Complete Pesher of the Resurrection

Part B: The Combined Narrative

From FRIDAY MARCH 20, 33 AD, Good Friday 3 pm to Saturday 3 pm.

© 2005 Dr. Barbara Thiering

All sources are here combined for the continuous narrative, in the time units supplied by the pesher. The detailed explanations are given in Part C, the word-for-word pesher of the individual passages. All four gospels are telling exactly the same story.

3:00 pm

Jesus on the western cross asked for the poison, saying "I thirst". Only John's gospel, written first by Jesus himself, records this, as it was an admission that Jesus intended suicide. The Synoptics simply record that at 3 pm the procedure for the Three Hours' Darkness was completed and the cover was replaced over the open part of the vestry meal-room,

3:00 and 3:03 pm

He quoted in Aramaic and again in Hebrew a verse from Psalms 22:1 to give the fact to those who understood that Jonathan Annas had ordered his death. The previous evening Jonathan, as his abbot (Abba), had ordered him to commit suicide by drinking poison when the pain became too great. Jesus was now submitting to Jonathan's will. "Not my will but yours be done". The quoted verse means that "God" (the title used by Sadducee priests) had abandoned him. In the verse in its Hebrew and Aramaic form, "my" with God is simply a possessive adjective, but in the Greek translation, "God of me", the rules of pesher mean that Jonathan Annas was a grade below Jesus, not his superior. It was a characteristic play on words by Jesus, even on the cross. The Aramaic and Hebrew for "my God" was also a play on words, giving "Elijah", a title of the Pope that had been used by the Baptist and now by Jonathan Annas.

3:05 pm

Jesus was given a drinking cup fastened to the end of a 2 cubit stick, held up to his lips.The cup contained wine mixed with poison and a strong sedative. It was given to him by Merari (Ananus the Younger), a younger brother of Jonathan Annas. He drank the poison.

3:10 pm

Jesus' brother James with Jonathan Annas set out from north of the vestry for the 10 minute walk to the 150 cubit line at the end of the esplanade. From there James would go down the path to the caves. It was his duty as acting king in place of Jesus to open the sabbath latrine cave on Friday evenings.

3:20 pm

James and Jonathan Annas arrived at the 150 cubit line, the "holy city". Jonathan stayed there, keeping his priestly purity by not going down to a lower level of uncleanness, while James went down the hazardous path, for which 5 minutes were allowed.

3:25 pm

James arrived at the caves. His normal duty was to open the western half-door and remove the Stone. On this occasion he had the additional duty of opening the dungeon door and removing the Rock, having been informed of the conspirators' plan for the use of the dungeon.

3:30 pm

On the cross, Jesus became semiconscious from the effect of the sedative in the liquid. He said "It is finished", a word having several double meanings, one of them referring to the expectation of the long-awaited Restoration of the Davids. He bowed his head, wearing his garland of thornbush, which mocked his claim to be an emperor.

It was at this point that he "left the Spirit". The Spirit was a name for Jonathan Annas in a lesser role. Jesus was aware that Jonathan wanted his death and was bringing it about under the guise of compassion. Jesus now renounced his obedience to Jonathan Annas as his priestly superior. Jonathan was not present to hear him, performing his duties with James at the southern end of the esplanade.

The moment was seen as highly symbolic. On the Day of Atonement in its sectarian observance, 3:30 pm was the exact time when the veil in front of the Holy of Holies was divided in the centre to offer the benefits of atonement to the laity. Since their sanctuary was placed north-south, the curtain was divided east-west. A rite having the same significance was performed at Passover. On this occasion, however, the veil was not simply divided, but symbolically "torn", using the word that gave "schism". The intense party conflicts had now come to a crisis, with the betrayal of Jesus. The western part of the mission, whose members were hellenised Diaspora Jews and uncircumcised Gentiles, began their formal separation from the east, made up of more traditional Jews associated with Gentile proselytes.

It was at this moment, sacred in the ritual, that Antipas Herod began carrying out the plan that had been formed a few hours earlier. He had the opportunity of using Pilate's weakness to save Simon Magus. Pilate was a frequent guest in Antipas'houses, both in Rome and in Judea, and Antipas often translated for him. He knew of Pilate's fear of further punishment from Rome for his undiplomatic offences against Jewish ritual. Antipas put to Pilate a proposition that, he said, would save Pilate from further trouble. There was an Old Testament law that a hanged man should not stay on the gibbet overnight, and this law had been repeated in the ascetics' Temple Scroll. It was particularly important that criminals should not be seen hanging on the crosses on the sabbath, which was just beginning, in its different versions.

Antipas urged that a face-saving way of completing the execution would be to change the method to burial alive. There was a very suitable place for it, a dungeon already in use, only a short distance away, that could be reached without breaking the prohibition against walking any distance on the sabbath. He described the location and use of caves 7Q and 8Q. The dungeon in 7Q was a room without windows, completely sealed when its blocking stone was in place. The caves were only visited on Fridays, and men left inside the dungeon would suffocate if they were left there for a week. Since the room was only 4 cubits, 6 feet high, it would be necessary to break the legs of the criminals, so that they could not reach up to dislodge the blocking stone. Pilate, always irritated at what he saw as superstition, and trusting his host Antipas - who had already bribed him for the release of Barabbas - agreed to the plan.

