The Balaam Prophesy and Roman Admissions to the Conspiracy
"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter will rise out of Israel. It shall crush the foreheads of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. Edom shall be dispossessed."–Numbers 24.17-19
Most likely originally a reference to King Josiah, this text came to be interpreted as a prediction of the coming of the Messiah, as can be seen in the Testament of Judah.
"And after this there shall arise for you a star from Jacob in peace. And a man shall arise from my posterity like the sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men in gentleness and righteousness, and in him will be found no sin. And the heavens will be opened upon him to pour out the spirit as a blessing of the holy Father. And he will pour out the spirit of grace on you. This is the shoot of God most high; this is the fountain of life of all humanity. Then he will illumine the scepter of my kingdom, and from your root will arise the shoot, and through it will arise the rod of righteousness for the nations, to judge and to save all that call on the Lord."–Testament of Judah 24.1-6 alluding to Joel 2.28-29 and Isaiah 11.1-5
This text purported to have been written by the sons of Jacob actually only dates to the second century BCE. Similar references can be found from the Qumran document known as the "War Scroll." While the Jews in particularly the Essene and Messianic Jews saw this as a prophesy foretelling the coming of the Jewish Messiah, the Romans had their own interpretation.
"There had spread over all the Orient an old an established belief that it was fated at that time for a man coming from Judaea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome, as it turned out, the Jews took to themselves, and they revolted accordingly."–Suetonius, "Vespasian" 4.5
"What did the most to induce the Jews to start this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea."– Josephus, "War of the Jews" 6.312-313
"The majority [of the Jews] were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this exalted destiny was reserved for them, and not even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth."–Tacitus, "Histories" 5.13
The Jews, having taken this prophesy to heart produced an innumerable number of Messianic wannabes during the first century BCE and the first century CE. It seems that no sooner had the Romans nailed one messiah to the cross that another soon appeared. The most notable of these was Judas of Galilee and it was from his lineage that many of these would be messiahs sprang, like Menahem and later Simon bar Kosiba. This is also the lineage of Matthew's Jesus. For this reason the conspirators made the belief in one and only one true messiah a basic tenet of their new faith, and that person was to be the best kind of Jewish Messiah for the Romans, a dead one.
While writing 'Caesar's Messiah', Joseph Atwill unearthed a series of horticultural analogies used by the conspirators. After the war with the Jews, the Romans wanted to bring back a trophy of their victory to Rome and that prize was the title of Messiah. This is clearly stated in the following quote from Pliny the Elder. "The balsam shrub is native to Judea but was brought to Rome by "the Vespasian emperors" and "it now serves [Rome] and pays tribute along with its race (cum sua gente) [i.e. Judeans]. The Jews did violence to it as also to their own lives, but the Romans protected it in response, and there has been warfare over a bush!"–Pliny the Elder, who later died during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (79 CE), dedicated his "Naturalis Historia" to Titus.
The Roman historian Tacitus also has his own horticultural analogy, 'destroy the vine and destroy also the branch.' Paul also enjoins with the following from Romans 11:24: "For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?" There is also the analogy made to describe the pruning of the Jewish warrior Eleazar during the siege of Jerusalem.
There is also another telling horticultural analogy and this comes from the Jewish writings. Elisha Ben Abuiah was from Jerusalem. His dates are unknown, but most place his adult life between the Jewish wars. It was he who was the Christian persecutor and later convert to Christianity. He was nicknamed Aher for traitor. The Latin version of Apollonius is Paulus, and both individuals are conflated into just Paul. While there exists no secular historical material pertaining to Paul, there is a record of the anti-Pharisaic Rabbi Elisha, probably a remnant of the defunct Sadducean sect, in the Jewish writings. Since he was a contemporary of Rabbi Akiva who was born in 50 CE, it is likely that he was at least a generation younger than the Paul of the scriptures. The idea that Paul (Apollonius) persecuted Christians is ludicrous, first because the Christ concept was his own idea which he was trying to sell, and even according to Christian scripture, the term Christian was only first used in Antioch c 41 CE.
