Monday, 26 January 2009

The Twelve Apostles Uncovered: Simon


Here is the image Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper that the art historians have declared to be Simon, the Zealot/Canaanite (on the right). What do the religious scholars and ecclesiastics know about him? Almost nothing, even though the Church canonized him as a saint! The Church would be surprised to learn that he was the thirteenth of the group of twelve that included Jesus and as their leader was the one on the center cross between Judas and Jesus. “How can this be?”, you will cry out. The answer is firstly that the New Testament was the book about Jesus, so clearly Jesus had to be the hero. Secondly, the Church of Peter and Paul broke with the Church of Simon so that even his name had to be vilified. i.e. “the beast of 666” in Revelation.

Let us suppose that we do not know this inside knowledge and set about to figure out his identity via the Pesher of Christ™ method. Looking at all the references to Simon in the New Testament and excluding all those that refer to Simon Peter and to Simon who was Jesus’ brother we have some pretty good information about him.

Firstly, we need to realize that the Dead Sea Scrolls found in 1947 have confirmed that an Essene-like Jewish Church had existed before Jesus (even as the dating dispute rages on). Thus when it is said that so-and-so is a brother, sister, mother, or father, forget what you have been told and think about the fact that these members are in a monastic order and a religious community! If I were in one, then clearly my priest would be my father, my mother would be mother superior, my brother or sister would be an equal member of the community with me. Tell me is that so hard for those so-called scholars and ecclesiastics to understand! How many times must I see the statement that Andrew is Peter’s brother by blood! And what does “brother” tell you? It tells you that Andrew is on the same level as Peter, nothing more. Also, the concept of “son of” implies that this person is his superior by the same standard.

Of course, when commoners use the word son or brother as in Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon” then these are the actual sons of the Mary, that same “Virgin” Mary who gave birth to Jesus.

Secondly, the Church in the Councils of Nicaea and by other edicts forbid the use of all other religious writings, other gospels and apocrypha, and historical writings which ironically would have explained much of the vagueness of the New Testament. Such a ban on these works can no longer stop us because the wealth of material in the Nag Hammadi books found in 1945 is much too tantalizing, such as the Gospel of Thomas and Philip.

With just these two principles, we can discover so much more than two millenniums of scholars and ecclesiastics were able to find out about Simon. We could start by looking at the “Clementine Literature” and suddenly we have an overwhelming wealth of knowledge about Simon whose partner Helena (Luna) adopted James and John. James and John are twins who were illegitimate sons of a wealthy Roman who were sent away. This explains why they are almost always linked together. About Simon we learn that he is a magician and that he managed to take the leadership of a group that John the Baptist controlled after his death. It shows him in a contest between Peter as to who could control the hearts and minds of the followers. Next, we can look at the “Acts of Peter” where Peter causes Simon to fall during one of his flying magic acts. This is commemorated by a plaque in the Francesca Romana Church near the Coliseum in Rome.

Now returning to the New Testament at Luke.6 Verses 14 to 16, we have Simon at number ten and all agree that that is him in Mark.3 Verses 16 to 19 and Matthew.10 Verses 2 to 4.

1. Simon, whom he named Peter, and
2. Andrew his brother, and
3. James and
4. John, and
5. Philip, and
6. Bartholomew,
7. Matthew, and
8. Thomas, and
9. James the son of Alphaeus, and
10. Simon who was called the Zealot,
11. Judas the son of James, and
12. Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

From this we learn that he was a zealot which meant that he opposed Roman domination of Israel and Jerusalem by force of arms, violence, and poison. The Zealots were responsible for the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem when the Romans put them down. Obviously, with these credentials the Church could not make Simon a saint, so they just say he was "zealous" in the faith, but the word zealot had a distinct meaning in those times.

Luke 4:38 And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her.

Mark 14:3 “And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.”

