The Life of Jesus after the Crucifixion


Part A: The Narrative

From the Saturday evening after Good Friday to the Day of Pentecost

© 2005 Dr. Barbara Thiering

During the four days after the crucifixion, from the Saturday evening to the Tuesday evening, Jesus visited the buildings belonging to the ascetic movement in the Wilderness of Judea. His legs had not been broken on the cross, and his feet had not been nailed, so he was able to walk, following the slow pace required of ascetics, who walked in hooded garments with their eyes lowered, meditating and saying prayers as they went.

The crucifixion had taken place on the southern esplanade at Qumran, an extension from the buildings that served as the monastic council center for the whole ascetic organisation. The "resurrection" had taken place from caves partway down the cliff from the end of the esplanade. The age-old Christian tradition that it had all taken place in Jerusalem was a consequence of a deliberate device of the pesharists, to conceal what was still the secret headquarters of insurrectionists, their place of exile near the Dead Sea.

The different aspects of monasticism had made necessary different kinds of buildings, established in the Wilderness of Judea from earlier centuries. The same area, suitable for isolated living in conditions of hardship, remained in use by Christian monastics after the Jewish form had evolved into the Christian form. The Christian monasteries did not spring up suddenly in the 3rd and 4th centuries as has been thought, but were reformed versions of the earlier ones. Some of them have continued up to the present day.

Figure 7a
Figure 7b
Distances in hours from the settlements in the Wilderness of Judea
2000 cubits = 5 stadia = 1 kilometer = 1 hour's walk

FIGURE 7. Map of the Wilderness of Judea and Diagram of the Scribe's Pen.

From Jerusalem, eastward to the height now called Hyrcania, reasonably fertile country extends for about 7 miles. Then the land drops steeply to the desert called the Buqeia, continuing down below sea level to the Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on the earth's surface. While some low hills can show sparse foliage after the winter rains, the soil is utterly barren, the ground littered with large and small rocks that still make transport difficult.

The actual positions of the settlements visited by Jesus are as shown in Figure 7. Because of the regulation requiring walking at a fixed slow pace, it was possible to describe their position in terms of the numbers of hours it took to traverse the distance. The resulting diagram took the shape of a scribe's pen, with a fan-like holder and blade pointing to Jerusalem. It would have functioned as both a map and timetable for walkers following the paths.

The walking rate was set at 2000 cubits per hour. In Greek terms, that was 5 stadia, and for us about a kilometer.

On the coast of the Dead Sea, Qumran, Ain Feshkha and Khirbet Mazin were all 3 hours apart, Ain Feshkha in the center being nearer the shore. From Ain Feshkha the path led due west for 8 hours, to end at a point on the wady that is now called wady Sekhakha. The spot where all paths met may be called Mird Minor. Continuing towards the west for 4 hours, three buildings were found, the first, after another hour, on the height of Hyrcania , also called Khirbet Mird - the ruins of the Christian monastery of Marda. It may be called Mird Major. Two hours further on came the small structure at the spot called "Emmaus" in the narrative, then after another hour the great edifice now called Mar Saba, a monastery still inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks, above the wady Kidron. It runs down the almost perpendicular side of a steep cliff, its successive shelves offering space for a series of structures. It was rebuilt in its present form in 1834. The narrative, taken with its location, indicates that it was in use at least in the 1st centuries BC and AD.

Photo W

Photo W. The Mar Saba monastery. From Picturesque Palestine, 1880.

From Mar Saba the wady Kidron led to Jerusalem, 12 hours being allowed to cover the distance, on either side of the wady. Those who walked on its west side arrived after 12 hours at the Essene Gate in Jerusalem, while those who walked on its east side arrived at the lower slope of the Mount of Olives, 5 stadia east of Jerusalem.

At Ain Feshkha

About 3 kilometers down from the Qumran buildings, very close to the shore of the Dead Sea, stood a building that formed an annex to the Qumran monastery. It lay 15 stadia away, in terms of the time-space equation needing 3 hours to walk down to it. Its position is given in John 11:18, in its relation to "Jerusalem" in the plural form, that is, Qumran. It was the building called "Bethany". "Bethany was near Jerusalem (plural form) about 15 stadia away."

Its ruins still lie there, close to the bathing sheds of Israelis who like to float on the thick waters of the Dead Sea.

Photo G

Photo G. At the shore of the Dead Sea, at Ain Feshkha. The ruins lie 50 yards in from the shore.

The word Ain means "eye", so means also a spring of fresh water. There is good growth of foliage around it, supporting the evidence from a medieval source that vegetables were once grown there to supply the needs of monastics.

Figure 8

Figure 8. The ruins of Ain Feshkha

The building was in the shape of a hellenistic house, with four wings around a central courtyard. The entrance was in the east wing.

The name Bethany used for it in John 11:18 is made up of "the house(beth) of the 'ani". Passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls show that there were two main kinds of ascetics, translated "the Poor" (ebion) and "the Afflicted" ('ani). The Hebrew word ebion appears in the subsequent literature for the Ebionites who played a role in Christian history. It may be seen to refer to the Essene monastic class, those men who gave up all their property to become enclosed at Qumran and in subsequent monasteries. The other class, the 'ani, the Afflicted, may be identified with the Therapeuts, who lived as individual hermits, without surrendering property, free to leave the eremitical life to marry if they chose. In the narrative there are other Bethanys, with and without the definite article, the word always meaning a meeting place of Therapeuts.

On the north side of the ruins of Ain Feshkha there are still to be seen the remains of shallow pools.

Photo H

Photo H. The shallow pools on the north side of the Ain Feshkha building.

The archeologists found that the bottom of one of them was covered by a white deposit , which was analysed as calcium carbonate. ( Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, p.81). On the pavement beside them lay stone cylinders, in a position suitable for drying. One of them had fallen into the pool covered with the white deposit.

Photo J

Photo J. Cylinder stone for drying, fallen into the pool.

These arrangements fit very well the regulation of the Temple Scroll 45:7-10, that a man who had a nocturnal emission was to go outside the monastery for 3 days, wash his clothes, then return after sunset. The white linen robes of Essenes, by which they were characterised, were rubbed with frankincense, lebonah, whitening, a form of starch, as shown in the Damascus Document 11:4. It would account for the deposit of calcium carbonate in the shallow pool, left after the clothes were washed, and the cylinder stones would be for stretching them out to dry. This would indicate that it was to Ain Feshkha that temporarily "unclean" monastics from Qumran were sent for their 3 days' exclusion.

Essene monastics had a second order, the dynasts, men belonging to family lines that had to be preserved, especially the descendants of the Zadokite priests and David kings who formed the nucleus of the Essenes. These men went to live outside temporarily to cohabit with their wives, then when a child had been born, preferably a son to continue their line, they returned to the holy life in the monastery. They spent their period of marriage among villagers who lived in such places as Galilee, acting in a pastoral role to them. At the first stage after leaving the monastery they went out to the Bethany house at Ain Feshkha , being classed as equal to unclean monastics. At the times of seasonal councils they came with village pilgrims to Qumran, but had to reside in the Bethany building.

Acting as bishops in the literal Galilee, these men used the symbolism of marriage for their pastoral care for members. They used the name "Galilee" as their own and wore a wedding ring. The symbolism was preserved in Christian usage, a bishop using the name of his city as his own, wearing a ring. Wherever the bishop of Galilee went, "Galilee" was said to go with him. When he was at Ain Feshkha, "Galilee" was there. When, at the caves after the crucifixion, the friends of Jesus were told that he was going into Galilee and they would see him there, the meaning was that he would be going no further than Ain Feshkha and they would see him there at the Saturday evening meeting. Once the main version of the sabbath ended on Saturday at 3 pm, it would be permitted for those still at Qumran to make the 3 hour walk down to the building for the meeting starting 6 pm.

Structure of the Ain Feshkha building and its counterparts

Much of the understanding of the pesher depends on understanding the structure of the Bethany building and its counterparts.The structure, known to the ascetics who regularly used it, is drawn on in some major episodes in Acts. It may be seen that it gave the basic pattern from which the architecture of a Christian church evolved.

Of the four wings surrounding the courtyard, the north wing was divided by low stone partitions, the main one in the center, corresponding to the partitions in the synagogues of village Essenes.

Photo K

Photo K. Remains of the north wing.

The west wing contained two long rooms, entered by two doors side by side at the center of the wing. The doors were made of large stones shaped into regular cubes in Herodian style, contrasting with the rough stones used in the walls. Each of the two western rooms was 18 cubits long inside the walls.

Photo L

Photo L. Herodian door to west wing.

Photo M

Photo M. North-west corner of west wing.

At Qumran itself, the daily sacred meal of priests and monastics had been taken in the long north-south rooms (Locs 101, 102 ) that may be understood as the vestry attached to the original substitute sanctuary, a courtyard (Loc 111). See Figure 1 from Section 6 below:

Figure 1

Figure 1. The Qumran buildings

After the 12 loaves of the Presence, freshly baked every day, had been set out before Heaven in the open air sanctuary, they were brought at noon into the vestry, where they formed part of the sacred noon meal of the holy men. The vestry room where physical needs were met was thought of as the "body", giving rise to the imagery of the Heavenly Man (Figure 9), a 12 cubit high ideal figure. The rows at which the holy men sat were called after the parts of his body.

The monastics during their temporary expulsions to Ain Feshkha still partook of meals with the customary solemnity for a sacred occasion. Accustomed to a north-south room as an appropriate extension of the north-south sanctuary, they made the north room in the west wing their meal room, dining there at noon and 6 pm each day. The same arrangement of rows, with reflections of the imagery of the Heavenly Man, was retained. The room now had 18 rows a cubit apart, with different internal arrangements.

Figure 9

Figure 9. The room for the sacred meal.

Figure 10a

Figure 10a. The Tower.

In the Qumran vestry, it had become necessary after the earthquake of 31 BC to erect a platform over the north part of the vestry room, a wooden roof under the open sky, on which the customary prayers could still be offered by the priests to Heaven. It was reached from a set of steps outside on its north. They were found by the archeologists and photographed, then removed, leaving only their support.

The meal room at Ain Feshkha contained a structure that corresponded to the Qumran prayer platform, but because of further changes it was not a roof. It was a wooden projection from the north wall, extending south only 10 cubits into the 18 cubit room, and only 4 cubits above the floor. It was reached from the front, up 3 steps. The meal table was placed on this projecting platform, not on the ground floor as at Qumran. The table was again 2 cubits wide, with superiors sitting along its north side, and men at the grade of their servants on the south side, with an arm's length or 2 cubits between them as was required. The row of the servants also formed a top step.

