This narrative is derived from a Word-for-Word study of the text of Acts 2:37 to Acts 13:12, together with relevant sources, chiefly the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Apocrypha, and Josephus. It has been demonstrated in previous entries, on the Resurrection (Section 6) and the Pentecost period (Section 7 Stage 1), that the facts of the narrative are supplied by the application of the pesher technique to the Greek text of the gospels and Acts. The history is objectively present in the text, and would be found by anyone who was in possession of the necessary special knowledge.
For Stage 2 the narrative is presented first, being the initial step of understanding before the study of the close detail. The complete Word- for- Word will follow after Stage 3 of the narrative.
The outline of the history has been given in Jesus the Man(Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls)(1992), concentrating on the chronology. It is now filled out with remaining aspects of the political and personal histories.
SEPTEMBER, 33 AD
Acts 3:1-26 - Acts 4:1-22
All events in the gospels and Acts took place at the quarterly seasons, the equinoxes of March and September and the solstices of June and December. These were the occasions when councils were held at the main centers, when decisions were made that affected the political destinies of the world-wide community. As followers of the solar calendar, they observed the turning-points of the sun, believing that in so doing they were in accord with the heavenly symmetry.
In September 33 AD a daughter was born to Jesus and Mary Magdalene, She had been conceived according to the rule for dynasts in December, 32 AD, the least "holy" season when there were no great traditional feasts. She was given the name Tamar, that of the daughter of King David (2 Samuel 13:1). Its Greek form was Damaris. At a date that is shown to be late 51 AD, when she was 18 years old, she appeared as the woman Damaris, ready for her betrothal (Acts 17:34).
The fact that it was a daughter determined subsequent events in the life of Jesus. Since a girl was said to be half the value of a boy, the husband and wife in a dynastic marriage stayed apart for another three years, whereas if a boy was born they were apart for six years, a longer period of "holiness", that is, abstinence from sex. Jesus would again leave the celibate life in September 36 AD, and if conception occurred the next birth would be in June 37 AD. Each subsequent reunion was at the season that was just three or six years from the previous birth. Other indications of date in Acts accord with the coded language meaning that a child was born at these intervals.
For the governing powers in the community, September 33 AD had another significance. It was the season for the hoped-for fulfillment of one of their prophecies, when a symbolic "entry to the Promised Land" should take place. Those factions that relied on the Exodus pattern for the determination of events held that history worked in sets of 40 years. The first of the decisive set corresponded to an Exodus in the wilderness, when there was the suffering of exile that was at the same time a preparation for power. The next set would be for the Holy War, when the Promised Land of political power had been obtained with the help of heaven, but had to be fought for over 40 years during which all opposing forces of evil would be overcome. It was a biblical pattern that gave an incentive to missionary effort.
In September 31 AD, in John 5:5, a man appeared at a healing pool in "year 38" (the pesher meaning of "38 years"). According to Deuteronomy 2:14, the first stage of entry to the Promised Land began in year 38 of the Exodus. Two years later the 40 years were completed. The same man appeared in Jerusalem , as the "lame man" of Acts 3:1-10, in September AD 33. He was "lame", because a certain class of men were called "the lame and the blind", those who were left behind in Jerusalem at the time King David conquered it (2 Samuel 5:6). The man was James the brother of Jesus. In his role of Chief Nazirite he was connected with the Therapeuts, being part of the category of the "Poor and Crippled (Orphans and Widows), the Lame and the Blind."
The expected intervention from heaven, giving political triumph, did not appear. The council at the September equinox, taking place at the site of the Cenacle building on Mount Zion, spent its time trying to account for the non-fulfillment. On the repeated occasions of such disappointments there was always soul-searching about what sin in the community was causing heaven to delay its hand. The opportunity was taken for criticisms and changes in the power structure. On this occasion the partisans of Agrippa blamed Simon Magus, the long-standing foe of the Herodian monarchy. They were still structurally all part of the same mission, but at this time the gap began to open up that would eventually end in total schism.
At this council long speeches were made by Simon Peter, a member of Agrippa's faction, who had also led debate at the previous Pentecost gathering. On Tuesday September 1, the Julian date that was also the unintercalated 31st - thus giving an auspicious conjunction - Peter took the speaker's stand outside the Cenacle building. James as a Nazirite mendicant had been waiting in front of it since 3 pm, without fulfillment of his hopes, and at 4 pm Peter overruled him, arguing for a reform of the doctrine. The hour of 4 pm was used for the teaching of Gentiles, for it was considered an "unclean" hour when the Jewish celibates were following their rule for use of the latrine. It was the duty of Simon Peter, a married man and therefore of similar uncleanness to Gentiles, to make close contact with this category, teach them and bring them to baptism.
Peter's rhetoric did not bring the fulfillment, but strongly influenced subsequent events. Following the Sadducee liberality on marriage rules, Peter was convinced that Jesus was the legitimate David, his conception at the time of Joseph and Mary's binding betrothal being equivalent to conception within marriage. Peter was not always in sympathy with Jesus personally, but wanted to preserve the long-standing mission structure, that the heir of David should be the patriarch to Gentiles in the succession of Jacob-Heli the grandfather of Jesus.
During his speeches Peter repeatedly accused those who had played a part in the choice of Jesus for crucifixion, all three Herods. He exonerated Jonathan Annas, the Sadducee priest whom he obeyed, saying only that "God" had raised Jesus up, that is permitted him to return to the monastic life in good standing. Peter blamed the Herods for their wrongdoing on this matter, something that must be set right. In consequence, at the following December season Antipas invited Pontius Pilate to his house on the Mount of Olives. He had always entertained Pilate, beginning at his house on the Tiber Island in Rome before Pilate took up his post in Judea. It was through his influence that the Roman governor had done more than practice a token attendance at religious observances, but had made a personal commitment to the ascetic movement that attracted so many Gentiles. The result of the meeting was that Pilate was persuaded to grant a pardon to Jesus. He could now move about freely without fear of re-arrest.
The move to Caesarea
It was not the case, however, that Simon Magus was pardoned. He remained in hiding for several years until Pilate left. Pilate's dismissal was a consequence of a misdeed that Simon himself had contrived. Simon was an enemy of both Agrippa and of Rome, and increasingly took his own course in the conduct of the mission to the Diaspora.
The city of Caesarea, on the northern part of the coast, was the seat of Roman government. Its harbour had been enlarged and fortified by Herod the Great, and it was the main port of departure for large ships crossing the Mediterranean. A considerable number of its occupants were Romans, or Jews in the service of Rome. It was to such people, with their orientation to the wider world, that the practices and intellectual content of the ascetic movement were attractive.
The subsequent history of conflicts in Caesarea recorded by Josephus shows that there were always two opposing political outlooks in the city , one that he called Jews, the other Syrians. The Jews were supporters of the Herods, while the Syrians denied their right to rule. The Jews at the same time upheld the priority of Jerusalem, while the Syrians looked outside for the centers of culture, primarily to the north of the country.
Caesarea was in the district of Samaria, now the northern part of the Roman province of Judea, but with a tradition and previous history that preserved antipathy to Jerusalem. Simon Magus was a Samaritan, the head of the ascetic order of West Manasseh which covered the district of Samaria. His party was that of the Syrians. Since he was called the "leper" when reduced to the grade of a postulant, one of his many pseudonyms was "Naaman the Syrian leper' (2 Kings 5:1).
Simon was in charge of a monastery in Caesarea, one that followed the Essene monastic system and preserved its calendar, but with the outlook of Diaspora Essenes. These were called by their opponents the "Seekers-after-Smooth-Things", for they were very much influenced by hellenistic learning and with it the hellenistic lifestyle. They derided the ritual obsessions of homeland Essenes and their sexual restrictions. Simon as Chief Monk had a mistress, Helena, whom he associated with him as a semi-divine being in a gnostic version of ascetic doctrine. He was the "Sun", being in charge of the solar calendar, and she was called the Moon.
The other kind of institution was an abbey, the kind of school that had been developed by the eremitical Therapeuts who wanted to pursue higher learning. It had no requirement of permanent celibacy with the consequent community of property. Members preferred to live as bachelors in the abbey, but were free to leave and marry if they wished. In Caesarea an abbey was also established, and it was the one that upheld the Herods. It was at this time under the authority of Agrippa.
The two institutions in the city were distinguished in the pesher language, the Herodian abbey being called "Caesarea", and the Magian monastery "Samaria".
At the non-fulfillment of September 33 AD, Simon Magus was blamed. He was, moreover, wanted by Rome as a man who had been condemned to execution but had escaped it. Although he and Jesus had spent the six months after the crucifixion in hiding at Qumran, he was expelled when he was blamed, and took refuge within the enclosing walls of his monastery in Caesarea. He here used the title the Great Power (Acts 4:33) With him came Jesus, although he had been pardoned. Simon was his close friend and mentor, and he agreed with him in personal hostility to Agrippa. Jesus brought with him John Mark, who acted as his "eunuch" while he was in the celibate state. During the next three years Jesus would work on John's gospel, with the assistance of John Mark and his subordinate Philip, and doubtless with advice from Simon Magus.
The position of abbot to a Sadducee abbey was traditionally that of the Annas priest. Jonathan Annas, now giving his support to Agrippa, acted as abbot, with the title the Holy Spirit, in the Greek form to pneuma to hagion, with both definite articles. (with a different use of articles it referred to other men). The abbeys were the places through which pilgrims passed. In the original setting in the Wilderness of Judea they had passed through the Herodian building at Mird-Hyrcania on their way to Qumran to bring the food tithes to the exiled priests, arriving after another day at the outer hall at Qumran. It was separated from the monastic section by the enclosing wall. Here they met with Abba, the abbot. It was with Jonathan Annas, the Abba, that Jesus had conferred on the night of the Last Supper.
Simon Peter was the Chief Pilgrim, and he now changed his route. He attended at the Caesarea abbey, and was influential there on the policy towards Gentiles.
With Simon expelled from Qumran, a different party took over. Both Sadducees and Magians valued celibacy and had institutions devoted to the celibate life. The ascetic movement contained also Pharisees who had adopted a version of the solar calendar, the Mishmarot, and who valued some aspects of the disciplined life, but upheld the institution of marriage and believed that there should be a degree of sexual abstinence, but only within marriage. This was the party encouraged by Caiaphas, the reigning Pharisee high priest, who had allied with John the Baptist the Teacher of Righteousness. They also respected Agrippa, and were given by him the right to continue the mission from Qumran. It was the place where money belonging to the mission was stored, deposited in locked vaults that had been constructed when Herod the Great took over the monastery to use it as a bank. The Copper Scroll began as an inventory of the deposits at Qumran.
From AD 34 when the move to Caesarea took place, there were three centers of mission. Two of them were Herodian, Qumran and the Caesarea abbey, one was Magian, the Caesarea monastery. For the Pharisees at Qumran, the Magians were nothing but "Seekers-after-Smooth-Things", profligates disregarding the law and Jewish ritual.
As they became aware of the divisive effect of the different factions, the Qumran party composed another pesher, the fragments of which came to light among the Scrolls that had been hidden in Cave 4. Worried about the Roman domination, even in Jerusalem where Pilate could bring his troops, they turned to their Old Testament, especially the Prophets into whose writings they read meanings for their own times. In the minor prophet Nahum, who had been writing about 720 BC, they found a passage about a family of lions, who were intended in Nahum to be symbolic of the Assyrian occupation. These fitted the pesharist's purpose. The Romans were the "lions", and the procurator Pontius Pilate was one of them, the Young Lion of Wrath (Hebrew kephir hacharon), for the Wrath had been a name for the occupying Romans since 6 AD.
The Young Lion of Wrath had fulfilled the words of Nahum by crucifying Seekers-after-Smooth-Things. These evil people had been in existence since the Maccabean period of the 2nd century BC, when hellenisers had co-operated with the occupying Seleucids, Antiochus Epiphanes and his successors. They were still a political force, and had now brought on themselves the punishment of crucifixion by Pontius Pilate.
The chief Seeker-after-Smooth-Things, a hellenised profligate according to the Pharisees, was Simon Magus. He had been crucified as the leader of a triarchy of three, placed on the central cross. The triarchy consisted of Simon as its Priest, Judas Iscariot as its Prophet, and Theudas-Barabbas as its King. They had raised a demonstration in protest against the high-handed actions of the unscrupulous and blundering Pontius Pilate. At the last minute Jesus had been substituted for Theudas-Barabbas, in order to save the life of the elderly hero, for there was a plan to deceive Pilate and allow the crucified men to escape.
The pesharist set out his identifications, reading them into the words of Nahum, and adding further ones concerning the other factions in the mission. He was writing at a time of insecurity, when the previous unity of the proselytising mission was breaking up, chiefly through the determination of Agrippa to raid its property and use the money to gain the restoration of the Herodian monarchy from Rome.
Money was the determining factor at this time. During the 80 years or so since the mission in its organized form had been established, a regular income had flowed in, chiefly from the Diaspora, from the initiation and promotion fees that were required of Jews. The system of taxation is set out in the Scrolls fragment 4Q159. The organization had gained enormous wealth, which was intended for the furtherance and extension of its work. But for Agrippa, who would legally own it if he became king, it was primarily the means through which he would gain his ambition.
With the establishment of three different organizational centers, the opportunity was opened up for any one of them to receive the income from parts of the mission field over which a particular faction had control, and to keep it for the benefit of the center rather than merge it with the common property. This became the purpose of Simon Magus in his Caesarea monastery. He would subsequently be accused of doing the same thing in his Tiber Island monastery in Rome, "burying the talents in the ground" in his own vaults, instead of sending it back to the homeland.
For Peter, the Chief Pilgrim attending the Caesarea abbey, this was theft. The two missions in the same city were working against each other. At a confrontation in June 35 AD, a common council such as was still required, Peter accused Simon of "lying to the Holy Spirit" (to pneuma to hagion, Acts 5:3) that is Jonathan Annas the abbot.
Simon is introduced under one of his many pseudonyms, Ananias. According to an account in Josephus of proselytising work in the east, a Jewish merchant named Ananias was responsible for the recruitment to Judaism of the rulers of the small eastern country of Adiabene. It was either Simon, or a servant acting in his name as was usually done. Simon appears again as Ananias in Acts 9:10.
With him was Helena, appearing under the pseudonym Sapphira. It referred to the jewels to which members were likened in a passage in the Scrolls (4Q164), and specifically to a blue jewel. The three colors of vestments that Helena wore, claiming to be a priestess, were scarlet, purple, and blue.
Both Ananias and Sapphira were "struck dead" at Peter's condemnation. For the pesharist of Acts, this meant simply an excommunication, just as Lazarus, also meaning Simon, had been excommunicated to his burial cave in the gospel period. They were simply being expelled from the main community, but when Agrippa again acted capriciously they were received back. It was, however, a further step in the direction of schism.
