A Greek Lexicon

The Kingdom of God

Josephus tells us a hundred times in his history that all of God’s favor had left the Jews and gone over to the Romans.

“Josephus…  called to mind the dreams which he had dreamed in the night time, whereby God had signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors…. he put up a secret prayer to God, and said, “Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans, and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretell what is to come to pass… I protest openly that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee.”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 3, 8:3

“So Josephus… besought them, in many words to spare themselves, to spare their country and their temple… That they must know the Roman power was invincible, and that they had been used to serve them… for what part of the world is there that hath escaped the Romans… And evident it is that fortune is on all hands gone over to them; and that God, when he had gone round the nations with this dominion, is now settled in Italy… for which reason it was that their forefathers… did yet submit to the Romans, which they would not have suffered, had they not known that God was with them…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5, 9:3

God had settled in Italy and his favor had gone over to them and even the Jews forefathers knew that God was not with them, so that means Rome must have been the kingdom of God, in Josephus’ opinion at least.

“…It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions.””

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 6, 2:1

Oh, really?  Somehow I was under the impression it was just the Romans…

We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 6, 9:1-2

Some great examples of parallels where Rome is represented as the kingdom of heaven/God is when there is a temple opened in heaven in “The Seven Bowls of Wrath” or in “The War in Heaven“.

Earth

If Rome is the kingdom of heaven, then “earth” must certainly be Israel {or the other kingdoms that the king of kings and Lord of Lords had conquered;}.  You can see this in the many examples in the Gospels where Jesus says he will “send the reapers to harvest the earth”.  The best example of that is “The Harvest of the Earth“.

“The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”

God

If Rome is the kingdom of God, then God must represent the emperor of Rome.  This is  not even much of a stretch at all, since the Roman emperors, including Vespasian, were frequently declared God by the Senate and people all over the Roman empire were forced to worship and make sacrifices to statues of the Caesars in their temples (the refusal to do so by the Jews being the main occasion for bringing the wrath of God, by means of the Romans, upon the Jewish nation).  Who exactly God is changes as you go through Josephus’ history; at one point it is Nero but then after the war in heaven it becomes Vespasian.  Usage example “Greater Love Has no One than This“.

The Son of God

If God is the deified emperor of Rome then the son of God is the one that God sends to do his will on Earth {Israel;}.  So if you want to know who the son of God is, you should first ask who God is.

“… Vespasian put off at first his expedition against Jerusalem, and stood waiting whither the empire would be transferred after the death of Nero… however, he sent his son Titus… Titus, by a Divine impulse, sailed back …”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, 9:2

“… Vespasian turned his thoughts to what remained unsubdued in Judea. However, he himself made haste to go to Rome… but sent his son Titus, with a select part of his army, to destroy Jerusalem…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, 11:5

“… So Vespasian sent his son Titus…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 3, 1:1-3

“…Vespasian hereupon imagining there might be some pains still necessary, sent his son…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 3, 7:31

So if you want to know who he is, you should first ask who God is.  A great example of this is “Samaritans Reject Jesus” where Nero is still God at that point and he sent Vespasian to subdue the Jews, so Vespasian is represented as Jesus in that parallel.  After Vespasian becomes emperor, Titus is then frequently represented as the son of God but more frequently it represents Josephus.  Because Josephus, just like Jesus, was the only son begotten of the Father, because he was gotten (captured) in the siege of Jotapata and then eventually adopted into the Flavian family, unlike Vespasian’s two biological sons who were begotten by the mother.

“Jesus said, “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father.””

– Thomas 1:15

Some examples with Titus as Jesus are “Jesus Appears to the Disciples” or “Jesus Heals on the Sabbath“.  Some examples with Josephus as Jesus are “Jesus Stills the Storm” or “Jesus and Nicodemus“.

Leprosy

Did it ever seem strange that there were so many lepers in the New Testament description of Israel?  No other sources from ancient history seem to see so many floods of lepers all over the place, not even the Old Testament.  A “leper” in the New Testament represents a Jewish rebel that refuses to offer his right hand in protection for a surrender.  Jesus heals their withered hands by forcing them to surrender:

“… while as many as have intrusted themselves to the security of the Romans’ right hands… do enjoy their own possessions in safety… for that if they will not comply with such humane offers, and right hands for security, they should have experience of such a war as would spare nobody… But John returned Titus this answer: That … Titus ought to have such regard to the Jewish law, as to grant them leave to celebrate that day, which was the seventh day of the week, on which it was unlawful not only to remove their arms, but even to treat of peace also…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, 2:2

“… and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.”

