[NOTE: Some minor formatting errors have occurred in the following post. My apologies for these - although I do not believe they are overly distracting or disruptive.]
CHRIST AND REVELATION:
A Simple Decoding of Some New Testament Symbolism
Copyright © August Hunt 2014 All Rights Reserved
Cover Art Credit: “Golgotha” by Lukasz Matuszek
TO THE MUMMERS
FOR THE RESURRECTION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Note to the Reader 4
Chapter 1 10
Chapter 2 22
Chapter 3 28
Chapter 4 31
Chapter 5 36
Chapter 6 62
A NOTE TO THE READER
Today, there are not any serious scholars of Primitive Christianity who would deny the historicity of Jesus Christ. My own investigation of the problem of Christ’s historical nature has led to the same conclu-sion. The best source for confirmation of the exist-ence of a man called Christ, i.e. yet another in a long string of prophets in the Holy Land, is Chapter 14, Book 44 of Tacitus’s Annals. This passage has in-disputably been ruled original to Tacitus’s text and thus is not, as some once tried to show, a later inter-polation. In this passage, the Roman historian de-scribes Nero’s actions following the Great Fire of Rome in July of 64 A.D.
From the A.J. Church and W.J. Brodribb translation, reprinted in 1942:
“Such indeed were the precautions of human wis-dom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiat-ing the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the god-dess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an or-der. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fas-tened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tor-tures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mis-chievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hide-ous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an ar-rest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when day-light had expired.
“Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who de-served extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”
Horrible as this account may be, it does serve to re-mind us that Christ and the “mischievous supersti-tion” he founded (or embodied) did not go unnoticed by contemporary Romans. While modern Christians continue to insist that Christ is a god, not only this account in Tacitus, but the Gospels and other books of the New Testament prove conclusively that at least originally he was merely a man. The process of divi-nization did not take long, however, and the period following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Ro-mans in 70 A.D. saw the transformation of prophet into a solarized son of Yahweh.
What I would like to do in the following pages is to briefly treat of what I view as the REAL meaning of Christianity, as opposed to the literalist approach which fails utterly to delve into the obvious symbolic nature of the religion. Belief always clouds judg-ment, and so I start from an avowed stance of agnos-ticism. Over the course of my life I have witnessed one after another “authority” offer ridiculous inter-pretations of the Christ story and its culmination in the book of Revelation. These interpretations were based, of course, on a combination of ignorance, sub-jectivism and the inability to critically analyze inten-tionally encrypted texts.
It is my hope that the present slender volume will go a long ways towards addressing these insufficiencies. The fact is that there is really not much that is mys-terious about early Christianity. Sure, generations of Christians and theologians have done their best to hide the original meaning. And they have succeeded so well at their efforts that the underlying meaning of Christianity has been completely forgotten, even among the initiate. In place of this meaning is a monstrosity, a perversion if you will, that has taken on a tragic life of its own. It bears little resemblance to the truth residing beneath the layer of symbolic language. And it has been defended to the death for thousands of years now.
While I do not expect what I’ve written below to change anyone’s mind, and know that it will draw fire from certain quarters (or, more likely, be ig-nored!), I content myself with knowing that those who are more susceptible to reasonable conjecture may find something of value in a balanced presenta-tion of New Testament “cryptography”.
The highest achievement one can hope for in this life is to succeed in being honest – even if it hurts. I have striven to do just that in this little book.
"THEY WERE PUT TO DEATH IN THE FIRST DAYS OF HARVEST": AN OLD TESTAMENT PROTOTYPE FOR THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST
“Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging be-tween heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on... He [Joab] took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak...They took Absa-lom, threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones.”
2 Samuel 18: 9-17
As I’ve mentioned in the “Note to the Reader’, it is common today to accept the historicity of the man Christ. But what to do about the god Christ is an-other matter. Clearly, Primitive Christianity included within its development a heavy mythologizing of its central figure. Everything about the god Christ points to a solar deity and an interpretation of Yah-weh his father as being identical with the Egyptian Amun (see my book THE REAL MOSES AND HIS GOD for the Angel of Yahweh as the storm-cloud manifestation of Amun, who in turn accords very well with the old storm god Amurru/El).
Only in the last few years have astronomers con-firmed the importance to the Christ story of astrolog-ical events. In subsequent chapters I will explore leading theories which definitively link Christ’s birth and death with significant celestial phenomena.
Yet while it became customary from a very early date TO suggest that events in Christ’s life were prefig-ured by Old Testament prophecies, to my knowledge no one has come forth with an examination of some key Old Testament passages dealing with executions by hanging which shed considerable light on the true nature of Christ’s Passover sacrifice.
In the first place, Joshua himself, the traditional leader during the conquest of Canaan, hangs his en-emies. Joshua or ‘Jah[weh] is salvation’, is the He-brew form of the Aramaic name Jesus.
As Jesus was doubtless thought of by some as the promised Messiah, someone who through military might would defeat and expel the Romans, it is ap-propriate that he should bear the same name as the man who first took the land of milk and honey from the Canaanites.
In Joshua 10:1-27, we are told of five kings who hide on Joshua in the Cave of Makkedah after being de-feated in battle. Joshua finds out where they are hidden and has large stones rolled against the mouth of the cave. He then posts guards there. Lat-er he has the stones removed, brings out the five kings, slays them and hangs their bodies from trees. They remain hanging until evening. At sunset he has the kings taken down from the trees and cast in-to the same cave. Again, large stones are rolled against the opening, sealing it.
