Jackson Snyder presents www.Bible-News.com

Unearthing the Family of Yahshua / Jesus of Nazareth:
They Are In the Bible if One Looks Hard Enough

This is a series of lessons in historical / critical Bible study that lead to new discoveries about the blood relatives of the Jesus of history. 

This lesson uses Symbol font and is meant for IE 5.0 or above.
It is incomplete but there are several obscure truths here about the family names.



The Nazarene Acts of the Apostles, aka The Recognitions of Clement, a new, true names translation of one of the most important sources of first-century religious practice.  Generous Glossary. (Hear an excerpt.)


The Odes of Shalome, A New, True Names Setting
of the earliest excusively Nazorean songbook. 

(Hear an excerpt.)

These and many more rare new translations
are available at Apostolia.us.

The Odes of Solomon Shalome - Extraterrestrial Love




Like planning for an archaeological dig to find artifacts that will lead us to sound conclusions about any historical occurrence, we start my clearing the area of our interest of debris (Part I) and distractions (Part II).   But first, a word on

Bible Study Tools:  If one has access to a computer and a good Internet connection, sources for a Bible study are free and easy to use.  (Go to my study page.) 

I use them and also books – inexpensive books, that is, like a King James Version parallel Bible, a simple system for finding words in the Bible (concordance), The Gospel of Thomas, the writings of Eusebius (which include Hegesippus) and the works of general-historian Josephus.  A computerized Bible program with concordances and several versions may also be purchased for less than $10.  Each of the books of primary writings I mentioned is in reprint form for around $10 each.  Other printed material recommended is an Introduction to the New Testament and a concordance and a Bible word study book in one.  If you need a fine Intro to the New Testament, I’ll send you one for a fraction of the cost (I have a lot of them).

   Study is more fun with the books if you are a study nut.  But it’s faster with the computerized versions, especially if posting studies on the web for you free of charge. 

   Unfortunately, the popular Bible translations are absolutely bogus: a word study book is essential.  Better, get And I would not recommend any study book compiled before 1995, since so much fresh scholarship has been included since then.  I use the KJV / New Jerusalem / Young’s Literal / Greek parallel Bible software I bought at K-mart for $9.99 for about everything I do.  I also use internet search engines, but primarily BOOKS.

   If you want to go the next step, you may easily learn New Testament Greek (at least the letters and sounds) or purchase a good Greek lexicon.  I find a lot of very expensive Bible study tools free on the internet or at auction on eBay.  I recently picked up the Greek foundation for the New English Bible on eBay for less that $10.  That is an expensive book. 

   The best secondary resource I know for New Testament history in regards to Jesus’ brothers is the incredible book James the Brother of Jesus by Eisenman.  Another of his books is very good, but impossible to find, which is The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians.  I have several copies of this book if anyone’s looking for it.  But caution – these Eisenman books aren’t for Baptist fundamentalists or other people on a third-grade reading level.  They are for serious Bible students looking for historical sources to help them trace the historical Yahshua / Jesus.  OK.  On with it.

~ ~ ~

   We encounter a great distraction with assumptions Bible Translators make concerning sons.   We look at “son” in the King James Version, the foundation of most of the other translations.  (“Son” in the Bible is ‘uioV or huios; “bar” and “ben” also mean “son.”)


“The son of” somebody:

Matthew 10:2.  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3.  Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4.  Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Mark 2:14.  And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus….


In Bible versions like the KJV, what does it mean when certain words are in italics?


Mark 3:16.  And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17.  And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18.  And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19.  And Judas Iscariot….


What do you think I mean by underlining son in the following verses?


Mark 6:3. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?

Luke 3:23.  And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli….

Luke 6:13.  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14.  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  15.  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16.  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot….

John 1:41.  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  42.  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.

John 1:45. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph (Iwshf).

John 6:42.  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how doth he now say, I am come down out of heaven?

John 6:70.  Jesus answered them, Did not I choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71.  Now he spake of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot….

John 13:26.  Jesus therefore answereth, He it is, for whom I shall dip the sop, and give it him. So when he had dipped the sop, he taketh and giveth it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

John 19:25.  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas (Klopa, Klopa), and Mary Magdalene.

