Thursday, May 23, 2019

Pope to Caritas: The Gospel is our programme of life


The Gospel

Humility, communion, and renunciation are three “essential elements” for the Church to go forward, Pope Francis says in his homily during Mass with representatives of Caritas Internationalis.

In his homily during Mass for the Opening of the XXI General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis, Pope Francis reflected on the “first great meeting in the history of the Church”, described in the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles. He warned against the temptation of a “cult of efficiency”, of wanting the Church to have everything in order. “The Lord does not work that way,” but instead sends the Holy Spirit. The Gospel, he insisted “is our program of life. It teaches us that questions should not be confronted with a ready-made recipe, and that the faith is not a road map, but a ‘Way’ to travel together… with a spirit of trust.”

Three essential elements

Pope Francis described “three essential elements for the Church ‘on its way’: thehumility of listeningthe charism of togethernessthe courage of renunciation.”
He began with the “courage renunciation,” letting go of our own “human convictions and traditions” in order to find the best way of proclaiming the Gospel. He emphasized the importance of reforming ourselves, first of all – and not a cosmetic reform, but a “conversion of the heart which happens through renunciation.”
We can do this, he said, beginning with the “humility of listening”, allowing the voices of all, and especially the least among us, to be heard. The Pope said that in order to really hear others, we must be disinterested in ourselves, willing to listen to and accept other people’s ideas. Further, we must also “listen to life,” that is, look at reality as it is, rather than focusing solely on ideas.
“From the humility of listening to the courage of renunciation, it all passes through the charism of togetherness,” Pope Francis said. At the meeting in Jerusalem, the Church was gathered around St Peter, through charity “which does not create uniformity, but communion.” Although there were strong personalities present, each with their own ideas, they worked together on account of “the strength of loving each other in the Lord.”

“Remain in my love”

Finally, Pope Francis turned to the Gospel, where Jesus calls on His disciples to “Remain in my love.” We do this, the Pope said, especially by remaining close to Jesus, present in the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle; and in the “many living tabernacles who are the poor.” Jesus, he said, asks us “to remain in Him, not in our own ideas.”
“Let us ask the Lord that He might free us from the cult of efficiency, from worldliness, from the subtle temptation of worshipping ourselves and our own prowess, of obsessive organisation,” Pope Francis said in conclusion. “Let us ask the grace of welcoming the way indicated by the Word of God: humility, communion, renunciation.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Fiery Judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat


 Image result for valley of jehoshaphat


by
 
Damien F. Mackey
 
 
 
 
 
 
“In Joel 3: 11-17, details of a major conflict in the Valley of Jehoshaphat are given.
This account runs parallel to that battle of Armageddon recorded in Revelation 16:14-18”.
 
biblefocus.net
 
 
 
 
 
That the Kidron Valley to the east of Jerusalem is the same as the Valley of Jehoshaphat is apparent from this statement by Dr. Ernest L. Martin, in his article “Updated Information
on the Crucifixion of Jesus” (1992):
http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d920401.htm
 
There are numerous historical reasons for selecting Olivet as the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. In the recently translated Temple Scroll, Yadin pointed out that all people bearing religious defilements which prevented them from entering the holy city or the Temple were directed to stay east of the ideal Sanctuary region mentioned in the scroll (Yadin 177). Evil and defiled people (sinners) were kept east of Jerusalem in order to prevent any "winds of evil" from flowing over the holy city from the west. This is one of the reasons the sin offering of the Red Heifer and those of the Day of Atonement (which were to atone for sins) were burnt to ashes in this eastern area "outside the camp" (Leviticus 4:21; 16:27). Yadin suggested that a part of this eastern region which had been put aside for defiled persons was even referred to in the New Testament (e.g. Mark 14:3).
 
