Monday, April 17, 2017

Review of PBS film: 'Last Days of Jesus"

The academics should be commended in trying to bring some contemporary Roman background into the gospel history. The PBS film on the "Last days of Jesus" can be found on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLStDEBPCfo&t=3848s They did not however begin to address the major problem of Jerusalem politics: the Temple. This had been rebuilt with the aid of Parthia, the Israelite-run Super-State rival of Rome -- with whom Tiberius had tried to make and keep peace.  Vast populations of the Diaspora in Europe had also contributed in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

1. Sejanus was a key figure, a fervent anti-Semite. He like other Romans hated the fact that the Jews and the Temple were not subsumed in the Roman central control of the pantheon and the College of Pontiffs. Historical facts of the gospels in a Hebrew context make perfect sense. The scholars have, however, indirectly pointed to problems arising from the "Easter" week tradition of 4th century Constantine's imperial church. That tradition arose once he had eliminated all Jewish Christians. (The latter knew about the Passover dates, Davidic kingship and true high priesthood.) It is not honest scholarship if "scholars" re-write the gospels at their whim because of these conflicts or ignorance of first century Judaism. If the gospels are read as Jewish-Christian or Nazarene documents, many of the supposed "difficulties"disappear. See nazareneproject.com articles or  https://www.academia.edu/25051668/Jesus_James_Joseph_and_the_past_and_future_Temple_Version_N36
2. However, the program's theory of stretching a day to six months (including a half-year stay of Jesus in prison) does not hold water. The chronology is forced out of shape. The Crucifixion/ Resurrection occurred in 30 CE (verifiable by the Hebrew calendar). Sejanus was at his peak of power. Major facts left out: Christ cleansed the Temple at least two times. He cleansed it at the start of his mission. What is remarkable is that he had no resistance from the armed Temple guard, nor did the Roman legions intervene. What did he cleanse? The area was the periphery of the square Temple complex which was a furlong in length. The merchants' area may well have covered half a mile. Furthermore Mark 11 says he let no one carry vessels through the Temple. Alone? The gospels say the Temple guards ('the boys') cried Hosanna! He was in charge of the Temple guard! He had authority as an Aaronic priest because his mother was a daughter of Aaron, a direct descendant. So was John the Baptist via Elizabeth (Elisheva). John is called a high priest in the Hebrew Josephus. The next morning the high priests like Caiaphas, Annas came peaceably like kittens to converse with Jesus. Their question was about authority. Jesus had this. They didn't.
3. What is the picture with the correct chronology of 30 CE? Tertullian and others confirm that Pilate wrote dispatches to emperor Tiberius that the Resurrection actually happened and was eye-witnessed by the masses. It was undeniable. hence Tiberius acclaimed Jesus as god. The Senate (which was then led along by Sejanus) objected. They dug out an old law saying the Senate had to approve in the naming of gods! Tertullian mocks them, saying the poor gods, they would have to pray to the Senators that they should be recognized! Tiberius replied that anyone who attacked the Jews would be killed. It was at this stage that the plot of Sejanus fell apart. Sejanus was exposed and executed in autumn 31 CE. Later secular writings to the emperors indicate that Christ's divinity -- via the Resurrection -- was not challenged. The proof was irrefutable. Jesus was not a Protestant-style "preacher". He was a Teacher, a Temple Teacher. He taught in the Temple -- which is why the Davidic and Aaronic genealogies are in the gospels. They provide the proof of his authority. (It was forbidden to enter the Temple with long hair! ) The high priests call Pilate "Lord" as representative of Rome. But Jesus didn't. Why wasn't this a crime? He outranked Pilate. Pilate calls him King of the Jews and says he is innocent of any crime. Why? Because the Temple was considered a separate City-State with its own rules and armed priests. This was recognized in the treaty Julius Caesar made with the Maccabees.
If the academics would have stuck to the facts and proper dates, and avoided pet theories, they would have had a clearer explanation of many if not all of the problems they were seeking to elucidate. They would have also found that for the Romans, for Tiberius and for Pilate and Sejanus, 30 CE and 31 CE were not the 'Last Days of Jesus'!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who canonized the Bible -- both Covenants?

