The Abomination of Desolation

Chapter 13: The Table of Belial

 

 

“Therefore say to the house of Yisra’ĕl, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה, “Are you defiling yourselves in the way of your fathers? And do you whore after their abominations?”’” Ezekiel 20:30

 

In any inquiry into the formation of early Christianity, it ought always to be kept in mind that true Christianity had within it the seeds of its own destruction, because it called for personal sacrifice to the point of martyrdom, even in the face of intense persecution. That is to say that the better a Christian you are, the more likely it is that your life will be extinguished rapidly when the persecution of the righteous begins. We have already seen Yahshuah in Matthew 10:38-39 and Luke 9:23-25 saying, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake shall save it. For what is a man profited if he gains all the world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life shall lose it, and he who hates his life in this world shall preserve it for everlasting life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me. And where I am, there My servant also shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father shall value him.” John 12:24-26

This means that those who best understand and are most capable of teaching Christianity in its purest form are precisely the same people who will not be around to communicate their knowledge to the slumbering masses, for it is this knowledge that demands that they sacrifice their very lives rather than compromise on the principles they have been taught. You must make the decision to become a true disciple and then actively pursue life and illumination before you will be given them, not vice-versa. Yahshuah’s ideas concerning true religion do not even include mindless repetition of meaningless rituals and recitations of formulaic creeds.

One can quickly see how over just a few generations this inbuilt structure of Christianity would necessitate its rapid devolution unless it was offset by strict terms of admission into the sect (which would prevent it from growing), where we actually see the relatively loose terms having been adopted by the congregations of Gentiles in Greece and Asia. If the apostles and other adepts were to die off as martyrs, then the surviving Christians would be those who were least worthy of the name, for the very fact that they have survived means that they have been willing to compromise in their beliefs and in their ethics in exchange for their lives, contrary to the commands of the Gospel. This is exactly what happened during the great persecutions of the early Christian era with the lapsi (those who formally renounced Christianity by sacrificing to the Roman gods in order to save their lives but were then forcefully readmitted into fellowship with the Christians when Christianity became tolerated by the Empire, much to the ire of the Christians who survived the purges). So we should not be surprised that nearly 2000 years later, not only is Christianity unfathomably poorer in spirit than at its nascence, but also that this was so within a very short period of time. Therefore, we should also not be surprised that evidence of vegetarianism forming the core of Christianity is, on its surface, so entirely lacking as for both antithetical paradigms to steadfastly believe that only they have preserved the true teachings of Christ. After all, the teachings themselves were deliberately hidden and encoded by the teacher.

Of course, at the time that early Christianity was forming, the world power was Rome. One needs only to consider Rome’s self-proclaimed centrality to Christianity for the last 18 centuries to immediately pinpoint the epicenter of the alterations made to true Christianity. Marcion of Sinope has long been known as the arch-heretic of Christianity, as identified by many of the Church Fathers. What is not generally recognized and discussed is the fact that Marcion spent several years in Rome where he was very highly influential, if for no other reason than the large amount of money he donated to the Church in Rome.

Marcion’s flavor of the Essene doctrines was taken to such an extreme that he not only rejected Moses, but the rest of the Old Testament as well, teaching that the God of the OT is not the same as the “Father” venerated as the Most High by Yahshuah, but an evil “archon of darkness.” Marcion’s doctrines diverged from those of the Christians on several points, as his views were a blend of the Mithraism he had been brought up in, and the Naassene version of Christianity which had begun to flourish at the melting pot of Rome shortly before he arrived there. The Naassenes were those simply known as “antichrists” in the Bible, having diverged from the Ebionites as the first of the Ophite (serpent cult) sects ultimately known as the Nazoreans (not to be confused with Nazarenes, which term designates the Ebionites proper).

It is not sufficient to say simply that the syncretic religion now called Roman Catholicism or mainstream Christianity is Mithraism, or even a repackaged version of it, because this essentially removes the Essene doctrines, which are the better part of it. Rather, mainstream Christianity is Marcionism; its Eastern counterpart is Manichaeism, as Manes was to Persia what Marcion was to Rome. But neither of these men was destined to occupy a status of religious reformer, despite their enormous influence. Both were ultimately anathemized by the religious and political establishments because their ideals were far too revolutionary. We might consider the Marcionites and the Manichaeans as “heretics” (a word which no thinking person should ascribe any stigma to), or as people whose doctrines were not a whole lot more in keeping with the Bible even than mainstream Jews and Christians, but the Bible itself declares that we are judged according to our works, and the works of the Marcionites and Manichaeans were the fruits of righteousness, unlike those who have built up the “humane” façade from their principle argument (that Nature and Nature’s God are diametrically opposed on the point of what is good).

The Manichaeans were persecuted to near-extinction in Persia, but the doctrines of the Marcionites took hold in Rome and have persisted in Christianity to this day. The whole reason the established hierarchy ultimately rejected him (and those before him who were of the Gnostic persuasion) is that he was of the opinion (based on Scripture, and on Essenism) that authority is and ought to be based on merit—and not just the non-aristocratic classes, but also women were potentially recognized in Marcion’s view—and merit is based on observance of the Essene way, regardless of the particulars of the doctrines. In effect, Marcion wanted to dismantle the Roman religion, force vegetarianism on everyone in the Empire, and generally establish the kingdom of heaven throughout the world. Obviously none of these things were ever going to be allowed by Rome’s religious elites, and the more influence people like Valentinus and Marcion wielded there, the more they realized just what kind of threat the Christian sects were to the Roman way of life. This had been clearly understood by the Imperial administration for about a century before Marcion’s excommunication, presumably for economic reasons, but it began to be such an immediate concern for the clergy when Marcion was nearly elected Bishop of Rome that by the middle of the 2nd century, they realized that nothing was going to enable them to preserve their power short of the total subversion or annihilation of Christianity.

Marcion’s vegetarian ethic made him a liability, so he was kicked out of Rome in 144 AD. While they did eject the man himself, the Romans also certainly integrated the larger part of his teachings and retained his methods, which came in handy for them thereafter. For one thing ,if they had not already figured it out for themselves by that time, then it was surely Marcion who demonstrated to the Roman clergy the advantage that could be had by altering the Christians’ scriptures—a policy which we have already seen plenty of evidence of.

The Sethian Gnostics and other Ophite sects of the early Christian era, whose influence over what was to become the Roman Catholic Church was virtually total, developed complex cosmologies which centered around the idea that Creation is an admixture of light and dark particles. In their minds, the Creator is the Demiurge or the King of Darkness—the opposite force of their god Lucifer, the King of Light. According to Manichaean theology, which is based on the now-lost Sethian teachings, all life is trapped in the darkness of Creation and needs to be freed by passing through the bowels of an adept of their cult. To kill something, according to this paradigm, is to free it from bondage. We have already seen this hinted at in Josephus’ description of the Essenes, so we know that this belief did not originate with the “antichrists” like Marcion, Elkasai and Manes, but from a prior merger of the ancient Essene and Mandaean doctrines.

Of course, Manichaeans were still expected to be vegetarians, but as with other major cults, few (probably less than 2% throughout history) were adepts of their religion, while most ate meat. Nevertheless, theirs are the belief systems which worked their way into the power centers of Europe, and became the dominant faction of the hidden hand of the world government, displacing the Mithraic cult which had only really had any influence in the Roman aristocracy until it became public under Constantine’s guidance (4th century). Recall that the Manichaeans sprinkled semen on their host (in mockery of the Christian Eucharist), while the Mithras cult’s initiation ritual entailed the initiate bathing (being baptized) in bull’s blood, and the Mass ritual entailed drinking it. The Roman Mass still practiced today centers around a combination of these two elements, except that instead of human semen, Catholic iconographic images are imprinted on the host to defile it and keep it distinct from the bread of the Last Supper (a Christian celebration of the Passover). The spiritual significance is the same.

The Roman religion was extremely complex in its ancient form, and was entirely centered around sacrifices. Many of the ancient rituals are still performed, including human sacrificial rites,653 but public sacrifices were banned by the emperor Valentinian II in 391. The sacrificial murder was performed by the popa (‘pope’).654 The master of the ceremonies of the whole empire (that is, the chief pope, or chief murderer) was officially called the rex sacrorum (‘chief of sacraments’) or rex sacrificulus (‘chief sacrificer,’ i.e. high priest). (‘Sacrament’ and ‘sacrifice’ both referred to the exact same thing in the ancient era, the main difference being that the title of rex sacrificulus was applied to all chief priests, regardless of nationality, rather than just the leader of the Roman sacraments. This means that the rex sacrorum was basically the rex sacrificulus of Rome, and that his power increased in proportion with Rome’s annexation of more provinces. Conversely, the rex sacrificulus of an annexed nation was effectively demoted, and this is the origin of the rank of archbishop.) As this was the office which exactly corresponds to that of the Pope (the more well-known title of pontifex maximus or ‘supreme bridge-builder/bishop’ which he now goes by actually belonged to the Emperor), and as all Roman rites were based on sacrifice anyway, so that the Roman sacraments were sacrifices, the Papacy is the institution which has presided over the sacrifices since the beginning of the Church, and has never served any other purpose, though it has certainly attempted to assert its authority in other areas. Also of interest is the fact that the Papacy’s true origin is in the sacrificial system of the ancient Jews, and the crypto-Jews in the Vatican have always known as much, but that topic merits its own examination, and a discussion of it is not appropriate for the present one.

In any case, the religious elite in Rome never would have espoused or condoned a religion which had asceticism, much less vegetarianism, as one of its core tenets. Even holding aside all religious and even ethical considerations, the culinary culture of Rome never could have been brought into conformity with anything approaching that of the Israelite traditions, especially considering that pork was the most popular meat product of the time. So popular was pork that one of the most popular novelty items in Rome was the so-called porcus Troianus, wherein a whole pig would be stuffed with sausages and fruit, served standing on its feet and then sliced open, with the exiting sausages creating the effect of entrails spilling out, to the amusement of the aristocrats attending the feast.

The Romans loved novelties like this, but especially those which hearkened to their mythology. Apparently they were not as picky about the details of their own hallowed history as they were about their appetites, as the Trojan Pig constitutes a celebration of the fall of Troy, which they held to be their ancestral home. So we see that the religious and mythological elements were just window dressing, designed to justify their dietary habits and decadent lifestyles. Such people could never have been brought to willingly conform to the ideals of true religious practice.

Another Roman “delicacy” was that of rabbit fetuses, which, as it so happens, were later declared, with the force of God and the pretense of infallibility, to actually constitute marine life, thereby making it acceptable cuisine during the “fast” days of Lent. (Technically, the argument they employed to this end could be used to justify eating any mammals that do not lay eggs.) That is, even with the spiritual overtones and pretenses of “fasting” (going one day or night without food is not fasting, as it does not even allow enough time for all the food in a person’s bowels to pass through them, which means the body never begins detoxifying itself, especially when one is eating meat every day, as meat takes much longer to digest than plant foods), the religious elites of Rome chose to develop an entirely new cuisine, along with an extremely absurd justification for it, rather than going a grand total of six days without meat every year (even when fish is allowed on these days), which was never anything more or less than a rule which it devised for the sheep under its own control. Moreover, demand for the “marine life” of rabbit fetuses was so high that hundreds of monasteries throughout Europe made a thriving business of a system of cuniculture that was still in effect just a few centuries ago. So we can imagine how the religious elites of Rome of the previous era would have taken to the ideal that they could never eat any meat, when that era was arguably even more steeped in ignorance and barbarism than our own (at least where Rome was concerned), if that is even possible. The Manichaean adepts, on the other hand, actually fasted three months out of the year, and only ate one meal per day.

Indeed, Roman society was famous not just for its love of animal flesh, but its love for an abundance of it, as much for its taste as for its ability to communicate wealth and power. This is certainly the underlying theme of the depiction of Trimalchio’s famous dinner parties in the Satyricon, though satirical (and satire is based on real observations), at which the host set forth to impress his guests with a never-ending parade of exotic, even absurd, dishes, most of which centered around animal products, including live birds sewn inside pigs. The short-lived emperor Vitellius is a real-life example of Roman gluttony, with his “Shield of Minerva” featuring pike liver, pheasant and peacock brains, flamingo tongue and lamprey genitalia. Note again the religious pretense, that eating these things somehow honors the goddess of wisdom. To this day, the idiomatic use of the original Greek term Aegis (the name of Minerva’s/Athena’s shield) connotes that one is doing something under the benevolent protection of the gods, so it is self-evident that Vitellius’ flare for exotic flesh was considered divinely sanctioned and approved, as if Jupiter and Minerva have no greater concern than to make sure the pontifex maximus is well fed on peacock brains and lamprey genitalia.

So insatiable was Rome’s lust for meat that it has led one in-depth examination of the subject to conclude, “It may be that Italy should be identified as the Texas of the ancient world.”655 Ironically enough, several ancient historians, including Hellenicus and Varro, assert that the very name of Italy comes from the Latin word vitulus, meaning ‘calf.’ In contrast to Greek literature such as Plato’s Republic, which envisions a return to past, innocent, rural lifestyle to include a vegetarian diet, similar Roman reflections identified simple peasant fare as including bacon and other forms of pork.

What is missing from this portrayal is the fact that a diet heavy in meat was typical only of the wealthiest members of Roman society, which is to say that the masses were by necessity, though certainly not in most cases out of religious or ideological conviction, primarily vegetarian. Considering that the more wealth and power a man had, the more likely he was to be a priest to a greater number of people (and this was his honor, whether he was a lay priest, a victimarius, a pontifex, or a flamen, etc., because all Roman patricians lusted for power and prestige), and considering that this policy was in effect all the way down to the common household, where a freeman who could afford to feed his family meat could also make a sacrifice—to “say grace,” as it were—it is easy to see how the religious establishment was comprised of individuals who had no incentive whatsoever to go against the convention of animal slaughter, and a whole lot of reason to actively support and participate in it.