Since all sin offerings were sacrificed (or "executed") east of the Holy Place of the Temple, and the most important ones were sacrificed further east at the Red Heifer altar on Olivet, this easterly region of the Temple became known as the place where God dealt with sin -- where all the sins of the world will be judged. This is one reason why the Kidron Valley separating the Temple from the Mount of Olives became known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the valley where "God judges"). Even to this day Jews, Muslims and Christians consider the summit and western slope of Olivet as the ordained place where God will judge all people in the world for their sins. Charles Warren in Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible listed over fourteen [Christian] … authorities (from the deaux Pilgrim onward) who attested to this belief (II.562). This is why it was important, from the Christian point of view, that Jesus died in this eastern region which was reckoned the judgment place for all mankind. For Jesus to be judged as dying for the sins of all mankind, Christians thought he had to be judged in the place where all mankind were designed to be judged for their sins.
 
Even Muslims (who inherited many traditional beliefs from the Jews and Christians) firmly believe that the summit and the western slope of the Mount of Olives is the judgment area for mankind. The Encyclopaedia Judaica has an interesting excerpt about this. "All the dead will congregate on the Mount of Olives and the angel Gabriel will move paradise to the right of Allah’s Throne and hell to its left. All mankind will cross a long bridge suspended from the Mount of Olives to the Temple Mount, which will be narrower than a hair, sharper than a sword, and darker than night. Along this bridge there will be seven arches and at each arch man will be asked to account for his actions" (IX col.1576). This is the Muslim account.
 
It is easy to see that this traditional Muslim belief is based on the geography of the Temple and the Red Heifer arched bridge over the Kidron Valley that existed in Jesus’ time. Indeed, the Hebrew word for the altar where the Red Heifer was burnt to ashes is miphkad (see Ezekiel 43:21)…..
[End of quote]
 
 
Armageddon, or “Hill of Megiddo”, does not refer to the famous site of Megiddo about 90 km north of Jerusalem. For one thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armageddon
 
Mount" Tel Megiddo is not actually a mountain, but a tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot)[4] on which ancient forts were built to guard the Via Maris, an ancient trade route linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia.
 
Joel links Armageddon with the Valley of Jehoshaphat (or Kidron):
https://biblefocus.net/consider/v01Armageddon/Armageddon-To-Occur-In-The-Valley-of.html
 
The reference to Armageddon in Rev 16:16, “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” is very closely linked to Joel 3:14, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (or threshing).”This link can be related to the battle that will take place when Yahshua returns to set up God’s kingdom on earth. The connection is established by the meaning of the word Armageddon, which as already shown signifies, “a heap of sheaves in a valley for judgement.”
 
In relation to the Valley of Jehoshaphat in Joel 3, it is recorded, “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,” (verse 2) and “let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge round about.” (verse 12)
[End of quote]
 
It is the ancient site of Jerusalem, against which the pagan armies of the Book of Apocalypse were to assemble in 70 AD (conventional dating). We read about it in “Titus' Siege of Jerusalem”: https://www.livius.org/articles/concept/roman-jewish-wars/roman-jewish-wars-4/
 
Titus now decided upon a show of strength, and staged an army parade, which lasted for four days. Meanwhile, his adviser Flavius Josephus was to talk to the men on the walls, trying to induce them to surrender. The Jewish leaders were not impressed by the arguments of the turncoat, and on the fifth day, the Roman soldiers renewed the struggle: they started to build four large siege dams, aimed at the Antonia fortress. (It was to be taken by force, because it had large stores and two great cisterns.) The Roman attack was no success: John's sappers undermined one of the dams and managed to raise a fire on a second one, and Simon's soldiers destroyed the remaining dams two days later.
 
The Roman commanders now knew that their enemies would fight for every inch of their city, and understood that the siege of Jerusalem would take a long time. Therefore, Titus changed his plans. There were signs that the supplies of Jerusalem were giving out: some Jews had left the city, hoping to find food in the valleys in front of the walls. Many of them had been caught and crucified - some five hundred every day. (The soldiers had amused themselves by nailing their victims in different postures.) The Romans decided to starve the enemies into surrender. In three days, Jerusalem was surrounded with an eight kilometer long palisade. All trees within fifteen kilometres of the city were cut down. The camps of the legions V Macedonica, XII Fulminata and XV Apollinaris were demolished; these troops were billeted on Bezetha. 
 
