I rebuild, restore & repair brass and silver musical instruments. The proceeds of sales go for our occupational rehabilitation ministry. Pictured are 1910 White and 1920 York silver cornets, which came to me each in very poor condition. Each horn was chemically cleaned, de-tarnished, de-dented, re-soldered, padded and corked, with valves lapped and lubricated. They are ready as vintage instruments to go back into service, along with many more beauties. Do you have instruments you no longer use - any make, model, condition or type? We can put them to use in ministry. Perhaps you are a player or need a used instrument. Maybe I can help. Call (801) 850 6901 and leave me a message or use the contact form. Jackson Snyder
So it is now about 10 BC; and in Heliopolis of Egypt not far from the Temple of YHWH. Here lives a small community whose ancestors came up to build the Temple, descendants of “the Sons of Alfai,” by which surname they are still known. And they still follow the trade of their ancestors – the building business (that is, the tekton of Mark 6:3[ix]). These few families had been successful enough in their generations to inherit the wealth required to set up business in a new location, and they are blessed by YHWH and set-apart for great things to come.
There are two sets of twins, twins married to twins, descended from the builders of the temple. Twins were common in their ancestry, and their intermarriage is not uncommon among David’s descendants since prophecy decreed a Davidic Messiah to restore Jerusalem to holiness and order. One set of twins are named by Eli their father in the Hebrew style: they are Yohana and Yosef, surnamed Alfai (spell it). The other set are named by Lebbaeus their father in the Egyptian style: they are Cleo(patra)[x] and Cleopas, surnamed Alphaeus (spell it).
So we have two families from the same place with two different sets of customs, but each as Hebrew as the other, with one set Greco-Egyptian and the other Hebrew-Egyptian, ready to merge, and take on the task of trying to discover their common heritage.
The surnames Alfai and Alphaeus mean the same thing (as we will see later), yet the uniting of the Egyptian and Hebraic surnames is a sign to both that they have really been but One (Alef) from the beginning. Cleopas marries Yohana and Yosef marries Cleo(patra). The double marriage unites cousins and businesses too. They have worked together for generations anyway, and they will need a bigger company if they are going to contend for business outside of Egypt, where great building projects are shovel-ready. Herod the Great, so-called, has many great projects going all over Palestine, and it is their intention to be hired for some of them, even if it means pulling up stakes in Egypt and moving back to Bethlehem, their ancestral town of origin.
Being of the line of both David and Zadok the Priest is taken seriously, and the Sons of Alphaeus (as they are called by most others) are very faithful to their Hebraic roots. Though they’ve been brought up in the shadow of the Heliopolis Temple, the faith of their fathers and mothers never fit well with temple-Judaism. ¿What is the purpose of killing animals if one neither raises them nor eats them? The Sons of Alphaeus are strictly vegetarian. In their religious lives, they find personal prayer enlightening and individual ministry edifying, and good deeds more pleasing than either money or sacrifices. Though the Torah remains their Law, they’re more interested in do’s than don’t’s – and there is much good to do. Since Sons of Alphaeus are contractors, the real work is now done by skilled sub-contractors. The brothers-in-law Yosef and Cleopas have free time to be spent with family, education and worship.
With whatever seed is required within the human heart for a harvest of good works and a pleasing life – it had been planted within them. Hardly is a Torah necessary for such hearts; they would not disobey even had they never known of it; they simply could not. They loved too much. Some people are just born pretty good – with seven or eight parts light inside and just a little bit of darkness.[xi] After all, these are men and women of legend – worthy of awe and inspiration – priests just as much as any in the temple – of a higher priesthood that doesn’t require robes and bloodied knives – priests who would command weather, reproach plagues and heal the sick – bred of the seed of good and set-apart men and women ( – set by the Almighty in the midst of an evil world as salt and light) – hardly even subject to death – (some said they would live for a thousand generations[xii]) – yet even when they die, it is unto the resurrection of the just.
By this time, the ancient title of Alfai Priest is passing into insignificance while their new identity is published by the philosopher Philo the Jew. He simply calls the Alfai priesthood Healers (or Therapeutoi/ae). Cleopas and Yosef are hard-working yet highly religious healers. And they have been educating themselves all along – they participate in the study of the ancient manuscripts: they can read Coptic, Greek, Aramaic, and a little Hebrew. As a people set apart, they have a tradition of study, weather prediction, and healing through prayer and natural substances.
The Healers are known for high ethical standards. If necessary, they aid orphans and widows as commanded in Scripture. They see to the welfare of the poor. They take in children when possible. The money they make through their business, which is considerable, they place in a common fund to better the community, caring for both the less fortunate and those called to study Scripture.[xiii] The more they make, the more they can help. And though he is not very involved with the temple his kin helped to build, Yosef is known in religious circles as haZaddik, “Yosef the Just.”[xiv] I doubt that there is one soul who has read this far and would still not enjoy being known as a righteous man or woman.
