The House of Herod

Herod's slaughter of the innocents

Herod's slaughter of the innocents

The House of Herod seems to been involved in a plot to subvert the emerging Christian movement, by altering its doctrines to conform with their own mystery doctrines, featuring the death of and resurrection of a god, known as the Son of God. According to the Gospel of Mark, “Be careful,” Jesus warned them his disciples. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”[1] The power of the Pharisees was exercise through the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was originally instituted when Moses was commanded as follows:

...Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you.[2]

God commanded Moses to “lay hands”, a rite of ordination known Semicha, on Joshua. It is from this point, according to Rabbinic tradition, that the Sanhedrin began, with seventy elders, headed by Moses, for a total of seventy-one. However, before the second century first century AD, the Sanhedrin lost all significance when a powerful monarch was at the helm. In 47, however, Hyrcanus II was appointed Ethnarch of the Jews, a man devoted to the cause of the Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin was reorganized according to their wishes.

One of the first acts of the now all-powerful assembly was to pass judgment upon Herod the Great, accused of cruelty in his government. Therefore, when Herod established his power at Jerusalem in 37 BC, forty-five of his former judges were put to death. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, though Herod allowed Sanhedrin to continue, “this new Sanhedrin, filled with his creatures, was henceforth utilized as a mere tool at his beck”.[3]

Interestingly, a second and distinct meaning of Semicha, practiced by the Sanhedrin, is the laying of hands upon an offering of a sacrifice in the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. This involved pressing firmly on the head of the sacrificial animal, thereby symbolically “transmitting” sins onto the animal.[4] It would seem, therefore, that the Sanhedrin had conspired to kill Jesus as a form of ritual sacrifice, and as atonement for their sins. This is in keeping with Kabbalistic and Mithraic doctrines, perpetuated by the House of Herod, whereby human sacrifice was an act pleasing to their god, and was believed to liberate the devotee from sin, that is, from obedience to God.

According to the New Testament, it was the Sanhedrin which conspired to have Jesus killed, by paying one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, thirty pieces of silver in exchange for delivery of the into their hands. And yet, when Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin heard of Jesus’ death, he requested from Pilate permission to remove the body. Joseph of Arimathea then retrieved the body, and placed it in his own tomb, which was witnessed by Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”. Then, according to Matthew 27:57-66:

The next day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise again.” So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

By this time, Joseph of Arimathea would have already removed the body, and conspired with the two Marys to spread the message that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. However, according the Gospel of Barnabas, it was not Jesus that was crucified, but Judas in his place. This is a tradition preserved as well in the Koran. The Gospel of Barnabas explains, “Those disciples who did not fear God went by night [and] stole the body of Judas and hid it, spreading a report that Jesus was risen again; whence great confusion arose.”[5]

Those disciples mentioned in the Gospels as spreading this message were again the two Marys but also Salome. Mary Magdalene is usually identified as the women out of which Jesus exorcised seven demons, or with Mary of Bethany and the woman sinner, who anointed Jesus’ feet. She is also identified with the adulterous woman he saved from stoning by the Pharisees. But is Mary Magdalene came to be identified prostitution, it is because of an esoteric interpretation which regards her as a “sacred prostitute” to officiate at the mysteries, or as consort to the “son of god”, as she is featured in the Gnostic texts.

There is some contention as to the exact identity of Salome, who appears briefly in the canonical gospels, and who appears in more detail in apocryphal writings. However, Salome was the step-daughter of Herod Antipas, and danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of Herod’s birthday, and by doing so caused the death of John the Baptist. According to Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities:

Herodias, [...], was married to Herod, the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest, who had a daughter, Salome; after whose birth Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod, her husband's brother by the father’s side, he was tetrarch of Galilee; but her daughter Salome was married to Philip, the son of Herod, and tetrarch of Trachonitis; and as he died childless, Aristobulus, the son of Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married her; they had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus.[6]

The purpose of this mission would be that, to the unwitting masses, Jesus would be interpreted as the “Son of God”, and believed to have died and risen again. To those initiates who could be duped into higher levels, however, they would be instructed of the real meaning of the interpretation, where Jesus was equated as the enemy of their “god”, and believed to have been killed as a form of ritual sacrifice. This esoteric interpretation came to be known as Gnosticism, and became the basis through which the Western occult tradition subverted Christianty, and secretly inculcated the worship of Lucifer.

