(continued from last post) None of the Gospels really agree about the events surrounding t

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(continued from last post) None of the Gospels really agree about the events surrounding the Crucifixion either, and some accounts cannot even be reconciled with Judaic custom. There is no way that the Sanhedrin would allow the Romans to crucify even the basest criminal during one of the most sacred times of the year: the festival of Pesach. Yet that is what two of the four Gospels say happened. And most strikingly, the characterization of Jesus in each of the Gospels contradict the others. In Luke, Jesus is the Suffering Just One prefigured in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. In Matthew, Jesus is the rightful temporal heir to the thrones of Judea and Israel, a king that did not rule, and even hints that he was a Guerilla leader that came "not to bring peace but the sword." In Mark, Jesus is the model Jewish ethical teacher and wonder-worker, a true Tzaddik. And in John, Jesus is the mystic God-man of Neo-Gnostic thought, the mediator and initiator, the incarnation of the Gnostic notion of the Logos. There is further disagreement about Jesus' last words on the cross. In Matthew and Mark the words are, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"...an allusion to one of David's more morose psalms. In Luke, the words are-"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." And in John they are simply "It is finished." With these discrepancies, the Canonical Gospels can only be accepted as highly questionable, and certainly not as definitive. If the New Testament is truly the Word of God, then God's Book has been very well "cooked" by human agency. C.) Jesus and the Essenes Judaism around 30 CE was still very much a tribal religion offering little chance for individual salvation during a time when people were looking for some assurance that they mattered beyond which tribe, or city or province they came from. Mystery religions were well established in the east and making inroads into Rome herself. In addition to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were vying for control of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' life, there was a sect of ascetics known as the Essenes. It has been said that the Essenes were the founders of a Mystery religion that married esoteric Judaism with various mystic undercurrents picked up during the Babylonian exile (it is surmised that some Jews lived in the Arcadian area of Greece, therefore coming into contact with the Greek Mysteries) and also possibly from the admixture of Zoroastrian thought that was mingling in the Roman world from the influential Mithraic mysteries. Unlike mainstream Jewish thought, Essenes believed they could work miracles by living apart from the world and practicing extreme self denial. Like the Manicheans, Gnostics and Cathari that came after them, the Essenes believed that the world was not created by God, but by Satan, and since the world and hence the pleasures of the flesh were satanic rather than godly, that chastity, penance and monastic life was the only way to escape bondage by sin. From historians and chroniclers writing at the time, it is known that the Essenes maintained communities throughout the Holy Land. A large colony of Essenes occupied the Qumran community from 110 BCE to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, with a significant period of vacancy during the reign of Herod, 31 BCE - 4 CE. John the Baptist is conjectured to have been trained in Essenic communities. Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary, are also said to have possibly been laity in the Essenic movement and Jesus may have received his rabbinical training in their schools. There is abundant evidence that Jesus not only knew what the Essene prophecies were concerning the Messiah, but went to great lengths to plan for and carry out the prophecies. The Essene prophecies detailed the life and work of a future "Teacher of Righteousness" who would one day be sacrificed for the sins of the world. The entire book of Isaiah has a definate stamp of Essene philosophy on it, especially the famed chapter 53. I do not, however, go along with the belief that he cynically faked his crucifixion and resurrection. In the garbled accounts of the Gospels, one very definate impression comes to mind about the real Jesus, the Rabbi Yehoshua ben David, the man who would be King. When Pontius Pilate said "behold the man in whom is no guile," I really think he meant it. (continued next post)

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