The Abomination of Desolation

Chapter 14: The Mother of Abominations

 

 

“My people have perished for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being priest for Me. Since you have forgotten the Torah of your Elohim, I also forget your children.” Hosea 4:6

 

In order to understand how the belief system of Christianity has failed to incorporate any biblical precepts into itself to the monumental extent that it has, the first question we need to ask is how, with literally billions of adherents, no one has ever come along to prevent or detract from the grand yet obvious deception. It is not enough to merely state that God desires the so-called Christians to be deceived. In fact, they themselves bring the deception upon themselves, because, like people of all other persuasions, their desire to sin is so great that they adamantly refuse to give any consideration to what God has to say. This is a very human trait, and the fact that Christians claim the Bible for themselves has no bearing on it. Even seemingly devout Mormons, Muslims, Masons and Jews do exactly the same.

In fact, the only Western religion with an instituted policy of vegetarianism is Adventism, which we might say is a slightly more enlightened form of mainstream Christianity, if not the most enlightened form. Even among Adventists, however, vegetarianism is not enforced with the authority of the Bible, but only regarded as an ideal. Only half of Adventists are even vegetarians, and the vast majority of them are not vegans.727 It is clear from their example that there are no mainstream Christians living today who even realize what the main message of the Bible is, much less that have embraced it wholeheartedly as such, whether or not they have espoused the vegan ethic for any other reasons. If they had, then there would at least have been some sort of debate over it at some time, as there was during the time of Polycarp and Anicetus. Yet no such inquiry has ever been made, and Christians the world over have failed in their solemn duty (obeying the Law) and their only God-given vocation (preaching the Gospel).

In spite of this, Christians still believe that theirs is the “one true religion,” simply because its tradition and its governing bodies are older and more secure than all the others, having gained the most acceptance through the force of political, cultural and ideological conquest. It is the religion which, along with its offshoots of Islam and Freemasonry, has purged the world of all major contenders. Most people lack the courage to imagine what could possibly be wrong with it, apart from superficial appearances, such as the fact that thousands of priests each molest thousands of children, as though that is perfectly normal among other cross-sections of society, as opposed to just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the moral depravity of the institution which stands in the holy place, professing itself to be God by openly seeking worship of itself and claiming God’s authority in direct opposition to God’s expressly stated commands.

Hosea has much to say about this. The implications range from the fact that when the violent overcome the defenseless, it is the children of the oppressors rather than the oppressed that build the future, to the fact that such people are actually incapable of being good. Consider the stated consequence of ignoring God’s law, that “I also forget your children,” in light of the rampant child abuse of the Church’s pedophilia rings. This, too, is just another consequence of the lust for flesh, and practically a blessing compared to the ultimate curse awaiting the next (and every) generation.

Hear the word of יהוה, you children of Yisra’ĕl, for יהוה has a case against the inhabitants of the land: “For there is no truth or kindness or knowledge of Elohim in the land. Swearing, and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing adultery have increased. And bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everyone living there languishes, with the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens. And the fish of the sea are taken away. However, let no one strive or reprove another, for your people are like those striving with a priest. And you shall stumble in the day, and the prophet shall also stumble with you in the night. And I shall make your mother perish.” Hosea 4:1-5

“And I shall not have compassion on her children, for they are the children of whorings. For their mother has whored, she who conceived them has acted shamelessly. For she said, ‘I go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’ And she did not acknowledge that I gave her grain, and new wine, and oil, and increased her silver and gold which they prepared for Baʽal. Therefore I shall turn back and shall take my grain in its time and My new wine in its season, and I shall take away My wool and My linen covering her nakedness. And now I shall uncover her shame before the eyes of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from My hand.” Hosea 2:4-5,8-10

Knowledge is important, and this is half the reason why God and his prophets continually expose the sins of wicked men, whether or not they choose to listen to reason. The point is not to destroy: people do that to themselves by their ignorance. On the contrary, God would have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9), but only saves what is worth saving, like a gardener who plucks weeds from his garden so that they do not steal the water and the space of the crops he has chosen, planted and tended for his purposes. This metaphor of God being a gardener and his chosen ones being a field or vineyard is a common one throughout the Prophets (both OT and NT), which God has chosen to describe himself and his purpose. Paul deliberately explains it as a matter of creating the kingdom of heaven, by growing the Gospel as one who cultivates crops and lets Nature take care of their growth, rather than raising animals for slaughter.

I planted, Apollos watered, but Elohim was giving growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is any at all, but Elohim who gives the increase. And he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are fellow workers of Elohim, you are the field of Elohim, the building of Elohim. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not feed on the milk of the flock? Do I say this as a man? Or does not the Torah say the same too? For it has been written in the Torah of Mosheh, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain [Deuteronomy 25:4; also quoted in 1 Timothy 5:18].” Is it about oxen Elohim is concerned? 1 Corinthians 9:7-9

One could look at this rhetorical device and say that Paul is saying that God is not concerned about animal welfare. However, the point is that on the surface it does seem to appear that he is, yet there is also a deeper meaning. In other words, God is not only concerned about the welfare of the oxen, but also about our welfare, and that is ultimately why we must choose the right path. Throughout the present book, we have never meant to say that God does not care about humans or about the affairs of humans, only that he cares about the welfare of both humans and nonhuman animals, contrary to the express claims of the mainstream Christians, Catholics and Jews.

Paul just as easily could have used a negative device to make the same point. For example, he could have said, “Who grows mold from spoiled milk and then eats it?” The implication would be that the lazy man who chooses to butcher animals instead of working the ground like he should is cursed to eat disgusting “food.” However, this logic would not even hold today, as the things which people eat now are even more disgusting than the things which wealthy aristocrats were eating in the days of the Roman Empire. Nor is this simply a matter of unhealthy foods or taste preferences; it is, first and foremost, a matter of moral depravity, as a man who will eat anything is no man at all—and most people think that humans are natural omnivores.

Earlier we mentioned that people in New Zealand have enthusiastically taken to eating horse semen and horse testicles. Is it any wonder that this kind of behavior would result from a nation with a “culture” so depraved in terms of related issues that it leads the world in per capita deaths from colorectal cancers? Speaking of the controversial menu item, one representative of the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival has said, “I don’t think that’s disgusting. We never think anything is disgusting.”728 Other items at the 2010 fair included raw (or cooked) scorpions and governmentally protected wildlife.729 To say that this is straight out of ancient Rome is to imply that the common man was eating like this in Rome, when the common man was actually eating salads. Indeed, the average person in today’s society is more corrupt, both physically and spiritually, than the most depraved of the proverbially demented Roman aristocrats.

But regardless of whether or not their sins surpass those of their fathers, the people of “Babylon” today are just the descendants of those who murdered the prophets, and the ones decorating their supposed tombs now. The “Mother of Harlots” moniker only tells half the story, but it still implicates the Church as the spiritual and political authority behind the practice of eating flesh, as “whoring” is exactly that. The other half of the story goes right along with the first; to be the mother of whores is also to be the mother of abominations, because whores breed abominations. And although this metaphor has worked its way into the popular consciousness, it has never been explained to the public, because the public has only ever destroyed the prophetic message in its entirety. So it is incumbent upon us to explain its meaning, in terms of its significance both to the ancient era and to the present one.

And the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup filled with abominations and the filthiness of her whoring, and upon her forehead a name written, a secret: BAḆEL THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE WHORES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the set-apart ones, and with the blood of the witnesses of יהושע. And having seen her, I marvelled—greatly marvelled! And the messenger said to me, “Why did you marvel? Let me explain to you the secret of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. Revelation 17:4-7

There were seven kings in Rome’s early history (or pseudo-history), beginning with its founding by Romulus, until the founding of the Republic. The symbol of the monarchy was the curule seat, called the sella curulis in Latin, which comes from currus, meaning ‘chariot.’ Only the highest ranking officials were allowed to sit on the chariot-throne, including the flamines maiores or high priests of the Capitoline Triad.730 The word curia which describes the Roman Catholic Church’s governing body is thought to come from coviria, meaning ‘assembly’ (from co-, ‘together,’ and viri, ‘men’),731 but, in fact, the Curia is simply the comitia curiata, or Curiate Assembly. (Comitia is the origin of the word ‘committee.’)

The literal meaning which we would derive from the supposed etymology, of ‘men-together, all-citizens,’ is blatant repetition. The Curiate Assembly was anything but open to the public, so it makes more sense to suppose that the Roman Curia refers to the College of Cardinals (as it does) based on an association with the curule seat of the bishop of Rome, or of the kings and emperors of the ancient era, than on any vague association with the word coviria. This latter interpretation is only speculation anyway, and has no basis in anything but a literal etymology, which is fundamentally antagonistic to the nature of the thing itself. And while we can only speculate as to a more plausible etymology, an alternative may demonstrate that the word coviria itself suggests this: for example, in French, the word couvrir means ‘to cover,’ as in to hide a secret, while couverture means a ‘cover,’ as in the false identity taken by a spy. In any case, the coviria or curia is the ‘court’ of the king who sits on the currus or sella curulis, not an assembly of men who gather as equals. The very concept of a throne and of a royal court necessarily precludes this.

With this in mind, there were seven heads of Rome from the time of the second king, Numa Pompilius: the head of state and the head of government, held as one position (rex), the commander in chief of the military (imperator), the chief priest (rex sacrorum), the sovereign pontiff (pontifex maximus), the chief legislator (dictator) and the chief judge (magistratus extraordinarius), of which there could be more than one, unlike the other positions. (A magistratus extraordinarius was the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice in the United States, except that he was not so until he died, but as long as needed.) Each of these offices was invested in the King until the dissolution of the Monarchy, at which point they were divided up. Numa also established seven priesthoods: the curiones (secret priests who governed behind the scenes, presided over by the curio maximus), the flamines (high priests assigned to each of the cults), the augures (interpreters of omens), the salii (priests of Mars), the fetiales (priests of Jupiter), the celeries (personal bodyguards of the rex who also participated in religious ceremonies, later dissolved or expanded into the equites, or equestrians, i.e. knights) and the pontifices (bishops). (The Vestals are generally counted as an eighth, but actually preexisted the founding of Rome, having been brought over from Alba Longa.) Over time, the pontifex maximus overshadowed the chiefs of the other priesthoods, presumably because the pontiffs were (and still are) the chief priests of their cities, so the title of supreme pontiff would have been more prestigious than the others outside of Rome, where the influence of the others was not so immediate.

In 452 BC, administration of the Roman Republic was divided into ten tasks, each of which was presided over by one of a group of men called the decemviri (‘ten men’).732 Eventually, there were ten men for each of the seven head positions of government, including the priests, who were called the decemviri sacrorum or decemviri sacris faciundis (‘ten men who make sacrifices’). This particular group of ten was the ecclesiastical college now known as the College of Cardinals upon its self-proclaimed and hotly contested promotion to the status of the Curia in the 4th century. (The collegium pontificum or College of Pontiffs had more or less ceased to exist by that time, and although the emperors in the East never gave up the title of pontifex maximus, the Western emperor Gratian allegedly handed that title over to the Roman bishop—which he did not have the authority to do—thereby allegedly giving the rex sacrorum the authority to reorganize the ecclesiastical government. There was, therefore, from the 4th century, always an antipope or pretender to the Imperial throne in Rome, and therefore also an imposter Curia, as the Curia is simply the papal ‘court.’) The college was eventually expanded to fifteen members; Julius Caesar was added as a sixteenth, which was his prerogative as pontifex maximus, but this did not establish a precedent.

As with the decemviri (called the quindecimviri or ‘fifteen men’ after the expansion), there were fifteen flamines, the first three of which (the flamines maiores) were originally given curule chairs by Numa.733 As with the decemviri, another flamen maior was added with the establishment of the Imperial cult, provided that the Senate sanctioned the deification of an emperor, with exceptions for emperors like Caligula and Nero, and probably Tiberius, who had themselves declared gods while they were still alive. This is clearly the significance of Yahshuah’s warning regarding the Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24. Furthermore, it is no less applicable today than it was then. As with the ancient Curia, the modern Curia is divided into ten branches: the Secretariat, the Congregations, the Tribunals, the Pontifical Councils, the Offices, the Pontifical Commissions, the Pontifical Committees, the Pontifical Academies, the Pontifical Colleges (universities, not to be confused with ‘academies’ in British or international English) and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which is the modern equivalent of the Knights Templar or Hospitaller, or of the salii, if the celeries are understood to be the Swiss Guard, but in either case, the equites.

There were traditionally ten cardinals appointed for each branch of the Curia, not all of which were actually active throughout the Church’s history, even if the cardinals were pocketing allocated funds (which was their incentive not to disperse them, as it was also the Pope’s incentive to reduce their size and curb the cardinals’ power—in the cases of those cardinals who opposed his rule, that is). There were ten added, for instance, at the consistory of 1305 (the consistory which decided to disband the Templars). However, appointment of new cardinals was practically the sole means of domination of the college by the various political factions of the medieval era, so the policy was constantly overturned or ignored in favor of appointing new cardinals for political gain.

From the 13th to 15th centuries, the size of the College of Cardinals never exceeded thirty, although there were more than thirty parishes and diaconal districts which could potentially have a titular holder.734 Pope John XXII (1316–1334) formalized this rule by limiting the College to twenty members.735 The conclave capitulation of 1352 limited the size of the College to twenty, and decreed that no new cardinals could be created until the size of the College had dropped to sixteen, but Pope Innocent VI declared the capitulation invalid the following year.736 This is significant in that sixteen is the number of the decemviri after Julius Caesar added himself to the quindecemviri, or of the flamines, after he added a flamen to preside over his cult, which became the Imperial cult.

Besides the decemviri and the seven heads of government alluded to in Revelation 17, there were also lesser important committees of larger numbers of men which handled the day-to-day functions of the Empire. The most important among them were the vigintisexviri (‘twenty-six men’), a college of minor magistrates in the Republic era which consisted of six boards. Their powers ranged from judging lawsuits and running the prisons to minting coins and maintaining the roads and public works as curatores.737 Augustus abolished two of these boards, thereby reducing the Twenty-Six to the Twenty (vigintiviri).738 This was the precedent of the early Imperial era, during which the New Testament was written. So we can see how the Beast of prophecy is simply the Roman administration, and how the Papacy has historically aimed at preserving the tradition of the Curia, in spite of the political incentives not to, by keeping the number of cardinals at 10, 15 or 16, or else one of these numbers plus a multiple of 10.

This is just a superficial explanation. There is much more we could say, especially in regards to the rest of the description in Revelation 17, but this is to make the point that the Roman Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon in Scripture, and that mainstream Christianity is the result of the Romans’ persecution and eradication of the Nazarene sect. How this happened and why it happened are the subject of the rest of this chapter.

This story begins just after Yahshuah’s death and resurrection, and centers around the self-proclaimed divinity of the emperors Caligula and Nero, culminating in the forcing of the Imperial cult on the population of Judea, as prophesied by Yahshuah. The meaning behind Paul’s remarks about the “man of sin” is clearly why the Greek Christians regarded Caligula and Nero each, in succession, as the Antichrist. After all, it was Yahshuah himself who made the association with Daniel’s Abomination, in no uncertain terms. However, it is Paul’s second epistle to the Christians of Thessaly that clarifies the understanding of the Christians in Judea, particularly how the nature of the Abomination relates to the Imperial cult of Rome.

Let no one deceive you in any way, because the falling away is to come first, and the man of lawlessness is to be revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called Elohim or that is worshipped, so that he sits as Elohim in the Dwelling Place of Elohim, showing himself that he is Elohim. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

According to Caligula: A Biography by Aloys Winterling, Caligula was not nearly as crazy as he has been made out to be, but is seen this way because of the way he spoke and acted, on account of the fact that he despised the way Roman politicians always spoke with dishonesty. Winterling asserts that what is mistaken for evidence of his madness by people who have interpreted him literally is actually his wit, sarcasm, irony and innuendo.739 For example, the famous rumor of him appointing his horse to the Senate was probably meant as satire, as a way of mocking the Senate. (He also allegedly made the same horse a priest, and had plans to make him a consul.) But let us be very clear: Caligula was an evil man, perhaps the most evil man that ever lived, by most accounts, although we reserve this position for Solomon. We will not provide these accounts; his is a household name because his ruthless nature is common knowledge.

Caligula built the Circus of Gaius and Nero, now St. Peter’s Basilica. He had a large obelisk transported from Egypt, at great expense, to stand in the center of the circus. This is the one which now stands in the center of St. Peter’s Square, popularly known as the Vatican Obelisk. The exact location of the obelisk in the center of the circus is where Christians from the East (including Peter, allegedly) were brought before Caligula (and Nero) to be executed without trial and for the amusement of the mob. Constantine loved the site so much that he converted the circus into the first Basilica of St. Peter, using much of the original structure, with the apse located right on the site of Peter’s death. (Supposedly, this was the site of his “tomb,” but this begs the question of why he would have been killed and buried at the same spot, in the middle of a circus, and we already know that the Church has fabricated exactly the same lie concerning the location of Yahshuah’s death and burial, so that it is reasonable to reject the duplicates of such unsubstantiated and illogical notions completely.) The circus itself was only demolished in 1450 in order to allow for the construction of the new basilica, which placed the high altar at the exact same location.740

So there is no sense in which it could be said that Caligula was not the main instigator of the persecutions of Christians which culminated in Constantine’s campaigns of genocide. Whether or not he was simply demented (that is, demon-possessed), he certainly relished in murdering people, even his closest kin. The usual cause was that they failed to treat him like the god he thought he was, and obviously no Jew or Christian was ever going to do that without betraying everything he stood for. So Caligula started persecuting both groups early in his reign on the basis that they would not sacrifice to him like everyone else. In fact, according to Suetonius, over 160,000 animals were sacrificed during the first three months of his reign out of the genuine love which the public had for the new emperor.741

The public’s love for Caligula did not endure the first year of his reign, largely on account of his attempts to establish himself as a god. (Although Caesar had had his own flamen maior, and although Augustus and Tiberius were both deified after their deaths and effectively regarded as gods while they lived, there was no precedent for the deification of emperors while they were still alive. This was not even sound theology by the reckoning of the Romans, who based their views on Greek and Etruscan mythology, wherein even Hercules had to die before he was taken to Olympus.) He appeared in public dressed as Apollo and other gods, and even had himself referred to in public documents as Jupiter, while preferring to be worshiped as Neos Helios (‘New Sun,’ i.e. Sol Invicto).742 In order to further this agenda, he built temples to himself and removed the heads of statues of the gods in order to replace them with depictions of his own. In short, he dismantled the societal regulations of the Imperial cult established by his predecessors, making himself the subject of the controversy which Paul is clearly alluding to in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

To the Romans, Caligula’s overhauling of their ancient religion was pure sacrilege. To the Jews and Christians, it was blasphemy, and a threat to everything they held dear. His plan to have everyone in the Empire worship him was overly ambitious, and he clearly either underestimated the severity of the reaction he provoked, or overestimated his own power to enforce his will. In 38 AD, he sent his cousin (and good friend) Herod Agrippa to check on the Roman governor of Egypt, Flaccus, which angered the Greeks and caused the persecutions of Jews in Alexandria. Flaccus tried to placate both Caligula and the Greek residents of Alexandria by placing statues (which also means altars) of the emperor in Jewish synagogues, which then caused the Jews to riot in response. According to Philo, Flaccus had already been suspected of treason; the riots gave Caligula the excuse he needed to execute him for his incompetence.743

In the process, Agrippa, already King of Judea, was elevated over Galilee and Perea in place of Herod Antipas, suspected by Caligula of planning a revolt.744 All the territories of ancient Israel were thus secured as puppet states of Rome, and Caligula believed he could have his way with them. However, this situation depended on the loyalty of the Judean and Galilean mobs to Agrippa’s rule, and upon Caligula’s dealings with them. He could not afford to provoke them any further and expect them not to rebel even without the support of their king—and provoke them he did.