At the end of 35 AD Agrippa had raised enough money to be able to return to Rome and discharge his debts. Since he was no longer bankrupt he was received courteously by Tiberius. He knew, however, that Tiberius was in his last days, and that was the reason he returned, for he was aware that Gaius Caligula was the favorite to succeed him. Agrippa (born 11 BC) had been educated in Rome and as the grandson of the pro-Roman Herod the Great had been given the entrée into the highest social circles, those of the imperial court. His mother had been a friend of the most influential woman in Rome, Antonia, who was the mother and grandmother of emperors. She encouraged his friendship with her grandson Gaius Caligula. When Agrippa returned, he spent his time and money on paying court to the young man, who was only 24 at the time of his accession.
Agrippa had taken with him to Rome his charioteer Eutychus. He was secretly an initiate of a Magian monastery, but this fact was not known to Agrippa. Eutychus adopted the name John Mark at his subsequent consecration as a monastic bishop, and was the close confidant and spokesman of Jesus, being his Beloved Disciple. John Mark despised his master, but had to serve him as his freedman. As his driver, he could not help overhearing conversations between his master and a passenger.
Agrippa arrived in Rome in summer 36 AD after the six months' sea journey. One day he took Caligula out for a drive in his chariot, and as they rode he said that he wished Tiberius would die and leave the throne to Caligula. Eutychus overheard but said nothing for the moment, but - as the pro-Agrippa Josephus reported - "when he (Eutychus) was accused of stealing some of Agrippa's clothes, which was precisely what he had done, he took flight, and was caught." He was sent in chains to Capri, to Tiberius, and tried to convey the information to him, but was frustrated, until Antonia persuaded Tiberius to give a hearing to Eutychus' charge. The emperor believed Eutychus and ordered Agrippa to be arrested. He was imprisoned for six months, helped with physical comforts by his friends, but humiliated in being cast down from his high social status.
In March AD 37 Tiberius died. The story of his apparent death and revival and his eventual finishing off belongs to Roman history. The first report was brought to Agrippa by his friend Titus-Marsyas, who said to him in Hebrew, "The Lion is dead". When it was finally a fact that he was dead, Caligula wrote a letter to the senate informing them of the fact and of his own succession to the office.
"Not many days thereafter, he (Caligula) sent for Agrippa to come to his house, and he attended to cutting his hair and changing his clothes. This done, he (Caligula) appointed him king of the tetrarchy of Philip, presenting him also with the tetrarchy of Lysanias. Furthermore, in exchange for his iron chain, he gave him a golden one of equal weight.".
Agrippa had achieved rule only over the northern part of the country, while Judea as a Roman province remained under the Roman procurator. He would later obtain kingship over the southern part of the country under Claudius. However, the benefits he had received were enough for him to return to his country, displaying royal state and accepting the privileges of kingship. His ambition had been essentially achieved, and the mission founded by Herod the Great, with its income, was now under his control.
Turmoil following Agrippa's accession.
Acts 6:1- 8:1.
In December AD 36 the freedman Eutychus- John Mark had boarded a ship in Rome, without saying farewell to his imprisoned master. He arrived back in Judea in June 37 AD and at once sought out Jesus, for whom he acted as "eunuch" in the Magian monastery in Caesarea.
He found him in the attached marriage house, where women and dynasts in their marriage period stayed. Jesus was there because Mary Magdalene was about to give birth to the child conceived the previous September. With her were Mary the mother of Jesus and Helena. In addition, Thomas Herod was there, the homosexual who was head of the Hellenists. An argument was raging about whether women could be admitted as deacons, to the lowest form of ordained ministry, so taking part in the daily sacred meals in the monastic annexe.
John Mark's duty as himself a permanent celibate was to represent Jesus when he was in the separated celibate state, going between the parted husband and wife. Jesus was now remaining close by his wife, so John Mark withdrew into the male monastic quarters, where he acted as a deacon.
He took his opportunity to alert all in the monastery of what he saw as a coming great threat. Agrippa, he reported, would certainly gain the kingship as soon as Tiberius died, for he had a close personal friendship with the charming young Gaius Caligula, who was everyone's favorite as successor. It was already apparent to those who observed closely, as John Mark-Eutychus the charioteer had had an opportunity to do, that Caligula did not have the qualities of a wise leader but would be more occupied with self-glorification than the needs of the empire. Agrippa, pandering to him, had revealed a similar inadequacy. But when he returned he would certainly try to seize the financial assets of the mission, for they legally belonged to the Herod kings in succession from Herod the Great.
This information reached Jonathan Annas, who had been appointed high priest in March AD 37 as a consequence of the dismissal of Caiaphas the previous year. The pattern had been established of a Sadducee high priest replacing a Pharisee, so that all the diverse interests in the community should be represented. Jonathan had continued to act as the abbot of the Caesarea abbey for pro-Agrippa Sadducees. He was alarmed at the news, being aware of Agrippa's erratic personality and fearing for his own position. Jonathan now took the step of withdrawing his allegiance to Agrippa and moving into the Caesarea monastery. He there allied with Simon Magus as a Samaritan pair. The doctrines of the two together would figure in the later lists of heresiarchs.
Such a change of commitment required a ceremony of re-baptism with a new name. He took the name Stephen, meaning "crown". It expressed the attitude that the Annas priests had had since AD 6, that they were both priests and the equivalent of kings to the people, without the need for any Herods. Jonathan had been called a "royal one", basilikos, in John's gospel (John 4:46), written before his change of name.
Jonathan-Stephen as a Sadducee had always encouraged uncircumcised Gentiles, and it was for that reason that he was presented positively in Acts. Simon Magus as the liberal Ananias also did not require circumcision of Gentiles. In Caesarea many Gentiles had become attracted to the Magian monastery, with its high standard of hellenised learning.
Jonathan-Stephen now became instrumental in establishing an independent abbey formation, consisting entirely of Gentiles. They were structured in the fashion of abbeys which met every day of the week for sacred meals, with seven leaders, each for a successive day. Stephen was the "Saturday"day 0, while Philip-Protos, the head of Shem Gentiles, was the "Sunday", day 1. The Greek names of the others are given. The names are stated openly in contrast with the fact that the real leaders, responsible for the continuing action, were called by pseudonyms. The "Friday" was the man called Nicolaus, "a proselyte of Antioch". A proselyte in the full sense of the word was a Gentile who had adopted all aspects of Judaism, including that of the ascetics which meant celibacy. Such men were typically the eunuchs in the Herodian court, men who could be trusted with women and with the intimacies of the king's bedchamber. He would appear later under the name Blastus.
During the first few weeks of June Mary Magdalene gave birth to her second child and first son. A male heir to Jesus now ensured the David succession, at least for Sadducees who held Jesus to be legitimate. He was called Jesus after his father, and Justus, Latin for dikaios the Righteous One. It was the title of the David prince that had been held up to now by James. Jesus Justus appears by name in Paul's letter to the Colossians, in Colossians 4:11. He was given two official birthdays, one on June 1, the Julian date, the other at the solstice 31st, for more traditional solarists. The birth of a male meant that except for a brief visit when the child was 3 months old, Jesus and Mary Magdalene would stay apart for six years. They were due to come together again in June AD 43.
Before Agrippa returned from Rome, the vacillating Jonathan Annas had been dismissed from the office of high priest. He was removed by Vitellius the Roman governor in Syria, who in September had just received the official notification of the accession of Agrippa. In his place, acting on advice, Vitellius appointed Theophilus Annas the next brother. Through him Vitellius administered to the people an oath of loyalty to the new emperor Caligula. Theophilus Annas was thus both a loyal servant of Rome and a loyal servant of Agrippa. He was the one to whom Luke dedicated the gospel of Luke and Acts.
Jesus while in the Magian monastery had always disagreed on attitudes to Rome, although he was opposed to Agrippa. He was known as the friend of Gentiles, and in fact had supported Jonathan's new structure of an independent Gentile abbey. Theophilus Annas saw him as a useful ally in relationships with Rome. The Annas priests had always made the heir of David a deputy, although without political power. Theophilus now appointed Jesus his deputy. He would officiate with him on the next Day of Atonement in the form observed by the ascetics.
Jonathan had other enemies beside Agrippa. The members of the Magian monastery believed that all Gentiles converted to their religion should come through the Jewish structure, whether they were circumcised or not. The ascetic movement had ben founded as Jewish and Samaritan, and should retain that identity. Jonathan's fully Gentile abbey was capable of operating independently, with its own financial structure and governing council. A faction within the Magian monastery was ready to agree to Jonathan's dismissal, even though the new hierarchy in Jerusalem stood for everything to which they were opposed. But they had their plans made.
In September of AD 37, before he received the message from Rome about the death of Tiberius, Vitellius had been preparing to exercise Roman power in favor of the tetrarch Antipas, a friend of Tiberius. Antipas had earned the hostility of Aretas the governor of Arabia, whose daughter Antipas had divorced when he decided to marry his relative Herodias. When he received the message that Tiberius was dead, Vitellius knew that his orders were cancelled. He withdrew his troops, ordering each soldier to go to his own home for the winter.
When he had begun his march, he gave rise to one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the one that gives us most information about the politics of this period. According to Josephus, Vitellius had got himself ready for war "with two legions of heavy-armed infantry and such light-armed infantry and cavalry as were attached to them as auxiliaries…. He pushed toward Petra….Since he had started to lead his army through the land of Judea, the Jews of the highest standing went to meet him and entreated him not to march through their land. For, they said, it was contrary to their tradition to allow images, of which there were many attached to the military standards, to be brought upon their soil." He yielded to their entreaty, abandoned his original plan, and a few days later recalled the army altogether.
The author was looking out from the Qumran tower, from where he could see north to the Jericho crossing. A powerful Roman army, with glittering shields and helmets, was advancing only eight miles north. It was within their reach to raid the Qumran buildings which acted as a fortress, seizing the money deposits stored in the vaults. In panic, the author turned to his Bible for comfort and a prediction of what would happen, using the pesher technique that had been taught to them by John the Baptist. He found what he wanted in the prophet Habakkuk, who was actually describing the advance of the Babylonian army in about 600 BC. But for the religionists of Qumran, believing themselves to be the center of history, the words were intended to apply to the Romans.
Using a name originally referring to the inhabitants of Cyprus but now applying to all foreign forces in the west, they read the term "Kittim" into the Babylonians, and found close correspondences. When Habakkuk spoke of the Chaldeans "going across the breadth of the earth to possess dwellings not theirs", its pesher referred to the Kittim, who "will go across the plain, to smite and plunder the cities of the earth." Every detail was found to fit the Kittim. They " trample the earth with their horses and beasts. They come from afar, from the islands of the sea, to devour all the peoples like an eagle (the Roman emblem) which is not satisfied."
Josephus' description of the army particularly selected the standards bearing the effigy of the emperor. Sure enough, said the pesharist, a verse in Habakkuk means that "they sacrifice to their standards and worship their weapons of war". When he came to the prophet's description of an Arrogant Man , he saw it as referring to the Wicked Priest, that is the anti-High Priest. He had deservedly suffered great physical pain. "They inflicted horrors of evil maladies on him, and took vengeance upon his body of flesh." . He had been "humbled by a destructive scourge, in bitterness of soul, because he had done wickedly to His Elect One". But he was still alive. "He will be repaid the retribution that he himself paid to the Poor Ones… God will condemn him to destruction."
The Wicked Priest's sacrilegious action on the Day of Atonement was found in another text. "At the period of a feast, at the rest time of the Day of Atonement, he appeared to them to swallow them up and to cause them to stumble on the day of fasting, the sabbath of their rest."
With Jesus enjoying a little political success at the time of writing, the Essenes left behind at Qumran could not forgive him his claim in September AD 32 to be the Zadokite high priest, donning the Zadokite robes and performing the rites on the Day of Atonement. They gloated over the humiliation and physical suffering that he had endured the following year at the crucifixion. Knowing that he was still alive, they predicted that he would eventually be destroyed by heaven.
The armies of the Kittim reminded them of a more pressing threat. Large sums of money were stored in the vaults at Qumran. Some of the money belonged to James the brother of Jesus. Since it was Gentile money, it was his own property, to be used for the advancement of Gentile mission. He was consequently given the title the Rich Man in the gospels. Gentiles such as James Niceta and John Aquila were symbolised by "wheat" and "barley", being the products of the Field, the Diaspora, a word meaning the dispersion of seed. The membership fees paid by James Niceta's type of Gentiles, who were numerous, brought in a rich "harvest", which was stored in the Qumran vaults, the "barns" of the Rich Man.
For the Qumran Pharisee party, James was the legitimate David. The previous year, with the removal of the Pharisee Caiaphas from the high priesthood, James had foreseen a loss of his own status, and begun a process of transfer of money to Damascus, the center for eastern mission. This move is recorded in Luke's parable of the Rich Man (Luke 12:16-20). Now, with the news of Agrippa's accession and his legal right over the mission money, James led the Qumran party in turning against Agrippa and transferring all the money held there to Damascus. Since the time of Herod the Great Damascus had been used as a retreat for anti-Herodians, outside the limits of the country.
During the latter part of 37 AD they made their move, taking everything of value from Qumran to the Damascus monastery. Whereas Qumran had been the council center for the whole of the world mission, they now declared that Damascus had that role. They formally founded Damascus as their center of government on January 1, AD 38.
In September 37 when Jonathan was deposed, he attended for the last time the ascetics' alternative Day of Atonement at their sanctuary at Mird-Hyrcania. At the Jerusalem temple the orthodox Day of Atonement was observed according to the established lunar calendar, but the temple high priests were helped to their position by the respected ascetics acting as a lobby group, so the high priests were members of the unorthodox movement also, with their observances on different dates according to their solar and lunisolar calendar. It was for that reason that Caiaphas had been present at Qumran during Jesus' trial.
At Mird-Hyrcania the substitute sanctuary, transferred there after the earthquake of 31 BC, had had to use makeshift quarters. It needed a north-south room, so used the west wing of the four wings around a courtyard. The priest and his deputy performed the atonement ceremony at the center of rows 6 and 7, which in the Qumran vestry had been understood as corresponding to the positions of the altar of incense and the ark. In the original sanctuary in the courtyard at Qumran (loc 111) windows at both sides of the north end had overlooked the substitute Holy of Holies. They were intended for witnesses, who would not enter the sanctuary but be able to see if the atonement at the altar of incense had been duly performed, then carry the news of it away to the ordinary people. At Mird-Hyrcania there were corresponding positions. Since the Zadokite officiating there had the authority of heaven and could be called "Heaven", the witness at the side looking in could be said to "gaze into Heaven". That is what Jonathan Annas did on the day of his deposition. He had been reduced to the status of a mere witness from the outside (Acts 7:55).