Children of Yosef and Cleo(patra) – Yohana, Ya’aqov & Yahuda
Twin sons are born to Yosef and Cleo(patra), Ya’aqov and Yahuda (Jacob aka James and Judah aka Jude).
Ya’aqov: Ya’aqov (James), Ya’aqov receives the inherited title Alfai, which designates him as the alef, or firstborn, of twins. His ancient surname Alfai now has a second meaning. He will become known to historians as “James the Just”; but to Christians as “James, son of Alphaeus” or “James the Less” (both unfortunate errors contributing to the loss of this historical person’s identity), and have his letter to the dispersion published in what is to become the New Testament. Being the first-born son, Ya’aqov is set-apart for a life of study and ministry. At an early age he is sent to live among the Essene (men of perfect holiness) of Mount Carmel not far from Nazareth. Though he is sorely missed in family life, his parents know that he will be a gift to YHWH and the people of Israel. Besides, Mount Carmel is not so far away that he can’t return home occasionally.
Ya’aqov will take a significant place in secular history as the founder of the Assembly of Yahweh at Jerusalem and the overseer of the Nazorean Faith explosion in the mid-first century.
Yahuda: Yahuda is the second of twins, and receives the surname T’ma, which means “twin.” He will become known to scholars as Judas Didymus[xv] Thomas, the author of a New Testament letter as well as (what is often called) the fifth “gospel” (Gospel of Thomas). He is known to Christians as “Jude son of James” (in another erroneous translation) or the subject of the song “Hey Jude.” Yahuda’s fate is quite different than his brother’s. As the didymos “twin,” he is put to the education of work among the supervisors of the family business.
Yahuda will also play a significant role in the Nazorean movement as the torchbearer (the thaddaeus) of the movement in Asia as far as India.
Yohana: Several years after the twins, Yohana (a girl) finally comes forth, named for her father’s sister, whom she resembles. Yohana is betrothed before she was born to a Levite in Jerusalem, a descendant of an aristocratic though waning family. This old custom of infant betrothal was still practiced, though in fact, the betrothed seldom ended up in marriage. And a thousand years after her birth, she will be known only by a name – Joanna. What may never be known (except to me) is that “Joanna” and her Levite husband-to-be are the grandparents of a Roman emperor’s adopted son, Flavius Josephus the historian. And though a great joy will come to the family of Yosef later, for now there is mourning; for Cleo does not live through her daughter’s birth.
Death in childbirth is a very common occurrence at this time (as is death from anything - life expectancy was 29 years); it seems that YHWH would prevent such happening among the righteous, though we are told that the rain fells trees on both sides of the river (Ecc 11:3). Yosef is a widower and plans to remain unmarried. His children all attended to, his beloved gone; he will live a free man in a fettered world, choosing his work, redeeming his time, continuing in righteousness. But something is bound to happen in his life that will change his outlook entirely.
Twins of Cleopas and Yohana – Shimon and Shalome
When Yosef married Cleo, Cleopas also married Yohana, Yosef’s sister.[xvi] It’s not surprising that this couple also had twins, who also have a set of twins: Shimon and Shalom. (By the way, did I mention Yosef and Cleopas were distant cousins? Marriage within the extended family was expected and blessed in those days.)
Shimon: As the firstborn, Shimon, like Ya’aqov, is meant to enter the Essenes for his education. Unlike Ya’aqov, Shimon is too distracted for a life of utter holiness, and he rebels. In his early years, he becomes known for rebellion and Israeli nationalism, gaining him the surname “the Zealot.” But soon Shimon falls in love and settles down in the village of Cana of Galilee, which gains him yet another surname, “the Simon of Cana,” setting him apart from thousands of other Simons in the territory.
His significance in the Nazorean movement is that he becomes the overseer of the Movement after the execution of his cousin Ya’aqov in 62 AD. He will be the editor of a short book of great influence among Christian scholars of the 20th century; the book? The Teaching of the Twelve (also known as Didaché). Secular history will allot him 120 years, with oversight of the Movement for 40.
Shalom / Shalomé: Born into a community of Healers (and unlike her more traditional cousins in Israel), Shalom becomes a very well educated woman who chooses her own husband on the basis of love and faith. Two notices about Shalom survive, both of which are quite important. As an icon in the Nazorean movement of Egypt, history has been written that Yahshua (Jesus) and Shalom were very close, he making his home in her house, dining at her table and discussing matters of spirituality, experience, even mysticism.
