the Cryptic Gospel
The Origin of Christianity
to "Mark" the Cryptic Gospel
"The Gospel of Mark", is generally considered to be a badly constructed, partial biography of Jesus Christ, with the result that it has little attention paid to it. However it’s importance is conceded by the fact that it is included among the books of the New Testament. Also the priority of "Mark" among the four Gospels is accepted: it was from "Mark" that the other Gospel writers collected material for the basis of their works.
Until recently it was considered that the author of "Mark" was Peter’s interpreter, in as much as he communicated through his Gospel the preaching of Peter. This view has since been superseded by the opinion that "Mark" is nothing more than a collection of material associated with early Christian tradition. For example: parables, miracles, conflict stories and prophecies concerning the end.
It would follow therefore that the author of "Mark" was merely a collector and assembler of such material into an acceptable work of literature and that as such his real identity was of negligible importance.
Regarding the dating of "Mark", Church tradition accepts that it was written for Gentile Christians either during Peter’s ministry in Rome 62 to 64 AD, or following upon his death. Moreover, because "Mark 13" appears to anticipate the Fall of Jerusalem in 70AD it is reasoned that it must have been written before that event. These are the arguments used to date "Mark" to having been written between 62AD and 70AD.
In reality the only definite information pertaining to "Mark" was that it was the first Gospel composed and that it was written in the colloquial Greek of the Alexandrian Jews.
* * *
Jews of Alexandria
Taking this into account "Mark" now favours not Christians, but Jews. And yet not all Jews, for the hidden message within the cryptic Gospel is directed by a Jew of Alexandria specifically towards the Jews of Alexandria, Hellenized Jews. The latter is confirmed by the fact that the version of the Jewish Scriptures quoted in "Mark" is the Greek Septuagint.
The reader may be wondering why the Jews of Alexandria were so deeply immersed in the Greek rather than the Hebrew language at this time. The origins date back to 332BC when, after the conquest of Alexander the Great, many Jews flocked to Alexandria attracted by both the Greek attainments in literature and science, and also the Greek culture. There were two main consequences of this. Firstly, the descendants of these Jews grew up speaking Greek instead of Hebrew. Secondly, these now Greek speaking Jews were failing to adhere to the Torah - the first five books of the Old Testament - and so the necessity for it’s translation into Greek was realized and undertaken. It was this translation which became known as the Greek Septuagint.
A prominent example of a Hellenized Jew is Herod, son of Antipater. Better known today as "Herod the Great" he was procurator of Judaea under Julius Caesar, and king under Augustus. He held with everything that was Greek , but … he was nevertheless a Jew. He was in a perfect position to heal wounds between the Jews and Rome but he chose not to do so. He paid heed only to self interest; it was his ambition to become a great Hellenistic king. Upon coming to power he placed a prohibition on any Jewish politics. He alone ruled , and, through him, Rome. As a result of this political suppression Jewish politics went underground. Secret organizations were set up with a view to gaining Independence for the Jews. Meanwhile Herod surrounded himself with Greeks, including a Greek advisor Nicolas of Damascus, Greek culture and Greek philosophy. To fulfil his ambition of being remembered as a great Hellenistic king he was responsible for the building of Greek temples and amphitheatres, he laid the foundations of new Greek cities and rebuilt ruined ones, and made large financial contributions to the Olympic Games. It is no wonder that he was called "Herod the Great" by the Greeks.
Herod tried to keep the Jews on side by building a theatre and hippodrome in Jerusalem - perhaps he was hoping to Hellenize some of them - but more importantly he undertook to rebuild the Temple. This was met with suspicion, the Jews fearing that once their old Temple (known as the Second Temple and built by the Jews who had returned from Exile in Babylon) was torn down, it would not be rebuilt. To allay these suspicions the Third Temple, known as Herod’s Temple, was built around it. It was only pulled down when the new building was finished!
The pains which Herod took to appease the Jews were negated when on his orders a huge golden eagle was placed above the main gateway to the Temple complex … presumably to pacify Rome. Jews do not tolerate graven images, neither was it to their liking to be reminded of their subjugation by Rome. Consequently when they heard rumours that Herod was dying a band of them tore down the graven image of the eagle, the offensive symbol of Rome. About forty were arrested and burned alive. Herod was later given the title "Herod the Wicked" by the Jews.
