Way of Essenic Studies
One of Orthodox Christianity's favorite Bible verses comes from John 14:6, frequently cited as "proof" that "Jesus died for your sins."
But the study of Luke-Acts using Philo's allegorical method of interpretation leads to a far different conclusion.
This is a great example of how translations from Greek or Hebrew to English affect faith and define a religion.
The core Christian belief that "only through the blood of Jesus can one find salvation" comes, primarily, from John’s gospel, one that most scholars agree had several layers added to the original text.
“Jesus saith unto him 'I am the way the truth and the life no man cometh unto the Father but by me.'” John 14:6
This is a portion of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples:
John 14:6 in the original Greek:
λέγει αὐτῷ Ἰησοῦς· ἐγὼ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι’ ἐμοῦ.
The New Oxford Translation:
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The verses that lead up to 14:6 are:
KJV: “And whither I go ye know and the Way ye know.”
The New Oxford: “And you know the Way to the place where I am going.”e
The footnote (e) tells us there is another “ancient authority” (Greek version) which reads:
“Where I am going you know, and the Way you know.”
Because of Matthew’s gospel, most people believe Jesus was called “The Nazarene” because he came from Nazareth. Most English translations changed “Jesus the Nazarene” to “Jesus of Nazareth,” which supported Matthew’s claim. But Luke (in Acts) reported something entirely different:
Acts 24:14: “But this I confess to you, that according to The Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets…”
Acts 24:5: “For we have found this man…a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.”
Luke left no doubt: Jesus was called “The Nazarene” because he belonged to the sect called “Nazarenes” (or Nazoreans.)
Luke also revealed in Chapter 24 that the full name of the “Sect” was, “The Way of the Nazoreans.”
According to Luke, those who belonged to “The Way” worshipped “…the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets.”
Prophet Isaiah 65:16: “"Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of Truth; And he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of Truth;"
According to Luke the people who belonged to “The Way of the Nazoreans” worshipped the “God of Truth” written in the Prophets, of which Isaiah is among the most quoted by Luke.
The key words "written in the Prophet" Isaiah about "the God of Truth" are: God, Truth, Swear. These words were so important that Isaiah repeated them a second time. According to Philo of Alexandria (Rule #1), "the repetition of a phrase" is a clue that the verse contains an allegorical message and that the literal words are to be disregarded.(1)
The Hebrew word translated as “God” is the plural form of “El o Ah.”
The Hebrew word translated as “Truth” is “Amen” a form of "Aman." (See article below)
The Hebrew word translated as “Swear” is “Sheba.” (See article below)
“El” is a name for the Hebrew God, aka YHVH;
“Ah” is from AsHeraH, El and YHVH’s consort, the goddess.
“Amen” is from “Amun,” an ancient Egyptian god.
“Sheba” from Shabat means “Seven” (Sabbath), another term that referred to the goddess called Asherah.
Translating the Hebrew, Isaiah’s “God of Truth” can be identified as “El and Asherah,” and “Amen and Sheba.” These are mythological names used to describe the CONCEPT of CREATIVE ENERGIES. They were never intended to be “humanized” or conceived as visible Beings with human attributes. In other words, these “gods and goddesses” were not to be “created” in our own image, which is exactly what happened in Judaism and Christianity. “God and Goddess” are “Powers and Energies” that created the Universe, and ancient mythology attempts to explain them.
Acts 2:44: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.”
Acts 5:20: “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of The Life.”
Acts 5:34: “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.”
“The Way of the Nazoreans” was what Jesus and the Nazoreans called their sect. They were not "from Nazareth; they were not Pharisees or Sadducees. They were Nazoreans.
“The Truth” was what they sought and what they taught: “The God of Truth” was “god and goddess” (aka Knowledge and Wisdom). “The Truth” was their doctrine of god and goddess, masculine and feminine Creative Light and Energy.
“The Life” was how they lived, communally, sharing what they had with one another.” Today “The Life” Luke described would be called “Socialism.”
The Great Goddess, Sheba
“The Great Goddess who dwelt in the sacred black aniconic stone was given the title Shayba by the Arabic-Aramaen people. Shayba represented the Moon in its threefold aspect - waxing, (maiden), full (pregnant mother), and waning (old wise woman or crone). But the primary Sabaean Moon god was Ilmukah or Ilumguh, identified with the god Sin of Assyro-Babylonian mythology. Sin was portrayed as an old man with an azure beard, the color of lapis lazuli, and a turbaned head. Wearing a crown shaped like a full moon, Sin rode a crescent moon-boat from which he navigated the night sky. Also called He-Whose-Deep-Heart-No-God-Can-Penetrate, he dispersed evil and darkness, and inspired his believers with dreams and prophecies.
