Jerusalem could readily be called one of the great cities of the world in the first century AD. A city where Herod the Great lavished vast sums of money to win the hearts of the Jewish people was one described by contemporaries with awe, grandeur, and splendor. The southern and eastern views were the most striking as there were prominent valleys, which only accentuated the height and grandeur of this walled fortress city.
The city proper is accentuated by two prominent mounts: Mount Moriah on the east where the Temple stood and Mount Zion on the west with former site of the palace of David and now Herod’s Palace. The valley between was covered with houses and the central Theater and Forum was the Tyropean Valley.
Outside to the east was a mount even higher, The Mount of Olives (about 2528 ft. above sea level) Looking from the Olivet Mount was a sight most spectacular in all the ancient world. Crowning the summit of Mount Moriah stood the Temple, glistening white with a brilliance of fresh snow in the morning sunlight, studded with golden pinnacles. A traveler, not even sympathetic to the Hebrew faith could not help but be awed with the beauty and grandeur.
The Temple crowned the heights and then the rock wall plummeted to the Valley of
Jehoshaphat. In Christ’s day, the
sheer magnitude of these heights with the broad moat in front, masses of towers and colonnades, accentuated with regal buildings and governmental offices on Zion’s Mount, the massive Temple
platform with upper part gleaming in beaten gold highlighted with the purity of white marble focused a central thought
all: Heaven was not with mansions on high, but was here before them. This was the Holy City.
Jerusalem was a fortress city. One hundred sixty four solid masonry towers surrounded the city in three major stretches of walls. There were sixty towers built in solid blocks of white marble on one wall, ninety on the next and fourteen on the third. The four most magnificent were Mariamne at 77 feet, Psephina, built in an octagon at 122 ½ feet, Hippiclus, squared off at 140 feet and the most luxurious was the Phasaelis, forming part of the magnificent palace rising to the heights of 167 feet.
The Palace of Herod was described as extraordinary size and splendor. The pavements in marble, the hallways, rooms and chambers lavish and adorned with multitude of figures in the best of Roman and Greek statuary styles. Surrounding the palace were green areas with fountains with bronze statues, cloisters and pools that were carefully manicured
The walls of the city surrounded the Temple on Mount Moriah and to the North and west of the city, at its most vulnerable point stood a massive citadel, called the “Antonia”. This was a city within a city, a palace with its own pools, fountains and statues, surrounded by four towers between 80 to 120 feet in height.
The Temple itself stood on a massive square platform, left over from the glorious Solomon Temple, about one furlong (one-eighth of a mile) on each side. Beautiful terraces and esplanades were surrounded by private cloisters in the temple proper. The largest was the Court of the Gentiles, followed by the Court of the Women, and the Court of the Men of Israel. Each court or cloister was slightly elevated above the others. On the upper platform visible to all on the north, east and south sides were the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Temple Proper itself.
This was the Jerusalem of Jesus’ day. Viewed from the summit of the Mount of Olives, with the brilliance of the morning sun, the dazzling beauty would blind the beholder and as Josephus describes, “the head was involuntarily lowered” as if in the immediate presence of the God of Israel. (Description taken in part from Taylor, The Coming of the Saints, p. 33-35)
and the Roman Census
The Jewish Sabbatical Year
According to Mosaic Law, every seventh year the land would rest, with no cultivation. The only
produce during that year could be that which grew naturally, whether it was fruits or grains. As such, the population would have to stockpile provisions for that seventh year. It this year were proceeded by years of famine than the poor in the land would be in great distress.
On the other side, the entire agrarian population was free from performing the normal labors of agrarian life. These years would find the people flocking to hear messianic preachers or following apocalyptic leaders fomenting nationalistic ideas and political protest. Using Josephus and the works of Jewish rabbis, the Sabbatical Year began in the month of September, called Tishri. The Seder Olam indicates that the Temple services were shut down in the summer (ninth of Ab) of 70 AD when Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod went up in flames, and that this year followed a Sabbatical Year. Therefore September, 68 to September, 69 was the last Jewish Sabbatical Year.
The literature also indicated that the year following the death of Herod the Great (4 BC) was a year of significant political and social disturbances in Judea. This year (September 3 BC to September 2 BC) has been identified also as Sabbatical Year. New Testament historians have now been able to match major political and religious demonstrations of the Jewish people to these Sabbatical Years.
Roman Census Cycle - Fourteen Years
Another historical cycle to identify in first century Jewish history is the Roman census, which
was a source of significant hatred and agitation to the Jewish people. First of all, it dislocated the people who had to leave their area of employment and return to their native locality for an official census. Every fourteen years the census was completed and the taxes were computed from this documentation. The census was viewed by the Jews as against Jewish Law, which forbade the numbering of the people and was a symbol of their ‘slavery’ to the Romans. In as much as it followed the Sabbatical Year when the whole population was not working, and the agrarian economy was at rest, it was a year with the potential of a political powder keg.
Roman Census - The following census papers have been located: 6 AD , 34-35 AD, and 104-105 AD
Emperor Roman Rulers Jewish Rulers Events of Jewish Import
Herod the Great - died 4 BC Birth of Jesus prior to 4 BC.
Quinctilius Varus, Legate of Syria
Archelaus, ethnarch in Judea, Samaria and Idumea - 4 BC - 6 AD
Pilate, Roman Procurator - 26- 36 AD
No Roman Appointee: Fall, 36 to Spring,
37 AD - No procurator due to the banishment of Pilate and the Roman legate in Syria was in preparation for war with the Arabs.
Death of Stephen, the Deacon
Death of Emperor Tiberius, succeeded by Gaius Caligula - March 37 AD
Gaius Caligula Caesar - March 37 AD
Vitellius, Roman Legate of Syria - 36/37-41 AD
Emperor Gaius assassinated, succeeded by Claudius Caesar - January 41 AD
Caudius Caesar - Emperor of Rome - 41- AD
King Agrippa I made King of Judea - 41-44 AD -
King Agrippa I orders the beheading of James the Just - 43/44 AD
Cuspius Fadus, Roman Procurator - 44-47 AD
Fadus recalled and Tiberius Alexander appointed
Joseph of Arimathea sent into exile
Tiberius Alexander, Roman Procurator - 47-48 AD
C. Ummidius Quadrantus appointed Legate of Syria - 49-50 AD
Antonius Felix sent as Governor of Judea and Cumanus banished - 51-52 AD
Death of Emperor Claudius and Accession of Nero - October 54 AD
Nero, Emperor of Rome - 54 AD
Porcius Festus is made Governor of Judea and Felix is recalled - 60 AD
Death of Porcius Festus - (late autumn 61 AD?)
Jacob (James) the Just clubbed and stoned to death
Albinus appointed as governor - 62 AD
C. Cestius Gallus sent as Legate of Syria - 63 AD
Gessius Flores appointed procurator by Nero, Albinus recalled - 64 AD
Final revolt of the Jews
Sabbatical Passover Years, Roman Census
and major Primitive Christian Events
3-2 BC - Sabbatical Passover
Palestine revolts against rulership of Herod’s son, Archelaus.
5-6 AD - Sabbatical Passover
6-7 AD - The First Roman Census
Judas of Galilee arose in revolt over this first census
12-13 AD - Sabbatical Passover
19-20 AD - Sabbatical Passover
20-21 AD - Second Roman Census 20-21 AD.