The second contribution is a hymnbook that has caught the interest of 20th century scholars and religious laypeople. That book has become known as The Odes of Solomon. Egyptian and Syrian literature tells us that Shalom sang these hymns, and anyone who cares to read my translation of them will have no doubt afterward that Shalom, who loved Yahshua, wrote it.[xvii]
Like her sister-in-law Cleo, Yohana survived the birth of her twins for only a short time. She too succumbs to the birth of two through a birth canal barely large enough for one. Though Cleopas grieves, he realizes he cannot raise the children alone. It is not long before his neighbor’s daughter employs herself by taking care of Shimon and Shalom.
(Path A) Their father notices this girl who is named Mariamene in the Greek style. It is not long before Cleopas begins paying attention to her, and after not that much longer, They marry. OR,
(Path B) Their father notices this girl who is named Maria in the Latin style. It is not long before Cleopas begins paying attention to her, and after not that much longer, They marry.
Heliopolis to Netzeret, Cana and Khochba
We have watched this family go through several migrations and surnames already – from Cush to Heliopolis, known as “Benim Alphai,” Therepeutics, and Essenes. For generations, these families had been influenced by their submersion in Egyptian and Greek culture under the Ptolemys, but in these days, close to the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of the advent of Messiah, both Yosef and Cleopas abandon Greek names and give their children strictly Hebrew appellations. As Alfai, they would still heal and call down rain. As temple-builders, they can still prove they have served Yahweh and his people Israel well. As Therepeutae, they retain the learning of contemporary science, mysticism, and medicine. As Essenes, they take the best of each transitional shift while they abandon the worst of all, now seeking out their ancient Hebraic origins even as they are working and traveling in business together (Matthew 9:17). There is a fellowship of Essenes of one sort or another in every city and town of Egypt, Palestine and Syria, so there is no lack for like-minded friends in their travels. Too much righteousness for men born of women? No. These men are Davidids (that is, in David's bloodline), and raised up by YHWH for important, historical events.
The cruel Herods are the greatest builders in history; there is no lack of work. In fact, Sepphoris is to be rebuilt as the administrative capital of Galilee. Yosef, Cleopas, Yahuda and Shimon and company are easily able to acquire long-term employment rebuilding the amphitheater in the center of the city. It is to be a showplace and Herod is sparing no expense. Galilee is dangerous for anyone, so the families are careful to choose where they will reside. They have kin in Sepphoris – Ya’akin, his wife Chana, and their daughter Maryah. With Ya’akin help, Yosef and Cleopas will move their families to three villages on the outskirts of Sepphoris: Nazareth, Khochba and Cana. Many builders are moving to this area and homesteads are in short supply, but Ya’akin relates that there is a detachment of Roman soldiers posted in these towns and they will be safe.
Now we have Yosef and his son Yahuda and daughter Yochana in Netzeret (shoot or branch), with his son Ya’aqov[xviii] at Mount Carmel (harvest). Yosef is a widower. His brother-in-law Cleopas and with his young wife Mariamene, and the twins by his former marriage to Yohana, Shimon and Shalom, settle in Cana (zeal). Many of the Hebrew workers that came with the family from Egypt live in Khochba, also known as The Place of the Star.
Here’s a new character: Maryah, the daughter of Ya’akin, a distant cousin of the Sons of Alphaeus, lives on the outskirts of Zippori (beautiful), where she was born.
Maryah and Yosef
1 A.D.: So we leave the business behind, recognizing that it got the family of the “Jesus Family Tomb” to Galilee, and Yosef, the widower, to Maryah the young woman. We already know the story of “Mary and Joseph.” But did you know that it was the duty of an Essene of Yosef’s type, i.e. “a righteous one” (a tzaddik) to accept betrothal of the youth Maryah, a kinswoman placed in Yosef’s care through the command of one of the Manuals of Discipline, as understood by her ailing parents? Yes, there was an obligation that Yosef needed to meet and that obligation was Maryah.
Essenes of all sects adopt children, help the poor, and even marry women to give them the benefit of a family name and (eventually) the Essene treasury. Some Essenes of means took the concept farther by multiplying wives and adopting several orphans. The reason an Essene might do this is not because of sexual desire, but because he greatly loves and is burdened with the troubled ones he sees, and thus desires a large and happy family (whether he participates in that family or not). There are righteous men I know who are like this. If it were for any other reason, Yosef certainly could not have made it through the three-year ordeal of joining the order, nor would he be judged righteous enough to continue in it. The Essenes are very strict in regards to obligations.