* * *
The Author of "Mark"
The key to the cryptic Gospel of "Mark" is the author. To whom then among the influential Jews of Alexandria in the first century AD could be attributed the composition of "Mark", and what was his purpose? The only possible candidate is Philo of Alexandria.
Philo of Alexandria was born in 25BC and died about 40AD.He was an influential Jewish philosopher who is world renowned for his attempt to reconcile the Jewish Scriptures with Greek philosophy. He met with triumphant success in "Mark".
Philo, being himself an Alexandrian Jew, readily perceived, acknowledged and understood the psychological plight suffered by many of his fellow Alexandrian Jews, especially among the youth. They were attracted by the Greek attainments in literature, science and philosophy, they spoke Greek, and, to all intents and purposes they were Greek. Yet still they were Jews. Turmoil and a rending of the soul were experienced; Greek culture and philosophy pulling in one direction, Judaism in the other. The Alexandrian Jews had a choice to make: they could either be torn between the two and be of good to neither, or, to maintain stability in their lives they could forsake the one for the other. All too often Judaism was forsaken.
It was this religious crisis which initiated the composition of "Mark" in which Philo achieved a reconciliation of the Jewish Scriptures with Greek philosophy. A reconciliation was preferable to a complete rejection and abandonment of the One God in favour of pagan practices. Viewed in this light "Mark" is the successful Hellenization of Judaism.
In seeking the means to establish and impart this reconciliation Philo created Jesus as his vehicle. Firstly, Jesus would follow in the literary traditions of Socrates. Secondly, Jesus would be the literary personification of the Logos.
Jesus follows in the literary tradition of Socrates.
Philo considered Socrates to be the literary creation of Plato through whom Plato expressed and conveyed his own philosophical ideas without fear of redress to himself. Plato’s philosophical ideas centred around the nature of the Good, the Ideal State (Atlantis), the Soul and Immortality, and the highest realities of Universal Truth and Universal Justice. Hmmm … I’m beginning to wonder if Plato was a Freemason!
Similarly Jesus would be the literary creation of Philo, through whom Philo could convey his own philosophical ideas.
That Jesus is a literary creation fulfilling the same role as Socrates, as perceived by Philo, is established by the fact that Philo left us a clue, a lead to follow . The partial biography of Jesus as portrayed in "Mark" is based on the life of Socrates as created by Plato. Many readers will be no doubt aware that there are two schools of thought concerning Socrates … firstly, that he was a real person, and secondly, that he was the literary creation of Plato. The debate continues even now. However, what is important is that we remember that Philo considered Socrates to be a literary creation.
Socrates is credited with having lived from 469 to 399BC. He was trained by his father to be a stonecutter but he remained in this profession for only a few years. During military service he showed the capacity to bear suffering with patience and fortitude; he had a strength of mind which enabled him to meet danger and endure pain with calmness. For example, during a spell of severe frost Socrates marched in his bare feet.
His complete control over his physical nature indicated that, symbolically the Charioteer had perfect mastery over his team … Plato maintained that the immaterial soul could be alleged as having three immaterial parts, and that it was this tripartite nature of the soul which caused the conflict within the person. He compared the highest, the rational part, which had a passion for Truth, to a Charioteer. The lowest, which had sensual passions, he compared to an unruly horse who did not obey the Charioteer, with the result that a whip had to be used on him to bring him into line. To complete the team there is a good horse who does obey the Charioteer. Also Socrates considered that the soul, not the body, is the real self and that the outer person is merely a reflection of the inner person. Furthermore he maintained that the righteous soul lived on after the death of the mortal body, but that the soul imbued with evil, with base appetitive desires, would surely perish. Consequently only the wise man is rich. Evils of the soul included Unrighteousness, Immoderation, Greed, Cowardice, Foolishness, Ignorance and Wickedness. Qualities or virtues to be aimed at included Truth, Virtue, Goodness, Beauty and Justice.
On leaving military service Socrates became a teacher. Being able to speak on any subject he led his pupils in many discussions. He used a technique of constant questions to derive a clearer understanding of a topic and often the results were profound. This became known as the Socratic Method of Searching for Truth.
Socrates claimed that he was inspired by a divine spirit, an intermediary being acting between the gods and people. This divine spirit was named Daimon.