Theophilus Annas the newly appointed high priest was officiating, and Jesus was acting as his deputy, standing on his eastern side. It was always necessary to have a deputy prepared to substitute for the high priest in case he should fail, as is set out in the rules in the Mishnah, Yoma. Jonathan Annas saw both Theophilus and Jesus, and announced their presence. "I see the heaven opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). This was at the same time to announce that pro-Roman policies were in power in Jerusalem. It was enough to trigger the animosity of the enemies of both Agrippa and Rome. They would move to Damascus, where they would follow their own political beliefs in the course of eastern mission.
Qumran was not left entirely deserted. Stripped of anything valuable, it was suitable to be used as a Gentile monastery. John Mark was brought there from Caesarea, to build up a Gentile monastery as a counterpart to the Gentile abbey.
In the course of the Acts description of these decisive events, Jonathan-Stephen is attributed with a very long speech, occupying Acts chapter 7, in which he gave a history of the 1st century BC foundation of the Herodian mission. It took the form of an apparent history of Old Testament times, of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, continuing through Moses, but the details vary markedly from Genesis and Exodus. It has a pesher as a vital source for the history of Hillel, the original "Abraham", and of Menahem "Isaac"; of Heli the "Jacob", the grandfather of Jesus, and Joseph his father, as well as of the Therapeuts under their "Moses".
With Theophilus in power and preparing for the return of Agrippa, the leaders who were hostile to Agrippa were pursued and put under excommunication. They were Jonathan Annas, Simon Magus, and James. The method of excommunication of such great leaders had always been to place them in their burial caves, as if they were "dead". These caves were at Qumran. Cave 4 was for the Zadokite and his deputy, who now were Jonathan Annas as the former Pope, with the title "Abraham",and Simon Magus as his deputy, using the name Lazarus. He was sent to the cave as had also happened in AD 32, at the time Jesus "raised him from the dead" by lifting his ban of excommunication. Now, "Lazarus" was "in Abraham's bosom", within the cave complex. James was placed in the annexe to the burial cave of the Davids, in Cave 8. As has been shown in the pesher of the "resurrection", its western window looked across a chasm to cave 4, and it was through it that the Rich Man called out to "Abraham". The positions fit exactly the Qumran locations. This information is given in Luke's parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The excommunicants were again released by their supporters, and smuggled away to their places of exile.
The New Covenant in the Land of Damascus
In Damascus, the anti-Agrippa party had to face the fact that they were exiles, out of reach of power in the homeland. They soon came to terms with their situation by drawing on their past history as recorded in the Old Testament. In the past the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar had attacked and destroyed the temple and city of Jerusalem and carried off the upper classes to Babylon. They had there been permitted to live in their own colony, and were close enough to the main city to take part in its cultural life and increasingly in its commercial life. In fact, most of them prospered, and many stayed on when the opportunity was given by the Persian rulers to return to Jerusalem.
The parallel looked obvious. The exiles in Damascus were in a similar situation to those first exiles, able to preserve Jewish identity outside the country while being saved from the terrible fate that was befalling their own city. As the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, the Romans - who according to the pesher were the real subject of scriptural passages about Babylonians - would soon destroy again the city of Jerusalem. Their expectation in fact came true in 70 AD. It was to be expected that the "heretics", the pro-Roman ascetics and Gentiles now holding power in Jerusalem, would themselves be wiped out when the city was destroyed. Meanwhile the exiles would flourish under a new identity. Whereas they had previously been the New Covenant in the homeland, they now called themselves the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus.
They began to compile a new document setting out their history and regulations.
The Damascus Document, as it has been called, was found in a medieval copy in 1910 in Cairo. As soon as the Scrolls were discovered, it was obvious that it was one of the Qumran writings, and it was no surprise when many fragments of it were found in the caves.
It is certainly a composite work, as was recognized from the start. Different sections were added as the community evolved and increased in confidence. One of its sections was an older document from the time Damascus became a place of exile in the time of Herod the Great. The section that was first written when they settled there in 38 AD is found in column 7. It makes the historical parallel with the past, using it to predict that the "apostates", the alternative Jerusalem party, would be given up to the sword. It turns to a verse in Numbers 24:17, "a star shall come forth out of Jacob and a sceptre shall arise out of Israel", applying these terms to two of the leaders. James the brother of Jesus, the true David for Pharisees at Damascus, was the Star of David. When the time came for the Davidic Messiah to receive his power, it would fall on him in Damascus. The Sceptre was Theudas, the chief Therapeut who had always acted for the David in his military capacity as the Lion. In 1 AD Joseph the father of Jesus and James, the undisputed heir of David, the Star who had guided the Magians, had allied with Theudas as Saddok the Pharisee in the militant formation at Qumran. This pair was now retained in the persons of James and the elderly Theudas.
The return of Agrippa
Josephus, Antiquities 18,240-256
In March of AD 38 Agrippa received permission from Gaius Caligula to return to his homeland. He arrived in September, and according to Josephus "all were surprised to see him in his royal state…in grandeur and with great prosperity", since at his first return he had been a miserable bankrupt who had attempted suicide. His sister Herodias, who with her husband Antipas had helped Agrippa financially at that time, was annoyed about his success, and urged her indolent husband to go to Rome to try to gain similar advantages. But she reckoned without Agrippa's influence with Caligula. He wrote letters that ensured that Antipas was accused of conspiracy and sent into perpetual exile. He was sent to Lyons in southern France, not too far from Vienne, to which Archelaus Herod had been banished. Their two houses subsequently became the places to which Christians fled at the time of the persecutions of the 90's. It was from them, as may be seen, that Christianity spread through western Europe.
Jonathan Annas after his removal had gone to Antioch, the seat of Roman government, with which he was in sympathy even though hostile to Agrippa. He there established what he called the Diaspora party, founding it at the same date as Damascus, January 1 AD 38. It had two branches, the main one in an abbey in Antioch, the other in the independent Gentile abbey attached to the Magian monastery in Caesarea. Philip, the "Sunday" of his Caesarea foundation, was in charge there as his deputy. He remained in fellowship with Simon Magus, who as a deputy to Jonathan in this system called himself the Great Power of God, retaining the name "God" for Jonathan.
Agrippa had not long been back when he began to show the symptoms of unreliability that would alienate him from his subjects. Although he had cultivated Jesus because of his influence with Gentiles, he nevertheless ensured that Theophilus Annas did not retain him as a deputy. Consequently "Samaria received the Word of God" (Acts 8:14). Jesus returned to the monastery of Simon Magus, who himself now had his main base in Damascus. Philip's Gentile abbey had strongly endorsed Jesus as the Christ. In their worship services he read John's Gospel, which Philip as the Evangelist had helped to compose.
In the same city Agrippa sometimes attended his abbey, and he now encountered Apollos, whom he saw as suitable to become an alternative Chief Therapeut in place of Theudas, who had gone to Damascus. Whereas Theudas was a Pharisee, Apollos was a Sadducee who accepted Jesus as the true David. Apollos was now made deputy abbot.
Consequently rivalry broke out between the abbey and the monastery, as it would continue to do for many years. Peter attended the abbey as a pilgrim, as he had long done, and as previously he strongly condemned Simon Magus' financial practices. Simon demanded money payments from men whom he ordained as bishop. A public debate broke out between Peter and Simon Magus, in the course of which Peter accused him of corrupting the teaching of the Baptist, adding a condemnation of his illicit relationship with Helena, whom Simon called in gnostic terms the divine Thought of God.
The Clementine Recognitions and Homilies
(See "The Clementine Books" in Section 4)
It is at this point that the books called the Clementines fit in, one of the major sources of the real history. They have been wrongly thought to be late and fictitious, like so many of the apocryphal books that have been undervalued. They are the product of the man called Clement, who later in the century became a Pope in Rome in the succession of Peter. He came from a distinguished Roman family with imperial connections, being the younger half- brother of James Niceta and John Aquila. Whereas these two had been born in AD 3 from their mother's adultery with a slave, Clement, born AD 10, had been conceived in wedlock and stayed with his father. Their home may be identified with St Clement's church, not far from the Forum, in what was the fashionable part of Rome.
Clement had a philosophical disposition, and when the missionary Barnabas, the brother of Jesus, preached publicly in Rome in the mid- thirties, he was impressed by him and protected him from his jeering detractors. Under Caligula Clement left Rome, and eventually arrived in Caesarea. It was just at the time of Peter's debates with Simon Magus, which covered a very wide range not reported in Acts. The issue essentially was the aspects of traditional Judaism that should be taught to Gentiles. Clement composed two books, the Recognitions and Homilies, giving the history of Simon Magus and Helena, including also accounts of James and the apostles.
The plot against Agrippa begins
Whereas Philip head of Shem had joined Simon Magus and Jonathan Annas in opposition to Agrippa, that was not the case with Titus-Marsyas head of Ham, who remained loyal to his friend. By January AD 40 there was talk in the celibate houses of getting rid of Agrippa. In that month Simon Magus sent Philip to a meeting with Titus-Marsyas, called an Ethiopian, since the Ham division of the world included Ethiopia. He was also called a "eunuch" , being normally a celibate, and a "dynast", as he practiced the kind of marriage of a dynast. He was a treasurer, controlling the property of Ham at Gaza, a word that means "treasury".
Philip's purpose was to persuade Titus-Marsyas to join in a plot against Agrippa, bringing his order's wealth into the project. They talked in code by quoting biblical verses of which both knew the pesher. The verse in Isaiah 53 about "the sheep led to the slaughter" was quoted, with relevance to the fact that Agrippa had just arranged for the dispersal of the Nazirites, the "sheep", by ordering them to shave the hair and beards that they grew during their Nazirite vow. Agrippa himself was ex officio the head of Nazirites and would figure as "sheep 100" in Luke's parable (Luke 15:3-7). The verse in Isa 53 speaking of "slaughter" and "humiliation", with "his life taken from the earth", had an obvious application.
But Titus-Marsyas did not accept the invitation. Still preserving the outward appearance of religious devotion, he brought Philip to a baptismal cistern, and - contrary to the appearance of the text - baptized him. He had persuaded Philip to change his views and to retain fellowship with the Caesarea abbey of Agrippa. Philip would continue to frequent that abbey, and would be found there later in Acts as Philip the Evangelist.
The events of the years 40 to 43 AD were primarily the result of the beneficent influence of Matthew Annas, the fourth of the five Annas brothers who successively held the high priesthood in the first century.
His strong character was recognized by his own family. When the changeable Agrippa wanted to appoint another Sadducee in place of the Pharisee he had just dismissed, he wanted to re-appoint Jonathan Annas, but the frustrated Jonathan declined, saying, "If you desire that another, worthier than I, should receive the honor, be instructed by me. I have a brother, pure of all sin against God and against you, O king. Him I recommend as suitable for the honor." Matthew was appointed high priest in the Jerusalem temple in late AD 41. It was the year of the accession of Claudius Caesar, whose tolerance encouraged the Sadducee policy of friendship with Rome.
For at least a year before that Matthew had been exercising his influence in the ascetic community to which his whole family belonged. All were Sadducees as opposed to Pharisees, but within their ranks there were differences in the degree of adherence to the ascetic discipline. In 4 BC there had been a Sadducee high priest named Matthias who was so scrupulous about the ideal of celibacy that when he had a sexual dream on the night before he was to officiate at the Day of Atonement he declared that he was not pure enough, and handed the duty over to his substitute. Another kind, however, were liberal on sexual matters, condoning sex outside marriage and in some cases sodomy. The two approaches were distinguished in the pesher language, the stricter kind, fewer in number, being called the Few (oligoi), and the looser kind the Many (polloi). The saying "“Many are called( klētoi) but Few are chosen (eklektoi)) (Matthew 22:14) has the special meaning that the strict kind chose a discipline like that of the monastic Essenes, who in the Scrolls were called the Elect. They had been chosen for admission only after a long process of testing. The Many who were called is a reference to the Karaites, their name from Hebrew qara' "to call". Mainstream Sadducees and some Pharisees figure in the Jewish sources under the names Karaites and Boethusians.
Of the Annas brothers, Matthew chose the stricter version of the ascetic rule, that of the Few, while Jonathan Annas followed the ways of the Many. Matthew personally acted as the abbot in the abbeys that were attached to the houses of the Herods. Between the years 40 and 43 he had the authority to call councils and determine appointments, using his influence to lasting effect. One of his actions was to bring Thomas Herod, a homosexual who had been associated with the less strict Jonathan Annas, to turn to full celibacy and so become one of the Few, one of the Elect. Thomas, whose pseudonym Esau became Rufus ("red") in Latin, appears as Rufus the Elect One (eklektos) in the Herodian court in Paul's letter to the Romans, in Romans 16:13.
Another of Matthew's actions with great consequences was his encouragement of the married man Simon Peter to undertake the studies that were usually reserved for celibates in an abbey. As a pilgrim, Peter had been in the village class on educational matters, given only an elementary education which meant learning to read and write, but with no knowledge of mathematics and science such as prepared graduates for their understanding of calendar or the metaphysical systems that went with philosophy.
Matthew recognized Peter's religious commitment, seeing him as scrupulous, as Matthew's kind of Sadducees also were. He also perceived his warmth towards the Gentiles he met. They were classed with villagers no matter what the holiness of their way of life. Peter had risen to be head of the class of pilgrims, a position that made him the servant of the patriarch to Gentiles, Jesus, when he was in the outside world. He should be given the same educational opportunities as Gentiles who were equal to him in grade. Under Matthew's urging, Peter began four years of undergraduate study in the Caesarea abbey. He would graduate in March 44 AD.
The lives of two other persons were influenced by Matthew: Jesus and Paul. Paul, who had been Saul, was persuaded to moderate his harsh Pharisee nationalism to respect the kind of Sadducee pro-Roman politics endorsed by Matthew, and consequently to accept uncircumcised Gentiles. It was Paul, in fact, who was instrumental in bringing Jesus from the anti-Herodian party of Simon Magus into the court of the Agrippas.
A physical description of Paul in his prime is available from an apocryphal book that may now be regarded as having historical value, the Acts of Paul. He is described as "a man small of stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting and nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness; for now he appeared like a man, and now he had the face of an angel".
Acts contains several passages giving an account of Paul, both as narrative in Chapter 9, and in his own words when he recounted his career to later authorities. On the surface, each appears to repeat the occasion when he went to Damascus, had a vision of Jesus, and underwent a conversion to Christianity. But as always when there are apparent repetitions, each account is giving a different part of the history occurring at a different time. Each gives part of a development that was far more complex than that of a simple conversion.
