Part III: Simon Magas Lives on and not Forgotten

Simon Magas Lives on and not Forgotten

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

Returning briefly to the time of Constantine, further information is needful. His huge basilica was built over an area known as Vaticanum where the grave of Simon Magus existed. In those days where a temple was situated became holy ground. Old temples were completely covered over and new ones were built over the old site. However, in this case, the holy place was the tomb of Simon Magas that was of pagan architecture and no visible Christian elements. It also featured shelves on which idols rested. Furthermore, Constantine did not disturb the memorial that covered the grave. Instead, he had the basilica erected over it with the grave directly beneath the high altar. At this point, the bones of Simon Peter and Paul bones were added to the gravesite as discussed in Part II. Also discussed in Part II was the information that Pope Vitalian sent the bones of the apostles, in 656 CE, to King Owsy of Britain.

Moving forward to the 16th century, Constantine’s basilica in Rome had fallen into great disrepair and was demolished. It would take more than a century to complete the construction of its replacement. The new basilica was much larger and grander to the point of majestic. It stands today as St, Peter’s in Vatican City.  During the construction of St. Peter’s, there was no intrusion of the graves under the high altar and they remained accessible.

Simon Magas entered the modern world in 1939 as a result of the death of Pope Pius IV. There was no room for the pope’s interment beneath the church’s central aisle and renovations had to be made. Not long after the pope’s burial, the decision was made to create an underground chapel as part of the renovations. During the excavation, workers uncovered graves from the 3rd and 2nd centuries. As they approached the high alter level, bones that later proved to be from the first century were discovered. The workers believed they found the remains of the apostle, Simon Peter. However, the bones proved to be from the 4th century.

As the excavation continued, the workers discovered a slab covering a grave. They removed the slab expecting to see more bones, but the pit looked empty. The excavation foreman jumped into the pit and found a chamber with four-foot sides and a dirt floor. He cleared enough debris away from a small opening until a large gap was exposed.  He and Monsignor Kass, who was assigned to care for the bones from the excavation, could peer inside. They could see bones and the foreman carefully removed them along with some clinging debris. They placed them in a box for safekeeping. The contents were later described as shreds of purple cloth with gold threads, a few coins, and bones.

We move ahead again several years when this same box was found in a Vatican storeroom and given to Professor Correnti to examine and to evaluate. He noted that the cloth was purple with gold thread; the skeleton was from the first century; the skeleton was complete except for the ankles and feet and that the leg bones had been injured. The professor described the remains as being that of a tall man of heavy stature; about the age of Simon Magus; and further examination showed that the body had been taken from the ground and wrapped in a purple gold-threaded material.

In 1964, the University of Rome compared soil samples from the basilica’s central grave and the courtyard in front of Simon Magus’memorail. The conclusion reached revealed that the soil matched the soil scraped from the bones and was not the type found on Vatican Hill. With that result, it was considered proof that the bones were those of Simon Magas.

 In 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that the bones of St. Peter, the apostle, had been found and identified. He went on to tell about how the bones had been discovered among the ancient structures beneath the basilica. And then, went into the detail of the studies, further declaring their accuracy. The day after announcement, the bones were placed in the empty chamber beneath the high altar. And if that was not enough, the chamber had a small opening where privileged people could see the bones in transparent containers. They saw the bones of Simon Magas. His bones were returned to their intended place beneath the high altar where the pagan Constantine wanted them to be. Remember, the bones of the true apostle Simon Peter had been resting in Britain’s Canterbury Cathedral since 656CE.

Next week:  Part IV: The Catholic Church Accepts Simon Magas’ Teachings.

Sources:

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.

Berry

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts;  Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History.

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9,  12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

Part III

Simon Magas Lives on and not Forgotten

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

Returning briefly to the time of Constantine, further information is needful. His huge basilica was built over an area known as Vaticanum where the grave of Simon Magus existed. In those days where a temple was situated became holy ground. Old temples were completely covered over and new ones were built over the old site. However, in this case, the holy place was the tomb of Simon Magas that was of pagan architecture and no visible Christian elements. It also featured shelves on which idols rested. Furthermore, Constantine did not disturb the memorial that covered the grave. Instead, he had the basilica erected over it with the grave directly beneath the high altar. At this point, the bones of Simon Peter and Paul bones were added to the gravesite as discussed in Part II. Also discussed in Part II was the information that Pope Vitalian sent the bones of the apostles, in 656 CE, to King Owsy of Britain.