Just a second here! Bethany and the house of a leper? Firstly, a real leper is not likely to be living or owning a house, but would be outcaste from society. Secondly, isn’t Mary, Martha, and Lazarus from Bethany and isn’t this Mary Magdalene? Perhaps, we need to see that this house is a Church and Simon is the superior of the mother and Mary and Martha. How is it that he became a leper? Perhaps this is a metaphor for having been knocked down a peg or two in the Church for misdeeds. Now if we take a small leap of faith perhaps Lazarus who is dead and in a tomb is this same Simon who is now in even more trouble with the Church. This also would explain who Martha is, namely Helena. Note that Jesus is consorting with him. Perhaps this is why he was crucified with Simon.

John 13:26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

OK, now isn’t this a little silly: Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. How about Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, therefore working for him. All right, now we have a good idea why Judas ended up on the cross with Simon and Jesus even though he tried to get in the good graces of Pilate by betraying Jesus.

Mark 15:21 And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.


Now isn’t this interesting, another Simon? Not really, it is certainly Simon. Cyrene is one of those far away provinces of the Church in Libya, clearly similar to “leper” or “dead”. Also, we now know that Alexander and Rufus were under him. Since the words are pretending to be about a very different Simon, it would not be good to name two apostles directly so they are riddles. The second one is Thomas, often called the twin because he was denied his kingly inheritance by King Herod just as Esau was denied his inheritance by Jacob and Esau who had red hair. (Quite mouthful, but right on the nose. You see they read the Old Testament a lot! They were a church!). The first one was Thaddaeus the leader of the Therapeuts from Alexandria. (I will need a whole other blog on him because he is confused by some scholars to be also Jude.)

Acts 1:13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.

Here it is clear that Simon is alive after the crucifixion.

Acts 8:9 But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.

Obviously, Simon again, confirming the Clementines.

Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. Acts 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, Acts 8:24 And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

This is a dispute over the issue of indulgences, charging people for remission of sins. Simon wanted to charge. Obviously, if the Church hadn’t taken Simon’s idea later on there would not have been the Protestant Reformation.

Acts 10:5 And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter; Acts 10:6 he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside."

I do not know what “tanner” means except maybe that he fleeces his followers. But he has a house on the seaside and Peter is there. Sounds like he is in a church and of still of higher station than Peter.

Codex 7,2 in the “Nag Hammadi Library” titled “The Second Treatise of the Great Seth”. “Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance.”

What a wonderful point to end on! You may not yet be convinced that Jesus and Simon were on the cross and survived together, but perhaps you now have an idea of who Simon was. Clearly, he was a powerful leader and at one time a close friend of Jesus.

Links:
The Clementine Homilies
The Recognitions of Clement
Acts of Peter
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
Francesca Romana Church
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Friday, 16 January 2009

Recognizing the new Christian paradigm

During the Renaissance the Church had to deal with many difficulties. It became harder and harder to enforce a view that the Church or the world were at the center of the universe. By fighting back, the Church made the situation worse and the Reformation resulted in the splitting of Christianity in different unnecessary parts. Had the Church embraced the new views, it might have survived intact. Of course, the Pope would have lost his absolute power, as did all the divine-right kings and queens of the world. Fortunately, the Church had already destroyed all contradictory Christian writings, or so they thought. With no new material to study, the splinted parts of the Church just ended up believing the same thing, namely that Jesus was the savior and that he performed miracles. However, in these past fifty years a whole wealth of hidden material has come to light.

In 1945 and 1947 two groups of documents appeared as if waiting for the appropriate time to be discovered. These were Nag Hammadi books, old codices bound in golden brown leather found in upper Egypt, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, some of which were just fragments of parchment in caves near the ruins of Qumran near the Dead Sea.

As to the Nag Hammadi books, they were more acceptable as there are some texts like them that had been previously found and in some cases even the titles of these books were known, having been listed as heresies. They had been conveniently called “gnostic” in order to prevent them being applied to Christian doctrine.

As to the Dead Sea Scrolls, they languished under an exasperatingly slow process of publication to the world. It is true that it was a huge task to put together so many fragments of parchment and some were not found until 1956, but it appears that some who worked on them were reluctant to share the information with others. Perhaps it was because some of the texts seemed suspiciously to relate to the early Christian Church before it broke away from the Jewish religion. It took time for the Christian scholars to prepare a rebuttal to this possibility. Like the use of the word “gnostic”, the scholars hid the material behind a totally absurd premise that they were all works that pre-dated the birth of Jesus. The eminent scholar Geza Vermes was its greatest advocate. Like the indisputable DNA evidence in the O.J. Trial, the carbon dating confirmation of a date contemporary with the time of Jesus has been thrown out also.