At the same time, 3:30 pm, James at the caves completed the 5 minutes he had spent opening the two half-doors and removing the blocking stones. Matthew's gospel takes the opportunity of inserting here one of the incredible miracle stories that were a signal to educated people that something lay beneath the surface. It also gives a means of discovering the very tight timing of these crucial 5 minutes. In this most unbelievable of the supernatural events at the crucifixion, Matthew 27:51-53 appears to say that as soon as the veil of the sanctuary was split, "the earth quaked, and the rocks were split; the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the sleeping saints were raised, and they coming out of the tombs after his raising came into the holy city and appeared to many."

In fact, the passage is giving necessary information. At 3:30 the schism symbolised by the veil began. Theudas, "Earthquake" and James "the Rocks" were both affected by it. (See the lexicon for the reason for these terms). James at that moment had finished opening the half-doors of the caves, so "the tombs (8Q) were opened". He was doing the work of the David king, which meant that his next brother, Joses-Barnabas, whose celibate way of life gave him the name "saints", was the crown prince. A young man of only 24, Joses-Barnabas was an acolyte, currently preparing for his night duty of tending the Menorah, so asleep in the monastery. James (the subject of the participle "coming") left the eastern half-door and at 3:35 pm arrived at the 150 cubit line at the top, the "holy city", where he stayed. This was five minutes after the "raising", (promotion) of Jesus, a way of interpreting his claim of superiority to Jonathan Annas.

At the gibbets the legs of Simon Magus and Judas were broken by pulling the chains tight until the ankle bones snapped.

A test for death was now made by John Mark, pricking Jesus' hip with a lancet through the waterbag worn at his right side. Water spurted out from the bag, then blood flowed from his side. So John Mark, having medical knowledge, gave to those near him a physician's oath that Jesus was still alive.

Matthew's gospel, in the reliable texts Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, records this fact also.

3:35 pm

John Mark advised Merari that Jesus must be taken down at once, for in a few more minutes there would be such restriction of his breathing that he would die. Merari made another test and the diagnosis was confirmed. Theudas and Merari brought Jesus down from the cross and laid him on the ground, unconscious.

It was now clear to the friends of Jesus that there was every chance that he would survive, and that Pilate must not know of the failure of his intention of completing his execution. He must be led to believe that Jesus was dead. Jesus should be placed in the hospital chamber next to the dungeon, giving the impression that he was with the criminals. There had been four women near the cross of Jesus for most of the day, his mother Mary, his wife Mary Magdalene, with the princess, Mary of Cleopas, the young girl betrothed to James. The other was Helena, the mistress of Simon Magus, who was mainly there for Simon's sake, but also was an associate of Jesus in ministry to Gentiles, his equal in education and intellect. Helena now directed the women to pretend to be wrapping Jesus in a shroud for his burial. They brought his cloak, the voluminous garment that was worn by celibates in the outside world and when they visited the latrine. Placing it under him, they brought it up over him, placing its hood partly over his face.

At the same time Pilate ordered that the major task should begin, putting the two criminals in the dungeon cave. He ordered the Roman soldiers who had accompanied him to carry them to it.

3:45 pm

In order to show him where the dungeon was, Merari and Theudas, who would be the two guards, accompanied Pilate to the 150 cubit line, from where he could see down the path to the caves without making the dangerous descent himself. John Mark came with them in order to translate Pilate's Latin. James had remained at the line, knowing that his help would be needed. Jonathan Annas had returned inside the buildings.

While the male leaders were clustered around Pilate, the four women carried Jesus on a stretcher, two women at each end. Keeping the hood partly over his face, they were able to conceal the fact that he was still breathing. Going as far as they were able, to the 150 cubit line, they handed the stretcher over to Theudas and Merari to carry down the path.

3:50 pm

The Roman soldiers under Pilate's orders placed Simon and Judas within the dungeon, the door of which had been left open by James. While they were busy inside, Theudas and Merari arrived with Jesus at the western cave and brought him down into the hospital chamber. They laid him on the 4 cubit bed against the common wall, his head to the south.

3:55 pm

The Roman soldiers finished their task and set out for the top. As the dungeon door would not be locked for another ten minutes by James, who had the key and always performed the door locking at 4.05, Merari stayed at the caves as guard.

4:00 pm

James at the top now conversed with Pilate, his purpose to deceive him into thinking that Jesus was dead. John Mark his translator helped by not explaining the double meaning of some terms. James asked Pilate to endorse him as the successor of Jesus, and promised him a bribe, something Pilate was always willing to accept. James as the successor would own the sacred monstrance of Jesus, his "body", the container of small bread pieces representing fertilising seed that Jesus used when giving communion to Gentiles. James was holding it as the acting king, and also had with him his own monstrance that he used as the prince. In order to proclaim him the successor, Pilate held up the monstrance of James, not knowing the difference. James took the one belonging to Jesus down to the cave.

Theudas - who also used the pseudonym Nicodemus- also engaged Pilate in conversation. He showed him two containers, one of myrrh, the other a large jar containing 100 pounds of aloe leaves, a very large quantity. They were actually intended as a medical means of reviving Jesus from the effects of the poison, for the juice of the aloe when given in large quantities acts as a rapid purgative. Myrrh is a soothing ingredient. Theudas convinced Pilate that these were for embalming the dead Jesus. James took them with him when he went down to the cave.

4:05 pm

James now arrived at the caves, ostensibly to perform his usual duty of locking the latrine door for another week until it was used again the following Friday. But he was well aware that his brother was alive, and in spite of his legalistic observance of sabbath rules accepted that the demands of illness overrode them.

The Rock had been inserted into the eastern shaft when the two criminals were placed in the dungeon. James now used the key of David to lock the dungeon door. Then he ensured that the hospital chamber in the western cave remained open while his brother was still alive. The replacement of the Rock had left the Stone in its outer position east on the inner path. He rolled it forward one cubit, to its usual position on the east side of the dungeon door, and left it there. This action was expressed in the surface narrative in such a way that it gave the misleading impression that he was closing the cave in which Jesus lay.