The death rate among the besieged increased. Soon, the Kidron valley and the Valley of Hinnom were filled with corpses. One defector told Titus that their number was estimated at 115,880. Desperate people tried to leave Jerusalem. When they had succeeded in passing their own lines and had not been killed by Roman patrols, they reached the palisade. Here they surrendered: as prisoners, they were at last entitled to some bread. Some of them ate so much, that they could not stomach it and died. In that case, their oedemaous bodies were cut open by the Syrian and Arab warders, who knew that some of these people had swallowed coins before they started their ill fated expedition. Titus refrained from punishing these violators when he discovered that there were too many. One of the defectors was the famous teacher Yohanan ben Zakkai, who escaped in a coffin and saved his life by predicting Titus that he, too, would be an emperor. ….
 

Site of Ascension of Jesus Christ


 'Jesus Ascension to Heaven 23' photo (c) 2011, Waiting For The Word - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


by
 
Damien F. Mackey
 
 
 
 
“When [Jesus] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands
and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
And they stayed continually at the Temple, praising God”.
 
Luke 24:50-53
 
 
 
 
Jesus Christ, a Divine Person, having completed his earthly work of Redemption of our fallen human race, returned to his Father in heaven from whence he had come.
 
This Gospel incident will be taken up and aped by Islam in one of its many biblical appropriations. According to Roger Waite in The Lost History of Jerusalem:
 
The Dome of the Rock was built 50 years later by another Muslim Caliph, Abd al-malik. Part of his reasoning for building on the site of the Rock was to lure christians away from worshipping at the site where Jesus footprints were supposedly embedded in the Rock. Later Muslim traditions of Mohammed s ascension from it and many others were added in centuries afterwards. That massive oblong rock features in the descriptions of Fort Antonio [sic] and is completely absent in the biblical and extra-biblical descriptions of the true Temple of God.
[End of quote]
 
Mohammed could not have ascended into heaven for the simple reason that – apart from any other considerations – Mohammed was a non-historical composite (mainly biblical) character. The fictitious Mohammed has - like other such creations of world religions, such as the Buddha (who is probably based largely upon Moses), Apollonius of Tyana, and the like - some uncanny similarities to the Jesus Christ of the Gospels, especially in Jesus’s miraculous aspects.
 
Roger Waite tends to follow the late Dr. Ernest L. Martin in his identification of key sites for Jesus in relation to Jerusalem, and I think that Roger has made a wise choice in so doing. Here is what the latter has written in the same article re various sites, including that of the Ascension, with reference to Dr. Martin:
 
The following quotes from Ernest Martin show the evidence supporting the fact that the tomb of Christ was located on the Mount of Olives and how the Mount of Olives became a new Mount Zion for early christians: What is not usually recognized even by many Christian people today is the fact that the area of the Mount of Olives was where Jesus actually lived when he was in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Not only was the region his "habitual" place for meeting with his apostles (Luke 22:39), and "where he many times met there with his disciples" (John 18:2), but "by day he was teaching in the Temple, but by night he would go out and lodge on the Mount of Olives" (Luke 21:37). Even the village of Bethany where … he sometimes resided was on the eastern slopes of this same Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1). Jesus' home in Jerusalem was on Olivet. It could be rightly said that the district of the Mount of Olives was the "home" of Jesus when he was in Jerusalem. Other than the time he taught in the Temple or the occasion of the Last Supper (which took place within the city of Jerusalem), all the other teachings of Jesus near Jerusalem were conducted on the Mount of Olives It was customary in Jewish circles to call the Mount of Olives by the name "the Mount of the Anointing" (Parah 3:6) [The olives produced there were used for anointing oil]. If one use the Greek language to translate this Hebrew rendering, it is quite a significant sign of identification. Through the Greek the Mount of Olives would be called "the Mount of the Christ [Anointed One]." Christians were well aware of this significance. When Jesus was in the Jerusalem area it was on the Mount of Olives that he made his abode (Mark 11:1; Luke 21:37; 22:39; John 18:2). Olivet was truly "his" mount. There were other things that made it "the Mount of the Anointing (Christ)." The Mount of Olives was also the holiest area around Jerusalem other than the Temple itself. I have explained the reason for this in previous chapters. We should recall that the Mount of Olives had its special sanctification because it housed the Miphkad Altar (where the Red Heifer and the other sin offerings were burnt outside the camp). But to Christians it had even a greater anointing. More significant than anything else, it was the area where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected from the dead. It was also near the place of Jesus' ascension, and the site to which he will return from heaven (Acts 1:9-11; Zechariah 14:1-4)
In the period before Constantine it is not difficult to see why Christians from around the world would pay attention to the Mount of Olives as a place of special holiness. What may be surprising to some of us is the fact that they paid particular attention to the cave very near the summit of Olivet and located about a hundred yards to the south and a little west of the monticulus "the little hill on the mountain" that the Bordeaux Pilgrim described. But why a cave? This may at first seem puzzling because there is not the slightest mention of such a cave in the Gospels nor in any place in the New Testament. That's right, there is no attention attached to any cave, but there is considerable importance shown to a TOMB - the tomb of Jesus from whence he came forth from the dead! Could the cave on the Mount of Olives have been the tomb of Jesus? There is every reason to believe that it was! In the work called "The Gospel of the Nazaraeans" (written in the second century) it was said that a guard of armed soldiers sent to the tomb of Jesus were set "over against THE CAVE" (Hennecke Schneemelcher, The New Testament Apocrypha, vol.l, p.150). This record shows that even the tomb itself was already reckoned as a cave at the time that Jesus was placed in it. But there is more. In the late second or early third century work called "The Acts of Pilate," Jesus' burial place was called both a tomb and a cave in the same context. That work has Joseph of Arimathea saying: "See, I have placed it [the body of Jesus] in my NEW TOMB, 176
 