We are not talking about the best and the brightest of the Christian congregations of Rome being awarded for their merit. We are talking about a city whose noble elites prided themselves on being descendants of murderous brigands and outlaws who, according to their own history, followed a man who murdered his own brother because they had a dispute about what to name the city, and then, lacking women to populate it, invaded their neighbors, killed the men and abducted their wives. We are talking about the most ambitious and wicked from among the most ambitious and wicked civilization in the world, who depended on the preservation of the exploitative economic conditions for the maintenance of their power, and who used that power for little else but to live in luxury—the foremost luxury being the ability to swallow animal parts when the oppressed peasants could not afford to. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the clergy, being the most easily identifiable members of the aristocracy except perhaps the legislators, lived to eat meat, while the mob ate to live.

Meat and fish were often high-status foods in antiquity … When they were killed for food, it was normally through the sacrificial process … Because of the costs of production, meat was expensive, and large-scale consumption of it was an indication of wealth. Hence the meat courses in the wedding of Caranus and in the dinner of Trimalchio. That is not to say that poorer people had no access to meat. This was possible through communal sacrifice, and through dishes like the modern pizza which used a small amount of meat with much cereal and vegetables. John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill656

Fish … was associated with luxurious eating in many ancient texts, but meat too was a luxury for most, albeit a luxury sanctioned by religious ritual. Meat served as a symbol of power and wealth. Greek cities such as Athens which were placed in comparatively dry and rocky terrain were not suited to the production of cattle, yet in the fifth and fourth centuries the citizens slaughtered hundreds of cattle at city festivals in order to demonstrate the wealth and power of the democratic regime. John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill657

Indeed, a thorough review of the facts leads to the conclusion that while most of Rome’s population ate meat, it was not with great frequency and not in great amounts. This makes sense, because the plebs (the common citizens) of Rome had no choice but to consume foods which were within their means. This meant that unless a pleb was to consume part of a sacrifice that was part of a large religious ritual, the majority of his diet would have been plant-based. In other words, the economic situation in the Roman Empire only afforded the patricians (the wealthy class) to eat meat frequently, while the masses ate mostly vegetables, as well as inexpensive fruits like tomatoes and cucumbers. Especially considering the treatment given to Marcion over his ideals, one should quickly be able to deduce that the religious elite never would have espoused vegetarianism if for no other reason than the fact that it would have inherently robbed the rich and powerful of its presumed righteousness, spiritual authority and prestige (not to mention their wealth), ascribing them instead to the masses of riffraff. For to say that a behavior which the masses were already engaged in was the ideal to aspire to would be to simultaneously demonstrate that the masses’ alleged moral superiors were actually less righteous than they.

That is exactly why Marcion was so popular among the plebs, who otherwise would have preferred to be given meat once a week (on Sundays) and on certain holidays when the patricians condescended to show off and make their family names both adored by the riffraff and respected by their peers. Meat from sacrificial rites has always been the principle means by which elites have demonstrated their wealth, power and dominance. To point out the fact that on the spiritual spectrum, the consumption of meat does precisely the opposite, is the last thing the Romans religious elite ever would have allowed. It would have been no less debasing to the ancient priests than if the Eucharist was shown to be the Abomination that it is.

Vegetarianism, though, has in common with Buddhism, and for the same reasons, the notion that life is sacred of itself rather than submissive to the state’s or society’s greater need. This would have been more contentious than any dietary regime and the offering of anything less than animal life at the altar of the gods would have seemed inferior and absurd. In times of danger a bunch of celery will never have quite the impact of slain goat. The ritual slaughter of animals, their cooking and distribution was in Greece closely connected with religious ceremony and would again be an exercise in reinforcing social order more than anything gastronomic. John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill658

Considering that it is the social elites who decide what is and what is not allowed by any religion, it is easy to see that vegetarianism would have been suppressed no matter how fervently believed in and espoused by apostolic Christians. It is a testament to the powerful sway that carnism held over the Roman religion that Seneca, Nero’s mentor, who had been converted to the moral superiority of vegetarianism by way of philosophy, was entreated by his father to abscond his ways in order to avoid the religious scrutiny of Caligula. It is precisely this phenomenon that might serve as a good context for Christ’s metaphor that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

In addition to the relatively minor problem of upsetting the entire social order, Rome’s religious elites would not have accepted vegetarianism because it was also inimical to their religious beliefs. Christianity certainly constituted a feasible approach to overthrowing the already crumbling religious establishment (as proved by Constantine), which had been waning for centuries as oppression under prosperity caused the peasants to care far more about what foods were set before them than whether or not one of the many invisible gods of the old pantheon, whose names and functions were not even known to them, felt neglected. The image which the elites had always wanted to convey was that there were gods up in the sky who needed to be perpetually appeased, because people’s destinies were in their hands, and that there were invisible household entities who were likewise concerned about individual affairs (in case anyone who was not superstitious began to question the legitimacy of the rule of the aristocracy, the spirits of the house could be invoked to create mischief, whereas Jupiter and Apollo could hardly be seen to care about the average peasant), but the harsh reality of the Roman peasants was that the pretense of religious ceremonies only mattered so far as the aristocracy deprived the lower classes of their wealth and only ever gave anything back when they slaughtered animals and handed out table scraps. If the entire religious apparatus revolved around this practice, then the priests would have to lower the social barriers which their ancestors had worked so hard to erect over the centuries, and they were not about to open the doors to the loss of their wealth and prestige. A monotheistic (or rather, henotheistic) religion like Christianity could have served the purpose of simplifying the Roman religion, but it would have meant the end of the economy of animal farming and a massive transference of wealth and power to the uneducated mob. Ultimately, the patricians did see the value in giving the mob its simplified religion, but it took many attempts over several generations to doctor it in such a way as that they were able to preserve their power by preserving the one element of the old religion which was crucial to it: the sacrifice. For Christianity appeals to the poor, not the rich; if the mob became vegetarian in ideal as well as in practice by dropping the custom of participating in the religious ceremonies, then the entire society of Rome would have collapsed and given way to the kingdom of heaven.

This point should not be taken lightly, for everyone had a common stake in the status quo. According to Cicero, Romans considered themselves to be the most religious of all people, and believed that the very fate of their empire depended upon their proper performance of religious ritual. Indeed, this was the chief argument which the Pagans used against the Christians after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths centuries later, and that to which Augustine gave the most consideration in his City of God, which implies that it was still taken seriously well after the institution of Rome’s oligarchical version of Marcion’s Christianity. To upset such rituals, then, would never have been tolerated by the religious elite, regardless of how ethically superior such a change may have been even from a common sense standpoint.

The fact is, animal sacrifice was just as important in the religious paradigm of ancient Rome as it was in any other ancient religious paradigm, if not more so. As in most religions, animal sacrifice was considered the greatest sacrifice that anyone could make to appease the gods and to win their favor for the continued security and expansion of the family, community or nation. For instance, during the Second Punic War, the god Jupiter was promised a sacrifice of all animals born during spring in exchange for protecting Rome from the onslaughts of Hannibal for five more years. Again, one of the most important ancient Roman religious rituals was suovetaurilia, in which a pig, a sheep and a bull were sacrificed in order to purify the land (everything from small farms to entire cities).

As with all religions, the sacrificial rituals in ancient Rome were always followed by banquets at which the meat of the victims was consumed, a point which is particularly illustrated in the case of Mithraism, which was just beginning to become more influential as Christianity was beginning to spread, and which would later become the state religion. As discussed previously, a central belief of this cult was the necessity of killing a bull and bathing in its blood so as to attain salvation and eternal life. This ritual, known as the tauroctony, was consummated by a feast of the sacrificed bull’s flesh and blood. The implications for the mainstream Christian/Catholic rites of baptism and the Eucharist should be self-explanatory.

Considering that this highly influential cult’s central ritual and tenet were rooted in the consumption of meat, as well as the fact that it largely inspired the Roman version of the Eucharist (i.e., the Mass), this speaks volumes about the inherent antagonism which the Roman religious elite harbored against Christian vegetarianism. In fact, the lack of appeal which Christianity had among meat-eaters also explains why it was so easily hijacked. The ancient attitude towards vegetarianism, which is still evident today, even goes so far as to call it “sacrilege,” which is by no means hyperbole, because it obviously is sacrilege, given the nature of the Roman religion. Such was the sentiment ascribed to Hercules by the poet Eubulus.

Be it hotter or crisper or something between, this is more important for any man than capturing Troy. As for me, I have not come here to browse on kale or silphium or sacrilegious bitter dishes or bulbs. But on what counts first as real food, promoting health and the full vigour of physical strength, I have always been wont to feed—beef boiled and unspoiled, in huge quantity, with a generous portion of foot and snout, and three slices of young pork sprinkled with salt. Eubulus659

And lest anyone say, as we have, that it was the Jews who were responsible for Yahshuah’s death, and then take that to mean that early Christianity had a greater enemy than Rome, or that the Romans were not the chief architects of his demise, or of that of his teachings and of the sect of his followers, we remind the reader that it was the Romans who mocked him, flogged him and put him to death when they could have just released him. The Jews argued with the Christians, persecuted them and even murdered them on occasion, but they never subverted or hijacked their religion. It was the Roman clergy who did that.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and changed the esteem of the incorruptible Elohim into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds and of four-footed beasts and of reptiles. Therefore Elohim gave them up to uncleanness in the lust of their hearts, to disrespect their bodies among themselves, who changed the truth of Elohim into the falsehood, and worshipped and served what was created rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amĕn. Because of this Elohim gave them over to degrading passions. For even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature, and likewise, the men also, having left natural relations with woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing indecency, and receiving back the reward which was due for their straying. And even as they did not think it worthwhile to possess the knowledge of Elohim, Elohim gave them over to a worthless mind, to do what is improper, having been filled with all unrighteousness, whoring, wickedness, greed, evil; filled with envy, murder, fighting, deceit, evil habits; whisperers, slanderers, haters of Elohim, insolent, proud, boasters, devisers of evils, disobedient to parents, without discernment, covenant breakers, unloving, unforgiving, ruthless; who, though they know the righteousness of Elohim, that those who practise such deserve death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practise them. Romans 1:22-32

Therefore, O man, you are without excuse, everyone who judges, for in which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you who judge practise the same wrongs. And we know that the judgment of Elohim is according to truth against those who practise such wrongs. And do you think, O man, you who judge those practising such wrongs, and doing the same, that you shall escape the judgment of Elohim? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and tolerance, and patience, not knowing that the kindness of Elohim leads you to repentance? But according to your hardness and your unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of Elohim, who “shall render to each one according to his works [Job 34:11].” Romans 2:1-6

You, then, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who proclaim that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abominate idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the Torah, through the transgression of the Torah do you disrespect Elohim? For “The Name of Elohim is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you [Isaiah 52:5],” as it has been written. Romans 2:21-24

As it has been written, “There is none righteous, no, not one! There is no one who is understanding, there is none who is seeking Elohim. They all have turned aside, they have together become worthless. There is none who does good, no, not one [Psalm 14:1-3].” “Their throat is an open tomb, with their tongues they have deceived [Psalm 5:9],” “The poison of adders is under their lips [Psalm 140:3],” “Whose mouth is filled with cursing and bitterness [Psalm10:7].” “Their feet are swift to shed blood [Proverbs 1:16], ruin and wretchedness are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known [Isaiah 59:7-8].” “There is no fear of Elohim before their eyes [Psalm 36:1].” Romans 3:10-18

What, then, shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, to let favour increase? Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2

See to it that no one makes a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary matters of the world, and not according to Messiah. Colossians 2:8

Look out for dogs, look out for the evil workers, look out for the mutilation! Philippians 3:2

And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.” Acts 26:32

Now, we have stated repeatedly that in the biblical context, “whoring,” “adultery” and “idolatry” are more often than not (though not always in the cases of the first two) just fancy ways of saying ‘eating flesh.’ We have also said that we would cover the issue of “meat markets” in more detail, as it is of prime concern to us, being the source of the Christians’ best argument in favor of the moral viability of their barbarism. A detailed analysis will show that Scripture is consistent within itself, and that this argument, like all their other ones, actually condemns them for the practice, but with such severity that even the optimist Paul would have regarded them (the modern Christians who twist his words to suit their purpose) as hopelessly beyond salvation.

First of all, let us be clear on the point that not all meat in the Roman Empire consisted of animal sacrifices, as it did in Israel and Judah. This does seem to have been the case in Greece, where Paul’s addressees lived, and archaeologists have yet to find evidence to the contrary. However, our main concern is how the argument applies to the modern context, and it will be argued that Christians do not eat anything offered to idols or to demons. So we need to realize first that the Christian ideal stems from the fact that it is morally wrong to kill (the Fifth Commandment, by Catholics’ reckoning) and to pollute the flesh (the Sixth Commandment), to a much greater degree than to do anything in the service or to the honor of any god, whether that god is a demon or just a figment. This is the basis for Paul’s notion that the idol itself has no bearing on the sanctity of the food, for idols are just manmade images. In fact, although Paul spoke out against sacrifice as his primary message everywhere he went, thus upsetting the economies of the markets in Achaia and Asia, he spoke out against neither the various pagan gods, nor their altars and temples. If he had, he would have been punished, probably with death.