– Luke 6:6

 Usage example “Jesus Heals on the Sabbath“.

Scribes

In the ancient world, especially kings and noble men might employ scribes.  But in the New Testament, Jesus (who theoretically was spending his time with thieves and lepers and poor people instead of kings and noblemen) seems to run into scribes on every corner and he really seems dislike them, frequently cursing them saying “woe to you, scribes and Pharisees”.  He called the tax collectors sinners but never went so far as singling them out for a cursing the way he did the scribes.  Why would Jesus hate scribes so much who were just doing their job of recording history, economic transactions, correspondences and the such?  There are no stories in the New Testament that would explain what was so bad about the scribes especially.  But, coincidentally, Josephus also hated a particular group of scribes very much, the Greek scribes.  Josephus, just like Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees, is constantly cursing the Greek writers and Jewish rebels:

“However, I may justly blame the learned men among the Greeks… they may be superior to the old writers in eloquence, yet are they inferior to them in the execution of what they intended to do… where it must be reproachful to write lies, when they must be known by the readers to be such… Yet shall the real truth of historical facts be preferred by us, how much soever it be neglected among the Greek historians. ”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Preface, 5

“How can it then be other than an absurd thing, for the Greeks to be so proud, and to vaunt themselves to be the only people that are acquainted with antiquity, and that have delivered the true accounts… Nay, who is there that cannot easily gather from the Greek writers themselves, that they knew but little on any good foundation when they set to write, but rather wrote their histories from their own conjectures? Accordingly, they confute one another in their own books to purpose, and are not ashamed to give us the most contradictory accounts…”

– Flavius Josephus Against Apion, Book 1 :3

“WHEREAS the war which the Jews made with the Romans hath been the greatest of all those… that ever were heard of… while some men who were not concerned in the affairs themselves have gotten together vain and contradictory stories by hearsay, and have written them down after a sophistical manner… and this either out of a humor of flattery to the Romans, or of hatred towards the Jews; and while their writings contain sometimes accusations, and sometimes encomiums, but no where the accurate truth of the facts…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Preface:1

Usage example: “Jesus Heals Bartimaeus“.

Feast/Meat

In the New Testament, the word “feast” or the phrase “sat at meat” represents a “battle.”  This probably originates from from the following passage:

“… they soon take their arms, and put themselves into motion, and make haste to a battle, as if it were to a feast…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, 4:1

But it is probably also inspired by the ancient pagan traditions that when you make sacrifices to a god, that is when he “eats”. Usage example “Jesus Appears to the Disciples“.

Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].””

– Thomas 1:22

Fasting

Fasting can be a deeply religious act, or it can be just the result of war and famine, for example in “The Parable of the Patches and Wineskins“.

The Messianic Secret

Throughout the Gospels there are very many occurrences of what is called the “Messianic Secret”, where Jesus heals someone or casts out devils and then tells that healed person to tell no one and keep it a secret.  Sometimes the people obey that order and sometimes they do not and “publish” it throughout the country.  In Matthew and Luke there are also many examples of what I call “anti-Messianic Secrets” where Jesus does the opposite; he heals someone and tells them to tell everyone, sing it from the roof tops.  The Messianic Secret has been widely discussed since millennia, there is even a Wikipedia page about it, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense, nor is it even self consistent when you compare to the many cases of anti-Messianic Secrets.  Does Jesus want to keep his miracles secret or not?  If he did, it seemed he wasn’t very good at it.  If he didn’t then he was just blowing hot air.

But actually, it turns out that the secret part here is a reference to shame which comes on soldiers.  Every time Jesus heals someone and gives him the order of silence, we find a parallel to a passage in Josephus where something shameful happens to a Roman soldier (like being taken alive in battle), a good example of this is “A Blind Man Healed at Bethsaida“; every time Jesus gives someone the anti-gag order we find a parallel to a passage in Josephus where something shameful happens to a Jew, so sure tell every one about this shameful thing!  Except Mark which is a little less developed and has only Messianic Secrets.  A good example of an anti-Messianic Secret is found in “The Healing Touch of Jesus” where the shameful event happens to Simon whose wife is “taken alive” by the zealots but latter “restored” to him by means of hands.

Harvesting the Earth

Jesus says many times that he will send forth the reapers into Israel and they will “harvest the earth“.  This is basically exactly what it sounds like.  This is clearly talking about a genocide in Israel, I hardly need to clarify that, but there are many examples to demonstrate that it is talking about that genocide of 66-70 AD as described by Josephus.

NEXT: Learn how “The Seven Bowls of Wrath” represent the “calamities” which Josephus described as befalling the Jews.

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