The Greeks and the Jews each sent a delegation from Alexandria to have their grievances presented to the Emperor. The Jewish delegation was headed by Philo of Alexandria (the same Philo we quoted earlier regarding the Essenes), whose account of the circumstances of the Jewish delegation is the basis for most of our knowledge of these events. Evidently, Caligula only listened to the Jewish side of the argument enough to have the delegates kowtowing at his heels while he gave instructions to his gardeners for pruning his bushes. The main point of contention seems to have been over their rioting and its cause; “You are haters of god, as you do not think that I am a god, I who am already acknowledged to be a god by every other nation.”745

From this, it is already apparent that the persecutions of Jews began with Caligula’s initial attempt to establish the Imperial cult in Judea, just as Yahshuah warned. Moreover, this situation was the result of the Jews having murdered him (their rightful king) and giving their fealty to Caligula’s loyal childhood friend, a Roman, instead of obeying God’s commandments, which theoretically would have saved them from all the troubles that ensued. The fact that the Jews were merely getting what they deserved is evident in the fact that Caligula proceeded to ask the Jewish delegates why they did not eat pork. Their response was, “for the same reason some people don’t eat lamb.” Caligula, perhaps sarcastically, replied, “They’re quite right; it’s not very nice.”746

So here we have evidence that even history’s most proverbially wicked man agreed with the Christians (the obvious referents here, as the Jews identified Christians as those among themselves who did not eat lamb on Passover) on the point of sacrifice: “It’s not very nice.” We might take this to be sarcastic, but the hypocrisy is still glaringly obvious: the Jews were being rightly criticized by Caligula as “not very nice” because they butchered innocent animals. What more condemnation could the modern flesh-eating “Christian” take and still be convinced that it is a morally acceptable practice?

Then again, Caligula was not really of the opinion that butchering animals was morally reprehensible. This is probably why he said, “It’s not very nice,” as opposed to, “It’s cruel and evil,” the way a prophet would. “These men,” he said after they left, “do not appear to me to be wicked so much as unfortunate and foolish in not believing that I have been endowed with the nature of God.”747 So it was that Caligula spared them his wrath, which he visited on the families of others for the same reason; in his mind, the Jews were pitiful, and a god such as himself ought to be lenient on them.

Yet Caligula’s clemency and Agrippa’s efforts combined were not enough to abate the Jews’ anger and frustration. According to Philo, Caligula regarded the Jews “with most especial suspicion, as if they were the only persons who cherished wishes opposed to his.”748 In their minds, they were trying to preserve the Law of Moses, which was the same as God’s law. They obviously had no idea that their impending destruction as a people was the result of their having broken it, going so far as to murder the prophets who tried to correct them just so they would not be forced to listen. So it is hard to pity them in hindsight, seeing how they treated the Christians and the prophets before them, as well as how they treated the innocent victims of their appetites. We know that although they did not worship Caligula, they certainly did worship their own bellies, and that God was not any happier about that than if they had worshiped Caligula. This is why Paul says that the civil authorities are there to execute God’s justice, even though they are so evil; ultimately it was the people themselves who had chosen the punishment, and the Roman authorities were there to effect it.

When riots broke out again in 40 AD, Caligula accused the Jews of not honoring him. An altar was built in the Greek-dominated city of Jamnia, presumably an altar to Caligula designed by the Greeks there to win his favor, though it is seen by Jewish and Christian historians from their myopic (Judeo-centric) perspective as having been done in order to antagonize the Jews there. It certainly did provoke them, and they destroyed it. Caligula responded by ordering the installation of an altar and a statue of himself in Herod’s Temple, which would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but for the fact that the order was not carried out. The Roman governor of Syria, Publius Petronius, was instructed to take two of his four legions to make it happen, but belayed the order, knowing that no good would come from it.749 Agrippa returned to Rome and managed to convince Caligula to postpone it after lathering him up with compliments at a banquet held in Agrippa’s honor, but Caligula still had it in mind a year later. Eventually, he wrote to Petronius again and told him to go through with it, but Petronius wrote back and indicated his refusal. Caligula could hardly believe anyone under his command would refuse an order, and wrote back immediately to order Petronius’ suicide. However, news of Caligula’s death reached Petronius before the order did, so Petronius lived, the order was never carried out, the Imperial cult in Jerusalem died a natural death and the revolt was avoided.750

In spite of this near miss, and in spite of the Christians’ warnings (this all happened within a decade of Yahshuah’s murder), the Jews still failed to comprehend the significance of their adultery. They were given a grace period during the reign of Claudius, who was an astute politician and little concerned about whether or not people worshiped him, but Nero was not so kind to them, as he basically picked up where Caligula had left off. In many ways, Nero was just as arrogant and foolish as Caligula, but he also lacked Caligula’s cunning and guile. It was, in all probability, the same spirit which possessed both men; if nothing else, that is certainly how they themselves saw it, and how the Jews and Christians saw it. Like Caligula, Nero tried to have himself worshiped as Sol, even in Jerusalem, a fact which led directly to the open revolt of a large segment of the Judean population against their king, Herod Agrippa’s son Agrippa II, and against his foreign masters.

History records these events as the so-called First Jewish-Roman War, or the Great Revolt.751 The official record (written by Josephus, as we have said, to whitewash the true history and give the Romans a post hoc justification for annexing Judea) is so steeped in disinformation that it is no wonder most people have no idea what ancient Christianity looked like. Even the official sources claim that the political crisis that led to Rome’s invasion was a “Greek and Jewish” affair, though it fails to distinguish between Greeks and Essenes, which is ironic because the Jewish establishment was thoroughly Hellenized, but the Essenes had maintained the language and customs of their Hebrew origins for thousands of years. The implication is that, in a very real sense, those called Greek were actually Hebrew, and those called Jewish (or Judean) were actually Greek.

Supposedly, the conflict escalated with anti-taxation protests and attacks on Roman citizens, but this is obviously a lie, for no Roman commander or administrator in his right mind would have ever dared to respond to such trivial matters by plundering the Temple, which is what supposedly happened next, igniting the conflagration. We already know that Petronius defied Caligula in order to preserve the Temple’s sanctity from Roman interventions, knowing what would result from it, so we would have to suppose that it was a truly inept and ignorant governor who would act so rashly. The Romans knew all too well that in order for them to maintain any measure of influence in the region, they could not afford to desecrate the Temple. There is plenty of proof of this in the historical record.

In reality, the targeting of Romans and Greeks (by the Judeans) did not transpire until the Judeans had begun to openly resist the Roman occupation. We do not know who shed first blood between the Romans and the Judeans, but we do know that the Jews among the Judeans instigated the violence with the public murder of James the Just. Regardless of the causes leading up to this event, it is clear that the Romans started massacring Judeans in Jerusalem in 66 AD, that the Judeans responded by revolting, and that the Roman officials and their stooge, Agrippa II (a Roman by birth, and more than a little loyal to the Romans), both fled the city. At this point Judea had gained its autonomy, although the Jews had always been loyal to Agrippa and his father, Agrippa I. Many even remained so, and augmented the Roman legions dispatched from Syria when he returned to put down the rebellion.752

As the revolt had broken out almost spontaneously following James’ murder, the rebels only had a short amount of time to organize a new government to ensure their security, so the lines were naturally drawn between the existing political parties.753 This meant that the Sanhedrin was effectively in control of the whole region, but only to the point that all of the cities outside Jerusalem would actually accept its mandate (and this is the critical factor). It also meant that the High Priest was the supreme authority. However, the Christians and all Essenes had always detested the priests, not just because they had put Yahshuah to death, but because they had considered their control of the priesthood to have been illegitimate since at least the beginning of the Hasmonean period, and certainly also because of the practices of the priesthood itself, which, as we have already seen, was sufficient for them to decide to establish their own in the stead of the Levites. So the political factions were basically already divided from the outset of the war between pro-war Jews, pro-war Essenes who were already at war with the pro-war Jews, and anti-war Essenes (Christians) who simply minded their own business, but were caught up in the middle of it for reasons discussed below. Josephus754 also lists a fourth sect called the Zealots, who were not really a sect, but were a faction of the Pharisees who, as Judean nationalists, were strongly opposed to foreign rule. (This seems to distinguish them from the other pro-war Jews, which implies the more general association is with the Sadducees or the Sanhedrin as an alliance of Sadducees and Pharisees, if the Zealots were opposed to other Pharisees because of such an alliance.) The fanatics among these Zealots were known as sicarii on account of the weapons they carried, which were primarily used for cloak-and-dagger assassinations.

One of the most revealing characteristics of the differences between the factions is in how the names of their leaders have been catalogued by historians. The Zealot sect was founded by one Judas of Galilee (or “the Jew of Gamala”) and one Zadok the Pharisee, whose name clearly signifies an association with the pre-Hasmonean Zadokite priesthood. This should be all we need to know who was responsible for the war and what their objectives were, in light of the War Scroll and Temple Scroll. These Zealots were openly conspiring against Herod, so a clear distinction must be made between them and the Herodians, but we might suppose that Essene influence was at least sufficient for them to have wanted to restore the Zadokites to the priesthood, if only because the Maccabees/Hasmoneans were too Hellenized for their tastes. In any case, there is not a lot of evidence that the Zealot sect even existed before the war, so it seems to have been nothing more or less than the Judean nationalist movement in Galilee which caught fire and assumed leverage from each of the three religious-political factions once the war broke out.755 (The Christians are not accounted for here, as the minority faction of Essenes. The revolt certainly had the support of the Essene majority.)

Much of the disinformation from this period pertains to the identification of the Zealots. Josephus makes it clear that they were on a murderous rampage, so any sect’s association with them in posterity would create a negative stigma. In light of this, Jewish historians have tried to separate themselves from the Zealots, as modern Judaism is nothing more or less than Pharisaism reinvented. (This is on the authority of The Jewish Encyclopedia.)756 They have been condemned in the Talmud for not obeying the religious leaders of the time, but we might interpret this as nothing more than evidence of the illegitimacy of the priests and preference given to the unlawfully displaced Zadokites in the eyes of many Judeans, whether of the Pharisaic or the Essene persuasion. If nothing else, the nationalists among both the Pharisees and the Essenes had this contempt for the wicked priesthood as common ground, whether or not it was sufficient to cause any Essenes to actually join in the revolt and shed blood. Our supposition is that the Christians among the Essenes had no desire to do so, but we can imagine how this made them targets of the Zealots who literally went from house to house to draw up support for their war. Furthermore, anyone who actually spoke out against it and said it was unlawful (as every Christian was wont to do) was liable to be murdered by the Sicarii, so even if they were staunchly opposed to the revolt, there is no evidence that they were, and we are left to think that they must have kept quiet about it.

Some scholars have interpreted Acts 22:3 and Galatians 1:14 to mean that Paul was a Zealot prior to his conversion, and this seems very likely in light of his actions, but it means the Zealots were around, or at least had their roots, a few decades before the war. It also necessarily means that the Zealots were opponents of the Essenes at that time, and certainly of the Christians especially. One of Yahshuah’s disciples (Simon) was called “the Zealot.” The Zealot leader Eleazar ben Simon is thought by many to have been his son,757 and this makes sense, as he would have represented the Essene faction, while Josephus certainly represented the Greek/Jewish faction. As ‘the Zealot’ seems to be a moniker for this disciple to distinguish him from the other Simon (a.k.a. Peter), it seems likely that Yahshuah may have had other disciples who were, had been or became Zealots, rather than that he was called such because he had been the only one. Peter, too, was not opposed to violence, as he wielded a sword in Yahshuah’s defense, though Yahshuah rebuked him and made it clear that his kingdom is not of this world. In any case, the Zealots were basically those from among the Pharisees whose “zeal” was such that they persecuted anyone who did not agree with them, and the Christians were the most obvious of their targets. It also meant that they (the Zealots, and especially the Sicarii) were the chief targets of the Romans from the outset of the war.

Regardless of the exact details, the Zealots were certainly in control of the nation during the war, and the war itself was certainly also the result of the second real attempt by the Romans to establish the Imperial cult in Judea, but especially on the Temple Mount. Historians are already aware of these two facts. What they are obviously not aware of, however, is what the Imperial cult actually consisted of, or why it was such a big deal at the time. Like the first attempt which was resisted by both Agrippa and the Roman governor of Syria, the second ended in failure because it was resisted by the common people, and this is why the Romans retaliated with the destruction of the Temple, and of virtually every settlement in the whole nation.

Far from being merely a matter of having lost face, there is no doubt that the Roman government actually considered this uprising to be a threat to itself. The Christians especially were preaching the end of the world and the beginning of the kingdom of heaven, which was nothing short of open treason wherever the message was spread to Roman territories (which may be why Yahshuah forbade his disciples from spreading it outside Judea), not to mention a public declaration of the end of the Roman way of life. Nor was this mere fancy; it was actually beginning to materialize very quickly. Moreover, the Battle of Beth Horon near the beginning of the war saw the equivalent of an entire Syrian legion annihilated (6000 Roman casualties).758 The loss of the XXII Fulminata’s standard was a humiliation which shocked the Imperial administration and caused a great deal of concern, as it had only ever happened once before in Rome’s long history. By the end of the siege of Jerusalem, there were five legions (60-80,000 men) surrounding the city759—a force twice as large as the number of men the Zealots were able to muster, and twice as large as the dreaded force sent to invade Germania about 80 years earlier. This suggests that the Romans were very wary of a repeat of the debacle of the Teutoburg Forest, which is essentially how the defeat at Beth Horon would have been viewed.

Although his testimony is less than reliable, Josephus relates that the Sicarii deliberately provoked Rome in order to cause the war. The Talmud says that during the siege of Jerusalem, they destroyed the city’s food supply in order to force the people to fight. One of their leaders, Eleazar ben Ya’ir, escaped to Masada with a small band of Zealots.760 Besides the two Eleazars, the name of the other Zealot leader at the time, Simon bar Giora, is recorded in Aramaic, whereas both Eleazars are recorded in Hebrew, and this strongly implies that each of the two leaders represented a different faction: Eleazar the Essenes among the Zealots, and Simon the Jews. (All Essenes spoke Hebrew; all Jews spoke Aramaic and/or Greek.)

In accordance with tradition, The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that Simon the Zealot may be the same person as Simon, the “brother of the Lord,” and/or Simeon of Jerusalem, the second bishop of that city, though it rejects the idea that Simon was a biological son of Yahshuah’s mother Miriam, due to its doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary,761 which, of course, is absurd and based on nothing save a combination of pagan superstition and a misunderstanding of what it means to be a “virgin” in Scripture. According to Catholic doctrine, the desposyni or “brothers of the Lord” were either sons of Joseph from a previous marriage (in other words, not actually brothers or even half-brothers, but step-brothers, as Joseph was not even Yahshuah’s father, according to their tradition) or else cousins of Yahshuah. Yet regardless of their exact relationship, it is evident that they were close.

It is well known that the first bishop of Jerusalem was James the Just, one of the desposyni. When James (or Jacob) died, his “brother” Simon (or Simeon) became the second bishop. Knowing whether or not this Simon is the same as Simon the Zealot would give us a helpful clue as to the role which the Christians played in the revolt. Either way, Simon was a Nazarite, or else he would have had to have been the biological sibling of Yahshuah in order to have been called his “brother.” In either case, it is self-evident that he was a strict vegetarian, like James and Yahshuah, and that his influence extended over the entire Christian sect.

The Catholic Encyclopedia also asserts that the James of Acts 15 is indeed the “brother of Jesus,”762 and Church doctors such as Epiphanius763 confirm that he was indeed a Nazarite. Likewise, Hegesippus informs us that Simon was actually Yahshuah’s second cousin, which Jerome764 (the one who preserved Hegesippus) seems to affirm by regarding James as his cousin without specifying how far removed. This is no surprise, considering that John the Baptist was born to the first cousin of Yahshuah’s mother, and James’ mother was one of the three Marys (called Salome in Mark) present both at the crucifixion and at the tomb just after his resurrection.

So it is not as though the Church is unaware of the fact that the leaders of 1st century Christianity were related to each other, and more importantly, to Yahshuah, having been chosen and appointed to positions of authority specifically, in part, for this reason. Modern scholars assert that the reason they are called the “brothers of the Lord” is that Aramaic does not have a word for ‘cousin.’765 In fact, this is not even relevant, as Aramaic was not even their native language, and as it supposes that the Gospel narrative was first written in Aramaic (the language of the Jews, not the Essenes—however, the same argument could be applied to Hebrew, so we do not mean to invalidate it based only on that, but on other mistaken assumptions made by the people presenting this argument), or else that it was written in Greek by someone who did not understand Greek well enough to choose the right word. Even if they were indeed cousins, their relations were actually much closer than those of cousins in contemporary Western civilizations, and certainly merited the designation of James, Simon, Jude and Joses as “brothers” of Yahshuah. There is much we could say about this; what is important here is their vegetarian ethic, and hence, their antipathy for sacrificial customs, both the Jewish and the Roman varieties.

We observed earlier (in Chapter 11) that Hegesippus referred to James as a Nazarite in no uncertain terms. In fact, he was actually a vegan by today’s standards, taking care not to let dead flesh touch his skin. This quotation is taken from the fifth book of Hegesippus’ lost Commentaries, by way of Jerome’s De Viris Illustribus.

After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels’ knees. Hegesippus766

As it was unlawful for anyone but the High Priest to enter the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year on Yom Kippur, this quotation indicates that James was considered a high priest. The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions also suggest this. Moreover, it even suggests that he was High Priest specifically because of his Nazarite heritage, which made him “clean” enough to enter the Holy of Holies, though he never bathed (the Levites had to ceremonially wash themselves just to get into the outer complex), not in spite of the fact that he did not participate in the Levitical customs, but because of this fact. However, what historians fail to take into account is that the Judean society was not homogenous, as they suppose—that there were multiple high priests: one for each of the sects. James was indeed High Priest, but only for the Essenes.

Consider that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem to deliver the money he raised for the Christians there, it was to James that he presented himself, and it was James who insisted that Paul ritually cleanse himself at Herod’s Temple to prove his faith and deny rumors of teaching rebellion against the Law. Paul describes James in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 as one of the people to whom the risen Christ had shown himself, before appearing to the other apostles. In the same letter (9:5), he mentions him in a way that suggests that he had been married, though Church tradition tells us he was a “virgin.”

Paul also lists James in Galatians 2:9, along with Peter (the “rock”) and John (the “beloved”), as one of the three “pillars” of the Christian community. According to the First Apocalypse of James, James was not an earthly brother of Yahshuah, but a spiritual brother who received secret knowledge from Yahshuah prior to the Passion. This strongly implies that he had been given the “spirit of life” we described earlier, and that this is why, according to the Gospel of Thomas, Yahshuah told his followers to follow James once he was gone, and that all authority had been invested in him. Jerome sheds light on the nature of James’ position by quoting the Gospel of the Hebrews. Note the implication that James was at the Last Supper:

“Now the Lord, after he had given his grave clothes to the servant of the priest, appeared to James, for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he had drunk the Lord’s cup until he should see him risen from the dead.” And a little further on the Lord says, “bring a table and bread.” And immediately it is added, “He took bread and blessed and broke and gave it to James the Just and said to him, ‘My brother, eat your bread, for the Son of Man is risen from the dead.’” And so he ruled the church of Jerusalem thirty years, that is until the seventh year of Nero. Jerome767

In spite of the fact that James—an actual apostle—was in charge of the Christian community for the first 30 years of its existence, he is not considered an “Apostolic Father of the Church.” The first person to hold his title is the Roman bishop Clement, known as St. Clement of Rome, who is thought to have held that position from about 92 to 99 (i.e., well after James’ lifetime).768 (Clement was presumably a Christian presbyter rather than an actual bishop, and most of the deeds and written works attributed to him are spurious, but no one really knows, due to the conflation of these two terms and of their associated functions by the Catholic revisionists. Assuming he was actually a Christian leader, then he could have had meaningful interactions with James much earlier than supposed.) Seeing how much authority is ascribed to Clement by the mainstream Christians, it is telling, then, that he wrote to James, calling him the “bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the Holy Assembly of Hebrews, and all assemblies everywhere.”769 After all, the Church was supposed to have been centered in Rome, upon the foundation of Peter’s martyrdom, and headed by Clement himself.

