in 79, Jerusalem was captured by the Romans.  In the period following this, 84-90, Paul supposedly came upon the scene and the books Acts of the Apostles and Luke were composed.

Continuing acts of civil disobedience throughout Jewish population centers necessitated constant monitoring, and in this general timeframe, 94-100, the books 1 Corinthians, Galatians and Ephesians were written.  Also in this timeframe the Pharisees declared that Italy, and especially Rome, was “unclean. ”  The composition of the book of Romans dates c. 100; 2 Corinthians and the editing of Ephesians occurred c. 100-105; 1 Timothy and Titus c.105-107; and Philemon c. 106-107.  The second great revolt by the Jews began c. 115, and one million Jews took  over Alexandria, Egypt and held it for nearly a year.  By 116 there were also uprisings in Parthia and other places.  2 Peter, 1,2 and 3 John,and the book of Jude all date c. 110-115.

Another great Jewish revolt began in 131 under the leadership of Bar Cocheba, and the Roman troops that were sent to restore order there suffered a surprising defeat.  Roman patience with Jewish spiritual obstinacy was running thin.  The violence of the rebellion in Jerusalem lasted for four years and was climaxed by the Emperor Hadrian having Jerusalem destroyed and forbidding any Jew from setting foot on the site.  Can it be mere coincidence that the book of Revelations was written c. 135-138, the period following that violent insurrection of the Jews?

Curiously, however, the last book to be written in the New Testament lineup was the book Hebrews, written between 138-140—incorporated after Revelations was composed.  In the book of Hebrews, chapter 8, the messianic expectations of the Jews is portrayed as having been answered in Jesus, stating that the Aaronic priests had served only “…the shadow of heavenly things…” (8:5) of which Jesus Christ is alleged to serve the realities.  Thus in Hebrews 8:6-13 there is offered a “new covenant” for the Jewish people.  Even at that late date the Roman rule still was not out to destroy Jewish culture; it only sought to soften the Jewish obsessive pretense of spiritual elitism.

One might say that this is another example of wisdom for keeping church and state separate.