[End of quote]
 
The Ascension of Jesus is often linked with his so-called Second Coming.
But, re the numbering here, see my article:
 
Beyond the "Second Coming"
 
 
The connection between the two events is properly made based upon Acts 1:9-11:
 
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee’, they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’.
 
The first return of Jesus Christ was to be like (‘will come back in the same way’) his Ascension (‘[as] you have seen him go into heaven’).
 
The Preterist Archive, in the article:
The "Second Coming" of Jesus
Associated with the End of Jerusalem in A.D.70, the End of Life, or the End of the World
 
includes a “Comment” that I think offers a far preferential timetable for that Coming of Christ, by contrast with what I would call his Final Coming (I do not necessarily accept the following identification of the 666 Beast with the emperor Nero) 
 
I have been a partial preterist for about 20 years now. I don't hold to know everything about eschatology, but I can tell you I know a lot better than some of the so-called teachers of it today. Some of the absolute nonsense that is circulating in the Church today is one reason why the Church is in riducule [sic] amongst the unbelievers. The last great world kingdom is not the revived Roman Empire ….The last great world kingdom is THE KINGDOM OF GOD! That Kingdom began at the Ascension when Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father and began to rule over the affairs of mankind without the benefit of human government. The events of the Tribulation Period occurred from 66AD until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, a span of 42 Biblical months, based on a 360 day year, just as Revelation stated it would. The Fourth Beast was Rome. 666 was Kaisar Neron. The False Prophet was the Sanhedrin which sold out the Jewish people of the time and supported Nero. The Mark of the Beast is the antithesis of the command of God for the Jews to bind the words of YHWH upon their hearts and minds. (i.e. the head and the hand) Since they refused to obey, they instead bound the Mark of Nero to themselves, trusting (and in essence worshipping) the Beast. They worshipped Neron Kaisar rather than Yeshua ha Mashiach and therefore reaped the fiery judgment of 70AD. Jerusalem (which incidentally also sits on 7 hills) became the seat of the Beast, Israel figuratively became a whore. (See also Ezekiel 16, Jeremiah 50-51). God judged unbelieving Israel, but spared the remnant (the Church) to give the Gospel to the Gentiles (the remainder of the world). If we understand the 1000 years to mean figuratively a long period, then a lot of things make sense. It also makes sense to consider that the end of the 1000 years has come and Satan has been released from the bottomless pit …. There will be one last attempt by Satan to rule mankind, which will result in the Last Day Coming of Christ, i.e. the Judgment of the World. The Great Tribulation and destruction of Jerusalem were the End of the Age, not the End of the WORLD. ….
[End of quote]
 
For my view of Satan’s latter day release from the pit and his worldwide effect, see:
 
 
 
Satan, permitted by God to test holy Job to the limit, and almost beyond it, for a greater good, has been allowed by the Almighty again, in the case of the Church, that same terrifying liberty.
 