"According to Grätz, he was a Karpotian Gnostic; according to Siegfried, a follower of Philo; according to Dubsch, a Christian; according to Smolenskin and Weiss, a victim of the inquisitor Akiba....The oldest and most striking reference to the views of Elisha is found in the following baraita (Hag. 14b; Yer. ii. 1): "Four [sages] entered paradise—Ben 'Azzai, Ben Zoma, Aher, and Akiba. Ben 'Azzai looked and died; Ben Zoma went mad; Aher destroyed the plants; Akiba alone came out unhurt."... It means that Elisha, like Paul, in a moment of ecstasy beheld the interior of heaven—in the former's case, however, with the effect that he destroyed the plants of the heavenly garden."–Jewish Encyclopedia. The Nazoreans considered reality to be heaven and their religion as the new shoot of Judaism. So, the destroying of the plants refers to the destruction of the shoot of Judah. I have no idea what a Karpotian means, nor as far as I can find does anyone else. There was a philosopher by the name Carpocrates whose followers were called Carpocratians, but this was during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 CE) which would fit the time frame of Aher.
The following affirms that even as late as the end of the first century, no one had ever heard of a crucified Jewish Messiah by the name of Jesus Christ. "Now there still survived of the family of the Lord grandsons of Judas [Thomas], who was said to have been his brother according to the flesh, and they were related as being of the family of David. These the officers brought to Domitian Caesar, for like Herod, he was afraid of the coming of the Christ [Messiah]."—Eusebius quoting Hegesippus, "Ecclesiastical History." Keep in mind that this statement was made by an early Christian chronicler during the second half of the second century, hence he refers to Judas as the brother of the family of the Lord. It is obvious that the Romans were aware that many of the messianic wannabes came from this very same family, but as of the time of Domitian the Romans had no reason to believe that the Jewish Messiah had as yet appeared. Hence, the story of the resurrected Jewish Messiah was not grounded in reality, but in the fictions of the gospels which were roundly rejected by Domitian who was Apollonius' arch enemy.
Quite strangely, there also exists an equally condemning entry in 1Thessalonians believed by many to have been the first of the Pauline Epistles published: "Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."—1Thessalonians 2:15,16. What retribution could Paul possibly be talking about? This epistle is believed to have been written c 52 CE, and posted in the city bearing its name. How in the world could Paul have known of the destruction of Jerusalem at that time, an event which happened after the supposed beheading of Paul. Could it be, that as many scholars believe, that this was a latter day Christian interpolation, or could this reference actually refer to the taking of Jerusalem by Pompey after the execution of the Essene Teacher, and have nothing to do with the Jesus of scripture.
Peter, First Pope?
The pagan priests of the mystery religions were called PATORS or PETERS. It is clearly stated by Josephus that Simon/Peter was crucified along with his brother James the Great in 47 CE. "And besides this, the sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews, as we have showed in a foregoing book. The names of those sons were James and Simon, whom Alexander commanded to be crucified…"—Jewish Antiquities, XX: 5.2.
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."—Acts 12:1-4. Are they forgetting that Jesus was crucified during Passover.
It is this event which clearly ties the family of Jesus, as mentioned in the scriptures, to the family of Judas of Galilee which is covered extensively by Josephus. The book of Acts quote above cites a parallel event, but dates it c 44 CE, in order to make it seem that the crucifixion was the result of religious persecution at the hands of the Jewish Procurator Herod Agrippa I rather than the Roman Tiberius Alexander. However, this fraudulent entry into Acts is clearly rebutted by the Gospel of Mark where it states that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.
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A careful reading of Acts reveals that after Peter's miraculous escape the author's emphasis switches from Peter, who only makes a later appearance to renounce his former stance against taking the gospels to the gentiles "And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."—Acts 15:7, to Paul.