~ It doesn't mean these words are to be emphasized, it means the words simply are not there, supplied by a (hopefully) well-meaning translator.  However, they are still not there.  No son in these passages. ~ 

Discursion - KLOPA:  John 19:25 is an interesting verse.  From the Greek, it reads like this:

“Now stood alongside the stake the Iesou the mother of him and the sister of the mother of him Maria the (fem.) the (masc.) Klopa and Maria the Magdalene.”

How many were alongside the stake?  Was Jesus’ mother’s sister also named Mary?  And who is Klopa, the man with the name of a woman?  Part of the mystery is solved in the next verse.

John 19:26.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  27.  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Would it make any sense that “the disciple standing by” was “the Klopa”?   Would it be possible that “the Klopa” might be her son?  “Behold thy son,” he said.

It might be good to get various word study opinions on the identity of this person (if it is a person) before we unmask him/her through historical sources.

The Secret Identity of the Beloved Disciple (1992, Joseph Grassi) is a great little book that reads like a detective story.  The book is hard to find and if you want one, you may have to pay over $100 for a precious 125 pages in a paperback.  That's how good it is. 

Luke 24:13.  And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. …  15.  … Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  16.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. … 18.  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas (Kleopas), answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Acts 1:13.  And when they were come in, they went up into the upper chamber, where they were abiding; both Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus (‘alfai, ‘alfai), and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

Acts 1:23.  And they appointed two, Joseph (Iwshf, Iōsēf) called Barsabas, who was surnamed (called) Justus (IoustoV, Ioustos), and Matthias.   {bar Shabbos means “son of rest” or “Sabbath”}

Acts 13:21.  And afterward they asked for a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for the space of forty years.

This exercise clears away the distracting assumptions of early translators to make way for getting to the heart of the matter.  Now that we have broken down some traditional relationships and perhaps formed one or two new ones, we can get to the business of gathering together the debris and sorting through it.  Perhaps we will find something valuable before even breaking ground.


Mark 6:3. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?

Matthew 13:55.  Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56.  And are not all his sisters with us?

Mark 15:40.  There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome … 47.  And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Matthew 27:56.  Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

Luke 24:10.  It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James….

   (Do you remember what italics signify in the KJV?)

Acts 1:13. … Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

1 Corinthians 9:5.  Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Master and Cephas? 

Galatians 1:18.  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days.  19.  But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 

Jude 1.  Jude, A servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James …

   Bible savants tell us that Mark is the earliest of the canonical gospels, dating before 70 AD.  Matthew and Luke are dated after, because they speak of the fall of Jerusalem, which was happening 68 – 70 AD.   They also date the Gospel of Thomas, which is not found in the New Testament but was used by the early Egyptian church, to about 50 AD.  IN this section we will sort out the names of Yahshua’s brothers using the Biblical Gospel records, Acts, the writings of Paul, the Gospel of Thomas and other very early Christian writers.

   The order of brothers in Mark is: James, Joses, Juda, Simon.  In Matthew they are James, Joses, Simon and Judah.  We will examine each brother mentioned in Mark’s order, with the exception of Joses, because Joses is exceptional among these brothers.  We leave him until the end of the brothers section.

James:  We gather the debris around the name James to try to make sense of who he was and what he did from a biblical standpoint.  Here are various surnames and their meanings.  We gather them together into piles to make sense of their contents.

Matthew 4:21., 10:2.: “of the Zebedee” (Zebedai)

This notice seems to refer to a different James, the brother of John, and we’ll treat this at a later time.

Matthew 10:3. Mark 3:18., Luke 6:15. “of the Alphaeus” (‘Alfai)

The tradition reading is that James was the son of Alphaeus.  “Levi” is also considered a son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14).  There is no other mention of a person names Alphaeus in the Scripture.  The actual word transliterated from Greek is “Alfai” or “Halfai.”  (Stern, in The Jewish Bible, has Chalfai.)  Suppose Alfai isn’t a person, since the Scripture only says Jacob the Alfai and Levi the Alfai.  (The word “son” is not actually in the text.)  What might an Alfai be?

(1) In Hebrew, the first letter of the alphabet is Aleph; in Greek it’s Alpha.  In English, Alpha would actually be transliterated Alfa (no “ph” in Greek).  In both Greek and Hebrew, “A” has the value of “1.”  This designates either (a) a firstborn of a mother or (b) the firstborn of twins. 