Paul the Gnostic

St. Paul

Paul

The man responsible for the introduction of a Gnostic interpretation into Christianity, though he was otherwise thought to have been its enemy, was Paul. Though usually judged to be separate traditions, the various schools that evolved from Alexandrian mysticism, were all related, and represented branches of the mysteries, in particular, the Mysteries of Mithras. The alchemical symbolism of Mithraism was found in Hermeticism, said to derive from a supposed ancient Egyptian sage known as Hermes Trismegistus. The interpretation of these mysteries was offered in a school of philosophy known as Neoplatonism, believed to derive originally from Plato. When these ideas were melded to the emerging Christian movement, they produced the heresy of Gnosticism.

In order to worship evil, it is first necessary to elevate it to the level of a god, a notion which the Gnostics borrowed from the primitive dualism of the pagans. According to doctrines of Gnosticism, from which the entire Western occult tradition derives its source, the Bible is to be interpreted in reverse. Though he was a lesser god, in the pantheon of pagan gods, God sought to proclaim himself the sole god. Therefore, God, who created the world, is evil. After having created humanity, he was oppressive in his insistence of rules of morality. Supposedly then, it is the devil, or Lucifer, identified with the dying-god, who “liberated” man by instructing him in the truth: the Kabbalah.

The followers of Jesus had persisted in Jerusalem, where they were known as the Early Church, or Nazarenes, and were headed by James, the “brother of the Lord”. In accordance with the mission of Jesus, according to Matthew, they were strict adherents of the Law. On the contrary, Paul imposed a mystical interpretation of the religion, whereby Jesus was equated with the dying-god of the mysteries, who was believed to have died for the sins of mankind, and therefore, it was permitted not to follow the ancient Law. Thus, Paul’s Gentile converts were permitted to reject circumcision. It was this matter that brought him into direct conflict with the Early Church of Jerusalem, who attempted to suppress his deviations.

Paul seems to have been part of a conspiracy on the part of the House of Herod, as the keepers of a mystery tradition, in the form of Mithraism, to subvert the emerging Christian movement, by conforming it to their occult doctrines. Paul was from Tarsus, the capitol city of Cilicia, the very hub of the intrigues that produced the Mithraic religion. In addition, according to Robert Eisenmen, in Paul as a Herodian, there is evidence, in the New Testament, early Church literature, Rabbinic literature, and Josephus, to suggest some connection between Paul and so-called “Herodians.” Eisenmen concludes:

Though these matters are hardly capable of proof, and we have, in fact, proved nothing, still no other explanations better explain the combination of points we raise. One thing cannot be denied, Paul’s Herodian connections make the manner of his sudden appearances and disappearances, his various miraculous escapes, his early power in Jerusalem, his Roman citizenship, his easy relations with kings and governors, and the venue and terms of his primary missionary activities comprehensible in a manner no other reconstruction even approaches.[7]

According to Eisenmen, Paul’s rejection of the Law is representative of the liberal attitudes of the Herodians to religious law, and their pro-Roman policies. Paul speaks in an unguarded moment in Rom 16:11 of his “kinsman Herodion.” The reference immediately preceding the one to “Herodion” in Rom 16:10, i.e., is to a certain “household of Aristobulus,” being that there were two or three Aristobuluses in the Herodian family, from different lines living at the same time.

In particular, Paul’s repudiation of the Law rejected the necessity of circumcision for converts. This was an issue particularly sensitive for the Herodians, who were in the practice of forging various dynastic alliances with non-Jews in Cilicia and Lower Armenia, and probably including Commagene. In addition to Drusilla, there was also the case of Monobazus’ mother Helen, Queen of Adiabene, later part of Armenia, and Polemos of Cilicia, whom Bernice, the daughter of Herod Agrippa, divorced after he was circumcised. Thus, explains Eisenmen, Paul arrives with funds gathered in overseas fund-raising from many of the areas into which Herodians have expanded and, in part because of this, those areas where circumcision had become such an issue because of the marital practices of Herodian princesses. He notes:

The “Christian” community in Antioch, where Christians were first called Christians (Acts 11:26) — a suitable locale for the crystallization of this terminology — comprises, even according to Acts’ dubious historical reckoning, various persons of this “Herodian” mix. Among these one should include the curious “Niger” “Lucius of Cyrene,” who was very likely none other than Paul’s other famous traveling companion Luke, and “Manaen who was a foster-brother of Herod the Tetrarch” (Acts 13:1).[8]

Following an unsuccessful conspiracy among forty Jews to assassinate Saint Paul, the Romans decided to send him to Felix in Caesarea. After the death of Herod, Judea was once more added to the great Roman province of Syria to be presided over by governors. Felix was originally a slave, but manumitted and promoted by Caesar, and appointed governor of Judea in 52 AD, and stayed in office until 58 AD. Felix was reputed to be a very cruel and lustful man. Felix was first married to Drusilla, the daughter of Ptolemy King of Mauritania, the grandson of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but later divorced her to marry another Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa, after she had already been married to Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus IV of Commagene, and then to Azizus, Kind of Emesa.[9]

Before Felix, Paul was merely asked from which province he had come. Five days later, the high priest Ananias and some of the Sanhedrin appeared, with Tertullus as their advocate.[10] They made charges, which Paul denied. Felix delayed the proceeding further until Claudias Lysias, the captain of the Roman troops in Jerusalem, could come to give evidence. After a few days, Felix’ wife, Drusilla, the Jewess, wanted to see and hear Paul. Paul appeared and gave the gospel to Felix and Drusilla. Felix trembled but was unrepentant. He wanted a bribe from Paul so did not acquit him. Felix kept Paul a prisoner in Caesarea, under loose house arrest, for two years until the arrival of Festus, the new governor.

Eisenmen makes note that it is very unlikely that Paul could have made the miraculous escapes he does without the support of the Herodians and their Roman sponsors. As in, for example, the attack on Paul in the Temple and his rescue by Roman soldiers witnessing these events from the Fortress of Antonia.[11] This episode, too, makes mention of a nephew and possibly a sister of Paul, resident in Jerusalem, but also presumably carrying Roman citizenship, who warn him of a plot by “zealots for the Law” to kill him. Without this kind of intervention, Paul could never have enjoyed the protection he does in Caesarea, and retired to Rome in such security.

Eisenmen also points out that there is reference in Josephus about a member of the Herodian family named “Saulus”, which was not a common name in the period. This Saulus plays a key role in events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. This Saulus is not only the intermediary between “the men of Power [the Herodians], the principal of the Pharisees, the chief priests, and all those desirous for peace”, in other words, peace with the Romans. Josephus also describes him as “a kinsman of Agrippa.” The mention of Saulus’ relation to “the chief priests” parallels material in Acts, relating to Saul’s commission from the chief priest to arrest “Christians”.

In addition, the Valentinians, chief among the early Gnostic groups, claimed it have received their doctrines from Theudas, a disciple of Paul. Elaine Pagels points out:

Instead of repudiating Paul as their obstinate opponent, the Naassenes and Valentinians revere him as the one of the apostles who, above all others, was himself a Gnostic initiate. The Valentinians, in particular, allege that their secret tradition offers direct access to Paul’s own teaching of wisdom and gnosis. According to Clement “they say that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas, and Theudas, in turn, a disciple of Paul.”[12]

As a result of Paul’s mission, Christianity grew among non-Jewish communities, referred to as Gentiles, which became increasingly separated from the teachings of the Nazarenes of Jerusalem. Until, the Nazarene community were treated as a deviant sect. Then, in response to what were perceived as growing heretical tendencies, the emerging orthodoxy stressed their version of the apostolic tradition, by focusing on the gospels and letters of Paul, whereby Jesus was equated with the dying-god of the mysteries, whose death and resurrection were celebrated every Easter.

Footnotes:

[1] Mark 8:15
[2] Numbers 11:16.
[3]Sanhedrin”, Catholic Encyclopedia,
[4]Semicha” Wikipedia.
[5] Chapter 218.
[6] Book XVIII, Chapter 5, 4
[7] Eisenman, Robert. “Paul as Herodian”. Institute for Jewish-Christian Origins California State University at Long Beach. JHC 3/1 (Spring, 1996), 110-122.
[8] Acts 22:21ff
[9]Drusilla”, Catholic Encyloclopedia.
[10] Acts 24:1- 9
[11] Acts 21:31f
[12] The Gnostic Paul, p. 2