Church Undergoing Test of Prophet Job. Part Two: Saint John Paul II
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Important lapse of ‘many years’ in Tobit, in Acts




Felix.  He was the Roman governor of Caesarea just after the death of Jesus.  The Apostle is shown in our picture as he stands before Felix and his Jewish wise, Drusilla, answering the charges that had been brought against him by his enemies.  Felix ghave Paul his freedom and thereafter often held long discussions with the apostle.


 

by

 Damien F. Mackey


 

“But after a long time, Salmanasar [Shalamneser] the king being dead,

… Sennacherib his son, who reigned in his place, had a hatred for the children of Israel”.

 

Tobit 1:18

 

“The governor [Felix] then motioned for Paul to speak. Paul said, ‘I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you’.”

 

Acts 24:10


 

 

This attested lapse of a long time opens up the door for a possible extension of the reign of the conventionally brief Shalmaneser [V], c. 727-722 BC, and for the conventionally brief procurator, Felix, c. 52-60 AD.

The Vulgate Tobit 1:18 employs, in the case of Shalmaneser, the Latin phrase, post multum vero temporis (“after a long time”), and the Greek Acts 24:10 employs, in the case of Felix, the phrase, Ἐκ πολλῶν ἐτῶν (“for many years”).

 

King Shalmaneser

 

Whereas the conventional history has Tiglath-pileser III and Shalmaneser V as separate Assyrian kings, my own view, as outlined in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 


 

is that Shalmaneser was Tiglath-pileser.

In Volume One, Chapter 6, I wrote the following brief section on this, in which I took a lead from the Book of Tobit regarding the neo-Assyrian succession:

 

 Shalmaneser V (c. 726-722 BC, conventional dates)

 

Looking at the conventional date for the death of Tiglath-pileser III, c. 727 BC, we can see that it coincides with the biblically-estimated date for the first year of king Hezekiah. But, if the former is to be identified with Shalmaneser V, thought to have reigned for five years, then this date would need to be lowered by about those five years (right to the time of the fall of Samaria), bringing Tiglath-pileser III deeper into the reign of Hezekiah.

Now, that Tiglath-pileser III is to be equated with Shalmaneser V would seem to be deducible from a combination of two pieces of evidence from [the Book of Tobit]: namely,

 

1.       that it was “King Shalmaneser of the Assyrians” who took Tobit’s tribe of Naphtali into captivity (1:1, 2); a deportation generally attributed to Tiglath-pileser III on the basis of 2 Kings 15:29; and

2.        that: “when Shalmaneser died … his son Sennacherib reigned in his place” (1:15).

 

Unfortunately, very little is known of the reign of this ‘Shalmaneser’ [V] to supplement [the Book of Tobit]. According to Roux, for instance:[1] “The short reign of … Shalmaneser V (726-722 B.C.) is obscure”. And Boutflower has written similarly:[2] “The reign of Shalmaneser V (727-722) is a blank in the Assyrian records”. It seems rather strange, though, that a king who was powerful enough to have enforced a three year siege of Israel’s capital of Samaria (probably the Sha-ma-ra-in of the Babylonian Chronicle), resulting in the successful sack of that city, and to have invaded all Phoenicia and even to have besieged the mighty Tyre for five years,[3] and to have earned a hateful reputation amongst the Sargonids, should end up “a blank” and “obscure” in the Assyrian records.

The name Tiglath-pileser was a throne name, as Sargon appears to have been – that is, a name given to (or taken by) the king on his accession to the throne. In Assyrian cuneiform, his name is Tukulti-apil-ešarra, meaning: “My confidence is the son of Esharra”. This being a throne name would make it likely that the king also had a personal name - just as I have argued above that Sargon II had the personal name of Sennacherib. The personal name of Tiglath-pileser III I believe to have been Shalmaneser.