Now, we immediately recognize some of the parallels between this account of hanging by Joshua and the Crucifixion of Christ. There is the act of hanging it-self, the deposition in a cave (or tomb), the sealing of a cave (or tomb), the guarding of the cave (or tomb). But despite these parallels, the Joshua hanging story does not help us understand the significance of Christ’s Crucifixion. We can only say that the stand-ing still of the sun and moon on the same day just prior to the hiding of the five kings in the cave rec-ords a solstice coupled with a major or minor lunar standstill.
What meaning lies behind the Crucifixion of Christ must be sought in 2 Samuel 21:1-9. These Biblical passages tell the following story: in the days of King David, there was a three-year famine. God tells Da-vid the famine is a punishment for Saul’s putting the Gibeonites the death. Thus to put an end to the fam-ine, David asks the Gibeonites what he can do to ex-piate Saul’s sin. The Gibeonites ask for – and are given! – seven sons of Saul. These seven sons of Saul are impaled on the mountain of God at Gibeon at the beginning of the barley harvest, i.e. Passover. This expiation sacrifice ends the famine.
According to the New Testament accounts, Jesus is given up by the Jews to the Romans for execution. Varying explanations have been given for Christ’s crime, one which necessitated capital punishment. But there can be little doubt that it was his refusal to deny that he was the Messiah which led to his con-demnation in front of Pilate’s court.
As mentioned previously, Messianic expectations were of a military nature. The pro-Roman govern-ment of Palestine, backed by the majority of the priesthood, had no interest in promoting the cause of a self-proclaimed or publicly-appointed Messiah. Quite the contrary! They were doing very well under Roman rule and doubtless understood what would happen if a popular uprising against Rome’s might were allowed to occur. We need only look at what did happen when Palestine later rebelled: hundreds of thousands of Jews were slain or dispersed and their Temple destroyed.
So how were the ruling elite of Palestine, civil and re-ligious, to expiate for their role as fellow Jews in what had come to be viewed as the Messianic mis-sion of Christ? How were they to demonstrate to Rome that they had no intention of supporting the seditious act of crowning a new king of Palestine who would urge the Jewish populace to take up arms against their foreign oppressors?
They accomplished this in an ingenious way: by of-fering Christ up as an expiation sacrifice. Just as the sons of Saul had been given over to the Gibeon-ites to avoid more of the famine, itself a punishment for the transgressions Saul committed against the Gibeonites, so were the government and priesthood of Palestine giving over Christ to the Romans to avoid the destruction that would be issued in by a Messi-ah-inspired rebellion. Both expiation sacrifices were offered up during Passover, because the human vic-tims were substitutes for the paschal lambs. As such they were not only given to the enemies of the Jews, but also to God himself.
During the course of the evolution of primitive Chris-tianity, two things were realized:
1) The promised military Messiah had not come dur-ing Christ’s lifetime. Hence it came to be believed that Christ would come again at some ill-defined moment in the future, this time as a genuine milita-ristic Messiah. According to “The Revelation of St. John”, Christ’s return will happen during the reign of the Roman emperor who is the eighth and the same time one of the seven. Although the number of the Beast (666 or 616; the early MSS. have both readings) is usually taken to be derived from gema-tria and to represent Nero, Caligula or Domitian, the eighth Roman emperor was Vespasian. The 42 months of authority given to the Beast does not match the length of any of the early Roman emper-ors; instead, this time period stands for either the in-terval in which Vespasian was appointed military commander of Judaea in the Autumn of AD 66 to his confirmation as emperor by the Roman senate in the Autumn of 69 or, perhaps, to his arrival in Antioch in the early Spring of 67 to the Fall of Jerusalem un-der his son Titus in September AD 70.
It has long been recognized that Greek Apollyon, He-brew Abaddon, the ‘Destroyer’ of Revelation 9:1-11, is a play on the name Apollo, the Greco-Roman sun god. The Greeks themselves proposed that the name Apollo was derived from a root meaning “to destroy”. This probably occurred to them because Apollo’s ar-rows were the instruments by which he shot plague down upon mankind. But as is usually the case with the code of Revelation, a celestial being often repre-sents an earthly ruler. We know that the first Roman emperor Augustus identified himself with Apollo as harp-player, and Nero followed suit. Nero has often been proposed as the Beast of Revelation. However, in the case of Apollyon/Abaddon, i.e. Apollo, we are specifically told that his monstrous army was given authority to torture the people for five months.
This five month period points to only one relevant figure in the history of Judea from the time of Christ to the composing of Revelation c. 90 A.D.: the Roman emperor Titus, son of Vespasian. According to Seu-tonius, it was at first feared that Titus would be an-other Nero. But this proved not to be the case. Nero appointed Titus legate of the 15th Legion of Apollo, the Legio XV Apollinarus. Under Titus, the siege of Jerusalem began on 14 April A.D. 70 during Passo-ver, and ended with the destruction of the Temple on 10 August of the same year. This is approximately five months and thus in all likelihood is the five months Apollyon/Abaddon/Apollo is given control over the Jews.
Titus’s bore the same name as his father: Titus Fla-vius Vespasianus.