Even supposing that Clement did not openly regard James as the head of the Christian assemblies everywhere at any point, the consensus among all the Roman and Greek Christians was still that James was the only legitimate authority from the point that Yahshuah left the scene. The 2nd-century Fragment X of Papias (presbyter of Hierapolis) calls him “James the bishop and apostle.” Hippolytus of Rome, Dorotheus of Tyre (the teacher of Eusebius, the “Father of Church History”), Dimitry of Rostov and the Chronicon Paschale all place him at the very top of their lists of the Seventy Apostles. The Catholic Encyclopedia, however, is aware that this fact-based tradition completely undermines the notion not only of its own apostolic succession, but even its notion of the primacy of Peter as the first Pope, and casually dismisses the fact of James’ primacy as “worthless,” without any explanation.770

Knowing all this, it is easy to see how James’ murder might have factored into the reasons for the outbreak of the Great Revolt. According to the official story, the Zealots instigated the Great Revolt in 66 AD when the high priest Eleazar ben Ananus (or Hananiah in Hebrew) refused to sacrifice to the Emperor (i.e. in the Imperial cult fashion) and instead slaughtered the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. In actuality, Eleazar ben Hananiah was not himself High Priest, but a Temple clerk and a member of the family of high priests, who convinced the other priests to stop the sacrifices after the violence had already started, apparently in order to quell dissent which otherwise would have turned the mob against them over their participation in the rites of the Imperial cult. What this really means is that the priests were engaged in the Imperial cult (that is, the sacrificial worship of Nero) even when they did not have to be, and that they needed to be convinced to disengage, and probably still only caved in because the threat of the angry mob was a more immediate concern than any threat posed by a falling out with Nero. That these were the same people who accused the Christians of preaching against the Law of Moses and who simultaneously persecuted them to death just for upholding it demonstrates just how hypocritical and spiritually debauched they really were.

In any case, Nero responded to the crisis by ordering the Roman legate of Syria, to crush the rebellion. The legate and his 5000+ legionnaires were ambushed and soundly defeated at Beth Horon by just 2400 Zealots led by Eleazar ben Simon, who pillaged the legion and returned to Jerusalem with the booty, which he turned into political leverage during the subsequent power struggle in Jerusalem. He was opposed by the Jews sympathetic to (and fearful of) the Romans, and deposed by a mob led by the high priest Ananus ben Ananus. Ananus and the other moderate Jews were desperately concerned with retaining their power, which necessarily meant appeasing both the angry Romans (which probably would have been impossible at that point, but certainly would have entailed retribution against the Zealots as a show of fealty) and the mob which was eager to throw off the Roman influences (which could only be done by overthrowing the Zealots and returning to a rule akin to the one mandated by ancient Hebrew tradition). Despite his rejection by the priests, Eleazar remained in Jerusalem to promote the Zealot cause from his headquarters at the Temple. He began a propaganda campaign during the summer of 67 to overthrow the moderate government, rightly claiming that the Temple aristocrats were undermining the cause of Judean nationalism.771

Nero sent the then-general Vespasian to put down the revolt. As his armies terrorized the countryside of Galilee and Judea, thousands of Jewish and Essene refugees joined Eleazar’s Zealots in the hopes of intensifying Roman resistance, having witnessed firsthand that the nationalist cause was really a matter of life and death, because the Romans showed no mercy.772 With growing support, Eleazar appointed a puppet priest in Jerusalem in order to usurp power from Ananus and seize control of the Temple. In 68, the deposed Ananus fought back by laying siege to the Zealots in the Temple, a fact which more than any other contributed to the divided rebels’ loss of the war.

According to Josephus,773 the Zealots had a spy named John of Giscala who infiltrated the camp of Ananus and reported back to them. He led them to believe that Ananus had contacted Vespasian for assistance in retaking control of all Jerusalem. The Zealots, in desperation, asked their neighbors, the Idumeans (Edomites, descendants of Esau) for assistance; when they arrived, the Zealots or their sympathizers opened the gates of Jerusalem and the Edomites slaughtered Ananus’ forces, freeing the Zealots held up in the Temple.774

Our presumption here is that the Idumeans of this narrative were the Essene faction of Zealots, those identified as Herodians in Judea. Based on Philo and Josephus, it would seem that the “Herodians” mentioned in the Gospels were those Essenes who had been favored by Herod the Great, and were thus among the most wealthy and powerful men of the city. Josephus775 also mentions an Essene Gate, suggesting the existence of an Essene (or Herodian) quarter south of what is generally recognized as the Old City. So when the Romans invaded, many Zealots fled to Judea, where they were relatively safe due to the Herodian presence in Judea, thus creating an imbalance of political power. The pro-Roman priests in Jerusalem consequently found themselves the subject of much ire among their countrymen, and their monopoly on the state religion began to wane. This was undoubtedly facilitated and complicated by the fact that the Essenes were powerful enough to have had their own position in the Temple, even if James’ position was only recognized or utilized by the Christians, who numbered only a few thousand.

These events show the common purpose of the Idumeans and the Zealots against both the Romans and the Romanized/Hellenized Jews, as well as the cooperation (whether intended or not) between the latter two. Inevitably, the very nature of the two conflicts meant that the Jews were fighting to reestablish the Roman version of the Abomination as of about 67, which the Zealots had only just put an end to in 66. Even supposing that Ananus had not actually solicited the support of the Romans, this kind of demonstration was still necessary if the Jews were ever to have any hope of regaining their power after the Roman conquest, as unlikely as that would have been. It is also likely that the Jewish faction anticipated the wholesale destruction of the city and the razing of the Temple on account of the fact that the Zealots were unwilling to negotiate a peace with any other faction, and because the significance of the Temple as the Zealots’ base certainly would have been that the Romans saw it as the origin of the rebellion. The only way for the Jews to have prevented this disaster would have been to have recaptured the Temple and negotiated the surrender to the Romans, or to have fought with the Zealots against the Romans, thereby consolidating their own loss of power, though it might have vouchsafed their lives. Either way, even Ananus’ faction at some point refused to make sacrifices to the Emperor, if only out of sheer necessity, so we can imagine how the Zealots fought to the last man to prevent such a desecration of the Temple once their lives depended on keeping the Romans out.

In spite of the total defeat of the Jews at the hands of the Idumeans, the Zealots’ success was short-lived. The Idumeans soon left the city, apparently convinced that they had been lied to, because Vespasian delayed. (It is also possible that they simply did not have the provisions to remain in Jerusalem, having come to the aid of the Zealots in haste, or that they wanted to avoid a war with Rome.) Many of the 20,000 Idumeans defected to the Sicarii led by the Jew Simon bar Gioras who captured Jerusalem in 69 and forced Eleazar’s Zealots to hold up in the Temple a second time.776 Their alliance with John of Giscala’s forces was effectively ended and there were now three factions vying for power in the city, paving the way for the Roman conquest, while Vespasian’s troops ravaged the North and waited for the most opportune time to strike. By this time Vespasian himself had been recalled to Rome to be the new emperor, and he had left command of the armies to his son Titus Flavius Vespasianus.

One thing is certain: it was the apostasy of the Jewish priests which led to the downfall of the sovereign nations of Galilee and Judea. In particular, they were bitterly opposed to and openly persecuted the Christians, while the Essenes and Zealots were both sympathetic to them, and this was a major cause of tension between the Jewish priests and the other factions. After this cause, the other major issue which they had against the Jews was their total unwillingness to abide by moral conventions, opting for the most despicable means of subterfuge at every turn. For example, the Sicarii leader Menahem ben Yehuda defeated the Roman garrison at Masada in 66, which helped the Zealots and the nationalist movement as a whole win support from the mob, but he was murdered by the Jews in Jerusalem as soon as they had the opportunity. This seems to be how the Jew Simon bar Gioras came to lead the Sicarii, while Menahem’s followers escaped to Masada under the command of his nephew Eleazar ben Yair.777

As he was thoroughly antagonistic toward the Zealots (perhaps owing as much to the fact that the Romans wanted him to denounce the nationalist cause as that he was on the opposite side of the feud), historians view Josephus’ descriptions of the Zealots as biased embellishments,778 but this does not prevent them from disputing the nature of the facts he presents, only his personal views of the belligerents. He certainly had reasons to dispute the claim that Ananus appealed to the Romans for aid against the Zealots; on the one hand, he was a blood relative and ideological supporter of Ananus, and on the other, he had been legally adopted into Vespasian’s own immediate family by the time he was writing about it. More likely is that Ananus had informed the Romans of his intentions and asked for assistance, but that he was motivated chiefly by the opportunity to break the Zealots’ power, and by the pre-existing alliance between the Jews and the Romans, rather than any new initiative. It was the Roman-born Judean king Agrippa, after all, who had brought the Romans to Judea in the first place, in support of his own reign, and nothing had changed in terms of the Jewish-Roman alliance by that time.

Yahshuah predicted these events some 30-40 years in advance, going so far as to warn his audience ahead of time so that they would not be caught in the city on the Sabbath. Titus intentionally laid siege just before Passover in a sabbatical year, apparently because John of Gischala had escaped him in Galilee by warning him against attacking on the Sabbath, claiming the defenders would fight more tenaciously. According to Josephus, this had bought John the time he needed to escape Titus’ clutches, a fact which greatly upset the Roman general, who had otherwise been satiated and intended to show the peaceful residents of Gischala mercy, but proceeded to massacre them in retaliation for John’s ruse.779 In other words, Titus laid siege to the Jews’ holy city on the holiest of all their holy days as payback to show the Judeans he was not afraid of them, and to clear his reputation as a novice general of the stain caused by his having been outwitted by John of Giscala.

It could hardly be more evident that the main reason the nationalists lost the war was Jewish treachery, and this surely must have factored into Yahshuah’s foresight. Menahem ben Yehuda was not the only nationalist hero who withstood the Romans but fell to political intrigue, and the Jews still could not be brought to side with any government based on the Law of Moses even when the Romans were at the city gates. Eleazar ben Simon was assassinated practically as soon as the siege began—on the Passover—due to a ruse by the Jews. (Simon bar Giora convinced him to open the Temple gate so they could sacrifice, but they used the opportunity to overwhelm the Zealots instead.) Given Simon’s affiliations, this would imply that Eleazar was supportive of the Christians, especially if he had not already had it in mind to use the Temple for sacrifices, and that the demise of the Judean state happened largely as a result of Simon’s treachery, regardless of how it might have happened otherwise, under different circumstances. Simon escaped Jerusalem but died at Masada, which also suggests that the long siege of Masada was due to Titus’ vendetta not against the Essenes, as we might otherwise suppose, considering that it was the Essenes who were held up there, but against the Jews and the Sicarii.

We are supposing that the war against the Christians was largely incidental and that they were merely innocent victims. The fortress of Gamla, for instance, was probably a holdout where the residents of Capernaum (a stronghold of Christianity) went to escape the Romans, while the fortress of Yodfat was probably a holdout for the residents of Nazareth and the surrounding area. In both cases, the Romans paid special attention to them, and massacred everyone held up there—everyone, that is, except Josephus, who had been charged with the defense of Yodfat, and undoubtedly betrayed it to the Romans in exchange for his life.

It is evident that Josephus lied about the events leading to the outbreak of the war—events which concern us a great deal—in order to protect the reputation of his family, the priests in control of the Temple. He was so notorious as a traitor that, when Titus sent him to the city walls of Jerusalem to negotiate the city’s surrender, the inhabitants chose death over dealing with him. Christians have particular cause to suspect him, as he was kin to (grandson of the brother-in-law of) Joseph Caiaphas, the man who had Yahshuah unlawfully put to death. Even the most cursory reading of his description of the election of the last high priest shows his bias against the Zealots and Essenes, and that is not even taking into account the fact that this man had been elected to replace Josephus’ own father, thereby depriving him (Josephus) of the high priesthood, as well. Although he calls the selection process “strange” (i.e. “foreign”—to him) and a “dissolution of an undeniable law,” it was, in fact, the means by which the roles of the entire tribe of Levites were supposed to have been determined, and the fact that they had not been means that the priests had been illegitimate since time immemorial. It should be obvious by now that God chose Aaron, the man who fashioned the Golden Calf, for this honor, to show the Israelites how not to be. Yet according to Josephus, to depose the illegitimate priests—that is, his family—was to dispose of the priesthood itself, and this righteous act, far from the redemption of Israel which God had intended all along, constituted Judea’s mournful loss of dignity.

[The Zealots] undertook to dispose of the high priesthood by casting lots for it, whereas, as we have said already, it was to descend by succession in a family. The pretense they made for this strange attempt was an ancient practice, while they said that of old it was determined by lot [and it was—see 2 Chronicles 24:31]; but in truth, it was no better than a dissolution of an undeniable law, and a cunning contrivance to seize upon the government, derived from those that presumed to appoint governors as they themselves pleased. Hereupon they sent for one of the pontifical tribes, which is called Eniachim, and cast lots which of it should be the high priest. By fortune the lot so fell as to demonstrate their iniquity after the plainest manner, for it fell upon one whose name was Phannias, the son of Samuel, of the village Aphtha. He was a man not only unworthy of the high priesthood, but that did not well know what the high priesthood was, such a mere rustic was he! Yet did they hail this man, without his own consent, out of the country, as if they were acting a play upon the stage, and adorned him with a counterfeit thee; they also put upon him the sacred garments, and upon every occasion instructed him what he was to do. This horrid piece of wickedness was sport and pastime with them, but occasioned the other priests, who at a distance saw their law made a jest of, to shed tears, and sorely lament the dissolution of such a sacred dignity. Josephus780

The bias here should be immediately apparent. Nor should it ever be forgotten that the murders of Yahshuah and of James at the hands of the priests on the holiest of the holy days was a matter of real concern to the legitimacy of the priesthood. The priests were supposed to be the teachers of the Law, not its most horrendous abusers, who murdered the most righteous amidst their countrymen in cold blood. Such violent actions demanded vengeance under the Law, and the injustice was only aggravated by the rampant abuse of power and desecration of the Temple and of the Sabbath. The fact that they were also pandering to Nero with their sacrifices and with their political exchanges, as well as to the foreign kings with their treasonous dealings (Herod the Great was an Idumean, just as Agrippa was a Roman), perfectly merited their public executions.

Knowing this, are we really to take Josephus’ word for it and suppose that the Zealots really cast lots carelessly and elevated a man unfit for the priesthood to this station, for any reason other than a sincere desire to follow the instructions of the Law and the tradition of the elders of Israel? The subjects of this accusation were the very people who, out of such great concern for the preservation of the priesthood that they were gladly willing to throw away their very lives, brought the family of Ananus to justice for their pandering to the Imperial cult (and, therefore, to the rephaim and foreign gods, which they regarded as demons). The previous high priest was Josephus’ own father. The implications for the establishment of the Roman Catholic or pseudo-Christian religion are far more profound than anything we have let on here, but suffice it to say that after the war, the power of the Jewish priests was knowingly and deliberately transferred to Rome where it was given patronage by the Imperial family—the same men who built the Colosseum and rebuilt the Pantheon and the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus with the loot pried from the dead hands of the Zealots, while they triumphantly marched into Rome, declaring themselves gods in order to be worshiped in posterity (as “saints”), just as they were worshiped by their countrymen at the time.

The fact that Josephus lied and embellished is evident in the fact that there are discrepancies between the various accounts of the high priests of Israel. All of them are overtly Jewish: one is recorded both in 1 Chronicles and in Ezra (both Jewish books), with slight variations and then a larger gap in the latter; one is Josephus’ account; the other is in the Seder ‘Olam Zuta, or the Lesser History of the World, compiled sometime before 804 AD.

The full list provided in the Seder ‘Olam Zuta is thought to have been taken from 1 Chronicles and redacted,781 but we suspect the opposite is true: that Chronicles was compiled from notes which included the same reference which served as the basis of the Seder ‘Olam Zuta and others (most notably, the books of Samuel), and that it was Chronicles which was redacted. Given the very late date of composition of the Seder ‘Olam Zuta, this would seem an impossibility, yet there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that it had already been extant in some other form since before the Babylonian captivity, and that what we have is the product of a policy of recording names and events continued over many centuries, whereas Chronicles was simply compiled at a specific time, using all the available (sometimes conflicting) sources. Our reasons for both of these assertions are too complex to describe here, but mostly revolve around the usurpation of the identity of Ezra, by way of the identification of Zerubbabel as the son of a certain Pedaiah rather than of Shealtiel, as recorded in the Bible. (This is the source of one of the discrepancies between Yahshuah’s separate genealogies in Matthew and Luke, where Matthew lists Shealtiel as the son of Jeconiah, but Luke calls him the son of “Neri,” meaning ‘Light,’ in reference to the proto-Manichaean theology of Luke.) We know that Chronicles is not reliable based on minor discrepancies with Samuel, as typographical errors apparently resulting from poor attention to detail during the copying process, so it should not be a surprise that we give preference to the Seder ‘Olam Zuta, even as we give preference to Samuel. The discrepancies between 1 Chronicles and the Seder ‘Olam Zuta are much more significant than these inconsistencies are, certainly enough to evidence a policy of historical revisionism.782

The main difference between the separate lists is the omitting of exilarchs in Ezra, from which we infer that the Pharisees never recognized the legitimacy of the Aaronic Priesthood outside the context of Solomon’s Temple culminating in the person of Yahshuah’s friend Eleazar (or Lazarus), or perhaps even John the Baptist (John’s father also served in the Temple), nor the authority of the rulers of the Israelites, culminating in the person of Yahshuah. Yet the existence of other records demonstrates a basis for the animosity which the Samaritans and Essenes both had for the Hasmoneans, and it is already well known that Herod the Great was intensely disliked by the large majority of Judeans. So the emergence of the Herodian sect was basically the result of the Judean nationalist front, created in response to the Hellenic subversion of the Levitical Priesthood, and backed by the force of the Idumeans in control of Judea.

This brings us to the so-called Inter-Sacerdotium (‘between priests’) period. It is unknown who held the position of High Priest of Jerusalem between the death of Alcimus (159 BC) and the accession of Jonathan Apphus (officially 153 BC). According to Wikipedia, “some scholars suggest that this was the Teacher of Righteousness, later founder of the Essenes,”783 though this person would be the founder of the Qumran community (and therefore probably an ancestor of John the Baptist) rather than of the Essene sect itself, for obvious reasons we have already discussed. Josephus784 relates that the office was vacant for 6 years, but this strains credulity, as the High Priest was a necessary part of the Temple rites as well as a public symbol and an integral part of the national political institutions. The nation’s populace and rulers alike simply would not have allowed a power vacuum to last that length of time.785

Clearly there was a priesthood, and its legitimacy was disputed by the usurping faction which Josephus represented: the Pharisees. What this does not mean, however, is that there was continually a Zadokite priesthood at the Temple, or even that it was the more legitimate of the two after the Maccabees elevated themselves, though this would be the obvious inference from the existence of the Essene faction well into the 1st century AD; it means, rather, that the Maccabees were blatantly imposters, and that everyone knew it—so much so that the Pharisees and Sadducees had no choice but to tolerate the existence of another priesthood in the Temple where they worshiped. Josephus’ list is therefore just one which confers continuity to the usurping faction, while the New Testament and the accounts of James the Just and Simeon of Jerusalem make it clear not only that the Essene faction still represented the Zadokite lineage as late as 130 AD, but that they also claimed the heritage of Melchizedek in direct opposition to the whole idea of a lesser Levitical priesthood, to which the usurping faction appealed in order to justify its own presumption of authority. That is, the authority which the Pharisees spuriously claimed to wield was beneath the authority which the Christians wielded in religious matters, which the general population had regarded as legitimate since at least the time of Yahshuah, and for about 100 years thereafter.