The significance of Socrates having been a stonecutter and also inspired, lies in the belief by the Ancient Greeks that stonemasons could never be considered "gentlemen" because working in trade did not allow the relevant leisure time for the cultivation of the mind and body, and participation in the running of the state. Moreover, stonemasons were never considered as having been inspired as were , for example, poets inspired by the Muses. Stonemasons were merely good at their work. Thus only "gentlemen" could participate in the running of state, and only "gentlemen" could be inspired. Plato, through Socrates, was proving them wrong on both accounts. I wonder … was Socrates a speculative as well as an operative mason?
Socrates was the champion of the Oppressed by opposing and making enemies of the Aristocrats and, to a lesser extent, the Sophists, who believed that Right depended upon circumstance ... it being to their advantage.
Socrates proved their belief to be based upon error. He maintained that Universal Truth (Right) is absolute and unchangeable, and therefore by its very nature is not dependent upon Circumstance .Universal Truth is. ("I am that I am.") Universal Truth is Virtue, and the highest form of principles are virtuous principles. Furthermore, in attempting to define Universal Truth, Knowledge is being sought. Thus, declared Socrates, Knowledge is Virtue, and Virtue is Knowledge. In addition Socrates maintained that people shape their own destiny; it is not shaped by the gods. Thus the wealthy are not wealthy, and the poor are not poor by divine right; the Aristocrats are not statesmen and the poor are not oppressed by divine right.
Socrates’ open declaration of the Rights of Man would have been viewed as a signal for revolution, as a signal for social and political reform. The division of people into Oppressed and Oppressors is not virtuous, it is not in accord with Universal Truth. Right certainly does not depend upon circumstance.
As a result Socrates became unpopular with the Aristocrats and Sophists, especially as his popularity and reputation were spreading. His enemies sought to kill him, claiming that he polluted people’s minds with his ideas. His enemies wanted neither a social nor a political revolution, they had too much to lose. A Republic, a society based upon equality was certainly not for them.
Finally Socrates was tried and condemned to death. He died by swallowing hemlock.
To clarify the Socrates - Jesus connection there follows an outline of many of the similarities contained in the gospel of "Mark". This will be followed by a brief summary of Jesus’ life expressed in terms of the Socrates connection.
Socrates - Jesus Connection
Socrates = Light Blue
Jesus = Dark Blue
Socrates was trained by his father to be a stonecutter.
Mark 6 v 3 "Is not this the carpenter…?"
Socrates was inspired by a divine spirit.
M 1 v 10 "And straightway coming out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending on him."
During military service Socrates had the capacity to bear suffering with patience and fortitude. He had a strength of mind which enabled him to meet danger and endure pain with calmness. He had complete control over his physical nature.
Mark 1 v12, 13 "And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered into him."
This is an overture for Jesus’ fortitude and endurance exhibited throughout "Mark".
During a spell of severe frost he marched in his bare feet.
Mark 6 v 48 " ... walking upon the sea "
Socrates maintained that the soul, not the body, is the real self, and that the outer person is merely a reflection of the inner person.
Contrary to popular belief the author of "Mark" ( Philo of Alexandria) does not believe in a physical resurrection of the physical body. This would support the age old claim that the physical resurrection of Jesus was not part of the original "Mark" document; that it was added at a much later date.
That Jesus allowed the Charioteer full control of his soul is reflected in his crucifixion. His bodily, sensual passions, his base appetitive desires, the evils of his soul, were crucified in order that his soul could rise to, and attain, loftier ideals. Ideals for example of Truth Justice, Goodness and Virtue (Mark 5 v 25 -34) . Ideals of Righteousness. In this Jesus showed the way. "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mark 8 v 34) This is the only way that people "may inherit eternal life".(Mark 10 v 17) It is noteworthy that all of the healing episodes in "Mark" can be placed in the category of the crucifixion of the unruly, appetitive, unrighteous lower self, in order that the righteous self may rise.
Socrates maintained that the righteous soul lived on after the death of the mortal body, the immortality of the righteous soul.
Mark 12 v 25 "For when they shall rise from the dead . . . (they) are as the angels which art in heaven."
The soul imbued with evil will surely perish.
Mark 3 v 29 "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation."
On the evils of the soul.
Mark 7 v 1-23 esp. v 20-23 ". . . from within . . . proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within and defile the man."
On the Charioteer, the good and bad horses, and the whip to bring the bad horses into line.
