Jesus was NOT the Messiah
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29-10-2014, 03:53 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 03:30 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 03:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The idea that their mysterious, perfect, one and only God could be incarnated in a Christ was unthinkable to them. They couldn’t imagine that their God could die, or that a Christ’s death somehow addressed man’s sins. For them the kingdom of God promised in scripture never was in a hypothetical heaven, but was to be on earth in the here and now.

Here you are pulling shit out youf ass. What ancient sources are you deriving this from? That the Nazarenes believed this? Is it Jerome, Epiphanius? Who?

Both of these sources state that their views where very much the same, except in the particular areas that I mentioned earlier. Even Paul, who is writing in opposition to similar christian groups, states his argument with them was over the role of the ritual laws, and not any other point.

So if you have some ancient sources regarding the beliefs of the Nazarene's beside the ones I mentioned, that present something different, please bring them forward.

Yes, I know I cut out the bulk of your post regarding Paul's view of the law, but I'll return to that later.

RE "Here you are pulling shit out youf ass. What ancient sources are you deriving this from? That the Nazarenes believed this?"

Little Christian boy gets rude when his world is challenged.

You don't understand Judaism.

This is how Paul tried to reinvent Judaism. You really should try to understand this, as it explains the very basis of the cult you're such a fanboy of...

Paul was a salesman with an ambitious agenda. He hoped to sell his interpretation of Judaism to the Roman world. He had a plan to undermine those dangerous messianic Nazarene beliefs that roused rebellion against Roman rule.

He wrote to various groups scattered throughout the Empire, and desperately insisted they believe only his theology. He was so obsessed with snaring converts that little else in his life mattered. In Romans 15:16, he wrote that Gentiles were an offering he would bring to God.
“…that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”

Most of the people he wrote to were Gentiles (pagans) associated with Jewish synagogues, (“God-fearing Gentiles”) although he wrote to some Jews in the Diaspora too. From Paul’s perspective, his patrons were in desperate need of direction and an authoritative, charismatic leader to look up to. He considered himself just the man. He thought he knew how to win the hearts, minds, and souls of people, as he imagined himself as one of the few God fearers (i.e. Jews) who understood Gentile cultures.

Paul’s theology probably had a long and carefully thought out gestation. He knew that to appeal to his customers he needed a product very different to traditional Judaism, which required obedience to cumbersome dictates, and was too anti-Roman.

The Jews believed men had to be circumcised, a painful and embarrassing procedure, not easy to sell to an adult man.

They worshipped Yahweh, who is portrayed in Jewish scripture as a thunderous and violent pro-Jewish anti-Gentile God, and would bow to no one but him.

They had to eat kosher food, could marry only Jewish women, and weren’t allowed to work on the Sabbath.

Jews regarded Jewish heritage and history as superior to others, and all Jews were expected to take part in the fasts and feasts celebrating the ancient epic of Israel.

Many Jews thought they were one day going to be the masters of the world, and they had chips on their shoulders that right now it was Rome, not them, that was in charge. Their messianic dreams were a threat to Roman rule.

Paul knew that Gentiles found all this inconvenient, irksome and out of touch with reality, so he labeled these Jewish rules and beliefs as a type of “slavery.” He had to jettison the old rules, so he did, by reinventing Judaism so that it was more to the Gentile world’s liking.

According to Paul, there was now no need for circumcision or to stop work on the Sabbath.

The dietary kosher rules were out; bacon was on the breakfast menu, with shellfish salad for lunch.

He made the extraordinary claim that to obey the Roman government was to obey God.

He downplayed the importance of the Jewish temple, and replaced the Jews’ hope for a political messiah of their own with Christ, the spiritual savior of all mankind.

He declared Yahweh was such a decent deity he’d sent his own precious son, the Christ, to earth.

The “kingdom of God,” according to Paul, became a place in heaven, not in Israel.

He alleged Gentiles were descendants of Abraham too, and that the centuries-old Jewish Law was a “curse,” and a type of “slavery.”

All that was now required was faith in his claims about Christ. Voilà! The Christ myth and Christian theology were born. Paul was one of history’s first examples of an ambitious cult leader who, when the rules of the established religion were no longer convenient, simply invented new ones to suit himself.

