King Antigonus of the Hasmonean Dynasty, son of Aristobulus II, is decapitated by a pretender to the throne named Herod. This Herod is favored by Marcus Antonius and Queen Cleopatra VII after they defeat Pompey. Mark Antony, acting in his role of triumvir, subsequently declares Herod king of the Jews.
King Herod conquers Joppa and Medeba and captures Jerusalem after a siege of three months. He occupies Samaria and restores the temple to its original glory.
In Egypt the last Pharaoh is Ptolemy XV Caesarion, son of Gaius Julius Caesar and Queen Cleopatra VII. Following the suicide of his mother in the wake of the battle of Actium, Caesarion is executed by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius and Egypt is annexed as a province of Rome. Herod soon becomes a client of Octavius, who is later called Caesar Augustus.
In the waning years of the reign of Herod a young day laborer named Yosef, son of Heli, marries an even younger maiden named Miriam in the village of Nazareth. As with most such marriages in that time and place, the union is arranged by the families of both Yosef and Miriam, and has more to do with money than love.
The tiny community where they live is in the land that was given to the Israelite tribe of Zebulun in the days of Yehoshua son of Nun, who had been the chief lieutenant of Moshe. Yosef becomes apprenticed to a craftsman skilled in cutting stone, and after years of being little more than a slave to him, Yosef picks up the rudiments of the art and fulfills his period of apprenticeship. During this time Yosef and Miriam have a daughter named Salome and sons named Yeshua, Shimon and Yosef Jr., who was nicknamed Yosy. The three boys in turn are apprenticed to their own father when he strikes out on his own, and in this way, the family is just able to make enough to support themselves. But even with his sons helping, being a stonecutter is very difficult and dangerous work that sends Yosef to an early grave.
Under the Kinsman Redeemer clause of the Law, the brother of Yosef, a man named Alphaeus, is required to marry Yosef’s widow and adopt his children. After that the neighbors sometimes call Yosef’s brother Clophas, which really means replacement. Clophas has sons of his own named Yakob and Yudah and a daughter named Miriam. After the wedding the cousins all become step-siblings. With the sudden enlargement of the family, especially with his new brother Yakob being a grown man in his own right with his own source of income as a scribe, Yeshua does not have to continue in the harsh livelihood of Yosef to ensure the well-being of his mother and siblings. He departs the house of his mother Miriam and goes east toward the River Jordan.
An Essene prophet named Yohanan dwells in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins without recourse to the priests and the temple. And people from both sides of the Jordan River and the country all around go to Yohanan to confess their sins, and they are baptized.
Yohanan has gathered men to be his disciples named Philip, and Bartholomew, and Thomas. After a time Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot also follow him. These five disciples aid Yohanan in his ministry by acting as screeners, letting through to the baptism of Yohanan only those who approach with a sincere intention of repentance. At these baptisms Yohanan preaches that the Day of the Lord is immanent, a day when Yahweh would come to judge with holy violence all the nations of the Earth now ruling with power. He underscores the urgency of repentance and baptism so that people can meet the end of human rule with a pure heart and be ready to accept the direct rule of Yahweh.
But the priests and scribes and Jewish aristocracy and kings and Roman overlords alike all believe that Yohanan is really just seeding the whole region with people who will be anxious for the coming of a new theocratic ruler. They fear Yohanan will usher in one who would completely reorder the politics of the land more in favor of the destitute.
When he is about thirty years of age Yeshua son of Yosef comes from Galilee to find Yohanan at the river and be baptized by him. Two of the five screeners interview the man and let him pass through to be dunked into the river by Yohanan.But a curious thing happens after Yeshua is pushed under the water. A green glow suffuses the river, and Yohanan loses him. Yohanan panics, and starts splashing around in the water, (which is only waist deep) looking for Yeshua, but he is nowhere to be found.
After a quarter of an hour, long after anyone would have drowned in the relatively warm waters of the Jordan River, Yeshua comes to the surface again, but che looks strange, changed.There’s no more scraggly beard or any facial hair at all. Hez facial features remain more or less the same, but now they are softened a bit, rounded.Yohanan and his disciples, who have been milling about on the river bank at a loss for what to do are amazed at the sudden reappearance of the jen.