26-27 AD - Sabbatical Passover
33-34 AD - Sabbatical Passover
The crucifixion of Jesus
Preparation for the Roman Census of 34-35 AD
Note the participant of this census was Zaccheus in Jericho (Luke 19: 1-10) and the story
of the Tribute paid to Caesar.
34-35 AD - The Third Roman Census
40-41 AD - Sabbatical Passover
James the Less arrives for the Passover in 41 AD after returning from
Barnabus brings Clements from Rome
Peter returns for the Passover
James the Less beheaded by Herod Agrippa I before his own death on 44
47-48 AD - Sabbatical Passover
James the Less beheaded by Herod Agrippa II in 44 AD
The Great Famine in Judea occurs in 46 AD.
Joseph of Arimathea sent into exile with the Bethany family and friends of
Jesus in 47 AD.
Paul and Barnabus sent on the first missionary on 48 AD.
48-49 AD - The Fourth Roman Census
54-55 AD - Sabbatical Passover
61-62 AD - Sabbatical Passover
Porcius Festus died in autumn, 61 AD and Alginus, the new appointed
governor did not arrived till late 62 AD.
Jonathan, son of Annas, high priest in 36 AD, was killed in 61 AD by the
Sicarii, possibly in retaliation for his role in the Stoning of Stephen
Annas, son of Annas, brother of Jonathan, and High Priest in 62 AD, kills
Jacob the Just in retaliation for the death of Jonathan, the former High
Jacob the Just executed on the Temple platform on 62 AD.
62-63 AD - The Fifth Roman Census
68-69 AD - Sabbatical Passover
The Siege of Jerusalem begins after the revolt of the Jews, which
developed after the death of James the Just and his moderating ministry as High Priest of the Nazarene (Jerusalem) Christian Church
70 AD - Fall of Jerusalem
To understand the life of Jesus and that of his friends and associates, it is important to understand the political and religious power brokers of that day. We will explore the following:
The Sadducees were the promoters of conservative traditionalism of the ancient hierarchic and rituals of the Mosaic Laws. To them the golden age was when the priest and the noble held the reins of government, yet under Roman oppression, they tried to uphold a semblance of control of Jewish life. They were the social humanists of their day, as they felt that humans under the moral authority of Jewish law, the purity of Jewish faith, and the wisdom of Jewish thought, would restore Israel and Jerusalem to the rightful position as the cultic center of the world. They wanted to restore theocracy cloaked in the vestment of ecclesiastical authority. They rejected redemption by Divine cataclysm or by a Messiah. Neither did they believe in a resurrection.
The Sadducees were virtually controlled by the major priestly families, and attracted the allegiance of the aristocracy and the wealthy. As such, their power base was by retaining their power through accommodation with the Roman rulers. To them it was not ideal, bur pragmatic to retain Jewish life. As such, they had no support among the general population in which they were seen as arrogant and corrupt.
The Sadducees bought their power from the Romans. The office of the High Priest was usually given to the highest bidder. To the Essenes and the population as a whole, they were usurpers of national power and equated the Sadducees with power, nepotism, graft, and greed.
The Pharisee were a close knit fraternity of teachers and preacher who were zealous at the preservation of the Torah, most notably called the “teachers of the Law” They were the religious reformers who sought to take the exactitude of the Law and make practical applications to contemporary life. They were the central core of Judaism and of the synagogues service system.
As a whole, they were anti-aristocratic and as such, friends of the population, who also were antagonists of the Sadducees. Their daily life and conduct demanded strict forms of sanctity. There exactitude in tithe-paying, exaggerated and ostentatious prayers, their consuming details to the letter of the law earned them special rebuke by Jesus.
They looked forward to a Messiah of the lineage of David, who would be a strong proponent of the Law. This Messiah would restore a kingdom in which social justice would rule, the land of Israel would be redeemed and the Ideal End of the Ages would come. As such, they believed in a resurrection and also in redemption. Though Jesus on occasion attacked individual concepts of Pharisaic thought, this can also be looked upon as legal jargon, not associated with personal animosity. As a group, they had a certain affinity with the message of Jesus.
The most mysterious of all the sects in Judea were the Essenes. Outside of Josephus and Philo, the modern scholar had very little documentation until the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered in the Qumran site near the Dead Sea. The site has now been accepted as a library and manuscript production site, and possibly a major headquarters. Hundreds of documents, scrolls and fragments have been uncovered included every book of the Old Testament except the book of Esther and scores of books and commentaries outside of the canon. What was even more revealing were the words and their meaning such as, the poor, the meek, the four thousand, the five thousand, and the elect, which were used within the ministry of Jesus. They were a prophetic group with a defined apocalyptic mission. They felt they were to await the soon coming Messiah and to protect him when he arrived.
The Essenes, about one hundred fifty years before Jesus’ birth, split as part of the Hassidim, over the Sadducee party working as “accomplices” with the Roman in the rule and security of Judea. To them, the Sadducee were in usurpers of the role of the Temple Priest. To them the High Priest could only come from the descendants of the Levitic priestly line of Zadok, the appointed High Priest of King David. The Zadoks set up a separate Temple service outside Jerusalem, which they claim was the pure line of Temple priests.
It was to the Essenes in the first century BC, that the Christian Church that developed in the first century century, were concepts such as the sacraments of baptism, the eucharistic meal (communion), the role of the Devil, role of angels in the heavenly heirarchy, the pervasive emphasis of the doctrine of dualism (War in Heaven), end of Time eschatology, the origin and nature of evil, progressive revelation, the adoption of celibacy and communism (commune society)
The Scribes in Jewish life were the legal glue of Judaism. We would best describe them as the attorneys of their day. Whereas the Sadducees were a sect, the Pharisees were a fraternity, the Scribes, were the professionals. Like the Justices of the Supreme Court, defended or attacked the various applications of the Mosaic Law, seeking to keep every nuance of life in legal conformity with the ancient writs from Jehovah. On a personal basis, they could lean towards philosophically either to Sadduceism, Pharisaism, or the Essenism.
The Zealots were the ideological radicals of Jewish life. They first came into prominence when the Herodean family rule came to an end in 6 AD, when the son of Herod the Great, Archelaus was deposed at ethnarch, and a Roman legate now assumed legal authority over Judea. A census of persons and property, brought a major revolt by Judas of Galilee and his associate Zadok. They were called the Fourth Philosophy, and his followers were known as Galileans, or Zealots. They were anti-gentile and they felt they would be contaminated with they associated with them. Philosophically, they were akin to the Pharisees, except as activist they were inflexible in their quest for national freedom especially from gentile or Roman rule. They were willing to take the defense of the Law with the sword. As such, they were the freedom fighter, the guerrilla warfare fighter, and in the eyes of the Romans, the terrorists.
The Sicarii were the radical ultra-right wing of the Zealots. Whereas the Zealots worked on a national scale and fomented revolt against the Romans, the Sicarii, took the revolution on a personal basis. They were named after the Sica, the saber daggers they kept hidden under their cloaks. As such, they were the assassin squads, seeking to eliminate those individuals who were most accommodating to the Roman rulers.
Jewish followers of Jesus were commonly called Nazarenes. This word comes from the Hebrew Notsrim, meaning, Keepers or Preservers. In Antioch in Syria, a non-Semitic, Hellenized city, the Hellenized Christians were called Christians. Jesus was called, Jesus the Nazarene, and Paul was accused of being a leader of the sect called Nazarenes. The followers of Jesus were initially identified as followers of “The Way”, later in Antioch, called for the first time Christians about 50 AD. Yet for fifteen years, the building hierarchy of the Jerusalem Church as identified in Acts of the Apostles, had so many features in common with the Essenes of the first century BC and AD, that the massive recruits in the thousands, during the Pentecostal revival, can only be understood in light that a majority of the those in the Essene community were converted to the message of Jesus by Peter and John.