Moving forward to the 16th century, Constantine’s basilica in Rome had fallen into great disrepair and was demolished. It would take more than a century to complete the construction of its replacement. The new basilica was much larger and grander to the point of majestic. It stands today as St, Peter’s in Vatican City.  During the construction of St. Peter’s, there was no intrusion of the graves under the high altar and they remained accessible.

Simon Magas entered the modern world in 1939 as a result of the death of Pope Pius IV. There was no room for the pope’s interment beneath the church’s central aisle and renovations had to be made. Not long after the pope’s burial, the decision was made to create an underground chapel as part of the renovations. During the excavation, workers uncovered graves from the 3rd and 2nd centuries. As they approached the high alter level, bones that later proved to be from the first century were discovered. The workers believed they found the remains of the apostle, Simon Peter. However, the bones proved to be from the 4th century.

As the excavation continued, the workers discovered a slab covering a grave. They removed the slab expecting to see more bones, but the pit looked empty. The excavation foreman jumped into the pit and found a chamber with four-foot sides and a dirt floor. He cleared enough debris away from a small opening until a large gap was exposed.  He and Monsignor Kass, who was assigned to care for the bones from the excavation, could peer inside. They could see bones and the foreman carefully removed them along with some clinging debris. They placed them in a box for safekeeping. The contents were later described as shreds of purple cloth with gold threads, a few coins, and bones.

We move ahead again several years when this same box was found in a Vatican storeroom and given to Professor Correnti to examine and to evaluate. He noted that the cloth was purple with gold thread; the skeleton was from the first century; the skeleton was complete except for the ankles and feet and that the leg bones had been injured. The professor described the remains as being that of a tall man of heavy stature; about the age of Simon Magus; and further examination showed that the body had been taken from the ground and wrapped in a purple gold-threaded material.

In 1964, the University of Rome compared soil samples from the basilica’s central grave and the courtyard in front of Simon Magus’memorail. The conclusion reached revealed that the soil matched the soil scraped from the bones and was not the type found on Vatican Hill. With that result, it was considered proof that the bones were those of Simon Magas.

 In 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that the bones of St. Peter, the apostle, had been found and identified. He went on to tell about how the bones had been discovered among the ancient structures beneath the basilica. And then, went into the detail of the studies, further declaring their accuracy. The day after announcement, the bones were placed in the empty chamber beneath the high altar. And if that was not enough, the chamber had a small opening where privileged people could see the bones in transparent containers. They saw the bones of Simon Magas. His bones were returned to their intended place beneath the high altar where the pagan Constantine wanted them to be. Remember, the bones of the true apostle Simon Peter had been resting in Britain’s Canterbury Cathedral since 656CE.

Next week:  Part IV: The Catholic Church Accepts Simon Magas’ Teachings.

Sources:

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.

Berry

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts;  Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History.

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9,  12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

What you might not know about Simon Magus And his creation of the counterfeit-Christion church

Part II

What you might not know about Simon Magus

And his creation of the counterfeit-Christion church

Copyright 2021 by Joan Berry

After Simon Peters’ rebuke as discussed in Part I, Simon Magus went about creating his own church. He fully intended to replace Jesus and mix His teachings with those of his pagan religions. He further created mystical rites, initiation enchantments, and various sacraments that remain to this day, [This topic will be detailed later]. Gnostic religions were common at that time with its mystical and secret rites,

Gnosticism contained just enough of the gospel to attract Christians away from the apostolic church. In Rome, the Christian leaders failed to teach its members the difference between the true church and its counterfeit by Simon Magus. Gnostics also believed in secret knowledge that was forbidden to be shared outside their cult. One of their more restrictive dogmas was that marriage for sexual reproduction was evil and worthless; sexual pleasure was forbidden.