But soon after that they are embarrassed when no explanations are forthcoming from Yeshua, and in a fairly short time the whole incident is nearly forgotten. Yeshua drifts into the crowd of hangers-on who watch from the bank of the Jordan as Yohanan resumes his preaching and baptizing.
But some of the people coming to be baptized are seeking forgiveness of their sins because they have various ailments, and have come to believe God has made them sick as a direct result of their sin.All Yohanan can do, after his disciples determine they are truly contrite, is baptize them and assure them they are forgiven. He cannot heal.
But now, when these unfortunate people come out of the water, Yeshua lays hez hands on them, and they are indeed healed, exactly as they hoped.Word of this spreads to the lands all about, and soon Yohanan has more dunking business than he knows what to do with. When he passes the plate around it overflows with shekels. Naturally he makes Yeshua his chief disciple.
Now Yohanan does not teach a future reformation solely, nor does he stay on the banks of the Jordan River permanently. He was zealous for the Law and often traveled to the centers of power to attack hypocrites. When Yohanan’s preaching becomes embarrassingly personal, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, has Yohanan arrested and executed. Hearing of this, many of those who hold power in the land breathe a sigh of relief. Then Yeshua takes control of the Baptizer’s movement and accepts Yohanan’s five disciples as hez own.
Yeshua moves upstream to the Sea of Galilee where che chooses more disciples of hez own. The first to join are fishermen named Shimon, Andrew his brother, as well as Yakob the son of Zebedee, and Yohanan his brother. They use the Zebedee family’s boat to haul in the fish of the Sea of Galilee (actually a modest lake) with nets.
Later the two sons of Alphaeus Clophas, Yeshua’s step-brothers Yakob and Yudah, also join the movement and call Yeshua their master. But their sister Miriam, their father Alphaeus, as well as Yeshua’s mother, full brothers, and full sister, refuse to become hez disciples. They don’t see much profit in it, and they are of the opinion that Yeshua (and by extension themselves) would be much better served if Yeshua used his undeniable healing powers to turn a shekel or two for hez own family and not some religious group wandering around in the back forty.
In the Galilee region Yeshua begins to preach a message that differs somewhat from the message of Yohanan. Che says it is not enough for people to simply wait for God to usher in a future kingdom by divine force. One must make the kingship of Yahweh present, here and now, and this requires active participation, not just lip service.
To illustrate hez point Yeshua preaches to the people.
YESHUA A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And his son said, ‘I will not’, but afterward he repented and went. And the man went to his second son and said the same, and his son said, ‘I will go, sir,’ but he did not. Which of the two did the will of his father?
Yeshua meets a man named Matthew, also called Levi, and dines with the man in his house. Although Matthew is a Jew, he is also a tax collector for the Romans. A number of scribes and Pharisees consider Matthew a collaborator with the Roman occupiers, and they loudly object to Yeshua eating and drinking with a sinner.
But Yeshua insists that che is a healer who treats people who are unwell, both in body and soul.
YESHUA I come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew asks Yeshua what would be the signs preceding the day of the Lord.
YESHUA The kingship of God will not come with signs beforehand that can be verified, nor will people say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘Look over there!’ because the kingdom is already present among you.
Yeshua underscores to everyone present at the meal that che is not changing the practice of Judaism in any way, shape or form. Rather, che attaches great importance to every item in the Code of Moshe, no matter how trivial.
YESHUA Whosoever shall break the least one of these commandments, and shall teach others to do so, shall be called the least in the Kingdom of God. For unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not be accounted worthy to attain to the Kingdom life.
If anything, Yeshua teaches an even more strict version of Judaism by addressing the interior motives of the heart rather than purely outward actions done under the obligation of the Law. Mere lip service isn’t good enough for Yeshua.
YESHUA Not everyone who calls me Lord shall enter into the Kingdom, but only the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.