Putting together the information from all the sources, Paul had been born in September 17 AD, in Judea. At the age of 20 he decided on an ascetic discipline such as had been taught by Hillel the Great, a Pharisee. It was now the year 37 AD, when the news of Agrippa's obtaining the monarchy had reached Judea. The heir of Hillel the Great was a descendant of Hillel, Gamaliel, who already had a reputation as a wise man. Since Hillel had had an honored place in the court of Herod the Great, Gamaliel was received in the same way. He was given the duty of instructing Herod princes, operating in the palace at Jericho where boys were sheltered and taught. Following the example of the education of Alexander the Great who had been taught by Aristotle, Herodian princes were given the best possible education in the philosophy and science of the day. The young son of Agrippa, now 10 years old, was taught by Gamaliel.
Other boys of sufficient social status were received in the school at Jericho. They were intended for the ascetic order of Benjamin, whose Jericho religious center stood in the traditional territory of the tribe of Benjamin. A particularly promising student of Gamaliel was the young man who adopted Saul as his religious name at the time he reached the first stage of his membership of the order. His birth name is not known. The Old Testament Saul was a member of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 9:1-2).
It was at the age of 20 that men connected with the movement chose either to marry, or to begin the educational process of celibates, deferring or renouncing marriage. The age of 20 for this decision is given in 1QSa 1:9-10. Saul chose to defer marriage, and to begin the process of higher education. He would prepare himself to serve in the houses of the Herods, of which there were many, in both the homeland and in the Diaspora. There was a prospect that he would become a tutor in succession to Gamaliel. That would mean that he had to go in the first instance to the monastery at Tarsus in Cilicia, a province of Asia Minor, where he would be tested and admitted if he proved suitable for the arduous intellectual life. When received, he would be "born" in Tarsus, going through the first stage of initiation.
The Tarsus monastery had been a Magian foundation, specialising in Pythagorean thought, for the neo-Pythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana had worked in the area. Menahem, the Magian in the court of Herod the Great, a Diaspora Essene, had been in charge of it, as were his successors. But near the end of his life Herod had disappointed the Essenes with his rejection of their Temple Scroll, and they turned against him. From that time they were opposed to the existence of the Herodian monarchy, were instrumental in its abolition in 6 AD, and on its recovery under Agrippa I remained implacably hostile to it. That was the attitude of Simon Magus, a brilliantly gifted product of the Magian system.
As soon as he gained power, Agrippa acted against these Magians. Another kind of Magian came forward, represented by Atomus, who was favorable to the monarchy and would continue to act as an adviser and marriage broker to the Herod family (Josephus, Antiquities 20,142). It was he who now received the 20 year old Saul, tested him, found him suitable, and gave him spiritual "birth", making him Saul of Tarsus.
He stayed only a year there, passing through the monastic grade 10, that of postulants. When he was ready in the next two years for grades 9 and 8 he returned to Judea. As a novice at grade 8 he studied further "at the feet of Gamaliel". The young Herod prince was now aged 12, the age for his Bar Mitzvah, and Saul would have taken part in his teaching.
In 40 AD, in September, Saul would be 23, the age for full initiation, which meant binding commitment to the community and its mission. It was a big step that was prepared for six months in advance with a preliminary ceremony. Saul was required to render a worthy service to his master Agrippa, and found it in a task that was arranged for him by Matthew Annas. Matthew shrewdly saw some major developments coming out of it, involving more than Saul.
The Damascus branch of the mission had been established by Hillel the Great for reaching out to eastern countries, where it was believed that many were ready for conversion to Judaism in order to gain membership of a rising eastern power. Travelling missionaries were sent out, working at such tasks as merchants or builders, staying in the homes of Jews who had settled in the east following the sojourn in Babylon. They first targeted the rulers of the small independent eastern states, knowing that they had the power to bring their countries to adopt Jewish forms of worship.
In the small eastern country of Adiabene beyond the Tigris river , its queen Helena proved vulnerable to the attraction of a religion with a high ethical code. She had borne her sons out of incest with her brother Monobazus, including her younger son Izates who was his father's favorite and succeeded him. During the late 30's AD a Jewish merchant named Ananias "visited the king's wives and taught them to worship God after the manner of the Jewish tradition" (Josephus, Antiquities 20,34-48)). He subsequently won over Izates, requiring no more of him than to subscribe to Jewish principles. However, another missionary, Eleazar from Galilee, pressed Izates to follow all aspects of Jewish law including circumcision, and he agreed. .
Ananias and Eleazar were the names of servants of the two heads of the order of Manasseh - for servants used the master's name - or they may even have been the heads themselves. Simon Magus was the head of the order of West Manasseh, appearing under the name Ananias, with his mistress Helena as Sapphira, in Acts 5. Eleazar of Galilee was the successor of Judas Iscariot for the militant faction, appearing in the crucifixion story as "the Scribes" as soon as Judas was arrested. Judas himself had been a successor of Judas the Galilean, who operated both in Gamala on the east bank and Galilee on the west bank of the northern part of the country.
As a proselyte, Izates was under the episcopal authority of Thomas Herod, who in the gospel period had been opposed to Agrippa. When, however, Matthew brought Thomas to a different lifestyle, he set out to attract Thomas back to the court of Agrippa, with the monarch's agreement. It would mean that Izates and Queen Helena joined Agrippa's court also. According to Josephus, Queen Helena "conceived a desire to go to the city of Jerusalem and to worship at the temple of God." She brought with her a large sum of money which she donated to the Jewish people to relieve stresses caused by a famine, and she and Izates continued to give money to Jerusalem. Agrippa, always needing money for his projects, was greatly helped by them.
When it became known, in March 40 AD, that Izates and Queen Helena wanted to come to Jerusalem, it was an appropriate task for the young man Saul to prove his worth just before his full initiation. Matthew Annas held conversations with him, for both belonged in Agrippa's court. Matthew convinced Saul that his stricter kind of Sadducee doctrine was compatible with Saul's convictions, even though Saul had been very much opposed to his brother Jonathan Annas. He persuaded him also that Thomas Herod the head of proselytes had come round to a celibate practice that was acceptable to Agrippa. Matthew gave Saul a letter to be delivered to Thomas in Damascus, inviting him to come himself and bring Izates and Queen Helena to Agrippa's court in Jerusalem. Saul arrived at the monastery in that city on Friday March 11, 40 AD.
The Damascus monastery vestry was a reproduction of Qumran, with the tables on the ground floor and a platform above for the priests to say their prayers under the open sky. The platform, strong enough to stand on, came forward only to row 7. For most of the day a light wooden cover sheltered the remainder of the room over the tables, but at noon part of the cover was removed, so that men standing on the ground floor could look up and see the priest praying on the platform. As the sun was high above in the sky at this time, if they looked too intently they would be temporarily blinded by its light. It was this custom in the Qumran vestry that accounted for the "three hours' darkness" on Good Friday, when an adjustment of the time caused the cover to be left over (See "Chronology:three hours of darkness" in Section 3)
Jesus was saying the noon prayer on the platform as the deputy of Simon Magus. When the cover was removed, the light of the sun flashed around Saul, kneeling on the dais step. He had a message for Jesus from Matthew Annas, and came as near to him as he could. They had a conversation in which it was agreed that Jesus' attitudes had changed also, and he and Saul had come closer together.
Matthew's good judgement was now being exercised so as to change political direction for Jesus. Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary, had flourished in the period after 6 AD when there had been no Herod kings. The Romans had banished Archelaus Herod and appointed Ananus the Elder as high priest and native ruler under the Romans. The Annas priests acted as both high priests and the equivalent of kings. In this system, the heirs of David did not have independent power but as deputies of the Annas priests retained the role given to Jacob-Heli, the patriarch to Gentiles. Joseph, content with this role, held the view that no Herods were necessary, and passed on his attitudes to his sons.
When Agrippa was expelled by Tiberius for bankruptcy and returned to his country in disgrace in 23 AD, he was opposed by the influential Joseph, with the result that Joseph was murdered on Agrippa's instigation. Jesus therefore had strong personal reasons for working against Agrippa and for allying with Simon Magus his chief enemy.
But Jesus had also espoused pro-Roman Sadducee views, and Simon Magus was becoming increasingly hostile to Rome, especially under the scandalous reign of Gaius Caligula (37-41 AD). Jesus had also come to endorse the promotion of uncircumcised Gentiles of both orders. He approved James Niceta of the order of Asher as much as he approved the Gentile celibates of the order of Dan. Matthew Annas saw that Jesus would be much more comfortable in a Sadducee abbey under his kind of discipline. When Agrippa was in his Sadducee phases he would welcome Jesus to his court. He had always known that Jesus was an asset because of the reverence paid him by Gentiles.
Matthew had brought the Pharisee Saul to greater sympathy with Sadducees, and he now was bringing Jesus to a greater sympathy with Agrippa's court, of which Saul was an ardent member. When he sent Saul to Damascus to escort Izates and Queen Helena to Jerusalem, Matthew saw that there could be a very fruitful meeting between the two. His hopes were fulfilled. Jesus accepted membership of Agrippa's court, and Saul, meeting him for the first time, developed a personal devotion to him that would last for the rest of his life.
One of the negotiators was James Niceta, a member of Agrippa's court on Matthew's side. Within the court he and Saul had quarrelled on the question of Gentiles, the nationalist Saul originally demanding circumcision and James Niceta rejecting it. James Niceta accompanied Saul to Damascus to help bring back the two Gentiles, but there was tension between them. Now, as Saul was changing his views, he began to co-operate with James Niceta. Matthew's plan was having a very good effect.
Saul would not complete his initiation process until September, when he turned 23. One of the passages apparently repeating his conversion story, Acts 22:4-21, actually relates what happened in September 40 AD. Jesus was again present in Damascus, both to participate in Saul's initiation and to effect his own change of base. Simon Magus as Ananias, previously his superior, had succumbed to Jesus' pressure to release him from the monastery and let him join the different, more open system of the abbey. Simon released him graciously.
The second stage of the ceremony was held in Jerusalem, when Saul brought Jesus into Agrippa's house and synagogue on Mount Zion. In return, Saul had agreed to abandon his nationalism and devote himself to mission to uncircumcised Gentiles as a servant of Jesus. He would begin training for mission to the men of Dan, individual celibates in the divisions of Shem, Ham and Japheth in the Noah initiating drama. One of the honorary roles of the young Agrippa II when he reached the age of 12 was to be the "Noah", for all Gentiles. Saul as his tutor would encourage the prince's interest in such work.
In Jerusalem Saul had to vindicate his own changes, from his earlier opposition to Jonathan Annas to his warm support for Matthew Annas. Jesus had a more difficult time with Agrippa, who knew well what hostility Jesus must have for him because of the murder of his father. Jesus advised Saul that they should both continue working, but in Diaspora places. Saul, having completed his ceremonies, went to Arabia, to Petra, where there was a meeting place for men of the division of Shem. He began study of their languages and ways in preparation for becoming their teacher.
Jesus did not leave Damascus alone. He took with him his brothers, who were collectively called the Princes of Judah. James had joined the Damascus Pharisees in AD 38, but he too was now prepared to come over to Matthew Annas and consequently admit that his older brother was the legitimate David. Barnabas-Joses also held Sadducee views, and although retaining sympathy for the Magian form of discipline saw that the ways of peace were better served by leaving the Damascus militants. The younger brothers Jude and Simon followed. A date is given for this event by the Clementine source, which says that James became a bishop in Jerusalem 7 years from the crucifixion, in 40 AD. Once he reached Jerusalem James was put in charge of Gentile worship in the synagogue on Mount Zion.
The Damascus lay members with the greatest hostility to Agrippa did not take their departure lightly. For them it was a defection to the other side, a reversal from anti-royalist to royalist. They wrote a furious passage in their Damascus Document, applying a scriptural verse to them. "The Princes of Judah have become like those who remove a boundary stone; Wrath (that is Rome) shall be poured out upon them" They went on, "They are all of them rebellious, for they have not departed from the way of traitors but have wallowed in the ways of fornication and of evil wealth". A diatribe about their sins followed, emphasizing the belief that they had acted "for the sake of wealth and gain". (CD 8:3-7).
On January 24, AD 41, the emperor Gaius Cailgula was assassinated. Although he had been popular at the outset of his reign, as the son of a hero and a youthful charmer in contrast with the dour Tiberius, an illness in his second year was blamed for a such a loss of rationality that he really believed he was divine. For the sake of the empire, all honorable men came together in a plot to murder him, the only way to get rid of a tyrant. On his way from the theatre he was trapped in a narrow alley and repeatedly stabbed. Josephus from his sources gives a blow-by-blow description. He was struck by one man and brought to his knees, then confronted by another, who pushed him to the ground. "Here a number of assailants encircled Gaius and at a single word of encouragement struck at him with their swords, cheering one another on and competing too. Finally….(another man) delivered a blow that unquestionably dispatched him." (Josephus, Antiquities 19,110)).
The assassination of Caligula in Rome would have set the pattern for the assassination of his protégé Agrippa I three years later. Both met criticism by claiming to be godlike, above the law. Agrippa had gained his position by courting Caligula, and although at his death he turned to court Claudius, his close friendship with Caligula was neither forgotten nor forgiven.
It was during the year 43 AD that Agrippa's instability became apparent, taking his country through political changes that were disastrous for the mission, so preparing for his punishment at their hands the following year.
Claudius had become emperor in January 41AD following the assassination of Caligula. His acceptance of the position despite his shrinking nature - he was called an "addlepate" by some - was partly due to the initiative of Agrippa, as Josephus takes pleasure in reporting (Josephus, Antiquities 19,236). Agrippa, in Rome at the time of Caligula's murder, had paid honor to the corpse of his previous benefactor, then played a part in the manoeuvres that brought Claudius to the throne. As a reward, Claudius confirmed Agrippa in his rule, and added to his dominions the southern parts of the country. Agrippa was sent back to take charge of his kingdom "with more splendid honors than before". He consequently felt free to do whatever he wanted in order to glorify himself further.
Between 41 and 43 he kept a balance between Roman and national interests. Matthew Annas, the strongest of the Annas brothers, who had exercised such unifying influence on the mission during the year 40, was appointed high priest in the Jerusalem temple in late 41. He used his position to encourage further the outreach to the Diaspora and to Gentiles. A member of Agrippa's court, he maintained close contact with Jesus, who as the legitimate David was his "son", the patriarch to Gentiles.
Saul, now personally devoted to Jesus since he had met him, continued his preparations to be a missionary to Gentiles, spending some time in Petra in Arabia to study the order of Shem. In March of 43 he was ready to begin the six months before becoming a lay bishop at the age of 26. As he had been initiated in Damascus, he returned there for the preliminary ceremony at the March equinox in 43. Jesus, his superior, came with him to perform the ceremony.