However one looks at it, the Essenes (and the Christians in particular) certainly saw all sacrifices as abominations, regardless of who was performing them and to whom they were dedicated. Given that it was the Pharisees who were making sacrifices, and that the Essenes were unilaterally opposed to it, this begs the question of whether there were actually sacrifices being performed at the Temple at all during the previous centuries, or whether Yahshuah’s remarks about the Abomination were actually directed at the Hasmoneans and their Roman allies specifically, rather than the Jews in general. This is already the common interpretation, except that the common interpretation finds fault with the sacrifice of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes which led to the Maccabean Revolt, but not that of the Hellenized Jews, which led to the Great Revolt, even though Yahshuah’s remarks were clearly intended to be understood as applying to his own time, and even though there was no other priesthood in the Temple that was making sacrifices apart from that of the Pharisees. It was even the Pharisees (the family of Ananus ben Ananus) who were performing the ritual on behalf of the Imperial cult, as opposed to whatever might otherwise be supposed, such as that with the establishment of the cult in the Temple, there were Roman priests performing Roman sacrifices, in the Roman fashion, for Romans—as if the Jew population would have even participated in them.

As for what the priesthood consisted of at the time, it does not suffice to say that they were Hellenized Jews or Pharisees who pandered to foreign rulers and religious customs. Under the Herodian Dynasty, the high priesthood was divided between an uneasy alliance of Sadducees and Pharisees, depending on which faction had more power at any given time. The dominant family of Ananus were definitely Pharisees—descendants, according to Josephus,786 of a Babylonian. (‘Pharisee’ literally means ‘Persian.’ The Pharisees were the descendants of the Persian colonists sent to Judea after the Babylonian captivity.) The dispute over the priesthood, as it was contested by both the Sadducees (i.e., the Samaritans) and the Essenes (i.e., the Nazarites, and later, Christians) was essentially over the legitimacy of the Babylonian/Pharisee sect from the beginning of the Herodian Dynasty. Those of the line of Ananelus were Pharisees; those of the line of Simon ben Boethus (appointed for a time because he was the father of Herod’s third wife, and who then fell out of favor for the same reason) were Sadducees.

This debate was never actually settled prior to the eradication of the Jewish sects, and only picked up momentum over time, culminating in the murder of James the Just as the representative of the Essene faction, allegedly by Ananus as the representative of the Sadducee faction. While the authenticity of some passages in Book 18 of Josephus’ Antiquities has been subject to debate, the overwhelming majority of scholars consider the account of the death of James (xx.20) to be authentic.787 The account is as follows:

Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to establish his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or “some of his companions”]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa II], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a Sanhedrin without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which King Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest. Josephus

Most scholars consider this text (minus the reference to “Jesus” as the “Christ”) to be authentic and more reliable than Hegesippus’ account of James’ death. However, Origen consulted the works of Josephus around 248, relating twice that the death of James was the cause of the Roman siege of Jerusalem, as divine retribution, and this is not found in our current manuscripts of Josephus, a fact that is repeated in accounts of mainstream biblical scholars.788 So it is apparent that Hegesippus’ is the more reliable account, and that that is not the fault of Josephus, but of a redactor who came probably at least two centuries later. Otherwise Josephus’ account is completely unreliable, as it means he would have failed to mention that it contributed to the war which he was presuming to write about authoritatively, which is highly unlikely, not just because Josephus was not so incompetent, but also given Origen’s input and the fact that it agrees with Hegesippus. According to Hegesippus’ account, the scribes and Pharisees came to James for help in putting down Christian beliefs, and he adamantly refused:

They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: “We entreat you, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Yahshuah, as if he were the Christ. We entreat you to persuade all who have come here for the day of the Passover, concerning Yahshuah. For we all listen to your council; since we, as well as all the people, bear you testimony that you are just, and show partiality to none. Therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Yahshuah, for all the people, and we also, listen to your council. Take your stand, then, upon the summit of the Temple, that from that elevated spot you may be clearly seen, and your words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the Passover, all the tribes have congregated here, and some of the Gentiles also.” To the scribes’ and Pharisees’ dismay, James boldly testified that Christ “Himself sits in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven.” The scribes and Pharisees then said to themselves, “We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Yahshuah. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him.”

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees … threw down the just man … [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: “I beseech you, Yahweh Elohim our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

And, while they were there stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, a son of the Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying, “Stop, what are you doing? The just man is praying for us.” But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wringing out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom, and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the Temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Yahshuah is the Christ. Hegesippus789

So, apparently Ananus ben Ananus was appointed by Agrippa to replace Joseph Cabi ben Simon, but as soon as he took the job, he was deposed for causing a civil uprising by way of his public, premeditated murder of his opponent James the Just. Then Joshua ben Damneus was appointed to replace Ananus, apparently in order to appease the mob. Rather than that Joshua was appointed to replace Ananus, this suggests that Joshua was actually an Essene, and that Agrippa, fearing the mob, simply removed Ananus, which effectively meant that Joshua was then elevated to the position of (or recognized as the sole) High Priest without disputation. However, this situation only lasted as long as the mob was angry; a replacement for Ananus was appointed within a year, he being Matthathias ben Theophilus, a nephew of Ananus.

We might suppose that the appointment of Phannias ben Samuel is either pure invention to cover Josephus’ secret (that being that he himself was spared by the Romans and elevated by them, as the son of the last high priest who was loyal to them, specifically in order to officially incorporate the state religion of Judea into their syncretic religion as what is now called Christianity), or else that it actually happened, owing to the fact that the Zealots were desperate to find a compromise that was acceptable to all the factions before the Romans completely destroyed them all, and casting lots was the only fair way of doing it which had an ancient precedent. Either way, the date of the murder of James is suspect, as we are not entirely certain that it happened immediately before the executions of the ringleaders of the Pharisees (i.e. 66), rather than several years before (i.e. 62-63). How much time transpired between the death of James and the appointment of Phannias or whoever actually took his place would have been dependent on how long it took the Zealots to wrest control of the Temple Mount. The only thing we can be certain about is that there were two factions of Zealots in Jerusalem at this time—those who were against the sacrifice and those who were for it—and that the more the threat of the Roman invasion was looming over them, the more incentive they had to find a compromise.

This is evident enough in the events which ultimately led to their demise, and to the destruction of the Temple. John of Gischala was indeed a Zealot spy, but not a Christian, if Josephus’ account is at all reliable, as he would not have made, much less broken his oath of loyalty to the Pharisees. This may suggest that Eleazar ben Simon was indeed a representative of the Christian faction, as evidenced by the fact that he himself was reputedly the son of one of Yahshuah’s disciples. This alone would suggest that the faction which controlled the Temple had already deliberately put an end to the sacrifice c. 67 AD, but it is also evident that those in control were not completely against it, for they were overcome when they allowed their countrymen in on Passover. It would seem, therefore, that the fall of Jerusalem was precipitated by the treachery of Simon bar Gioras, in what was clearly an attempt to reinstitute the Abomination. Whatever Christians were caught up in this bloodbath were certainly with Eleazar, trapped in the Temple, and whatever Essenes among the Zealots who were not Christians at least would have recognized no priest outside the besieged inner courtyard, meaning that they would have recognized whoever the Christians had nominated to replace James. It is said that James wore the ephod; therefore, the only reason he is not listed among the high priests of Israel is that none of the Essenes were recognized by Josephus, who had a major conflict of interest in reporting the truth.

Compared to the vitriol he unleashes against Phannias, Josephus destroys the last vestiges of his credibility when describing the admittedly quick-tempered tyrant Ananus as “unique in his love for liberty and an enthusiast for democracy.”790 It was the mob, not some tyrannical regime such as the one Ananus belonged to, which sought his sacking over his brutal oppression of the liberty-loving, peace-practicing Essenes, while he himself simultaneously pandered to the Romans and sacrificed to the “divine” Nero. It could well be said that the only people who even had any concept of liberty and democracy were those affiliated with James’ sect. Not only that, but there was also a lawful assembly which convened to address such situations, so the major cause for Ananus’ disapproval among the mob was more likely the fact that he had ordered the murder of James unlawfully than that he had done it at all. On the other hand, it is just as likely that it was the Sanhedrin which had ordered it, upon Ananus’ instigation, and thus that the Sanhedrin itself was considered sufficiently unlawful as to merit its dissolution in the eyes of the mob. Either way, the Sanhedrin was certainly seen by 66 AD as a tool of foreign interests, rather than as any kind of legislative assembly representing the nation’s interests.

All this adds to the legitimacy of James as High Priest of the restored Israel, if only because he was riding on Yahshuah’s coattails, though the Christian sect was still fledgling and the Nazarite community was not a whole lot bigger. The nationalist movement clearly yearned for a priesthood which was not downright despicable and quick to show itself as such at every turn: some things the priests were allowed to get away with, but profaning the holiest Sabbaths by murdering universally admired elders in the Temple because they were so admired was not among them; nor was sacrificing to the Emperor. As it is, Yahshuah, James and Eleazar ben Simon were all murdered on Passover, along with hundreds of Eleazar’s followers, and two of them were murdered right in the Temple. Needless to say, the Jews would not have gone to such great lengths if they had not considered the Christians (and the Essenes in general) to have been a legitimate threat to them. They simply had no authority to seek the lives of their opponents outside the Temple without judicial proceedings, by which they were unable to acquire the convictions they wanted, as the Essenes and Christians never broke any laws. Their power lay solely in their ability to rouse the mob to overpower them.

The fact, therefore, that the Christians were threatening to take away this sole base of power by insisting that the Temple be used for something other than what the vain Jewish traditions and the livelihoods of the priests both entirely depended on, amounted to the dissolution of the priesthood itself, as plainly alleged by Josephus. The priests’ own impotence meant their hold on the people was flimsy, but even the mighty Romans were afraid of the Christians, who were only a few thousand in number. For the Jews in Jerusalem, the threat was much more immediate. But history shows us that the power-hungry Jews paid the ultimate price for their obstinate pride and abject malice, and would have been much better off if they had just listened to God’s prophets and repented. It is not as though they were not given plenty of opportunities, either, so with this as the precedent, we hardly think that those (both Jews and Christians) who have followed in their footsteps deserve less condemnation, or any more sympathy than the animals they mercilessly slay for their own satanic satisfaction.

Then again, not every soul in Judea failed to listen and repent. Those who did fled to the hills to escape the calamity, as Yahshuah commanded. Eusebius791 says that the Christians in Jerusalem fled to Pella (on the other side of the Jordan) before the city was besieged, based on the advice of “an oracle” and the command of “acceptable persons,” and then returned after its destruction. They persisted and thrived, unlike the Jews who had been massacred and dispersed, until the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136 AD). Josephus claims that Jerusalem “was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation.”792

This was the state of Jerusalem when Hadrian determined to rebuild it—Temple and all—in 130. Much to the Jews’ dismay, upon visiting the site and seeing how total the devastation wrought by his predecessors was (and, by implication, what kind of threat a reconstructed Temple would pose to Roman hegemony in the region, as a symbol of Judean nationalism), he decided instead to rebuild the city as a Roman colony to be inhabited by his legionnaires. His plans included temples to the major regional deities, and certain Roman gods, particularly Jupiter Capitolinus.793 The angry Jews consequently started stockpiling weapons from the Roman workshops, and a rebellion broke out, led by Simon bar Kokhba, who called himself the Messiah and proclaimed the “redemption of Israel.”794 According to some scholars, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that, despite his name always being recorded in Aramaic, Simon bar Kokhba tried to restore Hebrew as the official language of Jews;795 this would suggest a clear and deliberate association with Essenism. (By this time, the Hebrew-speaking Essenes were probably none other than the Transjordan Christians, now called Ebionites.)

Hadrian was outraged, and determined to erase the Jews from the world’s memory. Judea was formally renamed Syria Palaestina on Roman maps (in honor of the Philistines, just to spite the Jews), and all circumcised men (i.e. all Jews, Essenes and Hebrew Christians) were barred from the city on pain of death. From this point on, all residents of Jerusalem were decidedly pagans, including the bishops formally recognized by the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches. Christianity and Judaism both effectively ceased to exist apart from independent cells in other locations, as neither had a central authority, and those who fled or had already been resident in Greece and Asia were likewise persecuted mercilessly.

The revolt took the Imperial government by surprise. Hadrian assembled troops from as far away as the Danube to amass a force several times larger than the already huge one that Titus had commanded, and the general Severus was brought in all the way from Britain to lead them.796 Hadrian’s goal was to completely eradicate the Jewish religion, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions. He outlawed the Torah and the Hebrew calendar, ceremonially burning the sacred scroll on the Temple Mount and executing Jewish scholars. He also erected two statues (one of Jupiter and one of himself) where the Temple had previously stood797—which we take as a clear indication that he built a shrine for the Imperial cult there, just as Caligula and Nero had each tried to do, without success.

The Romans were even more merciless than they had been under Titus’ command. According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews were killed, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages were razed. Cassius also says, “Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore, Hadrian, in writing to the Senate, did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors: ‘If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the army are in health.’”798 The war must have been truly devastating even among the victors, as the victorious Hadrian is the only general in Roman history known to have refused a Triumph celebration at the capital.799

The violence did not end with the annihilation of Judea and the Jewish culture. Jews and Christians were still being persecuted in some parts of the empire at the beginning of the 4th century, but never so much as under Constantine and the subsequent Byzantine emperors. The Samaritans, who had rebuilt their temple on Gerizim as soon as Hadrian destroyed the Jewish sect, were sufficiently suppressed to have revolted a total of four times under Byzantine rule.800 They were finally joined by the Jews in the last revolt, which began in 556, but were ultimately defeated and almost totally annihilated. As many as 100,000 Samaritans were butchered in each of the previous insurrections, but the final one reduced the original population of roughly one million to mere hundreds.

The Byzantines outlawed Samaritanism (which is to say, the Law of Moses) supposedly after, but probably before the third revolt in 529, having already built a castle on their holy mountain to protect the church which they had deliberately put there in order to desecrate it and to provoke the Samaritans. However, the Byzantines lacked the foresight to retain their blood-stained possession. Many Samaritans were sold as slaves to the Sassanids, and later returned, along with a large contingent of Sassanid Jewish allies, and recaptured Palestine from the Byzantines. The Byzantines returned again and finally completed the conquest of the Samaritans and Jews in 625, still butchering the survivors until 629, but they lost control of Palestine shortly thereafter due to the Persian and Muslim advances.801 Ironically, the few remaining Samaritans then fell under the protection of the Muslim caliphs as “people of the book,” though the perpetually rebellious Jews found it more difficult to enjoy the same status, so the “Christians” were never actually able to exterminate them completely, though they had been about it for several years by the time they lost the region to the Muslims and Persians.

According to Eusebius, the “church” of Jerusalem was scattered twice, in 70 and 135, the difference being that from 70 to 130 the bishops of Jerusalem had evidently “Jewish” (Hebrew) names, whereas after 135 the bishops of Aelia Capitolina appeared to have been Greeks.802 Yet in the minds of mainstream Christians, the Christian community of Jerusalem was not so much scattered in 130 as it was established. The real reason for this is that the Greeks were not Christians at all—not even in the Catholic sense—for all Christians had been formally banned from the city on pain of death, and common sense indicates that the leaders of a sect persecuted to the extent that the Christians were would not have survived and thrived unabated under such conditions while their counterparts in other places struggled and succumbed to defeat.

The last (actual, apostolic) Christian bishop (that is, presbyter) of Jerusalem was Jude (or Judas), the great-grandson of the Jude who was the “brother” of Yahshuah and the writer of the epistle of that name. This necessarily means that the first, second and last of the leaders of the Christian community in Palestine were not just Hebrew-speaking Israelites, but also Essenes and kinsmen of Yahshuah. The Romans, by comparison, had nothing whatsoever to do with Yahshuah or his religion/ideology, except that they were an affront to it and persecuted his followers to death, going so far as to allegedly extract Peter and Paul to Rome to be killed in view of Nero and the bloodthirsty Roman mob. Even among the allegedly Christian community of Aelia Capitolina, the bishops who came after Yahshuah’s brothers were not Israelites, nor were they Christians (remember, Christians were banned from the city, by law, on pain of death), nor did they worship the Christian God or in the form of the Christian fashion, nor did they speak Hebrew. What they did do is create the legacy of those (e.g. Epiphanius) who, in subsequent centuries and in direct appeal to the tradition of said legacy, persecuted the Christians who managed to survive their ethnic cleansing campaigns, as “heretics.”

After the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Christians thrived in their isolated communities, though the communities themselves and the members of these communities were both few in number. Only those who had been initiated by Paul and his companions or by John the Evangelist (after his exile) had any real claim to the apostolic tradition; the rest had been annihilated. What this means is that the closest thing the Christians had to a central authority after 135 was the combined strength of the congregations in Asia, best represented by John’s disciple Polycarp (c. 69-155), the bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp died a martyr, as the apostles before him had, because he opposed the Roman bishops when they tried to incorporate Christianity into their syncretic religion.

After several exchanges with the pagans, Polycarp went to Rome to defend the Christian cause during the pontificate of Anicetus, whose name has the same meaning, in Latinized Greek, as triumphator. (Hopefully this will suffice to demonstrate his ideological disposition.) Irenaeus records that their differences were over “certain things,”803 which we take to mean ‘things that the Church would rather not admit to,’ but of all these things, he gives only a detailed description of the controversy concerning Passover, signifying that this was the only real issue, or that the nature of the feud focused on and was best represented by the fact that the Christians celebrated the Eucharist and the Romans demanded that they not, or else suffer more brutal suppression at the hands of the civil authorities. Christians pretend that the dispute was over the timing of the celebration of Easter, as if Polycarp and the other Christians ever would have celebrated that pagan festival to begin with, or been so divided over such a trivial and easily discernible issue after having resolved the much more difficult matter of whether they ought to have been worshiping Yahshuah or Mithras. The real issue was not over the timing of the festival, but over the festival: the Romans were celebrating Easter, and the Christians were observing Passover, and neither group was going to budge by exchanging their customs for those of the other.

According to the official history, written by Irenaeus, Anicetus “allowed” Polycarp to celebrate (i.e. he did not formally call for the immediate arrest and murder of Polycarp—though this did happen later—for celebrating) the Pascha in his own way, in his own “church.” (And Easter is not some version of Pascha other than Passover—pascha literally means ‘Passover.’) According to Irenaeus’ biased narrative, they parted on relatively good terms, but according to Anicetus himself at the meeting, the Romans knew and expressly confessed that Polycarp’s tradition was the apostolic/Christian one, but were intent on remaining faithful to the customs that had been handed down to them by their own forefathers from antiquity—which can only mean that Anicetus preferred to keep his pagan religion intact, rather than make a single concession by absorbing a Christian holiday into the Roman liturgical calendar. (Technically, it was not even within his power to do so, as he was not the pontifex maximus, but the rex sacrorum, but it is still very likely that he could have used his influence to allow for such a change, especially with the consent of the other bishops, against which the Emperor would not have objected.) Normally the policy was to incorporate whatever rites they could, but in this case, there was clearly a conflict because the calendar would not allow the observance of two different major holidays at the same time, and the Romans never saw themselves as having the authority to change anyone else’s religious practices, but instead sought to have the priests of the foreign religions relocate to Rome in order to establish Rome as the center of each of the world’s many religious cults. This was their policy since at least the Second Punic War, so clearly, Polycarp must have come at their invitation, just as the Gnostics had, but was sent away, having changed nothing, because he was totally unwilling to make any compromises, just as they were.

There is no doubt that Polycarp made enemies while in Rome. He managed to make his way back to Smyrna, because we know that he reported the Romans’ position to the Greek-speaking Christians there, but for this he was subsequently tortured and killed. He was already an old man at the time, and is recorded as having spurned the last attempt to get him to sacrifice to the Emperor (i.e. in the Catholic fashion) with the words, “Eighty-six years I have served him [Yahweh, or perhaps Yahshuah], and he has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my king and savior? Bring forth what you will.”804 It is likely that the Catholic policy of burning heretics at the stake originated in the martyrdom of Polycarp, and it is known from the Martyrdom of Polycarp that he was taken on “the day of the Sabbath” and killed on “the Great Sabbath,” or Passover,805 just as Yahshuah, James, Eleazar and presumably many others had been, specifically because he refused to eat meat—on the Passover (the day which they all did, as we are told by those who murdered them, in defense of their position). This is extremely significant in that the mainstream Christian rite of the Eucharist is the modern adaptation of the Imperial cult’s Passover subversion, which Polycarp avoided, though it cost him his life.