He next ensured that the monstrance of Jesus was placed with him, as his most precious possession. He gave it to the guard Merari who placed it on his body inside the cloak. Theudas gave the jars of medicines to Merari to place beside the bed of Jesus.

Two other people had arrived at the caves, both concerned with Simon Magus rather than Jesus. Although the other women had not ventured down the path, Helena wanted to see the dungeon where her lover was confined. Antipas Herod, who had a plan to rescue Simon, confided it to her and escorted her down the difficult path. Antipas had told Pilate that his duty was to conduct a funeral service for Jesus. Sliding down the western shaft to the cubit beyond it, he stood in front of the lower half of the west window and began intoning the service, which would take two hours. His purpose was actually to reach up over the bed of Jesus and dislodge the mortar round the Rock, thus making an airhole into the dungeon. But since Merari had been especially assigned to guard Simon, Antipas had to avoid him, waiting for the cover of darkness.

Helena lingered for a moment at the caves, then when James left she allowed him to escort her. After attending to the doors he went up to the top step on the western side, and Helena, claiming a higher status than his, stood beside him on the eastern side. Then she went up the path in the north-easterly direction, and looked back at the dungeon door. When they reached the top, Helena left for the hour's walk to the queen's house to attend the female ablutions, and James went to the northern section of the vestry, where he would find Pilate.

The guards Theudas and Merari began patrolling according to their set routine, using the outer path because the Stone was in their way on the inner path. They came to the central two cubits for the minute of the exchange every half-hour. The man changing to the east came in to the inner path, his subordinate changing to the west in the outer path. Theudas was the superior, changing to the east on the hour, Merari on the half-hour.

Pilate had stood at the end of the esplanade at 4:00 pm to oversee the dungeon, but by 4:05 pm he was back at the north vestry attending a service for Gentiles. John Mark, his translator from Latin, ensured that he was back there in order to keep him out of the way. Although the Jewish ascetics had to walk at their usual slow pace, taking in all 10 minutes to walk from the north vestry to the 150 cubit line at the end of the esplanade (See Locations for Resurrection on Figure 3B), Pilate and John Mark as Gentiles were not bound by their rule and could walk the short distance, 150 yards, at a normal pace, taking 5 minutes.

The Gentile service was held near the furnace at the north end of the north vestry, in the two cubits open to the sky so that the smoke could rise (Figure 9B). For Jews, a service at 4 pm on Friday was forbidden, but Gentiles deliberately broke the law to show their ethnic difference.These 2 cubits, measured by a 2 cubit rod, were said to be "given over to Gentiles" in Revelation 11:2. They used incense to accompany their prayers sent up to heaven. As Revelation 8:4 indicates, the prayers were said to be simply "smoke" from the Jewish point of view, and would not be accepted by heaven.

As John 19:38 shows by the device of RLR, Pilate "lifted up the body (monstrance) of James-Joseph". As a token Gentile initiate but one who had studied further, he was now encouraged by the conspirators to officiate at the service himself, so as to remove him from the caves before he found out what was happening there. James had given him his own monstrance for the communion bread, deceiving him into thinking it was that of the king.

On the model of the Jewish sacred meal, the Gentile service lasted almost 2 hours, from 4:05 pm to 5:55 pm. James attended nearby to ensure that Pilate remained there, but he arrived late and did not fully participate. He left at 5:55 pm and was back at the caves at 6:05 pm."

5:00 pm

The women at the queen's house held the female ablutions, at their set time, an hour later than the time for men.

6:00 pm

At the caves the guards were on duty. Theudas was about to change from west to east on the hour, so was on the inner path in front of the doors. He allowed James to go in to the hospital chamber to see his brother. Jesus was still under the effects of the sedative, but would recover if he received treatment without delay to expel the poison. James as his nearest relative gave permission for the two guards to bring Simon Magus in to effect the cure.

In the Qumran buildings at 6:00 pm Jonathan Annas, now acting as Pope in place of Simon Magus, began a council meeting in the vestry. The Friday evening meetings for Jews were for debate only, when no sacred meal was held because of fasting.

Caiaphas, the reigning high priest, a Pharisee, was present at Qumran as a member of the influential secret society. As high priest he was an adviser to Pilate. John Mark was needed with them to interpret Pilate's Latin. Caiaphas, remaining with Pilate outside the meeting, asked him to extend the hours for the guards at the caves. It had been thought that from 6 pm, the normal Jewish beginning of the sabbath for a less strict doctrine, no Jew would attempt a rescue of Simon and Judas as it would involve lifting. But for Diaspora members , keeping the Julian calendar , Saturday began at midnight. Since for them the 1st of the month, their New Year's day, also began that midnight, they might rescue Simon and then proclaim that he had ascended to the papacy on the 1st of the month, which was his priestly promotion day. Caiaphas urged that if Simon came into power, his version of the calendar with its associated politics would be imposed, with damaging consequences for traditional Pharisaic Judaism.

Caiaphas knew that the Gentile money was hidden in the western cave, and he also foresaw the possibility that Simon's Gentile supporters such as John Mark might take it to help Simon's cause. They were not bound by any sabbath rule.

Pilate accepted Caiaphas' advice, endorsing the guard system, and transmitting his orders through John Mark, who thus knew what the guard system would be. Then Pilate and Caiaphas left for Jerusalem.