He replaced what he called the “old covenant” of the Jews with his entirely fabricated “new covenant.”

He was trying to reinvent Judaism and dampen down Jewish messianic dreams, bending over backwards to infiltrate the old religion with Gentiles and pro-Roman ideas.

He had no idea he was creating an almost entirely new faith, yet that’s precisely what his writings helped do many years later.
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29-10-2014, 04:11 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 03:53 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 03:30 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Here you are pulling shit out youf ass. What ancient sources are you deriving this from? That the Nazarenes believed this? Is it Jerome, Epiphanius? Who?

Both of these sources state that their views where very much the same, except in the particular areas that I mentioned earlier. Even Paul, who is writing in opposition to similar christian groups, states his argument with them was over the role of the ritual laws, and not any other point.

So if you have some ancient sources regarding the beliefs of the Nazarene's beside the ones I mentioned, that present something different, please bring them forward.

Yes, I know I cut out the bulk of your post regarding Paul's view of the law, but I'll return to that later.

RE "Here you are pulling shit out youf ass. What ancient sources are you deriving this from? That the Nazarenes believed this?"

Little Christian boy gets rude when his world is challenged.

You don't understand Judaism.

This is how Paul tried to reinvent Judaism. You really should try to understand this, as it explains the very basis of the cult you're such a fanboy of...

We're not talking about Paul now. And this is exactly why I avoided responding to your Paul portion of your post, because I had a feeling you were going to try and use Paul to weasel out of supporting your claim as to what the Nazarene Sect believed.

So again, what ancient sources do we have regarding what the Nazarene believed, that support what you claim they did, in contrast to what I stated?

My assumption is that you pulled this out of your ass. Now I want you to take responsibility and admit this much, or prove me wrong, and provide exactly this.
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29-10-2014, 04:29 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 04:11 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 03:53 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  RE "Here you are pulling shit out youf ass. What ancient sources are you deriving this from? That the Nazarenes believed this?"

Little Christian boy gets rude when his world is challenged.

You don't understand Judaism.

This is how Paul tried to reinvent Judaism. You really should try to understand this, as it explains the very basis of the cult you're such a fanboy of...

We're not talking about Paul now. And this is exactly why I avoided responding to your Paul portion of your post, because I had a feeling you were going to try and use Paul to weasel out of supporting your claim as to what the Nazarene Sect believed.

So again, what ancient sources do we have regarding what the Nazarene believed, that support what you claim they did, in contrast to what I stated?

My assumption is that you pulled this out of your ass. Now I want you to take responsibility and admit this much, or prove me wrong, and provide exactly this.

Here are some references and links for you. Please go away for a while and learn. It's so much more interesting talking to someone who knows at least a little about the topic at hand.

Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Klinghoffer, D. 1965 “Why The Jews Rejected Jesus”. Doubleday. United States Of America.
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.
Lockhart, D. 1999 “The Dark Side Of God”. Element Books. Dorset
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4kTNS18ses
http://ia600401.us.archive.org/34/items/...onites.mp3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ebionites
http://douglaslockhart.com/pdf/THE NAZORAEAN SECT.pdf
http://www.yashanet.com/library/nazarene_judaism.html
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/ebionites.html
http://www.yashanet.com/library/temple/nazarenes.htm for the above information.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=b7bn...2C&f=false
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=jVyz...on&f=false
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews
http://www.conorpdowling.com/library/council-of-elvira
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0370Ebionites.php
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...ippus.html
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29-10-2014, 04:48 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 03:40 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 03:36 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Listen grasshopper, I've spent an estimated 15,000 hours researching this shit and have written a book about it.

You obviously had never heard of the Nazarenes (because you thought the term referred to the fact that Jesus was allegedly from Nazareth). You've now spent 10 minutes on Google, and are now telling me what "we" know about the Nazarenes. Like most ignorant people, you just don't know how much you don't know.

So in other words you got nothing, other than you wasted 15,000 hours of your life in order to peddle bullshit?