Christ himself, in Matthew 24:34, says to his disci-ples of the imminent fulfillment of Messianic expec-tancies: "Truly I tell you, this generation [i.e. that of the disciples themselves] will not pass away until all these things have taken place." One of these "things", mentioned in Mt. 24:2, is the destruction of the Temple by the Romans under Vespasian. These passages have created tremendous discomfiture among believers, and as an attempted remedy for this problem, the generation mentioned by Christ has been redefined to mean today's current generation. However, the text simply does not bear out this in-terpretation. And, indeed, when Christ cries out in a loud voice (Mt. 27:46) "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (a borrowing from Ps. 22:1), he is plainly expressing his bitterness and despair at not being delivered by God as the chosen Messiah. There is no other way to explain this statement other than that Christ, right up to the moment of his death on the cross, was fully expecting to be saved by divine intervention so that he could play out his Messianic role.
2) The idea that Christ’s sacrifice had been for the benefit of the Romans and the Jewish God could not be condoned. Thus a shift was made in the value at-tached to the Crucifixion. Instead of Christ being of-fered up as an expiation for supposed Jewish sins committed against Rome, his placement on the Cross was an expiation for sin in general and, even more broadly, for all mankind. In the “Golden Legend” of the Middle Ages, we learn that the wood that went into the making of Christ’s Cross had come from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden east of Eden. This identification is brilliant, as it al-lows us to see Christ as the gnosis or ‘knowledge’-fruit being returned to the tree from which it had been plucked by Eve at the bidding of the serpent. It was the fruit of the tree from the garden that had brought sin on mankind. By placing that same fruit back on the tree in the form of an atonement sacri-fice, mankind was cleansed of the earlier sin. Cosmo-logically speaking, the fruit and Christ came to sym-bolize the eternal sun god, whose Resurrection on the morning of the Sun’s Day was a natural corollary to his seasonal death on Passover. For more on Christ as the sun, see the next chapter.
This, as I see it, is essentially what we have now in modern Christianity. The religion is built upon a se-ries of mythologized events thrust upon the original story of Christ and steadfastly perpetuated now for centuries. These mythical elements were invented to prevent the ministry of Christ from being forgotten, and to supply his sacrificial death with a meaning deemed profound and vital for the salvation of the soul. To these elements were bound yet more, all culled from the prevailing wealth of knowledge per-taining to important astrological, agricultural and traditional historical/religious events.
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
Pinpointing the actual date of Jesus Christ has been the goal of many a Biblical scholar through the ages. None of the early attempts to find a good celestial identification of the famous Star of Bethlehem proved successful. But nowadays our search is aided by the use of sophisticated computer astronomy programs. With such programs we can chart the heavens with remarkable detail – including those of Christ’s time.
A summary of the many theories meant to account for the Star of Bethlehem is beyond the purview of this book. I have, however, systemically examined all the most likely candidates. All are wanting when it comes to fulfilling all the necessary conditions de-scribed in the Gospels – except for one.
In 1992, Colin J. Humphrey’s made his case for the Star of Bethleham being the comet of 5 B.C.:
He has been soundly ridiculed for this theory, as most scholars think this is too early a date for Christ’s birth.
However, we do not have to do additional astronomi-cal with our star programs to show that he was cor-rect – at least in so far as he identified Christ’s star with a comet.
Long ago, the brilliant Biblical scholar William F. Al-bright suggested that Bethleham, found in ancient Egyptian as Bit Lahmi, was for the House of Lahmu or Lahamu, an Akkadian deity. As it happens the name Lahmu/Lahamu is from the Akkadian word for
“hairy” or “to be hairy.” This god is always portrayed with a beard and long hair.
Why is this significant?
Because Latin cometa, from Greek (aster) kometes, means literally "long-haired (star)," from kome "hair of the head" (compare koman "let the hair grow long"). Thus the House of Lahmu, the House of the Hairy One, was the place where the Haired Star or comet appeared to the Wise Men.
Humphrey estimates for the birth of Christ a day fall-ing between 9 March and 4 May in 5 B.C. He tenta-tively suggests that we can narrow this range to the Passover period of 13-27 April. However, there is one glaring problem with the 5 B.C. date.
According to Revelation 12:
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was preg-nant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”
A case has been made for this being a description of what could be seen in the sky on September 11, 3 B.C., when Venus, the Sun and the Moon were in Virgo. The problem with the 11 September 3 B.C. configuration is not only does Revelation not refer to a virgin, but there is no comet during this year. This configuration or anything resembling it can also not be found in the year 5 B.C.
Humphreys discusses the comets during the period leading up to and including Christ’s birth. There are only three. One, Halley’s comet, can immediately be discounted, as it appeared in 12 B.C. The 5 B.C. comet we have already mentioned. But there was al-so a comet in 4 B.C. – in April. And when we run the month of April of 4 B.C. on our sky program, we find a celestial event that perfectly matches that de-scribed in Revelation 12.
On the 26th of April, the Sun, Venus and the Moon (just past new) rise very close together in the constel-lation of Taurus. They set in pretty much the same configuration. At the same time, ALL seven of the naked-eye visible planets are strung between Gemini and Aries, with five of them being in Taurus and the remaining two being very close to that sign.
The place on the horizon where the Sun, Moon and Venus set is almost exactly where the head of Hydra sets. Hydra is the Greek water-monster serpent, and in Revelation we are told that the dragon Satan “spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.” By setting, Hydra “pushes” the entire Milky Way into the earth, which sounds remarkably like the stars Satan’s tail is said to fling to the ground.
If the comet of April 4 B.C. was visible on the 26th, then I would have to say that this was our best can-didate for Christ’s birthday.
THE DEATH OF CHRIST
The problem with dating the Crucifixion has always been the period of darkness that covered the land from noon until 3 p.m. It has been natural to as-sume that this denotes a solar eclipse. Unfortunate-ly, none of the days on which the Crucifixion could have occurred experienced a solar eclipse. The near-est one can come is the partial solar eclipse of April 28, 32 A.D.