6:05 pm

James came out of the hospital chamber, ordering that it should still remain open. He was well aware that as acting king he controlled the money in the king's treasury. To proclaim his role he stood in front of the dungeon door, his "new tomb". He now acted in one of the other roles of the David, that of "the New Adam" to celibate Gentiles in their "Eden" schools. The dungeon door thus became "the Garden". He was able to stand there because the guards were at their outermost limit. For Theudas, holding the Exodus imagery of the Therapeuts, it was a "Not Yet", for at this hour, beginning the solar calendar 31st, there should have been a divine intervention, bringing the ascetics into political power in a new Promised Land. But there was no dramatic event. It was not yet the end of their "wilderness wanderings".

In the western cave at the same time, Antipas finished the pretended burial service for Jesus, moved from the window to beside his sickbed against the common wall as if to give a blessing. Under cover of the closed dungeon door he reached up to the niche above the eastern shaft , where the Rock now lay. Antipas broke off the mortar surrounding it, thus making an airhole into the dungeon.

James and Antipas went back to the Qumran vestry, joining the council meeting for Jews held on Friday evenings.

6:30 pm

The coast was clear and the plan for reviving Jesus was put into action. Merari came as guard changing to the east side on the half-hour, on the inner path, standing at the centre. Merari - who would figure in the later history as "the jailer"- had been given the key to the dungeon by James. He unlocked it, opening the doubled door inwards. He rolled the Stone further east, then lifted out the Rock and placed it beside the dungeon door and beside the Stone, thus "sealing the Stone", for the Rock was the seal to the dungeon.

6:30 to 9 pm.

In the next few hours events took place that are not recorded but are to be inferred from knowledge of the properties of aloes, from the timing, and from details of the positions in the cave.

The guard Theudas, an elderly man, also called Barabbas, was well aware that Jesus had saved his life by taking his place on the third cross. He had a personal affection for him as the son of Joseph, who had been his fellow-fighter under Judas the Galilean in the uprising of 6 AD. It was Theudas who saw how Jesus' rescue could be arranged, in conjunction with the rescue plan for Simon Magus that had been devised by Antipas. Theudas had supplied the medicines ready for Simon's use, and continued his duties as patrolling guard on the paths outside.

He could also persuade Merari to help Jesus. In the house of Agrippa Jesus had become friendly with Merari, a servant of the royal Herods. One of his pseudonyms was Zacchaeus. The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 gives a comical version of the duties and roles of this Sadducee, who as Ananus the Younger would later play a prominent part in the Christian history. It was Merari's special duty to guard Simon Magus as the chief enemy of Agrippa, but that would not prevent him from helping Jesus by assisting in lifting the helpless Simon, unable to escape because of his broken legs, into the western cave to attend to Jesus.

To carry all three men down to the caves, light basketware couches had been used such as were customarily employed to carry priests as a palanquin, so that they would not have to touch unclean ground. The couches were 4 cubits (6 feet) long, and could lie flat, acting as a stretcher. The back, of 2 cubits, was hinged and could when necessary be raised so that the priest sat up leaning against it, his legs stretched out. The couches had been left inside the caves.

After the dungeon door had been unlocked and the Rock removed, the two guards went down the eastern shaft. They lifted Simon on to his couch, which they laid flat in its 4 cubit length as a stretcher. Theudas went up the shaft to the top, pulling the stretcher from its head end, and the young man Merari from below, exerting greater strength, pushed it by the feet end up the 4 cubit shaft. At the top, the back was lifted to give Simon a sitting position on its 2 cubits. The guards set him down across the 2 cubits of the Stone and the Rock, for Theudas to give him needed nursing attention, fastening splints on his broken legs and bandaging his hands, which like those of Jesus had been nailed.

The two guards then let Simon down the western shaft. Sitting him up in the limited space in the hospital chamber, they brought him round the north end of the stairwell, to beside the bed on which Jesus lay. He sat beside the head and chest of Jesus, with the jar of aloes placed between his legs. Now, at his own insistence, Simon was left alone in the chamber with his patient. Simon foresaw very well how he could make use of a cure for Jesus to his own very great advantage. He wanted no witnesses to what actually happened in the cave.

The leaves of aloes when squeezed produce a resin like fluid which if administered by mouth in large quantities acts as a rapid purgative, expelling the stomach contents with the poison. A great quantity had been supplied, in the form of the leaves of the plant rather than the liquid, because Simon's injured hands could not handle a cup. He had, however, great physical strength, and was able to squeeze the leaves with his wrists, producing the correct quantity of fluid. Leaning towards Jesus' mouth, he let the resin flow down his throat. The myrrh added soothing medicine for the stomach burnt by the poison.

The sedative that had been mixed with the poison began to wear off, and Jesus becoming more conscious was able to co-operate with the purging. Unlike Simon, he was able to walk, as his legs had not been broken. By about 9 pm he was recovered enough to stand at the end of the shaft in front of the western window. He would have needed water to drink, and it was supplied from the waterbag for cleansing hanging on the wall in the "paradise" cubit.

9:00 pm

Simon remained, chiefly for the purpose of ensuring that Jesus did not suffer a relapse.

It was not yet the true midnight, only the uncorrected form of it, at the 9 pm hour when the Magian correction of three hours was being made.

During these three hours the question of the escape of both Jesus and Simon was discussed. The co-operation of both guards was needed. Merari and Theudas were both sympathetic to Jesus, and in any case had not been ordered to guard him, as it had been thought that he was dead. All that was needed was a removal of Jesus by his friends under cover of darkness. But the matter was different for Simon, especially as Merari his guard was acting for Agrippa, the enemy of Simon. The solution was to bribe Merari, whose openness to bribery was known, a reputation that remained with him as Ananus the Younger in later years.