The pattern of the holy table on a raised platfom reached from the front by steps was preserved by the Christian church, and is illustrated in St Peter's basilica in Rome.

Because the projection corresponded in some functions to the Qumran prayer platform, it continued to be called "the roof" (dōma). In the episode in Joppa in Acts 10:9-16 Peter was said to go up to the "roof", and from above him an apparently miraculous event took place, a vision of Jesus letting down a cloth. The pesharist was able to draw on the use of the term to disguise the fact that there was a floor above, where Jesus stood to let down the cloth.

The Ain Feshkha building had originally been of one storey, but, as the archeologists found, a later storey was added above the west wing. A gangway forming a balcony ran along its inner, eastern side, giving access. The balcony was reached from steps in the south wing, leading up to the roof of the south wing then to the western balcony. ( Vaux, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls, p.62)

From detail of the pesher concerning events at this building and its counterparts in Joppa and in Troas, it is seen that the upper storey of the north room in the west wing had come into use, by the time of Jesus, to illustrate more clearly the superiority of the highest priests to the laity. It gave the concept of the Christian cathedral, a high-roofed building containing a chair (kathedra) or throne for the Pope.

The total height of the two storeys may be seen to have been 16 cubits, (8 yards, 24 feet), including a 1 cubit roof frame above and a 1 cubit floor frame below. Within these, the added upper storey gave a height of 5 cubits (2 1/2 yards, 7 1/2 feet) above the dividing floor, enough for a man to stand, with space above.

In the Qumran vestry the prayer platform had begun at cubit 2 from the north wall, leaving a space of 2 cubits, chiefly for the smoke from a large fire to escape. As shown in the story of Peter's denials at the trial of Jesus by the priests, the fire, a round furnace 2 cubits in diameter, was lit at 4 am, and would have been used for the daily cooking of the loaves of the Presence. On the west side a walkway from the steps led across the 2 cubits to the platform, for the priests to offer their prayers at the fixed times.

Open to the sky, this platform was thought of as "heaven". The chief priest, the Zadokite, the Messiah of Aaron, stood at the center of row 3 to offer his prayers. If the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, was with him, he stood at the west center of the row with the priest at east center. It was to this platform, called "heaven" that Jesus would ascend - up the steps - when he returned to the Qumran monastery after his four days outside.

The upper storey at Ain Feshkha and its counterparts came to be used as a higher "heaven". A chair, called a throne, was placed between rows 2 and 3, on which the Zadokite could sit to issue decrees ex cathedra. As Acts 7:49 says, "heaven is my throne". If necessary the throne could be 2 cubits wide, to seat both the Messiah of Aaron, who could be called "God" and the Messiah of Israel. One of the titles of the latter was "the Lamb", making it "the throne of God and the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1).

Although there were only two storeys, the upper floor was called the "third storey", in recognition of the two levels below, the projecting platform and the step and floor below it. The term "third storey" is used in Acts 20:9 for this upper floor in a counterpart of the Ain Feshkha building at Troas in Asia Minor.

Directly above the table, between cubits 7 and 9 from the north, the floor of the upper storey was cut out so as to leave an opening called a "window" in Acts 20:9. It was normally covered by a hatch, but at noon was opened, and left open for 3 hours. At noon the cloth that was to be used as a tablecloth for the holy table was let down to the servants below. In the episode at Joppa, Jesus from above, at noon, let down the cloth to Peter. The "vision" continued until 3 pm.

The custom of making an opening for 3 hours from noon was derived from the arrangements of the Qumran dōma, an actual roof. In the Qumran vestry the prayer platform came down to row 7 and was fixed, while the tables for the noon and evening meals occupied rows 7 to 12. The noon meal, at the table between rows 7 and 9, was eaten under the open sky because the sacred loaves had been offered to Heaven under the open sky in the sanctuary. For the rest of the day and night, it was the custom to extend the platform into an actual covering over the whole of the north vestry down to its row 12 just before the dais step. A light wooden frame, removable, was used, 6 x 6 cubits, its first cubit placed over the fixed row 7. The cover was left over all the time except for 3 hours from noon to 3 pm when it was taken off.

Noon was the hour when the priests on the platform were offering the major prayer to heaven. When the cover was removed, men standing on the ground in the open part at row 12 could look up and see the priests praying. As the sun was above in the sky, the man on the ground could not look too long or he would be blinded. This was what happened in the monastery at Damascus, in the story of Acts 9:1-20. As a monastery, it had only a prayer platform. Saul-Paul was standing on the ground at noon, when the removable cover was taken off, so that the light of the sun suddenly flashed around him. He looked up and saw Jesus praying under the open sky on the platform. It was presented as a vision, but for the pesharist who knew the system it was a natural event, the occasion when Jesus began his friendship with Paul.

It was this system, practiced in the Qumran vestry, that accounts for the "three hours' darkness" on Good Friday. Because of a need arising from the intercalation method to adjust chronometers by three hours, the cover was left over when it was expected that it would be opened, causing darkness beneath it instead of light.

It was in this meal room at Ain Feshkha that the evening meeting on Saturday March 21 AD 33 took place. Its detail is recorded in John 20:19-25 and Matthew 28:16-20, where the verbs "to see" give information about the positions. There were two sessions, the first from 6 pm to 9 pm, a later one lasting until midnight.

Events of Saturday evening, March 21, 33 AD from 6 pm to midnight.

Non-wine session, 6 to 9 pm
The essential political fact governing the period of the crucifixion was an opportunity being taken by Agrippa I to repair his fortunes and gain the restoration of the Herodian monarchy from the Roman power. The monarchy had been abolished at the Roman occupation in 6 AD. Agrippa, like all the Herods, was politically astute, without a personal religious conscience, but prepared to go along with prevailing factions in order to retain power in deeply divided times. The news had come that the emperor Tiberius was failing in both health and power. He would die, his end hastened by his enemies, in March of AD 37. While he flourished, there was no chance of Agrippa being accepted back into the Roman court, to pursue his ambitions for the monarchy. Tiberius had expelled him for bankruptcy, brought on by lavish entertaining as part of his attempts to buy influence in Rome.

But there was now a prospect of the emperor's successor being Gaius Caligula, a young man who had charmed everyone as the son of the popular military hero Germanicus. Agrippa while a young man being educated in Rome had become friendly with the imperial princes, who included Caligula. Now back in Judea and associated with the ascetic movement through the ministrations of John the Baptist, Agrippa found that he had in his court the two brothers Niceta and Aquila, who had become baptised with the Jewish names James and John. Their history is told in the valuable record of the Clementines. (See "Clementine_Books" in Section 4.)

They had been born illegitimate in 3 AD as a result of an affair between their mother and a slave. Both the mother and her husband were highly placed in Roman society, their marriage having been arranged by Augustus Caesar. On learning of her disgrace, the husband had sent his wife and the twin boys away to the east, and the story was circulated that they had all been lost in a shipwreck. But in fact the mother had been taken in to a convent belonging to the Jewish ascetics, and the boys were brought under the patronage of Helena, who in 17 AD had become the "Sarah" of the mission. They were at first taught by her lover Simon Magus, then on reaching maturity turned away from his anti-Roman policy, to join the court of Agrippa I when he returned to the country in 23 AD. They became Sadducee, which meant co-operation with Rome and spreading their mission doctrine by persuasion rather than force of arms. They now looked for authority to the Annas priests, Sadducees. The youngest Annas, Ananus the Younger holding the position of the Merari, replaced Helena as their teacher. He appears in the gospels as Zacchaeus, the man who "climbed up the sycamore tree" in Luke 19:1-10. According to the Clementines it was Zacchaeus who became the instructor of Niceta and Aquila.

From the pesher it appears that Niceta and Aquila had discovered that they were related through their mother to Caligula and would be accepted back by him. They were willing to help Agrippa regain the monarchy, using family connections. James Niceta, the firstborn of the twins, was of the same grade as Peter, being an uncircumcised Gentile who was permitted to marry, but he preferred the Nazirite state of a married man holding solitary prayer retreats. As a Nazirite he drank no wine, in imitation of his teacher Brother James, the chief Nazirite following the rules of Numbers 6:1-4. James' title "Jacob" was used by his student, according to custom. John Aquila his brother lived at all times in the married state, like Peter. Aquila would appear in the later history with his wife Priscilla, as associates of Paul.

If he was to be pro-Roman, Agrippa would have to turn back to Sadducee views and the Annas priests, who followed their father Ananus the Elder in political co-operation with Rome. When Agrippa was in his Pharisee mode, as he sometimes was, he was nationalistic and hostile to Rome. Jonathan Annas, the current representative of the Annas brothers, now became the chief Sadducee negotiator to further Agrippa's plans. He also had become aware of a new factor, and had a strong reason for exploiting it.

As a result of the "resurrection", Jonathan Annas saw that Jesus would become a hero, one who had escaped death against all odds. He was already revered by Gentiles, whom he treated as equals. The Sadducees considered him to be legitimate, against the Pharisee view that he was a pre-nuptial son of Joseph. As the legitimate David, Jesus inherited the office of his grandfather Heli, appointed by Herod the Great as the "Jacob", patriarch of the west, which included administration of Gentile affairs. He would now gain immense political power, hailed by the numerous Gentile members. Their enthusiasm would bring in the Kingdom, establishing the Herodian form of Judaism in the Roman empire. With Agrippa appointed their king, western Diaspora Jews would throw their financial weight behind the ascendancy.

Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, and Jonathan Annas above all knew that there had been no resurrection, for he himself had tried to arrange for Jesus to commit suicide on the cross and then had been told of his escape. Jonathan had acted out of jealousy of Jesus, who was far more popular than he, and who derided the excessive priestly pomposity of this weakest of the Annas brothers. But Jonathan could cover his own mistake by manipulating the adulation of Jesus as a hero.

The first step would be to make James Niceta a bishop, promoting him to the status of Chief Gentile. That office had been held by John Mark, a permanently celibate Gentile, who had been taught in the Magian monastic system. But the anti-Roman and anti-Agrippa Magians were now to be displaced. James Niceta would receive John Mark's position, and the promotion would be given as soon as possible after the "resurrection", at the meeting at Ain Feshkha on the Saturday evening. It would be the first stage of a consecration that would conclude at Pentecost.

Jesus as the patriarch to Gentiles was the bishop who instructed and promoted both kinds, those in the celibate class and those in the married class. For the Annas priests he was their deputy, acting under their orders. When the priestly Jonathan used the title "God", Jesus was called "the Son of God". It was his duty under Jonathan's orders to carry out the ordination of James Niceta to the episcopate, whatever his personal reservations, and whatever the reservations of James Niceta himself about Jesus.