A problem though with my proposed identification of Shalmaneser V with Tiglath-pileser III is that, according to Boutflower,[4] there has been discovered “a treaty between Esarhaddon and Baal of Tyre, in which Shalmaneser is expressly styled the son of Tiglath-pileser”. Boutflower makes reference here to H. Winckler (in Eberhard Schrader’s Keilinschriften, 3rd Edn. pt. I, p. 62, note 2); Winckler being the Assyriologist, we might recall, who had with Delitzsch spirited Sargon’s name into Eponym Cb6 and whose edition of Sargon’s Annals had disappointed Luckenbill. So far, I have not been able to find any solid evidence for this document.

Boutflower had surmised, on the basis of a flimsy record, that Tiglath-pileser III had died in battle and had been succeeded by Shalmaneser:[5] “That Tiglathpileser died in battle is rendered probable by the entry in the Assyrian Chronicle for the year 727 B.C. [sic]: “Against the city of …. Shalmaneser seated himself on the throne”.” Tiglath-pileser is not even mentioned.

A co-regency between Shalmaneser V and Sargon II can be proposed on the basis that the capture of Samaria is variously attributed to either king. According to my revision, that same co-regency should exist between Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon; and indeed we find that both Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon campaigned on the borders of Egypt; both defeated Hanno the king of Gaza, and established (opened) there a karu “quay”; both received tribute from Queen Tsamsi of Arabia; both had encounters with Merodach-baladan. Further, according to my revision, that proposed co-regency can be extended to accommodate Sennacherib (as Sargon). Perhaps a clear proof is that, whilst Sennacherib claimed that the Medes had not submitted to any of his predecessor kings (see p. 153), both Tiglath-pileser and Sargon claimed to have received tribute from the Medes. 

Interestingly, nowhere in Kings, Chronicles, or in any other of the books traditionally called ‘historical’, do we encounter the name ‘Sargon’. Yet we should expect mention of him if his armies really had made an incursion as close to Jerusalem as ‘Ashdod’ (be it in Philistia or Judah). Certainly, Sargon II claimed that Judah (Iaudi), Philistia (Piliste), Edom and Moab, had revolted against him.[6] If the Assyrian king, Sargon II, can have two different names – as is being agued here – then so might his father. So I conclude that 2 Kings, in the space of 2 chapters, gives us three names for the one Assyrian king:

 

      - 15:19: “King Pul of Assyria came against the land ...”.

      - 15:29: “King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came and captured …”.

      - 17:3: “King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up”.

 

 

 

 

(iii) [Book of Judith]

 

The testimony of [Book of Judith] should not be dismissed lightly for it is – as we shall discover in Volume Two – a very ancient document that has been copied frequently.

Now, there is only the one Assyrian king, ‘Nebuchadnezzar’,[7] ruling throughout the entire drama of [Book of Judith], and he has likenesses to ‘both’ Sennacherib and Sargon II. Thus:

 

  • (As Sennacherib) The incident to which the climax of [the Book of Judith] drama could be referring, if historical, is the defeat of Sennacherib’s army of 185,000; yet
  • (As Sargon II) The Assyrian king in [the Book of Judith] 1 seems to equate well with Sargon, inasmuch as he commences a war against a Chaldean king in his Year 12.
     
    So it might be asked: Was [Book of Judith’s] Assyrian king, Sargon or Sennacherib?
    The question of course becomes irrelevant if it is one and the same king. 
     

…. 

(iv) [Book of Tobit]

 

[The Book of Tobit], like [the Book of Judith], was a popular and much copied document. The incidents described in [Book of Tobit] are written down as having occurred during the successive reigns of ‘Shalmaneser’, ‘Sennacherib’ and ‘Esarhaddon’. No mention at all there of Sargon, not even as father of Sennacherib. Instead, we read: “But when Shalmaneser died, and his son Sennacherib reigned in his place ...” (1:15). Moreover this ‘Shalmaneser’, given as father of Sennacherib, is also - as we saw - referred to as the Assyrian king who had taken into captivity Tobit’s tribe of Naphtali (vv. 1-2); a deed generally attributed to Tiglath-pileser III and conventionally dated about a decade before the reign of Sargon II. This would seem to strengthen my suspicion that Shalmaneser V was actually Tiglath-pileser III, despite Boutflower’s claim of a treaty document specifically styling Shalmaneser as son of Tiglath-pileser III.

