Orthodox

Henotheology!

Welcome to 2017! In previous posts, especially this one, I’ve noted that the Old Testament and even the New Testament are rife filled with references to other gods, or a plurality of gods (which are actually angels or archons, according to the Christian and Gnostic traditions). This is especially evident in the apocrypha like the Books of Enoch, Jubilees, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library. Many are brainwashed by such dogma as the Nicene Creed of Orthodoxy and Catholicism into thinking that Moses taught monotheism on Mount Sinai from Yahweh. He didn’t. They tell us that the Judeo-Christian tradition has always believed in only one God since the beginning. It didn’t. In fact, monotheism wasn’t even part of church doctrine until well into the Middle Ages. It didn’t even exist in the minds of the ancient Hebrews or Egyptians until the late 600’s BCE, long after Moses and the early Prophets. As we saw, the Bible is one of many places that the tradition of “many gods” can be found.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls for instance, the War Scroll 1:10 tells us:

On the day when the Kittim fall, there shall be battle and terrible carnage before the God of Israel, for that shall be the day appointed from ancient times for the battle of destruction of the sons of darkness. At that time, the assembly of gods and the hosts of men shall battle, causing great carnage; on the day of calamity, the sons of light shall battle with the company of darkness amid the shouts of a mighty multitude and the clamour of gods and men to (make manifest) the might of God. And it shall be a time of [great] tribulation for the people which God shall redeem; of all its afflictions none shall be as this, from its sudden beginning until its end in eternal redemption.

In the Nag Hammadi Codices, a rather curious and long, late Valentinian text, called the Tripartite Tractate, the author goes on a long-winded diatribe about how some Jews were not monotheists:

By interpreting them, they established many heresies which exist to the present among the Jews. Some say that God is one, who made a proclamation in the ancient scriptures. Others say that he is many. Some say that God is simple and was a single mind in nature. Others say that his activity is linked with the establishment of good and evil. Still others say that he is the creator of that which has come into being. Still others say that it was by the angels that he created.

Back in the Dead Sea Scrolls, specifically in the War Scroll (IQM, 1Q33, 4Q491-7, 4Q471), it mentions a church of gods, and that Michael reigns over a kingdom of gods. They also specify that these are living gods, indicating their real existence outside the imagination.

Be strong and fear not; [for they tend] towards chaos and confusion, and they lean on that which is not and [shall not be. To the God] of Israel belongs all that is and shall be; [He knows] all the happenings of eternity. This is the day appointed by Him for the defeat and overthrow of the Prince of the kingdom of wickedness, and He will send eternal succour to the company of His redeemed by the might of the princely Angel of the kingdom of Michael. With everlasting light He will enlighten with joy [the children] of Israel; peace and blessing shall be with the company of God. He will raise up the kingdom of Michael in the midst of the gods, and the realm of Israel in the midst of all flesh. Righteousness shall rejoice on high, and all the children of His truth shall jubilate in eternal knowledge. And you, the sons of His Covenant, be strong in the ordeal of God! His mysteries shall uphold you until He moves His hand for His trials to come to an end.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Essenes, who, as many other authors have stated, were in many ways similar to Jesus, and were the only major denomination of Judaism that Jesus did not criticize. One must ask: if Jesus were so adamantly opposed to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who believed in only one God, yet was tolerant toward the Essenes, who believed in many gods, then does it not stand to reason that Jesus Christ himself may have also believed in many gods? In fact, Jesus Christ did believe in many gods. This is implicitly stated within his commentary on Psalm 82 in the Gospel of John! The Jews were criticizing him for calling himself the Son of God, because they thought it was blasphemy. In response, Jesus pointed out that Psalm 82 in the Bible says that there are many gods, and so therefore it is not blasphemy for Jesus to assert that he is one of these gods, as he put it (John 10:33-38):

The Jews answered Him, “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods’”? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and Scripture cannot be set aside–what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

By saying this, Jesus affirmed the real existence of more than one God and affirmed his own divinity at the same time. Michael S. Heiser writes in The Unique Son of the Most High: The place of Jesus in the divine council, Part 1 of 4 John 10:22-42 (Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6):

6 I (the speaker is God) have said, “You are gods (Myhl); )eloh|4m); and all of you are children of the most High (!Ayæl.[, ynEßb.; be ne, (elyo4n). 7 But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

To whom is he speaking? The Jews at Sinai? No – the other elohim of the council in verse 1 of Psalm 82 are the audience. When Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6, he is mouthing the words of Yahweh (the original speaker in 82:6) and quotes the passage as it originally reads – God speaks to the other elohim. Jesus is not using the verse to say that Psalm 82 had God speaking to the Jews at Sinai.

Verse 7, the next verse, confirms this interpretation, since it says that these gods to whom God was speaking would “die like men” – if they were already men, this makes no sense. Who are the princes? See Daniel 10 – divine beings (the same Hebrew word for Michael and Gabriel beings “princes” is used here in Psalm 82:7 – r#o – sar).

POINT: Jesus does not view the plural elohim of Psalm 82:1 as mere humans, and there’s a reason this is so. The reason he quotes this verse is NOT to claim he’s just a man who can call himself a god like other men – it’s to claim deity as a son of the Most High, and to DISTINGUISH himself from the other sons. The former is the direct impact of John 10; the latter requires taking John 10 in the context of Jesus and John’s prior descriptions of Jesus in this same gospel as the “monogenes” – the UNIQUE son.

There are many other references to “many gods” in the Nag Hammadi as well. In the text On the Origin of the World, 2:97, it tells us:

Seeing that everybody, gods of the world and mankind, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root.

And it is these gods that are actually subservient to what the text calls “Yaldabaoth,” the child of chaos or the Satanic demiurge and material principle.

And when Pistis Sophia desired to cause the thing that had no spirit to be formed into a likeness and to rule over matter and over all her forces, there appeared for the first time a ruler, out of the waters, lion-like in appearance, androgynous, having great authority within him, and ignorant of whence he had come into being. Now when Pistis Sophia saw him moving about in the depth of the waters, she said to him, “Child, pass through to here,” whose equivalent is ‘yalda baoth‘.

Since that day, there appeared the principle of verbal expression, which reached the gods and the angels and mankind. And what came into being as a result of verbal expression, the gods and the angels and mankind finished.

In the Books of Jeu, the Untitled Text, of the Bruce Codex, it tells us about a Heavenly, Pleromic City in which all manner of divinities dwell:

And in the place of the indivisible one there are twelve springs, and upon them twelve fatherhoods, surrounding the indivisible one in the manner of the deeps or these veils. And there is a crown upon the indivisible one in which is every species of life : and every triple-powered species; and every incomprehensible species : and every endless species ; and every unutterable species; and every silent species ; and every unmoved species ; and every first-visible species ; and every self-begotten species ; and every true species ; all being within it.

And in this is every species and every gnosis. And every power receives light from it.And every mind is revealed in it. This is the crown which the Father of the All gave to the indivisible one, in which there are 365 species, and they shine and fill the All with imperishable and inextinguishable light.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Logion 30, Jesus seems to indicate the reality of the divine mystery of the Trinity. But as in due course, we will see this mystery is anything but.