In a sense, Jesus is as the Charioteer, bringing the unruly, the unrighteous, into line by using the metaphorical whip that "the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye . . . (Mark1 v 15) Also Jesus "came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Mark2 v 17)
Socrates believed that only the wise man is rich.
Mark 8 v 36,37 "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world , and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 10 v 17-25 ". . . how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God." (v 24)
On leaving military service Socrates became a teacher.
Mark 1 v 14 Following upon his temptation in the wilderness "after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God."
|An aside: it is interesting
that Jesus does not begin preaching the gospel until after John the
Baptist has been put in prison. In fact, in my analysis of "Mark"
back in 1982 I concluded that excepting the episodes concerning John
the Baptist, the "Gospel of Mark" was not what it appeared.
In other words, the episodes concerning John the Baptist are historically
accurate. Philo of Alexandria used the historical backdrop of John the
Baptist to lend credence to "Mark". More importantly it is
an historical marker which sets the time of the literary events in "Mark".
Socrates led his pupils in many discussions, often using a technique of constant questions to derive a clearer understanding. This was called The Socratic Method of Searching for Truth.
Mark 3 v 4 "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?
Mark 4 v 21 "Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? And not to be set on a candle stick?"
Mark 12 v 14-16 ". . . we know that thou . . . teachest the way of God in Truth: is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, Why tempt ye me? Bring me a penny that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s."
Often the results are profound.
Mark 12 v 17 "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s."
Mark 4 v 22 "For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad."
On the oppressors and the oppressed.
The oppressors in "Mark" were the Romans. The oppressed were the Jews.
Socrates opposed the Sophists and the Aristocrats.
Mark 3 v 5 Jesus opposed the Pharisees, Scribes and Herodians "for the hardness of their hearts."
Mark 13 v 14 "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not . . ."
Socrates' reputation spread.
Mark 1 v 21 to Mark 3 v 30 For example: ". . . and a great multitude from Galilee followed him , and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude . . ." (Mark 3 v 7-8)
Socrates' enemies sought to kill him.
Mark 3 v 6 "And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him."
Mark 14 v 1 " . . . and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death."
Socrates was tried.
Mark 14 v 53-63 Jesus was tried.
Socrates was condemned to death.
Mark 14 v 64 "... and they all condemned him to be guilty"
summary of Jesus in terms of
the Socrates connection.
Jesus was trained to be a carpenter. However he remained in this profession for only a few years because immediately following his baptism by John, the Spirit descended upon him, and he was driven into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan.
Jesus had the capacity to bear suffering with patience and fortitude. He had a strength of mind which enabled him to meet danger, and endure pain, with calmness. He had complete control over his physical nature.
Following his temptation in the wilderness, and after John the Baptist had been imprisoned, Jesus became a teacher. His pupils were not only his disciples but also the populace at large.
He opposed the Pharisees, Scribes and Herodians for the hardness of their hearts. He was a champion of the oppressed .
As Jesus’ reputation spread his enemies sought to kill him. He was tried and condemned. He was crucified.
That Jesus allowed the Charioteer full control of his soul is reflected in his crucifixion. His bodily, sensual passions, his base appetitive desires, were crucified so that his soul could rise to, and attain, loftier ideals. Ideals, for example, of Truth, Justice, Goodness and Virtue … ideals of Righteousness. The soul, not the body, is the real self. It is the righteous soul which lives on after the death of the mortal body. The soul imbued with evil is in danger of eternal damnation. Jesus believed that only the wise are rich, for what shall it profit people if they gain the whole world and lose their souls.
Jesus as the literary personification of the Logos.
The concept of the Logos was not new to either the Greeks or the Jews. Originally the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras invented the word "Nous", literally meaning mind or intellect, to define the organizing principle separate from matter. Plato defined the bridge between the gods and the material world as the immaterial world of Ideas, an exemplar for the material world. The Jews termed this same principle "The Word" … it was the bridge between their God and their people. "The Word" was the Light, the Truth and the Law. This is evidenced in, for example, "O send out thy light and thy truth" (Psalm 43 v 3) and "…the law is my light" (Proverbs 6 v 23). The "Logos" was the invention of Philo of Alexandria, and in it he reconciled the "Nous" of the Greeks and "The Word" of the Jews. The Logos literally means Word, but it is defined as an intermediary between God and the world of matter, which includes people. In the Logos, the Greek and Jewish elements were satisfied.