Preserved meat also constitutes an example of meat not eaten at sacrifice. A large amount of the meat consumed in antiquity was the product of slaughter at sacrifice. It is often claimed that all Greek meat was produced in this ritual way. Much Roman meat also came from sacrifice to the gods. It is difficult to be dogmatic in this area, given that some of the evidence is linguistic (religious terms for slaughter do not necessarily imply slaughter on religious premises) and given the myriad cities under consideration in this book [Food in the Ancient World]. But the general rule is that much less meat was consumed in antiquity than is now consumed in Western Europe and the United States; that the majority of it was in many periods the product of sacrificial ritual; and that the rich certainly ate more meat than the poor. John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill660

It appears to be the case that in Greek culture, the eating of any kind of meat was rarely separated from animal sacrifice. It is fine for the market stall to intervene between sacrifice and dinner and symposium (that is, for the commercial transactions to separate the consumer of the animal from the group who sacrificed it), but sacrifice will normally have taken place, as far as we can tell. John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill661

And it came to be, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of Puthon [the Pythian Apollo], did meet us, who brought her masters much profit by foretelling. Having followed Sha’ul and us, she cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High Elohim, who proclaim to us the way of deliverance.” And she was doing this for many days. But Sha’ul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the Name of יהושע Messiah to come out of her.” And it came out that same hour. But when her masters saw that their anticipation of money-making was gone, they seized Sha’ul and Sila and dragged them into the market-place to the rulers. And having brought them to the captains, they said, “These men, being Yehuḏim, greatly disturb our city, and they proclaim practices which are not right for us to receive nor to do, being Romans.” And the crowd rose up together against them. And the captains tore off their garments and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And having laid many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them safely, who, having received such a command, put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Acts 16:16-24

But Sha’ul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, being Romans. They have thrown us into prison, and now, do they throw us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and bring us out.” Acts 16:37

And those who arranged for Sha’ul brought him to Athens. And receiving a command for Sila and Timothy to join him as soon as possible, they departed. But while Sha’ul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred up within him when he saw that the city was utterly idolatrous. Therefore, indeed, he was reasoning in the congregation with the Yehuḏim and with the gentile worshippers, and in the market-place daily with those who met there. Acts 17:15-17

And having stood in the midst of the Areopagus Sha’ul said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every matter. For passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN MIGHTY ONE. Not knowing then whom you worship, I make Him known to you: יהוה, who made the world and all that is in it, this One being Master of heaven and earth, does not dwell in dwellings made with hands. Nor is He served with men’s hands—as if needing any—Himself giving to all life, and breath, and all else. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having ordained beforehand the times and the boundaries of their dwelling, to seek the Master, if at least they would reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and are, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Now then, since we are the offspring of Elohim, we should not think that the Elohim is like gold or silver or stone, an image made by the skill and thought of man. Truly, then, having overlooked these times of ignorance, Elohim now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has set a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed, having given proof of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:22-31

Notice that this, like Paul’s other confrontations, happened at an altar of the Areopagus, i.e. the Acropolis of Athens. This is evidently the equivalent in Athens of what Paul was talking about when he remarked about “meat markets” in 1 Corinthians 10:25, which is the only place where it appears in the Bible, as μακέλλῳ (makellō), from makellon (μάκελλον, G3111), which Strong’s identifies as “a meat-market, marketplace.” In fact, “meat markets” is a misnomer, just like everything else that seems to support the notion that eating meat is somehow acceptable to God, and only inferred (mistakenly) from the context of 1 Corinthians 10. The KJV actually renders it “shambles.”

In reality, the meaning of makellō in Greek is simply ‘market,’ and implies nothing about meat. The modern equivalent is a supermarket, in the cultural context of our society, or, to be more concise, in regards to what it actually consisted of, a farmer’s market. Strong’s points out the obvious conundrum by noting that it is of foreign origin, from the Latin macellum. Athens did not have a macellum (which is a Roman market and part of a Roman forum) because it had a huge acropolis, which is the same thing as a forum, only Greek. So the Greek equivalent of the macellum is the areopagos which Paul evidently preached against everywhere he went.

μάκελλον, μακελλου, τό, a Latin word, macellum (probably akin to μάχη; Vanicek, p. 687 (cf. Plutarch, as below)), a place where meat and other articles of food are sold, meat-market, provision-market, (A. V. shambles): 1 Corinthians 10:2, 5. (Dio Cassius, 6 1, 18 τήν ἀγοράν τῶν ὀψων, τό μάκελλον; (Plutarch, ii., p. 277 d. (quaest. Rom. 54)).)

a meat market, food market

Of Latin origin (macellum); a butcher's stall, meat market or provision-shop -- shambles.

 

In other words, makellon signifies a food market in the Roman world, and is therefore the vernacular equivalent of the Greek areopagos of a large city or the agora of a smaller town, applied to the 1st century.662 That Strong’s has made the association with meat based on a misreading of the text (presumably because it mentions meat) in order to support the Christians’ pro-meat agenda is evident in that the text of 1 Corinthians 10:25 simply reads, “Everything that is sold at the macellum, eat; inquiring (about) nothing on account of the conscience.” We could argue that the word translated as ‘meat’ means ‘solid food’ (and flesh is not even food, in Paul’s vocabulary) but that is irrelevant to the point, because meat was certainly sold at the makellon, just like the meat section of a modern grocery store has its own place in the store. But this in no way means that the store is a meat store, rather than a grocery store, or that the only thing sold there is meat. No one calls a supermarket a “meat market,” or defines the store according to the items in any other section or aisle within the building. So it is folly to suppose that an ancient culture would do exactly that, when that culture was far less obsessed with meat than ours is. Christians have been given this ridiculous interpretation in order to mislead them, and have blindly accepted it because they want to be misled, owing to their carnism and the obvious need to justify it in the light of the fact that it is blatantly evil according to Scripture, and against conscience. This really could not be more obvious, in light of Wikipedia’s entry for ‘macellum’:

A macellum (plural: macella) is an ancient Roman indoor market building that sold mostly provisions (especially fruits and vegetables). The building normally sat alongside the forum and basilica, providing a place in which a market could be held. Each macellum sold different kinds of produce, depending on local availability, but it was not uncommon to import these comestibles, especially at ports like Pompeii. Wikipedia663

Of course, that is just the abstract, and the same entry repeats the same error (in blatant contradiction of the article’s own summary, as cited here) at the bottom of the page. “The macellum,” it says, “was a food market, particularly for meat, fish and delicatessen.”664 The contradiction is immediately apparent, as it even goes on to state that it was modeled after the Greek agora, which no one in his right mind will call a “meat market,” and remarking that the difference was that there was no wholesale trade. A market dedicated to a single product would effectively constitute a wholesale market, especially in the case of meat, because meat is a perishable item. Before refrigeration, when a larger animal like a cow was butchered at the market, the meat had to be gotten rid of quickly, so only the rich patricians were able to afford to order the slaughter, after which the remains were distributed among the poorer plebs, who otherwise ate practically nothing but produce and dairy, and for whom the market was principally set up. We can safely assume that this was a daily practice at every macellum, based on the available evidence.

So reason dictates that the former interpretation (that the principle foodstuffs available at the macellum were fruits and vegetables) is the consistent one. Even if the market at Corinth, unlike other macella, did happen to have a wholesale trade in meat, it would have been based on a local commodity, which means fish, not meat. If this were indeed the case, then the argument would certainly not apply to the context, as fish was more expensive in the Roman world than meat was, and Paul was not writing to the rich of Corinth who sent their servants to fetch meat from the market to bring back to their villas, but to the Christians who we know ate bread together. Even so, we could also make the argument that Paul allowed fish but not animal flesh, seeing a difference between them, as evidenced by the fact that he disallowed meats offered to idols (that being the difference), as all animal flesh sold at the macellum with the sole exception of fish constituted meats offered to idols. However, the point is irrelevant, as the macellum was principally a produce market, like a modern farmer’s market.

Having demonstrated that macella were not “meat markets,” what we need to show now is that the meat which was offered to idols constitutes all meat sold at these markets. This should not be a problem for anyone with a basic understanding of the Roman religion, but seeing how the Christians exempt themselves from such understanding, we will briefly explain the function of the macellum in relation to the Roman religion in order to refute the argument that one could have eaten meat without eating food that was offered to idols. The reason this is necessary is to show that Paul was exempting all meat, and only using the element of idolatry to reinforce his argument, which, being predicated on the idea that the food is for demons, applies much more to us now—not less, nor not at all. To be completely fair, these same Christians really have no idea where their meat comes from anyway, and only make these silly arguments in order to keep it that way.

The most famous example of a macellum is that of Pompeii, on account of that city having been discovered and unearthed by modern archaeologists almost completely intact. This example is particularly useful to us, as Pompeii was buried by volcanic ash within just a few decades of when Paul wrote his epistle. So the best thing we can do to understand the significance of this term in his epistle is to study the macellum of Pompeii. So here are the designs for both the macellum and the forum, respectively.

 

 

 

 

Notice that there is also a vegetable market on the other side of the capitol. Clearly, if there was such a market at Corinth, then Paul did not even bother to mention it, as nothing would have been forbidden there. Even so, Corinth was just one congregation, and even if he had told the Corinthians it was okay for them to eat meat (which he clearly did not and never intended to do), that would hardly translate to a universal declaration that the rest of Scripture is invalid, unless we suppose that Paul was deliberately invalidating his entire ministry with a single remark, even though he had no authority to do so. (Paul even opens three of his epistles by calling himself a bond- servant of Christ, whose own position is that no servant is above his master.)

Notice the shrine (37) on the east side of the macellum, opposite the west entrance (32) which connects to the forum (18). It is thought that the west entrance had the statue of an emperor in it, signifying the beginning of the Imperial cult.665 This means that the entire market was dedicated to the Imperial cult, which is to say, the State-sponsored organized religious practice of animal slaughter. As this was the Imperial cult, this was almost certainly the standard layout throughout the Empire, which explains why Paul makes mention of the macellum and why the inquiry had been made at all, as, in effect, all the foods sold at the macella were dedicated to the Imperial cult, whereas those of the other markets had no meat, because they had no Imperial cult function, as there was no animal slaughter where there was no meat, and this was the function of the cult. So Paul was telling the Corinthians that it was okay for them to eat food from the macellum, even though it was dedicated to the Imperial cult, but that it was likewise not okay for them to eat whatever caused their brothers to stumble (i.e. meat).

We already know that a macellum was not a “meat market,” though it was the one market adjacent to a Roman forum which always and certainly had meat available in it, which actually means that it merits this description as a way of distinguishing it from a vegetable or fish market. This begs the question of what was actually sold there. Wikipedia answers this in its description of the macellum of Pompeii:

The Macellum of Pompeii is located outside the northeast corner of the forum. As the city continued to grow, it was necessary to relieve pressure on the forum. When the Macellum was first discovered, because of the twelve column bases in the center, the excavators at first believed it was a kind of pantheon, a temple dedicated to many gods. However, when subsequent excavation turned up the remains of cereals and fruits in the north side of the building and fish scales and bones in the middle of the courtyard, the archeologists realized that this was a market. Wikipedia666

This demonstrates that the vegetable market of Pompeii (on the other side of the capitol) was the original food market of the city, and that the macellum was established by the Imperial cult later on. In no sense, then, did the people of Pompeii ever regard the macellum as their primary source of food. This is obviously why Paul says, “if any of the unbelievers invite you, and you wish to go,” meaning, clearly, that they were not to go there unless they were invited by the heathens of Corinth. We imagine that Paul was reluctant in even saying this, especially considering that he makes no mention of any macella outside this context, such as in any other epistle, and considering how strict both the Law and the other apostles were about God’s command to abstain from meat.

Wikipedia’s description also shows that the market vendors were selling “cereals and fruits,” while fish and meat were eaten around the structure in the middle of the courtyard. Barring the finding of scales and bones in the vendor stalls, this necessarily means that the meat was sold somewhere else—namely, in the meat and fish hall (39) on the Via del Balcone Pensile. Fish and meat are not thought to be the only things sold here (foodstuffs are also thought to have been sold here), but in actuality they probably were, as this is where they were taken after the animals were slaughtered at the shrine, to be butchered and kept out of the way of the Sun, insects, and dust blown by the wind, etc. See how confused the writers of the wiki are about what kind of food was sold at the booths of the macellum of Pompeii, based on the discrepancy between the archaeological data and their speculative bias:

Twelve food stores were located on both sides of the side entrance. They were located on the north side so that their wares would be protected from strong sunlight and kept fresh. Figs, grapes, chestnuts, pulses, bread, cakes, amphorae, and fruits in jars (now in the Naples Museum) were found here. …

Within the Macellum on the south side are twelve stores. They are altogether roughly the same in size and construction. They were intended for the sale of foodstuffs, probably meat and fish. Wikipedia667

In other words, the hard evidence says one thing, and the interpretation of it says that the nature of the market was “probably” the opposite of what it demonstrates. In reality, the Roman religious establishment (the Imperial cult) had the monopoly on meat, because it presided over all animal slaughter, and virtually no meat was ever sold outside the context of religious animal slaughter in Rome, even though it may have been in Greece. That is why bones have been found in the courtyard, where it was eaten, and in the one area designated for their sale, but not in the stalls allocated to private vendors who sold only produce and foodstuffs. It is no wonder, then, that the Christians have managed to turn a produce market into a meat market, as they have been brainwashed by the very same religious establishment which deliberately set itself in charge of the whole market, regardless of what was actually sold there independently of their influence.

The key to understanding the function of the macellum and why it is associated with meat (i.e. why the term ‘meat market’ is actually somewhat accurate) lies in the fact that the sacrifices were performed at the altar, which is the central structure of the macellum of Pompeii. This structure is a rotunda, and we may reasonably assume that all were. Do not think for a single moment that the hierarchy of the Roman religious establishment is not well aware of this, for there is even mention of it in the book of Acts. The word ‘church’ is one of the two English forms of Circe, a Greek goddess who was known in Greek mythology (e.g., in the Odyssey) as a sorceress who charmed unwitting men with her magic by causing them to forget themselves and turn into wild beasts (in the literal sense) by way of food, drink and sorcery. (The other English form of Circe or kirke is ‘circle,’ translated into Latin as rotunda.) Circe was an emanation of Artemis, the virgin huntress and sister of Apollo, called Diana by the Romans.