Jesus said, “Where there are three gods, they are gods. Where there are two or one, I am with him.”

In the Gnostic text Melchizedek, it differentiates between the gods, the archons and the archangels:

Death will tremble and be angry, not only he himself, but also his fellow world-ruling archons, and the principalities and the authorities, the female gods and the male gods, together with the archangels.

In the Hermetic-Stoic text Asclepius 21-29, it says that certain Gnostic human beings or Hermetic sages have expanded their spirits enough to be indeed enlightened dual beings–being of both spirit and matter and actually contain in themselves the ability to create gods through their theurgical rituals which taps into the realms of the imaginal, in which I will discuss later.

“And it happened this way because of the will of God that men be better than the gods, since, indeed, the gods are immortal, but men alone are both immortal and mortal. Therefore, man has become akin to the gods, and they know the affairs of each other with certainty. The gods know the things of men, and men know the things of the gods. And I am speaking about men, Asclepius, who have attained learning and knowledge. But (about) those who are more vain than these, it is not fitting that we say anything base, since we are divine and are introducing holy matters.

“Since we have entered the matter of the communion between the gods and men, know, Asclepius, that in which man can be strong! For just as the Father, the Lord of the universe, creates gods, in this very way man too, this mortal, earthly, living creature, the one who is not like God, also himself creates gods. Not only does he strengthen, but he is also strengthened. Not only is he god, but he also creates gods. Are you astonished, Asclepius? Are you yourself another disbeliever like the many?”

The Gospel of Philip tells us something very similar:

That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men!

Returning to the Hermetic text, Asclepius, it also states that “the gods are derived from pure matter.” Here, the gods are not spiritual entities, but material entities, and therefore may be biological in nature like humans are. Yet the same passage also asserts that the gods are immortal. Perhaps certain biological entities that are much more intelligent than mankind have figured out a way to cheat death indefinitely, and thus become “pure matter.”

For the gods, since they came into being out of a pure matter, do not need learning and knowledge. For the immortality of the gods is learning and knowledge, since they came into being out of pure matter. It (immortality) assumed for them the position of knowledge and learning. By necessity, he (God) set a boundary for man; he placed him in learning and knowledge.

The depths of hell are also filled with distinctly different entities, including at least four different types, according to the Trimorphic Protennoia:

I am the life of my Epinoia that dwells within every Power and every eternal movement, and (in) invisible Lights and within the Archons and Angels and Demons, and every soul dwelling in Tartaros, and (in) every material soul. I dwell in those who came to be. I move in everyone and I delve into them all. I walk uprightly, and those who sleep, I awaken. And I am the sight of those who dwell in sleep.

In the Platonizing Sethian text, Allogenes, it ruminates on whether or not the “Summum Bonum”, or the Highest Good actually has angels at his beckoning call:

We do not know whether the Unknowable One has angels or gods, or whether the One who is at rest was containing anything within himself except the stillness, which is he, lest he be diminished.

In Genesis 3:5, the Serpent tempted Eve saying:

For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

In other words, the fruit from the tree of knowledge would give Eve the perspective and “knowledge” of the Elohim. The Hebrew word elohim can mean either “God” singular or “gods” plural, depending on the verb. The Hypostasis of the Archons clarifies the matter, explicitly saying that Eve would become like the gods but the “chief ruler” or Yaldabaoth/Yahweh, out of jealousy, damned the primal couple, when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden.

And the snake, the instructor, said, “With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. Rather your eyes shall open and you shall come to be like gods, recognizing evil and good.” And the female instructing principle was taken away from the snake, and she left it behind, merely a thing of the earth.

Moreover, the book of Jubilees (3:19) found among the Dead Sea Scrolls also confirms that “gods” plural is the original meaning.

And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that on the day ye shall eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and ye will be as gods, and ye will know good and evil.

Moreover, it seems like the God of Genesis doesn’t really know everything when he asks:

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

The Testimony of Truth has this to say about the Genesis account:

But what sort is this God? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge, and, secondly, he said “Adam, where are you?” God does not have foreknowledge? Would he not know from the beginning? And afterwards, he said, “Let us cast him out of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever.” Surely, he has shown himself to be a malicious grudger! And what kind of God is this? For great is the blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, “I am the jealous God; I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three (and) four generations.” And he said, “I will make their heart thick, and I will cause their mind to become blind, that they might not know nor comprehend the things that are said.” But these things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him!

The Genesis account presents us with one single all powerful Creator God and yet has a few references to the Elohim in regard to both the Trees of Knowledge and Life. Does Jesus say anything in reference to Genesis? Actually, Jesus never does affirm that the earth was literally created in six days nor does he affirm the literal creationist timeline as creationists might have you believe. There is only one reference out of the entire New Testament that discusses the creation account in the 7 day period including the day of rest in Hebrews 4:3-7, a text, by the way, which had a hard time entering into the traditional cannon and is kept out of eastern church cannons.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,

    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.”

Moreover, the opening verse of John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the Word,” presents a creation account that appears to be aimed at competing against Genesis 1. The Greek word Logos implies logic, order and reason, which is the exact opposite of what Genesis 1 says about the earth being “without form and void.” This indicates that the Logos was sort of a demiurgical force that gave some sort of semblance of order from the chaotic abyss, from which Yaldaboath, the god of the void, also emerges from.

Henotheism, not monotheism, is the theology of Moses and the Prophets. It is the chief theology of Jesus Christ himself as well. This fact is generally accepted by scholars, as any number of authorities can attest. So, what exactly is Henotheism? Nothing better defines Henotheism than what St. Paul the Apostle told in 1 Corinthians 4-8:

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

Henotheism is the belief that many gods exist, but that only one God should be worshiped. Unlike monotheism, there are truly many gods and they really do exist. Yet unlike polytheism, not all the gods are worshiped. Only one of them is worshiped, and the rest are profane and are to be shunned. Henotheism explains why James the brother of Jesus and Saint John the Apostle, together with all the Prophets, were so thoroughly against idols and eating meat sacrificed to idols, even to the point where it was one of the few regulations of the Old Testament that they insisted non-Jewish Christians must keep in full as stated in Acts 15:29.

You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

This is because sacrifices to idols serve profane entities that truly do exist, according to 1 Corinthians 10:19-22:

19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Henotheism explains why idolatry is the most frequently mentioned offense in the entire Bible–for if God is all powerful, then an idol is nothing, and it would only be an inconsequential joke and hardly worth the mention. But if idolatry truly serves other gods that truly do exist, and if sacrifices to idols truly feeds those gods, then this explains why Yahweh and his Prophets are so vociferously against idolatry. For if there are other gods, then these gods are truly a threat to Yahweh and to his Messiah, and therefore it is particularly important that idolatry does not infiltrate the ranks of the faithful, for it truly gives enemies a foot in the door by which they can infiltrate the armies of Yahweh. The God of Henotheism is actually competing against other gods who are real. Worshiping other gods is serving other gods, and serving other gods undermines the power of your covenant God, and this is tantamount to adultery against your God and treason against your nation. In such terms the Prophets speak of idolatry. This line of thinking only makes sense in light of Henotheism.