The early primitive Christian Church inherited the legacy of the Essenes but not the sectarian separateness and cultic secret society aspects of the calcified Essene movement found in first century AD. Many sects arose out of this tradition and separated themselves from the Nazarene Christian Church. The Baptists, those disciples of John the Baptist (an Essene) who would not accept Jesus and Christ, became the Mandean Nazarenes. The Zadokites, in the Zealot movement, and other Last-Day groups, ‘Way of the Law’ and the ‘Way of Freedom’ became splinters and fragments of era of apocalyptic messiah seekers. (Schonfield 282-287)
As such, this author will identify the Jerusalem Church under the leadership of James the Just, brother of Jesus, as the Nazarene Church in its infant or early development.
The majority of the Jewish population were the peasants, who were willing followers and sought leadership in the major parties or sects. It must be understood that the major parties only commanded a few thousand believers each and the minor parties, Zealots and Sicarii, only in the hundreds. John Dominic Crossan eloquently describes the life of the peasant in his books, The Historical Jesus, the Life of an Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, Jesus, a Revolutionary Biography, and The Birth of Christianity, discovering what happened in the years immediately after the execution of Jesus. At this time, this author will accept the idea that Jesus was not a peasant and that his poverty was because he shunned materialistic wealth and not because he was born or forced into poverty.
and the Primitive Christian Church
Famed in the Gospels as the family homestead of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and, Martha is located about five miles east of Jerusalem. It became the final dwelling place in Judea by the Bethany family and given to the Primitive Church as a House of Prayer
Roman Procurator’s private Jerusalem residence was in the fortress next to the Temple called the ‘Antonia Tower.’ This also was the local residence of the Roman troops stationed in Jerusalem Proper
One of the most palatial palaces of the Roman world, built on the ancient site of David’s Palace on Mount Zion on the western side of Jerusalem.
Palestine in the Time of Christ (Stough)
The home was located in the Upper City.
Strong and ancient traditions place this residence in the center of the city, on Mount Zion. It was the home of John, whose surname was Mark, his father, and Mary, his mother. It was the site of the last supper in the ‘Upper Room’, the Pentecost event in which 120 people were within its walls, the gathering place of the early Jerusalem Church, known as the Nazarene Church, when Peter was released from prison and Rhoda was guarding the locked entryway. It obviously was the single room of a very large home.
It was purported to be one of the only structures not destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem by the forces of Titus in 70 AD and afterwards made into a church. According to Biggs, “strange as it may seem it is said to be ‘the only spot in all Jerusalem of unquestioned identity. Besides being described by Epiphanius, it is spoken of by St. Cyril and St. Jerome, and it has been kept in reverent memory ever since.” (Biggs, p.173 quoted in Taylor 42.)
Joseph - Father of Jesus -Descent from David
The Synoptic Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us two genealogies of Jesus,
one in descent from Nathan, (Matthew 1:1-16) son of King David and the
other in descent from Solomon., (Luke 3:24-38)
Peter’s Claim (Act 2:30) - Jesus came from the lineage of David
Paul’s Claim (Acts 13:23, Romans 1:3) Jesus came from the lineage of David
Summary: It is difficult to know the first century Jewish concept of divinity and virgin birth. It can be assumed that Matthew, Luke, Peter and Paul believed that Jesus came from the lineage of David. Whether this lineage was paternal, Matthew and Luke try to infer that case. Yet a study of ancient Hebrew lineages, does depict the concept of nobless uterine or matrilineal inheritance of nobility. Was one of these lineages actually Mary’s lineage? Does the virgin birth actually mean that Joseph’s was not of a historical, genetic lineage or Jesus’ lineage actually came through Mary’s lineage instead?
Mary - Mother of Jesus - Descent from David
History: Mary, is represented as the daughter of Joachim and Anna (Hannah). She is by tradition early placed in the temple service under the guardianship of the priests. About the year of 12 to 14 years of age, Mary is informed by a white cloaked messenger whom she calls ‘Gabriel’.
We find Mary going with Joseph to Bethlehem , later fleeing to Egypt, later returning back to Judea. They end up living in a place called Nazareth or the Village of the Nazarenes. Mary is next seen at Cana at a wedding feast, with her son, Jesus having a honored role in the wedding.
Mary’s presence afterwards are usually in reference to her association with the brothers of Jesus.
(1) On the Galilean hillside, “His mother and his brothers arrived but could not get to him for the crowd. He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you..’ He replied, ‘My mother and my brothers - they are those who hear the word of God and act upon it.’ (Luke 8:18-21)
(2) “He left that place (Capernaeum) and went to his home town accompanied by his disciples.
When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue……Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mar, the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:1-6)
(3) “When he had finished these parables Jesus left that place, and came to his home town, where he taught the people in their synagogue…Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters her with us?”
(4) In the Gospel of the Hebrews, “Behold the mother of Jesus and his brothers said to him “John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins. Let us go and be baptized by him.” But he said to them, “In what matter have I sinned, that I should go and be baptized by him? Unless, perhaps I have committed a sin of ignorance.” This text is sacred to the Nazarenes. It is interesting that his brothers were planning to be baptized. (Schonfield 303)
Mary’s last recorded presence is at Calvary, at the foot of the Cross watching the death of her son. We assume she was at the Pentecost revival, but Mary’s presence if cloaked in secrecy afterwards. Was this due to security reasons for her safety or did Mary have a different name?
In the Harlein Manuscript in the archives of the British Museum, 38-59, f.193b, ( Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, publ. By Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156) we find this genealogical descent of Mary.
Descent from David ---Heli ----Mary (This is the Luke lineage of 56 generations) Luke 3:23
Descent from David ---Jacob---Joseph (This is the Matthew lineage 40 gen.) Matt 1:16
If true, then Joseph and Mary are first cousins
Mary’s lineage is only hinted in that she was a cousin of Elizabeth, who was of the House of Aaron, the priestly line.
History: Joseph in the gospel story was first identified at Calvary as a wealthy admirer who placed the body of Christ within his own rock-hewn tomb. According to the Talmud, Joseph of Arimathea was the younger brother of the father of Mary. (Jowett 18, Smith This does not explain why their names are the same.
By all evidence, Joseph died while Jesus was a child, or at best in his teens. Under Jewish law, upon the death of a husband, the wife and children are placed in the custody of the next male kin of the husband. Therefore, Joseph became the guardian of Mary and Jesus very early in the life of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea,
the Noblis Decurio
Joseph of Arimathea was a man of refinement, culture, education and with the business acumen to vault him to the highest levels of political and social life. He was called a ‘Decurio’ in the Latin Vulgate. Jerome in his translation, called Joseph the “Nobilis Decurio” which was a Roman appointed position as minister of the mines. It was his responsibility to supplies the needed metals for the vast empire of the Romans. In Joseph’s case, he controlled the Tin mining which included extraction, production, and shipping till it reached the vast storehouses of the military and business interest of the empire. He has been identified as the Carnegie of the Roman world
The Route of the Tin Trader (Stough)
That the Decurio was a recognized official in the Roman world, we have the records of Cicero who had a villa near Pompeii, claimed that the local city council was controlled by Decurios, who were ex-magistrates and other important officials. So important were they, that Cicero said, “that it was easier to become a Senator of Rome than a Decurio in Pompeii.” (Smith 56) With this in mind, then the appointment of Joseph as a Decurio may have been made by the British Silurian royalty in which he was intimately acquainted and may have been actually related.