In Scripture, the word ‘church’ only ever refers to a temple of Diana, and this is how it was used in the earliest English translations of the Bible by Wycliffe and Tyndale, before the articles of King James stipulated that the Greek word ekklesia (meaning ‘assembly’ or ‘congregation’) be changed to accommodate the religious establishment’s temples, wherein Diana is worshiped as Mary, or Ma Rhea (Mother Rhea, a colloquial name for the Roman Magna Mater, or ‘Great Mother’—Rhea was the Greek name of the Queen of Heaven, and Rhea Silvia, or Rhea of the Woods, was the mythological mother of Romulus, i.e. of Rome). Even so, the KJV and other English translations still bear the mark of this subterfuge. For example, ekklesia is normally translated as ‘assembly’ in Acts 19 (vv. 32,39,41), while in the same context (v. 37), the KJV explicitly calls the temples of Diana “churches,” as though the people who compiled the KJV forgot to change that part in order to subvert it, as King James had ordered, or that they were simply incompetent. The translators (particularly Wycliffe and Tyndale), on the other hand, made no mistake about this, and understood well that ekklesia only and ever designates a congregation, and that the word kyriakos (‘church’) designates a temple of Diana/Artemis.668

The Pantheon in Rome (now called the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs, and informally the Santa Maria Rotonda, or Circle/Church of the Holy Mother Goddess—rhea is a very ancient word which basically means ‘the goddess’) was rededicated by the Vespasians as the replacement of the Temple in Jerusalem, which they had just sacked and destroyed, in the deliberate move of the center of the Jewish sect to Rome. It was officially consecrated as such by a Roman bishop in the 7th century, owing to the Romans’ split from the Byzantines during the reign of the emperor Theodosius, and therefore to the need to retrofit the Roman bishop’s claim of supremacy as the pontifex maximus, or chief of the Imperial cult, whereas the Roman bishop had actually only ever held the position of rex sacrorum or rex sacrificulus, or chief of the religious rites (or sacrifices). Thus the Santa Maria Rotunda is the official seat (the “meat market”) of the Catholic Church, while the Basilica of St. John is the official seat of the Roman Curia (the Church’s administrative governing body, i.e. its capitol). Each has a separate function, just as each of the buildings at the forum had its own function. Moreover, every city where the Imperial cult was established had a forum and a rotunda, or pantheon.

The function of the rotunda, or of the “church,” is to house the altar where the animals are slaughtered. This is essential to understanding the nature of the macellum, as the rotunda was its central structure, while the fruits and cereals were sold by the vendors along the outer walls. The macellum of Pompeii provides the best evidence of this, where excavators originally thought it was a tholos, though archaeologists have yet to realize (due to lack of evidence, for it was fish that were sold at Pompeii, rather than animals) that the drains were used to dispose of the blood by channeling it into the underground mithraea, where initiates were baptized in the blood of the victim and cult members feasted on its flesh. (And Mithras is the Roman Apollo, the brother of Diana, worshiped by the “Christians” as Sol Invicto, a.k.a. Jesus.) Notice once again the confusion which the so-called experts demonstrate by their unwillingness to accept the obvious.

A tholos (sometimes tholus, from Ancient Greek θόλος) is an ancient Roman feature found in the macellum. It is a round structure, usually built upon a couple of steps (a podium), with a ring of columns supporting a domed roof. It has been suggested that the tholos, well provided with water and drains, was where fish were sold, although other uses for the central tholos have been suggested, such as the place where official weights and measures were held for reference or as shrines to the gods of the market place. Some macella had a water fountain or water feature in the centre of their courtyard instead of a tholos structure. Wikipedia669

In the middle of the Macellum [of Pompeii] are the previously mentioned twelve column bases, which are made of tuff and arranged to define a dodecagonal space. They were initially thought to be remnants of a round shrine or tholos. A well and pool would have been located within it. The rotunda was thought to have resembled other macella, perhaps the elaborate Eastern Greek and African models, or Roman examples such as that in Puteoli. However, Amedeo Maiuri’s excavations clarified that the column bases and the space within them had a different function. As proven by the many fish bones and scales discovered in the drainage trough that flowed into the middle, the space was intended for selling fish. They were gutted and cleaned here.

The twelve column bases held wooden poles, which were embedded in the earth and anchored by the bases. The poles supported a wooden roof. There was presumably a well in the middle of the space, but there was no pool. The bases were restored in the 19th century, after having been discovered in very poor condition. The inner area is edged with a low marble lip, intended to prevent water from the middle flooding outward. The flooring consists of a mixture of crushed stone tiles, made of travertine, marble, and mortar. When this area was excavated by a group led by Giuseppe Fiorelli, it was still considered to be a kind of pantheon and thus initially given that name. Wikipedia670

That Artemis and Apollo were indeed worshiped in this “church” which Christians call the “meat market” is confirmed by the role of the Imperial shrine. Unfortunately, archaeologists have yet to realize the significance of what they are looking at, just as in the case of the pantheons and the mithraea. However, the layout of the modern churches is deliberately designed to replicate this pattern, except that the altar of the modern church is on the same platform as the shrine (called the chancel, choir or presbytery), so to approach the shrine is also to approach the altar. That is, while it would have been possible in the ancient world, one cannot come to worship Artemis and Apollo without also participating in the sacrificial ritual (the “meat offered to idols”). This has only been the case since the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and subsequent canon law, which decided that measures ought to be taken to prevent the laity from abusing or having irreverent access to the “blessed sacrament.”671

The sacristry, where the sacrament is prepared (where the rex sacrorum performed his duties), is behind the apse, completely closed off and out of the sight of the congregation. In fact, the entire layout of the medieval church design, still followed by Protestant sects today, reflects this decision to keep the mystery of the Mithraic feast out of the hands of the profane. The current trend is to follow the rotunda design with two altars—one in the midst of the nave and one in the chancel—i.e. that of the ancient macellum, rather than a strictly Late Medieval design. For example, here is the floor plan of the new cathedral being built in Port-au-Prince, which merges the ancient macellum (such as that of Pompeii) and medieval Gothic designs, but is made to resemble the former by the use of an outdoor nave, reflecting pools and baptismal font.

 

 

The apse, where the high altar is, is known to have been part of the church design by the 5th century, but the function of the whole eastern part of the church known as the chevet (‘headpiece’), which includes the choir/chancel, was formalized in the 13th century. The apse is the shrine. The lectern, which is generally not raised, and the pulpit, which always is, represent the role of the laity and the role of the clergy, respectively, just as the statues of the ancient cult room (discussed below) each represent the same. The major difference is that the clergy is elevated above the laity, whereas in the ancient world, it was the Emperor rather than the clergy who wielded supreme power as the pontifex maximus.

The word ‘chancel’ itself means ‘lattice’ (from the Late Latin cancelli), thus reflecting that the chancel of a modern church, so named for its décor, strictly adheres to the ancient precedent of the Imperial cult. This randomly selected example of a chancel screen from Crowland Abbey, just outside Peterborough (UK), makes doubly sure that the parishioners are aware of their place with the words, “The Lord is in His Holy Temple; let all the Earth keep silence before Him.” The first step is not in the photo, but there are indeed five of them altogether leading up to the bars in front of the altar designating the terminus of the sacellum.

 

 

Three other rooms were located on the east side. They are on a higher level than the rest of the Macellum. The space in the middle was dedicated to the imperial family, the imperial cult room. Some books designate this space the sacellum, or chapel. It is accessed via a five-step stairway. In comparison to the rest, this room is very simple in its decor. The entrance was decorated with a bar pattern.

In the niches on the right are plaster casts (poor copies in the opinion of some archeologists) of the two statues which were found here. The originals are now in the National Museum of Naples. They were erroneously believed to be likenesses of Marcellus and Octavia. Marcellus was the patron of Pompeii, so the supposition was valid. The figures in the other niches were presumed to be Agrippina and Nero. Today they are believed to be two other as yet unidentified members of the imperial family. Additionally, an arm with a globe in its hands was found here. It perhaps belonged to the statue of the Emperor.

In the view of Heinrich Nissen, the rear wall of the room had already been broken through in antiquity and three of the five statues removed. Further, he saw only two possible combinations of statues:

1. In the central position a statue of Augustus as Jupiter with a globe in his hand, in the niches to the right Livia and Drusus, and in the niches to the left Tiberius and Germanicus.

2. More likely, however, a statue of Jupiter stood on the pedestal in the center of the rear wall and Livia and Augustus stood in the niches on the left and Drusus and Tiberius in those on the right. During his lifetime, Augustus never had himself portrayed as Jupiter with the globe. Wikipedia672

 

The statue did indeed belong to the Emperor, as Mithras. In Catholic and Byzantine iconography, the symbol of the globe in hand signifies dominion over the world. In the hands of Mithras, it is called Salvator Mundi (‘Savior of the World’). This was held by the Emperor as pontifex maximus (supreme bishop), while the local pontifex (bishop) who presided over the ritual was in the place of Diana—that pontiff obviously being the rex sacrorum. While Nissen has observed that Augustus never had himself portrayed as Jupiter with the globe, it is well known that later emperors (including those of the Holy Roman Empire) did so portray themselves, and that Augustus set the precedent for other emperors when he became the pontifex maximus on top of his title of imperator (emperor).

The two iconographic statues of the Imperial cult, then, were undoubtedly Apollo and Diana, represented by the pontifex maximus and the rex sacrorum (or rex sacrificulus), respectively. There is plenty of evidence to support this in Roman and Byzantine iconography, where the symbols of the globe and the cross are combined to form the globus cruciger, and the Sovereign’s Orb is still even used by the monarch of the United Kingdom to symbolize her authority over both the government and the Church of England, while the globus cruciger sits at the top of the papal tiaras (used to crown every pope between 1143 and 1963) and is used on official documents in the papal insignia.673

The placement of the apse is why it is so critical to the authority of the Papacy that the Pope speaks ex cathedra (‘from the seat’), meaning that his pronouncements are considered both infallible and intended for a worldwide audience, because the “seat” (or “throne”) of Satan (Revelation 2:13) at the altar of Zeus was ceremonially moved to Rome from the Romans’ historical homeland of Pergamum when the Kingdom of Pergamon was united with the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC.674 Technically, this means that only the cathedral of a see constitutes a macellum, as any lesser church is not a fully-functioning sacrificial market of the Imperial cult (by definition, a cathedral is a church which houses the seat of a bishop), but in practice all churches are tasked with administering the ancient rite of the sacrament, as all are under the authority of the different sees. (An archbishop maintains the role of the rex sacrificulus, but the Papacy has not admitted to being the office of the rex sacrorum rather than of the pontifex maximus since the reign of Theodosius, so each archbishop is effectively promoted by this pretense to the rank of rex sacrorum.) The present incarnation of the Roman cathedra was formally installed above the altar in Saint Peter’s Basilica in 1666 AD, flanked by the traditional four statues—those supposedly being of Ambrose, Athanasius, John Chrysostom and Augustine,675 but in reality, the two in front each have a mitre, and the one on the viewer’s left is holding his out in his hand, as if it was the globus of the imperator, while the throne itself is adorned by the Papal tiara. The obvious significance of both motifs is that the Papacy claims the authority of both the rex sacrorum and the pontifex maximus.

 

 

Now, while it ought to be extremely obvious already that the Catholic/Christian religion has nothing whatsoever to do with apostolic Christianity or Essenism, we must demonstrate that the relationship between the Imperial cult and the modern religious establishment is not mere coincidence, but actually profoundly intentional, otherwise it could stand to reason that the “food offered to idols” is not a deliberate reference to what has become the Catholic Mass or the Christian Eucharist. This is partly evident in the functions of the separate areas of the churches, which all follow the same pattern, and partly by the rituals themselves.

Nevertheless, it is clear from the archeology of numerous Mithraea that most rituals were associated with feasting—as eating utensils and food residues are almost invariably found. These tend to include both animal bones and also very large quantities of fruit residues. … For their feasts, Mithraic initiates reclined on stone benches arranged along the longer sides of the Mithraeum—typically there might be room for 15-30 diners, but very rarely many more than 40 men. Counterpart dining rooms, or triclinia were to be found above ground in the precincts of almost any temple or religious sanctuary in the Roman empire, and such rooms were commonly used for their regular feasts by Roman ‘clubs’, or collegia. Mithraic feasts probably performed a very similar function for Mithraists as the collegia did for those entitled to join them; indeed, since qualification for Roman collegia tended to be restricted to particular families, localities or traditional trades, Mithraism may have functioned in part as providing clubs for the unclubbed. However, the size of the Mithraeum is not necessarily an indication of the size of the congregation.

Each Mithraeum had several altars at the further end, underneath the representation of the tauroctony; and also commonly contained considerable numbers of subsidiary altars, both in the main Mithraeum chamber, and in the ante-chamber or narthex. These altars, which are of the standard Roman pattern, each carry a named dedicatory inscription from a particular initiate, who dedicated the altar to Mithras “in fulfillment of his vow” [i.e. for his consecration], in gratitude for favours received. Burned residues of animal entrails are commonly found on the main altars indicating regular sacrificial use. However, Mithraea do not commonly appear to have been provided with facilities for ritual slaughter of sacrificial animals (a highly specialised function in Roman religion), and it may be presumed that a Mithraeum would have made arrangements for this service to be provided for them in co-operation with the professional victimarius of the civic cult. Prayers were addressed to the Sun [Sol/Mithras/Apollo] three times a day and Sunday was especially sacred. Wikipedia676

For the most part, Mithraea tend to be small, externally undistinguished, and cheaply constructed; the cult generally preferring to create a new centre rather than expand an existing one. The Mithraeum represented the cave in which Mithras carried and then killed the bull; and where stone vaulting could not be afforded, the effect would be imitated with lath and plaster. They are commonly located close to springs or streams; fresh water appears to have been required for some Mithraic rituals, and a basin is often incorporated into the structure. There is usually a narthex or ante-chamber at the entrance, and often other ancillary rooms for storage and the preparation of food. The extant mithraea present us with actual physical remains of the architectural structures of the sacred spaces of the Mithraic cult. Mithraeum is a modern coinage and mithraists referred to their sacred structures as speleum or antrum (cave), crypta (underground hallway or corridor), fanum (sacred or holy place), or even templum (a temple or a sacred space).