Some Essenes, especially those who were considered priests of the Alphai, or of Melchizedek, or Phineas (depending on the sect), remain celibate and increased their numbers by taking youth into their common discipleship programs. Yosef was such a man. The Book of Matthew clearly tells us he is an Essene priest by describing him as a zaddik (that’s what they called their priests, a “just” or “righteous one”).[xix] Now at the ripe old age of 42, he is expected to do his duty by accepting the betrothal.
Yahshua / Yahshua in Zippori
So now let us understand Maryah’s son who is named Yahshua by order of the malach of YHWH. She is seen as pregnant long before her betrothal, and once the son is born, the religious people consider him among the mamzerim, one who is born in unusual, often sinful, circumstances. No longer in Egypt where such discrimination was no longer practiced, a mamzer child was not allowed in the synagogues of the Pharisees, which were so numerous, thus Yahshua was not permitted an education with the rest of the youth.[xx] Yahshua, being a firstborn of the line of Yahuda and himself a scion of David, would work with his older ‘brother’ Yahuda in Sepphoris until the age of twelve, at which time he is committed to the care of his other brother ‘Ya’aqov, among the Nazorean Essene seminarians at Mt. Carmel.
Yahshua’s lost years would be in the company of Nazorean Essenes at Mt. Carmel, and wherever the elders there bid him go. These were the priests with which he had discussed the scriptures at age 12, marking the end of his apprenticeship in construction and the beginning of his education in the priesthood. At the age of 30, in accordance with the Manual of Discipline of his order, he was elected elder, at which time he could go forth into whatever his specialty had become.
When he came back to Netzeret, to the synagogue of the Pharisees, he was called on to read the haftorah (since he was undoubtedly dressed as a teacher and recognized as such). But when his actual identity was discovered by the townspeople, he again became "that mamzer" of ignoble birth they had all banned years before.
Yochana and Matyah Lebbaeus Alphaeus
Let us jump ahead a decade. About this time, Yohana, the daughter of Yosef, finally marries her intended, he being Matyah b. Mattityahu. He is from an aristocratic family of Jerusalem. But his family fortune is waning, and it is Matyah’s intention to get it back through his work as a Levite. Matyah becomes a tax farmer in the bustling city of Caesarea. Also the first of a set of twins (Mark 2:14), Matyah ha Levi becomes a rich young ruler of the Jews. Yohana and Matyah have children, one of whom takes on the family name Mattityahu. A generation later, in 37 C. E., Yohana has the privilege of naming her second grandson after her own father, that is, Yosef. This same Yosef becomes responsible for much of what we know of these times. For later he would be the governor of Galilee, fight the Roman Emperor Vespasian, and become adopted by him as Flavius Josephus. But not so long before, his grandfather Matyah was the secretary scribe for the Nazorean movement, spearheaded by Yahshua Messiah. Although many wonderful stories were to be told about him long after he was gone, Matyah was content to stay close to Yohana and Ya’aqov, his priestly brother-in-law, until Ya’aqov is gone. Shimon bar Cleopa, Matyah’s new pastor when he falls asleep, lays him in the family tomb and scratches his nickname on an ossuary.
Yahuda and Shimon
While the eldest brother Ya’aqov is studying Enoch and becoming “James the Just,” now in a Jerusalem house, his twin (toma), Yahuda, is studying current political events with Yohanan, an Egyptian Essene of the Damascus School. Yahuda the Egyptian talks about Yochanan with his father Yosef, the teen-ager Yahshua, along with Cleopas and Shimon bar Cleopas (Luke 24:18) (all of which are Egyptians) as they walk the three miles to work each day – to the theater in Zippori – the place where the youth Yahshua learns all about hypocrites by watching the actors rehearse. The double cousins Yahuda and Shimon, as the strong men of nationalistic fervor, are lured into the “Zeal for the Law” movement, also known as “The New Covenant of Phineas” (Numbers 25:6-13). The goal of this secret society is to bring about a theocratic Israel. Although there are many violent movements in these days, this Essene wing of the Covenant promotes passive resistance against the occupying Romans and Herodians.
Although Yahuda T’ma and Shimon are both married with children, Shimon’s marriage in Cana becomes one of the most famous ever known, even more so than the legendary marriage of the son of Tobit. Yahuda T’ma is Shimon’s best man, or architriklinos - manager of the wedding feast. For this, Yahuda will receive a nickname from the Roman soldiers assigned to watch the party. Yahuda (Jude), who is continually keeping the torches lit from table to table, becomes known as Thaddeaus – Latin for “the torch god.” But that’s another story.