According to Irenaeus, Polycarp’s testimony in Rome converted many disciples of Marcion and Valentinus.806 This is helpful for understanding how the feud between the Romans and the Christians evolved in the 2nd century. What is strikingly apparent is that it came to a head and erupted in open violence shortly after Polycarp’s murder, led principally by the combined efforts of the emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, and the bishops between Pius and Victor (i.e. triumphator). Pius was no doubt awarded the name by which he is now known at the same time and for the same reasons as his contemporary, Antoninus Pius, a notorious persecutor of Christians, which the Senate viewed as upholding the state religion. It is very likely that the “pope” was the instigator and the emperor was the agent of these persecutions, and that both were rewarded together with their entries into the Canon under the name of “Pius.” Anicetus followed Pius, so it is safe to assume that he carried on the legacy of his predecessor rather than devising any new policy of intolerance, just as Marcus Aurelius persecuted Christians not so much in order to uphold the religion of Rome, but because that is the policy which had been enacted by his predecessor.

The Jewish and pseudo-Christian influence over the Roman religious establishment had already begun in the 1st century, particularly due to Josephus and the close relationship which the dynastic family of Judea shared with the Roman administrators (a relationship which included marriages and several attempts by Roman emperors to breed an Imperial heir from a Judean princess of Roman birth—that is, Herod Agrippa’s daughter Berenice, the sister of Agrippa II who became the consort of Titus Flavius). The influx of Gnostics to Rome from Syria (which included Palestine) began immediately after the Bar Kokhba Revolt; as a matter of historical perspective, it is significant that the real Christians lived in communes and shunned cities (especially Rome) which they regarded as full of iniquities.807 Even more significant is the fact that Hadrian outlawed circumcision, hated the Christians, which he saw as a different class of Jews, and took measures to eradicate them. What this means is that we can safely assume that any Judean (or Greek) “Christian” who worked his way to Rome and exerted any measure of influence there was ideologically affiliated with the establishment, rather than opposed to it, as every real Christian was. So it was inevitable that people like Marcion and Valentinus would show up in Rome, whether invited or not, and that they would thrive there, but Polycarp’s mission was as an ambassador, not as someone who was seeking a higher political or ecclesiastical office, or the stipend that came with it.

The modern Catholic Church’s origins are evident enough in that the first Judean which the Roman clergy solicited to come to Rome (or perhaps to teach them, if he had already come of his own accord) after the Bar Kokhba Revolt was Cerdo, a disciple of Simon Magus.808 This ought to demonstrate how utterly illegitimate the claim that the Catholic tradition is apostolic really is. Cerdo and Valentinus both showed up in Rome sometime around 136 AD, right after the revolt. Valentinus was nearly elected Pope, as was Marcion a short time later, and it was this fact more than any other (such as what they were teaching) which caused all the Gnostics to be anathematized by the Romans. The fallout of the animosity between ideological factions led to the galvanization of each, but especially of the Romans, who then proceeded to ward off the foreign influences by any and every means necessary. This was the political climate when Polycarp came to Rome; evidently, he was seen as another Greek Christian, the way Marcion had been. After all, both had advocated a vegetarian ideal on the grounds that Scripture mandates it, and the Romans had no interest at all either in the vegetarian ideal or in Scripture.

One example of the Roman establishment’s opposition to vegetarianism (and therefore to the Gnostics as well as the Christians) can be taken from the treatment of Corvinus and his followers, which included the famous poet Ovid, and therefore the great Stoic philosopher Seneca. (Seneca was influenced by Ovid in this matter.) The people around Corvinus were all targeted by Augustus at one time or another. Seneca was accused by Nero, Cicero was accused by Julius Caesar, and Ovid was banished by Augustus for some unknown offense which he (the emperor) did not want to be made public. Each of these accusers was the pontifex maximus of the time.

The question of why Ovid was banished is almost certainly not a matter of how outspoken he was in his opposition to animal slaughter, but of the fact that he was a republican. His views being Pythagorean in nature, that means he was an obstacle to the transition to an imperial dictatorship (or to the Imperial cult, as it pertains to the Augustus’ monopoly on the state religion), but it also means that he was a vegetarian. Augustus had already made himself the pontifex maximus twenty years since by then, meaning he was effectively in charge of the ritual sacrifices for the whole empire, so Ovid’s vegetarianism was certainly a major factor.

Seneca’s views on vegetarianism are the most definitive, as he was Nero’s tutor and long-term advisor. He points out that there are multiple “major” reasons for the necessity of the ideal, and that even if the logic is faulty on one point (as in, he is trying to be objective), following it still has a tangible benefit. A comparable argument would be, “Even if an omnivorous diet is more nutritious than a vegetarian one, you’ll still save money by switching to the latter.”

Since I have begun to confide to you with what exceeding ardor I approached the study of philosophy in my youth, I shall not be ashamed to confess the affection with which Sotion [his preceptor] inspired me for the teaching of Pythagoras. He was wont to instruct me on what grounds he himself, and after him, Sextius, had determined to abstain from the flesh of animals. Each had a different reason, but the reason in both instances was a grand one. Sotion held that man can find a sufficiency of nourishment without blood shedding, and that cruelty becomes habitual when once the practice of butchering is applied to the gratification of the appetite. He was wont to add that, “It is our bounden duty to limit the materials of luxury.” That, moreover, variety of foods is injurious to health, and not natural to our bodies. If these maxims [of the Pythagorean school] are true, then to abstain from the flesh of animals is to encourage and foster innocence; if ill-founded, at least they teach us frugality and simplicity of living. And what loss have you in losing your cruelty? I merely deprive you of the food of lions and vultures. Seneca809

How easily we can dispense with these superfluities, which, when necessity takes them from us, we do not feel the want of … Whenever I happen to be in the company of richly-living people I cannot prevent a blush of shame, because I see evident proof that the principles which I approve and commend have as yet no sure and firm faith placed in them. … A warning voice needs to be published abroad in opposition to the prevailing opinion of the human race: “You are out of your senses [insanitis: “you are insane”]; you are wandering from the path of right; you are lost in stupid admiration for superfluous luxuries; you value no one thing for its proper worth.” Seneca810

You think it a great matter that you can bring yourself to live without all the apparatus of fashionable dishes; that you do not desire wild boars of a thousand pounds weight or the tongues of rare birds, and other portents of a luxury which now despises whole carcasses, and chooses only certain parts of each victim. I shall admire you then only when you scorn not plain bread, when you have persuaded yourself that herbs exist not for other animals only, but for man also—if you shall recognize that vegetables are sufficient food for the stomach into which we now stuff valuable lives, as though it were to keep them forever. For what matters it what it receives, since it will soon lose all that it has devoured? The apparatus of dishes, containing the spoils of sea and land, gives you pleasure, you say. … The splendor of all this, heightened by art, gives you pleasure. Ah! those very things so solicitously sought for and served up so variously—no sooner have they entered the belly than one and the same foulness shall take possession of them all. Would you contemn the pleasures of the table? Consider their final destination. Seneca811

Who can deny that Seneca’s views are exactly in line with those of Scripture? After all, Paul says exactly the same thing in 1 Corinthians 6:13 as Seneca does here, and translations of his epistle normally complete the first part of the paraphrase with quotation marks, though they properly belong around the second, as well. Who was Paul quoting, understanding that his audience would know exactly what was being spoken of, if not Seneca, who was not just his contemporary, but also the most famous philosopher in the world at that time?

All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but I shall not be under authority of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods—but Elohim shall destroy both it and them. And the body is not for whoring but for the Master, and the Master for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13

Digest that, you “Christians”: in this passage that you love to say affirms your sin, Paul was actually deliberately quoting and paraphrasing Seneca to advocate vegetarianism and to call “insane” anyone who refuses to adhere to it. In fact, Paul was not the only one who felt Nero’s wrath because he spoke against sacrifice. Seneca also did, and so did the Stoic philosopher Musonius. Just like Paul, Seneca was falsely accused and condemned to death, but his body survived the poison, and his healthy diet (and therefore low blood pressure) is thought to have been the cause of his slow loss of blood, which prolonged the agony. Musonius, meanwhile, was sent into exile, after declaring the eating of flesh to be brutal, and adapted to savage animals.

It is heavier, and hindering thought and intelligence; the vapor arising from it is turbid and darkens the soul, so that they who partake of it abundantly are seen to be slower of apprehension. As man is (at his best) most nearly related to the Gods of all beings on earth, so, also, his food should be most like that of the Gods. They are content with the steams that rise from earth and waters, and we shall take the food most like to theirs, if we take that which is lightest and purest. Musonius812

This shows that there were people at that time who were calling the Romans to account for the fact that their “brutal” way of life was not exactly healthy, in terms of how it destroys both the body and the mind. That the same people are essentially the ones you would want to have on your side if you were making an appeal to history (would anyone appeal to Nero or Caligula for support?) is demonstrated by the fact that they were regarded as the experts on every subject all the way through the Reformation era, because they thought with their heads, not their bellies. More to the point, those who saw Roman Christianity for what it is and who actually had morals had no incentive to participate in the established religion.

Furthermore, the gap between the Christians and the “Christians” only widened after the emperor Julian’s “apostasy” was overturned. Those philosophers who found merit in Yahshuah’s teachings and in the Essene practices were simultaneously disgusted by the Roman Christians’ unfettered impiety. For example, Augustine and the 5th century ecclesiastical historian Socrates of Constantinople both assert that the very well-liked philosopher Porphyry was once a Christian. This is according to their standard; obviously he always was one, but was later considered not to have been one because he hated how the mainstream pundits twisted and destroyed the biblical teachings. Consequently, his works were anathematized by Constantine, along with those of Arius, and burned.

Like Pythagoras, Porphyry was an advocate of vegetarianism on spiritual and ethical grounds. He was apparently a major rival of Lactantius, the cleric who was instrumental in the eradication of the Christian sect and the usurpation of its identity by the Roman establishment during the reign of Constantine, although the truth of the story of his life is shrouded in mystery, and we do not really know which side of the argument he ended up on, or whether Porphyry convinced him of the merits of a vegetarian diet in the end. (It is very likely that Lactantius and Porphyry were murdered together on Constantine’s orders while they were living in Sicily.) Porphyry wrote fifteen books “Against the Christians,” which have been destroyed except where quoted by his detractors for the purpose of ridicule and refutation. In one such quotation, perhaps his most famous, he stated, “The Gods have proclaimed Christ to have been most pious, but the Christians are a confused and vicious sect.” This shows that the Essenes considered the Romans “heretics” (again, the word ‘sect’ is haeresis, or ‘heresy,’ in Latin), the significance of which is that the Romans were always regarded as the antichrists of this dichotomy, right from the beginning, when the apostles were writing against the followers of Simon Magus and the others.

That Porphyry was, in fact, a true Christian, and only deemed as a “pagan” because of his outspoken antipathy for the overtly pagan Roman religion and its institutions, is evident from what little survives of his works. A certain Philosophy from Oracles from the Christian perspective is attributed to him, and the attribution was accepted by the likes of Eusebius and Theodoret. He was also apparently plagiarized by Augustine.813

If Porphyry was truly an Essene/Christian, and it certainly appears that he was, then what we have in his On Abstinence is nothing less than an early Christian treatise on the ethical merits of vegetarianism, written around the close of the 3rd century. Unlike most of his works which were destroyed, this one shows just how much he was opposed to the shameful practices of the Christians. The full text was still extant in Augustine’s time, so instead of making another attempt at destroying it and going back to claiming that he had never been a Christian, Augustine was forced to fall back on the libel that he had once practiced Christianity, but later renounced it, so that the allegation would stick in spite of the blatantly Christian views presented in On Abstinence. (The only thing that changed was what became canon at the Council of Nicaea.)

By these arguments, and others which I shall afterwards adduce in recording the opinions of the old peoples, it is demonstrated that [many species of] the lower animals are rational. In very many, reason is imperfect indeed—of which, nevertheless, they are by no means destitute. Since then justice is due to rational beings, as our opponents allow, how is it possible to evade the admission also that we are bound to act justly towards the races of beings below us? We do not extend the obligations of justice to plants, because there appears in them no indication of reason; although even in the case of these, while we eat the fruits, we do not, with the fruits cut away the trunks. We use corn and leguminous vegetables when they have fallen on the earth and are dead. But no one uses for food the flesh of dead animals, unless they have been killed by violence. So that there is in these things a radical injustice. As Plutarch says, it does not follow, because we are in need of many things, that we should therefore act unjustly towards all beings. Inanimate things we are allowed to injure to a certain extent, in order to procure the necessary means of existence—if to take anything from plants while they are growing can be said to be an injury to them—but to destroy living and conscious beings merely for luxury and pleasure, is truly barbarous and unjust. And to refrain from killing them neither diminishes our sustenance nor hinders our living happily. If, indeed, the destruction of other animals and the eating of flesh were as requisite as air and water, plants and fruits, then there could be no injustice, as they would be necessary to our nature. Porphyry814

Let him to whom this sophism [“that the gods made us for themselves and for the sake of each other, and that they made the non-human species for us—a convenient subterfuge by no means unknown to writers and talkers of our own times”] may appear to have weight or probability, consider how he would meet the dictum of Karneades that “everything is benefited when it obtain the ends to which it is adapted and for which it was generated.” Now benefit is to be understood in a more general way as meaning what the Stoics call useful. “The hog, however,” says Chrysippus, “was produced by nature for the purpose of being slaughtered and used for food, and when it undergoes this, it obtains the end for which it is adapted, and it is therefore benefited!” But if God brought other animals into existence for the use of men, what use do we make of flies, beetles, lice, vipers, and scorpions? Some of these are hateful to the sight, defile the touch, are intolerable to the smell, while others are actually destructive to human beings who fall in their way. With respect to the cetacea, in particular which Homer tells us live by myriads in the seas, does not the Demiurgus teach us that they have come into being for the good of things in general? And unless they affirm that all things were indeed made for us and on our sole account, how can they escape the imputation of wrongdoing in treating injuriously beings that came into existence according to the general arrangement of Nature?

I omit to insist on the fact that if we depend on the argument of necessity or utility, we cannot avoid admitting by implication that we ourselves were created only for the sake of certain destructive animals, such as crocodiles and snakes and other monsters, for we are not in the least benefited by them. On the contrary they seize and destroy and devour men whom they meet—in so doing acting not at all more cruelly than we. Nay, they act thus savagely through want and hunger; we from insolent wantonness and luxurious pleasure, amusing ourselves as we do also in the Circus and in the murderous sports of the chase. By thus acting, a barbarous and brutal nature becomes strengthened in us, and renders men insensible to the feeling of pity and compassion. Those who first perpetuated these iniquities fatally blunted the most important part of the civilized mind. Therefore it is that the Pythagoreans consider kindness and gentleness to the lower animals to be an exercise of philanthropy and gentleness. Porphyry815

So it is established that Porphyry’s views are antithetical to those of Chrysippus (an important Athenian Stoic of the 3rd century BC, i.e. a pagan) as well as to those of the Christians, and perfectly in line with the spirit of the Bible, and thus also in harmony with the Pythagoreans. He was, in fact, a student of Plotinus, the founder of the sect of neo-Platonists who merged ancient Christianity with Pythagorean philosophy, and as with the other neo-Platonists, it was the Pythagorean side of his philosophy which got him branded as a heretic, although the “Christian” apologists were never actually able to levy any accusations against them from Scripture, but relied solely on ad hominem attacks, brutal suppression and appeals to logical fallacies such as appealing to convention in defense of their barbarism. So it is inevitable that Porphyry would have been maliciously abused by Augustine and other Roman critics, as he was among the most famous and influential philosophers of his era, having once had the ear of the emperors Galerius and Licinius before Constantine ever even set foot in the East.

Porphyry was not the only victim of the pseudo-Christians’ revisionist libeling, however. Tatian, a student of Justin Martyr who wrote in the mid-1st century, got similar treatment by his contemporary Irenaeus, and then later Epiphanius, for the most absurd and self-contradictory reasons of them all. As the author of A History of the Synoptic Problem (who shows himself to be otherwise clueless about what is actually in the Bible and especially where the vegetarian ideal comes from) puts it:

Irenaeus and later Epiphanius both accused Tatian of being heretical and hating God’s creation because he advocated abstentation [sic] from eating meat. Was this heretical? Could it have simply been Tatian’s drawing the logical consequence of Justin’s doctrine that the souls of all living creatures, both men and animals, partake of the cosmic “ruling mind”? … It requires no great act of the imagination to see Tatian, having adopted this teaching of his master, taking the next logical step and refusing to kill and eat creatures whose souls comprehended God, as a way of honoring both them and God. None of this is particularly biblical in origin. On the contrary, teachings of this sort were very common in his day, being found all the way from Italy (the early Pythagoreans) across Greece, Syria, Palestine, down to Egypt, and over to India (where they probably came from). All of the ascetic branches of Christianity and Judaism shared these conceptions, as did every kind of Gnostic, Pythagorean, and Orphic initiate. Wherever Justin may have gotten these teachings, at least Tatian was simply being faithful to him. David Laird Dungan816

First of all, Pythagoras, the founder of the school from which the views of virtually all notable Greek philosophers ultimately descended, was undoubtedly a Nazarite of Salem, though it is not certain that he first learned of the necessities of vegetarianism directly from them. His biographer Iamblichus informs us that he was indeed not an outsider to the sect. Of particular interest is the fact the he refers to Moses as a “physiologist,” a description which is basically synonymous with the practice of medicine according to the ancient Greek understanding.

In Phoenicia [Pythagoras] conversed with the prophets who were the descendants of Moses the physiologist, and with many others, as well as the local heirophants. … After gaining all he could from the Phoenician Mysteries, he found that they had originated from the sacred rites of Egypt, forming as it were an Egyptian colony. … On the Phoenician coast under Mt. Carmel, where, in the Temple on the peak, Pythagoras for the most part had dwelt in solitude … Mount Carmel, which they knew to be more sacred than other mountains, and quite inaccessible to the vulgar … Iamblichus817

So, whereas most are content to state that the Essenes practiced the way of life of the Pythagoreans (as is stated by Josephus), and by implication that they inherited it from them, obviously the exact opposite is true; the older sect informed the newer. By this we are able to affirm from a third party source that vegetarianism was the ideal of Salem, instituted by God and passed down through the various branches of the Order of Melchizedek, but not by any other means. This is why the Gospel is a “light to the nations,” and particularly to the Greeks, and why some who have not had it have still known the qualities of God and attained favor through righteousness, as Paul says in Romans, by way of their own traditions.

A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it has no hawk’s bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with your teeth, worry a hog with your mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if you had rather stay until what you eat has become dead, and if you are loath to force a soul out of its body, why then do you against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare. Plutarch818

Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds? … The obligations of law and equity reach only to mankind, but kindness and benevolence should be extended to the creatures of every species, and these will flow from the breast of a true man, in streams that issue from the living fountain. Man makes use of flesh not out of want and necessity, seeing that he has the liberty to make his choice of herbs and fruits, the plenty of which is inexhaustible; but out of luxury, and being cloyed with necessaries, he seeks after impure and inconvenient diet, purchased by the slaughter of living beasts; by showing himself more cruel than the most savage of wild beasts … were it only to learn benevolence to humankind, we should be merciful to other creatures. … It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being … Why do you belie the earth, as if it were unable to feed and nourish you? Does it not shame you to mingle murder and blood with her beneficent fruits? Other carnivores you call savage and ferocious—lions and tigers and serpents—while yourselves come behind them in no species of barbarity. And yet for them murder is the only means of sustenance! Whereas to you it is superfluous luxury and crime! Plutarch819, 820

Other scholars and philosophers echo the same sentiments, including many who are accepted as Christians, as “saints” rather than “heretics.” These include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and both John Chrysostom and his followers, whose works have been lost to time, such as Patriarch John IV of Constantinople (a.k.a. John the Faster). Clement recommended a diet of vegetables, roots, olives, herbs, milk, cheese, fruits, and all kinds of dry food, without flesh, while the author of the Clementine Homilies (which date back to the middle of the 2nd century) says, “The unnatural eating of flesh-meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils with its sacrifices and impure feasts.”821 John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, drew the ire of the other men at court (including the empress Eudoxia, who conspired with the Alexandrian patriarch Theophilus to have him deposed twice, despite his immense popularity with the masses) for voicing his bitter criticisms against the flesh-eaters. Note that while Christians typically argue that it is not sinful to kill animals because they are not like us, the most astute philosophers and theologians argue that it is sinful, because they are.