6:05 pm

As the close detail of the pesher shows (see Part B, the word-for-word pesher), the participants in the ceremony took their places in the north room of the western wing. The fellowship meals were held every evening, and this would be the normal evening meeting for those who for different reasons were staying at Ain Feshkha. Those in the married class held their meeting from 6 to 9 pm, then retired at 9 pm, the village bedtime. Being in the Nazirite state, temporarily separated from their wives, they drank no wine during this session.

The full range of the leadership were not present, as this outpost of the monastery was not an important place. The meeting was held on the dōma, the intermediate platform on which the table stood, for those of the level of villagers. Jonathan Annas presided, since he was the priest to villagers as well as part of the main hierarchy. He took his place a little further back on row 6 as the Father, the Pope. Jesus acting under his authority to perform the promotion sat in front of him, on row 7, at the table itself. Thus there were 2 cubits between him and those on the other side, as indicated by the verbs "to see".

All participants entered the room at 6 pm, and at 6:05 the Herodian door at the south end of the room was shut. This action always took place in a sacred meal room at 5 minutes past the hour after the others had entered, in order to exclude non-initiates. Jesus with the others was already inside and at the table. He opened the service with the blessing "Peace to you", which was a declaration of the Sadducee political policy, peace and co-operation with Rome.

James Niceta the candidate for promotion began at the foot of the steps, which he would ascend as part of the ceremony of his promotion. Opposite Jesus on row 10 at the table sat Brother James and Peter, the two leaders of the village class who would sponsor James Niceta, setting out to the priest the reasons for his promotion. They had both been given the message earlier in the day that they should go to "Galilee", Ain Feshkha., and that they would see Jesus, using the verbs "to see" that meant there would be 2 cubits between them and Jesus at the table.

On either side of Jesus, Matthew Annas, as the Kohath, sat in the position of the levite and Theudas, as the Gershon, in the position of the Prince. Matthew would continue as a supporter of James Niceta and Peter. It would be under his later reign as high priest that they would adopt the name "Christian".

One of the practices of James Niceta was to observe the half hour as beginning the superior part of an hour. This is shown in his part of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 8:1), where he spoke of "silence in heaven at the half-hour". A silent prayer was offered at this time point, following the spoken prayer on the hour. James Niceta as a student of Zacchaeus, the guard Merari, observed the half-hour because it was then that the guard patrolled on the superior east, as shown in the system of guards. James Niceta waited at the foot of the steps, on "earth" at row 13, and while there he was shown the collection plate for gifts that was placed at the "hands" of the Heavenly Man, on the west side (Figure 9). He would be permitted to collect this kind of money, but not the taxes and promotion fees that were paid by Jews. He was also shown the "side", the waterbag carried by missionaries that was attached to a belt at their right side.

Then on the half-hour he ascended the steps to take his place opposite Jesus. Peter and Brother James moved out to be opposite Matthew and Theudas. Jesus, opening the part of the service directed at James Niceta, again gave the blessing "Peace to you." He made it clear that he was acting as representative of Jonathan Annas. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you", using two different verbs for "send", the first meaning that Jesus was a celibate outside the monastery, the second applying to a member of the married class.

Then Jesus "breathed on him". In the imagery of the Heavenly Man, Jesus at the center of row 7 was at the "nose". (Figure 9) He transmitted to James Niceta, opposite him on the "bosom", the first stage of his consecration, the "spirit" possessed only by those who were ordained to the ministry. The form of "holy spirit" without definite articles was used, meaning that he would be only a lay bishop, the servant of an abbot, not a levitical one. He was given authority over uncircumcised Gentiles and others who were graded with them, with power to rebuke and forgive their sins. These latter included Thomas Herod, who was not present for this part of the meeting. James Niceta, as shown in his part of the Book of Revelation, was particularly hostile to homosexuals, calling them "Sodom".

In Matthew's account of the evening , the fact was added that at 7 pm James Niceta paid the tribute that was due to Rome, placing it in a container on the table. The word "worship" (proskyneō) was used as a play on kēnsos, meaning the Roman tribute. The play on words was used by anti-Romans to charge that the peace party were worshipping the emperor by paying it.

Matthew also adds that James Niceta declared his disbelief in the resurrection, the trump card being played by Simon Magus, but it did not affect his promotion. In his part of the Book of Revelation, dealing with events in the early 30's, he does not even mention the crucifixion. At 9 pm when this part of the meeting closed Jesus announced that he himself was still in good standing as the legitimate David, and would continue to do his work as the patriarch of Gentiles. James Niceta was to minister to Agrippa and his relatives, and the Christian triarchy in triangular shape was to be maintained, with baptism authorised by all three. Jonathan or the Annas priest was to remain the Father, Jesus his deputy the Son of God, normally sitting beside him on the west on row 6, and Matthew Annas - who sponsored Matthew's gospel - was to be the levitical bishop, coming to the center of row 7 to give the teaching to the congregation. The Herodian form of the calendar was to be used, one that set the end of the 490 years, the aeon, in AD 34. They were to expect a Restoration for Agrippa beginning in that year.

The celibates' session, 9:30 pm to midnight

As is shown in John's gospel through its account of the Last Supper and in Luke's gospel through its information on the bread and wine, the regular evening meetings of the ascetics were programmed so as to leave a later session for those who drank fermented wine. During the later session the priests and celibates relaxed around the table, after drinking their sacred wine at 9:05 pm. At 9:30 the priest and the lay leader both came forward to sit side by side close to the table. There followed a time of reflection and questioning, illustrated in the content of John's chapters 14 to 17, finishing at midnight.

Simon Magus with his broken legs had been carried down to Ain Feshkha for his protection, reaching it at 6 pm, but he was not welcomed at the 6 pm meeting , especially by James Niceta, who regarded him as Beast 666, the evil power of anti-Roman militarism. He was cared for in a private room.

He did, however, attend the later meeting after the villagers had left. He was not well enough to be carried up to the upper floor, a position to which in any case he was not entitled while his claim to the papacy was disputed. He did, however, take his place with Jesus in row 7 behind the table, where the priest and his deputy were normally sitting at 9:30 pm.

At this meeting the two celibates, Thomas and John Mark, who were disapproved by the villagers, were sitting on the opposite side of the table. John Mark was a product of the Magian monastic system, although as a Gentile he was more favorable to Rome. He was, however, a permanent celibate, and as the "eunuch" to Jesus was at least an associate of homosexuals such as Thomas. He was treated as a disciple, a student, of Simon Magus, as the arrangements made on Good Friday evening had indicated. He now called Simon "lord", the title that Jesus himself had given to Simon while he was in the cave.

It was on this occasion that Jesus began his separation from Simon Magus and his commitment to Sadducee views under Jonathan Annas. The reasons he gave were the financial exploitation practiced by Simon, who retained the original system of initiation fees and promotion fees set up in the time of Herod the Great. Jonathan Annas was also opposed to Simon on these questions. Simon used the money for his militant party, without scruple about the merits of those who paid for promotion in the system of "peace offerings" or indulgences. At this meeting Jesus pointed to the collection plate for gifts that was now placed on row 13 while Simon was present. It was marked with the X, the archaic form of Taw that was used by monastics as their highest initiation symbol. The X was formed by two nails, standing for the harsh physical self-punishment that was practiced by monastics. Jesus said that he would not allow money gifts to be given for the militant cause. He said, however, that he would permit gifts for the kind of discipline that was practiced by the Therapeuts, whose symbol was a circle, standing for a ring, containing an X. He added that he would permit the use of the paten containing bread for the poor to receive money gifts for them. He then announced firmly that he had become Sadducee in his political attitudes.


When the session ended at midnight Simon Magus was carried back to the room where he was resting. Jesus with Thomas and John Mark took only three hours' sleep, following the practice of vigils. Jesus was showing the strength and resilience for which his discipline had prepared him. At 3 am they rose and set out for the long walk towards the west along a well known path.

At Mird-Hyrcania

The building at Mird-Hyrcania lies on a massive height, marking the point where the Wilderness of Judea drops down towards the Dead Sea.

Photo N

Photo N. Mird-Hyrcania.

Its substantial buildings, occupied by a Herodian monarchist party, were supplied with water by a massive aqueduct whose ruins stll remain.

Photo O

Photo O. The aqueduct on the west of Mird-Hyrcania (on skyline).

When documents from the 8th century were found in an underground chamber there, it was excavated at the same time as the other archeological work that followed the discovery of the Scrolls. It proved to be the site that had been a Christian monastery in the medieval period, then called Marda. A charming story is told in a medieval source about a path leading down from there to Ain Feshkha, travelled by a donkey that was well trained to go down alone, collect vegetables from Ain Feshkha, and bring them back to the monks at Marda.

In the time of Herod the Great the height had been used for a fortress. Herod had taken it over from Queen Salome, queen regnant 76 - 67 BC, for whom it was a treasury, a safe place to store the royal property. When Herod the Great put his son and heir Antipater to death, a few days before the insane monarch's own death, Antipater was buried in the graveyard at the foot of the cliff.

Enough remains of the ruins to show that the building had the same shape as Ain Feshkha, with four wings around a central courtyard.

Photo P

Photo P. Remains of the building on top of Mird-Hyrcania.

The north wing became the church in its Christian period, its mosaic floor possibly remaining from the time when it was a Jewish synagogue.

Photo Q

Photo Q. Mosaic floor of the north wing.

There was apparently no second storey over its west wing, but underground the slope of the mountain on the south side lent itself to cells, which were used by solitaries up to recent years.

Photo R

Photo R. Entrance to cells on the south flank.

Photo S

Photo S. Inside the entrance to a cell.

Their roof and walls were covered in modern times with frescoes in colored paint.

Photo T

Photo T. Modern frescoes on roof and wall of a cell.

The hermitage and abbey.

The buildings were used from the 2nd and 1st centuries BC by the Therapeuts, the ascetic order related to the Essenes. They had branches in many parts of the world, one of them being in the Wilderness of Judea. The full account of their way of life is given by Philo in his essay The Contemplative Life. They normally lived as hermits, each person living in a small hut in a scattering of such huts, without contact with others for a period of 7 weeks. Their time was spent in prayer, fasting and study of sacred books. Every 7 weeks - 49 days but counted as 50 days, a pentecontad - they came together for community, holding an all night "banquet" of bread and water, marked by ecstatic behaviour. In Egypt, where they had their main centre, they were Diaspora Jews following a solar calendar, regarding themselves as exiles from their homeland and from the true temple. They consequently adopted an Exodus imagery, thinking of themselves as an Israel in the wilderness, longing to reach their Promised Land. Their leaders used titles from the Exodus story, their priest an "Aaron", his deputy a "Moses", with a "Joshua" to lead their eventual conquest of the Promised Land.

