Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jesus and the Essene Calendar

From Biblical data and other ancient sources, it can be firmly deduced that Jesus/Yeshua grew up in the Nazarene brotherhood, as many members of his family. They were called Nazarenes because they took nazarite vow. And thus were also connected with the Essenes, branches of the same Tree, with whom Yeshua might have had some early formation, in spite of not being a strict Essene:

And he came and dwelt in a city [polis, town, community] called Nazareth [1]: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene –Matthew 2:23

What had already been anticipated:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch (netzar) shall grow out of his roots –Isaiah 11:1

The Nazarenes existed even before the Christian era, as pointed by Epiphanius [1] and they were connected to the Sacred Mount Carmel, headquarters of the Prophetic School of the Nazarite Elijah, in Northern Israel. News that were already in circulation among the oldest Christian monastic community, the first Carmelite order founded in such mountain in the XII century.

Now, in this article we have to pay attention to an interesting piece of information:

An apparent contradiction between the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and the Gospel of John inevitably leads to think that Jesus and his disciples celebrated Easter in accord to the Essene Solar calendar, and obviously without lamb, since the Essenes did not eat meat nor make animal sacrifices, considering the latter as a savage and non-spiritual custom, what Daniel called the abomination of desolation (Mt 24:15).

The first in pointing out the possibility of a Last Supper held under an Essene calendar was the French scholar A.Jaubert in her book The Date of the Last Supper (1965), but it did not cause much impact. However, the idea is now gaining support, even by Church scholars, such as the theologian Joseph Ratzinger, who in March 2007, when he was still Pope Benedict XVI, spoke clearly during the Angelus Message. The following passage is an extract of his discourse [5]:

In the narrations of the Evangelists, there is an apparent contradiction between the Gospel of John, on one hand, and what, on the other hand, Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us. According to John, Jesus died on the cross precisely at the moment in which, in the temple, the Passover lambs were being sacrificed. His death and the sacrifice of the lambs coincided. 

This means that he died on the eve of Passover, and that, therefore, he could not have personally celebrated the paschal supper; at least this is what it would seem. 

On the contrary, according to the three Synoptic Evangelists, the last supper of Jesus was a paschal supper, in its traditional form. He introduced the innovation of the gift of his body and blood. This contradiction, until a few years ago, seemed impossible to resolve. 

The majority of the exegetes thought that John did not want to communicate to us the true historical date of the death of Jesus, but had opted for a symbolic date to make the deeper truth more evident: Jesus is the new and true lamb that spilled his blood for us all. 

The discovery of the manuscripts of Qumran has led us to a convincing possible solution that, while not accepted by all, is highly probable. We can now say that what John referred to is historically correct. Jesus truly spilled his blood on the eve of Passover at the hour of the sacrifice of the lambs. 

However, he celebrated Passover with his disciples probably according to the calendar of Qumran, that is to say, at least one day earlier -- he celebrated without a lamb, like the Qumran community who did not recognize the Temple of Herod and was waiting for a new temple. 

Therefore, Jesus celebrated Passover without a lamb, no, not without a lamb: Instead of the lamb he gave himself, his body and his blood.

This and other surprising connections start giving a completely different picture of the beginnings of Christianity, and as time goes by, old dogmatic beliefs will fall apart, leaving way to a more coherent and inspiring vision.
[1] Nazaret does not appear recognized as a city of Ist century. Not even Flavius Josephus, the great historian of the epoch, mentions it, despite making a detailed list of 45 cities of Galilea, including Jafa, which is near the place known today as Nazaret, popularized by Helene, mother of Christianity. Helene gave orders to build an altar in what was regarded as the grotto where Mary received the Anunciation of the Angel Gabriel. And she probably convinced her dear son Constantine to declare romanized Christianity the official religion of the Empire. Unfortunately she forgot to tell him and the official Church, not to massacre the Nazarenes, Ebionites and Donatists that did not think as the Roman Church.

[2] "They [the Nazarenes] do not call themselves Nazarenes either [...] existed before Christ and did not know Christ...were jews by nationality, knew the Law of Moses, but declaredthat the [additional Jewish] custums were fictions instituted by the fathers. This was the difference between the Nazarenes and the other [Nazarene jews]–Epiphanius, Against Heresies / Panarion XIX, 5, 6

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