 Parts of all of these religious ideas were combined by Simon Magus to create a universal (catholic) church. Simon Magus claimed to be a Christian, but in reality he was preaching paganism in the name of Christianity. Just as Jesus’ apostles ventured forth to spread the Good News through Asia Minor, Samaria, Palestine, and parts of Europe, Simon Magus adherents also traveled the same routes.

Following is an example of Simon’s power in 42 C.E. when Claudius Caesar was the emperor of the Roman Empire:  In this account, Simon Magus arrived in Rome and demonstrated many of his magical powers for the emperor, who was so impressed that he declared the sorcerer to be a god and had a statue honoring him placed between two bridges on the Tiber River. Simon Magus became a favorite of the emperor as well as his successor, Nero. Furthermore, to show how important the event was, prior to the emperor’s honoring Simon Magus, it was forbidden to erect a statue to any man regarded as a god or celebrating someone of honor.

Meanwhile Simon Peter had been traveling after spending two years in Rome. He remained in Britain for a period of time, and then to Pontus and other Jewish communities, Antioch, and Jerusalem, According to historians, he spent most of his time traveling in European countries and finally returned to Rome in the late years of Nero’s reign as emperor of the Roman Empire. When he arrived in Rome in 67C.E. he found that much of the populace seemed to be acting as if they were under a spell and were rejecting apostolic teaching because Simon Magus had enticed the people with his sorceries. This prompted  Peter to begin preaching against the heresies of Simon Magus.

There are several accounts of how Simon Magus died, but the following account is provable:  The confrontations between the two Simons came to the point that Simon Peter challenged Simon Magus to a test of powers.  The contest took place in front of the forum in the presence of the prefect of Rome and an audience. A kinsman of the prefect had previously died. Simon Magus bragged that he could raise the young man from the dead, but he failed. However, Simon Peter restored the man to life. Every test was met in a success for the apostle. The final test came from Simon Magus who decided to fly above the forum to impress the prefect and be richly rewarded. He jumped from a tower that stood on the hill behind the forum and as he levitated from there, Simon Peter rebuked the evil spirits that were holding him up and Simon crashed to the ground crushing his feet and breaking a leg. He survived the fall, only to have his feet amputated, and died from the poor care by unskilled doctors.

Christians were still being persecuted because they were considered by Nero to be a danger to the empire and he was known to dislike Simon Peter. When the news of Simon Magus’ death and who was responsible for it reached Nero in Greece, he ordered the arrest of Simon Peter who then was held in the Mamertine Prison until Nero’s return. The emperor was well known for his cruelty and not long after his return to Rome, he ordered Peter’s crucifixion in the famed Circus [some of which exists today].

Simon Peter was first buried beside the chariot race track at the Circus until his fellow Christians removed his body and reinterred it near the Triumph Way and built a small church over the grave. Peter’s bones had been placed in a small bronze casket. Around 220 C. E., the church was destroyed and Peter’s bones were once again removed. This time, they were moved to a cemetery on the Appian Way about two miles from Rome. In this place Peter and Paul’s remains shared a grave. Emperor Constantine, to please the populace, removed the bones of Peter and Paul from the Appian Way and placed them in a grave along with the bones of Simon Magus beneath his recently constructed basilica.

Peter and Paul’s remains were removed one more and final time. In 656 C. E., Pope Vitalian determined that the Roman Catholic Church no longer cared about the relics and had them delivered to King Oswy of Britain. The arrival of the relics was recorded along with the letter from the pope. Today, these items remain available in the archives of Canterbury Cathedral.

* *

Part III covers Simon Magus and his influence in the Roman Catholic Church.

Sources

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers

Grudem, W. (1994). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Pub.

Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramatic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

 Josephus: The Complete Works.(1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et  al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

*Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New  King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGraph, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2 : 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9,  12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

.

Part I: What you might not know about Simon Magus

Part I: What you might not know about Simon Magus

Copyright  2021 by Joan Berry

INTRODUCTION

Most of you who come to my page and/or read my books know that I love the Bible, especially the history and spiritual combined. I like to know what was going on at the time that its books were written. It opens the door to much knowledge and better standing of the Scriptures. Sometimes the account of an event is not pretty, but we can learn a lesson from it. The upcoming series deals with an evil man who created a counterfeit church that competes with the true church to this day. The man is Simon Magus, a pagan priest, magician, and sorcerer from Samaria who professed to be a Christian but was not. I am writing the series in the narrative style with sources listed at the end because I believe it makes for smoother reading. My sources are from a variety of Bibles that recorded the events I am writing about; ancient accounts from the historians of that era and beyond; commentaries; and the numerous books listed on the Sources page.