If God were Almighty, then the overarching importance of the prohibition against idols makes no sense at all, because in a monotheistic system, and idol has no power. Which is worse, praying to rocks and dead trees, or committing murder?  In a monotheistic system, the first is laughable but the second is quite heinous. But in a Henotheistic system, idolatry is even more heinous than murder, for murder can only kill the body, but idolatry kills both body and soul, for it puts the soul at the mercy of gods who care not for humanity. Only within the framework of Henotheistic thinking does it make sense that idolatry is a worse crime than murder, theft, sexual perversion, or any other infraction. Seeing that the Bible condemns idolatry more frequently than any other sin, this is a case for Henotheism. Idolatry is also considered the same as adultery by Jesus as well in Matthew 5:27-28.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

In other words, if you are worshiping God but then praying to other pagan gods, then in reality, you are already committing adultery. In the Old Testament, we actually the first instance in which a foreign god actually humbles himself before Yahweh–that being is Dagon, the fish god in 1 Samuel 5:2-4:

Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon.When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.

In the text Ruth 1:15-17, we have Naomi who was a Hebrew who believed in Yahweh, but here she sanctioned the worship of other gods besides Yahweh, but only for those outside the Hebrew nation.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,if even death separates you and me.”

In Jeremiah 48:7, the Moabite god Chemosh is said to be bound in chains like an actual person, thanks to Yahweh’s invasion.

Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, and Chemosh will go into exile, together with his priests and officials.

As stated in earlier posts, we saw that many of the western Semitic peoples, including Hebrews, Canaanites, and the more archaic city of Ugarit, believed in a Father-God called El, which corresponds to the Greek Ouranos. The name El and its variants are known throughout the Bible, El, Elyon, El-Shaddai, and Eloah. They believed El spawned a brood of sons called bn-Ilm (Ugaritic) or beni-ha-Elohim (Hebrew), which means “sons of El” or “sons of the God,” and that these sons of El participated in some kind of divine government called “the congress of the gods.” Mark S. Smith in the book The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Textstells us that the Psalms 82 reference of the “divine council” scene, doesn’t actually portray Yahweh as the head of the assemblage.

One biblical text that presents Yahweh in an explicit divine council scene does not cast him as its head (who is left decidedly mute or undescribed, probably the reason why it survived the later collapsing of the different tiers). This text is Psalms 82, which begins in verse 1:

“God (elohim) stands in the divine assembly of El, among the divinities (elohim) He spronounces judgment.”

Here the figure of God, understood as Yahweh, takes his stand in the assembly. The name El was understood in the tradition – and perhaps at the time of the original text’s composition as well – to be none other but Yahweh, and not a separate God called El.

This is the origin of the title “Standing One” of Simon Magus. It indicates that a divine power has decided to stand up and forge his own divine kingdom and even wage war against the other gods. The operations of this congress are implicit within such Biblical stories as the Tower of Babel, where Yahweh consults with the other gods – “Let us go down and confuse their language” Genesis 11:7 – and in Job, where “the sons of God came to present themselves before Yahweh.” Job 1:6, 2:1. El and his wife Asherah had a total of 70 sons in the Biblical and Ugaritic traditions, or 77 in the Hittite tradition. These were the “sons of God,” and to each of them El gave a nation as an inheritance. Yahweh was one of these sons of El, and his inheritance was Israel, as stated in an earlier article. Consequently, each nation was supposed to worship one of the sons of El as its appointed God. Canaan worshiped Baal, Moab worshiped Chemosh, Ammon worshiped Molech, and Israel worshiped Yahweh. They all paid homage to El as the Father-God. This can be seen in Jubilees, where Shem,

“blessed the God of gods, who had put the word of the Lord into his mouth, and the Lord for evermore.” Jubilees 8:20-21.

In this passage, it sounds as if Shem was blessing two distinct divine entities – El and Yahweh, Father and Son. We already saw that in Deuteronomy 32:8, Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint tells us:

“When Elyon divided the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the sons of Elohim.

What this passage means is this: The Father-God Elyon divided the nations according to the number of sons he had, and so each nation got its own god. Your Bible might say “sons of Israel” in place of “sons of Elohim,” but both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint attest that the Bible originally said “sons of Elohim” not “sons of Israel,” as does Irenaeus also (Against Heresies 3.12.9). Many scholars believe that the Hebrew Bible was intentionally corrupted by the monotheists to read “sons of Israel” because later Judaism evolved to become monotheist.

Often, even in early times, the national god was combined with the Father-God El to form one entity, hence the term “Yahweh Elyon” (the LORD Most High) in Genesis 14, and “Yahweh Elohim” (the LORD God). Hence, the two deities were collapsed into one long before monotheism was invented. This also is the origin of Trinitarian thinking – that Jesus Christ, as an entity, can be collapsed into a single entity with the Father and the Spirit, thus making God three-in-one. Today, theologians often refer to the Trinity as a “mystery,” but there was no such “mystery” in the minds of ancient Christian Trinitarians. They took it for granted, because it was consistent with the same way they had thought for centuries. Only with the general acceptance of the monotheistic heresy did the Trinity become a seemingly self-contradictory “mystery.”

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This brings us to the violent activities of the God of Israel. Psalm 82:6-8 tells us:

“I said, ‘You are “gods”;

    you are all sons of the Most High.’

But you will die like mere mortals;

    you will fall like every other ruler.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth,

    for all the nations are your inheritance.

In other words, the God of Israel’s rightful destiny is to ultimately conquer the other gods and appropriate their inheritances. In a world filled with warfare and hostile nations, the logical thing to do is to have your nation and the god that rules over it, top dog. That is exactly how the ancient Israelite’s viewed such things. Yahweh should be president in the congress of the gods and should have the power to make war with the other gods and take away their power.

This is especially evident when we study the Psalms and the life story of King David. David’s covenant or pact with Yahweh was simple: you keep me from being killed by my enemies, and I will conquer all Israel’s neighbors for you. The covenant was a contractual obligation between two parties for their mutual benefit. The benefit to David was a long life. The benefit to Yahweh was the conquest of Edom, Moab, Philistia, Syria, Ammon, and the national unity of Israel. Once this is understood, David’s Psalms make sense. His frequent mention of the underworld and his intense fear of death–coupled with his description of Yahweh as a god of war with nostrils filled with fire, riding on thunderclouds, sword in hand, hurling lightening bolts, and shooting arrows at his enemies, along with multiple songs of victory–these features are consistent with David’s incessant wars of conquest against all Israel’s neighbors.

In this god-eat-god cosmic system, David wanted to ensure Yahweh was the top dog or the king of the jungle–hence the image of the lion and the serpent associated with the Jewish god. This sort of alliance system between gods and humans is what Old Testament covenant theology is all about. When Israel went to war, they carried the throne of Yahweh into battle, the Ark of the Covenant, because Yahweh was their commander and ally. Before they attacked, they consulted with Yahweh, to make certain he approved of the military action. Every war was a holy war against some other competing nation and its god. Expanding the boundaries of your nation meant expanding the empire of your covenant god, and your god would reward you for it.