I might quibble with Mark on a few things, but even his take on a historical Jesus makes far more sense and is better supported than the crap you are trying to pass off here. You claimed that your degree at Patriot Bible University was a joke, and the more you type, the less I am inclined to believe you. Drinking Beverage

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29-10-2014, 05:11 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 04:29 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Here are some references and links for you. Please go away for a while and learn. It's so much more interesting talking to someone who knows at least a little about the topic at hand.

Well since, you just want to provide me links mainly to a bunch of books, and youtube videos. I'm going to go ahead and provide, what I asked of you.

Here's a link to pretty much all the references in the ancient literature, or in other words the primary sources, regarding what Ebionetes/Nazerenes believed:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ebionites_...ch_Fathers

And since you want to accuse me of not learning. I'm just going to sit here and quote Bart Ehrman, from the Lost Christianities, going over what the Ebionites believed:

"One other aspect of the Ebionites’ Christianity that set it apart from that of most other Christian groups was their understanding of who Jesus was. The Ebionites did not subscribe to the notion of Jesus’ preexistence or his virgin birth. These ideas were originally distinct from each other. The two New Testament Gospels that speak of Jesus being conceived of a virgin (Matthew and Luke) do not indicate that he existed prior to his birth, just as the New Testament books that appear to presuppose his preexistence (cf. John 1:1–3, 18; Phil. 2:5–11) never mention his virgin birth. But when all these books came to be included in the New Testament, both notions came to be affirmed simultaneously, so that Jesus was widely thought of as having been with God in eternity past (John, Paul) who became flesh (John) by being born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew and Luke).

Ebionite Christians, however, did not have our New Testament and understood Jesus differently. For them, Jesus was the Son of God not because of his divine nature or virgin birth but because of his “adoption” by God to be his son. This kind of Christology is, accordingly, sometimes called “adoptionist.” To express the matter more fully, the Ebionites believed that Jesus was a real flesh-and-blood human like the rest of us, born as the eldest son of the sexual union of his parents, Joseph and Mary. What set Jesus apart from all other people was that he kept God’s law perfectly and so was the most righteous man on earth. As such, God chose him to be his son and assigned to him a special mission, to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Jesus then went to the cross, not as a punishment for his own sins but for the sins of the world, a perfect sacrifice in fulfillment of all God’s promises to his people, the Jews, in the holy Scriptures. As a sign of his acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice, God then raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him to heaven.

It appears that Ebionite Christians also believed that since Jesus was the perfect, ultimate, final sacrifice for sins, there was no longer any need for the ritual sacrifice of animals. Jewish sacrifices, therefore, were understood to be a temporary and imperfect measure provided by God to atone for sins until the perfect atoning sacrifice should be made."

-Ehrman, Bart D. (2003-10-02). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (Kindle Locations 2182-2185). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
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29-10-2014, 05:35 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 04:48 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 03:40 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  So in other words you got nothing, other than you wasted 15,000 hours of your life in order to peddle bullshit?

I might quibble with Mark on a few things, but even his take on a historical Jesus makes far more sense and is better supported than the crap you are trying to pass off here.

Or in other words, the shit Mark says just sounds so pretty that it gives you a nice little woody.

But the sad truth is the facts on the ground, the primary sources, don't support the crap he's peddling. His ship has sunk, if you want to hop on board with him you can go on right ahead.

Mark's response to Nazareth inscription was a video from James Randi, endorsing a book by a musician named Rene Salm, arguing against the dating done by archaeologists, or in other words a page torn out of Creationism 101 at Patriot University. Just when you thought it could't get any more pathetic, here you are jumping on the same boat.
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29-10-2014, 05:54 AM (This post was last modified: 29-10-2014 07:13 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 05:11 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 04:29 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Here are some references and links for you. Please go away for a while and learn. It's so much more interesting talking to someone who knows at least a little about the topic at hand.

Well since, you just want to provide me links mainly to a bunch of books, and youtube videos. I'm going to go ahead and provide, what I asked of you.