Agrippa had a brother, also called Herod, to whom he had given the kingdom of Chalcis in the north of the country. He had also given him his daughter Bernice, who at the age of 15 was widowed, and was forced by her father to marry her uncle. Herod of Chalcis made considerable demands on his brother, attempting to use him in order to build up a Herodian kingdom in the east that would at least counterbalance Rome. By the autumn of 43 AD Chalcis had rallied to his eastern league the kings of Commagene, Emesa, and Armenia Minor in the north-east, as well as the king of Pontus in the north-west. On one occasion he arranged a meeting of all of them with Agrippa in Tiberias. The meeting intensified the suspicions of Marsus, who had been appointed Roman governor of Syria the previous year.
Marsus had already found it expedient to write to Claudius Caesar about Agrippa's fortifying the walls of Jerusalem, increasing their breadth and height. Claudius suspected revolution and wrote a letter requesting Agrippa to desist. At that stage Agrippa obeyed. But in September 43 at the gathering of eastern potentates Marsus "took it for granted that a meeting of minds among so many chiefs of state was prejudicial to Roman interests". He broke up the meeting, sending the kings back to their own countries.
In response, Agrippa felt "very much hurt, and henceforth was at odds with Marsus". The action he immediately took was decisive for the subsequent history, his own and that of the mission. He deprived Matthew Annas of the high priesthood and appointed a Pharisee with more nationalist views in his place.
Although Josephus with his usual admiration of Agrippa implied that the eastern alliance was not of his making, the mission leaders had no such illusions. Early in 43AD Matthew saw that his own position was at risk, and with it the peaceful pro-Gentile policies that he had done so much to strengthen.
On Friday March 8, AD 43 Jesus and Saul were again present in Damascus for the ceremony 6 months before Saul became a lay bishop. They were there because custom required that each promotion should take place in the same monastery. The attached abbey section under the control of Therapeuts was said to be "in the street called Straight" and was still under Theudas, who had been given the title Judas when he substituted for Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper. Saul was to have his ceremony there, with Jesus also as an abbey bishop.
Jesus was still maintaining his personal friendship with Simon Magus-Ananias, and visited him in the monastery section. They there discussed the promotion of Saul. Simon pointed out that Jonathan Annas was very hostile to him, and that Saul had even expressed disapproval of Barnabas the brother of Jesus for his preference for the monastic way of life. Jesus now told Simon that he himself belonged to Agrippa's court and that he saw Saul, always loyal to Agrippa, as a man of talent who would be an asset to the mission, especially in his position of tutor to the Herod prince. Simon went through with the promotion ceremony of Saul on Jesus' advice.
At the same time Jesus himself underwent a ceremony committing him to the abbey style of life. One reason for it was his personal circumstances, that he was preparing to renew his marriage. The other was that it would bring him into closer fellowship with Matthew Annas. That would at the same time mean that he was openly a member of Agrippa's court.
The buildings at Qumran were to become the meeting place for the mission leaders who were concerned about Agrippa. It had a long tradition as a center of opposition to reigning powers. By the desolate shore of the Dead Sea, with no easy access to food or water, it was thought of as outside city life - even though only 25 miles from Jerusalem - and too difficult for government forces to control. Jericho, 8 miles to the north, was a more civilized place, where Herod the Great had had one of his palaces. When a plan to poison Herod the Great using an Egyptian substance was discovered, it was very likely that it came through Qumran and Ain Feshkha, a meeting place of Egyptian Therapeuts who had knowledge of poisons. The final agonizing death of Herod at Jericho may well have been managed from the same source.
For those who now suspected Agrippa of preparing to damage the stability of the country, Qumran and Ain Feshkha offered a retreat for sharing their concerns. The monastic section of Qumran had been a Gentile monastery led by John Mark since AD 37. John Mark, a long-time enemy of Agrippa, was willing to give the conspirators hospitality.
On March 1 Peter had begun to form his decision to call a public meeting against the monarch. He saw Qumran as a suitable place to discuss his plan, together with James, who was similarly becoming restless, regretting his decision to leave Damascus with the Princes of Judah. Since their opposition to Agrippa had not yet firmed, they invited Saul, close to the inner circles of the court, to tell them more about Agrippa's attitudes and movements. This was the occasion referred to by Paul in Galatians 1:18-19, when he "went up to Jerusalem", in the plural form, to see Cephas and James. Saul stayed "15 days", which in the chronological language meant Day 15, a term for the occurrence of the 29th in the intercalated position that was in operation in 43 AD. It means Sunday March 24. On that day Saul came to Qumran to meet with them again, then went on by horse for another visit to Damascus, where he was present on Tuesday March 26, the intercalated 31st.
Jesus had been at Damascus on Monday March 25, and had antagonized Herod of Chalcis, a Pharisee who did not accept Jesus as the legitimate David. Chalcis, opposed to Saul also for royalist views, set about physically expelling both Jesus and Saul. They were forced to leave by a secret route at night, let down over the high walls of the monastery with the assistance of James Niceta. On the plain below horses were waiting, and the three of them rode down the east side of Jordan to the Jericho crossing, then down to Qumran, where they picked up John Mark, left the horses, and took the ascetics' slow route, walking to Jerusalem through the wilderness.
By March 29 the leaders in Jerusalem had travelled to Qumran, increasing their determination to act against Agrippa. Matthew Annas came to the council there, and with him Jesus. From Damascus, Simon Magus joined them, agreeing that the Agrippa matter took priority over the now quiescent matter of their attitudes to Rome. In this situation Matthew was forced into an alliance with Simon Magus.
In the course of the activity during the month it had become clear that Saul was unswervingly loyal to Agrippa and the Herodian monarchy, and moreover was so close to the inner circles of the court that he could reveal their plan. He should not be told of the plot and should be removed out of the way.
The monastery at Tarsus in Cilicia had been under Atomus the pro-Herod Magus since 37 AD. Saul had begun his studies there, and was now, in 43 AD, ready for the year's further study that would convert his lay bishop status to that of levitical bishop, one who had the "holy spirit" (pneuma hagion). His studies would give a convenient cover if he was taken away to Tarsus at this dangerous political juncture. Barnabas as a celibate had authority to send a letter authorising his admission, and he with James brought Saul to the Caesarea abbey, then sent him on his way to Tarsus. As Paul himself said, omitting much of the activity during March, "then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia" (Galatians 1:21).
The meetings at Lydda and Joppa
On Friday April 12 another secret meeting of the conspirators was held at Lydda. The Princes of Judah when they defected from Damascus had come to Jerusalem, to Mount Zion. But Lydda, nearer to the sea coast, was in the area that had been taken up by the original monastic Essenes when they separated from the militants at Qumran in 6 AD. Josephus reports the later activity of John the Essene in the districts of Lydda, Joppa, and the literal Emmaus (Josephus, Wars of the Jews 2,567 War 2, 567). Lydda was an outpost of the new monastery, another building that could be used by rebels against the regime.
Herod of Chalcis had become aware during the previous fortnight that the Princes of Judah, including Jesus, were changing their mind about Agrippa, and he joined them at Lydda. James and Barnabas were present. James was introduced under the name that had expressed his change of commitment to Damascus, "Aeneas", a pagan name that he had adopted in the service of the Jason Magian mission.
Peter was also present at the meeting as the protégé of Matthew. As the scrupulous Simon of Jerusalem, he had come to object so strongly to Agrippa's high-handedness that he had now called the public meeting against him that Josephus records. The meeting would have helped precipitate the change that led to the conference at Lydda.
The recurring tensions between Jesus and James had to be solved if they were to work together. It was necessary to settle the question of whether Jesus or James was the legitimate David, implying the question of whether Matthew's Sadducee politics or Chalcis' Pharisee politics were to prevail. Peter, acting for Matthew, took the lead in confronting James with Jesus, obtaining an admission that Jesus was indeed the Christ. Apollos, Matthew's deputy abbot, similarly endorsed Jesus.
A personal event for Jesus was again helping to determine events. In June 43 it would be 6 years from the birth of Jesus Justus, and according to the dynastic rule Jesus and Mary Magdalene should again meet for the conception of another child. Three months earlier, in March, both began their preparations. One of Jesus' reasons for coming to Jerusalem had been to receive formal permission from Matthew. It was given to him in the presence of John Mark, who had been brought from Qumran for the purpose. As the "eunuch" in the marriage, he was to convey the message to Mary Magdalene that her marriage to the potential David king was to continue.
Mary had been brought from Jerusalem to Lydda and was residing in the female building attached to the male quarters. It was given the name Sharon because her role was that of Rose of Sharon , a title of the bride of the David. In the liturgy for the marriages of the Davids preserved in the Song of Solomon, the bride said, "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys" (Song of Solomon 2:1) The word "rose" was Rhoda in Greek. The chief convent of women under the authority of Mary Magdalene was located on the island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean, and the name Rhoda was also used for her.
Joppa, on the coast 15 kilometers to the north-west of Lydda, was a center for the women of Little Dan, at the level of widows. The ancient tribe of Dan had occupied two areas, one around Caesarea Philippi in the mountains of the north-east, the other around Joppa. The former was now called Great Dan - mega- Dan or Magadan, a word that gave Magdalene - the latter Little Dan. Mary Magdalene as the bride of the Great One, the David, was called after Magadan, but when during the marriage she was acting as a Sister, she was reduced to the level of Little Dan in Joppa. A Sister was for much of the time sexually separate from her dynast husband, so was like a widow and classed with widows. In preparation for the reunion she was brought by Peter, the representative of Jesus in the outside world, from Lydda to Joppa. They travelled on horseback, taking one hour for the journey.
As the couple had not met for six years, a period of three months was allowed for a renewed courting. Jesus also was present at Joppa on the last day of the March-April season, having travelled separately. Their physical union took place in early June. Simon Magus, who had performed their wedding in September AD 30, authorised their meeting.
The literal widow in charge of the Joppa convent was Mary the mother of Jesus, her pseudonym Tabitha or Dorcas. She had been widowed in AD 23, when her husband Joseph had suffered a politically motivated death. She presided over the reunions of the dynasts with their wives in the order of Dan. Mary the mother of all the Princes of Judah had been closer to James than to Jesus. She had always been aware of her own sin in the pre-nuptial conception of Jesus, and when under Pharisee domination regarded James as the legitimate heir rather than Jesus. The story of her "death" and "revival" in Acts 9:36-42 - another of the unbelievable miracles that cover important stages in the history - recorded a parallel event to that of the change by Aeneas-James in Lydda (Acts 9:32-35), accepting under Peter's persuasion that Jesus, a political asset to all of them, was the legitimate David.
The work of a widow in the ascetic movement was to sew the beautiful vestments worn by the priests. The blue threading on the linen scroll wrappers found in the caves was done by careful handicraft. It is shown in the Joppa story that cloaks were embroidered. Mary Mother supervised these tasks.
Another woman who was present at Joppa was Bernice the daughter of Agrippa, who at the age of 15 ½ was betrothed to her uncle Herod of Chalcis. She was literally a widow, for she had already been married for political purposes, and her husband Marcus the son of Alexander the alabarch had died. (Josephus, Antiquities 19, 277) .
June AD 43
Agrippa's overtures to the conspirators
Josephus, Antiquities 19,332-334
Agrippa resided usually in Caesarea, the center of Roman authority, where the Sadducee abbey under Matthew formed part of his house. Peter the chief pilgrim attended the abbey, now more advanced in his studies. Agrippa had a good relationship with Romans posted to the city, especially with those who had been attracted to the ascetics' version of Judaism. He particularly encouraged the Noah imagery, which permitted Gentiles to retain their own ethnic identity, classed according to Genesis belief in the three great divisions of humanity, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
The head of Japheth at this time was a man called Cornelius, who would adopt the new name Lucius, or Luke. He appeared in a subsequent letter of Claudius Caesar as a distinguished Roman who was in sympathy with the Herodian monarchy (Josephus, Antiquities 20,14). He was called a "centurion", the leader of 100 men in Roman military organization, because Gentiles like him, individual celibates, followed the Essene structures, meeting in councils of 100. They could use military imagery as Sadducees engaged in spiritual warfare, fought by evangelism not by force of arms. Since Gentile members came from the Therapeuts, Luke-Cornelius had studied the healing arts, and could act as a physician. His brilliant intellect would find companionship with Jesus, to whom he acted as physician, and the two together became responsible for Luke's gospel and the history of Acts.
By June of 43 AD, following the news of Peter's calling a public meeting against him, Agrippa had become aware of the need for appeasing the ascetics, particularly Jesus, on whom he had relied for popularity with Gentiles. He was informed in June that Jesus was present at Joppa for the renewal of his marriage, and that Peter, his outside representative, was with him. Agrippa decided to invite them to Caesarea for a meeting on the Day of Pentecost, the version of it that fell prior to the solstice, on Sunday June 9.
As monarch, Agrippa observed protocol by working through servants. Cornelius-Luke could be trusted with the delicate task of communicating with Jesus. He was sent by Agrippa into the abbey, to speak to the abbot Matthew Annas.
The hierarchy in a Sadducee abbey that admitted Gentiles consisted of the abbot, grade 1, the deputy abbot grade 2, the chief Gentile proselyte, a grade 3 archbishop, and the chief uncircumcised Gentile, grade 4, a bishop. These roles in the Caesarea abbey were filled respectively by Matthew, Apollos, Thomas Herod (brought to total celibacy by Matthew), and James Niceta.
Luke conveyed to Matthew the instruction of Agrippa to send men to Joppa with his invitation. To invite Jesus, Matthew himself came with them . He was the one who had been most influential in bringing Jesus into constructive contact with the different factions in the mission. With him, the deputy abbot Apollos and his subordinate Thomas would persuade Peter.
At 3.05 pm on Wednesday June 5 the three set out. They were to walk according to the ascetic rule for men who professed poverty, covering the 48 kilometers from Caesarea to Joppa in 24 hours by using the well made coast road.
In chapter 10 of Acts, for which Luke was mainly responsible, very precise details of time are given for those who understood the calendar. As it was the account of Luke's first meeting with Jesus and the beginning of his new life, he took especial care over it. Its detail is one of the main sources for understanding the calendar.
On Thursday June 6 at noon Peter was preparing for the noon meal of the company at Joppa. The building, a marriage house like Ain Feshkha, had the same shape,
The place of Peter as a servant of Jesus was on row 10, the south side of the table, the row reached after climbing the steps. He began climbing at the first step at noon precisely, and at 12.03 pm reached his seat on row 10. At the marriage houses that were also the exclusion places of monastics, the monastic noon meal was retained according to custom, as the first meal of the day. It was the meal at which sacred loaves were eaten, although at the marriage house loaves of lesser grade were used. For the members of abbeys, who had received wine as a sign of their full initiation, it was permissible also to have fermented wine at the noon meal, but sipped only as a token of membership, not as a full drink. At 12.05 Peter was ready to begin his meal.