In the latrine chamber below, Gentile money was stored in the unused pits 11 and 12 next to the lower window. In position 12 common monastic property of Gentile celibates like John Mark was hidden, in a chest wrapped in a Magian headcloth, a soudarion, such as was worn by Simon Magus-Lazarus at his re-instatement (John 11: 44). It was in such a soudarion that Magian money in Rome was concealed and kept apart, according to the parable of the pounds and talents (Luke 19:19, Matthew 25:18).

John Mark, head of monastic Gentiles, could act concerning the property with permission from Simon Magus. He had arrived outside at 9 pm for the Magian correction, in case it was at this fast midnight that Simon was rescued and declared Pope. John Mark came into the cave, went down the steps to position 12, retrieved the chest of money and gave it to Simon, who held it close to him for subsequent use. In the cubit above position 12 the soudarion was left, now simply a cloth rolled up.

11:55 pm

In order not to offend against the Julian form of the sabbath rule it was necessary that Simon should be lifted up and returned to the dungeon before midnight. The two guards brought him up the western shaft, placed him first on the Rock and Stone while one of them went down inside, then manoeuvred him down the eastern shaft, leaving him in the sitting position in the last 2 cubits beside the eastern wall. They replaced the Rock and locked the dungeon door. Theudas knew, but Merari did not know, that Antipas had made the airhole.

John Mark remained in the western cave with Jesus, in case any further medical help was needed. He stood above position 12, while Jesus still stood at the end of the shaft above position 11, both of them in front of the window opening.

12:00 midnight.

At 12:00 midnight, counted as beginning Saturday, which for Magian solarists was the 1st of the month and New Year's day, Mary Magdalene arrived at the caves. From the queen's house a kilometer down on the plain, she had seen the light of the lamp in the south window of Jesus' cave. Not obliged to keep a sabbath rule as she was three months pregnant, she took her lamp and made the hour's walk in the dark up the chasm, along the bridge of land at the top, and eastward into the Qumran grounds. There she found Peter, who had taken no part in the events of the day and had been attending the service in the vestry. She told him what she had seen, knowing that Peter's help would be needed. Peter came with her down the esplanade and helped her down the path to the caves. They were accompanied by Antipas Herod, who wanted to check that the airhole was still working.

On the hour, while the guard changing to the east stood in front of the western opening, Mary stood in front of the dungeon door. Then she moved out of the way to make room for the guard.

12:02 am

Once the Rock had been replaced, the Stone had again been rolled forward to its position on the east side of the dungeon door. Mary moved to the west along the inner path, which was not being used by the guards. At the western :02 position there were 3 cubits between her and the Stone, so the verb "to see", blepo, is used to indicate her position.

12:05 am

At 12:05, when the guards were at their outermost limits, Mary acted as assistant guard in place of John Mark, who was still in the cave with Jesus. She stood at the center of the inner path, in front of Peter the other assistant guard at the center of the outer path.

Inside the hospital chamber, Antipas had joined Jesus and John Mark, going to the end of the bed to check the airhole. Jesus at the west window in front of John Mark said to Antipas , "Simon Magus, who is now the Pope, has been lifted out of here by Merari and placed in the dungeon. I do not recognise that he has deserved to be there."

Antipas left the cave, after giving Theudas the instruction to help Simon but not help Judas the other prisoner.

12:30 am

It was time for the half-hourly changing of the guard. Theudas changed to the west at the center of the outer path, and Merari to the east at the center of the inner path. John Mark had come out of the cave, leaving Jesus alone to rest, and acted as the assistant guard with Peter, replacing Mary Magdalene who stayed on the steps further out. The assistants followed the main guards to the near center or center positions. Peter was assistant to Merari and John Mark assistant to Theudas.

1:00 am

While the two main guards were at the center, the assistants Peter and John Mark were at the diagonal :01 positions on the outer path.

1:01 am

A minute later John Mark stood in front of the dungeon door, and Peter in the center of the outer path. From outside the dungeon door John Mark stooped towards the west side and looked down the west shaft. At the end of the shaft he saw the cloak of Jesus, placed there when he went down to the lower chamber. It meant that Jesus was still in the lower chamber. John Mark did not go into the cave.

1:02 am

John Mark as an assistant guard did not patrol, but remained in the center inner path until he received a message from Jesus inside.

1:03 am

At 1:03, when assistant guards remained at the center, Peter was on the outer path and John Mark on the inner. From this position he could see further down the western shaft. He looked down through its 4 cubits and saw the cloak in a changed position beyond the end of the shaft over SL11. It meant that Jesus had come up, was washing in the "paradise" cubit, and was ready to resume the cloak lying beside him.

The strip of cloth used to form a turban belonging to Simon Magus, now to be given to John Mark as a servant of the Magus, was lying on the bed, at SL 6. Simon had used it as a cloth for his medical work on Jesus, and had left it behind. John Mark went into the cave to help Jesus.

1:05 am

At 1:05 am John Mark stood next to Jesus as his deputy.

1:31 am

John Mark was still in the cave with Jesus, so it was necessary to replace him as assistant guard outside with another Gentile of equal status. James Niceta had such status, although he was not monastic but a Nazirite like Brother James. James Niceta acting like a Merari stood at the central inner position at 1:31. He looked north through 2 cubits to the top step, to which Brother James had now come, having been alerted that his permission would be needed for Jesus to be removed from the cave. Brother James and James Niceta both accepted Sadducee doctrine, which included a denial of resurrection.