At the conclusion of the meal, Yeshua adds Matthew to his circle of disciples, making a grand total of twelve. Yeshua thinks the correspondence with the twelve tribes of Israel has prophetic resonance.
When Yeshua preaches, the people are astonished at hez doctrine, for che teaches them as one having authority and not merely as one of the scribes. For che claims the ability to forgive sins, which many believe is a power reserved to God alone. But Yeshua accompanies hez preaching and words of forgiveness with a very practical sign: che heals the sick with a touch.
Yeshua heals a leper, and orders him to make the gift to the priest in the temple of God according to the Code of Moshe. But Yeshua is saddened by the case, because the man only has a little psoriasis and is not infectious in any way, yet the priests have required him to live apart from his family, wear torn clothing, disheveled hair, and say Unclean! Unclean! for many years.
Great multitudes begin to follow Yeshua as hez fame begins to spread to the point where often che cannot even enter the cities but must remain in the desert. Even so, sick people seek hem out. Yeshua tries to limit the growth of hez fame by telling the people that che heals to remain silent, but this rarely works. Which is to say, they did not do as che commanded them.
It is not only the Jews who receive his healing touch. Yeshua heals the male lover of a Roman soldier who is paralyzed, to the dismay of many in the crowd who are suffering under the Roman occupation.
YESHUA To make the kingship of God present among you, forget about the differences between Jew and Gentile. If you love your enemies as much as you love your friends, then your enemy will become your friend, and he will be destroyed as your enemy. For I say to you that many Gentiles shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Israel in the second life. But many of the children of Israel shall not attain to the second life, because they do not help to make present on Earth the kingship of our Father in heaven.
Sometimes Yeshua’s healing touch restores health to the brain of unfortunate people with mental infirmities, for the brain is another organ just like the skin or the liver. But some of these victims display frightening symptoms, such as raving in graveyards at night, and people says evil spirits possessed them. Yeshua knows they are only sick, and che heals them, but che does not have the time nor is it hez purpose to teach people there are no spirits, good or evil, and it would not have been accepted in any event.
But some of the scribes and Pharisees begin to hate Yeshua, because hez message is about breaking down barriers between human beings and God, and breaking down barrier between human beings themselves, and their gig depends on being religious mediators and teachers in an intermediate position between the people and God. So they start criticizing everything Yeshua says or does.
And the first thing they comment on is the fact that Yeshua is often found in the homes of sinners and loose women, eating and drinking with them, and the ascetic fasting of Yohanan the baptizer seems to be far from his mind.
YESHUA Yohanan came neither eating nor drinking, and you said he had a devil. The Son of Man comes eating and drinking, and you say, ‘look a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of Gentiles and sinners, one who dines with whores. Neither fasting nor feasting is acceptable with you, it seems, and worse than that, you assume all women must be either married or prostitutes.
And the Pharisees began to criticize Yeshua because he cures a man with a withered hand on Saturday, when no work should be done, and healing is obviously work according to the letter of the Code of Moshe. Yeshua can hardly believe his ears.
YESHUA What man of you, if his lamb falls into a pit, will not fetch it out on a Sabbath day? Is not a man worth much more than a lamb? So no, being merciful is not forbidden on the Sabbath.
They accuse Yeshua of casting out demons by the power of the prince of demons.
YESHUA That doesn’t make any sense. If Thaumiel is divided against himself, he cannot stand and his kingdom is at an end.
And after all these things the Pharisees are silenced, for they have been made to look like fools. Then they go out and held a council against Yeshua on how they might destroy him. But when Yeshua realizes what they are trying to do che withdraws hemself from there. Multitudes followed after hem, and che heals them all.
And while che talks to the people, hez mother and hez brethren stand nearby, desiring to speak with him. Then hez sister Salome tells Yeshua his mother and brothers are all waiting for him, but Yeshua, looking hez sister in the eye, stretches forth his hand to his followers and speaks.
YESHUA These are my mother and my brethren! I assure you that to make the kingship of God present on Earth, even the lines of authority within one’s family must be ignored, let alone the lines of authority found in society at large.