Jesus himself acts like a warring Son of God with words like:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword?” Luke 12:51, Matthew 10:34.

Jesus, is in essence, a holy warrior. Jesus says things like this because he knows he is in an all-encompassing cosmic battle with the chief principle of matter of this world–Satan–as well as his hordes of demons. Jesus Christ made friends with the poor and the wretched, the prostitutes, and social outcasts. He was not looking for ethical or self-righteous people. He was looking for loyal people, worthy to his cause. He was looking for people in the dregs of society or the worst of sinners who would fight for him–who would risk everything for him, because they had nothing to loose anyway. Jesus is presented as not an all-powerful being but a god among gods, who must fight his way to become chief of the gods, or else he would become a slave to gods more powerful than himself–at least in this world anyway. He wants violent people, red hot for their faith and devotion to his cause rather than embrace a universalistic religious message as espoused by more pacifist saints. That is why Jesus says he will vomit out the lukewarm in Revelation 3:16.

Jesus continually talks about the the wicked hearted hypocrites and calls them vipers and perverse. He also referred to gentiles as dogs. The Lord wasn’t some friendly hippie that the New Age makes him out to be. He’s too much of a truth teller so they killed him for it. Jesus continually told his disciples to count the cost of being loyal in his service. In Luke 14:25-33, he tells them to properly anticipate all the costs of being associated with the Son of God in terms of building towers and warfare strategies similar to those devised by Sun Tzu.

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

However, very few make it past the veil and are indeed victorious over the world.

13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

If I’m right, and all these deities have competing interests and are recruiting followers on earth for unseen cloak-and-dagger conspiracies on the other side, Jesus could be some opposing force that steals their recruits and diminishes their ranks, which would explain why they hate him so dearly. Jesus, in essence, would be like the “get out of jail free” card of the spirit world. This also explains why the other gods also hate Yahweh, because he is in constant war and competition with them. So, were the Gnostics right in saying we are in a prison house or insane asylum ruled by multiple cosmocraters and demonic archons? And that Jesus chooses to baptize those who he wants to be his disciples? The Excerpts of Theodotus say something to this affect.

Now, regeneration is by water and spirit, as was all creation: “For the Spirit of God moved on the abyss.” And for this reason the Saviour was baptized, though not Himself needing to be so, in order that He might consecrate the whole water for those who were being regenerated. Thus it is not the body only, but the soul, that we cleanse. It is accordingly a sign of the sanctifying of our invisible part, and of the straining off from the new and spiritual creation of the unclean spirits that have got mixed up with the soul.

Some of the archons would undoubtedly be less evil than others. Some might not even be evil and may be, in fact, good, but their ultimate intentions may not be so pure. They could, perhaps, all desire power, worship, and honor, even the good ones, so even if you serve the good archons, you’re still a slave. Jesus is some formerly unknown alien infiltrator who showed up out of nowhere and began zapping people out of the sphere of the archons. Yahweh would be one of the archons, not the true father of Jesus Christ. Maybe he’s a good archon, but he still wants power, glory, and submission. This is the Gnostic belief. Sabaoth, the “Lord of Forces” would essentially be Yahweh as we think of him today. The malicious aspects of the OT deity could be Yaldabaoth or Satan. They would all be part of the Elohim or the original pantheon of divinities worshiped in ancient Mesopotamia.

The Marcionites believed that the ones who would be saved were those who were cursed by the demiurge and were unfairly treated in this world, i.e., sinners and outcasts, kind of like Cain, Korah, Balaam, and other so-called bad guys of the Old Testament. Because these sorts of people were so unfairly mistreated in the world, the Marcionites thought, they would be the only ones who would be opening to receiving the radical gospel about the alien God of Jesus Christ. They were the perfect soldiers for Jesus’ controversial and exclusive message of his divine sonship, the redemption of the believer and the coming judgment and destruction of the cosmos through the fiery conflagration.

This is perhaps where some mythicists go wrong. They are right in saying that Jesus shares many similarities with other pre-Christian gods and their dramatic stories. Jesus also shares similarities with other enigmatic and magical figures in the Bible like Simon Magus, etc. But to say that Jesus was simply invented in the twisted, archonic minds of the Roman rulers or invented by some unknown cabal is exactly what the controllers want you to believe. This is exactly what Gnostic texts like On the Origin of the World is refuting!

“Now the Word that is superior to all beings was sent for this purpose alone: that he might proclaim the unknown. He said, “There is nothing hidden that is not apparent, and what has not been recognized will be recognized.” And these were sent to make known what is hidden, and the seven authorities of chaos and their impiety. And thus they were condemned to death.

So when all the perfect appeared in the forms modelled by the rulers, and when they revealed the incomparable truth, they put to shame all the wisdom of the gods. And their fate was found to be a condemnation. And their force dried up. Their lordship was dissolved. Their forethought became emptiness, along with their glory.”

I definitely don’t think it’s mythology. I know it’s not mythology. These entities are real. Once you conjure to manifestation, you know of their reality forever. And of course, they know that you know of their reality forever. You get marked, essentially. Whether by Jesus Christ or some other demonic being. And we have to decide which team to side with since they are all fighting for our souls.

And as Christopher Knowles over at the Secret Sun once said in his series explaining why he is not a mythicist:

But believing Jesus or Paul were real people doesn’t mean you need to buy into the tenets of orthodox Christianity, or of any other kind of Christianity, for that matter.

And finally, the Neoplatonists taught the idea of a world-soul, or the Anima Mundi, in which they acquired from Plato. This is the divine, noetic realm from which emerged the gods and daimons. It is also the equivalent of Dr. Carl Jung’s collective unconscious and Dr. Henry Corbin’s Imaginal Realm. All gods, daimons, angels, heroes, fairies, devils, monsters, and myths originate from there as well. This is the very subject of focus in Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld by Patrick Harper. In fact, that is what the On the Origin of the World is telling us, explicitly:

Now the eternal realm (aeon) of truth has no shadow outside it, for the limitless light is everywhere within it. But its exterior is shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. From it, there appeared a force, presiding over the darkness. And the forces that came into being subsequent to them called the shadow ‘the limitless chaos’. From it, every kind of divinity sprouted up […] together with the entire place, so that also, shadow is posterior to the first product. It was <in> the abyss that it (shadow) appeared, deriving from the aforementioned Pistis.

The Soul of the World, collective unconscious, or Imaginal Realm, is the very source of which all the gods emerge from, like droplets from a wave. In other words the gods, daimons, and myths of the Imaginal Realm are not in the Imaginal Realm etc.–they are the Imaginal Real. It is this dynamis or power from which many Gnostics drew their strength from to create the gods through occult means similar to that of creating egregores as hinted at in the Hermetic text, Ascelpius. In fact, it is a dynamic, tempestuous place that constantly branches into “our” world–its tendrils leaping into the physical plane, the mental plane (our thoughts/imagination) and our psychological complexes and dreams.