Here's a link to pretty much all the references in the ancient literature, or in other words the primary sources, regarding what Ebionetes/Nazerenes believed:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ebionites_...ch_Fathers

And since you want to accuse me of not learning. I'm just going to sit here and quote Bart Ehrman, from the Lost Christianities, going over what the Ebionites believed:

"One other aspect of the Ebionites’ Christianity that set it apart from that of most other Christian groups was their understanding of who Jesus was. The Ebionites did not subscribe to the notion of Jesus’ preexistence or his virgin birth. These ideas were originally distinct from each other. The two New Testament Gospels that speak of Jesus being conceived of a virgin (Matthew and Luke) do not indicate that he existed prior to his birth, just as the New Testament books that appear to presuppose his preexistence (cf. John 1:1–3, 18; Phil. 2:5–11) never mention his virgin birth. But when all these books came to be included in the New Testament, both notions came to be affirmed simultaneously, so that Jesus was widely thought of as having been with God in eternity past (John, Paul) who became flesh (John) by being born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew and Luke).

Ebionite Christians, however, did not have our New Testament and understood Jesus differently. For them, Jesus was the Son of God not because of his divine nature or virgin birth but because of his “adoption” by God to be his son. This kind of Christology is, accordingly, sometimes called “adoptionist.” To express the matter more fully, the Ebionites believed that Jesus was a real flesh-and-blood human like the rest of us, born as the eldest son of the sexual union of his parents, Joseph and Mary. What set Jesus apart from all other people was that he kept God’s law perfectly and so was the most righteous man on earth. As such, God chose him to be his son and assigned to him a special mission, to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Jesus then went to the cross, not as a punishment for his own sins but for the sins of the world, a perfect sacrifice in fulfillment of all God’s promises to his people, the Jews, in the holy Scriptures. As a sign of his acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice, God then raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him to heaven.

It appears that Ebionite Christians also believed that since Jesus was the perfect, ultimate, final sacrifice for sins, there was no longer any need for the ritual sacrifice of animals. Jewish sacrifices, therefore, were understood to be a temporary and imperfect measure provided by God to atone for sins until the perfect atoning sacrifice should be made."

-Ehrman, Bart D. (2003-10-02). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (Kindle Locations 2182-2185). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The term "Ebionite" is Christian, and dates from the second half of the second century. Christian authors used it (sometimes) to refer to Jewish people who associated themselves with a Jesus. Bart is commenting on what Christian authors said. Those authors were not aware of what any of the people, 150 + years earlier, who associated with Jesus, believed. Nor were they above making things up to promote nonsense about a divine Jeebus.

You need to appreciate that the Nazarenes existed hundreds of years before Christianity was even a twinkle in the Roman government's eye. They were Jews. Not Christians. There's no argument about this. Your Jeebus, if he existed, was one of them.
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29-10-2014, 06:13 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 05:54 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The term "Ebionite" is Christian, and dates from the second half of the second century. Christian authors used it (sometimes) to refer to Jewish people who associated themselves with a Jesus. Bart is commenting on what Christian authors said. Those authors were not aware of what any of the people, 150 + years earlier, who associated with Jesus, believed. Nor were they above making things up to promote nonsense about a divine Jeebus.

But yet some how you know though right? If all we have on what these individuals believed is what other people wrote of them 150+ years later, how do you derive their supposed original beliefs, which you claim was in stark contrast to what these writers had to say about them, as well as what Ehrman had to say about them?

You seem to imply that you have additional primary sources that substantiate your views regarding the beliefs of the Nazarene/Ebionite sect. Do you in fact have this? If so can you please provide these primary sources, so we can evaluate them, to see if your claims about them hold up?

I apologize if I came off a bit too peevish in my previous post, I should respect the fact that you unlike the others have stuck-it-out this long, but the fact that you're not being very forthcoming does rub me the wrong way.
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29-10-2014, 06:16 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 05:35 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 04:48 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  I might quibble with Mark on a few things, but even his take on a historical Jesus makes far more sense and is better supported than the crap you are trying to pass off here.

Or in other words, the shit Mark says just sounds so pretty that it gives you a nice little woody.

But the sad truth is the facts on the ground, the primary sources, don't support the crap he's peddling. His ship has sunk, if you want to hop on board with him you can go on right ahead.