In their basic form, Mithraea were entirely different from the temples and shrines of other cults. In standard pattern Roman religious precincts, the temple building functioned as a house for the god; who was intended to be able to view through the opened doors and columnar portico, sacrificial worship being offered on an altar set in an open courtyard; potentially accessible not only to initiates of the cult, but also to colitores or non-initiated worshippers. Mithraea were the antithesis of this. Wikipedia677

The narthex is an architectural element typical of early Christian and Byzantine basilicas or churches consisting of the entrance or lobby area, usually located at the west end of the nave, opposite the church’s main altar. Traditionally the narthex was a part of the church building, but was not considered part of the church proper. It is either an indoor area separated from the nave by a screen or rail, or an external structure such as a porch. Wikipedia678

The purpose of the narthex was to allow those not eligible for admittance into the general congregation (particularly catechumens and penitents) to hear and partake in the service. The narthex would often include a baptismal font so that infants or adults could be baptized there before entering the nave, and to remind other believers of their baptisms as they gathered to worship. …

Later reforms removed the requirement to exclude people from services who were not full members of the congregation, which in some traditions obviated the narthex. Church architects continued, however, to build a room before the entrance of the nave. This room could be called an inside vestibule (if it is architecturally part of the nave structure) or a porch (if it is a distinct, external structure). Some traditions still call this area the narthex as it represents the point of entry into the church, even if everyone is admitted to the nave itself. …

In some Eastern Orthodox temples (churches), the narthex will be referred to as the trapeza (refectory), because in ancient times, tables would be set up there after the Divine Liturgy for the faithful to eat a common meal, similar to the agape feast of the early church. To this day, this is where the faithful will bring their baskets at Pascha (Easter) for the priest to bless the Paschal foods which they will then take back to their homes for the festive break-fast. Wikipedia679

By convention, ecclesiastical floor plans are shown map-fashion, with north to the top and the liturgical east to the right. Therefore, some may refer to the narthex as being at the western end of the floor plan. This is done for symbolic reasons, as scriptures say to look for Christ appearing in the East, thus the location of the altar is known as the liturgical East, regardless of the actual cardinal directions. Wikipedia680

Note that this placement is where the macellum of Pompeii was adjoined to the forum, as well. Note also that this is not what “scriptures say,” in regards to Matthew 24:27. In fact, the preceding verse actually says, “If they say to you … ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.” What else could Yahshuah possibly have been referring to, if not the Roman church? It is not as though he was completely ignorant of all the things discussed here; Paul even speaks of them as though they were common knowledge, which is exactly why Scripture is almost silent on the details. As for the details themselves, it is said that the Devil lies therein, and this is nowhere more true than in the inner rooms of the Imperial cult, which calls itself the Church.

The narthex is sometimes called the ‘vestibule,’ which is also of Latin origin and connotes that it is the room where church members change their clothes before the meal (though it could be argued that changing clothes simply means taking off one’s coat or outer garment, rather than actually changing into something pure, as with the Essene custom). The term trapeza is actually a deliberate reference to the mithraea. Each of the major cult centers of Mithras had a taurabolum in it (the place where the bull was sacrificed—taurus means ‘bull’): namely, the Tripoli of Africa (Tunisia/Carthage), the Tripoli of Phoenica (Lebanon), the Tripoli of Pontus (now Tirebolu, Turkey), and most importantly, the Milesian (Greek/Asian) colony of Trabzon on the Black Sea, called Trapezus by the Romans and Trebizond by the Byzantines. Trebizond was the main cult center of the Mithraic mysteries at the time of the New Testament’s composition, and this is exactly why Marcion was invited to Rome to explain the mysteries to the high-ranking clergy there, as he was the son of the bishop of Sinope.681 The fact that the term mithraea is a modern invention sheds light on the fact that the Orthodox Christians call their dining room the ‘refectory’ (or refectorium, denoting the place where someone goes to be “restored,” i.e. a restaurant, which is exactly what the ancient mithraea were). The alternate name for the refectory is ‘frater house,’ or ‘fratery,’ which denotes that it is for members of the congregation only. (Frater means ‘brother’ in Latin.)

All Protestant churches follow some sort of modification in terms of actual layout of the medieval church design, usually in a simplified form. The chevet is always raised, even if they have renamed it to ‘sanctuary’ or ‘stage,’ etc., and even the term ‘sanctuary’ connotes that the profane are not to approach the altar, as it is “holy.” All churches of all sects ultimately follow the same (Pagan) Greek temple design as exactly as is practical. This design, in turn, has its own origins in the more ancient cultures of the Middle East, particularly Babylon, Phoenicia (including the Temple of Solomon) and Egypt. To demonstrate this deliberate consistency, here are the floor plans of the Temple of Horus (the Egyptian equivalent of Sol/Apollo) at Edfu (built by the Greek/Macedonian rulers between 237 and 57 BC), St. Peter Greek Orthodox Church in New York and Faith Lutheran Church in Avon, Ohio, in that order:

 

 

 

 

In light of all this, Paul was not telling the new Christians at Corinth to eat meat without worrying, with the exception of meat offered to the idols of foreign gods, because of xenophobic religious sympathies; he was telling them to abstain from participating in the practice of the Imperial cult specifically, because it was already understood that they were sworn to abstain from eating meat altogether—an offense requiring immediate excommunication if they were ever caught doing it. In the case of the macellum of Pompeii, which is the best archaeological evidence available to us, it would seem that he was telling them to abstain from fish, as well as meat. Either way, the clear implication of saying that the food offered to Apollo and Diana is food offered to demons is that the notion of “idolatry” pertains to food blessed in the Roman Imperial cult fashion, which at present applies to nothing but the Catholic/Orthodox Mass ritual and its Protestant derivations, except when families set down together and pray to the antichrist Jesus and The LORD Lucifer before a meal prepared at home. In effect, what Paul was really telling the Corinthians, and therefore all who would listen and take his suggestion today, was to not go to church, and that if they did, to not then participate in the Roman Eucharist, as there is simply no other form of “idolatry” in the world today which any Christian would even be tempted to commit apart from eating meat.682 Moreover, as we have already suggested, Paul himself was accused of blaspheming Artemis/Diana and her temples because he was detracting from the business of the idolaters, but the authorities did not charge him, because his “crime” was telling people not to eat meat, which was not against Greek or Roman law, whereas if he had actually spoken against Artemis or against the Church of Ephesus, even by way of attacking the sacrificial customs directly, then he would have been tried and found guilty on the testimony of many witnesses.

And about that time there came to be a great commotion about the Way. For a certain man named Demetrios, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided no little business to the craftsmen, who, having called them together, with the workers of similar trade, said, “Men, you know that our wealth is from this business. And you see and hear that not only at Ephesos, but throughout almost all Asia, this Sha’ul has persuaded and turned away a large number, saying that they are not mighty ones which are made with hands. And not only is this trade of ours in danger of coming to rejection, but also that the temple of the great female mighty one Artemis whom all Asia and the world worship, shall be regarded as worthless and her greatness diminished.” Acts 19:23-27

Read with the understanding that Paul’s main point of contention with the heathens among the Gentiles was in their eating the meat of the macella, the text of 1 Corinthians which reads, “if any of the unbelievers invite you, and you wish to go,” becomes “if any heathen/Christian invites you to church, to participate in the Roman Eucharist, and you want to go.” Paul would have been extremely reluctant to even allow anyone to go to the macellum in the first place, when they just as easily could have gone to the vegetable market for their food, and to the mall (agora/forum) to socialize. This is obviously what was taking place, and we can see how friends standing around in the mall over their lunch hour might say, “Hey, I’m hungry. I’m going to head over to the market. Do you want to come with me?” In any case, every Christian who goes to church is already guilty of the very thing Paul was preaching against, so such a person is hardly competent to tell us that eating meat is acceptable according to Paul, as they are not only breaking God’s commandments and those of Yahshuah and his disciples by doing the latter, but also Paul’s, by doing the former.

As the Roman religion has not changed at all, to the point that the layout of the modern church building is deliberately designed to correspond with the functions of the ancient Imperial cult, the obvious implication of Paul’s command for us is that if we decide to go to a church for whatever reason, then we are restricted to the narthex, as the nave is for members of the congregation, and one cannot simultaneously be a member of the congregations of both Belial and Christ. If the Church had wanted to represent something other than the congregation of Belial, then the Church would not have deliberately held onto the ancient traditions of the Imperial cult in order to deliberately associate itself with this designation, going so far as to call itself ‘the Church’ and to maliciously persecute the Christians and subvert all their doctrines with doctrines of devils. This association is clearly intentional, and there is much more that could be said to prove as much. We have only shared enough information to make the point about “meat offered to idols” and set the stage for our discussion of the Eucharist without getting off the intended topic—the topic being what resulted from the spread of the Gospel, and its brutal suppression at the hands of the Romans.

As far as these persecutions are concerned, we shall begin by reexamining the popular ideas concerning martyrdom, and what their respective origins are in Church tradition (those defined as martyrs by the Church), and in the tradition of the Christian martyrs themselves. The word ‘martyr’ actually comes from the Greek μάρτυς (martys, G3459), meaning ‘witness,’ and thus has the exact connotation of someone who bears witness to the Gospel by laying charges of misconduct and infraction of God’s law (i.e., an animal rights activist, basically, for the present era, but a Christian or a prophet for the ancient era). In English, the word has come to connote one who suffers persecution and especially death for his witness, but this connotation inevitably detracts from the actual witness, and death is not necessarily the inevitable outcome of bearing witness to the Gospel. It has only become that way because of the hardness of the hearts of the ecclesiastical establishment and the throngs of people who support it.

Those who suffer martyrdom are said to be “crowned,” in both the biblical and the antithetical Roman Catholic systems. The name of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, means ‘crown,’ which certainly begs the question of what the one given at his “first” birth was. The concept of the crowning is obviously associated with the anointing of Nazarites, implying that Stephen was called by this name well before he was murdered. However, the “Christians” of Rome have never had such an anointing at any point in their history, so they have had to employ a completely different idea and superimpose it onto the theological system of the Bible in order to lay claim to the “crown of life” and deny it to those to whom it properly belongs.

Today, the Church openly admits that there is no basis for its canonization of the ancient Roman bishops as “martyrs.” Yet apologists still find it necessary even to this day to justify this association by inventing explanations, rather than simply admitting the fundamental truth that their “martyrs” were actually the ones actively persecuting the saints, instead of having been the saints themselves. The most common justification for calling them martyrs is that to bear witness and live is akin to death, as it entails suffering. This is called “white martyrdom,” whereas dying a violent death on account of the witness is called “red martyrdom.” The most obvious problem with this is that the Roman bishops never bore witness to the Gospel in the first place, and this is precisely why they were not persecuted and killed, and also why they are worshiped as “saints” rather than blasphemed as “heretics.”

The fact that bishops (which we distinguish from ‘presbyters,’ generally designating the elders of Christian congregations in the Greek world prior to the subversion of the latter term by the Roman establishment) are all priests of the ancient pagan religion could hardly be more obvious. Their vestments alone, and how they relate to the “crowning” of the “saints,” are more than sufficient to prove this beyond a doubt, as well as to prove that the association is as deliberate as it is clear. We will not dwell on this, but take an example from the conspicuous correlation between the ancient bishop’s apex and the modern/medieval bishop’s mitre.

The apex was a cap worn by the flamines and salii at Rome. The essential part of the apex, to which alone the name properly belonged, was a pointed piece of olive-wood, the base of which was surrounded with a lock of wool. The flamines were forbidden by law from going into public, or even into the open air without the apex. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, as well as images on ancient monuments, the apex had a conical form.683

Modifications to the apex were specific to offices according to rank. The highest-ranking flamen, the flamen dialis (the high priest of Jupiter), wore a cap called the albogalerus or albus galerus, made from the skin of a white victim sacrificed to Jupiter,684 with the apex fastened to it by an olive branch—the symbol of victory when it was employed as a crown (note that this is important for reasons explained below), as well as of peace. This is the origin of the mitre worn by every bishop today.685 However, there is such difference between the mitre of the ancient and medieval eras and that of today that it is difficult to recognize the same ornamental head-covering in its various forms. In its earliest form the mitre was a simple cap of soft material (which contemporary popes have only recently returned to using), which ended above in a point (the apex), while around the lower edge there was generally, although not always, an ornamental band (circulus), which functioned as the circlet, or crown. Compare the origin of the mitre according to The Catholic Encyclopedia686 to this ancient depiction of the apex of the flamen of the “Divine Julius,” the first high priest of the Imperial cult:

 

 

Further evidence can be gleaned from the fact that the Vatican was built directly in line with the Circus Maximus, the Forum Boarium, the Basilica of Saints Nereus and Achilles (Nereus was venerated as a god, and as the maternal grandfather of Achilles, the hero of the Iliad who was glamorized and deified by Greeks and Romans alike), and the Church of Saint Caesar Palatine (that is, Julius Caesar—this Caesar is said to have been martyred with another “Julian”). The Mithraeum was located directly underneath or adjacent to the Forum Boarium, the name of which literally indicates that it was the cattle market of ancient Rome. (Incidentally, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was also established in line with these buildings, between the Great Circus and the Basilica of Saints Nereus and Achilles.) Consequently, it was said that neither flies nor dogs would enter the “holy place” of the Temple of Hercules Victor (i.e. the Temple of Nero), which was located above ground at the site.687

Just beyond the forum, near the Tiber, was the Temple of Portunus, the god of keys, doors and livestock. He was thought to protect the warehouses where grain was stored, just as Hercules protected the olive trade (a fact which has symbolic significance to the Triumph described below). The location of the Temple of Portunus suggests that cattle were unloaded from the river before being taken to the Mithraeum or being sold and butchered at the Forum Boarium. Portunus seems to have been an epithet of the god Janus. The two share many characteristics and functions, not the least of which is the symbol of the key—hence the Papal insignia is two crossed keys along with the Papal tiara. Like Janus, Portunus was represented as having two heads or two faces, with the heads or faces facing opposite directions, and Janus was a favorite object of worship in medieval representations, such as during the pontificate of Alexander VI (1492-1503).