The Anima Mundi, the daimonic reality in which our spirits also originate from, also exists within each of us–it is a plan of being that is as much “out there” as it is “within us,” as as opposed to how the “unconscious” part of the collective unconscious suggests as area of being that can be reduced to psychological factors. It is also connected to the idea of the “vault of heaven” as per Genesis or the demiurgical “womb” of the Cainites per the church father Epiphanius. And it is the means by which we can create physical reality and impress our will upon (e.g) the law of attraction–a subject and direction that will be explored further in depth, this year in 2017.

Unconquerable: How the Early Roman Catholic Church Usurped the Cult of Apollo on Vatican Hill

Hey, folks. This is an article written by my friend, James at PandirasBox. He’s been teasing me about this article, written for my site for some time now, and this is chock full of fascinating details and dot-connecting you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. So without further ado, is his newest illuminating article on various topics such Apollo worship being tied with Orthodox Christianity, Enoch, the myth of the Watchers/fallen angels, Greek mythology, the pagan origins of the Eucharist, and much, much, more! Enjoy the read.

Open your wallets and free your mind.

“For what is now called the Christian religion existed of old and was never absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh. Then true religion which already existed began to be called Christian.”  – Augustine, Retractions 1:13. (15)

Quadriga

Popes as Priests of Apollo

Many readers of the Aeon Eye will be familiar with Gnosticism, Platonism, Kabbalah, and Christianity but I wonder how many of you are aware of sources such as the Liber Pontificalis (or Book of the Popes) and the Chronography of 354/ Liberian catalogue. These sources tie in great to points that Alex and I have spoken on and our theories as well as things he has written about here. Not only is Asclepius prevalent in the Acts of Pilate/Gospel of Nicodemus and the Gospel of John but he is significant to the Apollo cult. Catholics or ex-Catholics may be familiar with the first seventeen Popes from Peter to Callistus. These Popes are given death dates a.k.a birth dates, many of which align with Pagan holidays significant to Apollo or his kindred gods. Many are named after demigods or gods from the Apollo cult as well.

The first significant name is Linus. In Greek mythology, he is the musical son of Apollo and muse Calliope. He is also the inventor of melody and rhythm who taught Orpheus and Heracles music. He supposedly wrote the myth of Dionysus and other Pelasgic legends in the city of Thebes (Greece or Egypt? who knows…). In the end he was Killed by Heracles with his own lyre after accusing him of being in error. The Vatican was known as a Temple of Apollo according to the Liber Pontificalis. (1) A tomb was found in 1615 by Torrigio inscribed with the letters LINVS, being the last five letters of a longer name such as Marcellinus or Paulinus. Possibly Aquilinus.

It is possible Marcellinus was the first Pope, but it is even more probable that this was the tomb of Linus, of the Apollo cult, in a shrine sacred to Apollo. To top it all off, Pope Linus is said to have died either on September 23 or 24. In the Handbook to life in ancient Rome by Lesley and Roy Adkins on page 286 it states the following, “September 23: Festival of Apollo.” This was followed on September 26 by the “Festival of Venus Genetrix.” The name Linus means “flax”. (3) I’m not sure of the significance of this meaning yet but I believe every detail is significant.

Cletus/ Cleitus means “glory” or “one who is chosen/ called”. Anencletus and Anacletus are other names given to him meaning “to be recalled” etc. Gnostics were known for being cast out, repenting and being let back in to the church in Rome only to fall away again. Cleitus is a name popular among the Trojan’s, and a famous mythological son of Aegyptus and Tyria. Keep in mind that the Greeks thought Aegyptos was a king of Egypt and it was in fact, the city of Memphis known to Manetho as Hut-ka-Ptah (“Enclosure of the spirit/soul of Ptah”) which in Greek becomes Ai-gy-ptos. (16) Alexander aka Alaksandu to the Luwian’s and Trojan’s was the mythological Paris of Troy.

Both Cleitus and Alexander were early Popes. Anencletus is said to have died on July 13, the Games of Apollo. The next Pope is Telesphorus meaning “to be perfected”, a popular theme in Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. A church intimately linked to Polycarp of Smyrna, the imitator of Jesus’s passion as found in the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Marcion reported Polycarp’s martyrdom and was recalled like Cleitus. While in a sense Jesus imitates Moses who imitates Zeus and Cronos. (At the moment I’m watching Blade Runner and had to comment that the maker gets his eyes gouged like the Mountain in Game of Thrones season 4, episode 8). Telesphorus died the day between the Janus and Crossroads festivals significant to shepherds and farming.

Hyginus is another Pope. He beat Valentinus for the bishopric supposedly. His name means “healthy”, and he is yet another Pope who was named for a quality he possessed. That quality was not being “diseased” as in being “heretical”. Most early Popes seem to be renamed upon coronation for something they did. Anicetus means unconquerable and may have been an Apollo worshiper judging by his epithet he shares with Helios and Apollo. Soter means Savior and is significant to Zeus. Pope Victor even died during the festival of Sol and Luna (sun and moon).

The first Antipope, Hippolytus is named after “the unleasher of horses” in Greek myth, hence his martyrdom was caused by horses tearing him limb from limb. Artemis had Asclepius resurrect him after Aphrodite had him murdered. I guess this is Hippolytus’ admirers trying to insinuate that he was resurrected as well. He was a demigod of Latium, an early Roman settlement of the Trojan Aeneas. Virgins were important in his cult as was marriage. On a humorous side-note, Pope Zephyrinus meant “west wind” likely as an insult meaning “Rome’s flatulence”. These are just some insights from the Books of Popes and the Chronography of 354 (dedicated oddly enough to Valentinus.) Another interesting note on Zephyrinus is that he was spoken of by Origen and Tertullian in veiled insults as is obvious if you read the False decretals. A little give away that the writings of Origen and Tertullian are false too. (17)

Enoch Lithograph

The Sons of Lamech, Zeus as a Jew

In a Genesis Apocryphon, Lamech is said to have had a son who did not resemble anyone in his or his wifes family. This is found in 1 Enoch:

“I have begotten a strange son,” said Lamech, “…his nature is different and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious. And it seems to be that he is not sprung from me but from the Angels…”

Angel means messenger so it seems these Watchers were merely a type of man like say a Homo-sapien rather than a Cro Magnon. They were fallen “messengers”. Their message: man can become a god by technology. The same message the Orthodox hate to this day. As Clement of Alexandria taught, “God became a man so that man might become a God”.

Lamech had three sons like Noah did. Each taught mankind the arts of metal, music, farming, etc. Apollo was one of them. Cain and Seth probably have the same genealogy in reality. These sons were the Grigori/ Watchers/ Nephilim. The result of the rape of the Sabine women by the Latins. These stories were duplicated when retold in different languages with different spins and perspectives on the issue as well as different names in each respective language or dialect.

Jupiter

In Jewish tradition, Lamech dethroned and killed his ancestor Cain just as Zeus did Cronos. Tubalcain is Hephaestus or Saturn. He is also Azazel in the book of 1 Enoch. Here is an excerpt from David Rohl’s book Legend: the Genesis of Civilization, from the section titled “Enoch the Builder King”:

“The biblical name Irad (son of Enoch) is believed to derive from the Hebrew verb yarad which has the meaning ‘to descend’. The Mesopotamian tradition (through the SKL and the Creation Epic) is that the first city to be founded in Sumer was Eridu (modern Tell Abu Shahrain, once by the shores of the Persian Gulf). It was first suggested by Archibald Saycein 1885 that the city of Eridu bears the eponym of Irad- in other words that he was the eponymous founder of the city. This suggestion still finds support in more recent scholarly discussions of Genesis.