In "Mark" the Logos was personified. Philo gave the principle of the Logos human characteristics and portrayed it as an intermediary being acting as a bridge between God and his people. Philo created the literary Jesus as the personification of the Logos. The Logos is the image of God, the shadow of God, the exemplar of creation. The Logos is the angel of God, the messenger of God, the first-born of God. The Logos is the Son of God.
The reconciliation of the Jewish Scriptures with Greek philosophy for the Jews of Alexandria, Hellenized Jews, was the sole purpose which initiated Philo’s composition of "Mark". It was a new philosophy, a new way, a new testament. It was Hellenized Judaism.
* * *
Dating "Mark" the Cryptic Gospel
To help date "Mark" it is important to realize that Philo was following in the literary tradition of "Daniel", which is an example of apocalyptic literature. Characteristics of the apocalyptic literary style include: writing under a pseudonym, esoteric teachings or secret messages, the intervention of a mediator between God and the Jews, the use of metaphor and allegory, and disturbances in the Cosmos. The book of "Daniel" is not what it appears , the events portrayed did not take place during the Babylonian Exile … in fact they did not take place. The Book of Daniel is a vehicle for a hidden or secret message. The author was a Jewish prophet, writing under the pseudonym of Daniel, commenting upon the current situation leading up to the Maccabaean Rebellion of 167-164BC. He was preaching at this time of severe religious crisis to give the Jews hope of deliverance from oppression … if they remained steadfast in their faith in God. The purpose of the cryptic "Daniel" is best realized in terms of the book of "Daniel" falling into enemy hands: it would be misunderstood, the secret message would remain … secret.
And so the significance for "Mark" begins to dawn. "Mark" is not what it appears. The events recorded did not take place during the reign of Tiberius. In fact, except for possibly the events concerning John the Baptist, they did not take place. "Mark" is esoteric literature, a vehicle for a hidden message. The author of "Mark" was a Jewish prophet, writing under a pseudonym, commenting upon a current situation. He was preaching at a time of religious crisis to give the Jews hope of deliverance from oppression … if they remained steadfast in their faith in God. If "Mark" were to fall into enemy hands it would be misinterpreted, and the secret message would remain ... secret. History has proved only too well the success of Philo of Alexandria’s esoteric gospel, his cryptic gospel, being misinterpreted.
order to accurately date "Mark" it is necessary to discover
the current situation upon which Philo was commenting.
Remember he would be preaching during, not after, the event … the Oppression.
Furthermore this religious oppression must have occurred before Philo’s
death. Finally these events would be recorded in episodes not yet accounted
for in terms of the reconciliation of the Jewish Scriptures with Greek
philosophy. For example:
The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem and the Cleansing of the Temple (Mark 11)
The reference to the "abomination of desolation" (Mark 13 v 14)
Jesus’ re-trial by Pilate (Mark 15 v 1-15)
The vital key which actually dates "Mark" is the religious oppression of the Alexandrian Jews by Caligula. It was this oppression which drove the Jews of Alexandria underground. This is the secret society steeped in Judaism … a secret society full of ritual, signs and symbolism .
Gaius Caligula had become Emperor of Rome in 38AD and as a result of a suggestion proposed by non-Jewish Alexandrians he decided to have his statue placed in Jewish temples in Alexandria.
The non-Jewish Alexandrians had made this proposal because they feared they had brought down the wrath of Rome upon their own heads by publicly making fun of Caligula’s friend, Agrippa, the newly appointed King of Upper Galilee. Agrippa had been welcomed by the Alexandrian Jews as he passed through Alexandria because he was of Hasmonian blood, and therefore looked upon by the Alexandrian Jews as a liberator. ( King Herod had betrayed Hasmonian claims in order that he himself could become King of Judaea.) A mob of non-Jewish Alexandrians, stirred up by agitators … especially Apion who was a self opinionated philosopher … made fun of the Jews. They did this by revering the local idiot whom they dressed up as a King of the Jews. Realizing too late the enormity of what they had done, in terms of having also insulted Agrippa, they became frightened. The only way out of this fragile situation was to create a smokescreen, or diversion. They hit on the idea of demanding of the Roman Governor of Egypt , Flaccus, that the Jews be forced to place statues of Caligula, Emperor of Rome, in their temples to prove their loyalty to Rome. Flaccus chose to agree with, rather than oppose, the mob. This was despite approximately forty Jews having been burned alive for attempting to tear down the graven image of a golden eagle above the main gateway of the Third Temple complex in Jerusalem, which had been placed there on the orders of King Herod.