Mark's response to Nazareth inscription was a video from James Randi, endorsing a book by a musician named Rene Salm, arguing against the dating done by archaeologists, or in other words a page torn out of Creationism 101 at Patriot University. Just when you thought it could't get any more pathetic, here you are jumping on the same boat.

Which part of the following do you disagree with?

We know a lot about the political, social and religious climate in Yeshua’s day from sources such as Josephus, Philo and the Dead Sea scrolls. Religion and politics were closely intertwined, because political power was employed using religion.

Jewish identity, both nationalistic and religious, was derived from their fanatical belief in their one and only god, who they imagined had an interest in them and actively intervened in their affairs. Their scripture handed them a history, a set of laws, and a guide to what they could expect in the future. It also propped up the power of priests.

Jews were clearly separate from non-Jewish people (Gentiles or “pagans.”) The Jewish population was spread throughout all parts of Palestine, whereas Gentiles lived in the larger cities such as Caesaria, Sepphoris, Jerusalem, and Tiberias. Gentiles didn’t reside in rural villages, so Yeshua would have had very little contact with them.

The Gospels’ portray Jesus as an early-first-century Galilean rustic. Judaism, being the most important aspect of his identity, would have elevated his life above the everyday humdrum struggle for survival. He would have been circumcised, and proud to be David’s descendant. He would have eaten only kosher food, and kept holy the Sabbath, which meant that every Saturday he didn’t do business. Jews weren’t permitted to cook, clean, entertain guests, feed animals, hunt, or perform a myriad of other minor chores on the Sabbath. He would probably have partaken in the Passover celebrations, which meant an annual trip to Jerusalem. He must have imagined the land of Israel was in part his, as Yahweh had given it to the Jewish people. He would have gone to a local synagogue to talk about the Torah and the prophets’ books with his fellow Jews. He could have considered himself one of God’s chosen, superior to Gentiles. Many Jews didn’t eat with, marry or even mix with pagans if they could avoid it. He may have told his disciples:
“Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6, NJB) and
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 15:24, NJB.)

The first known documents that can be considered “Christian” were Paul’s writings, written at least fifteen plus years after Jesus died, and Paul barely talked about what Jesus said or did. Those documents defined Christian theology, yet Paul’s ideas were unknown to Yeshua.

Many of the basic beliefs of Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Christianity was a brand new religion, and it claimed that the celibate Yahweh somehow had a son who was his equal. It also attempted to undermine the importance of the Jewish Law.

It’s impossible to imagine that Yeshua, a Jewish Galilean peasant, would try to invent a new doctrine such as Christianity. He no doubt discussed the substance of scripture, but wouldn’t have reinvented his basic beliefs.

It’s an undeniable fact that Yeshua was a Jew; never a Christian.
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29-10-2014, 06:32 AM
RE: Jesus was NOT the Messiah
(29-10-2014 06:13 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(29-10-2014 05:54 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The term "Ebionite" is Christian, and dates from the second half of the second century. Christian authors used it (sometimes) to refer to Jewish people who associated themselves with a Jesus. Bart is commenting on what Christian authors said. Those authors were not aware of what any of the people, 150 + years earlier, who associated with Jesus, believed. Nor were they above making things up to promote nonsense about a divine Jeebus.

But yet some how you know though right? If all we have on what these individuals believed is what other people wrote of them 150+ years later, how do you derive their supposed original beliefs, which you claim was in stark contrast to what these writers had to say about them, as well as what Ehrman had to say about them?

You seem to imply that you have additional primary sources that substantiate your views regarding the beliefs of the Nazarene/Ebionite sect. Do you in fact have this? If so can you please provide these primary sources, so we can evaluate them, to see if your claims about them hold up?

I apologize if I came off a bit too peevish in my previous post, I should respect the fact that you unlike the others have stuck-it-out this long, but the fact that you're not being very forthcoming does rub me the wrong way.

Well...if you have an understanding of what what was going on in Palestine in the first century, then foreign, pagan ideas (such as were much later promoted by Christianity) would be just unhistorical. A bit like Osama Bin Laden converting to Christianity. Consider the following...