I have suggested that Adam’s (Sumerian) successors moved down- ‘descended’ from the Zagros mountains into the plain of Susiana. Is it possible therefore, that it was Irad, ‘the one who descended’, who led his people down into the pre-flood Sumer and that the first city, Eridu, was named after him? There is an important clue regarding the settlement of the lowlands in Genesis 4:17.

‘Cain had intercourse with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He was a city builder and gave the city the name of his son, Enoch.’

At first this statement seems quite straightforward: Cain founded a city and named it Enoch. But we have come to realize that translations of the Bible can be misleading. We need o go back to the original Hebrew to recognize that there is some confusion about who founded what here. As Robert Wilson has pointed out, the subject of the phrase ‘He was a city builder’ is by no means clear.

‘Normally one would expect the subject to be the most recently mentioned noun or pronoun, in this case the name Enoch. If this interpretation is accepted, then Enoch rather than Cain would be the city builder.’

The natural conclusion to draw from this reading of Genesis 4:17 is that the city built by Enoch was named after his son, Irad, and that this city was the first Sumerian city- Eridu- as originally proposed by Sayce. Indeed, the identification of the city builder as Enoch and not Cain had been suggested as long ago as 1883 by the German scholar, Karl Budde. But, of course, this reading of the passage is ‘undermined by the addition of the name Enoch at the end of the verse’. However, Wilson tellingly points out that the standard interpretation of Cain as the builder and his son Enoch as the eponym of the cit raises some serious difficulties.

(a) The clause wayhi boneh ir (‘he was a city builder’), if it follows the normal rules of syntax displayed in the rest of the Genesis 4 genealogy, must refer to Enoch and not Cain because the name Enoch immediately precedes the clause in question. Thus we have ‘…she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He was a city builder…’- the sense here is obvious.

(b) Moreover, in Genesis 4:2, Cain is described as a tiller of the earth (Heb. obed adamah) – in other words a farmer. It would not follow the pattern of Genesis 4 to then assign him a second occupation as a city builder. This would also deprive Enoch of a proper role in the genealogy.

(c) There is no known ancient city which carries the eponym of Enoch, son of Cain- according to Wilson (but see below).

Wilson concludes that ‘It is therefore possible that the name Enoch at the end of 4:17 is a gloss’- that is to say an editorial addition or even a marginal note which was then, only later, placed into the main body of the text in the wrong place once the true meaning of the statement had been lost. Thus the original text would have been unambiguous.

‘Cain had intercourse with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He (Enoch was a city builder and gave the city the name of his son (Irad).’

This is all good knock-about stuff which makes a lot of sense and is supported by a number of experts including William Hallo and Donald Wiseman. However, Wilson has to admit that we are dealing with linguistic conjecture here. An alternative view might be that the names of the antediluvian patriarhs have been ‘invented’ from ancient Sumerian documents mentioning the first cities on earth. Thus Irad is created from the early city-name Uru-du(g) where Eri and Uru are variant dialect spellings of the word for ‘city’.

… So far I have not given you the name of Uruk as it appears in the Sumerian language. There you will find it written Unuk or Unug- perhaps the original Sumerian name of Enoch! This may explain the biblical scribe’s confusion. He added the name Enoch at the end of the city-building statement in Genesis because he knew that the mightiest city of Sumer was named after this great antediluvian patriarch. On the other hand, perhaps the marginal note ‘Enoch’ (proposed above) was the result of a scribe adding the name of the city which he thought was being referred to (i.e. Unuk) as a clarification. He may not have understood that Enoch had alos built Eridu, naming it after his son Irad.

We could even suggest further biblical links to the eponymous founders of the Sumerian cities. The city of Ur, excavated by Leonard Woolley, is transcribed logographically as uru. Unuki in Sumerian. The name became shortened or hypocorised to Urum in Akkadian and then simply Uru/ Ur in Semitic/ Hebrew. Ur means ‘city’ but the original Uru-Unuki might be understood as ‘City of Unuki’- in other words ‘City of Enoch’.

What is more, another patriarch may be identified with a Sumerian antediluvian city- Badtibira- which was the second political center (after Eridu) to which ‘kingship was handed down from heaven’.

Bad-tibira means ‘Settlement of the Metal Worker’. If we take the Hebrew consonants which make up the name Tubal we get t-b-l. We know that the soft consonant ‘I’ is often representative of ‘r’, thus we might get an original T-b-r which could, in turn, stem from the ancient Tibira. Interestingly enough the Semitic epithet ‘Cain’ in Tubal-Cain also means ‘smith’ which suggests that this epithet has been added as a clarification of a little-known Sumerian word by the Hebrew author of Genesis. So there are clues which suggest that Tubal-Cain and Badtibira are connected in some way. Perhaps we have here an original eponym ‘Settlement of Tubal’ or, in translation, ‘City of the Smith’.” (6) (pgs. 184-188)

Yet, Tubal-Cain the patriarch may actually be one of Noah’s sons, Noah being Lamech. With the story of Noah’s Dionysian drunkery being added later. If Cain is the metal worker and Tubal-Cain is a metal worker by extension then it is possible that Semjaza is Cain and that’s why Jesus is made to be recast by the Orthodox as saying that Jews are offspring of Satan aka Cain rather than the Demiurge.

Tubal

Herman Saini, in his book Satan Vs. God: A Brief History makes the argument that Hephaestus/ Saturn’s story is based on the story of Lamech’s son Tubal-Cain, offspring of Cain. He says:

“Hephaestus is called ‘the god of fire’; ‘god of metalworking’; the son of Zeus and Hera. Thus Hephaestus is the son of Zeus. However, he was not the son of Hera, but Demeter who was identified with Zillah. This is an attempt to corrupt the truth. Many myths compare Hephaestus to his sister Athena who was said to be of ‘sublime character’. Hephaestus in comparison was not of sublime character, thus implying that he was sexually immoral. Athena was considered to be the virgin goddess. Hephaestus and Athena are both mentioned as having taught men many luxurious arts. This means that they were inventors of luxuries such as jewelry, ornaments, textiles, clothing, beautiful metal fixtures for houses and palaces.

Myths also mention that with Athena Hephaestus taught men many crafts throughout the world. As a result men who before used to live in caves now live peacefully in their own homes throughout the year. These people were now employed by him in his works manufacturing household utensils, agricultural implements, weapons and many other useful products. This shows that Hephaestus with his father, brothers and sisters started the industrial revolution in the pre-Flood world, and employed people in their arts, crafts, construction and weapons industries.