Not being committed to a permanently celibate monastic life, they were able to admit women who wanted to follow the eremitical style, usually older women, "aged virgins" as they called them, desiring to spend the rest of their lives in solitary contemplation. They too lived in small huts, their group kept a little apart from those of the men. The women were led by a "Miriam", the sister of Moses in the Exodus story.

Their lively pentecontad meetings, contrasting with their normally subdued habits, were marked by choral singing and a liturgy based on the Exodus story. The men and women divided into two choirs, like those of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15, and danced a crossing of the Red Sea, with the downfall of Pharaoh's chariots. Their celebrations went on all night, with such religious enthusiasm that they were said to be "drunk with the drunkenness in which there is no shame". At dawn they went back to their huts, socially refreshed, to renew their life of study, fasting and prayer.

Although they normally remained at a lower level of learning than that of the monasteries, some of them chose to advance to higher stages of education, residing in a school. Their schools, called abbeys, were developed in the buildings used for the pentecontad meetings. Retaining the freedom to leave and marry if they chose, the abbeys did not practice monastic forms of discipline but were more open.

The lofty building at Mird-Hyrcania had developed as an abbey for this class, with the approval of the Herod kings who owned it. The abbot, called Abba, was the priest of the class of village priests, corresponding to the Sariel of the three leading priests, who was of grade 2. The Annas priests adopted this role. As abbots, they went up a grade, to be equal to the Gabriel, of grade 1. The imagery of "spirit" was particularly favored by them because of the ecstatic experiences at their meetings. The abbot was said to have the highest manifestation of the Holy Spirit, in the form with both articles, to pneuma to hagion.

The setting of Mird-Hyrcania and the nearby wady were ideal for the abbey and retreat huts of the hermits, the Judean branch of the Therapeuts. The wady, at the point that may be called Mird Minor, was about a kilometer away to the north, an hour's walk, as the hour included the climb up the mountainside to the top. Here for 7 weeks, a cluster of huts, sufficiently apart, on the north side of the wady, was occupied by male hermits. On the south side the huts for females stood.

The Exodus imagery was carried through in every aspect of the organisation. The abbey on the mountaintop, being the place where their "Aaron" and "Moses" received revelations about the Law, was called "Mount Sinai". After their experiences at Mt Sinai the Israelites had moved on into the wilderness, where they stayed for 40 years under Moses before entering the Promised Land under Joshua. The hermits living at the wady were at the beginning of their "wilderness". The name "hermit" came from the Greek for "wilderness", erēmos.

At the point in the wady called Mird Minor, two sloping tunnels were found by the archeologists, dug at some length into the stony sides of the wady, one on the north bank and one on the south.

Photo U

Photo U. A tunnel in the wady bank, north of Mird-Hyrcania.

Photo V

Photo V. Inside the tunnel.

Similar tunnels were found at a site near Jericho. They were artificially constructed, and served no practical purpose. But the practice of initiation observed by all ascetics suggests that they were intended for a ceremony understood as a "second birth", emerging from the womb. The ceremony would have included baptism in the waters of the wady. Men and women taking up the eremitical life and going on to the abbeys were leaving behind their previous life and their families, or may never have had families. They were being "born again" into a new family, that of the community.

The name "the wilderness" is used for the male hermits' huts in the Synoptics. John the Baptist is placed there at the time of the equinox council gathering in March 29 AD. The Baptist was the current heir of the Zadokite dynasty, destined to be the supreme high priest, when the Kingdom came. He lived normally in the sanctuary, which after the earthquake of 31 BC had been transferred to Mird. But his duty of preserving his dynastic line meant that he had to leave the sanctuary in order to marry at the age of 36. He had been born in September 8 BC, six months before Jesus, and would be 36 in September AD 29. (Subtract 1 from the BC period, as no zero year was allowed.) The previous March he began his preparation for entering the "unclean" state of marriage by descending to the level of hermits, who were permitted to marry. When council meetings were held at Mird he resided with the hermits at Mird Minor, north of the wady, and for the rest of the time while he was in the married state he lived at one of the settlements of Therapeuts in Transjordan, about a kilometer to the east of the river, opposite Jericho on its west side. The place is now called El Kharrar. When Qumran type cisterns were found there it was recognized that it had been associated with John the Baptist.

In John's gospel, the place where John the Baptist was found is called "Bethany beyond Jordan". A "Bethany" was a house for the 'ani, the Therapeuts. The settlement at El Kharrar was literally beyond the Jordan river, and its position opposite Jericho made it the right location for an Exodus drama. A new "Joshua" would come from the wilderness, cross the Jordan river miraculously, and cause the walls of Jericho to fall down. An attempt at that event, under the leadership of Theudas, is described by Josephus for the year AD 44, but the plan was foiled by the Romans and Theudas was executed Josephus, Ant. 20, 97-98.


The hermits were not, however, entirely alone in their retreats. Two other kinds of solarist ascetics shared the territory with them. One consisted of married men who had left their families for short periods in order to engage in prayer and meditation, a practice referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:5. These were the Nazirites, a higher order of married men, whose main organisational centre was in Nazareth in Galilee. The Essene Nazirites practiced a higher discipline, with longer periods of retreat, than the more orthodox kind, whose Nazirite vow lasted 30 days. For these men, the shortest possible period was 40 days, next 50 days, then 60, 70, 80 and 90 up to 100. The Hebrew letters used for numbers were applied, letters that also indicated the grades of education for the ministry. Thus a 40 day man was a Mem (40), a grade 9 baptisand, and so on:

40 day manMem (40)grade 9 baptisand
50 day manNun (50)grade 8 novice
60 day manSamekh (60)grade 7 initiate
70 day manAyin (70)grade 6 deacon
80 day manPe (80)grade 5 presbyter
90 day manSadhe (90)grade 4 bishop
100 day manQof (100)grade 3 archbishop

As Nazirites who grew their hair long during their retreats and shaved when they returned to the married life, they were likened to "sheep" who were "shorn". A Qof was called "Sheep 100", following the rule for nouns with numbers, a Sadhe "Sheep 90".

Their retreats were spent in the caves that lined the rocky heights all along the route from Mar Saba to Mird Minor. The Nazirites of the pre-initiate grades, 40 and 50 days, spent their retreat periods in Jerusalem, being considered not hardy enough to endure the dry barren conditions of the Wilderness of Judea. At Mar Saba itself was to be found a 60, of the initiate grade, and a 70, a deacon. This retreat spot was for the lowest of the advanced members, and was used as a school for boys being trained for the ascetic way of life. It was called Nazara, after the main centre in Galilee, in the form of the word ending in "a". This was the Nazara in which Jesus had been brought up, according to Luke 4:16. The next spot, an hour further away, was close to the position that was also called "Emmaus". This was for the 80 day men of grade 5, presbyters. It was called "Nazareth" in a variation of the name. The principle was being employed, as in the case of "Galilee", that a minister brought his village with him wherever he went.

The Sadhe 90 bishop spent his retreats at the next spot further along, at the beginning of the aqueduct which supplied water to Mird-Hyrcania. The Qof 100, the chief Nazirite, belonged at the Mird fortress itself. He was, in fact, the royal Herod, Agrippa I in the gospel period., He had authority over all Nazirites, as is shown in Josephus, who records that Agrippa ordered them to be "shorn" (Josephus, Ant. 19, 294). Agrippa was the "sheep 100" who was "lost" then reunited with the ascetics when he joined their party, according to the story in Luke 15:3-7. At a later stage, when there was an assassination plot against him, he was the "lamb led to the slaughter", referred to in a coded way by conspirators in Acts 8:32.

Nazirites being married men remained as individuals, not part of the structured community of abbeys and monasteries. They did not have to observe the tightly controlled timing of every aspect of communal life. One consequence of this was that they did not keep the strict rule for attendance at the latrine that members of both monasteries and abbeys observed.

Pilgrims and their "camps".

Yet another kind of ascetic passed through the territory of the hermits, the "wilderness". These were pilgrims on their way to Qumran, bringing the needed food tithes to the exiled priests. They were village Essenes, who had chosen to support the exiled Zadokites and Davids, rejecting the Hasmoneans who had taken over the Jerusalem temple. They were normally married men, not following a Nazirite vow, but staying away from their homes for about a month, spending 30 days of it at Qumran.

For those coming from Jerusalem, their route brought them down the wady Kidron, which flowed between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, to Mar Saba, reaching it after 12 hours at 3 pm, as they had left Jerusalem at the workers' dawn at 3 am. During the next 3 hours they walked across the low hills to Mird-Hyrcania, where they were given an evening meal at 6 pm, and at the same time given some instruction at this "Mount Sinai". Abbey meals normally lasted 2 hours. Leaving the meeting at 8 pm, they walked for an hour north to the wady, where their camp was placed in the vicinity of the retreat huts. They slept in tents in their camps from 9 pm to 3 am, then rising at that early hour they walked 8 hours due east to Ain Feshkha, reaching it at 11 am. They there spent an hour in purifications and spiritual preparation, and from noon to 3 pm covered the last leg of their trip up to the Qumran plateau. Their 30 days were spent in the outer hall, divided from the monastery by the Israelite wall, closed off by an iron door in the wall that was opened only from the inside. They came in parties of 120 at a time, sitting along the hall in 4 rows of 30 each. When the top row paid their dues to the levite, he received 30 pieces of silver. At night they slept in their tents on the southern esplanade, adding to its definition as an "unclean place', suitable for men who were usually sexually active.

These village groups were called "camps" in the Qumran literature, especially the Damascus Document, which sets out the rules for the village communities in the Diaspora.

Sunday March 22, from noon to 2 pm
At Mird-Hyrcania

After leaving Ain Feshkha at 3 am on the Sunday, Jesus with John Mark and Thomas walked the 8 hours to Mird Minor, arriving at 11 am, then during the extra hour climbed up to the abbey on top of the mountain. They were accompanied by Jonathan Annas and Theudas, who had slept from 9 pm to 3am, leaving Ain Feshkha at the same time. Jonathan Annas now acted at Mird in his capacity of abbot. The noon meal was held in the single storey northern meal room in the west wing, running north-south like all meal chambers.