The tin was extracted and dug from the ground in the western peninsula called Cornwall in southwestern Britain, and also in the Mendips region near Glastonbury. From the ancient of days even past the era of the combined monarchy of David and Solomon, the land was inhabited by the Hebrews, called even today, Saracens. Archeologists have identified that and aqueduct in Jerusalem, attributed to King Solomon (attributed in the 20’s and may be seen differently by modern archeologist) is lined by lead extracted from the Mendips. (Smith 50)
Being of kindred blood, Joseph, was able to represent the interest of the Romans as well as their (Celtic or Cymric) political interests in the process of mining lead and tin from these lands. He would have had control of mining and shipping which would include access to shipping fleets to move the tin from Ictis (St. Michael’s Mount) on the southeast tip of the peninsula, and then across to France, where it was carried by animal pack to Narbonne, to the south of Marseilles, France and from there to Rome. Lead bars in the British museum coming from Mendip Hill near Glastonbury, are 49 AD, inscribed with Britanicus, son of the Emperor Claudius and another dated 60 AD, is inscribed “British lead, the property of the Emperor Nero.” (Smith 51)
Joseph’s wealth was legendary. His estates were known to be vast including a palatial home in Jerusalem, country villa outside Jerusalem, another estate a Ramalleh, north of Arimathea, located on the caravan route between Jerusalem and Capernaeum. He was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the religious body with controlled the religious and political life of the first century Jews, a legislative member of the provincial Roman Senate, plus a political confidant of the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. (Jowett 17-18 and Lewis)
Modern Christians promote the idea that Jesus was born and lived in a life of poverty and obscurity. By law, he had every right as a property owner in the Roman world. The identity of Joseph of Arimathea being the guardian of Mary and Jesus does emphasize that Jesus had access to education and opportunities available to affluent families of his era. During the whole childhood of Jesus, there is no known biblical record of his life. As such, we must look to the wealth of information outside of the biblical canon. Many Christians take offense to read the Infancy stories in the purported Apocrypha on the life of Christ. While a serious scholar may question some of the theological implications of some of these stories, it is now fair to the writer to ignore the historicity of the documents. Remember, many people wrote on the life of Jesus, and not all of the writers came to the same conclusion that the legacy of Roman Christianity and her children the Protestant Christians Churches have come to.
What most Christian scholars have failed to study is the vast wealth of information written by the Culdee Christians in Britain and Wales. These were the converts of Joseph of Arimathea and as we will see later, became the early protectors of the Christian Church in Britain and also in Rome. That the Roman Church left out this source of information only testify to the desires of Roman Christian in the later years, in their ascendancy to the political power of the Constantine Christian Church, to ignore the story of their beginning, the Jewish identity of the early followers of Jesus.
That Jesus forsook all material wealth is well documented in the gospel story. As we begin to understand that Jesus was, born into the Royal House of David, probably born into the House of the Levitical Priests, had friends and relatives with wealth and access to the highest offices of the lands, yet rejected it all to bring a ministry of the Kingdom of God which was accessible to all people, in whatever culture, under whatever form of political freedom and oppression and was not bound by the religious and political caste systems inherent in all man-controlled cultures, including modern democratic society.
Also in the Harlein Manuscripts in the British Museum, 38-59, f.193b, ( Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, publ. By Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156), we again find genealogies linking Joseph of Arimathea to both Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea was the uncle of both Joseph and Mary
Joseph of Armithea’s daughter Anna was consobrina (cousin) of Mary, mother of Jesus
Luke 23:50-53: “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;)( he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
Matt 27:57-60: When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, when he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.”
Mark 15: 43-46: Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counseller, which also waited for the kingdom of God, Came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled if he were already dead; and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.”
John 20: 38-41: And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”
Anna, daughter of Joseph of Arimathea
marries a Cornish Jew and had a daughter called Mary.
In the traditions of the Parlue (Parlooe) area of Cornwall, England, ( Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, pub. By Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156, we find the stories.
Ancient traditions along the coast of Cornwall not only speak of Joseph and Anna but also speak Jesus visiting Cornwall in ancient times, when he was a youth. There are also traditions of Anna that claim she was from royal Cornish (Cornwall) blood. Her first husband was a Cornwall descent and also had a husband in Palestine of the race of David. If Anna was of British Celtic blood, then her mother, the wife of Joseph of Arimathea was of British descent.
Penardim, dau of Anna, claimed was fathered by a Cornishman, or rather a Jew who had settled in Cornwall in the area of Marazion.
In the archives of Jesus College in manuscript 20, ( Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, publ. By Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156, we also find these genealogies on the family of Joseph of Arimathea.
In this manuscript, Anna, daughter of Joseph of Arimathea, marries Beli Mawe the Great, who was a king in Britain. This union gave daughter (Name Lost) who married King Llyr of England and had a daughter, called Penardin.
In the archives of Heralds College, English College of Arms in the Heralds Office on Roll 33, Box 26, (Gardner plus Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, publ. By Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156
First Lineage: Joseph of Arimathea (in descent from David)
Ann (Anna) Bianca= NN
= (1) Joachin =(2)Cleophas =(3)Salome (usually a woman’s name) ---
--- --- --- ---
Mary = Joseph Mary Cleophas = Alphaeus Mary Salome = Zebedee Halisbert
--- --- --- ---
Jesus (1) James the Less John the Apostle John the Baptist
(2) Symeon (Simon) James the Great (First cousin)
(3) Jude (Thaddeus) (Cousins by Half Blood)
(4) Joseph (Barsaba)
‘son of wisdom, also called Justus (These four were Cousins by Half Blood)
Second Lineage of Ann (Anna), daughter of Joseph of Arimathea Bianca
= (1) Joachin =(2)Salome (usually a woman’s name) =No Name
--- --- --- _________________________________ --- ---
Mary = (1)Joseph =(2) Cleophas Mary Salome = Zebedee Halisbert
--- --- --- ----
Jesus (1) James the Less John the Apostle John the Baptist
(2) Symeon (Simon) James the Great
(3) Jude (Thaddeus)
(4) Joseph (Barsaba) (Cousins by Half Blood (First cousin)
‘son of wisdom
also called Justus
Protevangelium, (authorship claimed by James the Less (or Just) ) ( Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, publ. By Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156
It is claimed in this ancient document, in which Cyril and Chrysotum believed its authenticity, that
(1) Joseph was a widower when he married Mary.
(2) Joseph calls James “cousin and brother of the Lord Jesus” on its title.
(3) James is called “Chief Apostle and first Bishop of the Christians in Jerusalem”.
In essence this predates the claim that Peter was the chief apostle.
The Genealogies of the Houses of Siluria, Carnulud, Dalriada, and Gwunedd in Wales
It was John of Glastonbury, the ancient Welch historian who recorded the genealogies of the descendants of King Arthur going back to Joseph of Arimathea. ( Extracts provided by Edward Hepburn, Monkridge, Sidcup, Kent, publ. By
Lewis, Lionel Smithett, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury, p.155-156) It was this lineage in which every knight of the Round Table claimed to descend.
Helaios or Nepos of Joseph (grandson or kinsman)>>Josue ->>Aminadab >> Castellors
>> Manuel >>Lambord >> a son >> Ygerna >> Uther Pendragon >> Arthur, King of Britain.