The Roman Venus, who is the Greek Aphrodite was Hephaestus’ wife. All the myths mention her as unfaithful to Hephaestus. He was equally sexually immoral. Hephaestus was the god of fire, metalworking, building, and fine arts. He was the god of fire in the sense that he worked with fire to forge weapons, implements, utensils, jewelry and other arts and crafts out of metals. He was later identified with the Italian volcano god Adranus-Volcanus, hence as the god of volcanoes. The description of Hephaestus’ or Vulcan in the myths perfectly matches the Bible description of Tubalcain in Genesis 4:22 ‘…Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron’. Hence Tubalcain is the Greek Hephaestus, or the Roman Vulcan.” (pg.248)

Attias_The_Untamed

Semjaza is thus Cain the metal worker and Azazel is actually Tubal-Cain. Hephaestus is further discussed by Manetho according to Eusebius:

“The first man (or god) in Egypt is Hephaestus, who is also renowned among the Egyptians as the discoverer of fire. His son, Helios (the Sun), was succeeded by Sôsis; then follow, in turn, Cronos, Osiris, Typhon, brother of Osiris, and lastly Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. These were the first to hold sway in Egypt. Thereafter, the kingship passed from one to another in unbroken succession down to Bydis through 13,900 years. The year I take, however, to be a lunar one, consisting, that is, of 30 days: what we now call a month the Egyptians used formerly to style a year.” (14)

“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways.” (pg.35 The Book of Enoch R.H. Charles translation).

Beccafumi_-_Fall_of_the_Rebel_Angels_-_Web_Gallery_of_Art

Apocalyptic Paranoia is Orthodox

The Orthodox fear of technological advancement cries out like Abel’s blood from the soil in this paragraph. This is the age old tension between Catholic Orthodox Apocalypse and technological advancement. The Gnostic revels in sci-fi while the Orthodox dogs shun it and cringe at the very mention of it. This is why they cannot accept the possibility of men becoming like gods. The Gnostic wants to transcend this hell hole by perfecting it and the Orthodox wants to stuff the Gnostic’s head into the water and drown him in the mundane limitations placed on him by a tyrannical dead man who called himself God and hold invisible hands in another dimension after death and sing kumbaya.

Not only are these characters likely created based on ancient city names but possibly are based on the chief deities of their cities, their archons or rulers in other words. The same can be said for early Popes being named after their attributes, it could just be what they were renamed. If Tubal-Cain is the son of Lamech and Hephaestus is Tubal-Cain then Apollo is his brother and Lamech is Zeus. Asclepius is a son of Apollo and taught the healing arts and had a daughter named Hygiea. Pope Hyginus being named after her or with her attributes in mind. Epidaurus was the cult center of Asclepius where the healing arts were taught. Galen and Hippocrates, as well as the Pneumatics and Methodics were doctors and medical schools in the traditions of Asclepius, the first physician. A practice considered by Jews as ‘magic’ just as the silver screen of Hollywood still called movie-magic today was once thought by Evangelicals to be a tool of the devil.

As Will Durant says in The Story of Civilization III: Caesar and Christ:

 “All sects assumed the possibility of magic. The Magi had disseminated their art through the East and had given a new name to old jugglery. The Mediterranean world was rich in magicians, miracle workers, oracles, astrologers, ascetic saints, and scientific interpreters of dreams. Every unusual occurrence was widely hailed as a divine portent of future events. Askesis, which the Greeks had used to denote the athletic training of the body, came now to mean the spiritual taming of the flesh; men scourged themselves, mutilated themselves, starved themselves, or bound themselves to one place with chains; some of them died through self-torture or self-denial.

In the Egyptian desert near Lake Mareotis a group of Jews and non-Jews, male and female, lived in solitary cells, avoided sexual relations, met on the Sabbath for common prayer, and called themselves Therapeutae, healers of the soul. Millions believed that the writings ascribed to Orpheus, Hermes, Pythagoras, the sibyls, etc., had been dictated or inspired by a god. Preachers claiming divine inspiration traveled from city to city, performing apparently miraculous cures. Alexander of Abonoteichus trained a serpent to hide its head under his arm and allow a half-human mask to be affixed to its tail; he announced that the serpent was the god Aesclepius come to earth as an oracle; and he amassed a fortune by interpretting the sounds made by the reeds inserted in the false head.”  (pg. 525-526)

Of course the Therapeutae were not Jews but Asclepius’ followers. Worship means to imitate. Also these people scourging themselves weren’t Pagans but Christians. The Orthodox believes the soul is flesh so any assault on the flesh is an assault on the soul much like damnatio memoriae posits. Chapter 9 in the Gospel of John is directly related to the God Aesculapius/Asclepius, who is directly mentioned by Pilate in the Acts of Pilate. On another interesting side note, there was a famous Calabrian scholar of Greek studies in Western Europe who died in 1366AD named Leontius Pilatus. He translated Euripides, Aristotle, and Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey into Latin and was the first professor of Greek in the west. Interestingly as well, Petrarch hated him for pretending to be Greek rather than an Italian.

St John the Apostle

The name Pilate was not uncommon by the 14th century, and it was a Greek name! The Gospel authors clearly thought it was a Roman name though. Hegesippus was still being read into the 11th century at Corbie Abbey, yet it supposedly went missing before Jerome’s time and was supposedly never seen again. Anyway, in the Gospel of John chapter 9, we’re introduced to the Pool of Bethesda near the Sheep Gate (keep in mind the sheep is sacred to Apollo and Asclepius, while the scapegoat ritual was original to the Osiris cult). Bethesda in Hebrew is said beth hesda meaning “house of mercy/ grace”. Yet it can mean shame or disgrace. Isn’t Hebrew a silly language? Everything can mean it’s opposite. Grace in healing but disgrace due to the presence of invalids. (See: Easton’s Bible dictionary and the Catholic Encyclopedia).

“Prior to archaeological digs, the Pool of Bethesda was identified with the modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the Kidron Valley, not far from the Pool of Siloam, and alternately with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley which runs into the Kidron south of St. Stephen’s Gate. Others identified it with the twin pools then called the Souterrains (French for “Subterranean”), under the Convent of the Sisters of Zion; subsequent archaeological investigation of the area has determined these to actually be the Strouthion Pool. In digs conducted in the 19th century, Schick discovered a large tank situated about 100 feet north-west of St. Anne’s Church, which he contended was the Pool of Bethesda. Further archaeological excavation in the area, in 1964, discovered the remains of the Byzantine and Crusader churches, Hadrian’s Temple of Asclepius and Serapis, the small healing pools of the Asclepieion, the other of the two large pools, and the dam between them. It was discovered that the Byzantine construction was built in the very heart of Hadrian’s construction, and contained the healing pools.”

“The Johannine narrative (chapter 5) describes the porticos as being a place in which large numbers of infirm people were waiting, which corresponds well with the site’s 1st century AD use as an asclepieion. Some ancient biblical manuscripts argue that these people were waiting for the troubling of the water; a few such manuscripts also move the setting away from Roman rituals into something more appropriate to Judaism, by adding that an angel would occasionally stir the waters, which would then cure the first person to enter. Although the Vulgate does not include the troubling of the water or the ‘angel tradition’, these were present in many of the manuscripts used by early English translations of the Bible, who therefore included it in their translations. Modern textual scholarship views these extra details as unreliable and unlikely to have been part of the original text; many modern translations do not include the troubling of the water or the ‘angel tradition’, but leave the earlier numbering system, so that they skip from verse 3a straight to verse 5.

