It would be difficult to escape from the well-adduced proofs that the Apocalypse is the production of an initiated kabalist, when this Revelation presents whole passages taken from the Books of Enoch and Daniel, which latter is in itself an abridged imitation of the former; and when, furthermore, we ascertain that the Ophite Gnostics who rejected the Old Testament entirely, as "emanating from an inferior being (Jehovah)," accepted the most ancient prophets, such as Enoch, and deduced the strongest support from this book for their religious tenets, the demonstration becomes evident. We will show further how closely related are all these doctrines. Besides, there is the history of Domitian's persecutions of magicians and philosophers, which affords as good a proof as any that John was generally considered a kabalist. As the apostle was included among the number, and, moreover, conspicuous, the imperial edict banished him not only from Rome, but even from the continent. It was not the Christians whom — confounding them with the Jews, as some historians will have it — the emperor persecuted, but the astrologers and kabalists.+
f See Suet. in "Vita. Eutrop." 7. It is neither cruelty, nor an insane indulgence in it, which shows this emperor in history as passing his time in catching flies and transpiercing them with a golden bodkin, but
The accusations against Jesus of practicing the magic of Egypt were numerous, and at one time universal, in the towns where he was known. The Pharisees, as claimed in the Bible, had been the first to fling it in his face, although Rabbi Wise considers Jesus himself a Pharisee. The Talmud certainly points to James the Just as one of that sect. J But these partisans are known to have always stoned every prophet who denounced their evil ways, and it is not on this fact that we base our assertion. These accused him of sorcery, and of driving out devils by Beelzebub, their prince, with as much justice as later the Catholic clergy had to accuse of the same more than one innocent martyr. But Justin Martyr states on better authority that the men of his time who were not Jews asserted that the miracles of Jesus were performed by magical art — magikhv fantasiva — the very expression used by the skeptics of those days to designate the feats of thaumaturgy accomplished in the Pagan temples. "They even ventured to call him a magician and a deceiver of the people," complains religious superstition. The Jewish astrologers had predicted to him that he had provoked the wrath of Beelzebub, the "Lord of the flies," and would perish miserably through the revenge of the dark god of Ekron, and die like King Ahaziah, because he persecuted the Jews. J We believe that it was the Sadducees and not the Pharisees who crucified Jesus. They were Zadokites — partisans of the house of Zadok, or the sacerdotal family. In the "Acts" the apostles were said to be persecuted by the Sadducees, but never by the Pharisees. in fact, the latter never persecuted any one. They had the scribes, rabbis, and learned men in their numbers, and were not, like the Sadducees, jealous of their order.
the martyr.* In the Gospel of Nicodemus (the Acta Pilate), the Jews bring the same accusation before Pilate. "Did we not tell thee he was a magician?"+ Celsus speaks of the same charge, and as a Neo-platonist believes in it.} The Talmudic literature is full of the most minute particulars, and their greatest accusation is that "Jesus could fly as easily in the air as others could walk."§ St. Austin asserted that it was generally believed that he had been initiated in Egypt, and that he wrote books concerning magic, which he delivered to John.** There was a work called Magia Jesu Christi, which was attributed to Jesus++ himself. In the Clementine Recognitions the charge is brought against Jesus that he did not perform his miracles as a Jewish prophet, but as a magician, i.e., an initiate of the "heathen" temples.}}
It was usual then, as it is now, among the intolerant clergy of opposing religions, as well as among the lower classes of society, and even among those patricians who, for various reasons had been excluded from any participation of the Mysteries, to accuse, sometimes, the highest hierophants and adepts of sorcery and black magic. So Apuleius, who had
f Fabricius, "Cod. Apoc., N. T.," i., 243; Tischendorf, "Evang. Ap.," p. 214.
ff Cf. "August de Consans. Evang.," i., 9; Fabric., "Cod. Ap. N. T.," i., p. 305, ff.
been initiated, was likewise accused of witchcraft, and of carrying about him the figure of a skeleton — a potent agent, as it is asserted, in the operations of the black art. But one of the best and most unquestionable proofs of our assertion may be found in the so-called Museo Gregoriano. On the sarcophagus, which is panelled with bas-reliefs representing the miracles of Christ, §§ may be seen the full figure of Jesus, who, in the resurrection of Lazarus, appears beardless "and equipped with a wand in the received guise of a necromancer (?) whilst the corpse of Lazarus is swathed in bandages exactly as an Egyptian mummy."
Had posterity been enabled to have several such representations executed during the first century when the figure, dress, and every-day habits of the Reformer were still fresh in the memory of his contemporaries, perhaps the Christian world would be more Christ-like; the dozens of contradictory, groundless, and utterly meaningless speculations about the "Son of Man" would have been impossible; and humanity would now have but one religion and one God. It is this absence of all proof, the lack of the least positive clew about him whom Christianity has deified, that has caused the present state of perplexity. No pictures of Christ were possible until after the days of Constantine, when the Jewish element was nearly eliminated among the
§§ King's "Gnostics," p. 145; the author places this sarcophagus among the earliest productions of that art which inundated later the world with mosaics and engravings, representing the events and personages of the "New Testament."
followers of the new religion. The Jews, apostles, and disciples, whom the Zoroastrians and the Parsees had inoculated with a holy horror of any form of images, would have considered it a sacrilegious blasphemy to represent in any way or shape their master. The only authorized image of Jesus, even in the days of Tertullian, was an allegorical representation of the "Good Shepherd,"* which was no portrait, but the figure of a man with a jackal-head, like Anubis.+ On this gem, as seen in the collection of Gnostic amulets, the Good Shepherd bears upon his shoulders the lost lamb. He seems to have a human head upon his neck; but, as King correctly observes, "it only seems so to the uninitiated eye." On closer inspection, he becomes the double-headed Anubis, having one head human, the other a jackal's, whilst his girdle assumes the form of a serpent rearing aloft its crested head. "This figure," adds the author of the Gnostics, etc., "had two meanings — one obvious for the vulgar; the other mystical, and recognizable by the initiated alone. It was perhaps the signet of some chief teacher or apostle."} This affords a fresh proof that the Gnostics and early orthodox (?) Christians were not so wide apart in their secret doctrine. King deduces from a quotation from Epiphanius, that even as late as 400 A.D. it was considered an atrocious sin to attempt to
* "De Pudicitia." See "The Gnostics and Their Remains," p. 144. f Ibid., plate i., p. 200.
J This gem is in the collection of the author of "The Gnostics and Their Remains." See p. 201.
represent the bodily appearance of Christ. Epiphanius§ brings it as an idolatrous charge against the Carpocratians that "they kept painted portraits, and even gold and silver images, and in other materials, which they pretended to be portraits of Jesus, and made by Pilate after the likeness of Christ. . . . These they keep in secret, along with Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle, and setting them all up together, they worship and offer sacrifices unto them after the Gentiles' fashion."
Was this article helpful?
Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.