Part I

 Babylon was ideally situated as a port on the Euphrates River and was the capital of Mesopotamia. It was one of the largest cities in the world. Babylonians conquered Samaria and forcibly removed a large number of its populace to Babylon as prisoners of war.  Eventually, the Samaritans were transferred to northern Israel and adjoining countries.  Although the Samaritans were freed from Babylon, they brought their pagan religions with them and combined them with Old Testament Jewish traditions. The Jews were unaccepting of this pairing of religions and considered the Samaritans to be opportunists due to their wishy-washy behavior of pretending to be Jewish when times were good and reverting to being Samaritans when times were not good. Among the Samaritans was the pagan priest and sorcerer Simon Magus, who had a great following in Samaria. He decided he would increase his powers as a sorcerer by combining his idol-worshipping religions with some of the Christian teachings in addition to using demonic powers to perform astonishing miracles for his followers. As Christianity spread through the preaching of the Good News, Simon Magus saw an opportunity to extend his counterfeit religion.

Following the Pentecost (after the resurrection), when the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers in Christ and bestowed special spiritual gifts, Simon was fascinated by the laying-on-of-hands for healing and other miracles. He believed that because he was important in Samaria and worshipped as a living god, he deserved having the apostles’ powers. The custom of buying and selling demonic powers was not uncommon among sorcerers. He thought the apostles would buy and sell powers, too. Furthermore, he not only wanted the spiritual gifts but wanted to become an apostle.

Simon Magus waited until Simon Peter and John arrived in Samaria before he attempted to buy the Christians’ spiritual gifts. The offer was refused with a strong rebuke from Peter who called Simon Magus out as a pagan idol worshiper and not qualified to be an apostle. [Jesus Christ gave the commissions to his apostles who in turn called upon the Lord to help choose Mathis by lot to replace Judas. Not only that requirement, but an apostle had to be a witness to seeing Christ after His resurrection].

 Peter’s rebuke also carried a prophecy about Simon Magus: When Peter said that Simon Magus would be the gall of bitterness, he was telling Simon that he would be held responsible for introducing paganism and its idols into Christianity (See Deut. 29: 16-18; Acts 8). Simon convinced Phillip that he wanted to be baptized as a Christian and Phillip complied. Simon never repented as well as being dishonest about his baptism – it was just a way of gaining membership into the True Church. By 62 CE when Luke wrote the Acts, the entire populace of Samaria had been taught that Simon was truly a Christian and the head of the only true Christians and the apostle to the gentiles. In apocryphal writings, it is written that he is known for his great sorcery, but a corrupt Samaritan.

According to Britannica, “Simon Magus lived during the first century CE. He professed to be a Christian who offered to pay for supernatural powers and transmuting the Holy Spirit. This gave rise to the term ‘Simony’ as the buying and selling sacred or ecclesiastical office. In some early Christian writings, he is identified as the father of post-Christian Gnosticism, a dualistic religious sect advocating salvation through secret knowledge and the archetype heretic of the Christian Church.”

* * *

Copyright 2021 By Joan Berry

Note: Because I am writing a synopsis (summary), you may want to read the starred * reference below. It is the best account on this topic I could find. Very detailed – 58 pages.

Part II of this series to come.

Sources:

A Historical and Spiritual View of the Seven Churches of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. (2019). Berry, J.  ISBN 978-1-79472-2.

Bebe’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. (731). Bebe, priest and, historian. England.

Berry, V. J. (2016). Why Historical Phenomena Instigates Resistance to Female Clergy. ISBN 978-1-365-40463-4.   Berry, J. The Original Love, Learn and Live in Christ. Joan-berry.com

Bible Gateway.com (n.d.). https://w.w.w.biblegateway.com

Carriere, J. (1977). The Gnostics.  E. P. Dutton. New York; NY; Peter Owen Pub.2014.