We imitate but the ways of wolves, but the ways of leopards, or rather ourselves are even worse than these. For to them nature has assigned that they should be thus fed, but us God has honored with speech and a sense of equity, and we have become worse than the wild beasts. John Chrysostom822

The saints are exceedingly loving and gentle to mankind, and even to brute beasts … Surely we ought to show [animals] great kindness and gentleness for many reasons, but, above all, because they are of the same origin as ourselves. John Chrysostom823

No streams of blood are among [the ascetics]; no butchering and cutting up of flesh; no dainty cookery; no heaviness of head. Nor are there the horrible smells of flesh meats among them, or disagreeable fumes from the kitchen. No tumult and disturbance and wearisome clamors, but bread and water—the latter from a pure fountain, the former from honest labor. If at any time, however, they wish to feast more sumptuously, the sumptuousness consists in fruits, and their pleasure in these is greater than at royal tables. No master and servant are there. All are servants—all are free men … Neither am I leading you to the lofty peak of total renunciation of possessions; but for the present I require you to cut off superfluities, and to desire a sufficiency alone. Now the boundary of sufficiency is the using of those things which it is impossible to live without. No one debars you from these, nor forbids you your daily food. I say ‘food,’ not ‘luxury,’ ‘raiment,’ nor ‘ornament.’ Rather this frugality, to speak, correctly, is, in the best sense, luxury. For consider who should we say more truly feasted—he whose diet is herbs, and who is in sound health and suffered no uneasiness, or he who has the table of a Sybarite and is full of a thousand disorders. Clearly, the former. Therefore, let us seek nothing more than these, if we would at once live luxuriantly and healthfully. John Chrysostom824

Jerome825 claims that Tertullian, despite many attempts on his life by the “Christians” in Rome, lived to a ripe old age, and modern estimates attribute no less than 65, and usually about 80 years (160-240 AD) to his lifespan. His major criticism of flesh-eating is On Feasting, or Abstinence Against the Carnal-Minded, in which his preoccupation is with destroying the logic of the people who claimed that Yahshuah and his disciples made an allowance for this sin, even though he was unable to read Romans 14 the way Paul intended it, as we have described it, and he thus failed to invoke Scripture to debunk the opposing arguments entirely. While certainly not forsaking any proofs from Scripture in support of his vegetarian ethic, his strongest arguments are therefore appeals to common sense, which still ought to be sufficient to induce compunction.

Nature herself will inform us whether before gross eating and drinking, we were not of much more powerful intellect, of much more sensitive feeling, than when the entire domicile of men’s interior has been stuffed with meats, inundated with wines, and fermenting with filth in course of digestion. Tertullian826

It is not consistent with truth that a man should sacrifice half of his stomach only to God, that he should be sober in drinking, but intemperate in eating. Tertullian827

Your belly is your god [Philippians 3:19], your liver is your temple, your paunch is your altar, the cook is your priest, and the fat steam is your Holy Spirit; the seasonings and the sauces are your chrisms and your eructations [belches] are your prophesyings. … Consistently do you men of flesh reject the things of the spirit … we are sure that they who are in the flesh cannot please God. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; for they that are of the spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace … so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Tertullian828

Tertullian was born in Carthage about 160 AD, in the center and at the height of the diet controversy, during the pontificate of Anicetus. Anicetus was the first Roman bishop to formally condemn the “heresy” of vegetarianism, by declaring war on the Montanists (which we will describe in a moment, and which we strongly suspect Tertullian of having had affiliations with), and by opposing the Gnostics and Marcionites. According to the Liber Pontificalis, he decreed that priests were not to have long hair, which contemporary scholars believe may indicate that the Gnostics wore long hair,829 but we already know that all Christians once wore long hair, and that even though, by the 2nd century, not all Christians were Nazarites, their designation as “Gnostics” is arbitrary. (The proper term is ‘Nazarene’ or ‘Essene.’) In effect, Anicetus was the Roman “saint” who formally put Christianity itself under the ban in the 2nd century, attempting to detect the Nazarites wherever they could be found and root them out from among the ranks of the clergy throughout the Empire by banning both the visible and invisible signs of detection, much like the nation of Spain has adopted ham as its national food due to the 15th-century influence of the Inquisition, which sought to identify crypto-Jews who otherwise professed what they needed to in order to save their lives, by forcing everyone to eat pig flesh.

We have already seen that the Law (e.g., Exodus 12:14 and Leviticus 23:5-6) set the Passover observance as a “perpetual ordinance” on a particular fixed date. As such, and as it was the date of Yahshuah’s death and the Last Supper, the Romans’ attempts to undermine it with the Mithraic feasts became the central point of contention between them and the Christians. According to Eusebius,830 several synods were convened at the end of the 2nd century to deal with the controversy, and they unanimously ruled that the observance should never take place on any day but a Sunday. However, this ignores the fact that Eusebius was speaking of the conventions of the Church, rather than of any Christian congregations. Needless to say at this point, no amount of consensus among any body of men has any authority to overturn a perpetual ordinance established by Almighty God, and the Christians throughout the world (including the Gnostics) were unanimously aligned to the Quartodeciman position. What this really amounted to was the beginning of the long series of deliberate persecutions by the issuing of threats of force—the beginning of the Inquisition outside of historically Roman or Romanized territories like Rome and Lyon.

These synods were held in Rome and Gaul in the West, and in Palestine, Pontus and Osroene (the territory around Edessa) in the East.831 The council in Rome took place in 193 and was presided over by the Roman bishop Victor.832 It is clear that this was the synod which decided it had the authority to tell everyone else in the world how to worship its gods, as it was the decision of this council to send the letter to Ephesus, to which the Ephesians replied, “We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away,” as we discussed in Chapter 12. That the council at Ephesus presided over Polycrates unanimously rejected the Romans’ impertinent ruling goes to show that this was not a matter of theological debate, but of the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s belligerent attempts to force the apostolic Greek Christians to stop practicing their religion and conform to the Church’s expectations.

Victor, enraged by the overwhelming opposition to his authority as an alleged divinity, and in a move reminiscent of the more juvenile, ill-tempered policies of Caligula and Nero, attempted to “excommunicate” all Christians—a fact which would have had them formally outlawed and actively persecuted by the Imperial government once again. However, he was rebuked because he lacked the authority to do so, and he was forced to back down. Only the Emperor had this authority as the pontifex maximus, so he could not make the decision without having the Emperor ratify it first, and any attempt to enforce such a decision would have been seen as treason, especially considering that Roman citizens like the Eastern bishops were entitled to protection under Roman law, and that the rex sacrorum was formally barred from holding any political office or exercising any political authority whatsoever, specifically in order to prevent these kinds of abuses of power. That Victor’s ambition indeed far exceeded his reach is evident in the fact that he went so far as to excommunicate the well-known Christian theologian Theodotus of Byzantium on the grounds that he was an Adoptionist, and that this act, too, was seen as an affront to the Imperial authority.833

Despite the antipathy which the emperors and other civil authorities generally had for any priests who tried to command them or override their authority, the decision to excommunicate and persecute the Greek Christians as “Judaizers” on the grounds that they observed the Eucharist rather than Easter was finally ratified by Constantine at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Those bishops who did not conform to the Imperial cult were, in some cases, killed, and in others, imprisoned or exiled. (This policy had been enacted by Constantine in the West in 314, where there were very few Christians to contend with, but did not take effect in the East until he conquered and then murdered his rival, the Christian emperor Licinius, and the large majority of the members of his administration.)

Yet this was still not enough for Constantine because there were still many Romans who celebrated Easter on the Sunday which corresponds with Passover. Moreover, the Christians already knew that Constantine was a bloodthirsty, warmongering autocrat with a particular vendetta against them. Most of the Christian bishops simply did not respond to his demand that they convene, thus demonstrating that they could not be coerced to travel hundreds of miles to be threatened face-to-face with the very thing which would only even befall them if they actually did. As we have said in Chapter 12, Constantine’s response was to draw up a letter to make an appeal to them, as if to reason with them and persuade them by his benevolence and the power of his intellect, even while he was simultaneously murdering the leaders of their brethren for their failure to worship him (by sacrificial offering) as the manifestation of Sol Invicto.

For we have it in our power, if we abandon their custom, to prolong the due observance of this ordinance to future ages, by a truer order, which we have preserved from the very day of the passion until the present time. Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way. Constantine834

As we have discussed in previous chapters, the First Council of Nicaea enforced the rule that all churches should observe Easter on a Sunday to be computed independently of the Hebrew calendar, which had been formally outlawed by Hadrian. However, it did not specify any details of the computation, only that it would not be according to the Christian tradition of calculating the date of Passover. It would be several more decades before the computations took on their final form, and several centuries before they would become standardized. Furthermore, the Gregorian calendar was only formulated in 1582, causing a difference between the Catholic and Protestant calculations for Easter with that of the Orthodox Christians, based on what had been previously accepted.

To date, there is no consensus of when Easter ought to be celebrated, except that it should never coincide with Passover (meaning, it is not to be the Sunday after the Sabbath, so that it is never an incidental commemoration of the Last Supper as Yahshuah commanded). This much should be as obvious as it is self-evident, considering that Yahshuah was not even resurrected on a Sunday, but before the end of the weekly Sabbath (which begins Friday at sunset), and that Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday, the day which Constantine formally dedicated to Sol, the sun god, and which is named for him. The reason for the late 16th-century change is that it was observed that the mandate of Nicaea could not be perfectly carried out, as it had happened that in rare circumstances, Easter accidentally coincided with the 14th of Nisan, so yet another measure had to be taken to prevent faithful Catholics from accidentally making an ignorant association between the rite of the Last Supper and their pagan Imperial cult abomination.

Constantine was a savvy politician, if not a genius of war and propaganda, singularly obsessed with reuniting the entire Roman Empire under his sole rule. He knew well that Christianity was a threat to everything that the Empire stood for—one that simply would not die or go away on its own, no matter the efforts made against it. He knew that the only way to fight an idea is with another idea. Even though he himself did not personally espouse any of the Christological beliefs which he forced others to accept on pain of death, he certainly realized that if all his enemies were willing to die before betraying their beliefs, then they were easily identified by virtue of the fact that they would not worship him or even submit to his rule, unlike the sycophants that served him publicly but privately resented him and sought his downfall.

So, like all fascist dictators, in order to really unify the Empire and draw negative attention away from himself, Constantine needed a common enemy for the disparate factions which he aimed to control—one which could not easily be destroyed and forgotten. The most suitable and expedient option was the Christian sect, which had already persisted for centuries under the Roman persecutions, and had even thrived most under them, to the point that his great rival in the East had been converted. The Christians certainly would have been persecuted anyway, but we might wonder to what extent they would have been a target of priority if Licinius and his generals had been of some other religious persuasion.

While it is easy to blame Constantine for the establishment of the “Christian” religion as we now know it, it was against his own personal values and beliefs that he reformed the state religion. He, even more than his predecessors, was profoundly superstitious and honored tradition; apostolic Christianity was just an object which stood in his way and which needed to be co-opted and used as a political tool if he was to retain the East, which he had fought so hard to win, even murdering his own beloved sister in the process, and where Christianity had thrived for centuries and had already been established for decades prior to the council at Nicaea. In reality, the Roman persecutions of Christians did not begin with Constantine, but with Caligula.

Modern historians tell us that the emperors who persecuted Christians more than the others were Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian and, ironically, the various scapegoats of Constantine’s ethnic cleansing rampage. Eusebius provides a list that glosses over the major persecutions of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, seemingly to convince his readers that his good friend Constantine was saving “Christians” from the likes of Caligula and Nero when he was setting out to conquer his foes, rather than that he simply inherited their legacy and carried out the mandate of his office better than anyone before him had done.835 The reason modern historians are unable to realize the pattern rather than seeing an intermittent trend of punctuated persecutions is that they mistake the culprit (the Roman establishment) for the victim or object of persecution. None seem to realize that it is a fallacy to suppose that a group of “heretics” like the Ebionites are somehow not Christians just because the Church apologists say so, when their own beliefs and, more importantly, their practices indicate otherwise: if Ebionites are being persecuted, then the Christians are being persecuted. Why else would the Church insist that all the wealthy aristocrats who dwelled in absolute security right in the lion’s den of Rome while the “heretics” on the fringes of the empire were practically exterminated were “martyrs,” while simultaneously doing its best to cover up their origins?

It is simply illogical to suppose that, had the Roman bishops really been Christians, they would have lived to old age and gone unharmed. We already know what “white martyrdom” means, and that it amounts to the recognition of the deification of, and the worship of Roman scoundrels, which is the nature of the Abomination as described by Yahshuah and by Paul. It is already commonly accepted that the emperor (pontifex maximus) Antoninus was reverently given the title of Pius by the Senate for his outstanding support of the Roman religion (i.e. for suppressing Christians and enforcing sacrifices); can it really be any coincidence that the Roman bishop (rex sacrorum) of the same period is known simply by that name, rather than his real name—his “Christian name”—as well? Where Christians in the East are recorded as dying for their faith, the status of sainthood ought to be interpreted as evidence that the persecutions were successful. Why, for instance, is Polycarp not called a saint, though he is formally regarded as such, but the thoroughly unscrupulous murderer Irenaeus is, unless it is because the Church recognizes apostolic Christianity as being completely outside itself?

We raise the point about Irenaeus because he was the one who, on the one hand, talked Victor down from his hardline position against the Christians, and on the other, used his position among both parties to gain more power, ultimately betraying the Christians because serving Rome was more lucrative. Irenaeus was a native of the East, and influenced by Polycarp himself when he was just a boy, which made him better-versed in the “heretical” teachings than most Romans. So when Polycarp showed up in Rome and left a lasting impact on those he was able to persuade, the Romans solicited Irenaeus to “detect” and “overthrow” said teachings. That is why he is a “saint” and a “martyr,” though he died comfortably in his bed, full of the luxuries of life.

The story of how Irenaeus became Bishop of Lugdunum (present-day Lyon, France) is intricately linked to the outbreak of violence against Christians in the West in 177 AD. Christians had already become despised by this time; they were forbidden from public places, including the forum and macellum, probably for having voiced their opinions. If any Christian in Lyon happened to venture into a public place, he was liable to be beaten; if not, his house was still liable to be vandalized with impunity.836 Ridiculous accusations were laid against them, including cannibalism and incest, which could only have had the effect of alienating them from the Romans as far as their Essene counterparts in the East were so alienated.

At some point, the Christians of Lyon were summarily arrested and interrogated in front of the mob. Irenaeus, who was then apparently a resident priest of the city, went to Rome to report on the incident, even though he was supposedly one of the Christian clergy and therefore one of the first ones who should have been imprisoned, assuming there is any truth to the official story. All of the Christians of Lyon were eventually tortured to death; the martyrs enumerated by name are 48 in all.837

We can only speculate as to what Irenaeus’ report to the Roman bishop Eleutherus actually consisted of. However, it is clear that he was rewarded for his service in turning in the Christians, for upon his return to Lyon he was elevated to the city’s bishopric. This makes him the prime suspect for the purge of Christians from Lyon (a city which, theoretically, should not have had any Christians after the purge, and therefore no need or use for a presbyter, if Catholics are indeed the true Christians rather than the ones persecuting them), especially considering that he used the information gathered from the interrogated martyrs as the basis for his seminal work “against heresies.” The “heresy” of Lyon was Montanism, also known as Cataphrygianism or Phrygianism, in reference to the fact that the center of Christianity was in Asia.

In its own time, Montanism was called the New Prophecy movement. It was Christianity repackaged to fit the social currents of the mid-2nd century, after the vast majority of Christians had been rooted out and expectations changed based on the fact that the return of Christ had not yet occurred. This is why only 48 Christians were identified and killed at Lyon, despite exhaustive interrogations using torture to locate every member of the sect.

The New Prophecy movement was openly at odds with and intolerant of the Roman establishment, claiming that prophets possessed the power to forgive sins, a fact which is substantiated in the Bible, but which also obviously reduces the Church and its sacraments to total irrelevancy. This is what Irenaeus feared most from them, as he was one of the strongest and most outspoken proponents of his era of the supremacy of the Roman clergy to which he belonged. However, it is also well known that the Montanists were Quartodecimans, and this seems to have been the major cause for their identification and persecution as Christians. In fact, given their other practices (e.g., recognizing women as presbyters), as well as their small number and their Roman and Gallic origins (in contrast with their Asian ideals), it is likely that the Montanists were simply the Gnostics (Valentinians and Marcionites) whom Polycarp managed to convert to apostolic Christianity. This would explain why they were called Phrygians, in reference to the fact that the representative of Christianity was the presbyter of Smyrna. In any case, the Montanists were strict vegetarians, like all other Christians, as well as having the same view on marriage as we have already discussed regarding the Essene position, so it is safe to say that the charges of cannibalism and incest were blatantly false, and that Irenaeus and Eleutherus were guilty of bearing false witness against innocents, and of whitewashing their murders with libelous propaganda, as soon as they set out to turn them over to the civil authorities.

Once the Roman pontiffs began contending that they themselves were the “true” Christians, and were altogether rejected as such by all of the Christians in the East, political pressures (mainly East vs. West) brought the feud to a head by getting the Imperial authorities involved. The most notorious persecutions took place during the reign of Diocletian (303-305), when Church leaders pursued the Christians with increased fervor by going after them in the East, having already rooted them out in the West. These snitches were called traditores, or ‘traitors’ in English. Not only Christians, but all their religious texts were publicly burned, and their property confiscated.

There is not much else to say about persecutions of Christians in the West, because the real Christians generally stayed as far away from Rome as possible, and the civil authorities had no reason to seek the punishment of anyone who practiced a religion which did not forbid Roman customs (i.e. anyone who was not a Jew, an Essene or a Christian), which means that everyone else was protected by Roman law. The vast majority of the persecutions were in the East, where the Christians were. However, the numbers of Christians in Rome itself rose in proportion with how quiet they were. By the mid-3rd century a huge controversy was created over Christian views that had seeped into the Church from Christian teachings and given cause for political debate. (This was most likely the result of the conflation of religious views in combination with the general ignorance concerning both source sects, even among the Roman priests, which is still perfectly visible throughout the whole of Christianity today.) The Christian faction was led by a priest named Novatian, who opposed the Roman bishop Cornelius in 251 and was martyred a few years later. Novatian opposed him on the issue of the admission of the lapsi, though it is not clear whether he opposed their readmission to Christian fellowship as a Christian, or whether he opposed their admission to Catholic fellowship as a Catholic, because the only sources we have are the biased Catholic disinformation sources. What is clear is that the Catholics accepted the lapsi and Novatian’s followers did not, and that they were consequently rooted out, hunted down and put to death because they disagreed, just like the Montanists.

It is very likely that Novatian was actually a Montanist and the leader of the New Prophecy movement of the West in the 3rd century. Indeed, in Phrygia, the Montanists and Novatianists were part of the same movement. Novatian’s view on marriage was the same as theirs (neither the Montanists nor the Novatianists recognized second marriages: this was undoubtedly a position which both groups inherited from the Essenes of Judea), and like the Christians before him, he regarded murder (i.e. meat-eating), idolatry (i.e. meat-eating) and adultery (i.e. meat-eating) as unpardonable sins, claiming that the Church had no authority to forgive them. According to Novatian, their forgiveness was in God’s hands; a supplicant would have to beg for it and spend the rest of his life doing penance. (This, too, is clear evidence of a connection with the Essene position, as we have discussed it previously.) The Church, on the other hand, had a vested interest in accepting the lapsi, especially considering that those members of the clergy who had actually professed some sort of Christianity at some point were all traditores. (The presumption is that those who did not recant became martyrs.)