1:35 am

At 1:35 am Theudas, having changed from east to west on the half-hour, was at his outermost position on the outer western path. It was a "Not Yet" for the Therapeuts, another failure of the prophecy. When this happened a change of doctrine was made, and Theudas recognised that Gentiles like James Niceta should be promoted to the status of bishop, equal to a main guard. Theudas led James Niceta out to the western limit of the inner path, so that he stood in front of him. It signified that James Niceta would be appointed to a bishop's position in the west. Then James Niceta on behalf of Brother James came into the cave to replace John Mark as helper to Jesus, and John Mark came out to the path to continue as assistant guard with Peter.

2:00 am

For the changing of the guard Theudas stood on the center inner path and Merari on the center outer path. The assistants stood in the :01 positions on either side of the outer path. They were preparing to help Jesus when he came out of the cave. In addition, Mary Magdalene now came forward from the steps to act with James, as one of the close relatives of Jesus, to help him inside the cave. At 2:00 she came as an extra to the position of the Stone. It was permissible to stand on it, as was done when the stones were in place forming part of the rock layer that was a floor to the upper chamber and a celing to the lower ones. She stood on it, in the black garments of a separated Sister, acting the part of a Widow.

2:01 am

Mary took the place of John Mark at the inner center, and as he had done she stood in front of the dungeon door and stooped sideways to look down the shafts. She was able to look down the eastern shaft, through the openings from which the mortar had been removed. Beyond the end of the 4 cubit shaft she saw Simon Magus sitting on his 2 cubit couch, his feet to the south. Beside him, in the next cubit in, under the end of the shaft, lay his headband, with the insignia of his rank. In the next cubit in Judas was sitting on a couch, in the reverse direction, his feet to the north, since there was not enough room for him to sit under the shaft. Beside Judas, in the next cubit in, next to the common wall, stood the jar in which he as a bishop collected the welfare tithes of villagers. On the same line as Simon's head, in the other cave, Jesus was standing, with his sacred monstrance in a pouch under his cloak.

Simon Magus could see Mary looking down the shaft. He said to her, "Queen, you are acting as a separated Sister according to Sadducee rules". She replied, " James Niceta in the cave has helped Jesus stand up, but I as a woman cannot go in to the unclean western chambers." Simon gave her permission to go there, as a nurse to the sick. James Niceta came out of the cave, making way for Mary to come in.

She moved to the western side of the center, from where she could look down the western shaft to see Jesus standing beyond it. Then Jesus acted to show that he was recovered and in the celibate state, by moving to "Place 1" the position above SL1, that of the king.

2:03 am

Mary came down the shaft to the position above SL11, with one cubit between her and Jesus. While she turned south, not facing him out of respect, he said to her, "Queen, you are following the Sadducee rule for a separated Sister. You belong to the Herodian Sadducee party, not the Hellenists who allow women to be priests." South of Mary, in the "paradise" cubit, James was standing, as an "Adam", the Gardener. Mary facing him said, "Bishop, do you intend to carry him on a couch, sending him up the shaft? If so, I will pull the couch from the top." Jesus said to her, "Miriam", using her title as a woman leader of the Therapeuts. She turned north and spoke to him in Aramaic, indicating that she was an eastern minister, calling him the Great One. That was the title of the third priest, a village teacher like a rabbi.

Jesus said to her, "Do not touch me, for I am still defiled from the illness, not yet declared pure by Jonathan Annas. You and James are to go out to the steps, and wait there till 3 am in order to help Simon, with James on the top step and you on the first step. Say to James, "I (Mary) am a bishop, to whom Jonathan Annas as presbyter is subordinate. He is also subordinate to you, James. In his status as cardinal he is subordinate to me as a Miriam, and also subordinate to you, James, as a Joseph."

2:05 am

James and Mary went up the shaft and out to the steps, where they were to remain. Jesus without assistance climbed up the shaft and out, to be received by John Mark and Peter. He leaned on them as they led him away, as was recalled in the tradition of the Gospel of Peter. "(They saw) two men come down from there in a great brightness and draw nigh to the sepulchre....both the young men entered in.... While (the soldiers) were relating what they had seen, they saw again three men come out from the sepulchre, and two of them sustaining the other."

The three made the hour's walk down to the queen's house, where Jesus would receive nursing attention from the women and be permitted to rest during the sabbath. James Niceta stayed to replace them as assistant guard over the still open western half-door, which gave access to the Gentile money.

2:55 am

With Jesus safely at the queen's house and sure of survival, it was time for Simon Magus' supporters to carry out his rescue from the dungeon. They had intended it for midnight, but in the meantime Simon had made a political deal with Theudas, head of the Therapeuts, so as to bring him into his party, and with him the Therapeuts of Egypt. Their beginning of the day was observed at 3 am, three hours after the Julian midnight, the hour counted as dawn when they finished their all-night meetings. James, with Theudas, was prepared to support Simon, who had saved his brother, although he did not accept the claim to resurrection.

Since Jesus was now to follow the dynastic rule and return to the monastery because his wife was three months pregnant, James should act for him in the outside world, as was the custom. He should be appointed to the position by having oil from an oil lamp smeared on his head, for oil was the symbol of the non-monastic Essene class.

Since 2:05 James had been waiting on the western side of the top step, with Mary Magdalene. Helena, claiming to be a priest, was acting as the chief agent of Simon in such matters as these, anointing James. In addition, she was to present him with a container of aromatic spices. These were the symbol of proselytes, men who had not been born Jews but had adopted all aspects of Jewish identity including circumcision. As Jewish initiates offered their prayers, in place of orthodox animal sacrifices, calling these "an offering of the lips like a pleasant aroma" (Community Rule 9:4-5), proselytes offered their own prayers, symbolised by the spices.