It was the duty of a bishop to supply the tablecloth for the table. Its function and emblems had great significance for the mission. As Peter waited to begin his meal, Jesus on the floor above revealed his presence. The hatch was opened and from row 7 Jesus let down the tablecloth. Its emblems had a symbolism that Peter at first resisted, for they meant accepting the "unclean" practices of Agrippa. At each successive hour, 1 and 2 pm, Jesus repeated his direction to Peter, saying that it was Matthew Annas' will that Peter should be less scrupulous about the rules of uncleanness that Agrippa had broken. At 3 pm the meal ended and the cloth was taken back to the group on the upper floor, who included Chalcis and Simon Magus together with Jesus, as all formed an anti-Agrippa faction at that time.
At 3.05 pm Matthew, Apollos and Thomas arrived after their 24 hour walk from Caesarea. Jesus at once expressed his agreement to go with Peter his representative to accept the invitation of Agrippa.
The next day, Friday June 7 at noon, the party set out for Caesarea. They included Jesus with Matthew, and Apollos and Thomas with Peter. By 3 pm on Friday they had arrived at the Essene monastery that stood 3 hours north of Joppa. Its name is not given, but its presence is indicated by a detail in Acts 10:9, that Apollos had arrived there on his way south 3 hours before his arrival in Joppa. It was the monastery to which the monastic Essenes had moved at their separation from the militants. The Joppa house was the equivalent of Ain Feshkha, 3 hours south of the monastery.
From Friday at 3 pm it was forbidden by Essenes to walk any distance, as had been illustrated on Good Friday when the burial caves within the sabbath limit were used. The party stayed at the monastery for 24 hours until Saturday at 3 pm when the restriction was lifted. They still had 21 hours of their 24 hour journey to go. They walked continuously, without sleeping, until Sunday at noon, when they arrived at the Caesarea abbey of Agrippa.
Josephus, always an admirer of the royal Herods, records the reconciliation of Peter with Agrippa as an illustration of the king's charm. "A native of Jerusalem named Simon with a reputation for religious scrupulousness assembled the people in a public meeting at a time when the king was absent in Caesarea, and had the audacity to denounce him as unclean…The king sent for him, and, since he was sitting in the theatre at the time, bade Simon sit down beside him. 'Tell me', he then said quietly and gently, 'what is contrary to the law in what is going on here?' Simon having nothing to say, begged pardon. Thereupon the king was reconciled to him more quickly than one would have expected, for he considered mildness a more royal trait than passion, and was convinced that considerate behaviour is more becoming in the great than wrath. He therefore even presented a gift to Simon before dismissing him." (Josephus, Antiquities 19,332-334).
Luke-Cornelius received the travelers, and in an apparent repetition of the original message to him by the "angel" explained that the previous Wednesday it had been Agrippa himself, in a royal garment, who had deputed him to contact Matthew to ask him to manage the visit.
A speech of Peter given at 3.05 pm is quoted. It reads strangely, its Greek syntax unnatural, with short phrases omitting "and", substituting participles and infinitives for full verbs. It is to be suspected that it is something of a sendup of Peter's pesher style, illustrated in Mark's gospel, which he authorised. That gospel is difficult to work on, introducing unnecessary obscurities that do not always give useful information as the pesher should do.
When Peter's speech is unravelled, it concerns the new appointments that were to be made, in the light of the fact that the young prince who would become Agrippa II was about to have his 16th birthday, in September AD 43. In June he was being prepared for it, made an abbey student under the care of the abbot, Matthew Annas. He would leave at the June solstice and travel with Matthew to Ephesus, where he would celebrate his birthday, then go on to Rome, reaching it in December.
At 4 pm, the hour for teaching Gentiles, the young Agrippa II was being taught by Jesus, "the Word", given the teaching that Gentiles were of equal value with Jews. The abbot Matthew Annas was present and embraced the young man, receiving him as a student in the abbey system. His father Agrippa I was present, ensuring that he was given his first title on approaching his adulthood. He was appointed the "Noah" to the Herodian mission to Gentiles that had its base in Rome. In this position he would be served by Peter, who would perform the actual drama of Noah's ark. Peter was to go to Rome a year later, when he had finished his own studies, to take up the position. Peter in his epistle showed a particular awareness of the Noah imagery, speaking of those who were "saved by water", Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. (1 Peter 3:20).
In the same ceremony Apollos was being appointed as the Chief Therapeut and deputy abbot in Agrippa's house in place of Theudas, who had stayed with the Magians. They were thus rivals in the same position, Apollos holding Sadducee views, Theudas reverting to his views as Saddok the Pharisee. Agrippa, still aware of the discontent in his own court, was reluctant to baptize Apollos himself, but Matthew Annas performed the ceremony for his deputy, ensuring that the doctrine he professed used the name Jesus Christ.
Growing tensions at the June solstice
The solstices and equinoxes were always the times for the major councils, when earlier decisions would be ratified and promotions completed. Following the north lunisolar intercalation from Night to Day in June 43, the 31st fell on Tuesday June 25. The day before, Monday June 24, was the 30th, when lesser promotions were made. In Joppa on that day there was another episode of a meal in which a tablecloth was let down. Its description varied in its details from the previous one, showing that this was a different occasion.
At noon on Sunday June 23, the solar 29th, the ministers from the Caesarea abbey had set out to go to Jerusalem for the solstice council. For the ascetics walking on the good roads, it would take 2 days, 48 hours, for it was 48 kilometers from Caesarea to Joppa, so 24 hours; and another 48 kilometers from Joppa to Jerusalem. On Monday June 24 at noon they arrived at Joppa, ready for a noon meal of the same kind as had been held earlier in the month.
The account of what happened in Joppa on the Monday was being given by Peter after he reached Jerusalem the following day. In speech, events in the past could be referred to, although in straight narrative all events are strictly successive. His speech illustrates further his convoluted style, with "boxes within boxes".
The party set out from Joppa on the Monday at 3.05 pm and after 24 hours arrived at the synagogue at the Essene Gate in Jerusalem on Tuesday June 25 at 3.05 pm. At this same hour, according to Acts 11:1a, John Mark and Brother James were at Qumran, "Judea", observing the same significant day with a rival council. In Jerusalem, the young prince, who was to be given the Essene Gate property on reaching maturity, received Jesus to instruct him, in Jesus's outside role as "the Word of God". At 3.30 Peter attended a further meeting in the synagogue, and this time was attacked by Agrippa I, who was again becoming suspicious about the loyalty of his courtiers. Agrippa accused Peter of complicity with Apollos, whose duties included oversight of uncircumcised Gentiles represented by James Niceta.
At the end of Peter's speech in his defence Agrippa made his move, acting on his suspicions of Matthew. He announced that he would remove him from the temple high priesthood, reducing him to the status of a bishop only. But he kept his word to place Matthew as simply a bishop in charge of the prince's instruction.
At the end of the season Matthew with the young prince left for the three months' sea journey to Ephesus .
The crisis of September 43, leading to the separation of the Christian Church
By September 43 AD Agrippa had been influenced by his brother Herod of Chalcis to become nationalist and Pharisee again. The alliance of eastern potentates had convnced themselves that under the indecisive emperor Claudius they had every chance of building up an eastern empire that would rival or even overcome Rome.
In the homeland the mission's influence in bridging the hostility of Jews and Gentiles was no longer encouraged. It became apparent to the leaders that Agrippa was such a danger to the mission's work that it would have to operate from outside centers, working in the western Diaspora. The possibility of the removal of Agrippa and the accession of the young prince was foreseen. Both the anti-royalist Magians and the pro-royalist but anti-Agrippa party of Matthew were preparing to come together to take the kind of action that had become necessary in the final insane days of Herod the Great. As the Magians were already in exile in Damascus, outside the limits of Judea, the party of Matthew would have to go into exile, taking their property and council center outside the country.
When Matthew was dismissed as high priest, he was in a parallel situation to that of his brother Jonathan when he was dismissed in 37 AD. He took similar action, adopting the name Stephen to mean that he was an Annas priest who did not need a Herod, and establishing a Diaspora party that did not look to the homeland.
The Herods owned houses in both the homeland and the main cities of the Diaspora. One of them was in Antioch. It had regular correspondence with Rome, as it was the seat of the Roman governor of Syria, superior of the procurator of Judea. Marsus, now antagonistic to Agrippa, was based there. When the young prince was sent to Rome for his education the house was assigned to him. Matthew had succeeded in obtaining his consent for his ministers to staff the abbey that was normally attached to a Herodian house as its place of worship.
While Matthew was in Ephesus in September, his deputy abbot Apollos organized the removal of property to Antioch. Its outlying centers for Gentiles, already in operation as part of the Diaspora mission, transferred their attendance at main councils to Antioch. They included Cyprus, which had long been established as the mission center for Dan monastic Gentiles, while Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia housed the married Gentiles of Asher.
Jesus himself was given a place in the Antioch hierarchy, while retaining a place in the Jerusalem synagogue at the Essene Gate. This was also the case with Matthew, who was still trying to perform his ecumenical role, keeping all factions together as far as possible. Both outside parties, Magians and Matthew's Sadducees, believed that Jesus was the legitimate David and had the hereditary right to be superior of Gentiles. Thomas Herod was the head of proselytes under him, and remained obedient to Matthew.
Under these leaders, the working missionaries to Gentiles continued. They dated the new foundation in Antioch from September 1, AD 43.
The date was also that of the official 16th birthday of the young Agrippa, celebrated in Ephesus on his way to Rome. Chapter 10 of the Book of Revelation gives in the guise of visions the events of this occasion. It was written by James Niceta, who became the author of the earliest section of Revelation. He was present in Ephesus as the servant of Matthew. The prince was given his white garment as an abbey student, and so was presented as an "angel" in the story.
The occasion was being used for a big step in the composition of the gospels. John's gospel was in existence, the product of Jesus with John Mark and Philip. It was called "the little book" (biblaridion), and a copy of it was presented to the prince for his birthday. At the time of its writing between AD 33 and 37, Jesus had been with the Magians against Agrippa, and so had given prominence to Simon Magus under the name Lazarus. Jesus was now with Matthew in the royal house, and a split with anti-Rome Damascus was imminent once the question of Agrippa was resolved. These changes indicated the need for a gospel with a different emphasis.
Matthew was encouraging the translation into Greek of the group of sayings called the Logia, now recognized by scholars as the document they call Q. The word is used in Acts 7:38, showing that it was in existence at the beginning of the century. Many of the sayings in it were those given to Gentiles by Hillel and his successors, containing wisdom without dogmatic Jewish content. They could be attributed to any teacher, and were eventually attributed to Jesus.
James Niceta of the Asher Gentiles was antagonistic to the monastic kind, and had been made the Chief Gentile in place of John Mark in a way that is admitted in the pesher of John's Gospel. His denunciations in Revelation of the Magus as Beast 666 and of monastic proselytes under Thomas as "Sodom" flowed on to John Mark and Philip. James Niceta, encouraged by Matthew, saw the need to compose a different gospel, by translating the Hebrew Logia and adding to them. He introduced Matthew as Thunder 7 ("7 thunders"), for the Annas Sadducee priests could be called Thunder as opposed to the Magus, who was called Lightning. Hence James and John as servants of Matthew were called "Sons of Thunder", Boanerges, in Mark 3:17. .
James Niceta began his work in September in Ephesus when "Thunder 7 sounded" (Revelation 10:4). But then a voice "came from Heaven", forbidding him. "Seal up what the 7 thunders have said, and do not write it down". In other words he received an order transmitted from Agrippa I, the Zadokite claimant to be "Heaven", that he was not to proceed. But subsequently, after Agrippa's assassination, he did continue, and the Gospel of Matthew in Greek was finished by 49 AD.
In the interim, there had to be another gospel, for the Christian Gentiles now read their new scripture at their meetings, as Jesus had intended when he composed John's Gospel. When his writing had been banned, James Niceta received further advice, to take the copy of John's Gospel out of the prince's hand, and to eat it."It will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey to your mouth". The profound spiritual truths given in John's Gospel should be preserved, not abandoned, even though they came from the party that practiced "bitterness", use of their knowledge of poisons for political purposes. As a result, James Niceta took over John's Gospel, re-assigning its authorship to his party. The name John was applied to John Aquila his brother. This claim was believed in the Church, with the effect that in Eusebius' account of the order of writing of the gospels John's gospel is placed last, after the rest. It is for this reason that the valuable early history in John's Gospel has been disregarded.
At the September equinox, at the more traditional date for his birthday, the prince "turned to the Lord", as is given in Acts 11:21. Jesus was not present in Ephesus, but James Niceta had followed advice, instructed the prince in the truths of John's Gospel, and given him Christian initiation. Much later in Acts 26:28, the prince, as now Agrippa II, appeared to speak of becoming a Christian, but he had in fact been a baptized Christian all his adult life, and was at the later date making a choice between two Christian parties. The conversion of the prince was a primary event for the success of the Christian version of the doctrine.
By December 43 , the prince had reached Rome to begin his studies, following the tradition established by Herod the Great that all Herod princes were educated in Rome. He lived at his father's house called "Tavern 3", or "the Vineyard", because it was used to give hospitality to Romans.
Matthew and James Niceta returned to the homeland. On December 1 they were at the Essene Gate synagogue, which Jesus and Apollos were visiting. There they found that the anti-Agrippa attitudes of Barnabas the brother of Jesus, part of the Lydda faction, were causing them embarrassment, and Apollos sent him to join the outside community in Antioch. With him went John Mark, head of the Gentile monastics at Qumran, for Qumran had come under Agrippa's attention as a center of conspiracy against him. Barnabas and John Mark had an enduring alliance that would begin Christian monasteries practicing a permanent commitment to the enclosed life.
There now came into the picture a new Herod, called Aristobulus. He was the son of Herod of Chalcis from his first marriage, and was naturally found at Antioch at the council for all northern territories including Chalcis. He, however, held Sadducee pro-Roman views against the Pharisee nationalism of his father.
Aristobulus, who would appear in Romans 16:10 in the list of members of the Herodian royal house in Rome, had married the woman whose real name was Salome, not the same as Helena who used the pseudonym Salome. She was the product of the unhappy marriage of the homosexual Thomas Herod with his relative Herodias, a marriage that had been arranged for them in childhood by Herod the Great. Salome had first been married to another Herod, the tetrarch Philip, but when he died in AD 34 she married Aristobulus, for Herodian marriages by social convention were arranged within the family. They had three sons, of whom the first was again called Herod, born in September AD 36. As all Herod princes did, he came under the tuition of Paul, becoming to him his "son Timothy".