The biblical narrative continues by describing a Shabbat visit to the site by Jesus, during which he heals a man who has been bedridden for many years, and could not make his own way into the pool. Some scholars have suggested that the narrative is actually part of a deliberate polemic against the Asclepius cult, an antagonism possibly partly brought on by the fact that Asclepius was worshipped as Saviour (Greek: Soter), in reference to his healing attributes. The narrative uses the Greek phrase hygies genesthai, which is not used anywhere in the Synoptic Gospels, but appears frequently in ancient testimonies to the healing powers of Asclepius; the later narrative in the Gospel of John about Jesus washing Simon Peter’s feet at the Last Supper, similarly uses the Greek term, which is a special term for washing in an Asclepieion, rather than the Greek word used elsewhere in the Johannine text to describe washing – ”

Hippolytus Statue

(To quote Hippolytus, “there is nothing more frightening than a Gay Gnostic”, or was it, “all those Gay Gnostics make me tired”, I can’t quite recall which one he said. Or was it Clement of Alexandria who said that? Listen to me rambling.)

“Within the palace of Nero is the temple of Apollo, which is called St. Petronilla, in front of which is the basilica which is called Vatican…And there is another temple which was Nero’s wardrobe, which is now called St. Andrew. Next to it is the memorial of Caesar, that is the agulia, where his ashes rest honorably; and just as while he was alive the whole world was subjected to him, so now that he is dead it will lie beneath him til the end of time…The upper part at the apple, where he lies, is decorated with gold and precious stones. There it is written: “Caesar, you were once as great as the world/ But now you are closed inside a little space.” (18) (pg.34 from the Mirabilia urbis Romae of an unknown author of the 12th century).

The Omphalos associated with Apollo may have been akin to the giant acorn in St. Peter’s old basilica as portrayed in the Netflix show Borgia. Corinth and Pergamon (the seat of Satan in Revelation) were major cult sites to Apollo. In the Anatolian/Trojan culture Apollo is a bringer of light but also a punisher who sends plagues and has the power to heal their victims. In the book of 1 Samuel it says:

“The Philistines asked, ‘What guilt offering should we send to him?’ They replied, ‘Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.”

So here we see Apollo working his plagues as YHWH. Sinope is said to be a daughter of Apollo. Marcion’s home town is named after her. She pledged to always remain a virgin just to spite Zeus presumably. This is why Marcion actually corrupted a virgin meaning his home town. Before him, the churches already had heretics, he was not the first, nor was he an early one as modern scholars like to claim.

An intriguing source on Greek myth is Palaephatus, a man who was skeptical of tall tales and gave his theory on what really happened and became the basis for the myth. Lucian and the Vatican mythographer, and Homer are key for stories of Apollo while Hesiod is not. Ovid’s Remedia Amoris criticizes suicide as a means to escape love, tells lovers not to procrastinate and be lazy in love, not to avoid their partners, not perform magic, not see their lovers unprepared, not take other lovers, and never be jealous. All of Ovid’s advice is put into the mouth of Apollo. No wonder Christians hated Gnostics, they were big time players and pimp daddies. He even adds that one should burn old letters and avoid their lover’s family.

In Homer’s Illiad book 1 it is said, “Apollo has plagued us because I would not take a ransom”, and also, “At last a seer in the fulness of his knowledge declared to us the oracles of Apollo”. It is the Lycian King Apollo who looks down on Troy from Pergamus. (Book 7).

A Eucharistic Solar Symbol.

Crucifixion - Sun/Moon

I offer these last three quotes simply as food for thought and welcome you back next time for Part 2, where I will go into more details on the Christian assimilation of Pagan thought as well as the Epicurean origin of the Eucharist.

Clement of Alexandria in the Stromata book 1 says,

“Of those, too, who at one time lived as men among the Egyptians, but were constituted gods by human opinion, were Hermes the Theban, and Asclepius of Memphis; Tireseus and Manto, again, at Thebes, as Euripides says. Helenus, too, and Laocoon, and OEnone, and Crenus in Ilium. For Crenus, one of the Heraclidae, is said to have been a noted prophet. Another was Jamus in Elis, from whom came the Jamidae; and Polyidus at Argos and Megara, who is mentioned by the tragedy. Why enumerate Telemus, who, being a prophet of the Cyclops, predicted to Polyphemus the events of Ulysses’ wandering; or Onomacritus at Athens; or Amphiaraus, who campaigned with the seven at Thebes, and is reported to be a generation older than the capture of Troy; or Theoclymenus in Cephalonia, or Telmisus in Caria, or Galeus in Sicily?

There are others, too, besides these: Idmon, who was with the Argonauts, Phemonoe of Delphi, Mopsus the son of Apollo and Manto in Pamphylia, and Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus in Cilicia, Alcmaeon among the Acarnanians, Anias in Delos, Aristander of Telmessus, who was along with Alexander. Philochorus also relates in the first book of the work, On Divination, that Orpheus was a seer. And Theopompus, and Ephorus, and Timaeus, write of a seer called Orthagoras; as the Samian Pythocles in the fourth book of The Italics writes of Caius Julius Nepos.” (13)

Origen in his Contra Celsus 7.3 says:

“It is said of the Pythian priestess, whose oracle seems to have been the most celebrated, that when she sat down at the mouth of the Castalian cave, the prophetic Spirit of Apollo entered her private parts; and when she was filled with it, she gave utterance to responses which are regarded with awe as divine truths. Judge by this whether that spirit does not show its profane and impure nature, by choosing to enter the soul of the prophetess not through the more becoming medium of the bodily pores which are both open and invisible, but by means of what no modest man would ever see or speak of.”

Hippolytus in his Philosophumena 5.0 says:

“What is the doctrine of the Sethians, and that, purloining their theories from the wise men among the Greeks, they have patched together their own system out of shreds of opinion taken from Musaeus, and Linus, and Orpheus.”

Sources:

  1. Liber Pontificalis. http://archive.org/stream/bookofpopesliber00loom/bookofpopesliber00loom_djvu.txt
  2. Chronography of 354: Liberian catalogue of Popes. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/chronography_of_354_13_bishops_of_rome.htmHandbook of Life in Ancient Rome. Adkins.
  3. Apostolic Fathers volume 1. Martyrdom of Polycarp. Ehrman.
  4. Genesis Apocryphon.
  5. Legend: the Genesis of Civilization. Rohl.
  6. The Story of Civilization III: Caesar and Christ. Durant.
  7. Satan Vs. God: a brief History. Saini.
  8. Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
  9. Gospel of John, Chapter 9.
  10. Acts of Pilate, Latin edition.
  11. St. Peter’s in the Vatican. Tronzo.
  12. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata book 1.
  13. “Book 1- Fr. 1 (from the Armenian Version of Eusebius, Chronica). Dynasties of Gods, Demigods, and Spirits of the Dead.” http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Manetho/History_of_Egypt/1*.html
  14. Retractions, Augustine of Hippo.
  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_egypt
  16. False decretals, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.viii.iii.i.html
  17. Mirabilia urbis Romae