The Alexandrian Jews’ refusal to have statues of Caligula in their temples resulted in the public floggings of prominent members of their community. Using this as a signal the non-Jewish mob plundered and attacked many of the wealthier Jews living outside the Jewish district.
The Alexandrian Jews were outraged: the non-Jewish Alexandrian mob had used their treasonable act involving the local idiot to their advantage. How were they to expose their enemies for the non-patriots that they were?
It was decided that they send a delegation to Rome to fully explain the situation ... and leading the mission was Philo of Alexandria.
The outcome was a forgone conclusion. Caligula, being mentally deranged, succumbed to the flattery of the non-Jewish Alexandrians’ suggestion. (The BBC series "I Claudius" which was based on the books by Robert Graves portray Caligula’s madness very effectively.)
The Alexandrian Jews returned home more determined than ever to equalize against their enemies.
In keeping with the purpose of apocalyptic literature Philo was writing at a time of great religious and political crisis. He clearly recorded these events in "Mark" for those initiated into the underground movement … "Let him that readeth understand" (Mark 13 v 14). Those readers of non-Alexandrian Jewish background would misinterpret the text.
in "Mark" to the Oppression
of the Jews, under Caligula.
Jewish Oppression Under Caligula = Light Blue
Reference in "Mark" = Dark Blue
Agrippa is welcomed by the Jews as he passes through Alexandria.
Mark 11 v 8-10 "And many spread their garments in the way and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they went before and they that followed, cried, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
The non-Jewish Alexandrians mock the actions of the Jews by dressing up the local idiot and worshipping him as King of the Jews.
Mark 15 v17-32 ... eg v 17-19 "And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him."
The statue of Caligula is to be placed in the Jewish Temples in Alexandria.
Mark 13 v 14 "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand)"
Instruction to be followed in the event of Caligula’s statue being placed in the Jewish Temples in Alexandria.
Mark 13 ... eg v14 " ... flee to the mountains ..."
Flaccus chose to agree with the non-Jewish Alexandrian mob.
Mark 15 v 1-15 ... eg v 15 "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabas ..."
Do not allow Caligula’s statue to desecrate the temples.
Mark 12 v 17 "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s."
Philo’s mission to Caligula: the hoped for successful outcome.
Mark 5 v 1-20 Legion, possessed with the devil but later clothed in his right mind, represents Caligula. "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit."
Defeat looms over Philo and his delegation.
Mark 15 v 33 " ... there was darknessover the whole land ..."
Philo’s mission was unsuccessful.
Mark 15 v 34 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
The sanctity of the temples in Alexandria would be profaned.
Mark 15 v 38 "And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom"
Gospel of Mark and the Maccabaean Rebellion
The cryptic message recorded in "Mark" does not end with The Oppression of the Jews under Caligula. Philo had recognized that the Maccabaean Rebellion of 167-164BC was a blueprint for the events which occurred in Alexandria in 39-40AD. It was History repeating itself. Consequently Philo considered himself justified in incorporating events of the Maccabaean Rebellion into his cryptic gospel.
The Maccabaean Rebellion had its seeds in Syria’s attempt to reunite the conquests of Alexander the Great. Syria however was foiled in her attempt by Rome with the result that she had to pay financial penalties as a condition of peace. And where was this money to come from? The Temple at Jerusalem! The Temple was violated but the attempt to steal the money stored there failed. The Syrians did not give up. They removed the High Priest of the Temple so that pro-Hellenized Syrians could take over.
Meanwhile there was a new Syrian ruler, Antiochus IV, and he was welcomed by the pro-Syrians in Judaea. Antiochus considered himself as "the visible god" - Epiphanes. To the people however, he became known as "the madman" - Epimanes.
When the pro-Syrians approached Antiochus with a plan for Hellenizing Judaea , he agreed. Everything went according to plan, the High Priest was removed from the Temple in Jerusalem and he was replaced by a Hellenized Jew. Although Judaism fell into neglect among the priesthood as a result, many common Jews remained staunch in their faith. Antiochus therefore directed that Judaism be wiped out.