Who bound the Bible Canon?
We learn from the Bible itself that the Hebrew books were defined by the 'sons of the prophets'. The New Covenant books were written and made into a canon directly by the disciples of Christ.
'Bind up the testimony, seal the law (teaching) among my disciples.' Isaiah 8:16. This shows how God's books are regularized for use.
A Council or Assembly of the original disciples certified and bound the teachings of the prophets and law-makers. This explains why many ancient Hebrew books including those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls are not in the Hebrew Bible. It explains why infancy gospels and fake apocalypses were long excluded from the Greek Bible. Dr Ernest L Martin set out the facts on the canon cogently in his book: Restoring the Original Bible. It is available at Askelm.com .   
The idea that the books of the canon were not certain for centuries is pure fantasy.So is the idea that the Roman church defined the canon around 400 CE. At that time Romans were ignorant of both Greek and Hebrew! They persecuted and killed anyone who did. The church of Constantine and the Council of Nicea in 325 were fiercely antisemitic.
The Catholic canonization is a propaganda fairy-story coming from sectarians who wanted the ignorant world at large to believe that only their group, sect or church had these extraordinary divinely given powers.It is a fantasy full of holes. Those who believe it might consider the theory that the Nazis helped propagate the Talmud.
It takes less than a century for  many other such people to forge fables and myths to confuse and corrupt the original message. Who could possibly know the truth? What qualified one person to be a judge, and another to be disqualified? Anyone's opinion was as good as another's. History shows that the centralizing church in Constantinople banned at that time the most erudite and learned people. The "Christian" Roman emperors there wanted wanted a centralized church obedient to them!
The presumption that only in the late fourth century did the Roman Catholic Church alone define these books for ‘Christianity’ is patently absurd. By then Rome was in conflict with other patriarchal areas like Alexandria, Egypt. Egypt was pretty corrupt but was Greek-speaking.
Athenasius, a politician and orator, who was partial to Greek philosophy, and was himself banned at least four times for heresy or politics, knew enough Greek to defend the Greek scriptures. Rome however wanted to change them.
The rest of this church was already persecuting and killing any one who knew Hebrew! Jerome was forging his own translation into Latin which hid or distorted much of the meaning rather than explain the Bible. The scam lasted more than a millennium!

 One book by Erasmus in 1516 exposed this fraud. Printing an accurate Latin translation of the Greek showed how badly translated Jerome's Latin Vulgate really was.
So how can we find the true canon?
One word in the NT explains the process of canonization. It consistently mistranslated. It is mistranslated by Jerome. It is mistranslated in the King James Version. In fact I know of no accurate translation. That is a curious fact. Correctly translated from standard references and classical lexicons, it would have indicated who could, should and did define the canon. It would also make clear that the Roman church could not have defined the canon!
The churches have been bamboozled after more than a thousand years of Roman Catholic propaganda. The Vatican (which hated Jews, the Bible and any idea that Christ held any office in the Temple) made sure that no one asked questions about such Greek terms. They banned the Greek text from Europe for five centuries. It eliminated all other translations but its own. Jerome mistranslated key Greek terms and replaced them by nondescript Latin terms. And in the later period the Roman Catholics made sure no one, not even its priests, understood Latin!
Why today have all the churches’ translators refused to translate this word correctly? Self-interest and anti-Semitism may be some motives.
What is the word that explains canonization?
That word is epistatēs. It occurs not once but seven times in the NT. Its true translation undermines the false dogma instigated by the imperial Roman ‘Mother Church’. It also exposes the difference between word church as used today and the original Greek word, ekklesia. The concept of church today is as different as if the Romans had looked at a pig in a trough and said that is what the Bible means by a horse! Many today still can’t recognize the ekklesia – it’s a war horse!