2:55 am

Helena arrived on the eastern side of the top step to perform the brief ceremony. With her came Mary of Cleopas, the young girl betrothed to James, who would act as his princess in duties in the outside world. She replaced Mary Magdalene on the first step in front of James, while Mary Magdalene moved to the first eastern step in front of Helena as her deputy.

3:00 am

At the moment when the oil containers indicating minutes showed 3 am, the carefully staged drama of Simon's triumph took place. The two guards, Theudas, nicknamed "Earthquake", and Merari the "jailer", had unlocked the dungeon door, removed the Rock to the position beside the door, with the Stone pushed further east, and had brought out Simon on his couch by the same method as before. Merari had been bribed into co-operating, with the money Simon had brought with him from the western cave. While they were in the dungeon, they had forced on Judas a dose of the poison that had been given to Jesus. But there would be no effort to revive him.

So "the Sun rose". Simon, claiming to be the Zadokite in charge of the solar calendar, claimed the title of "Sun". As before, Simon with his couch in the sitting position was placed at first across the Rock and the Stone, his main body over the Stone.

At the same time Helena as his "Moon" stood in front of the still open western door, in which the Stone had not yet been replaced. She looked down the western shaft to the cubit at its end over SL 11, covering the burial place for the money from Gentile fees. As the head of one order of Gentile proselytes she was responsible for some of this money. She decided that the entrance to the prince's treasury should again be blocked.

3:01 am

Theudas removed the Rock from under Simon and replaced it in the eastern shaft in order to ensure that Judas, still inside, did not escape. The dungeon door remained open. Helena came inside the eastern doorway to stand on the Rock, to help balance Simon. He used his bandaged hands to manoeuvre the Stone forward to its usual position beside the dungeon door.

3:02 am

The two guards then lifted Simon out and up on to the top step, his couch placed across its 2 cubits. James had moved down to sit on the first step, waiting to fulfil his duty of closing the doors an hour later. Mary Magdalene had come forward to stand on the central inner path in front of Helena in the doorway.

Simon's supporters had ensured that he was dressed in the full regalia of the Pope at the time of his exaltation. He wore the long white robe of the Zadokite, worn in both winter and summer, that of the Ancient of Days of Daniel 7, who was the priest in charge of all calendar matters. On his headband he wore flashing jewels appropriate to the title he adopted, "Lightning" - a way of claiming power over the Annas priests, who were called "Thunder".

3:03 am

Merari was ordered by Helena to bring the Stone from beside the dungeon door into the western shaft to block it, in order to protect the money inside.

3:03 - 3:04 am

To be out of the way, Helena moved to the far east of the inner eastern path, to its position for :03, with 3 cubits between her and the western opening. Then she moved out to the position for :04, with 4 cubits between. During this minute Merari replaced the Stone.

3:05 am

Helena then moved to the central inner path, with 2 cubits between her and Simon Magus out on the top step. Theudas and Merari resumed their patrols on the outer path, reaching the outermost edges at :05. Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleopas, having finished their duties for James, set out for the hour's walk to the queen's house.

Simon now instructed Helena about the status of Jesus, making arrangements for the Saturday evening meeting for Gentiles at the dynasts' house at Ain Feshkha. Simon said to her: "Do not leave the Hellenist priesthood. You wish to do so in order to be in the same party as Jesus, who is still in the Nazirite state for a few more days, but you are not in his kind of ministry. He is at present like an Adam cursed to work in the outside world. He has gone up as far as the grade of an outside teacher, but has further to go. Yet he is not fully in the married state. He was brought out of the cave, and on his way out rested on this top step. At 4:05 am leave here and go down to the queen's house and give the message to John Mark to say to Peter, 'At 4 pm Saturday Jesus will be leaving the queen's house for the two hour walk down to Ain Feshkha, with you, Peter, as his deacon. At the evening service Jesus will preside at the table, and you, Peter, will sit on the opposite side of the table in the place of his servant.'"

4:00 am

Simon remained on the top step until he could be carried away without giving offence on the sabbath. Theudas, appointed his levitical deputy and wearing the vestment of a subordinate of Pope Lightning, stood in front of him on the first step. Helena also remained on the east center of the inner path. The question of Judas now arose. All agreed that he should be punished for his treachery. He was in the dungeon, unable to move, with the door open, and the Rock in place. He was still able to breathe through the airhole.

Theudas, the guard due to be at the center on the hour, left Helena in his position and went inside the dungeon doorway. He was no longer wearing his cloak, the sheet of cloth that was bound around the neck to make a hood. He handed his neckbinder to Helena to hold, then went in and stood on the Rock. He took the piece of cloth and stuffed it into the spaces where the mortar had been, thus blocking the airhole of Judas, who would be left there to suffocate until the sabbath rule permitted the final step.

4:03 am

While he was doing this, Theudas spoke to Helena about the politics of the mission. "You as a Hellenist Sadducee are trying to ally with the Sadducees of James (who would become Jewish Christians). But Jesus is no longer in the married state, and has been promoted as far as a priestly village teacher. Teach women and Gentiles orally about the dynastic rule that Jesus preached while he was outside. He taught that a dynast has to spend a period outside in marriage, like an Adam cursed. Then on the 31st of the solar calendar he returns to the celibate state to live in the monastery." Helena prepared oral teaching for women about the rules for proselytes.