Jerusalem was attacked and many Jews were killed, but some managed to flee to the hills. Circumcision and observance of the Sabbath were prohibited, and in the Temple of Jerusalem was placed a statue of Jupiter. Many observed that the facial features of the statue of Jupiter were not unlike those of Antiochus.
The remaining Jews were desolate. All hope had gone. They felt deserted, forlorn and forsaken. They could not fight because they had no military leader, they were not a warlike people. Yet rather than deny their God and embrace Hellenism thousands of Jews either fled to the hills or died as martyrs.
There were however a minority of Jews who went over to the enemy to save their skins. They embraced Hellenism and they became informers, betraying the pious Jews whenever the opportunity arose.
A resistance movement was established among the Jews but the informers betrayed their one weakness: observance of the Sabbath. Consequently when the Jews were attacked on the Sabbath they did not raise arms against the enemy. All seemed lost. Everyone thought that Judaism would be obliterated.
Yet a ray of hope loomed on the horizon … In 167BC, in the town of Modin to the north-west of Jerusalem, the Jews were awaiting the oncoming Syrians with dread. When the day arrived, the Syrian soldiers built an altar in the market square. On this altar a pig was to be sacrificed to Jupiter in Antiochus’ honour. When Mattathias Hashmonaim, a Jewish Hasmonian priest, refused to perform the sacrifice, a Hellenized Jewish informer offered to do so. Immediately Mattathias sprang into action: he snatched a sword from a Syrian soldier and plunged it into the Hellenized Jew who had betrayed them. A fight ensued in which the Jews were the victors. They tore down the altar.
Jews from surrounding areas gave their support to the Hasmonian family and, in defence of Judaism, they attacked small groups of Syrian soldiers and Hellenized Jews. They decided that they would no longer abstain from fighting on the Sabbath - if provoked. However they would not initiate an attack on the Sabbath. It was under the leadership of the Hasmonian family that the Jews fought for freedom of worship and Independence.
When in the following year Mattathias died, his leadership and authority were transferred to his son Judah, nicknamed Judah Maccabee. He soon proved to be an inspired military leader when, under his command, the Jews won many victories over their enemies. They grew confident that Judaism would not be wiped out. They would not be defeated.
Antiochus commanded that the Maccabean Rebellion be quashed, but his appointee Lysias underestimated his opponents. With a surprise night attack the Jews wiped out the Syrian Army. With victory under their belts the Jews made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem and immediately proceeded to cleanse the Temple.
Three years had elapsed since the statue of Jupiter had desecrated the Temple … and now the Temple was again dedicated to God.
in "Mark" to the Maccabaean Rebellion
The events of the Maccabaean Rebellion are clearly recorded by Philo in the cryptic Gospel of Mark. It is this inclusion which explains why Judaea was chosen as the setting for "Mark" - despite the current events upon which Philo was commenting, taking place in Alexandria.
The Maccabaean Rebellion = Light Blue
Reference in "Mark" = Dark Blue
A statue of Jupiter, resembling Antiochus, was placed in the Temple at Jerusalem. Antiochus had decreed that Judaism be wiped out, and so many Jews fled to the hills.
Mark 13 v 14 "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let him that readeth understand) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains."
The Jews were desolate. It was their darkest hour.
Mark 15 v 33 " ... there was darkness over the whole land ..."
The Jews felt forsaken in their darkest hour.
Mark 15 v 34 "My god, my g God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
The divided house of the Jews.
Mark 3 v 23-35 eg v 25 "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
Hellenized Jews act as informers, betraying the Hasidim.
Mark 14 The Betrayal Chapter.
"And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money ..." (v 10,11)
The rest of the disciples also betray Jesus: "And they all forsook him and fled." (v 50)
When the Jews were attacked on the Sabbath they did not raise arms against the enemy. However under the Hasmonian leadership they no longer abstained from fighting on the Sabbath - if they were provoked.
Mark 1 v 21-34
Mark 2 v 23-28
Mark 3 v 1-5 esp Mark 3 v 4 " ... Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?"
Mattathias Hasmonian snatched the sword of a Syrian soldier and plunged it into the Hellenized Jew who had betrayed them.
Mark 14 v 46,47 "and one of them that stood by drew a sword ..."
The Jews made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Mark 11 The Triumph Chapter.
Mark 11 v 1-10 eg v 8,9 "And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
The cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem, including a reference to the statue of Jupiter which resembled Antiochus.