Solar eclipses, even when total, only last a few minutes. The three hours of darkness does accord quite well with the duration of a lunar eclipse, how-ever. There are two lunar eclipses that need concern us in regard to the possible Crucifixion dates for Christ. One was a partial eclipse on April 3, A.D. 33. The other was a total eclipse on April 14, A.D. 32.
I think there is a simple and rather elegant solution to the darkness interval problem. We can see imme-diately that both a major total lunar eclipse and a partial solar eclipse took place in April of A.D. 32. These two events were only 14 days apart.
What I would propose happened is this: in the course of the transmission of the story over time, initially orally, the two events became confused in memory. The lunar eclipse, whose TD (dynamical time of greatest eclipse or the instant when the axis of the moon’s shadow cone passes closest to earth’s center) was at 11:56:36, and which lasted in its total phase for 100 minutes, in its partial phase for 222.7 minutes and in its penumbral phase for 345.1 minutes, was wrongly identified with the subsequent solar eclipse. In other words, what had originally been a lunar eclipse became through the usual folk-loristic processes a solar eclipse.
It is difficult if not impossible to default to the April 3, A.D. 33 date, despite its partial eclipse. This eclipse would have been barely noticeable from Jeru-salem. Furthermore, to be able to justify transferring an unremarkable eclipse to the day and thus trans-forming it into a solar eclipse, we would need to have a solar eclipse present somewhere around this time. As we’ve seen, such is not the case. I do not feel, therefore, that there are any grounds for dating the Crucifixion to A.D. 33.
CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
In my book “The Real Moses and His God”, I demon-strated how the Hebrew Yahweh had either been identified with or became syncretized to the Egyptian god Amun, especially in the latter’s aspect of the numinous force dwelling within the thunder cloud. Amun himself was the god of the historical prototype of Moses, namely the royal butler Ramessesemperre. Amun himself in this capacity was remarkably simi-lar to the Amorite god Amurru, the god of Abraham, and of the Canaanite El.
It might be surprising to modern Christians to know that what they now think of the Holy Spirit was, originally, nothing more than the storm-cloud mani-festation of Yahweh. Ironically, early Christians DID understand this! For instance, Origen (in his “Homi-lies on Exodus”, 5.1) states that “… what they [the Hebrews] supposed to be a cloud, Paul asserts in the Holy Spirit.” That this statement is true is easily re-vealed by a brief examination of the nature of the Yahweh cloud and a textual comparison of a couple of key passages from the New Testament.
According to the Old Testament, it was the cloud – sometimes poetically referred to as a Pillar of Fire (a perfect description of a towering thunder-head full of lightning) – which guided the Israelites in their wil-derness wanderings:
“Whenever the Cloud lifted above the Tent, the sons of Israel broke camp; whenever the Cloud halted, there the sons of Israel pitched camp. The sons of Is-rael set out at the command of Yahweh, and at his command they pitched camp.” Numbers 9:17-18
The same Cloud covers Mount Sinai during the The-ophany. The Commandments were received by Mo-ses as he stood with Yahweh within the Cloud. For where did Yahwe dwell?
“Darkness he made a veil to surround him, his tent a watery darkness, dense cloud…” 2 Samuel 22:12
“Yahweh has chosen to dwell in thick cloud.” 1 Kings 8:12
The Tabernacle used to house the ark and other cult items was representative of this same cloud-tent.
When we go to the New Testament, we find verses in the Baptism and Transfiguration of Christ that serve very nicely to identify Cloud and Holy Spirit.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, “This is my Son, the Beloved…” Matthew 3:16
“He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud came a voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved…” Matthew 17:5
Other verses in the New Testament add support to the contention that the Holy Spirit is the Cloud. For example, in Luke 1:35 the angel says to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” and “the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.”
During the Transfiguration of Christ, Peter offers to make three tents for Christ, Moses and Elijah. These “tents”, of course, symbolize the cloud of Yahweh in triune form. Jesus goes up the mountain and sees Moses there because Exodus 24:13 says that Moses set out for the mountain of Sinai with Joshua and, as is well known, Jesus is merely the Aramaic form of the Hebrew name Joshua. Jesus’s face shines like the sun during the Transfiguration because Exodus 34:29-35 describes Moses’ face as shining in a fearful manner when he comes down from the mountain af-ter being with God. The transfiguring of Christ has to do with God appointing him as the new lawgiver for the Jews, a successor to Moses. This is the most important event in the life of Christ. Not only did he bear the name of the famous conquerer of Palestine, but from the moment of the Transfiguration on he had supplanted Moses himself as the chief lawgiver of Israel. The stage was set for replacing the Old Covenant with the New.
"THE FATHER AND I ARE ONE": CHRIST AND THE ZODIAC
The zodiacal correspondences found in the ancient Israelite and Primitive Christian religions have been remarked upon before by various authorities. Some of these correspondences are significant, however, and if thoroughly elucidated show beyond doubt that one of the primary characteristics of both religious systems was a highly developed worship of the sun. Theologians may deny this, claiming that solar sym-bolism only is implied. But that the cult of Amun/Yahweh had built into it a strong solar com-ponent (Amun was, after all, also Amun-Re!), and that the prophet Christ was converted into at least a partially solarized divinity is not difficult to demon-strate.