All of the occurrences of Jesus being called epistatēs are in the priestly book of Luke which centers around the Temple (5:5, 8:24, 45, 9:33, 49, 17:33). It is addressed to his Excellency Theophilus, 1:3. Luke covers many technical Temple matters such as the 24 priestly courses, the Sabbath, the calendar and various other tough topics of Torah. Luke was no gentile! (See Luke the Priest: The Authority of the Author of the Third Gospel by Dr Rick Strelan.)
Luke 1:3 implies the book is written to the high priest, his ‘Excellency Theophilus’ specifically to be deposited in the archives as a true, witnessed record of resurrections and miracles. One vital reason was that the Temple was under threat of desolation by the arrival of the arch anti-Semite, Caligula, as emperor. Reacting to the Resurrection which had trashed belief in the Roman pantheon, Caligula wanted to reign from Jerusalem and have a gigantic statue of himself inside the Temple and every synagogue in the Empire.
Why? He knew about and had probably read the Gospels where it said that Christ prophesied that someone claiming to be god would sit in the Temple. Caligula wanted to prove both Christ and the scriptures wrong by being acclaimed as Jupiter-god in the Temple in Jerusalem!
The title ‘Excellency’ relates to Theophilus being the political leader of the nation. He was the high priest put in power under the Romans. He was in office from 37 to 41 during all Emperor Caligula’s near ethnocidal persecution. When Luke later wrote Acts, Theophilus was no longer in office. Hence he wasn’t then addressed as ‘Excellency’ in Acts 1:1. This evidence identifies him unambiguously. It explains what would otherwise be an affront by omitting his title in Acts 1.
So when Luke has the disciples refer to Jesus in the early ministry as ‘epistatēs’ we should take special note. The holder of that title is in direct opposition to the imperial Caesar, Caligula!
What is an epistatēs? Nearly all translations render it ‘Master’. But in the Greek language it is a very precise term about a very high office. To render it ‘Master’ is the equivalent of going to a hospital and referring to the chief brain surgeon as a health worker!
In fact, one translation, the Concordant version, translates it as ‘Doctor’! But in that case it has the sense of Professor of Hebrew Law. (The NWT has Instructor.) But at least the translators realized they were faced with a special term of office. Schonfield has ‘Chief’. The Weymouth translation gives it as ‘Commander’. That signification is far off from the idea of ‘Herr Doktor’!
So what does it mean? The word has in fact two main senses as you will see if you check any normal classical Greek lexicon as distinct from the Romanized ones.
One is in fact Commander of the city’s troops. In this sense it is equivalent, in the Hebrew context of the Temple, to the Priest for Warfare mentioned several times in the Bible. (see Jesus, James, Joseph p218 for the summary table.) There is some linkage with the sense that contemporary Jewish writers like Philo and Josephus use the term as Superintendent.
The second sense in normal Greek usage is President of the city’s ruling Assembly. What did the Greeks call their assembly? An ekklesia! That should have rung mighty bells for any honest translator. The word ekklesia occurs frequently in the NT. The same translators render it as ‘church’, an extremely bad choice. ‘Church’ is a self-serving term for the RC-Protestant community.
There was no such thing as their church in the first century. There were no churches with steeples. There were no stone cathedrals to terrify the population by their soaring architecture. There were no crucifixes and there were no statues of saints. Once people had all this under the fourth century Emperor Constantine, a hierarchy of bishops under his central authority could begin to control all the religion across the whole Roman Empire. Their church meant all the local population meeting like pigs at their trough in their buildings and subject to their lordship.
Attack the idea of ‘church,’ bishops and cathedrals and you attack the very foundation of medieval autocracy. It would turn society upside down. In fact so worried was King James that any translation would undermine the hierarchy where the king not only ruled but defined the religion for the people, that he laid down two very strict conditions for the translators of the King James Bible.
Firstly, no marginal notes, especially those that appeared in earlier versions denouncing Israel’s evil kings. Secondly, all occurrences of the word ekklesia should be translated church!
Why? Because Tyndale and the earlier translators had had the audacity to translate the word correctly as ‘Congregation’! Even today you will find the Bibles of most of church committee translations render Matt 16:18 (I will build my ‘ekklesia’) as church.