 

A Summarising and Concluding Note

 

The neo-Assyrian chronology as it currently stands seems to be, like the Sothic chronology of Egypt - though on a far smaller scale - over-extended and thus causing a stretching of contemporaneous reigns, such as those of Merodach baladan II of Babylonia, Mitinti of ‘Ashdod’ and Deioces of Media. There are reasons nonetheless, seemingly based upon solid primary evidence, for believing that the conventional historians have got it right and that their version of the neo-Assyrian succession is basically the correct one. However, much of the primary data is broken and damaged, necessitating heavy bracketting. On at least one significant occasion, the name of a king has been added into a gap based on a preconception. Who is to say that this has not happened more than once? Esarhaddon’s history … is so meagre that recourse must be had to his Display Inscriptions, thereby leaving the door open for “errors” according to Olmstead.

With the compilers of the conventional neo-Assyrian chronology having mistaken one king for two, as I am arguing to have occurred in the case of Sargon II/Sennacherib, and probably also with Tiglath-pileser III/Shalmaneser V, then one ends up with duplicated situations, seemingly unfinished scenarios, and of course anomalous or anachronistic events. Thus, great conquests are claimed for Shalmaneser V whose records are virtually a “blank”. Sargon II is found to have been involved in the affairs of a Cushite king who is well outside Sargon’s chronological range; while Sennacherib is found to be ‘interfering’ in events well within the reign of Sargon II, necessitating a truncation of Sargon’s effective reign in order to allow Sennacherib to step in early, e.g. in 714 BC, “the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah” (2 Kings 18:13; Isaiah 36:1), and in 713 BC (tribute from Azuri of ‘Ashdod’).

[End of quote]

 

 

Governor Felix

 

‘Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists

out into the wilderness some time ago?’

 

Acts 21:38

Good luck to anyone who is able to convert the Jewish Jesus Christ of the New Testament, whose death occurred early during the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate, into a rebel insurgent leading a force of 4000 murderous sicarii (assassins) at Mount Olivet, or into the wilderness, at a point late in the procuratorship of Felix - and an “Egyptian” rebel at that!

Dr. Lena Einhorn of Stockholm, though, has attempted to do just that in her, albeit most intriguing, book, A Shift in Time, How Historical Documents Reveal the Surprising Truth about Jesus (2016).

 



 

And she does so likewise in her article, “Jesus and the Egyptian Prophet”: http://lenaeinhorn.se/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Jesus-and-the-Egyptian-Prophet-12.11.25.pdf

 

What can happen with the way that ancient history (and dare we say also much of AD history) has been, in many cases, erroneously reconstructed, with the duplicating of eras and rulers, is that a certain biblical situation can appear to emerge far more clearly at a time later than it historically should. A classic example of this is with the surprise finding of historians and biblical commentators that king Nabonidus of Babylon, dated some years after the death of king Nebuchednezzar II of Babylon, is found to match the biblical “Nebuchadnezzar”, of, say, the Book of Daniel, far better than does the historical Nebuchednezzar II.

 

And Lena Einhorn thinks, similarly, that she has found better parallels with Jesus Christ in the time of the procurator Felix (a contemporary of St. Paul) than at the time of Pontius Pilate – hence her proposed “Shift in Time” of some two decades.

 

In the case of the Babylonian dynasty, the solution to the seeming displacement is that - at least according to the AMAIC’s scheme of things - some of the Babylonian kings have been duplicated. The reason why king Nabonidus makes such an excellent “Nebuchadnezzar” of the Book of Daniel is because Nabonidus is the historical Nebuchednezzar II, is the “Nebuchadnezzar” of the Book of Daniel. The Book of Daniel informs us, in Chapter 5, famous for the Writing on the Wall, that “Nebuchadnezzar” was succeeded by his son, “Belshazzar”. And that very son is attested in Baruch 1:11: “ … pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and of Belshazzar, his son …”.