The cousins find themselves, as descendants of King David, pushed up to the forefront of the Phineas New Covenant movement. And now, a great event is planned as a show of solidarity – a “reverse exodus” in which all covenanters walk east through the city of Tiberius and OUT of Palestine, into the desert of Perea for a week-long camp meeting. Tens of thousands march out, with Yahuda and Shimon – and even the younger Yahshua – leading the “Cana to Nazareth March.” (This would be called a “strike” today. So isn’t that part of what Shabbat is? A strike against secular commerce?)
The Roman general in Tiberius does not take the march well; it causes a major work shortage. So the General takes his armed divisions out to the desert, surrounding the campers and beheads the purported leaders. Yahshua and his half-cousin Shimon bar Cleopas of Cana escape along with about 400 others. But Yahuda the Torchbearer, son of Yosef (Acts 5:36), doesn’t return. His body is not found. It is a mystery. The bulk of the dissenters are sold into slavery. This would be the final peaceful demonstration against Greek and Roman authority. It made a great impression upon the youth Yahshua ha Moshiach.
Besides his wife, Yahuda leaves behind an infant child, Yahuda bar Yahuda.
Yosef and Yose
Grief over the death of his son, with whom he had worked closely for many years, also takes Yosef’s life at the age of 54, leaving behind his young Essenic wife, Maryah, his eldest son Ya’aqov (who is now in Jerusalem), Yahshua – his son by adoption, and his youngest son and namesake (of whom this is the first mention), Yoseh (‘Little Yosef’), the legendary “naked boy in a sheet.”[xxi]
Yahshua, now the Nazorean Essene Teacher of Mt. Carmel (a Nazarene), does a manly deed by adopting his nephew, Yahuda bar Yahuda, who is 4 years of age. His brother Yahudah has disappeared and is presumed dead. As a Zaddik after the order of Melchizedek, Yahshua would never be married nor have marital relations. Yet adoption is the right thing to do on the behalf of his brother. When his mother tells him he is too young to give his name to his nephew, he says to her, “Woman who is my mother, how old art thou?”
Yahshua continues to aid children, allowing all children to come unto him. Yahshua also continues to maintain a close relationship with his youngest brother and only kin, Yose[xxii], who would like to follow him like the teenaged disciples do. Though he is too young to do as a man does, so Yahshua takes Yoseh into the upper room of David’s tomb right next door to Ya’aqov’s home (in Jerusalem), and there teaches him, preparing him for baptism the next morning and discipleship.[xxiii] As a Nazorean Essene, Yahshua understands his community of brothers, sisters, and children to be family, but he supports his greater family financially and spiritually[xxiv] also, even as they all support his ministry.[xxv]
Of the people watching Yahshua from a distance when he is crucified are three women – Maryah his mother and Maria wife of Cleopas. Also there but farther away is Mariamene of Magdala, who is known as Yahshua’s “companion.” In histories outside of the canon, Mariamene Magdala is the sister of the Apostle Philip (notice both have greek names). Mariamene of Magdala is named after two Maccabean queens (both of which were married to Herod and also murdered by him). Nevertheless her name, Mariamene, means something like we might say, “Darling (mene) Marietta.” Her name is famous.
Yahshua's younger brother Yoseh is right beside the stake with his mother now. To Yoseh he says, “Look at your mother.” To Maryah he says, “Look at your son,” as Maria and Mariamene tearfully look on. Soon they must all migrate away to obscure, far-away places – some back to Egypt, some as far as Halfai, others to the backwaters of Europe and Great Britain.
Back to the Tomb
Now before we get to the so-called “Tomb of Jesus” I must make a few remarks: first off, the DNA was tested from the remains of the bone box marked “Yahshua b. Yoseph” and “Mariamene e Mara.” Then whatever other human remains found in “The Jesus Family Tomb” were buried in a common grave in 1980. Ossuaries, or bone-boxes, were employed in the first century; they were used over and over again for over as long as 100 years; whatever remains were in them were not necessarily those of the names inscribed on them. There is no telling what DNA material was soaked out of them and it is no wonder that – the DNA tested was found to be of unrelated individuals. (Unfortunately, this was the filmmaker’s only ‘proof’ that one of the boxes belonged to Mary Magdalene – she was obviously not related to Yahshua – they say.)
Next, let us be reminded of the story of Joseph of Arimathaea – that he secured his family tomb well in advance of his death, just as many today make funeral arrangement long before (Matthew 27:60). In my story, Ya’aqov ha Zaddik purchased the family tomb located in the modern-day Talpiot region, and right beside the tomb of David where the Messianic Seals were found..
Ya’aqov (James) became a well-established in Jerusalem; he was the head of the Assembly of Ebionite and Nazorean Essenes there; he worked for a living as a paid priest of the order of Melchizedek[xxvi], and we have James’ history right up to his assassination in 62 AD. His own bone box disappeared in 1980 and turned up in 2003, and has since been proven by patina analysis that it came out of this same tomb. His bone box is labeled “Ya’aqov son of Yoseph brother of Yahshua.” I have no doubt whatsoever that the James Ossuary is authentic. I have no problems with this tomb being authentic either.