In the political crisis of AD 43-44, Aristobulus chose the side endorsed by the Christians. Encountering the Sadducee Barnabas in Antioch, he was persuaded that Jesus was the true David and his teaching to Gentiles worthy. Aristobulus was now recognized in Antioch as the third Herod in place of his father, and would continue in that role for the remainder of the Acts period.
The Salome who appears in the gospels was Helena the mistress of Simon Magus, taking her title from the great queen Salome of the past who had founded the female order of Asher. Helena had been the "Sarah" of the mission, to the Pope as its "Abraham", but in the gulf that was now widening between the anti-Agrippa conspirators, she could not retain the respect of her erstwhile "sons", James Niceta and John Aquila. The influential James Niceta now turned to the real Salome, as another "Sarah" head of his order. Each of the offices in the original mission was now being reproduced as the split between Damascus and the west was in preparation.
It was clear that a new identity for the mission was appearing, with the consequence that a new name must be chosen for the Gentile membership. They had strong political reasons for not preserving the Jewish identity, which would mean endorsing the attitudes that would make them traitors to their own Gentile culture. For Peter, James Niceta, and John Aquila, the name "Christian" was seen to be appropriate. Peter used the term in his epistle written soon after this choice (1 Peter 4:16). The name was seen to be appropriate because to Peter it meant that Jesus was only the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, and was not an independent high priest as Jesus himself had claimed to be. That had been Peter's meaning when he said to Jesus just before the Transfiguration "You are the Christ" (Mark 8:29). There should be, according to Peter, the traditional pattern of two Messiahs, (1Qsa 2:11-15). The priestly Messiah should be the Annas priest, now Matthew Annas, who with his wisdom fulfilled the role to perfection. He would retain the connections with liberal Judaism, not making the total break that Jesus had wanted.
Jesus had known of Peter's intention while he was in Jerusalem at the beginning of the month. He saw the value of the new name, but wanted to move beyond it. He knew that Saul, now in Tarsus, had become so radical out of devotion to him that he would believe that Jesus could combine both messianic roles. Saul as a former Pharisee had in any case not respected Sadducee priests, having a particular antipathy to Jonathan Annas. He had been personally drawn by Matthew, but not in terms of endorsing one or another of the priestly parties. He was also an official tutor of Agrippa II, and had a right to be in his Antioch house. It would help Matthew's unifying project if Saul was brought to Antioch, and at the same time he would introduce sufficient diversity into the new formation.
Jesus had travelled from Jerusalem to Tarsus to persuade Saul to come, and he arrived with him at Antioch on the solar 31st, Tuesday December 24, AD 43. At the great council meeting held on that day the motion was put and carried that the new Gentile party should declare its independent existence, with its new name. It would follow the Julian calendar, while observing also the solar calendar with its 31sts. In that year, the solstice 31st after the north solar intercalation fell on December 24, which would be observed as a Christian feast. The Christian Church would establish itself legally on January 1, AD 44.
For Herodians like Saul, January 1 AD 44 could also be called Year 14, for a new dating for Agrippa I had been declared on January 1, AD 30. In Galatians 2:1 "14 years" means "Year 14".
The new party had an independent financial structure, but it was not acceptable to Thomas Herod, who was now with them through Matthew, that they should have no further financial dealings with the proselyte sector that had originally come under the heading "Gentiles". Thomas held the property of that class, and believed it should be merged with the property of the Christians. James the brother of Jesus, agreeing with their political stance, was still based at Qumran. If he was cut off financially he would not have enough resources to continue the work of mission among the proselyte class.
James still taught much that was traditional, such as the centrality of the Day of Atonement and the necessity of repeated annual acts of atonement. Penances and merit gained by good works were part of his discipline. Under the advice of Matthew and Apollos his doctrine was accepted in Antioch, and it came to be recognized as Jewish Christian.
On January 1, AD 44, a group of delegates set out for Qumran to ensure continuing good relations with James. Paul's account of it is given in Galatians. The issue that had to be resolved was whether the practice of circumcision, which stood for the adoption of Jewish identity, was acceptable to Christian Gentiles. Peter, James and John still wanted a Sadducee priest at the head of the mission, and this implied retention of some Jewish identity. It was agreed that there should be two branches, working in co-operation. Peter, James and John would go to those Gentiles who were still friendly to Jewish ideals. While not requiring circumcision itself, they were defined as being on that side of the fence. Theirs was the more conservative view that still permitted some continuity with the past.
Not all Gentiles held such opinions. Some saw themselves as beyond the need for a Jewish identity, for different reasons. One opinion was that of Barnabas, who in the secluded monastic system held that he and other celibate Gentiles were above matters of politics. Another was that of Titus-Marsyas, the former friend of Agrippa I who would also serve the next Agrippa, holding the wider view that Rome was the center of culture. The third was that of Saul, who held that they should become Roman citizens and that loyalty to Rome should take priority over Jewish concerns. The peaceable reign of Claudius had made such attitudes acceptable. These three, from their different perspectives, were classed as the mission to the uncircumcision, not required to raise any Jewish questions with the Gentiles they taught.
The way was now clear for the missionaries to turn their eyes from Antioch to the wider world. All would be well, once Agrippa's danger was dealt with and they could go ahead with a universal doctrine that made no significant difference between Jew and Gentile.
MARCH, 44 AD
The Christian party had been evolving gradually out of the warring factions in the mission that had arisen since Agrippa I set about regaining the Herodian monarchy. That stage of the history came to an abrupt end in March 44 AD, when Agrippa was assassinated by an alliance of all factions.
It was the change in the world itself, the supremacy of Rome, that turned them outwards, rather than the initiative of any individual. But two fortunate factors set them on their path to success. One was the pliable nature of the youth who was Agrippa's son, inheriting his monarchy. Easily led, he allowed the mission leaders who were established members of his court to make the radical changes that had long been preparing.
The other factor was the creative intelligence of Jesus. Already appointed by heredity as the head of Gentiles, he remained in seclusion, known only to his close intimates to be still alive, and working through them to influence appointments to all established mission stations. It was Jesus who gained the loyalty of the mission leaders in the Herodian court and brought them through successive stages to their independent headquarters in Rome.
The executive of Jesus who finally gained most power was Simon Peter. He had begun as the scrupulous Simon of Jerusalem, and had had an advisory relationship with Agrippa I that varied according to the monarch's frequent changes. According to the pesher of Acts 12, Peter was present at the assassination in close contact with Apollos, who was the main influence behind it. It was Peter who headed the combined mission council when it was forced out to Antioch following the king's death. His more conservative views on priesthood kept him also in some tension with Jesus, but because he could hold together the best of the previous regime with a universalist outlook, he developed to become the head of the Christians in Rome, eventually holding the title and functions of the Pope.
Peter, a married man, born in the early years of the century, had begun as one of the pilgrims who upheld the rights of the expelled Essene priests, bringing their food tithes to them at Qumran rather than to the temple priests in Jerusalem. His personal talents made him the pilgrim leader, which meant that he had a place in the court of the Herod kings, for Herod the Great had endorsed the mission of ascetics who included the Essenes. In 40 AD Peter under the influence of Matthew had begun a new stage in his life, commencing undergraduate study in the Herodian abbey in Caesarea. That meant that he was on the way to adopting a discipline that was like that of celibates, although he remained married and took his wife with him on missionary journeys. His studies would bring him to be equal to dynasts, whose chief repesentative was Jesus.
After four years he was ready to graduate, reaching grade 3. A graduation ceremony was to be performed, marking his transition to a higher way of life. Since Qumran had been the place where, as a pilgrim, his interest in learning had begun; and, since part of it remained an abbey, Peter asked that the first stage of his ceremony should take place there, in its outer hall.
The Qumran monastery was divided by the old Israelite wall into two sections, the monastery itself inside the wall, and the outer hall, the abbey, south of the wall, loc 77.
He was also permitted to choose as the day for his ceremony the exact anniversary of the crucifixion, for it was now 11 years since March AD 33, and the Julian calendar repeated its days for dates every 11 years. He would begin on Friday March 20, the anniversary of Good Friday, and the climax would take place on Saturday March 21, the night that was now being observed as that of the resurrection.
On the face of it, Acts 12 tells one of the unbelievable stories of Acts, that Peter was in prison and was miraculously rescued from it by an "angel of a Lord", accompanied by a light shining in his cell. He was led out, through an iron door that opened of its own accord, and found himself in the city, where the angel left him. Reflecting on his release, he said that the Lord had sent his angel to deliver him out of the hand of Herod. He then knocked on the door of a house, which should have been opened by the doorkeeper Rhoda, but she was afraid to open it. After knocking again, he was admitted by someone else. The story ends inconclusively, with a message to tell James, and the subject, apparently Peter, departed and went to another place. At the end of the chapter the death of Agrippa is openly described, involving an "angel of a Lord".
It is a rule for the pesharist that the episodes that are most unbelievable are recording the most significant events. This chapter deals with one of the main turning points of the history. Peter's graduation ceremony at Qumran was used as an opportunity to recruit him to join the conspirators, for all the mission leaders, including Peter, had now turned against Agrippa when he formed his eastern alliance to overthrow Rome. Agrippa, inheriting the grandiose style of his grandfather Herod the Great, was preparing for the theatrical display in Caesarea in which he would proclaim himself the Messiah.
The narrative of the main part of Acts 12 takes Peter, in some detail, through his different stages throughout that night. The detail, which may also be derived from the gospel accounts of the Last Supper, gives one of the main systems governing the life of ascetics. The concept was that of a ladder of educational progress that was also a moral ladder. A man went up it through yearly stages, from the lay state in the congregation to the successive stages of ministry. If he did wrong and was demoted, he went down it again.
The concept was retained in the medieval Church, with the lower rungs of the ladder going much further down into the torments of the underworld that are described in the more gruesome literature such as the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra . At its start it was simply a visual representation of the heights and depths of human nature, an incentive to educational and moral effort.
The ladder concept is introduced in John 1:51, where Nathanael (Jonathan Annas) is promised, "You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man". The image is derived from Jacob's ladder of Genesis 28:12. The "angels"' who went up and down on it, in institutional terms, were levitical bishops in white robes with wide sleeves likened to wings. During Peter's ascent, bishops appeared, and the same bishop was found on several different "rungs".
It was combined with another image, that of the 12 cubit Heavenly Man, which governed the seating positions on rows in the vestry.
The upper part of the Heavenly Man was placed in the outer hall, between its rows 6 to 11. Its row 12 lay in the doorway that opened into the "pantry". In the hall, inside the 2 cubit wide doorway, were found the remains of a podium of irregular stones, occupying an approximate oval space of about 3 cubits north-south, 2 cubits east-west.
The aspirant to graduation moved up each of the rows, each cubit representing a year or stage in his education. While he was on the lower part of the body, less "clean" by celibate standards, he was a member of the congregation. The "pantry" room held not simply dishes, but corresponded to a congregation attached to an abbey. The square pillars down its center, their bases still remaining, marked its central positions and divided its more "clean" eastern half from its less "clean" western half.
At the age of 12, a boy received the Bar Mitzvah ceremony such as was practiced also in orthodox Judaism. His serious studies began at the age of 15, when he was classed as a "learner", mathetes, the word used for "disciple". At 16 he became a higher student, beginning the adult process.
At the age of 20, as is clearly shown in 1QSa 1:9, he made a decision whether to marry or whether to continue the kind of educational process reserved for celibates. If he chose the latter, he spent two further years as a pre-initiate - as is stated in 1QS 6:13-23 - then at the age of 23 took the decisive step of full initiation. He had now committed himself to the ascetic life. In the imagery of the body, he now belonged on row 13, that of the "seed". The Scrolls as well as the gospels develop the imagery of growth of plants and crops that was appropriate to the highest grade in the congregation. The term "garden", found for this annexe of the outer hall used in the Gethsemane story, meant, more exactly, the first row of the congregation. At the same time, using the Noah and Flood imagery that was also applied, he was "saved". As an initiate he was now secure, his firm commitment making him a lifelong member supported by the ascetics.
Prior to this stage he went through personal conflicts named from the Eden imagery. When he was just above the line of marriage and could still go down into it he was a "Sinner" like Adam expelled from Eden. On the line above he could still suffer Temptation, as Adam did just before his fall.
According to CD 4:15-19 there were three classes of serious sin, called "the three nets of Belial". They were named as Riches, Fornication, and Profanation of the temple. A man could descend down into these, sinking to rows 17, 18 and 19. They corresponded to grades 11, 12 and 13 , marked on the east wall. Detail of the gospel pesher shows that sodomy was placed at grade 13, as well as other kinds of sin, including the treachery of Judas Iscariot.
The doorway was the point of transition. In the garden of Eden, cherubim had been placed at the entrance after Adam was cast out, their swords turning every way, to guard the way to the tree of life, where was the tree of knowledge or learning. That kind of Eden was now located in the Magian monastery inside the gate. Across the doorway into the congregation were placed two swords, one on the inner threshold and one on the outer, to prevent any fallen Adam, any uneducated worker, from entering the higher portals of learning. At the same time another kind of barrier was used to mark the abbey as Herodian. A chain stood for Agrippa, for he had been presented with a golden chain of office by the emperor Claudius. The first chain ran across the line between rows 12 and 13, while "chain 2" ran between rows 11 and 12. When it was agreed that a man had Agrippa's permission to enter, "the chains fell off" (Acts 12:7).
The stages were also called by grade numbers, which went higher in reverse order, as they corresponded to letters of the Hebrew alphabet starting from the last.The stage of decision concerning marriage was called grade 10, the two pre-initiate years 9 and 8, and the year of initiation 7. Thereafter, the grades corresponded to positions in the ministry that were preserved in the Christian Church. At the age of 24, on the row corresponding to the dividing wall, the young man became a deacon at grade 6. This was and remained the lowest form of Christian ministry, without the full responsibilities of the higher kinds. The next stage of ministry, on row 11, the first on the stone podium, was that of presbyter, grade 5, then bishop grade 4 , then the various kinds of ministry available at graduation, including archbishop grade 3. The three grades were part of the "shield" on the upper body of the Heavenly Man, the ministers protecting the truth that he represented.
There were still 3 grades to go. The Abbot, called Abba in Hebrew, was the highest officer in an abbey. He could occupy the 2 rows on the whole head, its row 6 reflecting his highest state, grade 0, its row 7 on the "face" his lesser state, grade 1. On the "neck" belonged the deputy abbot, grade 2, whose title was Barabbas, "son of Abba".