Mark 11 v 11- 33 "And Jesus entered into Jerusalem and into the temple ... and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers ... and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple."
Philo of Alexandria incorporated events of the Maccabaean Rebellion into his cryptic, or secret, gospel for two main reasons. Firstly as a tribute to the Maccabees and their victory in the face of all odds, and secondly to give the Alexandrian Jews hope in the face of the current religious oppression under Caligula. Most importantly, only the Alexandrian Jews would be able to interpret "Mark" correctly:
"Unto you is given to know the mystery . . . but unto them
that are without, all these things are done in parables:
That seeing they may see, and not perceive: and hearing
they may hear, and not understand." (Mark 4 v 11-12)
Philo believed that History repeated itself in cycles. Freedom of worship had been restored to the Jews of Judaea in 164BC after three years of rebellion. Twenty-two years later, in 142BC they received their independence. Philo therefore considered himself justified in suggesting that, within three years of 39AD, freedom of worship would be restored to the Jews of Alexandria. He fully expected this freedom of worship to last for twenty-two years. At the end of this time, in 64AD, Philo believed they would be granted independence.
As it happened, Caligula was assassinated and the Jews of Alexandria were restored their religious freedom in January 41AD, a year earlier than Philo had estimated. These episodes are not recorded in "Mark" … which indicates that "Mark" was written before the assassination of Caligula; before 41AD.
Unfortunately Philo died in 40AD. The Alexandrian Jews - the followers of Philo and his New Testament, the members of his underground movement - were bereft; they were left without a leader.
Not too long afterwards Paul came on the scene … and the rest is history. He misinterpreted "Mark" and established Christianity on a false premise.
The full cycle of History for the Jews was not completed until 1948AD when they were given their Independence with the establishment of the Republic of Israel.
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The esoteric "Gospel of Mark" is no longer a mystery. It was written by Philo of Alexandria in two stages.
1) The first stage, which included the reconciliation of Jewish Scriptures with Greek philosophy, a New Testament, was composed after the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod, son of Herod the Great, in 28AD.
Clearly Philo held John the Baptist in high esteem. Were they good friends, were they perhaps related, was Philo a follower of John? Did they discuss philosophy and apocalyptic literature? Certainly both were concerned with apocalyptic literature; the end of the world, repentance and the Day of Judgement.
Interestingly, John the Baptist, according to Solomon Grayzel in "A History of the Jews", was a member of a secret society. This was despite his being "clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of skin about his loins." (Mark 1 v 6) Grayzel claims that John the Baptist was a member of a Jewish religious sect called the Essenes, a sect which can possibly be traced back to the era of the Maccabaean Rebellion. Members of the Essene Community usually dressed in white and bathed frequently, because they believed - like Philo and Plato before him - that the outer man was a reflection of the inner man. The white robes and the cleanliness were outward symbols of inner purity. The Essenes had an air of mystery about them. They kept themselves to themselves, living apart from non-Essenes in their own communities. It was commonly believed that they possessed secret knowledge … a belief which was promoted by the difficulty a person had in becoming a member of the group. A candidate had to give up all worldly possessions and was required to complete one year’s probation. It will not come as a surprise that the initiation ceremony was carried out in secret.
This will sound all too familiar to Freemasons. The air of mystery, the perceived difficulty of becoming a member, the secret initiation ceremony - the First Degree - with the white clothing and lack of personal possessions, and the secret knowledge. Today there may not be a one year probationary period, but certainly in times gone by an apprentice had to serve his time. And so we are left wondering … were Essenes Freemasons? Was John the Baptist a Freemason?
2) The second stage of "Mark" was written in 39-40AD, in the style of apocalyptic literature, to give the Alexandrian Jews hope and advice at a time of severe religious oppression under Caligula.
During the time of their oppression under Caligula, the Alexandrian Jewish underground movement led by Philo of Alexandria would, characteristically, have had its secret signs, words and knocks. Not unlike Freemasons today. Also the members would have celebrated their past glories in their ritual and symbolism: past glories such as the building of King Solomon’s Temple a thousand years earlier or their release from captivity in Babylon by Cyrus in 536BC, followed by the building of the Second Temple. This would have been their sustenance in their darkest hour.
These same events are celebrated by Freemasons in their ritual today ... Freemasonry is a secret society steeped in Judaism, and full of secret signs, ritual and symbolism.
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