Although the early Church Father Origen says: "Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer," it seems clear that he is relying not on scripture nor word of mouth, but the fanciful Apochryphal "Acts of Peter," a late second century document probably penned somewhere in Asia Minor and which makes up the oldest part of the Clementines, "And while Peter thus spake, and all the brethren wept, behold four soldiers took him and led him unto Agrippa. And he in his madness (disease) commanded him to be crucified on an accusation of godlessness." While this document relies heavily on Acts and Acts of John, it strongly contradicts Acts as to the whereabouts of Paul. It states that Paul, who had been in Rome had coveniently left Rome for Spain and returned later. This enabled Simon to confront Peter without the presence of Paul. Now, Paul's absence may simply be because a man cannot be in 2 places at the same time. Acts makes no mention of Paul's visit to Spain. It is also clearly stated that this incident occurred in Rome. "Now Peter was in Rome rejoicing in the Lord with the brethren..."—"Acts XIII. This "Acts of Peter" is taken from a very late second century Coptic fragment and not from the Clementines.
The use of the name Agrippa as Prefect in Rome is troubling. When Charles I was king of England, he was simply known as King Charles. Only when there was a Charles II, did King Charles become Charles I. Further the term Prefect was only in use prior to 44 CE. If this were Agrippa II, he would either be Tetrarch or Procurator and not Prefect. There were 2 Herod Agrippas who ruled Judea. The first Agrippa who was either Tetrarch or King (37-44 CE), son of Aristobulus IV and grandson son of Herod the Great, and Agrippa's son Agrippa II who served as Tetrarch (53-93 CE). In between these 2 there was Cuspius Fadus (44-46 CE), the Jewish Roman Procurator Tiberius Alexander (46-48 CE), and Ventidius Cumanus (48–52 CE).
This story comes from the Jewish side of Christianity, and is not supported by any earlier scripture of Peter ever being in Rome. It is this story which was only embraced by the Catholic Church as a means of having Peter in Rome, which forms the basis upon which the claim is made that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome. Therefore, the event of the execution of Peter by Agrippa could actually refer to the original account from Acts which occurred during the reign of Agrippa I. The references to Emperor Nero in the last chapters are believed to be latter day additions, probably added to date the incident during the 60s rather than where it belonged in the 40s. Anyhow, as I have already demonstrated the gospels themselves aver to the fact that in this case Josephus was correct, he was crucified by Tiberius Alexander.
The Simon/Peter who was later taken back to Rome and crucified, during the 60s, was the Sicarii leader Simon bar Giora who was captured by Terentius Rufus, in the subterranean tunnels and caves beneath Jerusalem, at the end of the siege by the Romans, not Simon bar Jonas. Josephus wrote his histories during the second half of the first century, while Acts was written in the middle of the second century from first century notes taken by Damis. The change in dates for the crucifixion was no accident, but an intentional attempt to place the blame on the Jews. Remember, Josephus and Damis were well acquainted during the time that Josephus was inking his manuscripts and such a discrepancy, in the original notes, would be highly unlikely.
The Catholic Church demonstrates its total lack of credibility when it claims that Peter was the first Pope of the Church serving from 30-62/67 CE. The name Christianity didn't even exist prior to 41 CE, let alone the Catholic Church. Further, when Paul visits Jerusalem, the head of the Church was James and not Peter.
"Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:"–Romans 15:20. Paul clearly states that he will build his own church and not rely on another man's foundation. Now, I am not certain if that man is Peter or Jesus himself.
There exists no evidence that Paul visited Rome prior to 60-61 CE, and on that trip, it is evident that he did not seek out Peter or anyone from the Christian community in Rome. Rather he sought out members of the Jewish community. "And when we came to Rome,...Paul called the chief of the Jews together...And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against."–Acts 28:16,21,22. Paul did not seek out Peter, because he knew that Peter was dead and he did not seek out members of the Christian community because there were no Christians living in Rome as late as 60 CE. "there is no evidence that this apostle died at or was ever in Rome at all except in the Gnostic "Acts,' composed about 200, and otherwise completely rejected by the Catholic Church,...even these Acts do not claim that Peter founded the Roman Church."—Martin A. Larson, "The Story of Christian Origins"
"For the bishops of Rome were, first, Peter and Paul, the Apostles themselves who were also bishops..."—Epiphanius, 'Panarion' Against Ebionites section 2, 6,1.