As already mentioned, Jesus bore a name cognate with the Hebrew Joshua. Joshua means ‘Yah[weh] is salvation’. This is an appropriate designation for a hero named after the Midianite version of Amun-Re. A comparable Egyptian name, first appearing in the latter New Kingdom, is Shed-su-Amun, “Amun saves him”. In the Bible, we have Elisha, ‘El saves or has saved’. An Ammonite king Baal-yasha bears a name meaning ‘Baal saves’.
The Twelve Tribes of Israel came together into just such a confederation because the year was composed of twelve solar months, and was marked by twelve zodiacal signs. Such a grouping of tribes honored the god by acknowledging that the sacred astrologi-cal calendar which marked the passing of the sun through the year of twelve divisions was what dictat-ed the agricultural rhythms that provided his wor-shippers with sustenance and thus life itself.
When Joshua and his people camped at Gilgal after crossing the Jordan, they set up twelve stones. As the place-name Gilgal means ‘Circle”, it is possible this story of the setting up of the stones is etiological. However, given the prominence of stone circles in so many places around the Mediterranean and in Eu-rope, it would not be surprising for a circle of twelve stones, representing the twelve zodiac signs, to have been erected at Gilgal as a memorial of the Jordan crossing. It is even conceivable that astronomical sight-lines were built into the stone circle, enabling the monument’s builders to calculate dates and phe-nomena associated with the sacred solar calendar.
Other zodiacal “encoding” is present in the listings of the various twelve-stone groupings, which occur in both the Old and New Testaments. Of these the most significant are the twelve stones of the Yahweh priest’s breastplate and the twelve foundation stones of New Jerusalem. To accord with the twelve tribe division of Israel, Christ is said to have had twelve apostles. Biblical books such as Ezekiel and Revela-tions are replete with zodiacal and other astrological manifestations, all clothed in the veil of religious se-crecy. In the remainder of this study, I intend to briefly investigate these manifestations in an effort to more clearly establish some of the solar underpin-nings of Christianity.
The twelve stones of the breastplate of the Yahweh priest are not the only cultic objects arranged in groups of twelve. In Ex. 24:4 Moses erects 12 pillars of stone with an altar under a hill. Lev. 24.5 men-tions 12 cakes, Num. 7:3 12 oxen, Num. 7:84 12 charges of silver, 12 silver bowls and 12 golden spoons, Num. 7:87 12 bullocks, 12 rams, 12 lambs, 12 kid goats, Num. 17:6 12 rods, Num. 29:17 12 bullocks, etc. In all, the number 12 (or on occasion 12,000) is found 189 times in the Old Testament.
It is the stones of the breastplate, however, which have gotten the most attention – and much of the reason for this is because they seem to have their counterparts in the stones that serve as the founda-tion for New Jerusalem in Revelations. Although the actual arrangement of the stones on the breastplate has been much debated, as has their proper identifi-cation with modern stone names, the order in which they are listed in Ex. 28:17-21 is as follows:
While Hebrew tradition assigns zodiacal values to the 12 tribes, each tribe’s proper association with one of the stones of the breastplate is disputed. In my opin-ion, there is no reason to contend over this, as we need only accept that the Numbers 2 tribal listing matches the order provided for the stones. In Num. 2, we are told that the 12 tribes had assigned direc-tional camp sites arranged around the Tabernacle.
Judah is listed first and is said to be facing east, in-deed toward the sunrise. Given that Judah is the li-on in Hebrew tradition from very early on, and we may safely place Moses and the tribes in the Sinai c. 1100 B.C. (see my piece on Moses as Ramessesem-perre), Judah as the solar tribe of the zodiac constel-lation Leo must be facing the sunrise between 6 July and August 15 Julian (according to my CyberSky program). This is because the sun rises in Leo on the former date and remains in this sign until Au-gust 15.
The description of the 12 tribal encampments around the Tabernacle continues with that of Issachar “next” to Judah in the east and “then” that of Zebulun. The wording of the text makes it plain that Issachar and Zebulun are not flanking Judah, but that instead the list of the tribes, as one would expect, is following the course of the solar year. So we may arrange the 12 tribes in accordance with their zodiac signs and stones thusly:
Judah – Leo - carnelian
Issachar – Virgo - chrysolite
Zebulun – Libra - emerald
Reuben – Scorpio - turquoise
Simeon – Sagittarius - sapphire
Gad – Capricorn - moonstone
Ephraim – Aquarius - jacinth
Mannaseh – Pisces - agate
Benjamin – Aries - amethyst
Dan – Taurus - beryl
Asher – Gemini - onyx
Naphtali – Cancer – jasper
When we get to the New Testament, several lists of the 12 Apostles of Christ are provided. There is a de-gree of uniformity to these lists, allowing for a few differences, i.e. order changes and name substitu-tions. Here they all are, placed side by side for com-parison:
Matt. Mark Luke Acts (1:13)
Simon P. Simon P. Simon P. Simon P.
Andrew James Andrew John
James John James James
John Andrew John Andrew
Philip Philip Philip Philip
Barth. Barth. Barth. Thomas
Thomas Matt. Matt. Barth.
Matt. Thomas Thomas Matt.
James James James James
Thaddeus Thaddeus Simon Z. Simon Z.
Simon C. Simon C. Judas Judas
Judas Is. Judas Is. Judas Is.
As Andrew is the brother of Simon Peter, and James and John are brothers, we can assume that the two lists which pair these two sets of brothers - those of Matthew and Luke - are correct. Except for Acts, which inserts Thomas between Philip and Bartholo-mew, all the Gospels agree in following the two sets of brothers with Philip and Bartholomew.
