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
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