Only those brave individual scholars like Robert Young’s literal translation or Darby’s have ‘I will build my Assembly’. The Assembly of Israel! In the first century ekklesia for Jews meant a governmental body, the Assembled Congregation of God’s people.
How can we be sure what ekklesia meant to Hebrews? It was the word used in the current Greek Septuagint version to translate the Hebrew word qahal, meaning the Assembly of the twelve tribes. They met in ancient times in the Court of Israel of the Temple. To reinstate it was part of Christ’s mission.
Christ is called an epistatēs of such an ekklesia. If modern churchman translated it as something like ‘President, professor, superintendent or Commander of the church’ they would have a lot of questions put to them! So what was Christ’s new Assembly?
Luke explains it himself. In Luke 12 he says Christ created an Assembly of Seventy. This clearly relates to the Assembly created under Moses in the wilderness, Num 11:16f. It was composed of six men from each tribe, with two of them staying in the camp. They experienced the power of God’s spirit in the Tabernacle. It was a foretaste of the NT Pentecost.
Then after the Resurrection, the 12 tribes had been forewarned to bring more witnesses. In Acts 1:15 there were 120 from the 12 tribes, ten ‘named ambassadors’ per tribe. They came from far and wide, ‘every nation under heaven,’ including Parthia, Rome’s rival superpower ruled by Israelite exiles, Acts 2:5-11.
The Hebrew scriptures speak many times of the Assembly of Israel, the qahal.
Peter is recorded in around 37 CE as saying that the Assembly of Seventy that Christ formed, composed of tried and honest men, was the first real qahal meeting all the criteria since the time of Moses. This was, said Peter, a true sign that Jesus was the Prophet, greater than Moses and foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18. Early historians such as Eusebius record how important the Seventy were in propagating worldwide the proof of the Resurrection.
So if the qahal is the real meaning of ekklesia, what is the title that Jesus has as its epistatēs? Turn to a standard reference like the Oxford Classical Dictionary and you will find that the epistatēs ..
'presided over the Council (boulé) and Assembly (ekklesia).'
A classical Greek reference like Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Latin Antiquities will tell you that the epistatēs was in charge of the city treasury and public works. In the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures, the word epistatēs occurs numerous times. It is translated as Commander of the Army of Israel or as Superintendent of works in the Temple. Those two functions describe the office of the Sagan, or Chief Priest in the Temple.
But what has that to do with the canon?
The Oxford Classical Dictionary describes other attributes of the epistatēs.
'He held the State seal and keys. … In the Hellenic kingdoms the title epistatēs is given to an agent of the king within a subject city who exercises considerable power.'
Jesus held the powers of the kingdom of heaven. The Temple seal was clearly necessary for the exiled tribes of Israel to recognize the writings of Jesus, James and the Davidic House. The canon is a sealed book, sealed with the Temple seal of David’s House.
Up to just before the destruction of the Temple, this high post of Sagan was occupied by James, the brother of Jesus Christ. He wrote to the twelve tribes, 1:1. After he died or rather was murdered, we hear in early writings of the period that John, son of Zebedee, wore the diadem of office. He clearly was empowered to close the NT canon and its 27 books. He sealed them.
What of the Key? The Temple had a huge ‘Key of David’ that was used to open and close the massive  door to the Temple fortress. Christ, according to John’s book of Revelation, holds the Key of David on his shoulder, Rev 3:7, Isaiah 22:22. He is dressed in the robes of the Sagan Chief Priest, the cohen ha-rosh, Rev 1:13.
No one other than the epistatēs, and certainly not the paganized, gentile church of Rome could ever define the canon.
Case closed.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pilate, Sejanus and the Resurrection of Christ

1. Jesus Christ (=the anointed king) was crucified on a tree in 30 CE.
It was not his 'last days' as he was resurrected to the general knowledge of all at Jerusalem. Forty days later he ascended in full public view from the Mount of Olives -- this would have included all the priests and people in the Temple and all the soldiers in the Roman Fort, the Praesidium (up to 10,000 legionnaires and ancilliaries) plus all the pilgrim crowds.