Grades 11 and 12 were also those of excommunication, in one of the versions of the discipline. Two different words for "death" are used, for excommunication was a spiritual death, being expulsion from the "life" that was given in the community. At grade 11, which was also that of riches, the man was nekros. At grade 12, which was also that of fornication, a man was thanatos.
In Eden, the woman Eve was found. The Therapeuts admitted women to the eremitical life and to their pentecontad meetings, as Philo shows. In the original system, no woman could be admitted to the male grades leading to ministry. They could reach only the low grades. A woman had three physical stages, that of Virgin at grade 10; of Sister (a married woman living separate from her dynast husband) at grade 11, and of Wife (a woman living with her husband), grade 12. In those communities that honored motherhood, a Mother was placed first, at grade 9. The women sat on either side of the congregation, never in the central positions that were part of the ladder. The higher ones, Mother and Virgin, sat in the purer east on rows 15 and 16, the married women in the west on rows 17 and 18.
Since women being uncircumcised corresponded to uncircumcised Gentiles, their elevation to forms of ministry came to correspond to those of Gentiles. A woman in the Magian system could rise to be a bishop or cardinal, while the Christians permitted her to go as far as bishop.
When Peter followed the graduation ceremony that Agrippa had approved, he went up during the Saturday night to row 9, the top row of stones on the podium. He there remained subordinate to the deputy abbot on row 8, the "neck" and to the abbot on the "head". He should then have beeen brought after a few days to the principal abbey at Caesarea, to be accepted by Agrippa into the world-wide abbey system.
The abbot was still Matthew Annas, although he had been dismissed from the Jerusalem high priesthood the previous year. He now took part in Peter's ceremony, standing with him at different stages as a close adviser. As the "angels" went up and down the ladder, so Matthew Annas as an "angel" was found on row 13 when Peter was standing in the doorway on row 12, ready to push him up if he still hesitated. While he was there he gave Peter instructions about his dress as a travelling missionary, set out in Acts 12:8. His clothing was to be the opposite of that of a sanctuary priest, to show that he was not a priest, only an ordained layman. Zadokites did not wear a belt, for their long loose robes were not to be confined so as to cause sweating in the hot conditions (Ezekiel 44:18). They also had bare feet in the sanctuary, following the example of Moses entering holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Their opposites, the lay ministers, consequently wore a leather belt and sandals (Mark 6:8-9). From the belt, inside their garments on the right side, hung the water bottle they always needed, called "the side".
There was another "angel" present, this one called "an angel of a Lord". With him appeared "the Light". Simon Magus was the "angel of a lord" and Jesus the Light of the world. They were at Qumran , at the council planning for the removal of Agrippa. Matthew and Apollos were also part of the plot, for both sides had come together in the present crisis..
Each stage of the ceremony was taken with great gravity, the candidate pausing for an hour on each row for study and consideration as to whether he wanted to proceed. At 1.05 am Peter stood on row 11 as a presbyter, following Jesus on row 10. Then Jesus and Simon went higher. Apollos continued to lead Peter, at first to row 9 where his graduation and status as an archbishop was declared.
But then he was taken further, beyond the normal rows to the higher part of the room. By 2 am he was brought to the iron door. It was unlocked from the inside, and Peter was led through, knowing that he was now within the Magian monastery. This was not part of the ceremony, but the opportunity was being taken to bring Peter into the plot. All five men - Jesus, Simon Magus, Matthew, Apollos and Peter - came to loc 100 , the space bounded by the aqueduct outside the south vestry door, by 2.05 am. The position on the first circular pillar base was for a teacher of the higher laity, and the two places in front of it for subordinates. Matthew stood at first on the base, then left it to go inside the vestry. Apollos and Peter stood in the subordinate positions in "street 1", the cubit in front of it. Jesus and Simon Magus stayed outside, with Peter considering what he should do next. He now made his commitment to the conspirators, saying, "I recognize that Jesus has sent Matthew Annas to free me from the authority of Agrippa." (Acts 12:11).
The birth of the second son of Jesus.
A personal event for Jesus was taking place at the time of this crisis. Mary Magdalene was pregnant, about to give birth to the third child conceived the previous June. Magians, the liberal "Seekers-after-Smooth-Things" did not require a pregnant woman to hide herself. Mary, under her name Rhoda, acted as a doorkeeper in the north vestry, in the role of a married woman who admitted visiting priests to her house. She was heavily pregnant, and would give birth in the next few days to their second son.
With her in close attendance was her doctor, John Mark, the "eunuch" for the dynastic marriage, as well as her mother-in-law Mary the mother of Jesus, who substituted for her when she could not fulfil her duties. Helena the mistress of Simon Magus was also present, using the title "Joy" that belonged to the wife of the Zadokite.
Jesus himself was not permitted to be close to his wife during her pregnancy, but as the birth approached he was nearby, staying outside the vestry room with Simon Magus. Following the birth, the son's birthday was recorded for the equinox. "The Word of God increased" (Acts 12:24).
At 3 am Peter, after hesitating for an hour, decided to join the Magians in the vestry, and knocked at the north door just inside the aqueduct (loc 101). It was an accepted ceremony, preserved in the Christian church, for a new archbishop, as Peter now was, to knock with his staff on the cathedral door to ask permission to enter. The rite required that the door would be approached first by a lesser minister who would not open it because of too low a status, then five minutes later by a superior who did open it. Mary Magdalene-Rhoda did not open it, and was told by Apollos that she was behaving correctly, as a "Miriam"of the ecstatic Therapeuts.
The death of Agrippa.
Josephus, Antiquities 19,343-351
On Tuesday March 24 AD 44, at the intercalated 31st, Agrippa I began the day at the Julian midnight, in his Caesarea abbey. He was attended by his servant Ananus the Younger, the Merari of the lower levites. Merari represented the interests of the ordinary people. One of his pseudonyms was Demas, for the demos, the people.
The royal courts of the Herods included literal eunuchs, who could be trusted where women were present, and so were permitted into the king's bedchamber. Agrippa's chief eunuch at this time was the man called Blastus, having the status of full proselyte, adopting the name Nicolaus. Through the network of conspirators, Nicolaus-Blastus was ordered to give to Agrippa a drink of poisoned wine, such as had been given to Jesus at the crucifixion.
By dawn the poison was beginning to take effect, but would take several days to have its full effect if no antidote was given. Agrippa, now aware that he could trust no one around him, gave way to the illusions of grandeur that he had inherited from Herod the Great and learned from his friend Caligula. He stood on the elevated position in Caesarea where the Roman governor customarily issued edicts on behalf of Caesar. Dressed in a silver royal robe, glittering in the rays of the rising sun, Agrippa mounted the stand and declared himself to be the Caesar of the east, and moreover the Messiah.
On the ground below, whipping up the assembled crowds, Ananus the Younger hailed him, saying he was divine. At that moment, as Josephus reports, the pain from his poisoned stomach began to be felt. An "angel of a Lord" Simon Magus, had struck him, being the one who had arranged the poisoning. Five days later, Agrippa died.
The pesher includes the fact that from that moment there was a schism among the conspirators, with the pro-Roman party under Matthew and Apollos turning against the Damascus party of Simon Magus. But the deed had been done. They were rid of a madman , and could continue their work in the Diaspora, bringing Jews and Gentiles into whatever expression of Judaism their different factions preferred.
Mission from the new center in Antioch
With the death of Agrippa I, there was every advantage in continuing from the court of his successor, the prince who was not yet crowned but would become Agrippa II. Born in September 27 AD, he was 16 ½ at the time of his father's death, pursuing his studies in Rome. He had long been under the control of Saul, his tutor from childhood. Saul had become personally devoted to Jesus and would steer the young man in any direction that Jesus wanted. At this stage of the history, it was Saul who now came to prominence and would remain the chief executive. He was innocent of any involvement in the assassination, and was very clear about the way the future directions should go.
The Sadducee abbey that was always attached to a Herodian house now had its primary center in the Herod house in Antioch, the property of the prince. Matthew was its abbot, superseding Jonathan Annas, who with his Gentile Seven occupied part of the Magian monastery in Caesarea.
Matthew, also using the pseudonym Agabus, retained and stored the mission income from the Diaspora in his abbey. It could no longer be safely sent into Judea, but was used for administration outside the country. That fact alone meant that a schism had taken place, one that would never be healed. The missionaries under Matthew, including the Christians, now endorsed a policy that was pro-Agrippa and pro-Rome, while the Magians, with their main center in Damascus, stood for the opposite.
Matthew's deputy abbot was Apollos, primarily concerned with the outreach to Jews. His other deputy, of equal status to Apollos, was Jesus. While Jesus, in necessary co-operation with Peter, had to accept the leadership of a Sadducee abbot grade 1, he had to act as the Lord, a grade 2.
Simon Peter, having graduated and risen to the status of an archbishop grade 3, acted in the northern capital as an equal to Raphael, the black Calf of winter. He added the title Niger, Latin for "'black". He was the Simeon Niger of Acts 13:1. With him Barnabas the brother of Jesus held the position of levite-bishop, having taken over the Sadducee understanding of the work of Judas Iscariot, together with some of the property he had controlled. The other part of it was in Damascus under the Scribe Eleazar.
With them in the Herod house was Titus-Marsyas the friend of Agrippa I, now preparing to transfer his loyalty to Agrippa II. Permitted to change to a new name on joining a new court, he found it useful to disguise his previous support of a tyrant, and adopted the name Manaen. He was one who "dined with Herod the tetrarch" because Agrippa II had received the western Herodian positions, including that of the exiled Antipas tetrarch of Galilee.
Saul was subordinated to Peter, in the position of the "Lion" beside the "Calf". At the table of village status attached to the abbey, the five lesser leaders acted as a "hand". Peter the Raphael was the Finger, Saul as a lay bishop the ring finger, Barnabas on the east as a Kohath was the index finger, with Titus on the west as a Gershon, the little finger. Luke, or Lucius of Cyrene, had changed his name from Cornelius to a different Latin one. He corresponded to the deacon "Merari", acting as the "thumb" on the opposite side of the table.
At the meeting on January 1, 44 AD, Saul, Barnabas and Titus had been appointed to mission to the "uncircumcision", because of their different specialities. In June, at the intercalation period, the "fasting", it was decided to send Saul and Barnabas out to begin a process of revision of existing mission stations, changing them to the Christian doctrine. They were to go first to the nearest, the monastic Gentile community on the island of Cyprus.
When Gentiles had first become attracted to the celibates, some of them wanted to adopt the secluded monastic life. As members of the order of Dan they had the same status as celibate women, who in their desire to separate from the world had founded convents on the Mediterranean islands. The same was done for the men, on the larger islands. The three main ones, Cyprus, Crete and Malta, were assigned to Shem, Ham and Japheth respectively. The dramas of their initiation through the sea were carried out on their shores. At first, in the very early days near the beginning of the 1st century BC, the imagery had been that of Jason with his ship the Argo. It was thought to be more appealing to pagans, drawing on their mythology. Under Herod the Great, however, the imagery was made more biblical, that of Noah and his ark.
Cyprus was made the western mission center for the monastic superior of the order of Dan, who was now John Mark. He was in sympathy with Barnabas for their common interest in permanent celibacy, and the two remained closely allied.
Cyprus, home of the Kittim, had been attached to the Magian monastery in Cilicia-Tarsus, originally under Simon Magus but now under Atomus the pro-Herod Magus. Simon, however, had retained a little influence on the west end of the island, at Paphos. It was one purpose of Barnabas and Saul to remove his influence altogether, bringing all celibate Gentiles under the authority of Agrippa II.
The young prince would turn 17 in September 44 AD. At that age, as appears from other instances given later, a Herod prince was made a proconsul in the diplomatic service, representing Rome in outlying provinces. The prince had been in Rome at the time of his father's death in March and would not hear about it for some time. But he was due to become a proconsul on Cyprus at the time of his birthday. He set out from Rome, passed through Ephesus in June, where he was told of the death of his father, and he reached Cyprus in September.
His movements were known to Matthew in Antioch, and he arranged for Saul and Barnabas to go to Cyprus to meet him. Jesus also would go with them, for a formal meeting with the new supreme head of the mission. In the first chapter of the Book of Revelation the letter is preserved that was sent to Cyprus to arrange the meeting. The letter, and the Book of Revelation itself, was said to be an "apocalypse", an "uncovering", a word that had the special meaning that it was an instruction from the hidden Jesus. Paul also had acted on an "apocalypse" in Galatians 2:2.
Saul's own 27 th birthday occurred in the same month. He now graduated to the office of levitical bishop, a consecrated figure who had the "holy spirit" in the form pneuma hagion. His name was now changed, from the Hebrew Saul to the Latin Paul, meaning "the little one". It may have been a reflection of his short stature, as described in the Acts of Paul, but it also meant that he had the status of a deputy to a Great One, a king.
When the prince and his tutor met again, the prince was using the Roman name Sergius. He added to it Paulus, for it was customary for a student or servant to take the name of his teacher or master, acting on his behalf. Sergius Paulus on Cyprus was the prince Agrippa.
On the west end of Cyprus Simon Magus was also present, one of his reasons being that he had fled into safe exile following his responsibility for the assassination. He was now called BarJesus, meaning "son of Jesus", as he was still keeping his friendship with him and was down to the status of his deputy. An alternate name was Elymas the Magus. The proliferation of pseudonyms was a consequence of the underground work of the ascetics, who were acting in a similar fashion to more modern underground movements preparing for political power, with passwords and coded language.
Paul, with his new authority, had no sympathy for Simon whatever. He denounced him roundly for his deceit and treachery to Agrippa I, and for his enmity to Agrippa II. In the name of Jesus he reduced him to "blindness", that is the grade of a pre-initiate novice.
Jesus as the Word of God held the arranged meeting with the prince. Close to Jesus was John Mark, the Gentile superior on the island. But now a new shadow began, one that would spread over the whole western mission, diminishing the success that now seemed to be opening up for them. Mary Magdalene, in Caesarea following the birth of her third child, declared herself on the eastern side of the schism. She had always believed that she and Jesus were members of a political party fighting against the power of Rome, liberators of their country. With her friend Helena - the two of them called Mary and Martha - she was hostile to both the Agrippas and to Rome. When Jesus had been brought over to the Herodian court by Matthew through Paul she had thought it a betrayal, but had followed the marriage rule until after the third birth. Now Jesus was not only friendly to Rome under Claudius but was friendly to a new Agrippa. Mary Magdalene sent a message through their go-between John Mark that she wanted a divorce.
John Mark sided with her, expressed disapproval of Jesus, and returned to his monastery at Qumran. The way was set for the Damascus mission to attack the western mission for immorality, a breach of the Essene rule forbidding divorce. It was in that disheartening atmosphere that the Christian revision began.
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