The Novatianists called themselves katharoi (‘puritans’), just like the medieval Cathars. They called the Catholics apostaticum, synedrium and capitolinum,838 clearly implicating them as “apostates,” the “synod” of Satan who worshiped the “Capitoline” gods in the Roman fashion. In spite of the Roman efforts to eradicate the sect, there were still Novatianists in Egypt around 600 AD; Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria, wrote six books against them, lamenting that they would not worship the Catholic “martyrs,” which, incidentally, included himself.839

After the Novatianists came the Donatists of Africa (a.k.a. Carthage, present-day Algeria and Tunisia) who flourished during the 4th and 5th centuries. The Donatists regarded the lapsi as unsuitable for leadership, regardless of whether or not they had been fully reconciled,840 which basically means that anyone who had ever eaten meat or gone to church even once after his baptism was barred from any position of authority within any Christian community for the rest of his life. Any “Christian” who had been baptized or received communion from a traditor was likewise barred from participating in the Christian sacraments altogether, 841 unless they went through the normal route of conversion, repentance and reconciliation.

The Donatists were really just the Christians of the West, named after a bishop of Carthage who was elected in place of (that is, in protest of) one consecrated by a traditor c. 311. Like the Novatianists, the Donatists were rigorists, believing that a church of sinners was no “church” at all, and that sacraments administered by traditores were invalid. As such, they regarded themselves as the “true church” and rejected the Roman aristocracy. The Donatists called upon the civil authorities to support them, thinking, perhaps, that Constantine would give them equal treatment, having given lip service to Christians, without defining what a Christian was by that time. (This was before the conquest of the East and the First Council of Nicaea, so Constantine had not really had any dealings with any real Christians yet.) Pope Miltiades predictably intervened by using his leverage with Constantine to solicit the civil authorities to stamp them out as soon as they appeared on the scene, but his efforts had little effect.842

The Donatists appealed directly to Constantine, who lamented that Rome’s religious institutions were so divided. Far more fearful of alienating the Roman aristocracy than of anything the Christians might have done to his rule, he intervened by having Donatus (and his supporters) excommunicated at the Council of Arles in 314 rather than merely siding with the sinners and letting the two sides duke it out. As they had been treated so unjustly, the Donatists appealed to Constantine a third time, at which point the emperor then attempted to resolve the matter by issuing threats against the schismatics, which only furthered the divide between Carthage and Rome.843 The Donatists were thus actively repressed within just a few years of their initial protests, but successfully drew upon regional sentiments to combat the political leverage afforded to the Roman bishop as rex sacrorum. Yet the stalemate could not last forever, and like all other attempts by “heretics” to reform the Church, the Donatist cause eventually succumbed to the forces of violence and propaganda.

Although he has since been libeled and demonized by the revisionist supporters of Constantine and the Church, the emperor Galerius was a strong supporter of the Christians and even formally put an end to Diocletian’s persecutions in 311 with the edict of tolerance commonly thought to have been arranged by Constantine.844 The traditores were thus prevented from exerting influence in political affairs, and many found themselves in compromised positions. However, they were reinstated by Constantine, and this was the origin of the central feud between the Romans and the Christians, now called Donatists by their detractors.

Prior to Constantine’s invasion of the East, the main argument between the Christians in the East and the Romans in the West took the form of the Donatist schism, except that the Donatists were not called by that name in the East, having simply been called Christians since the 1st century. (The Donatists invented nothing new; the name really only applies to the Catholic revisionist perspective of the Christians in Africa and Italy.) The major difference between the Novationist and Donatist “heresies” was the fact that one resisted the Romans’ attempts at forcing the Christian communities to accept the lapsi and the other resisted their attempts to install the traditores. Needless to say, the Christians took exception to Constantine’s open support of their persecutors (the traditores were, by definition, those who had turned the Christians over to the authorities to have them tortured and killed, usually by infiltrating their sect as enemy agents), even as they quickly learned to loathe him on account of his own atrocities against them. Previous emperors in the East had already succumbed to the Christians’ influence, and the Eastern emperor whose throne Constantine usurped was even a Christian himself, so it was assumed that the persecutions under Diocletian would immediately resume once Constantine’s war against Licinius was finished.

Given the influence of the Christians in the East, their laudable standing in society, and Constantine’s unrelenting vendetta against them, as well as his lust for power which had plunged the entire empire into a series of destructive civil wars, he was intensely unpopular with the common citizens and desperately needed to make a direct appeal to the Christians for peace before he could consolidate his power in the East. This was exactly why the First Council of Nicaea was convened. However, as we have said, most of the Christians refused to show up, while those that did but refused to renounce or betray Christianity by participating in the Roman sacrament were murdered on the spot, which further alienated the Christians to the extent that they did not even answer his threats from that point on.

To make matters worse, Constantine rewarded the traditores with positions held by the murdered Christian leaders in the East, presumably because he believed he could trust them, but perhaps also because they had been largely displaced by his more tolerant predecessors. He tried to address the issue directly by having the traditores participate in what he saw as a ritual of compromise (a Roman adaptation of the Eucharist called the Sacrament of Penance), but which was just a thinly-veiled attempt at supplanting the apostolic hierarchy and the apostolic rites with his own henchmen and the Roman rituals. The “Donatists” responded by publicly proclaiming that all sacraments performed by these new priests were invalid,845 which included ordinations, and this inhibited Constantine from having any sway over the Christian congregations, no matter how delicately he approached them, because every priest had to be sanctioned by the apostolic order, and none of his were—not even any spies he could attempt to infiltrate them with, because every member of every Christian community was thoroughly tried. Instead, the traditores were remembered as those who had vehemently persecuted them and killed off all the other members of their sect, and they were the subject of the Christians’ derision as much as Constantine himself was, but on a much more individual and personal basis.

The feud continued to escalate as neither side would make any real compromises. Like the Donatists in the West, the Christians refused to accept any kind of communion with the traditores altogether, and maintained a rigorous application of the ancient Essene custom of penance wherever it concerned the lapsi, as opposed to Constantine’s attempt at telling them what kind of penance was sufficient—as though he even had the right, and as though a single Roman ritual would atone for the sin which Yahshuah declared would not be forgiven in the age to come. (The sin of the lapsi was blasphemy against the spirit of Essenism. In accordance with the Essene custom, the lapsi would spend years and perhaps even decades doing public penance to test them before they were gradually integrated into the Christian congregations.)

The issue between the Donatists and the Romans was exactly the same as that taken up by the Novatianists against the latter, except that it was even more pertinent after Constantine’s rise to power, and the results were practically the same. One would think that if Constantine had actually issued a proclamation of tolerance of Christianity, then he would not have actively suppressed those who had never wavered in their Christian beliefs and practices under persecution while simultaneously supporting those who had. Yet this is exactly what happened, and the lines between these two camps are so clearly drawn over this issue that only the staunchest of Catholic apologists and willfully malicious sheep could see them and still side with Constantine and the Church against the apostolic Christians, while having the nerve to claim to represent Christ and his apostles.

Anyone who would allow for some tolerance over this issue in an appeal to mercy must realize that those under examination were not simply men off the street who, fearing for their lives, made an easy mistake, nor were they being persecuted by virtue of this verdict. Rather, they were clergymen—leaders of Christians who benefited from their apostasy where others paid with their lives. (And this is just the lapsi we are talking about; the traditores were those who had the Christians murdered for their own gain.) They were those to whom the flock looked for spiritual guidance, and who proved to be the most contemptible of servants, unworthy of their hire. Those who were worthy were killed. So to elevate to positions of power the very same traitors who sent the worthy to their deaths, as Constantine did, is to knowingly and willfully destroy the integrity of the Church by placing the ephod of a priest onto the shoulders of a Judas in every city, after his master has been executed and he has already been paid.

Seeing how the early Christians were dead set on ending the sacrifices (both the ritual itself, and the natural consequence of it, the societal acceptance of flesh-eating), and especially how the modern Church was created by lapsi, who, by definition, were those who renounced Christianity and made sacrifices when put to the test, it is ironic that all the “Christians” today talk about how Christianity triumphed back then by accomplishing this goal. The sacrifices were never even really ended; even the ban imposed by the Arian emperor Constantius II (note that it was not Constantine or one of his immediate successors that pronounced it) was not directed at the killing of animals, but at the pagan religious rites only. The killings were just decoupled from the ritual of the sacrament, and only partially, for the rites themselves are kept alive in the veneration of all the gods as “feasts” of “saints” by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, and of Apollo/Sol Invicto exclusively (as “Jesus,” the ‘image/form of Zeus’) by Protestants, in all the churches that perform the Roman Eucharist. That is to say that the very thing that Christ and the apostles died for was co-opted and made even worse. By decoupling flesh-eating from the ritualized form of murder, there is no longer a pretense of sanctimoniousness to go along with it—a pretense which was conveyed by the Law of Moses to act as a safeguard against rampant abuse of power by humans over the animal kingdom, and which generally worked to that end. Now, without the pretense, it is just a matter of people doing it because they feel like it. That is to say that apostolic Christianity was ultimately used to popularize Satanism (being the religion of hedonism) amongst the masses, and the Church has only ever made a minimal effort to hide it by suppressing the Gospel and changing the names of the Roman gods (especially deified mortals), their “saints,” to those of the Apostles.

Consider the power which the sacrificial system confers in light of politics. The emperor Julian, pejoratively called ‘the Apostate’ because he had a conscience and therefore preferred Greek philosophy over the amoral (and immoral) Roman Catholic flavor of paganism, sought to reinstate all the sacrificial systems of the Empire after Constantius II had done away with them. These plans even included the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon, for which his legacy has not been disdained by Jews as it has by Christians. Yet he himself, in keeping with the ideals of the Greek philosophers, was a vegetarian. So he clearly believed either that to abolish the sacrifices was impious, which is certainly not the case, as it would have conflicted with his personal views, or else that it was impractical because it had a negative effect on the everyday functioning of the Empire. For as we have already observed, if people all lived as the philosophers envisioned, and as the true Christians were practicing and openly advocating, then the Empire would cease to exist. No emperor in his right mind would bring his own empire to ruin, even if it was deemed to be in the best interest of his subjects—not even an emperor who happens to be an ethical vegetarian, apparently.

Now, we know the Romans did eventually abolish and outlaw the sacrifices to all the pagan gods, even though Constantine firmly upheld and actively participated in the practice to his dying day. The question is not when the Church finally absolved itself of the Abomination, for it never has, but what happened after the practice was formally banned. The answer that meat was formally open to everyone without having to go through the clergy is the clearest indication of the motive for the dramatic restructuring of the Imperial cult, as it meant that the demons in control of the Church never really had their way in Europe until the establishment of Roman Christianity—their way being that everyone would eat meat, regardless of economic and social position, because it became much more affordable when the common citizens did not have to pay priests to perform the sacraments. Needless to say, however, this was problematic for the priests, who now had to rely on donations to support their exorbitantly luxurious lifestyle from people who were now budgeting for commodities rather than services.846

The main reason this was done was the emergence of the Papacy. The Roman pontiffs greatly envied the power and prestige of the dynasty of Constantine’s heirs. Furthermore, they could not be trusted to uphold the ancient traditions, as evidenced by the fact that Constantine’s second son Constantius II openly supported the Arian faction, banned all sacrifices in the Empire, closed the pagan temples, and even appointed his pagan cousin Julian as his successor rather than allow the Athanasian faction to regain power. As the Imperial cult was basically the formal worship of emperors and their kin through sacrifice, the rex sacrorum had no leverage to politically outmaneuver the pontifex maximus except by coopting the sacrifice itself, which is literally the only thing he was allowed by law to be in charge of. (The Roman aristocrats were afraid the rex sacrorum would have too much power if he was allowed to hold positions in government, so he was legally barred from all offices for life. Even Augustus’ power as Emperor was barely sufficient to enable him to ascend to the position of pontifex maximus late in his reign, owing to the death of his rival Lepidus and to his own enormous influence over the Senate.) If not for a wound which Julian sustained in battle against the Sassanids, it is likely that Roman Christianity would not have survived the reforms of Constantius II and his successor—a fact which the Christian tradition celebrates with the allegedly miraculous intervention of the mythological Roman martyr St. Mercurius (i.e. Mercury, Hermes).847

Thus, in order to establish itself politically, the Papacy needed to undermine the Imperial authority specifically by disestablishing the Imperial cult and replacing it with another sacrament that could be carried out in every city and in every parish, in perpetuity. The problem with this is that only something which the rex sacrorum was charged with overseeing would suit the purpose; he could not simply invent a new sacrament unless the other priesthoods among the Curia were all in agreement, which necessarily meant that such a sacrament would have had to have been divined from the Sibylline oracles, especially if it was to take precedent over those which had been. Not only that, but the newly elevated sacrament needed to have the support of the other high-ranking civil officials if it was to contest the Imperial authority, and it also needed to elevate the Roman pontiff to the “first among equals” status. So the only sacrament which was suitable for this purpose was the one that all concerned parties were promised to benefit from: the triumphal procession of the Roman martyrology.

Worship of the old gods was simply changed to worship of “saints,” most of whom were simply either bishops or else the gods themselves in new forms, worshiped a bit differently and with different epithets in each of the cult centers, the way the ancient Greeks had done. (For example, Mars became St. Martin of Tours.) It was already the case that mortal men were deified when their names were added to the Canon (this is exactly the nature of the canonization), but the new policy effectively extended this honor to men while they were yet living, thus guaranteeing their place in the Canon. The new gods were given names of apostles, but their characteristics and patronages remained exactly the same. (Following our example, St. Martin was the patron of the equestrians. Thus all equestrians were thought to become the living embodiment of Martin/Mars upon their deification/canonization, just as all emperors had already been regarded as Mithras/Sol upon theirs. Tours became the destination of the medieval pilgrimage route from Santiago de Compostela, the seat of the Templars in Galicia: a knight seeking canonization had to complete this pilgrimage on his way to battling Moors in Spain, or else a crusade in the Holy Land, if one was available, before he was an acceptable candidate.) As before, every saint had a “feast day” to commemorate his apotheosis, but now every clergyman sought canonization in order to be venerated both in his own time and in posterity.

Athanasian Christianity gave the Roman bishops exactly the excuse they needed to pull off the ruse, because it already constituted the most massive reformation of the Roman religion since at least the formal adoption of the new Capitoline Triad, and it also gave the Romans the excuses they needed to excommunicate all their rivals once Constantine conquered the East and enforced their particular heresies over the Greek Christians. However, the bishops were also ultimately undermining themselves, for the emperors were not so stupid as to fail to see what they were up to, and the effects were practically catastrophic in the West, where there was no universally recognized central authority. Constantius II was still Emperor in the West; his ban of the sacrifices seems to have been rooted not so much in his particular brand of Christianity, but in the challenge to his power which practically necessitated it. The logic of this is that if no one was going to sacrifice to him, because the chief of the sacrifices had determined it, then they would not sacrifice at all. The rex sacrorum had undermined the power of the pontifex maximus the only way he could have, but the latter responded by destroying the former’s influence entirely, while simultaneously instituting many new reforms to empower the rest of the clergy.

The major change in the sacrificial policy seems to have been an act of desperation, as it actually worked against the Papacy, but the loss of power was inevitable, and the reforms served purpose of mitigating the loss by imposing controls on them, giving the Roman bishops an excuse to fill the vacuum left by the emperors’ almost perpetual absence from the Curia. By the beginning of the 4th century the Imperial seat had already been formally moved away from Rome (this was done by Galerius, not Constantine), the conquered peoples of the provinces had already been Romanized and been granted the rights of Roman citizenship (a fact which greatly expanded the base of the Roman bishops’ competition), and the supremacy of the Roman bishops still had yet to be recognized throughout the world. They were, in fact, losing influence. The patriarchs of Alexandria and Constantinople, on the other hand, never had such troubles, because they never rebelled against the emperors to assert their own authority, but were content to derive it from them. The bishops of Rome, meanwhile, having fallen out of favor with the emperors, had to invent stories to justify the usurpation of the Imperial authority in the West, the most famous of which is the universally-attested fraud called the Donation of Constantine.

The decentralized shift in religious attention once the policy was adopted throughout the Empire proves that the Roman bishops’ attempts to usurp the position of rex sacrorum were universally contested, if not ignored outright, until at least the 8th century. The major cult centers that sprang up were not even culturally Roman, but Merovingian, having been established in the Arian-dominated cities of Gaul (France and Spain) where the wrath of the overly ambitious Roman bishops like Pius, Anicetus, Soter and Eleuterus had never been felt: namely, Poitiers, Arles and Narbonne. Throughout the 4th and 5th centuries, each of these cities had a bishop who was more universally recognized in the West as the legitimate head of the Church than was Rome’s—a fact which more than any other contributed to the rise of the Western European nation-states, and of the monastic orders patterned after the Knights Templar, and also of the medieval heresies (Albigenses, Waldenses, etc.). The Cathars even chose their name from the available options to demonstrate their affinity to the ancient Novationists, as if specifically to spite the Romans and lay claim to the apostolic tradition of the Montanists based in 2nd century France.

One might even wonder if, as often alleged, the affinity was not more than merely ideological association. Certainly the ideological association is self-evident: these same Cathars were identified by the Inquisition principally by their ethical vegetarianism, being forced to eat meat or die, in exactly the same way that the Montanists and other Christian martyrs of the ancient era were persecuted and killed. The word ‘persecute’ means ‘utterly pursue,’ with the connotation of ‘set apart’ or ‘divide,’ as in, to pick someone out of a crowd and target as one would an enemy or criminal suspect. Although other means were sometimes employed, the standard for identifying Christians from amidst the Catholic majority in both the ancient and the medieval eras was the vegetarian ideal.

Vegetarianism, though obviously the biblical ideal, as we have shown, had always been associated with heresy, but unlike the persecutions of Christians under Nero and Domitian which had only used the sacrifice as a means of identification, the Inquisition actually sought out vegetarians, specifically, rather than trying to identify Christians in general. A “heretic” could simply be anyone who did not submit to the authority of the Pope, but such a one is hardly a threat to the Papacy if he has nothing else to say. Those who congregated tended to do so for clear reasons, and that reason was always disobedience to the institutions which touted the Church’s sacraments as the means of “salvation.” Vegetarians were therefore automatically suspected of heresy, as vegetarianism was the easiest and surest way of “detecting” and “overthrowing” all heresies, because all heresies by the Church’s standards are those which come from the Bible, concerning which the no-meat rule is the major theme.

So it was that the Inquisition hunted those who were righteous in their conduct, more than divergent in their beliefs, just as we might suspect if we were to take Yahshuah’s warnings of being persecuted seriously (a fact which virtually no mainstream Christian has ever had cause to do, except in societies far removed from Christendom—even those Protestant Christians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance who can be said to have been persecuted were targeted specifically because of their divergent views of the Eucharist and their refusal to bow to the authority of the Papacy). Consider the saintly veneration given to the most despicable characters in world history, like Constantine and Athanasius, and Victor and Irenaeus. This would be roughly equivalent, in terms of notoriety, to public worship of Stalin and Marx, or Hitler and Goebbels, except that neither of these pairs was nearly as malicious in their intentions as the former two. Meanwhile, the bona fide Christians who endured persecutions in their own times just for espousing (and especially for preaching) righteousness, such as Tertullian, Polycarp and Polycrates, have all been subjected to a life of hardship and evasion of pursuit, a torturous death, and a posthumous defamation of the worst kind. This is how it has been since Lot and his guests were harassed at Sodom, and no mere change of name of the Imperial religion could possibly change it while people in general are openly hostile to God’s will.