“The Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections…and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind. The enthusiasm of the Jews was supported by the opinion, that it was unlawful for them to pay taxes to an idolatrous master; and by the flattering promise which they derived from their ancient oracles, that a conquering Messiah would soon arise, destined to break their fetters, and to invest the favorites of heaven with the empire of the earth.”
(Edward Gibbon)

In 37 BCE Herod “the Great” (http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodians/he...at01.html) laid siege to Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish nation, with an army of Roman soldiers, and recaptured it (the Romans had been in control from 63 BCE to 40 BCE.) It took them three months, and Herod began his long reign as king of Judea. The Romans had a policy of appointing locals as leaders by choosing them from the aristocratic families of the countries they conquered, as this helped police the people. So Israel was very much a part of the Empire, and had been for almost 90 years, by the time Yeshua started preaching. It was an important province, particularly as it was en route to Egypt, as Rome was heavily reliant on Egyptian grain.

Herod wanted the people to respect him as king of the Jews, but he lacked credibility, because he wasn’t a pure Jew, as his father was an Idumean, from an area to the south of Judea, (http://www.bible-history.com/geography/a...umea.html) and what’s more, he was a Roman puppet. Herod was paranoid about threats to his rule, and thought anyone of the royal Jewish bloodline was a danger. He had the last of the genuine Jewish kings, Antigonus, executed. He married a royal Jewish princess to prop up his claim to the crown, but, fretting about a challenge to his position, had her, her brother and his own two sons by the marriage executed. The Roman emperor Augustus had good reason to state
“I had sooner be Herod’s swine than his son” (Cecil Roth, A Short History of the Jewish People, 92.)

Herod tried to increase his prestige by undertaking massive building projects. He remodeled the temple in Jerusalem, employing ten thousand workers, and spared no expense. It was twice as large as today’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and was truly magnificent to behold, boasting Corinthian columns, white marble, and plates of gold. It was the nucleus of the nation, and became famous throughout the empire, and all Jerusalem lived in its shadow. Herod also constructed the city port of Caesaria, overlooking the Mediterranean. It had an artificial harbor and an amphitheater that held an audience of twenty thousand.

All his architectural projects were Hellenistic in design, which upset many Jews. They were also put out when he placed a golden eagle, the emblem of Roman rule, over the great gate of the temple. Many common Jews despised Herod. A real king needed to be a true Jew and a descendant of David, not someone smitten with Greek culture who had been installed by Romans. Herod was dictatorial and not particularly perturbed about the plight of poor Jewish peasants. It was only by controlling the country as a police state that he averted open rebellion.

Herod Archelaus, one of his surviving sons, took over as ruler of Galilee, a northern province of Palestine, when his father died in 4 BCE. (http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodians/he...laus.htm). He was such an inept ruler Caesar replaced him after ten years and his brother, Herod Antipas, became the ruler of the region (http://www.livius.org/he-hg/herodians/he...pas.html). This was the man who had John the Baptist beheaded, and who allegedly interrogated Jesus before the crucifixion. Like his father, he was very ambitious. He too married a princess from a royal Jewish bloodline, and continued his father’s grandiose building projects, rebuilding the city of Sepphoris, which was to become the capital of Galilee, eight kilometers from the present day Nazareth. Constructed during Yeshua’s childhood, it’s possible Yeshua and his father and brothers worked there as laborers.

The Herods had to get money for these projects, and money was also needed to support the Roman bureaucracy and army. It came from taxes paid by the already struggling peasants, and was accrued by the infamous tax collectors. Tax was one percent of a man’s income per year, and there were export and import taxes, taxes levied on crops - one tenth of the grain crop and one fifth of that from wine, fruit, and oil. There were taxes payable on the transfer of property, emergency taxes, and others. So anything from twenty to forty percent of the produce of the peasant workforce went into paying tax. A Roman official called a “censor” was responsible for reaping in the revenue, but he often sold the right to collect it to the highest bidders, men who demanded more money than was due and kept the difference for themselves. They commonly took bribes from the rich, so it was the poor people who ended up paying most of the tax, arousing deep resentment.