Middle eastern goddesses:
Mari - Mother Sea, Great Fish Who gave birth to the gods, Fruitful Mother. Middle Eastern Sun Goddess.
Shayba - Arabic-Aramaean title of the Great Goddess. Shayba was Old Woman whose spirit dwelt in the Sacred Stone of the Kaaba in Mecca.
Shebat - Mesopotamian Moon Goddess.
The Lost Goddess of Israel
Volume 58 Number 2, March/April 2005
by Sandra Scham
And [the king] set a graven image of Asherah, that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and Solomon his son, "In this House, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever."
--II Kings 21:7
“Asherah is arguably the most important goddess in the Canaanite pantheon. The prototypical mother of gods and humans and consort of the chief god, El, she is also the mistress of the sea and the land, and protector of all living things. We have long known Asherah from the immense library of thirteenth-century cuneiform tablets found in Syria at the site of Ugarit. But there are also more than 40 references to Asherah in the Old Testament. What could she have meant to the people of monotheistic ancient Israel?
“A bit too much, apparently, at least according to the authors of the biblical texts, who attack her relentlessly. They praise Asa, king of Judah (911-870 B.C.), for removing his mother Ma'acah from official duties after "she had an abominable image made for Asherah" (I Kings 15.13, II Chronicles 15.6). They condemn the long-reigning Manas'seh of Judah (698-642) for doing "what was evil in the sight of the Lord" in "making an Asherah" (II Kings 21.7). And they trumpet the achievements of Josiah (639-609), including the destruction of offerings made to Asherah at the temple in Jerusalem, the abolition of "the Asherah from the house of the Lord," and demolition of a shrine there in which women "did weaving for Asherah" (II Kings 23). These passages reflect both the worship of Asherah and efforts to stamp out her cult during in the Iron Age. But it was only in the succeeding Persian period, after the fall of Judah in 586 B.C. and the exile in Babylon, that Asherah virtually disappeared.
“Ultimately, the campaign to eliminate the goddess has failed. "Asherah was buried long ago by the Establishment," declares respected biblical scholar William H. Dever. "Now, archaeology has excavated her." Dever is quite certain that he knows who the Asherah of ancient Israel and of the biblical texts is--she is the wife or consort of Yahweh, the one god of Israel. Many of his colleagues would agree.
“Sandra Scham, the editor of Near Eastern Archaeology and a contributing editor to ARCHAEOLOGY, teaches biblical archaeology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“William H. Dever, Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, Eerdmans Press, 2005
Susan Ackerman, Under Every Green Tree, Scholars Press, 1992
Carol Meyers, Households and Holiness: the Religious Culture of Isrealite Women, Fortress Press, 2005
Diana Edelman, The Triumph of Elohim: From Yahwisms to Judaisms, Eerdmans Press, 1996
Mark Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, Eerdmans Press, 2002”
The God, Amen, Aman, Amun, Amoun
“The worship surrounding Amun, and later, Amun-Re represented one of ancient Egypt's most complex theologies. In his most mature form, Amun-Re became a hidden, secret god. In fact, his name (Imn), or at least the name by which the ancient Egyptians called him, means "the hidden one" or "the secret one" (though there has been speculation that his name is derived from the Libyan word for water, aman. However, modern context seems to negate this possibility). In reality, however, and according to mythology, both his name and physical appearance were unknown, thus indicating his unknowable essence.
“Stated differently, Amun was unknown because he represented absolute holiness, and in this regard, he was different then any other Egyptian deity. So holy was he that he remained independent of the created universe. He was associated with the air as an invisible force, which facilitated his growth as a supreme deity. He was the Egyptian creator deity par excellence, and according to Egyptian myth, was self-created. It was believed that he could regenerate himself by becoming a snake and shedding his skin. At the same time, he remained apart from creation, totally different from it, and fully independent from it.
“However, while hidden, the addition to his name of "Re" revealed the god to humanity. Re was the common Egyptian term for the sun, thus making him visible. Hence, Amun-Re combined within himself the two opposites of divinity, the hidden and the revealed. As Amun, he was secret, hidden and mysterious, but as Re, he was visible and revealed. In some respects, this even relates to his association with Ma'at, the Egyptian concept of order and balance, and reflects back upon the ancient Egyptian's concepts of duality.
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