We may fairly safely equate Simon Zealot of the lists of Luke and Acts with Simon Cananaean of those of Matthew and Mark.
Judas son of James in Luke and Acts is clearly a substitute for the Thaddeus of Matthew and Mark. And, of course, Judas Iscariot in Acts is conspicuous-ly absent.
Thomas is Aramaic for ‘Twin’, in Greek Didymos. We can identify him with Gemini. To determine whether he should precede or follow Matthew, we need to re-member that James and John the sons of Zebedee were nicknamed the ‘sons of thunder’. The rainy season in Israel extends from October to early May, with the heaviest rains falling between December and February. At the time of Christ (c. 30 A.D.), the sign of Aquarius, the Water-bearer, which marked the rainy season, was the house of the sun from late January to early February. I would place James here, with his brother John in Pisces. This would allow Thomas to be Gemini only if Matthew follows Thomas, rather than precedes Thomas, in the Apos-tle list.
I would then create a sort of ‘master list” according to the above-mentioned criteria:
Simon Peter – Sagittarius
Andrew – Capricorn
James – Aquarius
John – Pisces
Philip – Aries
Bartholomew – Taurus
Thomas – Gemini
Matthew – Cancer
James (son of Alphaeus) – Leo
Thaddeus/Judas son of James – Virgo
Simon the Cananaean/Zealot – Libra
Judas Iscariot – Scorpio
Simon Peter, the most important of the Apostles, falls in the sign of Sagittarius, which at the time of Christ was the house of the sun from November 23 Jul-ian/November 21 Gregorian to December 24 Jul-ian/December 22 Gregorian. His name, Simon, is a later form of the Hebrew Simeon, who is the tribe of Sagittarius and the sapphire.
The sapphire is mentioned in Ex. 24:10:
…and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.
And in Ezek. 1:26:
And above the dome over their heads there was something like a throne, in appearance like sap-phire…
Then I looked, and above the dome that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in form resembling a throne.
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, tur-quoise, and emerald…
In Rev. 21:19-20:
The foundations of the wall of the city [of New Jeru-salem] are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agte, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
So according to Biblical tradition, the sapphire, whose color is blue like the sky, was not only what God stood upon, but was also the stone of God’s throne. It is this stone which gives Simon his epithet Peter. The church of Christ is founded upon Simon’s sapphire, the stone of heaven. I might also add that the name 'Rock' "is very common as a metaphor for God in the Hebrew Bible" (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, van der Toorn, Becking, van der Horst). We have seen that Joshua erected a circle of 12 stones at Gilgal to commemorate Israel's cross-ing of the Jordan. As these 12 stones represented not only the 12 Tribes, but the sun Yahweh/Amun-Re as it is found in each of the 12 signs of the Zodi-ac, Simon would be, symbolically, one of these stones.
In concluding this brief examination of some of the zodiacal correspondences to be found in the Bible, and specifically how these relate to Christ and his 12 Apostles, we need to treat of Ezekiel 1:15-25 and var-ious passages in Revelations.
Ezekiel contains the famous description of the four cherubim as composite solar year beasts, making for a four-year calendar cycle. These cherubim have four faces: that of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. These ‘faces’, of course, represent Aquarius, Leo, Taurus and Scorpio, respectively. The various Church Fathers arbitrarily equated the Four Evange-lists with these animals, but the correct identifica-tions can be determined by drawing from the Apostle list I outlined above:
James – Aquarius
Bartholomew – Taurus
James – Leo
Judas – Scorpio
In the time of Ezekiel (c. 600 BC), the four beasts may have represented the equinoxes and solstices, the Hebrew tekufot or 'turning points' (sing. Tekufah). Alternately, they may have represented the Four Jewish New Years (1 Nisan, 1 Elul, 1 Tishri, 15 Shevat), which divided the year into agricultural quarters.
There are yet more references to the zodiac in the last book of the Bible. When we are told about the open-ing of the seven seals, we learn that the first seal is associated with an archer on a white horse. The third seal has a rider on a black horse carrying a set of scales. These are, respectively, Sagittarius and Li-bra, with the second seal’s sword-bearing rider inter-vening as Scorpio. The seven seals thus correspond to seven Zodiac signs, listed in reverse order:
First horseman Sagittarius
Second horseman Scorpio
Third horseman Libra
Fourth horseman Virgo
Souls of martyrs Leo
Day of the Lord Cancer
Silence of Yahweh Gemini
Although the author of Revelations has gone back-wards on the Zodiac, he could have gone forward the same number of signs from Sagittarius and still ar-rived at Gemini.
The seven trumpets and seven bowls appear to have been organized in a similar fashion. Because the second, third, sixth and seventh trumpet and bowl are the same, and the seventh trumpet and bowl rep-resent the arrival of the kingdom of heaven and the end of the world, respectively, we may assume that these symbols also designate Zodiac signs.
The 12 stars composing the crown of the heavenly woman in Revelation represent the 12 zodiacal con-stellations, i.e. Virgo is here being designated the ‘Queen of the Zodiac’. The seven-headed, ten-horned, seven-diademed dragon standing before the woman that later is driven to earth and vomits a river from its mouth has been shown to be the seven-headed constellation Hydra, which indeed lies right alongside Virgo. Of course, the dragon Satan is also merely a symbol for the Roman puppet Herod, who tried to have the Christ child slain. Satan has been misidentified with Lucifer or the Morning Star based on a reading of Isaiah 14:12, which translates the Hebrew phrase helel ben-sahar, "Shining One, son of dawn", as "Bright Star or Day Star", etc. If the Uga-ritic cognate hll is any indication, the word helel should be applied not to Venus, but to a phase of the moon. In any case, the Dragon Satan of Revelation is not Venus, but the Hydra.