Perhaps the most blatant ruse of the Roman bishops is the veneration of the “Holy Trinity” (a thoroughly unscriptural concept and term) based on the ancient Capitoline Triad, a group of three supreme deities who were worshipped together at the Capitolium, an elaborate temple on the Capitoline Hill. Two distinct Capitoline Triads are recognized from different times (there have actually been at least five), both originating in ancient traditions antedating the Republic. The one most commonly referred to as the Capitoline Triad is the more recent of these two, consisting of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Zeus), Juno Moneta (Hera) and Venus Genetrix (Aphrodite) or, as is commonly thought, Minerva (Athena). (The whole hill was actually dedicated to Minerva, just as the whole area of the Forum Boarium was dedicated to Mithras, hence the Athenaeum was situated at the Capitoline site, where the Piazza Venezia, a perfect replica of the altar of Zeus at Pergamum, now stands.) This triad was drawn from Etruscan mythology; the earlier triad, referred to as the Archaic Triad, consisted of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus, and was of Indo-European origin.688 Each of these triads held a central place in the public religion of Rome during its heyday, just as the Trinity of the “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” does now.

The Capitoline Triad was the basis for the three flamines maiores, each of whom was dedicated to one of the three gods. The flamen dialis served Jupiter at the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. The most important temple in Rome, it was surrounded by the area capitolina, a precinct where the Curia convened, and the site of numerous shrines, altars, statues, and victory trophies.689

The Temple of Jupiter Optimus was destroyed by fire several times, primarily because it was used as a fortification on the Capitoline citadel, including once in 80 AD, just five years after it had been rebuilt and dedicated by Vespasian. Its importance to the Roman religion is demonstrated by the fact that Domitian used at least 12,000 talents of gold (a talent is equivalent to a full chest) for gilding the bronze roof tiles alone.690 The pediment was adorned with chariots and thrones, as we might expect: in the center of the pediment Jupiter was flanked by Juno and Minerva, seated on thrones, as the newer Capitoline Triad. These were flanked by statues of the sun god (Apollo/Sol) and the moon goddess (Artemis/Diana), indicating regard already for the next emerging Trinity, while statues of Mars and Venus adorned the other acroterion (or apex), indicating regard for the previous one. It would seem, therefore, that each of the three times the temple was rebuilt, Jupiter was ascribed two different gods to serve as his peers in the Capitoline Triad, depending on the religious convention at the time.

The crowning of the “martyrs” took place during a lavish public ceremony called the triumphus (triumph). Originally, the Triumph was held in celebration of an army commander who had successfully completed a foreign war, but later the honors were extended to all who achieved great victories in the eyes of the Senate. On the day of his triumph, the honored general wore a crown of laurel and the all-purple, gold-embroidered toga picta, regalia that signified his new status as a divinity or near-divinity.691 (Only the rex or king was allowed to wear purple apart from this.) He rode in a four-horse chariot along the Via Sacra in unarmed procession with his army, captives and spoils of war before ascending the Capitoline Hill to sacrifice to Jupiter and ritually dedicate the trophies of his conquests to Rome. From then on, for the remainder of his life, he was called vir triumphalis (‘man of triumph’), later triumphator.

From the beginning of the Empire, the Triumph reflected the Imperial order and the pre-eminence of the Imperial family. The word ‘imperial’ itself reflects this; Augustus had himself styled imperator,692 which is the origin of the word ‘emperor’—a title reserved for great military leaders, though he deferred military leadership to his generals (this being one of the main reasons he became Emperor, the other being his association with Julius Caesar) and was thus never actually a triumphator. But, being Emperor has its perks, and no one could take the title away from him. So each of his successors received the same honors as he did, in turn, even as Julius Caesar had earned by way of his military command, and this is essentially the origin of the Imperial cult.

The triumphal route was determined by the layout of the city. An order of stops was prearranged according to the deification rites, but did not always follow the same precedent through Rome’s history.693 The starting place was normally the Campus Martius (‘Field of Mars’) which still lay outside the pomerium, or the sacred boundary of the city, on the western bank of the Tiber, where Vatican City now is. The procession entered the city through a porta triumphalis (‘triumphal gate’) and crossed the pomerium, where the general surrendered his command to the Senate in accordance with Roman law.694 (Roman soldiers were generally forbidden from entering the city altogether, but exceptions were made for returning heroes, providing their general surrendered command and they disarmed.) It continued to the southern base of the Capitoline Hill and then the Forum Boarium, along a via triumphalis (‘triumphal way’ or ‘triumphal road/path’) to the Temple of Magna Mater and finally the Temple of Venus and Roma, before doubling back toward the Capitoline Hill by way of the Via Sacra (‘Sacred Way’). After ascending the Capitoline, the procession made its way to the Tabularium, the official records office, where the name of the vir triumphalis was entered into the registry of the triumphators, officially known as the Canon. Once the sacrifice and dedications were completed, the procession and spectators dispersed to banquets, games and other entertainments sponsored by the triumphant general.695

The most important stop along the via triumphalis was arguably the place of the crowning ceremony, which was the Templum Victoriae. This is always called the Temple of Victory in English, but in fact only the genitive singular of the four possible Latin declensions allows for this translation, and this is evidence of the confusion which modern scholars have concerning the mystery rites of the Roman religion—particularly that of apotheosis. If the temple was indeed dedicated to “the goddess Victory,” or even just to victory, then it makes sense to call it the Temple of Victory, but if it was actually a temple for the Victors, as we know it to have been, then it should be called the Temple of the Victors, from the nominative plural declension of victoriae, which would indeed evoke the change of gender from the male victor to the female victoria (and therefore the plural victoriae) in classical Latin.

In any case, it is clear that the Templum Victoriae was initially home to the Magna Mater (‘Great Mother’) cult, as it was used to house the sacred stone of Cybele during and after the Second Punic War, from 204 to 191 BC, while the Temple of Magna Mater was being built in accordance with the Sibylline orders.696 Cato the Elder later built a shrine of Victoria Virgo (the Virgin Victory, or the Victorious Virgin) next to the Templum Victoriae, and this is where the spoils of war from Roman victories were eventually deposited. Titus’ booty from Herod’s Temple was still there when the temple was looted by the Vandals in the 5th century; from there it was taken to Africa,697 a fact which was undoubtedly significant to the Donatists who firmly rejected the supremacy of the Roman pontiffs.

By what we have just explained, the triumphal route formed a sacred triangle (geometric shapes were regarded as sacred in the ancient world, and played a huge part in urban planning and religious ritual) beginning at the Mithraeum, and which stopped at the other two points of the sacred Trinity. Other than the major temples of Cybele and Jupiter, located on the sites of the Mithraeum and the Athenaeum, respectively, the other was the Temple of Venus and Roma next to the Colosseum (or Coliseum). The remains of this temple have been used as the starting point of the Stations of the Cross ceremony since the pontificate of John Paul II, which strongly implies an ancient precedent, if not actually a deliberate appeal to the more archaic form of the syncretic pagan tradition known as Catholicism. The Pope, either personally or through a representative, leads the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, after which a cross is carried to the Colosseum, where the triumphal procession begins on Easter,698 as it has since at least the time of Nero. (Technically, the Colosseum did not exist when Nero rebuilt Rome, but the Colossus of Nero, after which the Colosseum is named, was located on the site of the Temple of Venus and Roma, where the ceremony formally begins on Good Friday.)

Although it was financed with the extremely brutal sack of Jerusalem, and although it was built to pit men against other men and against animals, to the death and for the amusement of the bloodthirsty mob, the same Colosseum which once saw defenseless Christians lathered with blood and flesh to be torn apart by lions is now one of the holiest sites of Christendom. According to the Church, the sanctification of the site is based on the blood of the martyrs, even though Nazarites (and therefore all Christians) were forbidden from approaching death, and this is exactly why Nero defiled the outsides of their bodies when they refused to sacrifice to him, before setting the lions on them. (The Church has since admitted that this claim is unfounded.)699 Thus Yahshuah’s prophecy is fulfilled: “You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets” (Matthew 23:29-32 NASB).

Pope Pius V (1566-72) went so far as to recommend that pilgrims gather sand from the Colosseum as a relic, saying that it was impregnated with the blood of martyrs.700 (Apparently he was oblivious to all the other things the same sand was impregnated with.) This view was popularized by Fioravante Martinelli, who listed the Colosseum at the head of a list of places sacred to the martyrs in his Roma ex ethnica sacra (1653). Martinelli’s book effected public opinion enough that a proposal to turn the Colosseum into a bullring was protested against as an act of desecration.701 The controversy persuaded Pope Clement X (1670-76) to close the external arcades and declare it a sanctuary, though quarrying continued until it was forbidden by Pope Benedict XIV (1740-58), who erected Stations of the Cross around the arena, which remained until February 1874.702 Several 19th century popes funded repair and restoration work on the Colosseum, and it is still central to the Triumph procession of Good Friday and Easter, now called the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross and the Paschal Mass. The Via Crucis is merely the Roman Triumph version of the Stations of the Cross, originally an order of pilgrimage sites along the so-called Via Dolorosa (‘Way of Suffering’ or ‘Way of Sorrows’) in Jerusalem.

It is clear that the religion of the Pharisees was deliberately incorporated into the Roman system upon the Roman annexation of Judea, just as all other regional cults were. The Pantheon of Rome was commissioned during the reign of Augustus, supposedly as a temple consecrated to all the Roman gods, but the gods all had their own temples and shrines; it was actually for the “martyrs” that had been deified by other cultures which were integrated into the Roman Empire, in order for them to have representation in Rome. The precedent was to find a place for these “martyrs” at the Pantheon, and this is where Josephus found employment for himself and his sons when he came to Rome, as the new Roman-appointed High Priest of the Jewish sect in Rome. (It is very likely that Judean Antiquities was written primarily to serve as a record of the “martyrs” of Israel and Judea, both for the Pantheon’s purposes, and to register it into the Canon.) The building was destroyed by fire twice before being rebuilt by Hadrian c. 126 AD.

The Pantheon has been in continuous use throughout its history, and was converted into the official temple of the Catholic triumphators in the 7th century as the Church of Saint Mary and the Martyrs, but better known as Santa Maria della Rotonda. By the year 200 only the Roman clergy actually knew what it was for, so it was not valued nearly as much by the Byzantine emperors as it otherwise would have been.703 The emperor Phocas apparently gave it to Pope Boniface IV in 609,704 making it the most important edifice belonging to the Papacy at the time, and therefore the official seat of the Catholic Church in the West, as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was in the East. This was also the historical basis of the spurious Donation of Constantine, which was invented sometime before the end of the 7th century and used to justify the Roman bishops’ complete break from Constantinople and usurpation of power in the West.

The association between the Roman gods and the Catholic triumphators still worshiped at the Pantheon and throughout the world is self-evident, though few have the eyes to see it. The first niche to the right of the entrance holds a depiction of the Assumption of Mary (once again, Ma Rhea, or Maria, is the Great Mother—Ma means ‘Mother,’ and Rhea is a pre-Hellenic description of Cybele). The second niche has a fresco depicting the Coronation of the Virgin (Victory, or Nike in the Greek pantheon). (Cybele was considered a “virgin,” presumably because her consort was a eunuch, so in Catholic theology, “the virgin” always refers to her. This also ought to inform us about why it was decided in the Middle Ages that priests should be celibate.) On the first niche to the left of the entrance is another Assumption. The first chapel on the left is the Chapel of St. Joseph in the Holy Land, the chapel of the Confraternity of the Virtuosi—men who have been canonized for their work restoring the temples to their former glory after the Church rediscovered some ancient ruins.

In Renaissance depictions of the Assumption of Mary, including the one in the Pantheon, an empty tomb is depicted underneath her. There is no context relating it to the resurrection of Yahshuah, so it is evident that the empty throne of Cybele was substituted for an empty tomb. (So, for example, the cathedra above the altar in St. Peter’s pictured earlier in this chapter may as well be a tomb.) Even if the tomb does represent the resurrection, it is certainly that of Cybele’s consort Attis, the self-castrated dying god who has already been identified in some circles as the Phrygian prototype for the Catholic Jesus. Unlike Cybele herself, Attis was actually depicted on the Temple of Magna Mater next to the vacant throne.705 Certainly this notion would help to explain why elements have been incorporated into the Catholic mystery rites from the cults of both Dionysus and Mithras. Attis is the Phrygian/Roman god of vegetation as well as the origin of the iconic images of Mithras and Sol, so his castration and death are a good barometer for gauging how the Roman patricians decided that eating meat was preferable to eating vegetables. Either way, Cybele’s crown was also set above the throne on her temple’s pediment,706 so there is no doubt that this is the origin of the motif that is now so boldly represented in the chancel of the Basilica of St. Peter.