The proceedings at the meal, lasting until 2 pm, are given in John 20:26-29. Five men sat in the leading places. A triangle in rows 6 and 7 was formed by Jonathan Annas as the Father, the abbot; Theudas as the Son - his name Barabbas meaning "son of the Abba"- and Jesus as the third, a bishop only, in the center of row 7.On the opposite side of the table sat the same celibate pair, Thomas and John Mark. Both were now servants of Jesus, who was the only one in the center at the table. John Mark was usually counted as the student, the disciple of Jesus, especially when the Magus was not present.

At 12:05 after the door had been shut to exclude non-members Jesus tood up in his place and gave the Sadducee blessing, " Peace to you". The question of Thomas' status as bishop and his right to receive money gifts was raised. Jesus told him that he could be a bishop under the non-monastic rule of the Therapeuts, wearing a ring. On row 10 west he could look down through 2 cubits to row 13 west, where Jesus' own collection plate for gifts now stood. Thomas could use this plate in the party of Jesus. He could also receive gifts for the poor in the bread paten placed on the east side. The condition was that he remained Sadducee, not nationalist Pharisee.

Thomas as Sadducee would become devoted to Jonathan Annas, with whom he would later be associated at a political crisis. It was to Jonathan, sitting behind Jesus, that Thomas now said, "My lord and my God."

Theudas, sitting beside Jonathan, could rise to a form of ministry called a Blessed One, makarios, which was endorsed by Jesus on this occasion. They were below Saints, who were permanent celibates. This kind could leave to marry if they chose. The Beatitudes set out the rules for the different kinds of Blessed Ones. In its practices of canonisation, the Roman church continued to make a distinction between Blessed Ones and Saints.

The political purpose of the meeting arose from the manoeuvres of Jonathan Annas to have Agrippa appointed king by Rome. Agrippa's chief need was money, to pay off his debts in Rome. In the homeland while Agrippa was away the continuing rich income from the Herodian mission had come to both Herods, Antipas the tetrarch of Galilee, and Thomas. Thomas was currently accepted as the regent for the crown prince while Agrippa's own son was still an infant. Antipas was a Sadducee, having enjoyed the favour of the emperor Tiberius, after whom he had named the city of Tiberias. Once Agrippa became Sadducee, Antipas, who had previously helped him financially, had become willing to give money to further Agrippa's plans. But Thomas Herod had always veered between the Pharisee and Sadducee options. His maternal grandfather had been the Pharisee high priest Simon Boethus, and as a head of proselytes he insisted that they should adopt a fully Jewish identity by being circumcised. However Jonathan Annas, accepting him into the abbey system, had persuaded him to join in the plan to help Agrippa. Thomas had agreed, so all the Herodian income was now handed over to Agrippa. Thomas changed to espouse western Sadducee political views, and would eventually be found in the royal household in Rome, under the name Rufus, meaning red, from his title Esau, also meaning "red". Paul wrote to him under this name in Romans 16:13.

The last two verses of John 20 were originally written as a conclusion to the whole gospel. "Jesus did many other signs before the disciples which are not written in this book. These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." Its pesher concerns the re-assignation of the Greek form of the gospel to James Niceta, which took place in 43 AD, as the pesher of Revelation 10 shows.

4 pm, at the "Emmaus" corner near Mar Saba

At 2 pm Jesus, Thomas, Theudas and John Mark left the Mird meal chamber, and walked one hour to the beginning of the aqueduct on the western side, which gave the easiest descent down the western side of the mountain, reaching it at 3 pm. Their destination, which they would reach in time for the evening meal, was the slope down the cliffiside where the spectacular Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Saba now stands.

Photo W

Photo W. The Mar Saba monastery. From Picturesque Palestine, 1880.

Before reaching the cliff, they arrived just before 4 pm at the corner where the wady Kidron turned east after running north-south for some distance.

Photo X

Photo X. Corner where the wady Kidron turns from north-south to east.

On a hillock at the corner a small stone building now stands:

Photo Y

Photo Y. Hillock at the corner.

At this corner the episode at "Emmaus" in Luke 24:13-24 took place.

The corner where the wady turns is an obvious one to be a marker, a meeting-place. Luke's account says that it was 60 stadia from Jerusalem, using the singular form of the name. As is shown in Luke 13:34, which uses the expression "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" with both words in the singular form, the name applied to two different places at the capital, according to the pesher rule for repetitions. Both were centers for the ascetic community, at the city itself. One was the Essene Gate, to which the Essenes had been sent at the time of their exclusion from the temple centuries before. The other was on the Mount of Olives, a kilometer east of the city across the Kidron valley. It held a hermitage and a tower, in the positions where the church of Gethsemane and the church of Mary Magdalene now stand. At the foot of the Mount of Olives was the original stable for the royal mule used in the coronation procession described in 1 Kings 1:38 and Zechariah 9:9.

On the west side, from the Essene Gate upwards, there were three corresponding buildings, as will be shown below. In each case the building at the lowest point was called "Jerusalem", for names were placed at the point where a position began. On the Mount of Olives the "Jerusalem" name belonged at the lowest point. As a stable, it was the original "Manger".

It was to this latter "Jerusalem" that the measurement of 60 stadia referred. At the walking rate of 5 stadia per hour, it took 12 hours to traverse the distance from the corner to its counterpart, between 4 pm and 4 am, or the reverse.

The two men who are named as being joined by Jesus at this time were Cleopas and "a 2", who was Theudas, called "man 2" in other passages because his position beside the abbot entitled him to grade 2. Theudas had come with Jesus from Mird-Hyrcania, and followed the rule for the use of "Emmaus". Cleopas was Brother James. The information on the family of Jesus given by Hegesippus ( quoted by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History 2, 23) shows that Cleopas was a personal name in the family of Jesus. All its members had ordinary names used in public, as well as their titles "Jacob", "Joseph" and others from the Abraham imagery. A surname appears to have been "Sabbas". Three of the sons, including Jesus, were called Barsabbas, "'son of Sabbas" in different sources. The Mary of Cleopas named at the cross in John's gospel was the young woman betrothed to James.

On Good Friday James, present at Qumran for a council, had acted in the place of the David king once Jesus was put on the cross. In that role he had opened the doors of the caves at 3:30 pm, but the close timing supplied in Matthew's account shows that he did not have time to make use of the western cave himself. At 4.05 pm, he closed the doors in his role of the David prince, as one who was additional to those who had used the cave. The close timing and the actions described show again that he did not enter the cave himself.

James was accompanied by Antipas, a married man of the same grade, who had come with him from Ain Feshkha earlier in the day. Neither was bound by the monastic rules. During the 10 minutes from 3:55 to 4:05 pm James followed the usual practice of a leader of married men to a representative of Gentiles, giving two homilies to Antipas, each 5 minutes long. James was wearing the black vestment of a Nazirite, so was said to be "sad".

At 4.05 Jesus joined James , wearing the hooded cloak that was worn by celibates outside the monastery. James as a pilgrim carried an oil lamp, still shuttered as it would not be lit until it was actually dark. Since a lamp for reading corresponded to the "eyes" in the body imagery, it could be said that "his eyes were closed". But it was not the case that James did not recognize Jesus, with whom he had previously shared a meal at Ain Feshkha. James did not recognize him in the pesher sense, not yet admitting with Sadducees that Jesus was legitimate. If Jesus was illegitimate as Pharisees maintained, being a pre-nuptial son of Joseph, James himself was the David.

The men walked at first along the east side of the wady, then they crossed to the west side. There was an easy spot for crossing the narrow wady, which was often almost dry. Jesus and James debated the question of their relative status, which involved the question of their political atitudes. In the course of the discussion James affirmed that he had changed his views to Sadducee, had become pro-Roman, and this meant that he accepted that Jesus was legitimate and he himself was only the crown prince.

At 5 pm the six men arrived at the first level of the steep cliff of Mar Saba.

The cliffside at Mar Saba with its successive shelves lent itself readily to imitation of the three level arrangements in a "tower". On the first shelf

Photo AA

Photo AA. The lower part of the Mar Saba slope. Sign "No women" inside the door.

stood the synagogue that was used by Nazirites and pilgrims. Setting out from its Jerusalem counterpart at 3 am on their day of pilgrimage, the pilgrims walked down the wady for 12 hours then up to the lowest shelf, where they were given a drink of water at 3 pm and sent on their way to Mird-Hyrcania for the evening meal. But on the way back from Qumran, they spent part of the night at Mar Saba. After arriving at 5 pm at the synagogue level, they climbed up for another hour to the intermediate shelf,

Photo Z

Photo Z. The upper part of the Mar Saba slope.

where at 6 pm they entered an equivalent of the meal-room for married men and Nazirites. There they spent the three hours from 6 to 9 pm without drinking wine. It was during this meal that James' "eyes were opened". Jesus persuaded him to adopt the Sadducee view that he was legitimate, and to accept a compromise allowing him to continue as a teacher of proselytes, one of the functions of the David that Jesus was willing to give up.

At 9 pm Nazirites retired. Antipas, Theudas and James, intending to reach Jerusalem the next day, set out along the wady, carrying lamps.

Higher up still on the Mar Saba cliff stood a tower, about where the present tower on the north-west corner of the enclosure stands.

Photo BB

Photo BB. Mar Saba from the east bank opposite, Kidron valley between obscured.

It was the equivalent of the third floor, where only priests and full celibates could go. When the Nazirite part of the meal ended, celibates went up there for the hour for drinking fermented wine. When Jesus "became invisible" in Luke 24:31 he, with Thomas and John Mark, separated from the others when they left for Jerusalem, and went up to the tower. At the end of the hour they chose not to continue the vigil, but came down to the middle shelf by 11 pm and the lowest shelf by midnight. They then set out for their 12 hour walk to Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem

The fact that Jesus, the Christ, had been seen in Jerusalem a few days after his crucifixion became a well known fact. It reached the ears of Josephus, who wrote of him in Ant. 18, 63-64, the famous Testimonium Flavianum, "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if 'a man' one should say. For he was one who worked paradoxical deeds, and was a teacher of such men who accept truths gladly. He won over many Jews and and many of the Greeks. This one was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them living (zōn), for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."

The words do not imply a resurrection, simply that he appeared "living". Josephus himself knew of the possibility of surviving crucifixion, as he showed in his Life, 420-421. His point was that there had been a failed crucifixion of a charismatic religious leader, with the result that the confidence of his followers was restored. There is no textual reason for disputing the passage, although of course it has been subjected to intense scrutiny by those who read into it a claim to resurrection.

Photo CC

Photo CC. South Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

In Luke 24 the full detail is given to those who understood the places and their function in Jerusalem. Jesus came only to buildings used by the ascetics, joining in their regular meetings at the usual times to show that he was still alive, and to say farewell to his friends before returning to the celibate life at Qumran, to which he was due to return after his marriage.