Even so, it is one thing to attack individuals; it is another thing entirely to stamp out an idea whose time has come. No one can say that the vegetarian ethic of ancient Christianity did not remain intact after Rome tried to stamp it out, for the Church itself has inadvertently preserved it in its failure to anathematize those who have been found among the ranks of their saints to have been pious, whether inwardly or in deed, and in its failure to comprehend the teachings of the Bible, and therefore to succeed in thwarting the kingdom of heaven by co-opting and subverting it completely. We see the wisdom of the Essenes in keeping secrets, and of Yahshuah in encoding his message in parable form. Had he not done so, it is likely that it would not have survived the opposition of those with no understanding, those with both the means and the incentive to destroy it, even as they murdered him and hunted down all his followers to the point of near-extermination. In spite of all this opposition, the wisdom of God prevails, and they will be judged in accordance with their deeds, as all will. Someday those of us who have conformed ourselves to Yahshuah’s likeness shall dine with Plutarch and Pythagoras at the table of Abraham, even as we shall dine with Yahshuah himself, but we shall never dine with the “Christians” who cannot be made to desist in their wickedness, for theirs is the way of death, and they dine with their father Azazel at the table of Belial. To them has God appointed an everlasting destruction befitting their works, and everlasting reproaches commensurate with their love of wickedness and all that is false.

 

 

 

 


 

 

727 Campbell & Campbell, p. 149.

728-729 http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/4673865/Horse-semen-shots-on-Wildfoods-menu.

730 “Curule seat,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curule_seat.

731 “Curia,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curia#Origins.

732 “Decemviri,” Wikipedia,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decemviri#Decemviri_Legibus_Scribundis_Consulari_Imperio.

733 “Flamen,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamen#History_and_etymology.

734-736 “Size of the College of Cardinals,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Size_of_the_College_of_Cardinals#Before_1555.

737-738 “Vigintisexviri,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigintisexviri.

739 “Caligula and the Jews,” The Jewish Week, 30 May 2012, http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/well_versed/caligula_and_jews.

740 “Circus of Nero,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circus_of_Nero#Constantine.27s_basilica.

741 “Caligula,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula#Early_reign.

742 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula#Claims_of_divinity.

743 Flaccus, xxi.180-185:

But Gaius, being a man of an inhuman nature and insatiable in his revenge, did not, as some persons do, let go those who had been once punished, but raged against them without end, and was continually contriving some new and terrible suffering for them; and, above all men, he hated Flaccus to such a degree, that he suspected all who bore the same name, from his detestation of the very appellation; and he often repented that he had condemned him to banishment and not to death, and though he had a great respect for Lepidus who had interceded for him, he blamed him, so that he was kept in a state of great alarm from fear of punishment impending over him, for he feared lest, as was very likely, he, because he had been the cause of another person having been visited by a lighter punishment, might himself have a more severe one inflicted upon him. Therefore, as no one any longer ventured to say a word by way of deprecating the anger of the emperor, he gave loose to his fury, which was now implacable and unrestrained, and which, though it ought to have been mitigated by time, was rather increased by it, just as recurring diseases are in the body when a relapse takes place, for all such relapses are more grievous than the original attacks. They say that on one occasion Gaius, being awake at night, began to turn his mind to the magistrates and officers who were in banishment, and who in name indeed were looked upon as unfortunate, but who in reality had now thus acquired a life free from trouble, and truly tranquil and free. And he gave a new name to this banishment, calling it an emigration, “For,” said he, “"it is only a kind of emigration the banishment of these men, inasmuch as they have all the necessaries of life in abundance, and are able to live in tranquility, and stability, and peace. But it is an absurdity for them to be living in luxury, enjoying peace, and indulging in all the pleasures of a philosophical life.” Then he commanded the most eminent of these men, and those who were of the highest rank and reputation, to be put to death, giving a regular list of their names, at the head of which list was Flaccus.

744 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula#Eastern_policy.

745-747 Mary Beard, Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations, Liveright, New York, 2013, http://books.google.com/books?id=tz2amQEACAAJ.

748 On the Embassy to Gaius, xvi.115.

749-750 “Publius Petronius,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publius_Petronius.

751 We say “so-called” because it was a war between Judaeans and Romans, but the Zionists have convinced everyone that Judaism is both a race and a nationality, that being the Israelite rather than a Persian-Babylonian one, so we are obligated to detract from the historical revision intended to establish the Ashkenazi Jews as the Israelites in defiance of the historical record. This revision is evident enough in the universal and deliberate mistranslation of the word Ἰουδαϊκοῦ in the ancient texts, which means ‘of the Judaeans,’ as “Jewish.” We can hardly stress the difference enough, as the war was fought on the one side by Essenes, who were not even Judaean in terms of nationality according to Josephus, much less in terms of religion. On the other side, it was fought by the allied parties of Rome and Judea. So even calling it the First Jewish-Roman War is like naming the French and Indian War, which is misleading in that the French and the Indians were allied against the British. In any case, the Essenes were the belligerent party, as we have discussed here, but they were certainly not Jewish in the religious sense, and if they had been in the political sense, then Agrippa would not have had cause to ask the Romans for aid, as it would have been started as a revolution by his own citizens. In fact, it was a revolution, but not by his own citizens. Most Jews remained loyal to Agrippa to the end, even though it was he who brought the Romans in, in support of his foreign rule (Agrippa was Roman by birth), and even though they exterminated all the Jews they could get their hands on.

752 “Herod Agrippa II,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_Agrippa_II#Life.

Agrippa’s auxiliaries only numbered 2000 (compared to Vespasian’s 60,000 or so), but this was probably all he had available to him, as the territories under his control were in open revolt and he had no incentive not to commit his entire force in his struggle to take them back. The point is to show that Agrippa was demonstrating his loyalty to Rome, rather than actually contributing anything substantially to the Roman cause. He himself accompanied Titus on several campaigns, and was wounded at the siege of Gamala.

753 Concerning the Temple siege, Josephus says, “Under the guidance of former high priest Ananus ben Ananus, [the Sanhedrin] exhorted the populace for support against the radical priestly Zealots, as these ‘persuaded those who officiated in the Temple sacrifices to accept no gift or services from a foreigner’” (On the Juden War, ii.409-414). The implication, obviously, is that the lines were drawn first and foremost between foreigners and nationalists, and that the Jews who had been displaced by the Zealots were still regarded as foreigners who served foreign interests well into the 1st century.

754 On the Judean War, xviii.1.1,6.

755 There are conflicting views as to who the Zealots actually were. Josephus does not describe the “fourth sect” as the Zealots, which is a modern inference, but rather as the followers of Judas the Galilean (or Judas of Galilee). The fact that he ascribes the founding of the fourth sect to Judas and one Zadok the Pharisee means that it could not have actually been a new movement, as Judas’ own father Hezekiah is known to have instigated the rebellion which Judas later led, and the followers of Judas used same methods of resistance as the followers of Hezekiah did. So the “fourth sect” was simply the group of nationalists who survived after the rebellion led by Judas of Galilee was suppressed, and the Zealots were apparently the remnant of that sect which suddenly gained momentum (and therefore more recognition, and the name that came with it) once the war with Rome came to a head.

756 See note 604.

757 For instance, as of October 2013, Wikipedia’s article on “Eleazar ben Simon” actually refers to him as “Eleazar ben Simon the Zealot” in the “Disambiguation” section, while appropriately distinguishing him from the other Eleazar who was the leader of the Sicarii.

758 “Battle of Beth Horon,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Beth_Horon_%2866%29#The_battle.

759 “First Jewish-Roman War,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Jewish%E2%80%93Roman_War.

760 “Sicarii,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicarii#History.

761 “Simon (brother of Jesus),” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_%28brother_of_Jesus%29.

762 “James the Just,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Acts_of_the_Apostles.

763 Panarion, Book I, xxix.4.1.

764 On Illustrious Men,ii.

765 “James the Just,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Cousin.2C_son_of_a_sister_of_Mary.

766 “James the Just,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Life.

767 On Illustrious Men,ii.

768 “Clement of Rome,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_of_Rome.

769-770 “James the Just,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just.

771-772 “Eleazar ben Simon,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleazar_ben_Simon#Mature_life.

773 On the Judean War, iv.3.13-14.

774 “Zealot Temple Siege,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zealot_Temple_Siege.

775 On the Judean War, v.4.2.

776 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleazar_ben_Simon#Mature_life.

777 Craig von Buseck, “Masada: The Dead Sea Stronghold,” The Christian Broadcasting Network, http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/biblestudyandtheology/Discipleship/vonBuseck_MasadaPartOne.aspx.

778 This is certainly the mainstream academic opinion, and it is also the opinion of the fringe. The late John Rocco Roberto, for instance, argues that Josephus should not be taken seriously at all: “By applying the basic rules of historical research to Josephus’ accounts, we must conclude that; Josephus’ accounts cannot be corroborated by other sources. The archeological evidence contradicts some of Josephus’ accounts. The author’s own writings contradict themselves. And Josephus’ ‘histories’ were self-serving, containing several examples of embellishing by the author. It is therefore within the light of these facts that we should disregard Josephus as a source in his entirety”; http://www.historyvortex.org/Josephus.html.

779 On the Judean War, iv.2.5.

780 “Phannias ben Samuel,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phannias_ben_Samuel.

781 “Seder Olam Zutta,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seder_Olam_Zutta.

782 For a comparison between the different tables of priests of ancient Israel, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Priests_of_Israel#From_the_Exodus_to_the_Babylonian_Exile.

783 “Alcimus,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcimus.

784 Judean Antiquities, xx.10.

785 “List of High Priests of Israel,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Priests_of_Israel#After_the_Babylonian_Exile.

786 Judean Antiquities, xv.2.4.

787 “Ananus ben Ananus,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananus_ben_Ananus.

788 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Death.

789 Fragments from Acts of the Church, Book 5, Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord; retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just#Death.

Sadly, very little of Hegesippus’ important works remain, as they have subsequently been regarded and treated as “heresy,” evidently because they recorded in detail events pertaining to the early Christian sect, and how it was governed by Yahshuah’s blood relatives. You can find the rest of the remaining fragments here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/hegesippus.html.

790 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananus_ben_Ananus.

791 Ecclesiastical History, iii.5.4.

792 On the Judean War, vii.1.1.

793 “Aelia Capitolina,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aelia_Capitolina#Politics.

794 “Bar Kokhba revolt,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt#.22The_Era_of_the_redemption_of_Israel.22.

795 “Simon bar Kokhba,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_bar_Kokhba#Third_Jewish_revolt.

796 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt#Roman_reaction.

797-798 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt#Outcome_of_the_war.

799 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_bar_Kokhba#Third_Jewish_revolt.

800 “Samaritan Revolts,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan_Revolts.

801 “Palaestina Prima,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaestina_Prima#History.

802 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aelia_Capitolina#The_Christian_Church_in_Jerusalem_after_135.

803 “Polycarp,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp#Visit_to_Anicetus.

804 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp#Date_of_martyrdom.

805 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp#Great_Sabbath.

806 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp#Importance.

807 Philo especially gives this issue a great deal of attention, to the point that many modern scholars have inferred that he himself had been initiated into the secrets of the Essene sect. However, there is no evidence that we know of to suggest that he was, rather than that it was simply common knowledge, nor would Philo’s Essenism actually have been representative of Christianity, which we might define as an outgrowth of Essenism, being differentiated from it on some key points (most notably that of the validity of the sacrificial system of the Law of Moses) where Philo was at least somewhat in agreement with the Jewish faction. Philo’s explanations both of the symbolic significance of the sacrifices and of their validity should be viewed as currency among the Essene communities, but not among the Christians’; it seems that all Essenes regarded cities as full of iniquities, but that only the non-Hellenic Christians of Judea avoided them (those outside Syria, Palestine and Arabia) altogether, for there is plenty of evidence in Scripture that the Hellenized Christian converts dwelled throughout the cities of Greece, while Josephus relates that the Essenes lived everywhere, in all cities of Judea and Galilee. So a distinction must be made here between a city with a bad reputation and one which was regarded as sanctimonious (e.g., Damascus, Nazareth), and also between one with a bad reputation but still potentially redeemable up to a point, due to its historical significance (e.g., Jerusalem, Shechem, Jericho), and one which was considered simply beyond the grace of God (e.g., Rome, Pergamum, Athens). We would expect to find more Christians in Alexandria in the 1st century than in Rome, simply on account of the fact that there were more Jews there, but we would not expect to see the Christians moving out of their cities, either, after their conversions.

808 The association with Simon Magus is according to Irenaeus (Against Heresies, i.27.4), whose testimony is obviously just short of worthless. “But since this man is the only one who has dared openly to mutilate the Scriptures, and unblushingly above all others to inveigh against God, I purpose specially to refute him, convicting him out of his own writings; and, with the help of God, I shall overthrow him out of those discourses of the Lord and the apostles, which are of authority with him, and of which he makes use. At present, however, I have simply been led to mention him, that thou mightest know that all those who in any way corrupt the truth, and injuriously affect the preaching of the Church, are the disciples and successors of Simon Magus of Samaria. Although they do not confess the name of their master, in order all the more to seduce others, yet they do teach his doctrines. They set forth, indeed, the name of Christ Jesus as a sort of lure, but in various ways they introduce the impieties of Simon; and thus they destroy multitudes, wickedly disseminating their own doctrines by the use of a good name, and, through means of its sweetness and beauty, extending to their hearers the bitter and malignant poison of the serpent, the great author of apostasy.” Needless to say, Irenaeus’ faction was the one doing the things which he attributed to the Gnostics to the greater extent. The fact that he says “They do not confess the name of their master” seems to indicate that the charge was laid at that time, but also that it was a false attribution based on Irenaeaus’ own misguided judgment rather than on any historical precedent. Nevertheless, whether or not Cerdo and his followers were indeed the “disciples and successors” of Simon Magus is irrelevant; they were, after all, his ideological heirs and 2nd-century equivalents. And their influence on the Church was permanent, as evidenced by its doctrines.

809 Epistola [‘Letters’], cviii.

This translation and the next three were taken from Howard Williams’ The Ethics of Diet. (See note 560 for the reference.) Philosophers like Seneca tend to speak in a rhetorical way that is difficult to understand both when it is read in the original language, and when it is translated literally. As with the other subsequent excerpts, this translation is not a very literal one, but it certainly conveys the point well enough, and without difficulty, so we have not gone through the trouble of translating it ourselves, which would only waste time and add confusion.

810 Ibid., lxxxvii.

811 Ibid., cx.

812 “The Ethics of Diet: Musonius,” International Vegetarian Union, http://www.ivu.org/history/williams/musonius.html.

As with the above, this was taken from Williams’ The Ethics of Diet (ch. 9).

813 “Porphyry (philosopher),” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyry_%28philosopher%29#Philosophy_from_Oracles_.28De_Philosophia_ex_Oraculis_Haurienda.29.

814-815 “The Ethics of Diet: Porphyry,” International Vegetarian Union, http://www.ivu.org/history/williams/porphyry.html.

The quoted text is from Porphyry’s On Abstinence. As with the above, this was taken from Williams’ The Ethics of Diet.

816 David Laird Dungan, A History of the Synoptic Problem: The Canon, the Text, the Composition, and the Interpretation of the Gospels, Yale, New Haven, 1999, pp. 37-38.

817 Iamblichus, The Life of Pythagoras, ch. 3; retrieved from http://www.essene.com/History/PythagorasAndNazareans.html.

818 “Plutarch Quotes,” Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/31015.Plutarch.

819-820 This quotation was pieced together from two sources: http://www.ivu.org/history/greece_rome/plutarch.html and http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/31015.Plutarch (previous note).

821 “The Gospel of the Holy Twelve,” The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel, http://www.essene.com/NazareneGospel/index.html.

The Clementine literature is rather obscure and difficult to reference; for more information, see: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/clementinehomilies.html.

822 Maneka Gandhi, “Religion and Vegetarianism,” People for Animals, 22 Dec 2012, http://www.peopleforanimalsindia.org/articles-by-maneka-gandhi/1228-religion-and-vegetarianism.html.

823-824 “St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407),” International Vegetarian Union, http://www.ivu.org/history/christian/chrysostom.html.

825 On Illustrious Men, liii.

826 Colin Spencer, The Heretic’s Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, UPNE, 1995, pp. 118-199; retrieved from http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Heretic_s_Feast.html?id=rIjZo-cvifAC.

827-828 Ibid., p. 119.

829 “Pope Anicetus,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Anicetus.

830-832 Ecclesiastical History, xxiii.2.

833 Ibid., xxviii.6.

Adoptionism, or dynamic monarchianism, is the term applied to the ancient Christian view that Yahshuah did not actually become the “son of God” until Scripture says he did, which is to say at his baptism, or possibly at his resurrection or ascension, depending on the exact nature of the adherent’s view. Epiphanius (Pan., xxx) makes it clear that all the Ebionites held this view, and says that they believed he had been chosen specifically because of his sinless devotion to God. This is certainly in keeping with the idea that the Baptist was unsure of the identity of the one that was sent to him until his arrival at the Jordan. In any case, it hardly merits the kind of attention that Epiphanius intended to give it, in that he made such declarations specifically in order to call for the eradication of all the “heretic” sects. The reason the association is significant to us is that it further demonstrates an early affinity between the beliefs and practices of the various vegetarian movements within early Christianity, with the original Ebionites and Essenes in Judea.

834 Life of Constantine, iii.18.

835 To be fair, Eusebius was two and half centuries removed from the 1st century persecutions, and relied solely on hearsay to inform him about everything he was not immediately familiar with from his own experience, because he had no access to any sort of records either from the Imperial authorities (Christians were indeed still being persecuted when he was writing) or from the Ebionites, who had mostly been wiped out, and certainly driven out of the Roman Empire, by that time. In truth, the persecutions of Eusebius’ time were far more atrocious in severity and broader in scope than anything undertaken in the 1st century. For example, Nero’s famous persecution following the Great Fire of 64 AD was brief, and limited to the city of Rome only, if not seen as just another one of his many abuses of power. If nothing else, he was just giving the mob what it wanted in the form of a scapegoat, for as Tacitus says (Annals, xv), the Christians fit the bill because they were already hated. In any case, we do not see Eusebius’ bias so much as evidence of his work as a propagandist (and deliberate liar), as evidence of already existing hyped-up legends finding new ground at the beginning of the 4th century. Yet the reason is essentially the same: Rome never had any tolerance for vegetarians and their ideals, but treated them as antisocial, suspect, contemptuous, mischievous and irreligious—and this was just as true under the reign of Constantine as it was under Nero, but Constantine arguably took the persecutions to new and greater heights than all of his predecessors put together.

836 “Persecution in Lyon,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_in_Lyon#Account_of_the_Persecution.

837 Martyrs de Lyon, Wikipédia, http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_de_Lyon#D.C3.A9compte_des_victimes.

838 “Novatianism,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novatianism#Novatianism_after_Novatian.

839 “Novatian and Novationism,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11138a.htm.

840-843 “Donatism,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatism#Churches.

844 Apart from the historical revisionism, the major cause for confusion over this matter is the fact that Constantine made a similar gesture a few years later in a half-hearted attempt to reconcile himself with the Christians, but only because his brother-in-law Licinius talked him into co-signing his own edict in an attempt to protect the Christians under Constantine’s rule, as well as to prevent a civil war, which happened anyway when Constantine invaded his domain. The edict of tolerance had no effect in the West, and was effectively done away with as soon as Constantine defeated Licinius, by way of the issuance of the First Council of Nicaea.

845 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatism#Churches.

846 Obviously the Church made this money back by tithes, and by providing the services of the Mass and other sacraments, such as confession. Also, the Church was by far the largest landowner in Europe by the Middle Ages, but paid neither taxes to any government nor salaries to the monks and serfs who worked the land, but capitalized on all its gains. They also ran most of the colleges and universities that existed prior to the modern era, so there was never any shortage of revenues, despite the changes in the functions of the clergy.

847 “Saint Mercurius,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Mercurius#Other_traditions.