What concerns us most here is the Coronation of the Virgin. In Latin, this is actually called the corona virginum, or ‘crown of virgins.’ Christians the world over have been hoodwinked into thinking that the Church has devised ridiculous heresies to support an unwarranted devotion to Yahshuah’s mother Miriam, but in fact the devotion and the doctrines have nothing to do with her except as the archetypal reference point in Christianity for the Mother Goddess worship. The “virgins” are those who have been sanctified according to the Church’s standard of “white martyrdom”; the clergy of the classical era were simply too stupid to realize what the term ‘virgins’ means in Scripture, so they thought that their usurpation of the identity of the Elect was appropriate for conferring the triumphators status to themselves. The Bible indicates that the “crown of life” is given to those “virgins” who have chosen life and been consecrated as Nazarites, and whose names are therefore written in the “book of life,” while the Church tells us that the “crown of virgins” (represented in art by a halo, and in real life by an apex/mitre) is awarded to those who have chosen the way of death, in terms of both sacrifice and white martyrdom (which is the same thing, because it is a euphemism for ‘scapegoating’ under the Christians’ atonement doctrine), who have been consecrated as bishops or cardinals, and whose names are written in the Canon of Saints. The Roman clergy do not worship Mary; they worship themselves. And we do not need to expound on this, for whoever has not already realized that Christians (especially Catholics) worship the “saints” has had his eyes shut.

The Coronation ceremony of the present era is called the May Crowning, because it is performed principally at solemnities and feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but especially on May Day, the ancient (pre-Christian) spring feast of Ishtar (or Isis), now written as Easter. The crowning consists of a festival with prayers and hymns, which culminates in the adorning and sometimes the consecration of an idol in the image of the Church’s icon of Mary, formally known as the Blessed Mother (i.e. Magna Mater).

Despite differences in how they are commemorated (one with a ritual slaughter and one without), there is no difference between the “Christian” Passover and the “Jewish” Passover. Likewise, there is only one pascha, and it begins on the 14th of Nisan. The Catholic Mass called Easter is in no sense whatsoever a commemoration of the Passover, and Church doctrines have been created and calendars have been revised specifically to ensure as much, and to differentiate between the two very foreign holidays, even while references to Passover in the New Testament have been deliberately changed to “Easter” in order to convince Christians that the apostles did not observe the Passover, though they clearly did, according to other contemporaneous sources such as the ones we have examined, as well as to the Bible.

The Easter Mass is the focal point of the entire Catholic/Christian religion, being the mystery rite of the passion of the Catholic god Mithras or Sol Invicto. Emperors of the Imperial cult since at least the time of Vespasian associated their coronations as triumphators with becoming the earthly embodiment of Sol, a custom which was undoubtedly instituted by the Sibylline oracle from the establishment of the Magna Mater cult during the Second Punic War. (Nero seems to have considered himself Hercules, as in “Hercules Victor,” as did the later emperor Commodus, but these are the exceptions. All other emperors made the association with Mithras/Sol.) The Colossus of Nero was defaced by Vespasian to render it a statue of Sol, at which point it became known as the Colossus Solis, in keeping with the spirit of the tradition which had made the original Colossus (of Rhodes) a depiction of the sun-god.707 It was moved to the site of the Flavian Amphitheatre (the Colosseum) by Hadrian,708 and that is why the Stations of the Cross ritual begins at the Temple of Venus and Roma (where the Colossus first stood) but stops at the Colosseum before proceeding to the Vatican on Easter morning. The Roman Triumph always began early in the morning, before sunrise (in a highly symbolic association with the rising Sol), and often lasted up to 3 days, even though the procession only moved about 4 km.709 We imagine the throng moved from one temple to the next, stopping for a meal at each location of sacrifice, and that this is why they took so long and why the crowds did not disperse from boredom. Perhaps even more pertinent is the fact that the traditional Easter feast centers around a ham, which was as much a favorite to the Romans as it was an abomination to the Jews.

Concerning the Christian influence of the Triumph, it could not be clearer that the version adopted during the reign of Vespasian was little more than a celebration of Titus’ victory over the Zealots in Judea. So, in one sense, it is a commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem and of Herod’s Temple, but in another, it is a deliberate reinstitution and continuation of it on the sites of the Pantheon and the Capitoline. In this sense, the Catholic Mass is a celebration of the Romans’ victory over Judean nationalism, which, as far as it is a commemoration of Hadrian’s victory two generations later, constitutes a victory over ancient, apostolic Christianity. This will be explained in the next chapter; for now, it suffices to say that Hadrian utterly eradicated the Christian sect and built a new forum and a new temple dedicated to Venus/Aphrodite on what he considered to be the holiest site of the Jewish and Christian religions. (The Romans did not really distinguish between these two religions, and were probably even more afraid of the Christians than the Jews, because anyone could become a Christian, but Judaism did not seek proselytes.) This temple became known as the Church (or Basilica) of the Holy Sepulchre when it was demolished by Constantine in order to reconsecrate it as a much more wondrous edifice befitting the central basilica of the Roman religion.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located within the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Muristan, where Hadrian built his new forum. It is formally venerated as Golgotha, the place where Yahshuah was crucified, and is also said to contain his tomb. (A sepulchre is a tomb hewn from stone.) It has remained the most important destination for Catholic pilgrims since at least the 4th century, as the purported site of Yahshuah’s resurrection.

We know from the Bible (e.g., Hebrews 13:12) that Golgotha and Yahshuah’s tomb are both outside the Old City walls, as was normal for burials across the ancient world, which were regarded as unclean. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on the other hand, is right at the heart of Hadrian’s city, well within the Old City walls. In fact, Hadrian had it built directly west of the old Temple site. Had he decided to build a road right into the Temple Mount complex, the road would have led straight from the Temple of Venus to the site of Herod’s Temple, and the significance of the pilgrimage route would be even more apparent, if that is even possible. In any case, the Christian apologists were well aware of the association with the Capitoline Venus; according to Eusebius,710 the site of the Church had originally been a Christian place of veneration, but Hadrian had deliberately covered these Christian sites with earth, and built his own temple on top, due to his hatred of Christianity. Needless to say, this is neither the simplest nor the most logical inference that could be made, especially considering how easy it is to debunk the notion that the sites are the right locations to begin with, using nothing more than the Bible. Nor is the assertion supported by any archaeological evidence, which unanimously speaks to the contrary.

Constantine ordered that Hadrian’s temple be demolished specifically to exhume the soil,711 as if the tomb had not been there, but he wanted it to be. During the excavation, his mother Helena is predictably alleged to have discovered the “True Cross” (which is actually a term for the sacred relic housed in the Temple of Magna Mater, which the Romans had retrieved from Pergamum half a millennium earlier—Yahshuah, on the other hand, was impaled on a stauros or ‘stake’/pole). She also allegedly discovered a tomb which her henchmen had miraculously carved out of the ground, though Eusebius makes no mention of her presence at the excavation site, nor of the Invention of the Cross, but only the tomb.712

Constantine’s martyrium, i.e. the shrine of the “martyrs,” was built as two connected churches over the two different holy sites: the triportico (atrium) was placed on the alleged Golgotha site, and the rotunda (church/temple of Diana) was built around the room which Helena’s henchmen carved out of the stone and passed off as Yahshuah’s burial site.713 It is clear from archaeological excavations in the 1970s that construction took over most of the site of the earlier enclosure of Hadrian’s temple, and that the triportico and rotunda overlapped with the temple itself.714 That is to say that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was and is, without a doubt, the macellum of Hadrian’s Jerusalem. The only feasible explanation for the choice of location, therefore, in light of the fact that it is in the only place in the world that Scripture rules out as the site of Yahshuah’s death and resurrection (within the Old City of Jerusalem), is that Constantine simply wanted to rebuild Hadrian’s macellum with more splendor, and to rededicate it to the martyrs (which included himself first and foremost as the living embodiment of Sol Invicto) as well as to the Virgin, rather than just the latter. Thus the association with the Pantheon and the need of the Roman bishops to fabricate the Donation of Constantine are already apparent, as Constantine alone, as pontifex maximus, had the authority to move the locations of either of the cult centers.

The destruction of Constantine’s abominable temple was finally ordered by a Fatimid caliph in 1009. This had far-reaching consequences, not the least of which was the Church’s eventual call for a “crusade” to regain its lost revenues. The First Crusade was envisioned as an armed pilgrimage; no crusader could consider his mission complete until he had prayed as a pilgrim at the Holy Sepulchre,715 which really just means until he had had a meal there. (In other words, any crusader who died or abandoned the crusade before capturing Jerusalem was not a martyr and did not receive a plenary indulgence.) Godrey of Bouillon, who became the first crusader King of Jerusalem, never called himself “king,” but declared himself Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri, or Advocate (Protector/Defender) of the Holy Sepulchre. The same site of Hadrian’s forum was also the location of the first hospital of the Knights Hospitaller—hence the name of Muristan, which means ‘hospital.’716 The Hospitallers, and really all crusaders, were nothing more or less than the equestrian order of ancient Rome revisited.

The Via Dolorosa (‘Way of Suffering’ or ‘Way of Sorrows’) is held to be the path that Yahshuah walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion, spanning the 600 meters or so from the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This was the route of the pilgrimage in Jerusalem. 9 of the 14 Stations of the Cross are along the Via Dolorosa; the other 5 are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.717

The Via Dolorosa is the modern remnant of one of the two main east-west routes through Hadrian’s Aelia Capitolina.718 (Hadrian renamed Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina in honor of the Capitoline Triad, and in honor of himself and his family—he was born into the gens Aelia as Publius Aelius Hadrianus.) Standard Roman city design places this thoroughfare in the middle of the city, but the presence of the Temple Mount in this position required a revision to the convention, so the city planners added another east-west road to its north. The equation of the present Via Dolorosa with the biblical crucifixion route is based on the assumption that the praetorium (where Yahshuah was tried and judged by Pontius Pilate) was adjacent to the Antonia Fortress. However, Philo719 and Josephus720 both assert that the Roman governors of Roman Judaea, who governed from Caesarea Maritima on the coast, stayed in Herod’s palace while they were in Jerusalem, carried out their judgments on the pavement immediately outside it, and had those found guilty flogged there. Herod’s palace has recently been rediscovered under a corner of the Jaffa Gate citadel, right where Josephus locates it,721 which necessarily means that the association is false—and it would be absurd to think that the Romans could not locate the site of their own capitol and temple. Furthermore, it is now confirmed by archaeology that prior to Hadrian’s 2nd-century alterations, the area adjacent to the Antonia Fortress was a large open-air pool of water.722 So not only is the alleged crucifixion/burial site of Yahshuah a total and deliberate fraud, but so, too, is the Via Dolorosa. Both are merely celebratory relics of the pagan religion of Hadrian, who persecuted the Christians practically to extinction, and the Church is very well aware of this fact.

The tradition which places the praetorium in the vicinity of the Antonia Fortress was based on the mistaken assumption that an area of Roman flagstones discovered beneath the Church of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross and the Convent of the Sisters of Zion was the pavement which the Bible describes as the location of Pilate’s judgment.723 Archaeological investigation indicates that these slabs of pavement were actually the eastern of the two fori built by Hadrian as part of the construction of Aelia Capitolina.724 That is to say that the crusader pilgrimage (and therefore also the Stations of the Cross) is not only a complete fraud from start to finish, but also a Mass procession from one meat market to another, because there were actually two macella in Aelia Capitolina rather than the standard one.

That the Roman religion which calls itself Christianity is an openly hostile affront both to Mosaic Judaism and apostolic Christianity could not be more obvious in the historical context of the hatred which Hadrian and Constantine both harbored against both sects. Hadrian knew that Jews were forbidden from eating meat without the sanction of the priests, so he deliberately built Imperial shrines on their holy sites (both at Shechem and at Jerusalem), and also the one at Botnah (Mamre).725 This was done out of sheer spite, as Hadrian’s way of making sure that Judaism and apostolic Christianity would never rise again, the way his predecessors had famously poured salt over the plain of Zama after the Romans’ destruction of Carthage. The fact that the Jews in Palestine had already gone over to the side of the Roman apostasy by the time Constantine followed Hadrian’s precedent and rebuilt the meat markets to make them even grander basilicas726 ought to be all we need to know to infer that the moderate Christians had already done the same. A discussion of how this came to be is a discussion of how the Whore vanquished the Brotherhood and coopted its teachings while simultaneously obliterating their meanings.

 

 

 

 


 

 

653 Consider that, as of 6 Mar 2014, the Pope and the Jesuit General have been summoned by the international court in Brussels to answer for centuries of documented child abduction and abuse, and that formal allegations constitute evidence of the continuation of the Molekh rite specifically, as the children are sometimes both immolated and born of the priests’ own sexual liaisons; http://www.examiner.com/article/child-abuse-genocide-charges-mount-on-pope-francis-queen-jesuit-archbishop. Is it any wonder when the Vatican has been continuously run by crypto-Jews since the 16th century, and indirectly or intermittently since well before that?

654 We are supposed to believe that the word ‘pope’ comes from papa as a Latinized version of the Greek πάππας (pappas, ‘father’) rather than from the Latin popa. If this were the case, then the Pope would share his title with every Catholic priest. We cannot even conceive how this could ever be the case, when the majority of the world’s wars have literally been fought over the issue of whether or not he has the authority to claim the most prestigious title of the Roman administration, rather than the second most prestigious (never mind one which is common to every priest).

655 John M. Wilkins & Shaun Hill, Food in the Ancient World, Blackwell, Malden, MA, 2006, p. 147.

656 Ibid., pp. 142-143.

657 Ibid., pp. 145-146.

658 Ibid., pp. 79-80.

659 Ibid., p. 150.

660 Ibid., pp. 143-144.

661 Ibid., p. 153.

662 Technically, the agora was more than just a food market, so the exact equivalent of that would actually be the Roman forum, of which the macellum was a significant part. In modern terms, we might think of a forum as an indoor shopping center, i.e. a mall, but even this does not really convey that people went there to congregate, catch up on current events and just pass the time. When Acts says that Paul and Silas were dragged to the “marketplace” (the agora), it means they were dragged from the macellum to the forum, where the magistrates always had their offices. Indeed, the application of the word ‘mall’ to describe shopping centers comes from the term applied to the plaza of a forum, where the city temples, markets and administrative offices were all located.

663-664 “Macellum,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macellum.

665 “Macellum of Pompeii,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macellum_of_Pompeii#Entrance_and_the_West_Side.

