Some fourteen years turbulent years later, after the undeterred priests were still throwing Saul of Tarsus (Paulus/St Paul) out of the Temple for attempting to teach the theories he had borrowed from Jacob’s knesiyat ha-nimolim, he went into exile in Syria and Jordan. There, to non-Jews, he was finally free to teach a new belief system, a much simplified version of the commandments topped by the worship of Yeshua resurrected adding, as he went, the epithet Son of God.
Mark and Matthew wrote their gospels a few years after that, only to have them altered by a number of anonymous brush strokes on parchments. By the 4th century, Christianity had spread far and wide and ushered in the conversion of the first Roman emperor to Christianity, Constantine The great.
All of the events from the birth of Yeshua to his arrest constitute an unfortunate but rather mundane chain of events involving only a cast of Jewish characters – as would have been the case for any other Jew who expressed his religious opinions too freely and too loudly – loudly enough to annoy the Zadokim and the Perushim and flashily enough to make the local Roman soldiers very tetchy as they observed the wild-fire hysteria crystalized on the man who had ridden into town from the eastern gate on a white donkey. They watched as hordes of Jews reached towards this man, pleading, ‘Rabbi, hosha na. Teacher, save us!’
It was on the day of Succoth, a day when pilgrims had arrived from far and wide from all corners of Israel and abroad to perform their religious duties at the Temple – the moment popularized in Christian liturgy as Palm Sunday.
The New Testament makes many references to Jesus arguing with the Temple Priests about points of interpretation of the Torah and the prophecies. Like the Perushim, but unlike the Temple priests, Yeshua believed in the prophetized arrival of a messiah and one can easily imagine the oratory debates between them and Yeshua, with him challenging the manner in which they ran the Temple. He challenged their complacency, that of the ones in cushy jobs known to abuse the power of their position. He challenged them in their beliefs that complicated rituals, praying and imploring God for good fortune and forgiveness, offering the life of an animal as a sign of good-will were all their common God asked of his People.
It is quite imaginable that there would have been political factions and alliances made and unmade within the Perushim, the Zadokim and merchants. They would not have liked much his main argument which was that it was not enough to follow rituals with scrupulous care and do external mitzvah while neglecting to tame cravings and greed; while neglecting to care for one another. When push came to shove, perhaps because Yeshua had a strong temper himself, he became the odd man out.
After all, freedom of expression was allowed then as now, even to mere teachers but, then as now, only up to a point. As Yeshua upturned merchants’ stalls set up in the Temple court by priestly permission, as he quarrelled with the men in charge both of the religion and the politics of the religion, he made himself some enemies.
‘And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. Quoting from the Torah, he shouted, ‘It is written: “My house shall be called a house of prayer” before adding in his own words, ‘but you make it a den of robbers.’(Matthew 21:12).
The third sect of note in the time of Yeshua was that of the Isiyim [Essenes] currently thought to be the originators of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Initially, they lived in high numbers in most towns but took to the desert as protest against the way the Zadokim were tending to the spiritual health of the people. Ideologically, Yeshua would have aligned himself with this group in this respect, He would also have espoused their views on animal sacrifice. They believed that meat, any meat, not just pig meat, was impure, regardless of the rigors of the kosher treatment of the animals before and after death.
These Isiyim enjoyed an ascetic, communal lifestyle which would have appealed to Yeshua’s orthodoxy more than the lifestyle of the rich and powerful Zadokim and Perushim.
Somewhat different in hair and skin coloring from other Jews, the Isyim considered themselves a group apart. In this respect, they allowed anyone to become one of them after a period of probation and they accepted in their midst children from other social groups. Though their community was mixed, many of these men and women were celibate.
These men and women were spiritually enlightened. They knew about telepathy. They knew how to access higher energies and, in secret, they toiled for the triumph of the Spiritual light over the darkness of the human mind. However, though their belief system revolved around an apocalyptic event that would bring about a new Kingdom – it was not necessarily linked to the arrival of a messiah, the topic closest to Yehsua’s heart.
It is believed that around Jesus’ twelfth year, his parents, Yosef and Maryam took him on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There, it is said, he discussed the Laws of the Torah with a group of Temple priests and that they were duly amazed by the wisdom of one so young. It is thought that, at some stage, Yeshua and his parents may have gone to Egypt.
After a gap of years, Jesus showed up again but in Galilee, preaching about the Kingdom of God. By then, because Yeshua’s spin on the Torah and the Books of the Prophets resembled the doctrine of the Isiyim, it is believed that he might have spent some years in their midst, as a disciple. And it is believed that he kept very close ties with them while in Jerusalem. It is believed that they assisted him, as only they could, in the hours of his crucifixion.