The second-century Christian lawyer,Tertullian, recorded that Pilate wrote dispatches to the emperor Tiberius about this to give the official version as everyone around the empire already knew about it.
Pilate was extremely anti-Semitic and had probably been placed there by the violently anti-Semitic Sejanus to stir up trouble. Yet he affirmed the eye witness accounts.
Sejanus had been plotting for years to overthrow Tiberius who had retired from official duties for sex games in Capri.Sejanus, his Praetrorian Guard chief, was de facto emperor. He became so powerful and manipulative that many Romans worshipped in a cult. He was a smooth operator with the Senators who were vital should he succeed in his plan.No one could put their name forward as a Consul without his favour. Sejanus became a Consul with Tiberius -even though he was not ranked as a Senator. With this Sejanus hoped that he would just eliminate Tiberius and everyone would presume he should be emperor although he was not of any imperial family. He was overcome with egotism -- and hate of Jews.
Sejanus, possible statue
2. The Resurrection threw this long-gestating plan into a spin. Tiberius, say Tertullian and other early writers, acknowledged that Jesus Christ was god. Sejanus and the Senate tried to stop this as it would mean ruin for their centralized control after a coup d'État.
The Senate pulled out an old law that said that only the gods approved of by the Senate were gods! This was clearly nonsense as a royal and priestly Jew had been resurrected to everyone's knowledge.
Tertullian mocks this pagan foolishness, saying the poor gods would have to pray to the Senators so they could be recongized as gods!! Furthermore many saints as Matthew says rose from their graves at this time. The archaeological and written proof of this are in the book.
3. Sejanus's reaction later in 30 CE and early 31 was to try to exterminate all Jews. That's what Philo and others say. Exterminating all believers would mean that Rome could turn back to ribald, old-time paganism. Instead his treasonous plot was revealed to Tiberius (who was not so anti-Semitic and more interested in maintaing imperial peace with Parthia). The old emperor did some some careful investigation and deft political footwork. Sejanus was "dethroned" and skewered.
Tiberius then proclaimed that anyone persecuting Christians (or Nazarenes as they were then called) would be killed. The ekklesia had seven years of peace.
4. Sejanus, who had been head of the Pretorian guard, was replaced by Macro. Gaius Caligula colluded with Macro and killed Tiberius. Caligula's way of dealing with the Nazarenes and the Jews/ Israelites/ Parthians/ Kelts was to provoke the Jews into a war of extermination, while trying to hold off the Parthian Super-Power enemy so they would not come to defend Jerusalem and the Jews.
Caligula already had his statue set up in all synagogues around the Empire. Jews suffered at this idolatry. Caligula wanted to go to Egypt where he would be made a god, 'as Egyptians knew better than Romans how to make a man divine'.
Philo Judaeus of Alexandria in Egypt made the cutting but careful remark: "to change God into a man is more easily done than to change a man into God.'
The Roman Supreme Commander in the East stationed in Syria, Petronius, prepared for war with Parthia. It seemed inevitable. Why? Caligula had ordered him first to set up a giant gold statue of Caligula as Jupiter and place it in the Jerusalem Temple. After that Caligula said he would come and set up his imperial Roman headquarters in the Temple.
We can easily guess why. Because Christ had said that 'an abomination of desolation' would sit and rule in the Temple as God. Caligula wanted to prove Christ wrong.
This act would have meant World War as Jews and Parthians and the Israelite Diaspora would attack and defend their most beautiful and precious City and the holy Temple to which they had all contributed in rebuilding for half a century since the time of the Parthian peace treaty.
Both Philo and Josephus say that the Israelite Diaspora were in number the greatest people on earth, though scattered in several countries and islands.
5. World War did not come. Caligula failed to conquer Britain, where Christianity took hold and was evangelizing the Continent. The "Triad of Lazarus" showed how false his divinity claim was. Caligula was assassinated in a back alley in Rome as he prepared to leave for Egypt. Dogs drank his blood. These dramatic events only added to the number of believers around the world.