And some of his followers find this a hard saying, because it is a radical reorganization of traditional roles between men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor.
Hez family begins to quarrel with Yeshua because they well know of his power to heal, and they command him to stay in Nazareth and establish a healing cult with themselves as the toll-taking gatekeepers. But Yeshua refuses. And after his family pushes matters further Yeshua refuses to receive any member of his blood kin at all, and he remains a traveling healer instead, with no permanent abode, precisely because the desire for a fixed location and roles proposed by his mother and brothers run contrary to his vision of the Kingdom of God. To Yeshua, every day should begin anew, with every person in direct contact with each other through giving and receiving of the things they needed, and also with direct contact with God through scripture and prayer.
Then there comes to Yeshua the scribes and Pharisees which are of Jerusalem, saying, Show us a sign from heaven that you have authority to say these things and to forgive sins.
YESHUA El Shaddai has already forgiven men of all their sins, it remains only for men to accept the truth that it is so. But it is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign when their faith has failed. Therefore there shall be no sign given to you except the sign of the prophet Jonah, who was three days in the belly of the fish and came out again alive.
This is the first time Yeshua mentions the manner of his coming death and resurrection. From that time Yeshua begins to teach his followers that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. But his followers refuse to believe it. And more to the dismay of Yeshua even his closest followers still accept the terms defined by the scribes and Pharisees. They ask him who shall have the greatest authority in the Kingdom of God.
Yeshua calls a little child to him and set him in the midst of them.
YESHUA Unless you become as this child, and conform your mind to God’s mind with the same unreserved faith, you shall not recline at the Banquet of God.
After Yeshua instructs his twelve closest followers with all of his doctrines, che sends them by twos into the countryside to bring the message of the Kingdom of God to the peasants. Yeshua knows he cannot lead them himself, simply because thirteen men arriving in a village together, while the men are working the fields, would be received with great suspicion, as though they were bandits.
Instead, Yeshua commands they should stay no more than one or two days, and accept nothing but food and lodging in payment for proclaiming the vision of Yeshua. For it is written in the Code of Moshe, You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. Therefore those who proclaimed the Kingdom of God deserved their food and shelter.
YESHUA Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.
And the message they were to teach was happiness through freedom: Freedom from desires, freedom from fear, freedom from anger, and even freedom from grief.
The followers of Yeshua ask those who listen to them, Who is the true ruler, the one who wants everything and cannot obtain all that he wants, or the one who wants only what he finds possible to obtain? The one who wants the entire known world, or the one who just wants a small and peaceful realm? And this message was received well, because the peasants already had nothing. The followers of Yeshua said to them to be content with what they have and they will be more free than any king.
And the followers of Yeshua reach so many towns that even King Herod Antipas hears of hez ministry, and fears that che is Yohanan the Baptist raised from the dead after he had beheaded him. Others say Yeshua is Elijah come down from heaven. But everyone agrees he is a major prophet on the order of Isaiah or Jeremiah.
For a year Yeshua and his followers journey through the hamlets of Lower Galilee and Samaria on the west side of the Jordan river, as well as and Edom and Perea on the east side. Herod Antipas ruled all of these lands.
At the end of the year Yeshua’s ministry takes them into Judea. In the week before the Passover Yeshua and closest followers, male and female, spend their nights in Bethany, at the house of Shimon, a leper who has been cleansed by Yeshua. In Jerusalem many people began to see Yeshua’s famed healing ministry for the first time, because prior to this he always remained in the north country and journeyed from village to village and house to house.
Yeshua goes up into the outer court of the temple and is angered to find the house of God has become a marketplace. Animals fit to be sacrificed are sold at an enormous markup, and money for gifts are changed from Roman coins to special temple money conveniently acceptable to the priests, again at a ridiculous profit.
So Yeshua fashions a whip, posts his disciples as bouncers, and goes through the temple courtyard with genuine wrath, flipping tables.