In the centuries BC when the Zadoks and the Davids had tried to reclaim their ancestral position in the Jerusalem temple and palace, they had been expelled as a result of the political changes of the post-exilic period. In the manner of kings who have lost their throne, they had to go and live in social seclusion, surrounded by loyal supporters who wanted to see the pretenders return to power, waiting and hoping for the opportunity to come. At the first stage of their expulsion, they were sent to live in the slums of the city, on the south flank overlooking the valley of Hinnom. The area to which they were assigned remains a low sloping projection from the heights above, below the Zion Gate. It is called Mount Zion, and ancient remains there are associated with King David. The valley of Hinnom, the lowest part of the city, functioned as a latrine and a rubbish tip. The fires that continually burned there to destroy the rubbish gave the associations of the Greek Hades. to the name Hinnom, or Gehenna. The gate through which the exiles went outside to the Hinnom valley was called the Essene Gate.

Photo FF

Photo FF. Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) from the Essene Gate.

When they became politically active again in the tumultuous Maccabean period, hoping to take advantage of the war to regain power in the temple, they were firmly expelled even further, to Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. Here they continued to hope for a Restoration, while settling down to a monastic life, pursuing mathematical and astronomical studies.

Figure 11

Figure 11 The Essene buildings in Jerusalem. (click for larger view)

Figure 12

Figure 12 The Essene Quarter.

Their original buildings above the Essene Gate remained their property, which they used on the occasions when they were less unwelcome in Jerusalem. On the slopes of both the west side and the Mount of Olives they had 6 buildings , at levels corresponding to the three levels in their tower.

At the Essene Gate itself there was necessarily a retaining wall, the original of the one still there. Just inside the wall, where the Protestant cemetery is now, stood their synagogue, where they observed their distinctive solar calendar of feasts. Near it were shallow pools that were used for washing on occasions such as the return from the latrine. They have recently been uncovered and identified.

Photo DD

Photo DD. Remains of the Essene Gate in Jerusalem.

Photo EE

Photo EE. Drain near the Essene Gate, from Herodian period.

The slope lent itself to positions for further retaining walls and buildings, still in use. On the next ledge up stands the present Bishop Gobat school, with a path running outside its wall. This would have been the site for a school at the middle level, corresponding to the Nazara school at Mar Saba, for education of young men serving in the synagogue further down.

It is possible to identify the school from a passage in Josephus. James' party would have been descended from the Exegetes, who had been active in the time of Herod the Great. Josephus speaks of them admiringly as "unrivalled exegetes (exēgētai) of the ancestral laws, men especially dear to the people because they educated the youth, for all those who made an effort to acquire virtue used to spend time with them day after day." They fell out with Herod the Great in his final, ravaged days (Josephus, Ant. 17, 149). The term "exegete" is used of James in Luke 24:35 as he broke the bread. This identification would mean that the Exegetes were the original form of the Jewish Christians, the party subsequently led by James.

In the pesher the school is called the patris, as an institution founded by the first Pope, Hillel, to include the education of proselytes. It would have been defined as one hour up from the synagogue, which was the first point reached after the 12 hours. A further hour up, at the top of the slope, stood the equivalent of the tower. There now stands there the Cenacle building, as the upper storey of the revered tomb of David.

On the east side, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, 5 stadia across the Kidron, three buildings corresponded to these. On the lowest part of the slope stood the stables, or the Manger, where transport horses were kept and the unclean activities of "Beasts" took place. It was for laymen of the level of Therapeuts.

An hour further up at the site of the Gethsemane church

Photo GG

Photo GG. The Gethsemane church on the Mount of Olives.

Photo HH

Photo HH. Roman remains near the Gethsemane church.

stood a house that was used as a hermitage. It could at times be used as an abbey, corresponding to the school on the opposite side.

On the heights of the Mount of Olives, where the Mary Magdalene church stands now,

Photo JJ

Photo JJ. The church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives.

stood their tower. It would have been the place to which king David ascended when he had been betrayed, weeping over his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15:30). Here Jesus, as a later David, wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). The tower stood one hour up from the hermitage and two hours up from the Manger.

12 noon

At 12 noon on the Monday, after their 12 hour walk from the Mar Saba synagogue, following the west side of the wady, Jesus with Thomas and John Mark arrived at the synagogue at the Essene Gate, just inside the wall. There they met with Theudas, who with his companions had gone across to the "Emmaus" corner for 10 pm, then walked 12 hours on the east side of the wady, arriving at the stables on the Mount of Olives at 10 am. They then crossed to the Essene Gate , where they washed in the pools and remained until noon. Peter was also present at the Essene Gate synagogue, and joined Jesus.

The Essene Gate and its associated area would have been the familiar territory of Peter in his role as Simon of Jerusalem, referred to by Josephus (Josephus, Ant. 19, 332-334). He was the leader of a party of Sadducee village Essenes that was active in the Diaspora, holding liberal views about Gentiles. Peter's kind of Sadducees differed in some respects from Brother James, even after he became Sadducee. James' followers would be called Jewish Christians, while those with Peter and James Niceta would be called Christians.

The Herodian meal was held at 1 pm at the school further up. The actual food consisted of cooked fish, preceded by common loaves treated as holy, as a form of communion. There was debate and movement between Jesus and James on the question of their relative status.

Between 2 and 3 pm scripture was studied, and between 3 and 4 pm the leaders walked across to the stables at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus gave his final farewell before returning to Qumran and the monastic life.


3 pm Ain Feshkha

Jesus and his companions first made the 12 hour journey to the Emmaus corner, reaching it at 4 am, then for three hours in an easterly direction to Mird Minor, reaching it at 7 am, then another 8 hours due east to Ain Feshkha, where they arrived on Tuesday at 3 pm.

Jesus here bade farewell to James, giving him his "hands", his collection plate for gifts, from which James was to pay for the upkeep of Mary Magdalene, "Great Joy". She was living in seclusion on the Mount of Olives during her pregnancy.

6 pm. Qumran

Jesus went with John Mark up to Qumran, arriving there at 6 pm in time for the evening prayers He was "carried up to heaven" , assisted up the steps north of the vestry to reach the prayer platform. There he lay on a couch beside Simon Magus in "heaven", the position of the Zadokite on the prayer platform.

The story is resumed from midnight in Acts 1:1-3. The opening verse identifies Luke as the writer, dedicating the book , as he had done for his gospel, to Theophilus Annas, the next Annas brother after Jonathan. Theophilus, whose attitudes were pro-Roman, would be appointed high priest in September 37 AD when Agrippa received the monarchy.


At midnight beginning Wednesday March 25, according to the Julian calendar, prayers were offered on the Qumran prayer platform. Jesus, as Simon's deputy, lay on the west center beside him. Further forward in the position of his servant stood John Mark. He was now made a lay bishop by Jesus as a reward for his services.

Simon was also returning to monastic life, at the end of day 20 of the 40 day March fasting period (See "Chronology"). Jesus was with him according to the dynastic rule, but still held Sadducee political opinions.

Post-position 31st.
Acts 1:4-11

On Tuesday April 7 the post-position occurred, that is, the 31st reached by a different method of intercalation, going forward 17 and one half days and dropping back to the equinox. It was the method used by the Hemerobaptists - Day-Baptists - every 28 years, so that their dates would always be in the Day position. Being another 31st, a council was again held at Qumran, attended by the main leaders and by pilgrims led by Peter.

It was on this occcasion that Simon Magus was again installed as Pope, with the title of John II. As the Clementines show, Simon Magus, after an interval, had become the successor of the Baptist, who was John I. The Baptist was put to death in September 31 AD. As the pesher shows, Simon held the papacy from September 32 AD, but only until December , when he took part in the uprising against Pilate. As "Lazarus", the outcast "leper", he was excommunicated for his failure, and although he was rescued by Jesus, the papacy reverted to Jonathan Annas , who had held it for the short period after the Baptist's death.

When Simon in the dungeon after his crucifixion saw the opportunity to claim a miracle by resuscitating Jesus, it restored his fortunes. After being released from the dungeon he was taken to greater safety at Ain Feshkha, then brought secretly back to Qumran to join Jesus on the day of his return. By the time of the community council on Tuesday April 7 the news of his "miracle" had spread far enough for him to be re-installed, again with the title John II.

Another factor in his elevation was the political resistance to Agrippa's ambitions. The Twelve had been set up as an anti-Herodian mission council, and when it was known that Agrippa was on his way to achieving his aim of regaining the monarchy, there was sufficient opposition in the council to enable Simon to be set up as a counter force. The royal Herod, in succession to Herod the Great, claimed to be the true Zadokite, and Simon made the same claim, acceptable among Diaspora Essenes.

On the Tuesday when the pilgrims arrived for the council, Jesus in white monastic robes, making him like an "angel", remained inside the grounds. He met with John Mark, instructing him to remain living at Qumran in the areas to which Gentile celibates were confined. In the outside world, he would be replaced as Chief Gentile by James Niceta, whose consecration would be completed on the next Pentecost Sunday.

Jesus met also with Peter, who would act on his behalf in the outside world. Peter's class were also under the papacy of Simon Magus, having to accept him after the decree of the council. Peter had reservations about Agrippa, and at the present stage could respect Simon as long as Jesus remained his deputy. But he had his reservations also about Jesus' claim to a priesthood independent of the Annas priests.

Peter met Jesus on the north outside the vestry, at the steps leading up to the prayer platform. He questioned Jesus about the future that the prophecy had predicted. "Will the David, the Messiah of Israel, be restored to power next year, at the south solar 3970 generation?". Jesus standing on the first step replied, "You are no longer a villager with the limited knowledge from the solar calendar which is used to make prophecies. Jonathan Annas controls the calendar for uneducated villagers. But you, Peter, will be made a levitical bishop, wearing all white robes, not the white over black of a lay bishop. You will work in the Diaspora, based at the school in Jerusalem.You will teach in Agrippa's houses in Antioch and in Caesarea. You will also be appointed to his house in Rome, the far west".

Jesus then went up the steps to the platform for the sunset prayers. He was received by a cardinal, for under Simon's papacy cardinals served the Pope. The cardinal escorted Jesus to his position at the west center of row 3, beside Simon.

At 9 pm Peter was invited up to the prayer platform for the night vigil, from 9 pm to 3 am. His place was in the cubit of the west guest on row 3. A pillar supported the platform at this point, giving Peter the name "Pillar" (Galatians 2:9). The cardinal, following the Exodus imagery, represented the Pillar of Cloud and stood in the corresponding cubit of the east guest. Further forward on the platform stood Theudas, wearing the white linen garment the Therapeuts wore in summer.