Here Eusebius, concerning Simon Magus, writes: "And coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty co-operation of that power which was lying in wait there, he was in a short time so successful in his undertaking that those who dwelt there honored him as a god by the erection of a statue." [Eusebius, Church History, trans. by Arthur C. McGiffert (Vol. I, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1952; p. 115), II, 14, 5.]
Eusebius then switches his attention from Simon to Peter whose real name is Simon Bar-jôna, a different Simon, not Simon Magus: "For immediately, during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things, led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the Apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome against this great corrupter of life. He, like a noble commander of God, clad in divine armor, carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls, and preaching the kingdom of heaven." [Ibid.], and I thought it was supposed to be the word of Jesus Christ. This visit to Rome supposedly took place in 42 CE. It is solely upon this statement that the twenty-five year episcopate of Peter is based. The dating of the Apostle Peter's coming to Rome has now been utterly abandoned by all scholars including even modern Catholics. However, this statement which credits Peter with bringing the word from the East to the West should actually have been written about Simon Magus and not Peter/Simon Bar-jôna, and it ties Simon Magus to Paul/Apollonius who was the person who actually brought back the nine epistles to Rome from King Phraotes of Taxila.
"Eusebius was not the only writer perhaps he was not the first one who was led by the Acts of Peter, through the combination of the tradition of Simon Magus' residence in Rome under Claudius with the tradition of Peter's martyrdom in Rome under Nero, to assume a long Roman Episcopate of Peter. Once it had arisen and become current, the story lost all connection with its source." [Theodor Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1953), Vol. II., p. 169.]
Unless Peter was in Rome during the 40s then Peter could not have been the first Pope or Bishop of Rome. Of course, most of the early references to first, second and third century Popes are bogus as there were no Popes until the time of Eusebius. However, if we want to choose a candidate to have been the first Pope then the very same person credited with authoring 'Revelations,' on the Isle of Patmos, St. John the Divine, or Pope John I, or just plain old Paul, Apollonius of Tyana would be the most likely candidate. It is therefore likely that the Gospel of John was actually first written about the crucifixion of Paul/Simon Magus/Apollonius of Tyana. This is why the Gospel of John has a more mystical Gnostic Hellenic sense than the Synoptics which were written from the perspective of the Jewish social reformer Jesus (Yeshu). This explains why the crucifixion in John takes place not on Passover, but on the eve of Passover, the day of the slaughter of the Paschal Lamb, and keep in mind that Jesus is a cipher for the sacrificial lamb of God. This would have have been a sore point for the vegetarians Apollonius and Damis. "I came to destroy the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from sacrificing, the Wrath of God will not cease from you."—Matthew, Aramaic text; Epiphanius, Panarion 30.16,4-5
The following is from Leonardo Bruni who altered manuscripts for the Vatican during the Middle Ages. "The fourth document was an attempt to prove that Peter was the first pope, when the word 'pope' in that document clearly showed that it was not known until the time of Constantine, and then it was only used as applied to bishops."—J. M. Roberts, "Antiquity Unveiled", testimony of Leonardo Bruni. Bruni also claimed that he had altered the Philostratus biography of Apollonius of Tyana to suit the Christos and Hesus doctrines.
The truly first to assume to the title of Pontiff was St. Damasus (366-84 CE), and demonstrates Christianity's bloody and corrupt roots. He was opposed by Uricinus who accused Damasus of adultery. "After some deadly conflicts between the followers of the two rivals, Uricinus was banished from the city; and a similar sentence was about to be carried into effect against seven presbyters of his party, when the people interfered, and lodged them for safety in one of the churches. But even here they found no shelter from the fury of their opponents. Armed with fire and sword, Damasus, with some of his adherents, both of the clergy and of the laity, proceeded to the place of refuge, and left no less than a hundred and sixty of their adversaries dead within the sacred precincts."—History of the Papacy, vol. i., p. 143
Continued Table of Contents