666 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macellum_of_Pompeii#Location.

667 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macellum_of_Pompeii#Courtyard.2C_North_and_South.

668 For more information, see http://www.aggressivechristianity.net/articles/ecclesia.htm and http://www.therealchurch.com/articles/the_word_that_changed_the_world.html.

669 “Tholos (Ancient Rome),” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tholos_%28Ancient_Rome%29.

670 “Macellum of Pompeii,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macellum_of_Pompeii#Central_structure.

671 “Chancel,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancel.

672 “Macellum of Pompeii,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macellum_of_Pompeii#Imperial_cult_room.

673 “Globus cruciger,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globus_cruciger.

674 Contrary to popular belief, the city of Troy was located at Pergamon (modern Bergama), not Hisarlik, which has been touted as Troy since Heinrich Schliemann excavated it in the 19th century and claimed to have dug up the “treasure of Priam,” which archaeologists and historians now universally attribute to another time period. In spite of this, the association has stuck, without any archaeological basis at all. The mistake is understandable, however, as Hisarlik was indeed an important Phrygian city at the time of the Trojan War, called Dardania in the Iliad, and the hero of the Roman founding myth Aeneas was from Dardania, not Troy. However, the Romans had no delusions about where they had come from, however fanciful their accounting of it may have been. They never lost track of their own heritage, and sent embassies to Pergamon at key points in their history, which ultimately led to the formulation of their religion (especially the Magna Mater cult) by way of the Sibylline texts. The acropolis or citadel of Pergamon was called Ilium in the Iliad, whence the name of the book comes. We imagine that the Antipas who is spoken of in Revelation 2:13 as having been killed in Pergamon suffered martyrdom for denouncing the sacrifice to Zeus, as evidenced by what follows (2:14-16): “But I hold a few matters against you, because you have there those who adhere to the teaching of Bilʽam, who taught Balaq to put a stumbling-block before the children of Yisra’ĕl, to eat food offered to idols, and to commit whoring. So you also have those who adhere to the teaching of the Nikolaites, which teaching I hate. Repent, or else I shall come to you speedily and fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”

675 “Cathedra,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedra#Cathedra_Petri.

676 “Mithraic mysteries,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_mysteries#Rituals_and_worship.

677 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_mysteries#The_Mithraeum.

678 “Narthex,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narthex.

679 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narthex#Purpose.

680 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narthex#Note.

681 Rome’s hegemony did not extend as far as Trabzon, so the Romans needed a foreigner to explain things to them. This was a regular feature of the progression of the Roman religion, especially in regards to how foreign cults were integrated into the syncretic cult of the Empire, and especially in that particular part of the world. This matter was taken very seriously, and the Senate itself sent delegations on behalf of the people. The most famous instance of this is the establishment of the Magna Mater cult during the Punic Wars, but it is not a little significant that Rome’s acquisition of the Jewish cult center is the single most important factor in the reforms instituted by Hadrian and consolidated by Constantine, as before Constantine the Imperial cult was just one of many, but by the end of the century of his reign, it was the only one.

682 Contrary to popular opinion, and although there are certainly parallels, celebrity worship is not idolatry. Idols are things that are made by human hands, and celebrities are living persons. We do not mean to say that there is nothing wrong with it, or that there is nothing wrong with placing too much value on material possessions, either—only that these do not constitute idolatry, which is the subject of the passage in question. If a man worshiped his car and started dedicating food to it, then the food would not be unclean of itself, and forbidden, according to Paul—unless, of course, it included meat, because meat is forbidden anyway. That is the point he is trying to relate in the epistle. The only reason it even came up is that it would have been possible for someone to have gone to the market for a reason other than to eat meat, and Christians were so strict about avoiding it that there was evidently a question put to Paul as to whether or not they should avoid the macellum altogether. His answer is in keeping with the policy enacted in Acts 15, whereby no further restrictions are imposed on the Greek converts apart from the basic no-meat rule. The only alternative is that we suppose that he was actually going against it, even though he had been the one that had delivered it to them, and although he even said in Galatians that if anyone including himself brought a different message, then that person was to be cursed. Clearly this is illogical, and our interpretation is established as the author’s true intent.

683 “Apex (headdress),” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apex_%28headdress%29.

684 “Albogalerus,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albogalerus.

This article has been merged with and redirected to the previous one since our original citation. The sources listed on the wiki are “Festus, s.v. albogalerus” and “Gell. x.15.”

685 Protestants may object that any association between the ancient pagan religion of Rome and the modern Christian religion is illegitimate, based on the differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestant Christianity. However, the differences themselves are almost entirely spurious, unlike the associations. It is true that Protestant sects (with the exception of Anglicanism/Episcopalianism) do not have bishops, but it is untrue that they do not have triumphatores. The formal title given to ordained “ministers” of the Protestant sects is ‘reverend,’ which is the literal meaning of the ancient Roman title augustus, itself synonymous with ‘bishop,’ as the augustii were imperatores second in rank only to the caesarii in civil affairs, and to the pontifex maximus in religious affairs. (By the end of the 3rd century, augustus was the higher of these two ranks, as the title was then applied exclusively to the emperors themselves, who appointed caesarii as junior co-emperors. However, this system was also effectively abolished by Constantine, as he and his father were merely caesarii, and after usurping the power of his rivals, he appointed his own sons as caesarii, who more or less filled the roles of consuls, thus establishing a monarchical dynasty in the place of the meritocracy.) The Anglican Church in particular distinguishes between an ordained priest as “reverend” and a bishop as “most reverend.” That is to say that a bishop is regarded by the modern Church as a triumphator. However, in the Protestant sects, this “most reverend” status is informal and really only applies to celebrity ministers and televangelists in America like Joel Osteen, John Hagee, Kenneth Copeland, Billy Graham, Benny Hinn and Rick Warren—which even many mainstream Protestants will intuitively despise, without really understanding why they should.

686 “Mitre,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10404a.htm.

687 “Temple of Hercules Victor,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Hercules_Victor.

688 “Capitoline Triad,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitoline_Triad.

689 “Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Jupiter_Optimus_Maximus.

690 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Jupiter_Optimus_Maximus#Fourth_building.

691 “Roman triumph,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_triumph.

692 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_triumph#Imperial_era.

693-695 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_triumph#The_route.

696-697 “Temple of Victory,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Victory.

698 “Temple of Venus and Roma,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Venus_and_Roma#Today.

699 “Colosseum,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum#Modern.

700-702 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum#Christians_and_the_Colosseum.

703 “Pantheon, Rome,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheon,_Rome#Ancient.

704 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheon,_Rome#Medieval.

705-706 “Temple of Cybele (Palatine),” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Cybele_%28Palatine%29.

707-708 “Colossus of Nero,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_of_Nero#Change_to_Colossus_Solis.

709 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_triumph#The_Procession.

710 Life of Constantine, xxvi.

711 “Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre#Construction.

712 It was the position of Eusebius (Life of Constantine, xxviii), writing after Constantine’s death, that the hollow carved out on the orders of Constantine’s mother was the authentic tomb of Christ, so if the Invention of the Cross had been devised by that time, then he surely would have mentioned it, in the same context as the description of her supposed discovery of the tomb. Indeed, the whole story was just a combination of propaganda and the fantastical rumors that evolved around it, and no one really knows when the Invention of the Cross was added to it. It may have been as late as the Middle Ages. More likely than such a late date, however, is that it was an early invention of the Roman clergy to explain in parable the iconic restitution of the cult of Cybele amidst the ruins of Aelia Capitolina, without which it would have been virtually impossible to establish the cult of Sol Invicto in the place of preeminence which Constantine intended to give it. (Assuming this, it would have been in answer to the preeminence of the Imperial cult, as an attempt by the clergy to legitimize their own authority by falling back on the legends concerning the Magna Mater cult.) As we have said previously, the Senate itself had sent delegations to the oracles for such tasks. If Constantine were to have been justified in his placement of the cult of his own worship ahead of all the others in Rome, he at least needed a precedent (which he had in the original Invention of the Cross during the Second Punic War), if not a miracle (which he had in Rome’s victory over Carthage after the original invention). The question is whether the story was invented during his lifetime, or afterward (by the Roman clergy). Eusebius’ failure to record it strongly supports the latter conclusion. So the most likely time period of the invention of the story of the Invention of the Cross, in our estimation, is that of the fabrication of the Donation of Constantine and the establishment of the Pantheon in Rome as the cult center of Christendom, c. 600-650 AD.

713 In reality, the excavations for the building began almost immediately after the First Council of Nicaea, which demonstrates all too well that Constantine’s intent had everything to do with the location of the site and nothing to do with the subsequent myths attributed to his mother’s visit to the region. It can hardly be coincidence that Macarius, the Roman bishop of Jerusalem, was installed in 312 AD, the same year as Constantine defeated Maxentius and held his triumph in Rome, and which is therefore regarded as the official date of the tolerance of Christianity in the Empire. Macarius, who was already ideologically affiliated with Constantine, was given orders as soon the latter defeated Licinius, to demolish Hadrian’s temple, “when the original surface of the ground appeared, forthwith, contrary to all expectation, the hallowed monument of our Savior’s Resurrection was discovered,” according to Eusebius (Life of Constantine, xxviii). If this is not insulting to the intelligence of the modern reader, then we offer up that Macarius was also given orders to rebuild the pagan shrine at Mamre/Botna, which Hadrian had established specifically to spite devout Jews and Christians. We can only guess what Constantine’s mother was doing there later, but it probably amounted to little more than an Imperial inspection of the progress which the bishop was making with the rather expensive shipments of marble and stone which he had been given for her son’s glorification and deification.

714 “Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre#Connection_to_Temple_of_Aphrodite.

715 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre#Crusader_period.

716 “Muristan,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muristan.

717 “Via Dolorosa,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Dolorosa.

718 Ibid., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Dolorosa#History.

719 Philo, in his typically cryptic form, seems to indicate that the governors used Herod’s Palace as much out of necessity as for any other reason, owing to its use as a stronghold. The remark that Pilate set up some 200 “golden shields” in the Temple, as if simply to anger the mob, for example (On the Embassy to Gaius, xxxviii.299-305), seems to depict the presence of a military garrison, a fact which sheds light on how the golden shields of Solomon depicted in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles ought to be understood, or else it must be in allusion to them, but still referring to the presence of troops. Knowing, then, that the Roman governors kept a bodyguard of hundreds of Roman soldiers with them in the capital while the kingdom was yet independent of Roman rule, and before the major events which provoked the Judeans to violence, it seems obvious that they were both wary of the threats against their persons from the Judean mob, and that they had (and needed) the protection of the monarchy in Jerusalem. If the Romans had already been in control of the city, then the presence of Roman soldiers would have merited no attention, and the Roman governors would have been at liberty to use whatever facilities they would have liked. As it is, however, their choices were extremely limited. The fact that Pilate was even in Jerusalem with the tetrarchs of both Judea and Galilee over the fateful Passover during which Yahshuah was handed over to him demonstrates how he (Yahshuah) chose the most opportune time to make his entrance into the city. See note 724.

720 On the Judean War, ii.8.2-13.

See notes 719 and 724.

721-724 “Antonia Fortress,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonia_Fortress#Site_of_Pilate.27s_Praetorium.3F.

724: Josephus actually implies this distinction with his mention of the “upper marketplace” (e.g., Judean War, ii.14.9; 15.2)—that being the Roman one. The other marketplace evidently deserved no distinction, in Josephus’ mind, as it was already understood as the forum of the Temple Mount. This is where, for instance, Pilate held his tribunal upon becoming Procurator of Judea (Judean War, ii.9.2-3). See note 719.

725 Ze’ev Safrai, The Economy of Roman Palestine, Routledge, 2004, p. 146; retrieved from http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Economy_of_Roman_Palestine.html?id=eW4GDx-7oXYC:

“Jacob” is the accepted symbol for the People of Israel, while “Esau” is the symbol of Rome. Isaac thus tells Jacob that the Jews will also have “fairs”, although it is impossible to know whether they were fairs in the complete sense of the word or simply large regional markets.

The fairs appear in Palestine only after the Bar-Kochba War, and the first mention of “yerid” in Talmudic tradition appears from the Usha period (135-80) and afterwards. The fairs at Botnah and Gaza, for instance, were built by Hadrian and the one at Beth Shean is also mentioned at this time (although it is possible that it was established before). … [T]he historical situation at the time would [make] the Usha period the most likely candidate for the first appearance of the markedly pagan fair in Eretz-Israel.

Until the Usha period the Romans followed a liberal policy of “civilizing” the province of Judaea, without forcing Roman cults upon other populations or without stressing too much the pagan nature of Roman civilization. After the Bar-Kochba War, Roman policy changed as is indicated by the pagan temples built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, at Schechem and at Botnah. It would seem, therefore, that the expansion of pagan fairs, and especially in the rural regions which were formerly Jewish, is connected to this change in Roman policy.

726 Ibid., p. 142:

[A]ccording to the halachah, not only is it forbidden for a Jew to go to a fair, but it is also forbidden to even appear to be going to one: “If a fair is in that city [=polis]—one does not go there or even to the towns nearby, since he would in such a case appear to be going to the fair. This is the opinion of R. Meir [c. 138-180]. The sages say that the prohibition applies only to that city” (T Avodah Zarah 1:5). …

There are traditions which relate that in spite of the many halachot on the matter, Jews did frequent fairs. Thus, for example, it was necessary for Tosefta Avodah Zarah 3(4):19 to state that if someone went to a fair and bought or sold an object, the object was to be destroyed and no benefit could be derived from the money. The way the halachah is phrased is clear proof that Jews did frequent fairs.

Other traditions, particularly from the Amoraic period (third to fourth centuries CE) seem to indicate that the prohibition began to be considered outdated and eventually was ignored … Not only did the people at large begin to participate in these fairs, but even the sages of those times, who did not apparently object to this participation, frequented them themselves.