1- There is a case that Joseph of Arimathea was the uncle of both Joseph and Mary. Therefore they were cousins
2- Yet, in the Talmud, there is a record that Joseph was the younger brother of Mary’s father.
3- The records also claim that Joseph of Arimathea had a daughter called Anna who was called cosobrina (Cousin) to Mary.
4- Alternate records suggest that Ann (Anna) was British and had two or three husbands, one of which was a Jew (possible tin trader from Cornwall)
5- One record suggests that Mary, the mother of Jesus and Mary Cleopas were one same person.
6- All records suggest that Jesus had either half brothers ( either by Joseph, who may have been a widower, or by Mary, through a second marriage, or half-cousins by Anna through second or third marriages)
(1) Mary could very well be of British descent.
(2) Joseph of Arimathea was a close relative to Mary, probable Paternal uncle, and as such became the next of kin in Jewish law as guardianship for Mary. The most accepted is that Joachin (Mary’s father and Joseph of Arimathea were brothers.
(3) The identity of Mary, mother of Jesus is lost at Calvary, and at least in the Pentecost experience in the Upper Room. One lineage suggests that Mary, Jesus’ mother and Mary Cleopas are the same person.
(4) All suggest that: James and John, sons of Zebedee, and James the Less, and possibly Simon Zealot, and Judas were half brothers or cousins.
John the Baptist First Cousin
John the Apostle Cousin by Half Blood - see under Twelve Apostles
James the Great (Apostle) Cousin by Half Blood - see under Twelve Apostles
James the Less (Just) Half Brother or Cousin by Half Blood
see under Twelve Apostles
Symeon (Simon) Half Brother or Cousin by Half Blood
see under Twelve Apostles
Jude (Thaddeus) Half Brother or Cousin by Half Blood
see under Twelve Apostles
Joseph (Barsaba) Half Brother or Cousin by Half Blood
‘son of wisdom Ancestor of the “Heirs” of Christ
also called Justus
The twelve apostles made their first acquaintance with Jesus after his baptism John in the Jordan River. The date of the baptism being the Fall 27 AD (SDA BC 227-231) or possibly the Fall, 30 AD. The disciples still followed their own professions for over a year, in the Spring of the following year when they received the call by Jesus to be permanent disciples (Luke 5:1,11, Mark 3:13-19)
Simon Peter and Andrew
History: Simon Peter and Andrew were from the town on Bethsaida Julias. They were both Galilean fishermen and businessmen, owners of their own fleet of boats, and were in partnership with James and John at Bethabara with their father, Zebedee (Luke 5:1-11)
Peter married into family with wealth, had their own home whose description is very much like a Roman villa (Luke 5:17-26) in a Roman town, Capernaeum. Peter’s wife’s father, Aristobulus, and uncle, Barnabus, were possibly of aristocratic background in the family of Herod. (See Aristobulus) Peter was one of three confidants to Jesus, spokesman for the disciples and possible bodyguard of Jesus. He denied Christ at the house of Caiphas at the pre-crucifixion trial and then fled. Peter is reported to be the first male apostle to see the empty tomb. Both Peter and Andrew were disciples of John the Baptist prior to Jesus’ baptism. (John 1:35-42, DA 138)
History: James and John according to ancient genealogies were cousins by half blood to Jesus, whose mother was Mary Salome, who was married to Zebedee. This close family ties put them in a special relationship with Jesus. Along with Peter, who appears to be a group spokesman for the twelve disciples and acted at times as a bodyguard and protector for Jesus, make this group a unique triumvirate.
The Three Closest Disciples:
These three closest disciples, Peter, James and John, were the only ones that:
1- witnessed Jesus’ first healing: Peter’s mother in Capernaum (Luke 4:38-39),
2- and witnessed the raising of Jairus’ daughter. (Mark 5:35-43)
3- They also witnessed the Transfiguration of Christ and were
4- asked to pray alone with Christ in Gethsemane
James was first apostle to be martyred for Christ in AD 44.
Peter was the first apostle to boldly proclaim Christ at Pentecost and
John was the last apostle to die, the only one by natural causes, and was the writer of five books of the canon.
James and John are called sons the Thunder (Boanerges) Mark 3:17 and sons of Lightning (Zebedee). Matt. 28:19 New Testament scholars and authors gives various suggestions of literal historical names or names reflecting personality traits. Newer suggestions come from scholars of Essene thought, who suggest that ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’ were actually titles of the two high ranking ministers in the temple. The tradition is derived from Exodus 10:16 where we find at Mount Sinai, that thunder and lightning surrounded the mount. This was later transferred symbolically to the temple (mount) services and to the two high ranking officials who stood in the inner corridors of the temple. These were the Sadducee High Priest and the high Patriarchal office called the “Father”.
“Thunder” is identified with Jonathan Annas, the High Priest (High Priest from Passover 36 AD to Pentecost 37 AD) and son of Ananias, the Sadducee High Priest from AD 9-15. We know that this Jonathan Annas was the
responsible High for the death of Stephen the Deacon by stoning.
“Lightning” is identified with Simon Magnus, the Patriarchal “Father” (Gardner, Bloodlines of the Holy Grail). Simon later presents a great challenge to Peter and John in Antioch, when he tries to buy the Holy Spirit.
If so, were James and John recognized as spiritual sons in the family of the High Priest and the Patriarchal Father? This might explain the reputed family ties with the family of Caiphas and John’s apparent familiarity and acceptance in the High Priest Courtyard at the trial of Jesus as he mingled with the priestly family and servants.
This may also explain how John, felt safe enough to remain with the three Marys at the foot of the cross when all the other disciples had fled for their lives. The priests, their families and servants recognized him as one of their own.
If this is so, does this give us clues to the possible family and genetic ties Jesus had with the priestly line of Levi, making him not only of royal blood but genetically a special crossover blood line with the priestly families.
History - Philip is a genuine Greek name and was possibly of Greek descent. If so, he was a non-circumcised non-Jew who became a proselyte to the Jewish faith and as such became a non-circumcised Jew. His name comes from a Greek derivative, Philipoos, - “lover of fond of horses” (John 1:45-49). He was a native of Bethsaida Julias (John 1:44) on the northern end of Galilee and from the same town as Simon Peter and Andrew. References to Philip are found in John 1:43-48: 6:5-7: 12:21, 22: 13:8-9)
Philip was the first disciples Jesus said, “Follow me” (John 1:43). He was a sincere seeker of truth, yet appeared to be slower to recognize Messiahship of Christ. (John 6:7:14:8-9 (upper room) He was sometimes uncertain at times on course of action (John 12:21-22) and had an apparent talent of presenting others to Jesus (John 1:45).