Cave, W. (1840). The Lives of the Apostles…London, Eng. Oxford by J. Vincent.

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 6). Simon MagusEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Simon-Magus

Duck, Daymond R. (1998).  Revelation: God’s Word for the Biblical Inept. Lancaster PA. Starburst Publishers.

Fletcher, I. V. (1984). The Incredible History of God’s Church . . . Altadena CA. Triumph Publishing Co.

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast. Eugene OR: Harvest House Pub.

Jameson, A. (1857). Sacred and Legendary Art. London Eng.: Longman, Brown, Green Pub.

 Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers

Lujack, G. (n.d.). Simon Magus: Catholicism’s First Pope. catholicism’s-first-pope-1544884.pdf

Martin, E. L. & Keyser, J.D. Simon Magus and the origin of the Catholic Church (n.d.). w.w.w.hope-of-isreal.org

McGraph, Alister. (2011). Christian Theology 5th ed. Kings College. London UK. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Newman, D. (1685). The Lives and Deaths of the Holy Apostles. Ann Arbor MI, London Eng.; University of Michigan microfilm.

Olson, G. (1986). The Apostasy of the Last Century. Nordica S. F. Ltd. Hong Kong, China. 

Rome into 10 Parts; Divisions of the West. (2014).  Amazing Bible Timelines with World History. https://amazingbibletimelinewith world history.com

The Amplified Bible. (1987). Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan House publishers.

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Christian  Theology Reader 4th ed. (2011). McGrath, Alister, ed. Kings College, London UK. Wiley-Blackwell.

Walsh, J. E. (2013). The Bones of St. Peter. Manchester NH. Sophia Institute Press

Bible references:

Acts 8: 9-21; 1: 23-26

II Thess. 2: 7

Matt. 10: 5-6

John 4: 9, 12

Rev. 2: 9; 3: 9; 2: 2; 2:20; 17; 18

I Kings 16: 31 Jezebel

I Kings 12: 28-30

II Kings 17: 24-41

II Chron. 11: 14

Num. 23; 22: 4-5 Peter temple

Deut. 23: 4

What you may not know about Jesus Christ as a Rabbi

Introduction

            This paper is to answer the question as to whether or not Jesus Christ was a rabbi. Some writers claim that the title ‘rabbi’ was not used until the Second Century, well past the era of Jesus. This is not true. In the Second Century, beyond the era of Jesus, there was a reformation movement wherein the title of rabbi was officially made an office in Judaism and was conferred on those religious leaders who met the requirements for their niche in Judaism. This change has confused some writers who were unaware of early Judaism. The word rabbi means teacher and master is used about a rabbi. According to Rabbi Moshe Rothchild (2022), the title of ‘rabbi’ is as old as the Jews have existed. Also, the images put forth that the fishermen and other followers were uneducated is also problematic. However, the focus of this paper is about education and what it takes to be a rabbi and Jesus as a rabbi.

Education of young Jews in the Jesus Era

            The Galilean schools were superior to those in Judea and were known to be of a better quality of morals and ethics. The more famous rabbis received their education in Galilee. The schools were usually conducted in synagogues and due to a shortage of writing materials; most studies of the scriptures were memorized. As a result of the basics of education, followed by memorizing the scriptures, a major part of the population had a good knowledge of the scriptures and a basic education in reading, writing, and mathematics.

            Preschool children were taught the Hebrew alphabet; on the elementary level, they advanced to learning the Hebrew language and the Laws of Moses in the Torah. Children, at age 5 were believed to be old enough to begin their religious education. At age 10, the students began the study of the Meshhak. The males celebrated their bar mitzvah at age 12. (When a boy reached 12 years of age, he was then held responsible for his actions). The male, at age 15, began his study of the Talmud.  The following concerns the male student and his path to becoming a rabbi. Between the ages of 18-20, two things the young man must do: he must marry and he must have a means of support. Also, if the man did not marry, he was forbidden to enter the temple until he could prove he was married. The Jews followed the precept of the first Adam as an example of marriage for rabbis (and Christ as the second Adam).    