The fact still remains that whether the Church or the scholars like it or not the Nag Hammadi “gnostic” gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls have forever changed the landscape. The success of the ‘DaVinci Code’ has shown this. If the scholars and the Church would stop fighting this new information, they might prevent the downfall of all of Christianity. This all or nothing policy failed in the Renaissance and the records of history have shown that the Church had to accept those new concepts anyway. Is it necessary in this time of the knowledge of the genome to need to have a Jesus who could physically heal people of raise them or himself from the dead? Cannot the symbol of Jesus ‘to do unto others as we would have them do unto us’ be our inspiration that will survive forever?

Religion that is not practiced in our daily lives serves no purpose. It just becomes a label that shows what team we our on like liberals or conservatives. Suppose we actually practiced Christianity in our daily lives. Then we might have a conscience again.

Links:
Nag Hammadi Books
The Dead Sea Scrolls

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Sunday, 11 January 2009

A new Christian paradigm

Remember how some high-powered expensive consultants would hold seminars for whole companies. Their favorite buzzword of the day was 'paradigm shift'. "Invent a new paradigm", they said. Think out of the box. Then they would proceed to make fools out of each tabled group by conducting group therapy sessions. However, the issue is not whether it is possible to create a new paradigm, but rather is it possible for anyone to present a new paradigm without being attacked by a world that is locked into 'paradigm paralysis'?

The history of the Christian Church is one of paradigm paralysis. Those who espoused new paradigms were lucky to be only labeled as heretics as torture and death were often widely used. Fortunately, these extreme punishments have since been declared to be 'un-Christian' except, perhaps, for attacks on abortion clinics. Now so-called 'biblical scholars' have moved to the forefront to defend the Church against the hoard of DaVinci Code believers.

Where exactly did Dan Brown get his 'fictionally-true' information? Well, you might have heard about the "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" lawsuit that concluded, as I would put it, that writers who plagiarize other writers are not libel if the information that they 'borrowed' from these writers is fiction i.e. does not conform with the current paradigm.

Actually, there are pieces of new information in 'DaVinci Code' book and movie that were not 'borrowed' from the above book that come directly from the books of Dr. Barbara Thiering. If her books had been part of the trial, it would have been interesting because Dr. Barbara Thiering presents her work as the result of carefully applied scientific rules. To plagiarize the results of her study might be called an infringement of patent rights! However, considering that her work clearly does not conform to the current paradigm, it would almost surely be labeled as fiction and therefore free to be 'borrowed' also.

Unfortunately, Dr. Thiering's reliance on the 'rules of the pesher' does prevent those who might actually be more open to a new view on Christianity from delving more deeply into the issues that she is raising. As webmaster for her approved website and in studying her work, I have come to the conclusion that many of her findings can actually be arrived at without the 'rules of the pesher'. Of course, Dr. Thiering would say that it is the 'rules of the pesher' that give the proof. On this she may be correct, but the problem arises that it is easy to attack her conclusions merely by attacking the 'rules of the pesher' and this is unfortunate because all of her conclusions may be 100% correct!

In this blog I will attempt to analyze all sources in order to decipher the Gospels, Acts, and Revelations. These sources will be historical writings, apocryphal writings, gnostic texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and sometimes merely common sense. Rather than taking the surface meaning that is meant for the 'babes in Christ' as the Apostle Paul calls them, I will look past the so-called 'words of God' for a deeper message. Since much of this material has come to light in the last fifty years, it is not surprising that the establishment is still stuck in 'paradigm paralysis'.

Clearly to embark on this journey, requires a new Christian paradigm.


Links:
paradigm
Dan Brown
Dr. Barbara Thiering
A less tainted definition of 'apocrypha'
Dead Sea Scrolls
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