The Romans had changed the economic status quo in Palestine. Many of the poorer people lost land when it was incorporated into large estates of the upper classes. It was obvious to the farmers and fishermen of Galilee that the richer people, many of whom lived in the largest cities, were exploiting them.

The proud Palestinian people were infuriated that Romans appointed the high priest, their chief religious figure (http://jewishroots.net/library/miscellan...ion.html). It meant the powerful elite families reinforced Roman rule. A modern analogy would be the Catholic world today having a Pope and his cardinals appointed by an Islamic government, or Cubans choosing an American president.

Galilean peasants started skirmishes in 4 BCE, possibly the year Yeshua was born. Josephus relates that Judas, son of Ezekias, gathered together a band of bandits who broke into the royal armory at Sepphoris, and stole weapons and money. Further south at Jericho, 30 kilometers from Jerusalem, another Jew named Simon led a pack who torched the royal palace. A shepherd named Athronges raised a rabble that roamed the countryside for a few months. Soon most of Galilee was in revolt. The Roman army responded with brutal force by marching into Galilee, burning towns and villages, and crucifying anyone resisting Roman rule. Three thousand Jews were massacred. There must have been much terror and many innocent people murdered.
(http://www.josephus.org/causesOfWar.htm). There’s no mention of this violence in the Gospels, yet Mary, Joseph and their families must have been involved, either as participants or observers.

Mary was a young girl vulnerable to rampaging troops. It’s possible Yeshua’s biological father was a Roman soldier. (http://jamestabor.com/2010/10/10/the-jes...ditions/).

Ten years later, in 6 CE, the Roman governor of Syria, Quirinius, undertook a census to work out who should be paying taxes to Rome. This sparked another revolt led by a Galilean, also named Judas, who many imagined was the messiah. Josephus tells the story:
“There was one Judas, a Galilean, of a city whose name was Gamala, who, taking with him Zadok, a Pharisee, became zealous to draw them to a revolt. Both said that this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery, and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty; as if they could procure them happiness and security for what they possessed, and an assured enjoyment of a still greater good, which was that of the honor and glory they would thereby acquire for magnanimity. They also said that God would not otherwise be assisting to them, than upon their joining with one another in such councils as might be successful, and for their own advantage; and this especially, if they would set about great exploits, and not grow weary in executing the same. So men received what they said with pleasure, and this bold attempt proceeded to a great height.” (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.4-6.)

The Romans gathered three legions and four regiments of cavalry, and the movement was quickly and brutally suppressed.
(http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...galilean). Judas’ army was routed and the Romans set fire to Sepphoris. This time two thousand Jews were slaughtered. A young Yeshua may have witnessed the battle from a distance. He might have seen the surviving members of Judas’s army crucified on crosses, and a long line of Jewish widows and their children marched off to slavery in Rome. Many Jews were convinced their God would come to their aid in battles, and he may have been dismayed and disappointed that this didn’t happen.

There’s no mention of this encounter in the Gospels either, as they were written in an era when Jewish nationalism was suppressed. Readers didn’t need to know about the violence and bad feeling of the times.

Despite this decisive defeat, the rebels didn’t discard their dreams, but went underground. Judas’ descendants and others continued to oppose Roman rule for generations afterwards. Josephus named them “Sicarii,” because their favorite weapon was the Roman dagger, or sica.

Most Palestinian Jews, and particularly the poor peasants of Galilee, must have felt degraded and oppressed by Romans, who had impoverished them, and killed or sold into slavery many of their relatives and friends. They had it hard from many directions; suffering under the burdens of landlessness, poverty, taxation and sometimes violent oppression. Some Galileans resented their fellow Jews who had partially assimilated into the Greco-Roman culture. I think Yeshua was one of these disgruntled rustics.

From the Roman perspective, Palestine was an important province by virtue of its position. It was in “the middle of the crescent” of the Middle East, and shared its coastal water with Italy. It was the gateway to the East, a major stop on every trade route from as far away as China, India, Russia and the West. Galilee was considered a parochial backwater, a festering wound that had failed to become peaceful. Palestine wouldn’t have appealed as a port of call for the out posted Roman trooper. It was a hot, dusty desert filled with indignant natives.
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