FROM QUMRAN TO ROME.
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. 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.
SATURDAY MARCH 21, AD 33
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."
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. 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.
|40 day man||Mem (40)||grade 9 baptisand|
|50 day man||Nun (50)||grade 8 novice|
|60 day man||Samekh (60)||grade 7 initiate|
|70 day man||Ayin (70)||grade 6 deacon|
|80 day man||Pe (80)||grade 5 presbyter|
|90 day man||Sadhe (90)||grade 4 bishop|
|100 day man||Qof (100)||grade 3 archbishop|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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