An oil lamp was lit by Peter at each of the main points of time, first at 9 pm in his western position, then at midnight at the edge of the platform. As he lit it, Theudas commented that he was holding the T-shaped upright cross of Greek-speaking Herodians, not the X of the Magians. At 3 am Peter finished his vigil and went down the steps, as Theudas also did, while Jesus remained on the platform for further prayers. Theudas said to Peter, "Jesus is a deputy to Simon Magus when he is in the monastery, but when he comes out for the birth of his child in September he will meet with you and with the pro-Roman Sadducees."


The first 20 chapters of John's gospel were completed, under the authorship of Jesus, by AD 37. In that year the emperor Tiberius died, Gaius Caligula was appointed his successor, and Agrippa was given by the new emperor the first stage of his restoration to the Herodian monarchy. The whole direction of the mission then changed. Simon Magus could no longer claim to be an equal Zadokite, and lost his power, retreating to Damascus. In the court of Agrippa I, Peter and Paul held increasing influence as teachers of Gentiles, giving them the modernised doctrine that had been Herodian Judaism and was on its way to becoming Christian. During the next seven years the distance from the Damascus party increased, resulting in a decisive schism in AD 44, with the adoption of the name Christian by Peter and his adherents.

The original form of John's gospel had given little attention to Peter. Although he and Jesus were on the same side in their attitudes to Gentiles, Peter did not go far enough, from Jesus' point of view. Peter continued to maintain that an Annas priest, with sufficient liberality to Gentiles, should be chief priest and Pope to the mission, while Jesus was only his deputy, specialising in Gentile affairs. When Peter said to Jesus, "You are the Christ", he meant it, not as a discovery of Jesus' Messiahship, but as a statement, in Qumran terms, that Jesus was only the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, who should remain subordinate to the priestly Messiah of Aaron. At the trial of Jesus before the high priests Peter's threefold denials came from his objection to Jesus' priestly claims.

It was mainly this kind of activity of Peter that was featured in John's gospel. But when the political situation changed he became much more prominent, and it was necessary to give more information about his relationship to Jesus. It was done through the added chapter John 21, giving an account of something that had actually happened on Monday June 1, AD 33, between Passover and Pentecost in the year of the crucifixion.

The main political factor was Agrippa's determination to continue working for money and influence in Rome. He had discovered that James Niceta, a member of his court, could help him through influence with Caligula, the rising power. He had also learned of Peter's growing association with Marsyas-Titus, a Gentile who was a close personal friend of Agrippa. If Marsyas became an initiate, baptized by Peter, and James Niceta also an associate of Peter helped, the resources and influence of the Diaspora mission that had been founded by Herod the Great could immensely aid Agrippa's project.

Agrippa followed the Julian calendar when with Romans, using the 1st of the Julian month for important occasions. So also did Marsyas-Titus, who was to be baptized on that day. During that day Agrippa himself came to negotiate with Peter and the mission leaders. He visited their outposts on the shores of the Dead Sea, resulting in a new stage in their expansion.

In the scheme of places the building at the site now called Khirbet Mazin lay 6 hours south of Qumran and 3 hours south of Ain Feshkha. Substantial ruins still stand there. Lying further down past the great headland of Ras Feshkha which projects out to the sea, it could be reached on foot along a difficult path taking 3 hours, or by boat from Ain Feshkha taking one hour. The barrier of Ras Feshkha enclosed the area for celibates, and "unclean" married men were confined to Khirbet Mazin beyond it as a place to live and work when they were not attending councils.

A mission using the imagery of Noah's ark had been set up for initiating Gentiles of the order of Dan, men who were interested in the intellectual content of the mission but retained their own ethnic identity. At Khirbet Mazin there were buildings on three sides of a central courtyard, with a great watergate on the line of the seashore. From the watergate a long jetty projected for 200 cubits (100 yards). At its further end a boat was moored, treated as "Noah's Ark". Low grade Gentiles were symbolised as "fish", caught from Noah's Ark. Their baptism was conducted by being made to wade through the stinging salty waters of the Dead Sea, then hauled up in a net into the boat, which would carry them to reach the watergate. They would step out on to dry land, "saved" from a coming catastrophic judgement. Peter, a married man who was himself "unclean", acted on behalf of the "Noah", swimming in the waters with them and helping to haul them up into the boat. For that reason he was called a "fisherman".

The celibate Gentiles of the order of Dan followed the same way of life as Jewish celibates. Their choice of celibacy gave them all the name "(symbolic) eunuch". Their classes are defined in Matthew 19:10-12. Some, such as John Mark, were permanently celibate like monastics, having common property which was held for them by the David. Others were like the dynasts when living outside, owning their own property. They were individuals who chose not to marry, remaining bachelors. The term "dynast" is used of one of them in Acts 8:27.

These men were often wealthy Gentiles who had been attracted to the Jewish mission, but retained their own ethnic identity. Their wealth made them very acceptable to the bankrupt Agrippa. But they too were divided by the political tensions, some instructed in the Samaritan Magian monasteries, some in the more Jewish monasteries derived from Qumran and Jerusalem. Since they had chosen to retain their own racial identities, they were classed as Shem, Ham and Japheth, the names of the three pre-Jewish divisions of world nations according to Genesis 6. At initiation they adopted new Greek or Roman names. Their form of mission was led by a "Noah". The men of Shem were likened to the animals brought into the ark, while the men of Ham and Japheth, of lesser grades, were likened to the fish that were caught from the ark. Their emblem, the fish, became the symbol of Christians in Rome, derived originally not from the initials of Christ's titles as has been supposed, but from the ark imagery.

In the gospel period the head of Shem was Philip, who figures in the Josephus history as Protos. The head of Ham was Titus, who in Josephus appears under his own name Marsyas. (See Josephus, Ant. 18, 155-157.)He was the Ethiopian "eunuch" of Acts 8:26-39 who was in charge of a treasury. Gaza, where he appeared, has the meaning "treasury". The head of Japheth was Luke, who is the Cornelius of a passage in Josephus.

Philip was attached to the Magians, under Simon Magus the enemy of Agrippa. His association with Simon is shown in Acts 8:13. Titus and Luke were members of the court of Agrippa. According to Josephus, Philip-Protos refused to help Agrippa at the time he was raising money to discharge his bankruptcy in order to return to Rome. He had previously lent him money which Agrippa had not repaid, and Protos exacted a repayment from him at this time by giving him much less than his pledge of repayment stated. However, Titus- Marsyas always was a close friend of Agrippa, and Luke-Cornelius was a distinguished associate of his heir, recognized by the emperor Claudius.

At the Herodian meal in Jerusalem where Jesus was present on the Monday after the crucifixion, Titus the "fish" had been welcomed into closer membership at the time of eating the cooked fish. He would "feed" the Herodians with the money that Agrippa needed so much. He was again associated with the cooked fish in the episode of John 21:1-25.

The baptisms were conducted secretly, as Gentile instruction originally had to be, at 3 am in the morning. When they reached land, the missionary workers and their initiates were given breakfast unlike monastics whose first meal of the day was at noon. As members of the ascetic organisation, they included a rite of eating holy bread, which was cooked at a fire lit at 4 am.

During Monday June 1 three meals were taken at the three different buildings along the coast, breakfast at Mazin, the noon midday meal at Ain Feshkha, and the evening meal in the Qumran vestry.

At midnight beginning the day, Jesus arrived with Pope Simon Magus from Qumran. They had become aware of Agrippa's growing power through Peter's influence, and Jesus was concerned to discuss the rising status of Peter and James Niceta. Throughout the day, at the three meals, the relationship of Jesus and Peter was discussed. The pesher device was used to show that it was actually Peter who was in the ascendancy in the outside world. In the afternoon at Ain Feshkha, Agrippa himself tried to recruit Peter to leave the monastic system altogether, but Peter chose Jesus as his mentor in preference.

At Qumran during the evening there was further debate about the relationship between Jonathan Annas' Sadducees, favored by Agrippa, and Simon's Magians, his enemies. A consequence was to relegate John Mark to the position of Chief Gentile celibate within the monastery only, while James Niceta was to be Chief Gentile of the married Nazirite class, to live and work outside.

By midnight the political situation had so improved that the mission council called the Twelve were able to leave for Jerusalem for the observance of the first occurrence of Pentecost on June 3.

First Pentecost

The date for the Pentecost feast was fixed for the 15th of the 3rd solar month. That date was more than a fortnight before the 31st at the solstice, a date that occurred only every quarter and was counted with the 1st of the following month. When the solar calendar was in need of its quartodecimal intercalation, the 31st had dropped back to early in the month, in this case to Tuesday June 2. The early 1st, the next day, Wednesday, then coincided with the 15/III preceding the intercalated 31st. It was observed as a first Pentecost, and the Twelve travelled to Jerusalem to observe it. There would be another observance, when the 15/III to the post-position coincided with the 1st at the June solstice.

For traditional solarists, Tuesday June 2 at 6 am began the start of an intercalation of 17 1/2 days that would bring the 31st to near the solstice, on a Friday evening. The change from a Day 31st beginning Tuesday 6 am to a Night 31st beginning Friday 6 pm was made at the outset, with an extra long day of 36 hours from Tuesday June 2 at 6 am to Wednesday June 3 at 6 pm. This extra long day was called a "sabbath", the word used in the singular, because it was a day of fasting. It was permitted to walk and to sleep, but not to eat. Traditionalists coming from Qumran to Jerusalem on this day took the whole 36 hours to walk the distance, sleeping at Mird-Hyrcania on the way. They began their 1st Pentecost on the Wednesday evening. This was the "sabbath" referred to in Acts 1:12, which appears to say that the Mount of Olives was near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. That seemed to mean only 1000 cubits, in terms of CD 10: 20, which was not accurate. There was, however, a reproduction "Mount of Olives", an area used for the same purposes, at Qumran. The word "near" (engys) had a special meaning whch covered 36 hours in 3 sets of 12 hours. The pesher of the verse gives the fact that it would take 36 hours, on this special day, to travel from Qumran to Jerusalem.

The council of Twelve using the Julian calendar varied the system to some extent, leaving Qumran at midnight, spending the sleeping hours at Mar Saba, and arriving in Jerusalem on Wednesday at noon. They also would observe the 1st Pentecost on Wednesday evening, so by 4 pm they crossed to the Mount of Olives, then went up higher, to the tower on its top, where they began the observance lasting through the night. Women were also present, as on the pentecontad occasions of the Therapeuts. They were accommodated in a part of the tower, which became the site of the Mary Magdalene church. One of the women at the observance was Mary the mother of Jesus, substituting for Mary Magdalene , who was staying at the tower with the other women during her pregnancy. As it was past 5 months for her, she had hidden herself, according to the rule given in Luke 1:24. It was for this reason that Jesus did not accompany the Twelve to Jerusalem, for he was not permitted to see her.