4:05 am

According to his rule, James closed and locked both half-doors with the key of David. While he was at the dungeon door Helena, instructed by Theudas, moved in front of the western half-door. Standing beside James she offered a prayer at the same time as he did. Then James escorted her up the path in the north-easterly direction, and she went down to the queen's house. Since James' sabbath rule would not permit him to make the walk south, he went inside the Qumran buildings, where he remained observing the sabbath until it finished that afternoon.

6:00 am

At the sunrise service at the queen's house two different parties of Gentiles worshipped separately, with the two women ministers. The Hellenists, allied with Magians, were led by Helena acting as a priest. They were associated with John Mark and Thomas Herod, a proselyte. Mary Mother of Jesus was a fellow minister with Helena, one who instructed and baptised celibate proselytes. John Mark belonged in her order, but he disagreed that full conversion to proselyte status, with circumcision, was necessary.

The other party, Gentiles represented by James Niceta, with Peter, were taught by Mary Magdalene, called Great Joy as a potential mother. She did not claim to be a priest, only a queen, with her deputy Mary of Cleopas, the princess. (Peter and James Niceta would subsequently adopt the name "Christian").

6:05 am

After the short prayer service, in the courtyard , Jesus gave Mary Magdalene personal teaching. He also accepted Helena, calling her the Joy, the title of the wife of the Zadokite. She accepted his political views, paying the Roman tribute through him, that was due on this 1st of the month. He said to Helena, "Do not claim to be the celibate Miriam of the Therapeuts; only the 'Sarah' of the 'Abraham'imagery. Ally with James, the 'Jacob', in the class of married men. He is to go to Ain Feshkha for the evening meeting of Gentiles, and will act as a deacon to me."

12:00 Noon

The version of the sabbath that had begun Friday ended at noon. It was observed by those who carried the Julian midnight times to the point of counting the half-day at noon. Thomas Herod observed it, as did Peter in the house of the royal Herods.

At the queen's house these two men, although in different Gentile parties, agreed that Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed all of them, should be given the death penalty. These two should additionally be appointed to carry Simon Magus away from the caves. Both purposes would be served if Peter, an assistant Merari, was promoted to be a guard equal to Merari, for it would be too much to expect that Merari the jailer of Simon Magus should be seen carrying him away.

1:00 pm

Peter and Thomas left the queen's house at noon, arriving at the caves at 1 pm. Peter began patrolling with Theudas, according to the usual system. Thomas stayed on the steps with Simon Magus, for he and the Magians were closely allied.

2:45 pm

Thomas left the caves to make the 15 minutes walk in to the Qumran buildings. The plan was that he would set up a distraction , stirring up debate at the 3 pm council meeting in the vestry so that it would not be noticed when Simon was carried away.

2:55 pm

At 3 pm another version of the sabbath that had begun Friday 3 pm would end. It was permissible to treat 5 minutes before the hour as the end of the hour. At the caves Theudas, instructed by Simon Magus, had been waiting for this moment in order to carry out the decision to execute the traitor Judas. He and Peter came to the center in front of the doors, Theudas holding the key of David that had last been used by James to lock the dungeon door. Theudas unlocked the door and removed the Rock. He and Peter brought Judas up on his couch, Peter doing the main physical work. They then unlocked the western door, removed the Stone, and sent Judas down the western shaft into the hospital chamber, with its large windows. Both went down after him. With the help of Theudas, Peter lifted up Judas and heaved him through the southern window opening. Peter was later able to testify, in Acts 1:18, that Judas had been poisoned, "swollen", and had been smashed on the rocks far below. Theudas then replaced the Rock on the eastern shaft, but not yet the Stone. The doors were not yet locked.

3:00 pm

At 3:00 pm Peter stood inside the dungeon doorway, standing on the Rock for a last inspection, and discovered what Antipas had done in making the airhole. Then he moved to the path outside.

3:01 pm

Peter leaned sideways to look down the western shaft. At the end of the shaft, 3 cubits down, he saw Judas' cloak, left behind when he was thrown out. Peter went out to the steps in front of Simon Magus. He was now changing his views to accept the solar calendar and the monastic discipline, seeing the religious value of the resurrection claim.

Peter and Theudas then lifted Simon and carried him away without being seen from the vestry. They would take him down to the queen's house, to arrive at 4 pm before they all set out for the Saturday evening meeting at Ain Feshkha.

3:05 pm

At the same time a meeting was being held in the Qumran vestry, where Thomas was stirring up argument. The anti-resurrection party led by Jonathan Annas was now being formed. Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, and Jonathan was particularly hostile to the claim, as it would give great authority to Jesus, whom he had intended to put to death. James was also at the meeting, not accepting resurrection, and agreeing with Thomas that it was better that Gentiles should become proselytes. Merari was at the meeting, having abandoned his guard duty. All agreed that too much power would be given to Simon by his story, and decided to make known what had actually happened. Thomas offered more money, from levitical funds, to Merari, instructing him to say that John Mark had come into the western cave at 9 pm, while Simon was there, and had taken the property of Gentile monastics, held by Simon, and misused it for a bribe. When Pilate investigated, as was intended, Jesus would support the story, since it had really happened. Both parties of Sadducees, Herodian and anti-Herodian, would then be in agreement in denying the resurrection.

Merari accepted the money and with it a promotion in the ministry. James, allied with Antipas Herod, set out for the evening meeting at Ain Feshkha, and the next day at Mar Saba would teach that there had been no resurrection.

Continue to next entry in the Complete Pesher of the Resurrection:Word for Word Pesher
or click title above to return to the index.
(if you are using the "without frames" entry, please return to previous page containing the menu via the "Back" browser button.)

Information from this page is subject to copyright at:
The Pesher Technique web site (with frames)
(without frames)