Elsewhere in the New Testament, Mary is obviously the triple goddess Venus, the Queen of Heaven in an-cient Near Eastern religious tradition. We find her in this guise in John 19:25 as Mary, mother of Christ, Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.
The name Clopas has been subject to various inter-pretations in several languages. It actually repre-sents an original Greek Klopos, "Thief", a reference to the thieves crucified with Christ on 4 April 32 AD (Julian). On this day, the rise of the sun in Aries at 5:13 is preceded by the rising in Pisces of Mercury at 4:16 and of Venus in Aries at 4:44. It will be remem-bered that Mercury is the Greek Hermes, who had the following epithets:
Pheletes - Thief, Robber
Arkhos Pheleteon - Leader of Robbers/Thieves
Klepsiphron - Deceiver, Dissembler (from the root klepto, 'to steal')
Thus we can say that the "thieves" crucified with Christ were Mercury, while the three Marys at the Cruxifixion were Venus.
Revelation’s ‘four living creatures’ with the four faces (man, lion, ox and eagle) we have just met in Ezekiel. They are the solar beasts who divide the year into quarters. These beasts are accompanied by the 24 elders, who quite obviously stand for the 24 hours of the sacred day.
Finally, we have the tree of life in New Jerusalem, with its twelve fruits.
In addition to this zodiacal symbolism, Revelation’s is replete with other astrological imagery. For exam-ple, the fourth of the seven churches of Asia is linked to the Morning Star, i.e. Venus, which suggests that the churches themselves have planetary correspond-ences. A more thorough study of the New Testament reveals additional cosmological symbolism.
In Rv. 8:10, the great star called Wormwood falls “blazing like a torch” from heaven and turns a third of all rivers and springs to absinthe, a bitter sub-stance made from the plant Artemisia absinthium. It should be noted, however, that the original meaning of Greek apsinthion was merely ‘undrinkable’. Many are said to die from drinking the tainted water.
When reading this account, I was reminded of one of the ancient stories involving the Greek star Seirios, our Sirius:
But when Erigone, the daughter of Icarus, moved by longing for her father, saw he did not retur...n and was on the point of going out to hunt for him, the dog of Icarus, Maera by name, returned to her, howl-ing as if lamenting the death of its master. It gave her no slight suspicion of murder, for the timid girl would naturally suspect her father had been killed since he had been gone so many months and days. But the dog, taking hold of her dress with its teeth, led her to the body. As soon as the girl saw it, aban-doning hope, and overcome with loneliness and pov-erty, with many tearful lamentations she brought death on herself by hanging from the very tree be-neath which her father was buried. And the dog made atonement for her death by its own life. Some say that it cast itself into the well, Anigrus [‘Grieving, Distressing’] by name. For this reason they repeat the story that no one afterward drank from that well. Jupiter [Zeus], pitying their misfortune, represented their forms among the stars. And so many have called Icarus, Boötes, and Erigone, the Virgin, about whom we shall speak later. The dog, however, from its own name and likeness, they have called Canicula [= Sirius]. It is called Procyon by the Greeks, because it rises before the greater Dog.
Now, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a different version of the Anigrus story is told. There the river is rendered undrinkable when the Centaurs wash the wounds inflicted upon them by Herakles. Pausanias in his Description of Greece appears to be Ovid’s source, for he says:
“The Anigrus descends from the mountain Lapithus in Arcadia, and right from its source its water does not smell sweet but actually stinks horribly. Before it receives the tributary Acidas it plainly cannot sup-port fish-life at all. After the rivers unite, the fish that come down into the Anigrus with the water are un-eatable, though before, if they are caught in the Aci-das, they are eatable.
… Some Greeks say that Chiron, others that Pylenor, another Centaur, when shot by Heracles fled wound-ed to this river and washed his hurt in it, and that it was the hydra's poison which gave the Anigrus its nasty smell. Others again attribute the quality of the river to Melampus the son of Amythaon, who threw into it the means he used to purify the daughters of Proetus.”
Thus there were several mythological explanations applied to account for why the water of the Anigrus was so foul. The most interesting, however, is the falling of the Dog Star into the spring from which the river issues. I find this markedly similar to the falling of the Wormwood star and its making bitter, i.e. un-drinkable, the rivers and springs.
In addition, Sirius was known for having a pro-nounced malignant quality by many of the peoples of the Mediterranean and the ancient Near East. Alt-hough for the Egyptians its heliacal rise marked the beginning of the annual inundation of the Nile, for others it marked the ‘Dog Days’ or long, scorching days of summer. It was associated with all the nega-tive effects of excessive heat, including drought and the pestilence that could accompany drought.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states:
‘Sirius, although at the date in question it culminat-ed at an altitude of 41 degrees, may possibly have been thought of as belonging to the "chambers of the south"; otherwise, this spendid object would appear to be ignored in the Bible.’
But it is possible that Sirius does occur in at least one place: in Revelation 8:10.
In the annals of star lore, I've been able to find only two other candidates for the Wormwood Star: first, a comet in the constellation Draco. Richard Hinckley Allen, in his classic "Star Names and Their Mean-ings", mentions the Arabic Alghavil Altannin or 'Poi-sonous Dragon', a designation for Draco. Early as-trologers believed "that when a comet was here poi-son was spread over the world". Hinckley goes on to say that Al Shuja, 'The Snake', was also applied by the Arabians to Draco, "as it was to the Hydra." Giv-en that the Hydra is the celestial aspect of Satan the Dragon in Revelation 12:3-9, it is certainly possible that a comet in Draco the Dragon may be the origin of the falling star Wormwood.