Definition and Further requirements for rabbis

The word rabbi means teacher and master is used about a rabbi. According to Rabbi Moshe Rothchild (2022), the title of a rabbi is as old as the Jews have existed. In the era of Jesus Christ, the title was given to religious leaders who met the following requirements. If the future rabbis passed all the requirements and were considered mature at age 30, they were baptized to begin their ministry as ordained rabbis.

Member of the clergy of Judaism,

Leader of synagogues,

Preach and teach,

Gives instruction,

Must be married, and

Teachers must have students (Sanhedrin (43a).

Two kinds of common rabbis in the Jesus Era

There were two main classes of rabbis in the Jesus era: The Tora teacher and the teacher of the Law by clergy. A third class of the rabbis was semikah. Rabbis were often scribes. Jesus was called rabbi 63 times and recognized as a rabbi by five major groups: Sanhedrin, Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians, Gentiles, and his disciples. Those who listened to Jesus’ sermons and discourses commented that he spoke with authority.  When ‘authority’ is spoken referring to a rabbi, it has a special meaning. It meant that Jesus had semikah. To be a semikah rabbi, this group of rabbis had to memorize the Torah, other scriptures, and the Talmud.  At the time of Jesus’ ministry, only a few such rabbis existed and held the authority to give new teachings including parables. ”The Sermon on the Mount “ is an example of new teaching introduced by Jesus.

Jesus as a rabbi

Jesus taught in synagogues regularly and in small villages that did not have a synagogue. It was common for rabbis to travel much like the circuit riders in America to provide religious messages to the Jewish people. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record many of the synagogues and places where Jesus carried out his duties of preaching and teaching. Following is a list of most of them: Capernaum, Nazareth, Galilee, Magdala, Jerusalem, Gamla, Massada  Herodian Fortress, and Herodium Fortress (75 miles south of Jerusalem).

Jesus also had the following of his disciples whom he instructed as they traveled, This custom was carried out because those who wanted to learn under a certain rabbi had to physically follow him from place to place. Also, some Jewish men who aspired to become a rabbi and obeyed the discipline required to that end would travel with a rabbi for further learning and instruction,

Conclusion

            As presented, there should be no doubt about Jesus being an unimpeachable rabbi. According to Jewish religious laws, he met all the requirements not only for a rabbi but being an exceptional semikah rabbi who could introduce new teachings. Of course, there is presently a controversy over whether Jesus was married or not. There are many opinions by researchers and scholars on both sides of the argument. But there is the lingering, very strict Jewish religious law – to be a rabbi, a man had to be married. Scriptures hint at a marriage, but no outright proclamation. Wives were sometimes referred to as companions.

Sources

Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text. (1957). Lamsa, George M. Trans,).  From the Aramaic of the Peshitta.  Harper, San Francisco.

Josephus: The Complete Work. (1998). Whiston, William, Trans.). Nashville TN.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Life Application New Testament Commentary. (2011). Barton, Bruce et al. Wheaton IL. Tyndale Publishers.

Nag Hammadi Scriptures. (2007), New York, NY: HarperCollins.

New King James Study Bible. (2007). Radmacher, Earl D. general editor. Nashville TN. Harper.

Rabbi Moshe Rothchild, The Israel Alliance | Founder & Director

The Apologetics Study Bible: Cristian Standard Bible. (2017). Cabal, Ted, general editor. Nashville TN. Holman Bible Publishers.

The Jewish Nation, Containing an Account of Their Manners and Customers. (1848). London UK. Jewish Nation Publisher

   

The Cup Fallacy

The Cup Fallacy

I recently viewed a program about the search for the chalice (cup) that Mary Magdalene supposedly caught some of the blood of Jesus as He hung on the cross. The cup in this circumstance is folklore that began early on and started appearing in paintings and influencing people to search for it. For those not familiar with symbols, a cup is the sign of enlightenment.  According to Jewish law, blood from a corpse could not be collected. Also, according to the account in the Bible, there were guards around the cross and there is no account of family or friends approaching the cross until Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took possession of the deceased body.  As to enlightenment, Jesus Christ enlightens the world to salvation and the love of God and we do not need a cup for that experience.

Copyright 2022 by Joan Berry