YESHUA The house of my Father is a place for worship and prayer, but you have turned it into a place to buy and sell religious paraphernalia! You hold the gold that sits in the temple with greater reverence than the temple itself!
And many of the scribes and Pharisees come down to confront Yeshua, because now he is striking at their very livelihood. A portion of the profits made in the temple are kicked upstairs to them. But Yeshua publicly derides them.
YESHUA Behold the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at feasts. Truly, they already have their reward!
Many of the scribes and Pharisees pick up stones to cast at Yeshua.
YESHUA Destroy this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it!
And by this che is speaking of the temple of hez own body. But the priests are offended, because Herod the Great began to enlarge the temple during his lifetime, and even now under the rule of his son the work is still not completed. Three days indeed! But they cannot stone Yeshua for fear of the crowd that has gathered and the disciples who close ranks around their master. So they depart for a time, and they deliberately twist his words and report that Yeshua is saying he will destroy the temple.
Yeshua does not try to correct them. Che says only, I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes. Che means only that che has started the process that would lead inexorably to hez execution. But the word begins to spread that Yeshua and his followers planned to set fire to the temple. And hez enemies take council on how they can quietly have the jen arrested and put to death.
That evening in the house of Shimon in Bethany, Yeshua and hez followers are having supper. A woman comes in and pours a box of very expensive ointment on hez head and feet. Yudah Iscariot complains that it is a waste of the ointment, because it might have been sold and the money given to the poor. He doesn’t mention that he normally skims his take right off the top of such gifts. Yeshua tells him to lay off the woman because she is anointing his body ahead of time for the burial to come. Even at that late hour none of his disciples believe Yeshua when he says he is about to be put to death.
With the stinging loss of this potential income weighing in his mind, Yudah approaches the priests and offers to betray Yeshua in return for a small sum of money. He is already disappointed that Yeshua is not interested in serving as the focal point of a violent revolt against Rome, and he has already resolved to stop following Yeshua, but he also realizes he might at least turn things to his financial advantage.
For the priests’ part, they are not paying Yudah to identify Yeshua to them, because Yeshua’s appearance is well known and che always draws crowds. The priests are paying so they can say the conspiracy against Yeshua began within his own circle. Thus Yeshua would be discredited. And Yeshua, noting the departure of Yudah, is satisfied that che has sufficiently aroused the religious authorities in Jerusalem to bring matters to a head.
With his remaining disciples Yeshua shares the first of an endless series of meals where his followers gather close together and drink wine in memory of his shed blood, and break bread in memory of his broken body, and renew again their commitment to make the kingship of God present in the world. It is, in short, the formal inauguration of the Banquet of God, and its repetition in every land and every age from that moment thereafter would become the central devotion of the people who embraced the teachings of Yeshua and his message of the forgiveness of God.
After the meal Yeshua says it is not enough to simply stop causing more damage, and to know God had already forgiven the offense. His followers must also go out into the world, forgive others of their sins, and help repair the damage that all sin causes to mankind.
That evening in a garden near the city, when the time of Yeshua’s tribulation is nearly at hand and all of hez followers have fallen asleep, che enters into direct communication with his beloved parent Chokhmah and asks for strength. Yeshua knows he will soon experience a level of suffering so great he will beg to be released. Near despair, che cries out.
YESHUA Father, if it be possible, let this bitter cup pass from my hand.
Chokhmah immediately sends a fold door.Yeshua can look into the globe and see the greenery of Land We Know. Yeshua knows that all che needs to do is walk into the globe to escape the terrible execution that awaits hem.But che also knows if che does so, then che, personally representing both humans and nephilim on two worlds, will have proven the ancient contention of Thaumiel to be correct, that world-dwellers cannot remain obedient to the elohim under dire circumstances.
YESHUA Nevertheless, beloved Father, not my will, but yours be done.
The globe collapses, and the temptation is over. Yeshua has prevailed. Only the physical consequences remain.
The priests come with many armed men to arrest Yeshua, led by Yudah, and all of his followers flee for their lives despite their many previous assurances they would stay with Yeshua to the bitter end.