The people of Greek descent appeared to use him as their prime contact to meet Christ.(SDA BC 595) Students of the Qumran, suggest that Philip was the leader of what was called the “Order of Shem”, non-circumcised Jews who became baptised as followers of Jesus. He is the supposed author of the Coptic Gospel of Philip and to some, the coauthor with John Mark of the Gospel of John. (Gardner - Bloodline of the Holy Grail)
History: Bartholomew, the name comes from the Greek, “son of Talmai”, noted in Numbers 13:22, 2 Sam.3:3, 13:37). His personal name was Nathaneal, who was a personal friend of the Galilean Philip (DA 293. SDA BC 596) and was also possibly of Greek descent. It was Philip who actually introduced Nathaniel to Jesus (John 1:45)
Some scholars claim that Bartholomew was the same as John Mark and as such, the author of the Gospel of Mark (c. 66 AD) This date not the authorship of Mark was accepted by Clement of Alexandria when it was said, the Gospel of Mark was ‘written when the Jews were in full revolt.’ It’s intent was to spread the Good News, brotherly love, and independent salvation. Other authors suggest then that the Gospel of John was co-authored with Philip. That assumption accepts that John Mark and Bartholomew were the same. This identity though is very weak, since the life of John Mark is well documented and it appears that John Mark was too young to be an disciple during the life of Jesus. See John Mark. (Gardner , Bloodline of the Holy Grail)
Thomas the Didymus (Twin)
History: Thomas, known as Didymus or the Twin’s, real name was called Judas-Thomas. (Gospel of Thomas) In the Acta Thomae, he is called the twin of Jesus: “Twin brother of Christ, apostle of the Highest who shares in the knowledge of the hidden world of Christ, recipient of his secret pronouncements.” (Acta Thomae, ch 39, in Hennecke, e., and Schneemelcher, The New Testament Apocrypha, Philadelphia, 1963-66, quoted in Hassnain 150)
Some authors have suggested that this title was given to him because, like The twin Esau, he lost his inheritance. Gardner, identifies him with the Prince Heir, Philip, son of Miramme II, wife of Herod . These authors attribute him to be of royal birth with lost inheritance. (Gardner)
The sons of Alphaeus have been noted in the gospels as, Matthew, Judas, son of James, and James the Less. Many New Testament scholars have only considered that Alphaeus was a literal and historical person, yet had three sons with no traditions of familial relations or sibling identity. (SDA BC 596) Other scholars suggest that ‘son of Alphaeus’ was actually deputy position of Alphaeus, a title of a “Spiritual Father” which simply meant ‘the Succession’ (Gardner 52-3) It is also suggested that Alphaeus, was Aristobulus, the father in law of Peter, who was also probable of Herodian Bloodlines.
It is of interest that James (Jacob) the Less (Just), Matthew, and Jude all seem to be identified with disciples who were closely identified with the “Succession” of Jesus in their close identity with the Nazarene (Jerusalem) Church.
History: Matthew was first identified in the synoptic gospels as a tax collector. (Matt 9:9) It has been long assumed that he was of the same profession as Zaccheus, yet Matthew’s identity is too closely identified with the Jewish faith and the Jerusalem (Nazarene) Church. Matthew truly was tax collector, but he was hired and responsible not to the Romans but to the Sadducean rulership. He collected the Temple taxes for the ministry of the Jerusalem Temple. Num 13:22, 2 Sam.3:3, 13:37) As such, he was a Temple tax collector, and a representative of the Sadducee leadership.
To the Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots, Matthew was despised since they felt the Sadducees were usurpers of the High Priest positions because they had established a cozy relationship with the Romans and Herod the Great. The position of the High Priest was bought and given to the highest bidder, and remained in control of virtually one family for decades. As a tax-collector, Matthew would have been called a ‘publican’.
The Roman tax collector was not as visible to the Jews most of the time except every fourteen years, during the Roman census. That year, followed every other Sabbatical year which occurred at seven year intervals. When the census was taken, a tax was imposed on each citizen. It was this time that uprising and popular revolts were very prominent. The Roman tax collectors were especially hated, as symbols of a power they hated with passion.
Matthew’s name, Levi, also more than likely represents that he was of the family of Levites. He claims to be a son of Alphaeus, along with Judas, son of James and James the Less, yet they do not appear to be blood relatives. When we get to the lottery distribution of the Apostles to the places for their mission, it should be noted that Matthew was given the Jerusalem, center of the World, mission and as such could be a son of the “Succession”.
James the Less, the same as James the Just, Leader of the Jerusalem Church.
History: Modern genealogical works have uncovered ancient genealogies which identify, James the Less as the half brother of Jesus while others have identified James the Less with James (Jacob) the Just, also the brother (half-brother) of Jesus and the anointed leader of the Jerusalem (Nazarene) Church. His brothers were Symeon, (Simon), Jude (Thaddeus) and Justus (Joseph or Barsaba)
Without an identity with Jacob, or James the Less, we do not have any idea of who this disciple is, his family, place of birth, his life and personality. There is no evidence against the identity that James the Just (Less) and James the son of Alphaeus were the same, except the scholars who suggest that “as late as six months before the crucifixion the brothers of Jesus are said not to have believed in Him (John 7:5). (SDA BC ) If Philip was slow to accept the Messiahship of Christ and was still an apostle, then, the brothers of Jesus could also have been disciples and yet have doubts about Jesus true identify and mission.
In the Nazarene, Gospel of the Hebrews, Jerome claims that Jacob, the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Nazarenes, was a participant in the Last Supper. (Jerome, Of Illustrious Men,2 quoted in Schonfield 304) Either the classic image of twelve apostles during the Last Supper is not correct or Jacob the Just was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.
Jacob (James) was strongly inclined to be ascetic, and Hegesippus states that He was Nazarene, “consecrated to God form his mother’s womb. He abstained from intoxicants, and no razor ever came on his head. He never wore woolen garments, only linen (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. II.xxiii quoted in Schonfield 307) It must be added that a Nazarene is not identical to a Nazarene. The Nazirs, both males and females, have a whole section of regulations in the Mishnah from the days of Sampson and Samuel.
History : Judas of James (Luke 6:16, Act 1:13) as identified is some translations, is most prominent for the lack of identity due to the multiplicity of names. In Matthew he is call Lebbaeus. (Matt. 10:3) In Mark, he is called Thaddaeus (Mark 3:18).
Some Bible commentaries, recognizing that the Greek translation in Luke 6:16, it is simply, Judas of James, not necessarily Judas, son of James, yet discount the idea, without evidence that it could mean, Judas, brother (kinsman) of James. (SDA BC 596)
There appears to be equal evidence, that Judas of James, is actually the brother of James the Less (Just), the Leader of the Jerusalem Church, also referred to as Jude,and the most likely author of the Book of Jude, known as servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, (Jude 1) in the canon. As such, Judas of James would also be the Half-brother of Jesus or Cousin by Half Blood.
History: Simon the Canannite, has been universally identified as the Simon, associated with the highly nationalistic Zealot Party whose total aspiration was to overthrow the Romans.
Some have identified ‘Canaanite’ as coming from the town of Cana, which we know from the wedding party of Cana which Jesus participated in, or Kanite, which was recognized as a faction of the Zealot Party. Was this the same Symeon, (Simon) the brother of James the Less (Just), Jude (Thaddeus) and Justus (Joseph Barsaba).
The idea cannot be discounted that Simon Zealots was also a half-brother of Jesus, may have had a residence at Cana, and also had strong political affiliation with the Zealot Party. Even so, we will no evidence to the contrary, that he was different than Simon, son of Cleopas, who became the leader and heir of the Nazarene (Jerusalem) Church after James the Just. (See Simon, brother of Christ under Mission)
We also have good documentation that Simon the Zealot was not associated with the Nazarene (Jerusalem) Church but died prior to the destruction of Jerusalem as a martry in Britain (See Simon the Zealot - Mission)
Judas Iscariot (Sicarii)
History: Judas name is forever associated with infamy in the eyes of the followers of Jesus. There is no evidence that he was called to the service of Jesus, but rather invited himself in to their company. Some believe that Iscarios, is derived from the Hebrew ‘ish Qeriyyoth, or simply, “man of Kerioth,” a southern Judean village near Idumaea ( see Joshua 15:25 and Mark 3:8) (SDA BC 597) The incompatibility of this thesis is that it would make him the only non-Galilean in the discipleship of Jesus, and also born and raised the opposite side of the borders of Judah. He is also known as the son of Simon, but which Simon?