DISCURSION: In considering the Netzari (Nazarene) Teaching of the Standing Stone and the Standing Man, we’re to the point of speaking of James the Just, who is my favorite character because we know so much about him from so many different sources. Besides Paul, no other character is so highly attested.
I’m speaking of the brother of Yahshua Messiah, James “Yaaqov,” surnamed Alphaeus, or the Just Man (that is, ha Tzaddik). Here are just a few things we can know about James. (If you want to know Where did you get that? – just ask.) James was never named James – that is King James’ name! James’ name is Yaaqov or Jacob, like the Patriarch. James and Paul had a serious altercation on the temple steps before Paul’s conversion. James had his legs broken by a Temple guard, which resulted in a mass migration of believers out of Jerusalem. James was known to have knees like camels – ostensibly from praying for the sinners of Israel. James was known as the pillar of Israel; and that if the pillar were to break, the entire land would be destroyed. James was the successor to Jesus in the Jesus Movement, not Kefa. The disciples asked Jesus, Who will lead us, since we know that you will leave us? Jesus replied, From wherever you happen to be, go to James the Just. It is for his sake that heaven and earth came into being. G. Thom. Jesus told the disciples before his death that they should go to James. James was executed by Caiaphas’ nephew at the Temple during Passover in 62 AD. Thrown down from the parapet. James 5:6 You have condemned, you have killed, the Just One, and he does not resisted you not. James’ death, according to a contemporary, resulted in the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. James’ burial box (ossuary) has been in custody for almost 30 years. It has been judged authentic. The ossuary is inscribed with the words Yaaqov bar Yoseph Achui de Yahshua – in churchy language, that’s James son of Joseph brother of Jesus. The Epistle to the Galatians by Paul includes a line-by-line refutation of the Epistle of James by James. One top school of scholarship has proven that James wrote some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. SHOULDN’T THIS GUY GET SOME MENTION IN SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS? One scholar has it right when he says that, "Knowing James is as close as you can get to knowing the historical Jesus.” So you don’t believe me! But what if these things are true? If we sort through and learn the circumstances of James’ life, think of how much closer we might get to Yahshua the Son of Adam! Many people go to the Holy Land because they want to walk where ‘Jesus’ walked. That’s well and good. But before us we have a brother (or half brother), about whom we can learn much. And seeing as how, in very fact, James was his brother’s successor, CONSIDER HOW CLOSE WE CAN GET TO THE SAVIOR RIGHT HERE AT HOME. When I study the life of James, I feel very close to the other Man of Galilee. Now consider – James and Jesus had other brothers, and nephews too. And we know something about them. Think of what we could learn.
Did you know that Shimon bar Cleopa, Ya’aqov’s cousin, also had an assembly in Jerusalem? Shimon was crucified after the turn of the first century, some 40 years after Ya’aqov’s bones was laid in the box. As it turns out, Yahuda bar Yosef, Ya’aqov’s twin surnamed “The Torch Bearer” did make his way back home to be executed by the Romans after making confirmed missionary trips to Kurdistan. Provinces and towns retain his name and title to this day. Yahuda’s other descendants were hunted down by two Roman Emperors and finally all crucified in the second century. His son, Yahuda, who was adopted by Yahshua, continued to bear Yahshua’s name. Yahuda’s grandsons, Zachar and Ya’aqov, were interrogated by Emperor Domition at the end of the first century and let go as simpletons.
The Ossuary Inscriptions
So that leaves us with the following bone boxes that have names on them. (Please recognize that these identities and spellings are arbitrarily chosen by those who transcribed them from the granite):
X Yahshua son of Yosef (vowels implied) –
Jesus son of Joseph,
Read right to left, beginning with a tau
(X, sign of the Passover) or a cross
Ya’aqov bar Yosef akui di Yahshua
James son of Joseph brother of Jesus
Matyah – note the sacred name YAH
Yoseh – Joses – “Little Joseph” - The only occurrence of this name among all the thousands of ossuary names, corresponding directly to Matthew 13:55, 27:56; Mark 6:3 and 15:20.
Yahuda bar Yahshua – Judah son of Yahshua (Jesus). Did Yahshua make a son through the course of sexual relations? No need for him to do that. As an Essene, it was his duty to adopt children. When he said, “Let the children come to me,” he also said, “Not one will be cast out.”