   In our culture we are used to using Roman numerals to designate generations.  My birth certificate reads Jack Snyder II to distinguish me from my father, who has the same name.  On account of me being the second, he become the first. 

   In Greek and Hebrew cultures, “A” was used in a like fashion, to distinguish either a first-born, a first of a set of twins, or the elder of two in a family with the same name.  James the Alfai would mean “James the First,” which also was the designation of the King James of Bible fame.  Although he was James the IV of Scotland, when he became King of England, he was James I.  Check the introduction of your King James Bible. 

   Regardless, we might deduce that James was a firstborn, the first of twins, or had a nephew with the same name.  If he was a firstborn, then, in a religious family, he would be set aside and consecrated to Yahweh a priest (especially if he had a mother or father who was a Levite, or if he were a Nazarean Essene.

            (2) Here’s a more esoteric explanation:

The Golden Bough (1922) by Sir James George Frazer, Chapter 8. Departmental Kings of Nature (excerpt):  “The priesthood of the Alfai, as he is called by [Western Hindis] is a remarkable one; he is believed to be able to make rain. … His office passes by inheritance to his brother or sister’s son. He is supposed to conjure down rain and to drive away the locusts. But if … the Alfai is stoned to death, and his nearest relations are obliged to cast the first stone at him.”  There is more to this description.    (This is from The Golden Bough, available as a download from Project Gutenberg [catalog of ebooks].)

    We’re interesting in this Alfai because: (a) it was a kind of priesthood that (b) existed until at least 1922 from India to Africa (b) consisting of rain-makers (those who purported to control weather) and was (c) dynastic – passed down to relatives.  If the Alfai is unsuccessful (the tale goes), he is (d) stoned by his (e) closest relatives.

   We know from early sources that James was a firstborn – a priest.  One historian tells us James entered the Holy of Holies on the day of atonement.  We also understand that he was involved in rainmaking (as we will see later), and that his priesthood was also a family dynasty.  We earlier learned from both Hegesippus and Josephus that James was pushed from the parapet of the Temple and stoned by Sadducees in 62 AD, and that his brother and successor was with him as he died. 

            (3) Some scholars theorize that Alphaeus was a surname of Joseph the father of Jesus or that Alphaeus was the brother of Joseph married to the sister of Mary, whose name was also Mary.  Though there’s not much evidence of either, such is the majority opinion at this time.           

Mark 15:40. “the less” (Iakobou tou mikrou)

We get the idea from the KJV that this James was “less” than some other, maybe less than James the Zebedai.   “tou mikrou,” which is translated in the KJV as “the less” is genitive singular, literally, “of the mikrou.”  What is this mikrou of which James was?

   (a) Mikrou can mean “of the less” – to which I would add – “of the lesser priests.”  The letter to the Hebrews makes it clear that there was a priesthood in competition with the priests who had been appointed by Herod or the Romans – a pure priesthood of the order of Melchizedek (Melchi the Just).  Here is what Josephus the historian says of these:  “the impudence and boldness of the High Priests, who actually dared to send their assistants to the threshing floors, to take away those tithes that were due to the Priests, with the result that ‘the Poor’ among the Priests starved to death” (Ant. XX,8).  “This James of the less” may be the same as “James of the Poor,” which was another name for the Nazarean Essenes.

   (b) Or it could be much simpler than that.  Mikrou also means “short of stature” or “little James,” lesser of age than someone else, not as important as another.  Yet if he’s less important than someone else, we wonder why Paul hold him in such high esteem in the next passages.

Acts 21:18. “and all the elders were present”

The writer of Acts already shows James as being the the final decision-maker in the Jerusalem Assembly (15:13).  In chapter 21, Paul makes another appearance with Titus and others before the Jerusalem Assembly and there Luke has the elders of the assembly mentioned collectively, and James mentioned personally.  This goes along with what the historians tell us about the Assembly in that city after the crucifixion of Jesus – that James, his brother, took charge of it.  Wasn’t Peter supposed to take charge?   You may remember that Peter had to get out of Jerusalem because the authorities were after him.  Besides, there is another early witness, the Gospel of Thomas, that records this discourse commending James:

Gospel of Thomas 12. The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”  Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”




Yahweh bless you as you do everything in your ability to honor him.

Jackson Snyder (801) 850-6901  Vero Beach, FL