There is increased evidence, since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Iscariot is related with Sicarii, known to be a subbranch of the Zealot Party, who were ultra-nationalistic and were willing to carry out their Jewish aspirations with violent means using the sica, the dagger-bladed saber. As such, they were the ultra-right assassination squads. They were loyal only to their cause, as part, Judas portrays well in history.
A common theme in modern Christian thought was that Jesus was a poor peasant, who carried along with him an uneducated band of disciples, gaining prominence with their healing and good deeds. To the early Roman Christian thought in which monasticism became the ideal and the norm, this concept of Jesus would be acceptable and preferred for it justified a lifestyle promoted by the Roman Church religious hierarchy.
With a more complete understanding of the political and religious factions operating in the surroundings of Judea and Galilee since the discovery of many ancient texts, it is reasonable to accept the concept that Jesus and his disciples were also reflective of their surrounding culture, no different than Christians today reflect their own cultures.
With this in mind, let us relook at the Twelve Disciples or Apostles.
1- Peter, Andrew, James and John - Prominent Galilean businessmen with leadership skills in people management.
2- Peter married to daughter of prominent aristocratic/ royal family.
3- James and John with family ties to the family of the Jerusalem Sadducean High Priest.
4- Philip and Bartholomew were Galileans of probable Greek descent. As such, they possibly were non-Jews who had converted into the Jewish faith. As such, they understood the Hellenization of the eastern Mediterranean and were representatives of the Jesus movement to the Greek, non-Jewish population.
5- Thomas was a possible member of the Herodian family, yet now an outsider a his mother was divorced in favor of Herodias by Herod the Great. He, knowing well the traditions of royal life and protocol, was a
representative not only to the Herodian family but also to other royal families in the middle East. He also
could be viewed as a threat to the Herodian interests at promoting another rival to the throne of David.
6- Matthew, James the Less, and Judas (Thaddeaus) were recognized as kinsmen of the Succession, or the sons of Alpheaus. They all are represented as authors of books of the Bible.
7- James the Less and Judas (Thaddeaus) also appear to be identical with the “brethren of Jesus” either as half-brothers or cousins by half blood. We will later see, they alone stay close to the Nazarene (Jerusalem) Church ministry program.
8 - Simon the Kanite was recognized by the synoptic authors as a Zealot, a Religious nationalistic leader. His
identity is associated with Cana, where Jesus began his ministry, accompanied by his whole family,
especially Zealous for the Law, thereby well educated and versed in the religious law of the Jewish people. He was no different than the modern day Jewish Zionist.
8- Judas, the Sicarii, was the most revolutionary of the band of Jesus’ disciples. He appeared to promote throughout the ministry of Jesus, the nationalistic idealism of a warrior messiah for the Jews against the Roman oppression. He also alone put his ideology above his loyalty to Jesus and ended up becoming a traitor to the cause of Christ.
In summary, we can see the disciples of Jesus came from a broad social and political spectrum. We have many close relatives, plus members of the Herodian family and the Sadducean hierarchy, who most resemble the modern political spectrum of the Jewish State of Israel, the Zealots, who are like the modern Zionists in Israel, and the Sicarii, who find the greatest association with Beit Dien (Secret Police) and the Mossad of Israel.
Lazarus and the Bethany family,
Mary Magdalene, Martha and Marcella their handmaiden
The Rabanus Story and the Life of Mary Magdalene
In Magdalen College Library in Oxford University in England, there is a remarkable and beautiful manuscript of Life of Mary Magdalene, which professes to be a copy of an original manuscript written by the Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mayence (776-850 AD) This copy has been dated to the early 1400’s.
It’s history is unknown but is written in high quality parchment style with multicolors gold embossed illuminations done by a professional scribe, similar to the Tertius Opus by Robert Bacon found in the same library. (Taylor 80-81)
Scholars accept that this is probably a copy of the original or the original author followed closely the style of writing found in the Homilies of Rabanus, whose manuscript is known. The Rabanus document was also known and accepted as authentic by the well-known cataloger, William Cave in his Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria. (Cave, Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria, vol ii, p. 38 fol., Oxford, 1740-1743)
This document in fifty chapters chronicles the life of Mary Magdalene (and Martha) in a style that the late Gaskoin, in his analysis of Rabanus Maurus states, “The writings of the Fathers on which his commentaries were based, were literally produced, the share of the compiler in the composition being designedly and almost ostentatiously reduced to the smallest possible proportions.” (Gaskoin , in Alcuin,his Life and Work, London, 1904, quoted in Taylor 82)
This document can now be compared to several other manuscripts on the life of Mary Magdalene. The manuscript of Rabanus, like the following all profess to be copies of older documents which were in themselves copies of older histories. They tend to record in literary and plain details the historical facts of life and death, without the abundance of miraculous accounts with abounded in the writings of the middle ages. Though Rabanus is a longer story, it also is literal with very little miraculous elements.
The following Lives of Mary are found in:
1) 7th c. - Hymn published M. l’Abbe Narbey in supplement to the Acta Sanctorum. - cryptic Mary and Maximinus leave Palestine after the stoning of Stephen, arrival at Marseilles, missionary labors, their death and burial at Aix
2) Lives of St. Mary - Faillon - 10th c. in Paris library - traces original to 6th c.
3) Lives of St. Mary - Duchesne - 11th to 13th c.
4) MS Laud 108 of Bodleian - 13th c.
5) Bucheed Mair Vadlen and Buchedd martha, - Hafod Collection at Cardiff (1604)
6) Fragment - Llwfyr Gwyn Rhydderch of the Hengwrt MS - British libraries
7) Devotional Life of St. Mary Magdalen - Italian unknown - 14th c. - corresponds with the Bethany family story as told in Rabanus.
History of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus:
Martha, the eldest in the family, was a daughter of Eucharia, a descendant from the royal house of Israel, and her father, Theophilus, was a Syrian prince and governor of a maritime country. She had a sister of great beauty, Mary, and a younger brother, Lazarus, “all noted for fine character and intelligence, and for their knowledge of the language of the Hebrews, in which they had been well instructed.” (Rabanus chap. 1 - as told in Taylor 83)
Their inheritance included a “rich patrimony of lands, of money, and of slaves, that a great part of the city of Jerusalem (beside the village of Bethany) belonged to them, and that they had lands at Magdala (on the left side of the Lake of Galilee), and at another Bethany (or Bethabara), the scene of the preaching of St. John the Baptist.” Martha, the eldest, was the executor of the properties, and Mary took up residence at Magdala, where she “lived in sin” as a wife or mistress of one of the rich landowner there.” (Rabanus ch. 2 as told in Taylor 83)
Friends of the family and part of the entourage of Jesus were Joanna, wife of Chuza, a employee in the Herodian family, Suzanne, whose no writer has been able to identify, and another Martha, who was the lady with the dysfunctional uterine bleeding, Marcella, their handmaiden, (Luke 11:27) where at Magdala she said, “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked.”
By all accounts, this family was the greatest supporter of the mission of Christ. They provided lodging, food and shelter for Jesus and all his disciples on numerous occasions, which at times numbered greater that a hundred people.