Maryah – Mary – second wife of Joseph the Just, mother of Jesus and Joses. The film makers said this name was scratched in Latin. As you can clearly see, this is round Hebrew and spells Maryah, which the filmmakers Latinized to Maria. They said it was written in Latin because of Roman devotees of Mary. That was simply a lie.
Mariamene Mara – This is in Greek letters and fairly easy to read. Mariamene (or Mariamne known as Mara): This is the sister-in-law of Maryah (Mary) and wife of Cleopas (John 19:25) – also known as “the other Mary” in the evangels – not necessarily Mary Magdalene. The filmmakers said because this inscription was in Greek, and that the Gospel of Philip refers to the Magdalene as "Mariamene," that this has to be Mary Magdalene. Also, because the DNA found in this box showed no relation to the DNA found in the “Jesus” box, this proved that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married. What ridiculous conclusions! And this film host is a famous archaeologist – the “Naked Archaeologist.”
NOTE: Looking at the annunciation of the angel to Mary in Luke 1:28 - Gabriel calls Mary “kecharitōmenē” (kecaritwmenh). The ending, menē, is a sign of endearment, like “Lovely One” or “Little Darling!” Mariamene could be encoded with the same idea.
Where Are the Rest of the Kin?
The Family of Yahshua described in Scripture consists of Mary, Joseph, James, Jude, Jesus, Joses, Joanna, Salome, Cleopas, Shimon bar Cleopas (Simon the Canaanaean), maybe more. Reliable sources tell us that relatives of Jude were found in the Nazareth / Cana region from 60 years after the Resurrection to 300 years later. There were several other ossuaries in the tombs with no names (although there are certain symbols alike on all of them): we may account for them all the family if we want. In addition, there was in an adjoining tomb an ossuary with the name Shimon Kefa (Simon Kefa) on it. This name is very unusual. Didn’t they find his bones in Rome?
Is Jackson Snyder a Believer in the Jesus Family Tomb?
Updated October 25, 2011 - Yes, I am a believer; but before today, I wrote the following:
I have been thinking about “Jesus Family Tomb” since LONG before the television special. I have studied and imagined many scenarios. The very tale you have just read, The Shocking True Story Behind the “Jesus Family Tomb,” I wrote earlier in pieces in several essays going back as long as six years. It just so happens that my story fits the tomb inscriptions like O. J. Simpson fits his glove (not the bloody one). To me, the program was very inspirational, factual and believable . . . ;
yet the way the story trailed off into the DaVinci Code showed the extreme ignorance of the “Naked Archaeologist” in regard to first century history in Palestine, the Essene / Nazorean Movement and Yahshua’s history as we know it. (For crying out loud, the guy admitted he didn’t even know Yahshua had a brother – even after the James Ossuary came out 4 years ago!)
I believe the tomb was purchased by someone in the second to fourth century – someone who had these names scratched into the bone boxes and charged admission. The whole thing is just too pat, especially finding Simon Kefa in the next cave!
[i] Joseph (as Zaphenath-paneah, yonqomfant / Psonthomphantch) & Asenath, Genesis 41:45.
[ii] Joseph & King Akhenaten, c. 1400 BC. Akhenaten was the author of the source for Psalms 104. The Exodus, c. 1250 BC. King David, c. 1000 BC. Alexander, c. 300 BC.
[iii] Falasha, or Black Jews trace their heritage back to Solomon through Solomon’s (purported) son Menelik.
[iv] Moses was king of Cush from c. 1280 – 1250 BC according to Trimm, Sefer HaYashar 72ff. 2008 p. 410.
[v] Honi | Honiah ha Tzaddik, a holy man d. 65 BC, created rain according to both Talmud & Josephus. He was stoned to death, which, according to Frazer, was the penalty for heresy among the Alfai priesthood, as seen below.
[vi] I have done a lot of research into this ‘name’ and from it I believe that Alphaeus is not a name at all. Here are a few of my conclusions: 1. The Alphai were a sect of priests that could make rain and stop locusts (demons). They originated in Alphai, just south of the Egyptian border, a sanctuary city where Hebrews found solace from the many and varied persecutions of Monotheists in Egypt. Aphai is right on the trail of the so-called sojourn in Egypt. James the just was known to have possessed these powers, and was possibly of the Alphaeus Priesthood, as was Levi Alphaeus encountered later. 2. Alphaeus is a designation of the first-born of a set of twins. The second born would be known as Didymos or T’ma (thomas) in Hebrew. 3. Having the ‘Ya’aqov’ of the New Testament switch to the Latinized name James (Iakimus) gives us a nice testimonial to the presence King James I of England. 4. In very few of the “son of” notices is the word “son.” The ‘father’ name in these mistranslations happens to be in genitive case, which may make these nouns possessive, but hardly necessarily ‘sons.’ Take for instance, “Judas son of James.” The closest you can get to that in from he Greek is “Judah of James,” in this case the ‘of’ refers to James the Just, who was not the father of Judas, but the brother. “Judas of James” was of course the two brothers of Yahshua, James the Alphaeus and Judas the Didymos - twins. 5. The final one I’ll mention is that an Alphaeus was first of many brethren. Just as the Gospel of Thoms has Yahshua telling the rest to, upon his demise, go to “James the Just” as leader shows him to be the Alphaeus (Alpha male) of the group. I have been looking at Cleopas, Lebbaeus and Thaddeus also, if anyone is interested.