And it is well known to historians that the son of Nabonidus was also Belshazzar.

But biblical commentators, following an erroneous Babylonian history quite incompatible with the Bible, must feel the need to drop in a corrective note here to Baruch 1:11:

 

* [1:11] Nebuchadnezzar…Belshazzar, his son: Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, not of Nebuchadnezzar, the destroyer of Jerusalem. Belshazzar was co-regent for a few years while his father was away in Arabia. Later Jewish tradition seems to have simplified the end of the Babylonian empire (cf. Dn 5:12), for three kings came between Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus.

 

Now, when Dr. Einhorn wrote to me (Damien Mackey), pointing out what she considered to be some seemingly striking parallels between “the Egyptian” (as portrayed by the Jewish historian, Josephus), and Jesus Christ, I suspected that the procurator in either case, Felix (for the Egyptian) and Pontius Pilate (for Jesus Christ) must be duplicates. What I think may bear this out is the fact that St. Paul tells Felix that the latter had judged the nation of Israel for many years (see below) – a situation which would not apply in the conventional ordering of things, but would apply if Pontius Pilate ‘runs into’, is, the same person as Felix.

Anyway, I, having read through a substantial amount of the material that Dr. Einhorn referenced for me on the subject, wrote her this my summary of it all:

 

Dear Lena,

 

Many thanks for your interesting contributions which I have enjoyed reading ….

What I got out of it, though, is not what you would have wanted me to get out of it.
Your showing how well Procurator Felix fits the biblical Pontius Pilate was a revelation to me.

St. Paul says to Felix that the latter had been a judge of the nation "for many years" (Acts 24:10), which could not be true of just Felix at that time (about a handful of years only). But it would be perfectly true were Felix to be merged with Pontius Pilate, making for some two decades of overall governorship.


And, regarding the startling likenesses between some aspects of Jesus and "the Egyptian" - though one would be very hard put indeed to make of Jesus, "love thy enemy", "he who lives by the sword will die by the sword", "my kingdom is not of this world", "render to Caesar", a murderous revolutionary.


What happens is that the influential life of Jesus Christ gets picked up and absorbed into pseudo-historical characters, such as the Buddha (his birth was miraculous, he supposedly walks on water, he has 12 inner apostles and 72 outer ones, etc.), Krishna, Prophet Mohammed, and, most notably, Apollonius of Tyana, whom many regard as being the actual model for the biblical Jesus.

Unfortunately for Apollonius, his association with Nineveh (destroyed in 612 BC and whose location was totally unknown until the C19th AD), renders him an historical absurdity - same with Mohammed and his various associations with Nineveh.

Also Heraclius of Byzantium for the very same reason.


Josephus has obviously merged into the one scenario, two very disparate characters: Jesus Christ and the Egyptian.

Hence some incredibly striking parallels mixed with some impossible differences. ….





[1] Ancient Iraq, p. 310. And S. Smith wrote: “Of the short reign of Shalmaneser V no historical record is extant”. ‘The Supremacy of Assyria’, p. 42.
[2] Op. cit. p. 341.
[3] Ibid, pp. 184-185.
[4] Ibid, pp. 75-76.
[5] Ibid, p. 75.
[6] Luckenbill, op. cit, # 195, p. 105. Again, the Assyrian scribes of Tiglath-pileser III and Sennacherib used “stereotypical military imagery” in regard to, respectively, Rezin of Syria and Hezekiah of Judah, each having been “shut in like a bird in a cage”. S. Irvine, Isaiah, Ahaz, and the Syro-Ephraimitic Crisis, p. 30, including n. 21.
[7] Regarding the use of ‘Nebuchednezzar’ for Sargon/Sennacherib, see Chapter 7 of this thesis.
[8] Taken from C. Archer’s The Assyrian Empire, p. 66 for Sargon II (“Sargon II and an attendant eunuch. Young boys were made eunuchs when given to the king as tribute. In Assyrian art they are always shown as being both beardless and chubby. Drawing of a bas-relief from Khorsabad”); p. 79 for Sennacherib (“Sennacherib accepting the defeat of the vanquished. Engraving of a bas-relief from Nimrud”).