The Rabanus account continues about the death of Jesus, a description of the mausoleum and sepulcher of Joseph, whom is called a ‘noblis decurion’ which also suggests an officer’s position in the Judean or Roman army. The women who are mention as visiting the tomb and carrying the spices on resurrection morning are recorded as Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleopas, Mary Salome, Joanna and Susannah.
Mary Cleopas and Mary Salome and Sarah, their black handmaiden.
History: Mary Cleopas, was the wife of the Cleopas, the man who Jesus walked with back to Emmaeus after the crucifixion. She is known by several Biblical references, all relating to the women who ministered to Jesus, the women who stood at the foot of the cross, an the women,who went to visit the tomb of Jesus on the Resurrection morning.
According to the Heralds College, English Coat of Arms manuscript, Mary Cleopas, was Mary the mother of Jesus, who remarried to Cleopas and had four additions son, Joseph, James, Simon and Jude. Also Cleopas, according to this same manuscript on lineage one, could have been a family name rather than a married name. In this lineage, Anna, the mother of Mary, remarried Cleopas and had a daughter, Mary Cleopas, who in tern, married Alphaeus. Most scholars do accept that Cleopas was elderly at this time, and probably died soon afterwards. The ‘other man’ walking with him has been suggest as Luke, the physician and author of Luke and Acts.
Mary Salome, the wife of Zebedee, was the mother of James and John. She also was recorded as speaking with Jesus about assuring the right and left sided seats of Christ as honored positions for her sons. This Mary is recorded as being the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Aristobulus and the Capernaeum family.
The Seventy: During the direct ministry of Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem, twelve disciples were selected as his closest confidants or as some would say, the “Inner Circle” As we have seen, a lot of information has been recorded in the gospels on some of the these disciples, yet very little on others. The ones which we know the least, appear to have the most direct or closest relationship with Jesus, his half-brothers. Out of the twelve, James the Greater and John were probably cousins by half-blood, and James the Less, Judas (brother or kinsman?) of James, were possibly
half-brothers. It is of interest when we later study their “Mission”, eleven of them were sent to preach the Good News to the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel”. One, failed in his mission and self-destructed in his own destructive mission of traitor.
Yet along with the twelve, seventy disciples were also appointed. Initially they were appointed to go ahead of Jesus in his itinerant ministry, preparing the way by meeting with the people in the villages, making arrangements, and also given authority to heal and cast our demons. (Luke 10) They returned with glowing accounts of their missions. For all this wonderful evangelistic activity, all have remained anonymous, except Aristobulus and possibly Maximinus, possibly identified as the “Rich Young Ruler” and a possible member of the seventy as he was called the “Chiefest of the Disciples”.
1- Aristobulus, the son Herod the Great and his second wife, Marianne I, the daughter of Alexander the Hasmonean Heir), who was killed by Herod 7BC;
2- Aristobulous, the son of Aristobulus, the son of Herod the Great who married Jotape, and was siblings with Herod of Chalcis, Regent of Agrippa I, Agrippa I, King of Judea and Herodias, who married Philip (Thomas) and then Herod Antipas, provoking the wrath of John the Baptist.
3- Aristobulus, the son of Herod of Chalcis (d. 48) who married Salome.
What is more concrete, is that Aristobulus has been identified as the father of Perpetua, who became the wife of the Apostle Simon Peter. Together they lived in a villa house with a central courtyard in the Roman city of Capernaeum. Aristobulus also had a brother, Barnabus, who went with Paul on his First Missionary Journey, and later split with Paul and went with his nephew, John Mark, on additional missions. John Mark’s mother, Mary, was a sister to both Barnabus and Aristobulus.
______________Father not known (Herodian family?)__________
- - -
Aristobulus Barnabus Mary = Man carrying the water jug
Simon Peter = Perpetual John Mark
Lineage of Peter and his Relatives
History: 34-35 AD - Barnabus, brother in law to Simon Peter, brother to Aristobulus, and uncle to John Mark, is recognized early on during the formation of the first church community in Jerusalem for his humanitarianism. He is by legend, a student of the famed Pharisaic scholar and professor, Gamaliel, in Jerusalem, along with Saul. Saul, a relative of Luke It is here that the roots of friendship between these two missionaries began.
He was known as a Jewish Cypriot, a landowner with an estate on that island which was recorded in Act 4:36-37. During the days when the members were pooling their possessions and resources together for the ministry of the Church, it was recorded in Acts , “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
Even so, Barnabus, has close relatives in Jerusalem, Mary, his sister to himself and Aristobulus and thereby uncle to her son, John Mark. Paul, many years later confirms this family relationship in Col. 4:10-11, and the personal relationship of Barnabus and Mark to Paul, for “of the Jewish Christians, these are the only ones who work with me for the kingdom of God,”. He states, Aristarchus, my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabus.”
Mary, sister to Aristobulus and Barnabus
History: The mother of John Mark is recognized in scripture as the owner of the
house in Jerusalem, famed for the Last Supper, the Pentecost, and gathering place for the Jerusalem (Nazarene) Church and where Peter was prevented from entering by Rhoda, after being released from prison.
John Mark (Apostle Mark), son of Mary
History: The Apostle John Mark is still an enigmatic character whose life is still being discovered. The following are the most accepted characteristics of his life:
He is most attributed by most New Testament scholars as the author of the synoptic gospel of Mark but that view is not universally accepted. He is accepted by tradition as the son of Mary, the mother of John Mark and the unnamed man who carried the jar of water (noted doing a woman’s role so he could be identified) into the residence that became the site of the Last Supper, the meeting place of the apostles after the death and resurrection of Christ, the site of the Pentecost revival, the site of where Peter went after being released from prison. By tradition, he was born in the Roman colony in North Africa of Cyrenaica to a mother who was a Jewess, and a father who was a Roman, hence his Jewish name Johanan (John) and his Roman name, Mark. (Stough 109)
In Mark’s gospel is an interesting side story. The night at Gethsemene, the cohorts of soldiers were in face to face confrontation with Jesus and the disciples were fleeing in all directions. Peter, reacting as the bodyguard of Jesus, and armed for the occasion, quickly drew a saber and in the melee, cut of the ear of Malcus, the servant of Caiphas. Within this large group, was a young man, an apparent bystander, who apparently was following Jesus. Thinking here would be an easy suspect, the soldiers grabbed him, only to have him slip out of their hands, leaving his linen covering, but otherwise “ran away naked” Mark 14:51-52) Many scholars believe this to be the young and now embarrassed John Mark.
John Mark’s home is recognized as the most famous home in Jerusalem identified with the followers of Jesus, the home with the “Upper Room”. Remember now the story, the Last Supper in a room which later was filled with over 120 people at Pentecost. Chances are that there were a lot of people there, the twelve, the seventy and friends of Jesus. If history is correct then, Jesus and the twelve, meet for a Eucharist fieast. If I was a young man, in my own home, I would be watching this scene with fascination. We can now see John Mark following Jesus and the disciples after dark to Gethsemene. And now you know the rest of the story!
Barnabus, Peter, and Aristobulus no doubt visited this house on many occasions. It was the location of the “Last Supper”, the meeting place of the disciples when they fear for their lives after the crucifixion, the place of the “Pentecost experience” (34 AD) , the gathering place of many believers when Peter was imprisoned after the beheading of James the Greater (brother to the Apostle John) in 44 AD (Acts 12:12) Here Peter had to convince the door-maiden Rhoda, he was the real Peter.
John Mark is now identified by genealogical records as the cousin to the wife of the Apostle Peter, Perpetua. This makes Peter, Barnabus, Aristobulus, and John Mark all in the same family.