[vii] “Son of Alphaeus” – Mat 10:3, Mark 2:14; 3:18, Luk 6:15, Acts 1:13. The following report comes from The Golden Bough: The Roots of Religion and Folklore by James G. Frazer. Frazer is in turn quoting W. Munzinger, Ostafrikanische Studien, p. 474 (Schaffhausen, 1864). Among tribes among tribes on the outskirts of Abyssinia a similar office exists and has been thus described by an observer: “The priesthood of the Alfai, as he is called by the Barea and Kunáma, is a remarkable one; he is believed to be able to make rain. This office formerly existed among the Algeds and appears to be still common to the Nuba (Nubian) negroes. The Alfai of the Bareas, who is also consulted by the northern Kunáma, lives near Tembádere on a mountain alone with his family. The people bring him tribute in the form of clothes and fruits, and cultivate for him a large field of his own. He is a kind of carrying, and 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 he disappoints the people’s expectations and a great drought arises in the land, the Alfai is stoned to death, and his nearest relations are obliged to cast the first stone at him. When we passed through the country, the office of the Alfai was still held by an old man; but I heard that rainmaking had proved too dangerous for him and that he had renounced his office.”
[viii] Many translations have “city of destruction” instead of “city of the sun.” Whiston has proved to my satisfaction that the older version is “city of the sun,” and that “city of destruction” is a distraction offensive to the concept of an Egyptian temple. See Whiston’s editorial note on Josephus’ Antiquities 13:3:68.
[ix] Mark 6:3 is undoubtedly part of the Essene literature, fragment of Mark being found in Secacah Cave Seven. Is not this the carpenter (tektwn), the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?”
[x] Cleopatra (f) and Cleopas (m) are very popular names; several Cleopatra were in the Egyptian royalty, the last being Cleopatra VII of history and legend. By 10 BC, Cleopatra VIII, the former’s daughter with Marc Anthony, was still alive as Queen of Mauritania (Algeria), and their gained personal fame.
[xi] 4Q186 (Cryptic) – the nine houses constitute an individual’s gestation period; of those nine parts, some may be light and some dark. Eight parts in the house of light and one part in the house of darkness would establish that individual as very righteous (Fragment 2.1.1ff), and eight parts darkness and one light as just the opposite (Fragment 1.3.5ff).
[xii] A thousand generations of life – this being the lifespan of those who lived in perfect (Torah) holiness, as per Josephus and Pliny, and John 5: 24. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life.
[xiv] Matthew 1:19; Acts 1:23.
[xv] Didymus = didumoV: the second: John 11:16.
[xvi] Originally, Mariamne – (John 19:25). Like Cleo(patra) and Cleopa, Mariamne is a common Greek form of a very common Hebrew name; two princesses of the Maccabees had this name, both married to Herod.
[xvii] I say “my translation” because the public domain translations sound like they came out of an 18th century Presbyterian church, like most older translation (or should we say propaganda) of the 18th through 20th centuries. Note 15a. Many scholars today at least admit that Odes is an ancient Nazorean hymnbook of mystical verse. But their translations and commentaries make it very clear that they do not understand either messianic love or original worship. Hearing any ancient Nazorean books in the public domain makes one feel she is in the church library.)
[xviii] The Essene treasury will purchase Ya’aqov a guest house in southwest Jerusalem. He eventually becomes a liaison between the Essenes all over Palestine and Egypt. (This according to the primary source histories.)
[xix] Matthew 1:19 identifies Yosef as an Essene, dikaioV wn = a (2)tzaddik (1)being.
[xx] The rule for mamzerim is found in Torah, Deuteronomy 23:2.
[xxi] Mark 14:51,52.
[xxii] Mark 6:3.
[xxiii] This initiation of the youth in the sheet is explained in Secret Mark.
[xxiv] Matthew 9:15, 12:50, 14:21, many more.
[xxv] Luke 8:1-3.
[xxvi] Acts 6:7: Ya’aqov is one of the Priests of the Poor (Ebionim).
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