Second, and the best candidate of all, is Halley’s Comet, which showed up in A.D. 66. This was the year that marked the disastrous Jewish Revolt against Rome. In my opinion, the Wormwood star is Halley’s.
The identity of the man who bears a water jug to the house in which Christ and his disciples hold the Passover meal is also worth considering.
In Mark 14:13, Jesus sends two of his disciples to find a house in which they can celebrate the Passo-ver meal. Luke 22:8 adds that the two disciples in question are Peter and John. They are to follow a man bearing a jug of water to the said house.
Given that the Passover and the following Crucifixion of Jesus occurred when the sun had only recently entered the constellation or ‘house’ of Ares, the meaning of this passage is fairly clear. Peter and John were both fishermen; their business, before ac-cepting the ministry of Christ, was fish. The man carrying the water jug is thus the sign or “House” of Aquarius, the Water-Bearer. We have here a splendid arrangement of three consecutive houses of the solar zodiac – Aquarius, Pisces of the Two Fish and that of Ares.
In Matthew 21:18, Jesus comes to a fig tree with leaves, but no fruit. Fig trees in times of drought will, as an energy conservation method, stop producing fruit. Thus having Christ the Sun instantaneously wither the non-producing fig tree is not at all a mira-cle, but an action we would expect from a solar deity. The tree, already subject to the environmental stress-or of receiving insufficient water for a prolonged peri-od of time, succumbs to the unrelenting heat of the sun.
Similarly, the "miracle" of Christ's walking on water can be viewed quite naturalistically. For this, we should note that according to Matthew 14:22-27, Christ was on a mountain in the evening. The disci-ples were in a boat when "early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea." This is a de-scription of the sun setting behind a western moun-tain at dusk, and appearing to 'rise' from the sea at dawn in the east. When the sun has risen just above the level of the water, it appears to be 'standing' or 'walking' on the surface of the sea.
Christ the sun also produces loaves of bread or, ra-ther, the grain used to make bread, creates fish, the ichthys being his own ancient symbol (Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:5-15; Mark 8:1-9, Matthew 15:32-39) and changes water into wine (John 2:1-11), the intoxicating drink of the grape being the province of other dying/resurrecting solar gods like Dionysius/Bacchus.
THE TRUE LOCATION OF CHRIST’S TOMB
Two traditional locations have been proposed as the location of Christ’s tomb: that of the Holy Sepulchre and of the Garden, both in Jerusalem. But neither location takes into account what must otherwise be considered an amazing coincidence: the proximity of Arimathea to Timnath-Serah or Thamna.
According to the testimony of the Gospel of John, “there was a garden in the place where he was cruci-fied, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.” Christ’s deposi-tion here is made to sound merely like convenience: “And so, because it was the Jewish day of Prepara-tion, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” There is nothing here to suggest that the tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea.
Luke echoes John, except that there is no reference to the garden. Mark is even vaguer, in that it men-tions only “a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.” Matthew alone informs us that Joseph laid Christ’s body “in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.”
Most scholars now agree that Arimathea should be identified with Rantis or Ranthis. This site was in Ephraim very near to Timnath-Serah. Timnath-Serah was the burial place of the Old Testament Joshua. Jesus, whose name was the Aramaic form of the Hebrew Joshua, was at first viewed as a sec-ond Joshua who would defeat the Romans and drive them from the Promised Land. As such, I would propose that he was buried in the same place the first Joshua was buried.
Joshua’s tomb itself is situated in two different plac-es. Modern Tibna may be Timnath, and is identified with the latter by Eusebius in his “Onomasticon”. Samaritan tradition insists the site is properly Kafr Haris. Scholars tend to side with Eusebius in favor-ing the former town.
From the “Onomasticon” of Eusebius:
“Armthem Seipha (Sofim). City of Elcana and Samu-el. It is situated (in the region of Thamna) near Di-ospolis. The home of Joseph who was from Arima-thea in the Gospels.
“Gaas. Mountain (in the tribe of Ephaim) where Jos-ue was buried north of it. His (the) monument (of Josue son of Nun) is now pointed out near the village of Thamna.
“Thamna. Where Juda sheared his sheep. A (very) large village remains (is shown) in the boundary of Diospolis midway to Jerusalem. (In) tribe of Dan or Juda.
“Thamnathsara. City of Josue son of Nun located "in the mountain." It is Thamna noted also above in which even now there sepulchre of Josue is pointed out. (In) tribe of Dan.”
Timnath-Serah is also found spelled Timnath-Heres. The change in spelling is deliberate, as Heres (pro-nounced cherec) is the word for sun, making the place-name mean “Portion of the Sun”. The fact that the town was sacred to the sun and that sun-worship undoubtedly took place there had to be eliminated from the record and so the name was changed.
It is my opinion that there is no reason for the inclu-sion of Joseph of Arimathea in the story of the en-tombment of Christ other than as a clue to the actual location of Christ’s tomb. Anyone could have laid Christ in a Jerusalem tomb. Only Joseph could con-vey Christ to Joshua’s tomb at Tibna hard by Rantis. A "resurrection" of Jesus from a tomb at Joshua's "Portion of the Sun" reinforces the association of Je-sus with Yahweh/Amun-Re.