31st near the June solstice
3 pm

For those solarists who preferred the solstices for their intercalations, the intercalated 31st fell on Friday June 19 at 6 pm. Since it was the day before the sabbath, the stricter beginning of the night was at 3 pm. In the house of Antipas in the middle part of the Mount of Olives, which was also used by Therapeuts as a hermitage and abbey, a hall was reserved for the 120 pilgrims who normally set out from here to go to Qumran, corresponding to the Qumran outer hall.

Without Judas Iscariot, the Council, officially called the Twelve, contained only 11 men, and it was necessary to replace him on the day that was used for such promotions, the 31st. James chaired the meeting as bishop in place of Jesus, and Peter addressed his speech to him. Preparing for the election, he gave a formal address, giving the history of Judas Iscariot.

"Judas was appointed by Eleazar Annas in 16 AD when Joseph the father of Jesus had become the David. His loyalty was to Agrippa, whereas the rest of the missionary council looked to Antipas, who had the right to make appointments. Judas, although a layman, was made the Chief Levite, with the right to collect fees from the villagers, and he used the fees to pay Agrippa for his promotion in the militant party, as successor of Judas the Galilean. Having played on his connection with Agrippa to try to buy his own freedom and avoid crucifixion, he was poisoned by his comrades, was refused help when Simon Magus was rescued by Antipas, and thrown out from the caves to be smashed on the rocks below. Hermitages when under militant control can encourage martyrdom, with the drinking from a blood-smeared cup as a sign of willingness to die for Judaism. But there is now another policy, authorised by Jesus, and justified from the Greek translation of the Psalms. A peaceful monastic discipline is to supersede that of a hermitage. The episcopal position of Judas is to be taken by the second brother of Jesus, Joses-Barnabas.

"We are now under the papacy of Simon Magus, so monasticism is the current policy. When Simon Magus was appointed Pope for the first time, in September 32 AD, Barnabas, who was born in 8 AD, turned 24 and became a deacon. Jesus was at the same time permitted to act as a priest to Gentiles, equal to the village priest. On Tuesday April 7 this year Simon was installed again as John II, and on the same day Jesus was elevated to the position of the Christ to pray beside him. Joses-Barnabas, who was made the celibate crown prince for Jesus in September 32 AD, with encouragement from Simon Magus, should again hold the position of the levite to Jesus as priest. He should work with John Mark, the 'eunuch' of Jesus."

Antipas went through the formality of choosing between two candidates. Both of them were brothers of Jesus, at different times holding the position of his crown prince. One was James, the crown prince who acted as the "Joseph" in the Abraham mission imagery. His surname was Barsabbas, like all the brothers. As the head of Nazirites he was called "righteous", dikaios, the grade below "holy". In Latin this was Justus, a title used of all David crown princes, subsequently for the son of Jesus (Colossians 4:11).

The other candidate, who was intended in advance to be chosen, was called Matthias in Acts 1:23. The Clementines state that the Matthias who was elected was Barnabas, and from detail in the gospels and Acts it may be seen that he was the brother called Joses. Barnabas-Joses, who did not marry, became and remained a close associate of John Mark. The two preserved the monastic tradition in its Gentile form.

Day of Pentecost at the solstice.
3 am

At the hermitage on the Mount of Olives At midnight beginning Sunday June 21 AD 33 the Pentecost observance for the solstice began. It was the second observance , on the actual day of the solstice, preceding the post-position.

It began in the hermitage in Antipas' house on the Mount of Olives. As Philo describes the pentecontad observances, they went on all night, ending at dawn with a liturgy that celebrated the beginning of the Exodus, the crossing of the Red Sea, with two choirs dancing and singing, the men led by a "Moses", the women by a "Miriam". The account of the occasion in Acts 2:1-4 begins at 3 am, at the time of the choral dance.

In the east-west hall in the hermitage - its shape known from the outer hall at Qumran- sat four rows of people of the village class under the leadership of the married man Antipas, who sat in the first seat in the top row. The 120 sat in 4 rows of 30 each. The two rows on the northern side were of married men, the next two rows of women. The leaders sat at the western end, as shown by the position of the podium in the Qumran outer hall, still to be seen there.

In front of the leadership stood the two who were to lead the liturgical choral dance. Facing the two rows of men on the north side was Theudas, the Chief Therapeut, as the "Moses". South of him stood Thomas, present because he and Antipas were now throwing their money and influence into Agrippa's project. Thomas as a homosexual could represent women, as shown by the fact that in the resurrection narrative he was found at the queen's house. A woman could not sit in the leadership, but Thomas represented her. The woman who acted the part of "Miriam" (Mary the mother of Jesus) sat in the first row of women.

By this stage of the history of the mission, which had flourished in the Diaspora, there was a problem about which language to speak, whether Hebrew, the language of the songs in Exodus 15, or Greek, into which they had been translated in the Septuagint. Many Diaspora Jews could not speak or understand Hebrew. Antipas, who had a house in Rome, was trilingual, and preferred Greek. Thomas spoke only Hebrew, as he had shown at the crucifixion when he had missed the point of the Greek behind the cry of Jesus on the cross. There was conflict now between the two languages to be used by the choirs. Theudas overruled Thomas, allowing them all to sing in Greek, as educated women could do.

Thomas had previously acted as the Herod crown prince, in the east, while Antipas, the third Herod, was only a presbyter in the west. The order now was transmitted from Agrippa to make a radical change, one that would bring the western provinces of the mission up to be equal in status to the east. Agrippa made Antipas an equal to the crown prince, a lay bishop, so he was "filled with a holy spirit" in the form of the term used without articles.

Now with greater authority, Antipas permitted Gentiles, not only to sing in Greek, but to conduct all worship services in their own native languages. Jonathan Annas gave permission for the change to pass into law on this occasion. It was the first step in the independent organisation of Gentiles, separating from traditional Judaism, that would subsequently adopt the name Christian.

4 am
At the Manger on the Mount of Olives

The dance led the singers outside, bringing them gradually into the outside world. By 4 am the men led by Antipas had moved down one hour to the Manger on the Mount of Olives. It symbolised their descent into the uncleanness of the pagan world.

6 am
At the tower on the Mount of Olives

At 6 am, however, the sunrise prayers were to be said, at the tower on the top of the Mount of Olives. On this very great Day of Pentecost, an ecumenical council had been summoned, of the kind held only every 14 years. The bishops and provincials of the provinces of the world to which the mission had spread had travelled to Jerusalem for legislative decisions that would have far-reaching consequences. One of them was to endorse the use of native languages.

Figure 13

Figure 13 The world circle.

The tower building had the upper storey called the "third floor", and between it and the ground floor, projecting from 10 cubits down on the north wall, was the dōma, 10 cubits square. On it, seen by Agrippa from his throne above, the seats of the delegates to the council were placed in a circle. It had been observed in the course of astronomical studies that if a circle of 8 cubit diameter was imposed on the cubit lines in a 10 cubit square, the circle crossed the lines at even intervals, 24 of them. For astronomers, the day was divided into 24 hours, and each of the intersections could be understood to represent an hour, beginning from midnight on the north.

A world map was at that time drawn in a circle, and the seats for the four major capitals of the world, in the mission's experience, were placed at the major points of time. Babylon in the east was placed at the 6 am time point, that of sunrise,with Rome in the west at 6 pm, the hour for sunset prayers. In the north, Antioch was at midnight, with Alexandria at noon in the south. Each of these seats, for which 2 cubits were allowed, belonged to one of the four Living Creatures who were described in Ezekiel 1, each of them connected with one of the main compass points.

The four Living Creatures of Ezekiel were drawing a chariot containing a vision of the deity. The symbolism was inspired by the situation of Jews in Babylon, lamenting their separation from Jerusalem where God was believed to dwell. The vision meant that their God Yahweh could travel, coming to them in Babylon. He was not confined to Jerusalem, nor were his chosen people, who could practice their religion equally well in foreign countries, as a Diaspora.

The mission to the Diaspora that had begun in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC made good use of the symbol of a chariot. Its wheel, in the circle of hours, gave the seating positions for the delegates from the whole round world. Moreover, the symbol made use of the X sign employed for monastic initiations. It was imposed on the circle at the lesser divisions of hours, at 3 am, 9 am, 3 pm and 9 pm.

A chariot wheel had spokes. It was further observed that the four major spokes could be depicted by starting at the hours next to the 3-3 and 9-9 divisions, coming to a point at the center. The spokes gave a special position to certain members. Wherever the circle was used, their positions along the spokes were featured. It accounted for the shape of shafts in the caves at Qumran, as has been seen in Figure 5 in Section 6.

In Acts 2:6-11 a full list of the places from which the delegates came is given, in the context of Thomas' complaint about the break with tradition caused by the use of native languages. For those who understood the diagram of the world circle, it was a map of their positions on the platform, and at the same time a map of mission stations throughout the world, presented as a unified scheme. For the subsequent history given in the rest of Acts, it was the basic map that accounted for the signficance of all places. The full detail of the places is given in the word-for-word pesher of Acts 2:6-11.

The rest of the Day of Pentecost was spent in speeches and readings from scripture, the lesser ones given from positions within the spokes. Peter, speaking at 9 am, as he said himself, stood in row 7 in the inner spoke pointing to 8 to 9 am, with John Mark beside him in the inner spoke pointing to 3 to 4 pm. Peter addressed Antipas and Thomas in the inner NW and NE spokes on row 6.

The major reading was given at noon by Jonathan Annas. It was a passage with a pesher that could be understood by the knowledgeable, concerning the grades of ministry that would now be encouraged by Agrippa and Jonathan Annas, while the party of Simon Magus would be reduced in power. In the afternoon the history of Joseph the father of Jesus was given, including the fact that he and his family had lived in Rome from 18 to 21 AD. Jesus, who had turned 23 in March of 17 AD, had spent three formative years in Rome.

The day's proceedings ended at 4 pm, with an appeal by Peter to Agrippa on the upper floor to accept what Jonathan Annas had decreed, that Jesus was the legitimate David, and therefore should have the position of the Christ in a Kingdom of God, the world religion that was now in the process of formation.

Jesus after the Crucifixion & Pentecost

Assassinations & Exile

The Career of Paul