The figure of Jesus seen as the “cut-off member” of the Jewish “body”

I ask you to be a bit patient as I go about helping you to see what appears to be an esoteric meaning contained in one of Jesus’s parables—a meaning which, if I am correct in believing that it was probably intended by the authors of the Gospels (whether consciously or unconsciously), would be quite remarkable.  I recommend that the first time you read the Bible passages quoted below, that you only read the text in red, and skip the bracketed material.  I also recommend that you not refer to the endnotes the first time you read the post.

The particular parable I have in mind can be found in Matthew 5:29-30, in which Jesus says,

And if your right eye causes you to be offended [or to stumble, or to offend, or to become indignant, or to be led into temptation, or to get stuck, or to get tripped up; more literally, to be ensnared: skandalizō], pluck it out [or pull it out, or lift it out, or take it out, or rescue it: ex-aireō][1] and cast [or send: ballō] (it) away from [apo] you.  For it is profitable [or advantageous: sympherō] for you that [hina] one [hen] of your members [melos] should perish [or be ruined, or be destroyed: apollymi, a word that appears to be derived from apo-lyō, which can mean “to cut loose, to detach, to cut off, to cut away”], and (the) whole [holos] (of) your body [sōma] not be cast [or sent: ballō] into Gehenna [or hell: geenna].[2]  And if your right hand[3] causes you to be offended [or to stumble: skandalizō], cut it off [ek-koptō] and cast [or send: ballō] (it) away from [apo] you.[4]  For it is profitable [sympherō] for you that [hina] one [hen] of your members [melos] should perish [apollymi], and (the) whole [holos] (of) your body [sōma] not go away [ap-erchomai] into Gehenna [or hell: geenna].[5]

Compare the quoted passage to John 11:47-53, which says,

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together [syn-agō] the Council [or Sanhedrin: synedrion] and said, “What do we do (now)?  For this man does many signs.  If we let him go on in this way, everyone will believe [or be persuaded: pisteuō] unto him, and the Romans will come and will take away [or destroy: airō] from us both the (holy) place and the nation [or people: ethnos].”  But one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You understand nothing at all.  Nor are you considering that it is profitable [sympherō] for us that [hina] one [heis] man [anthrōpos] should perish [or die: apothnéskō] for the sake of the people [laos, not ethnos], and (the) whole [holos] (of) the nation [ethnos, not laos] not be destroyed [or perish, or be ruined, or be lost: apollymi].”  And he said this not of his own accord [more literally, “from himself”], but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die [apothnéskō] for the sake of the nation [ethnos]—and not for the sake of the nation [ethnos] alone, but also so that he might gather together [syn-agō] into one the children of God who had been scattered [dia-skorpizō].[6]  So from that day (on) they made plans [or purposed: bouleuō] to put him to death [apothnéskō].

In other words:  One “member” of the “body” of the people would be made to “perish” in order to benefit the “whole.”

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The Crucifixion understood as equivalent to the fall of Babel/Babylon; both events being understood to signify the end of religious esotericism (i.e., cryptic “prophecy”)

At one point in Romans 3:1-8 (which I plan to discuss in the near future), Paul quotes Psalm 51:4.  A comparison of the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Septuagint versions of Psalm 51:4 suggests that the “overcoming, prevailing, conquering, being victorious” (Greek nikaō) spoken of in Romans 3:4 was understood by the translators of the Septuagint to be equivalent to “being made pure, being made clean, being made clear” (Hebrew zakah).  This should be kept in mind when considering the use of the Greek word nikaō in passages such as Revelation 21:6-7 (especially when that passage is read in conjunction with Revelation 22:1).

Such an equivalence between the idea of “overcoming” or “prevailing,” and “being made pure” or “being made clear,” would also tend to reinforce the hypothesis that I offered in a previous post that the purified “spirit of Jesus” may have been regarded by the authors of the New Testament as something that would ultimately come to replace the “unclean spirit” or “impure spirit.”  This would indicate that the figure of “Jesus”—which I believe should be regarded as an archetype representing all of the schizophrenic “prophets” at once—was understood to “prevail” (i.e., “be made clean, be made clear, be made pure”) at the symbolic moment of his “death” on the Cross.  And I think that it was Jesus’s speech or language that was, more than anything, understood by the authors of the New Testament to have been made “pure” or “clean” or “clear” at that symbolic moment—that is, from the perspective of those listening to him—when he finally gave the “great shout” or “loud cry” that he had been holding back prior to that.  (Cf. Matthew 10:27.)

I think the belief of the authors of the New Testament was that non-schizophrenics would acquire the ability to speak in “schizophrenese” to some extent, even at the same time as their doing that would provide the schizophrenic “prophets” with a greater feeling of safety, giving them the freedom to speak less schizophrenically themselves.  I think the hope or expectation of the authors was that the two groups would “meet each other half-way,” so to speak—and doing this is what would accomplish the “fulfilling” (or “completing,” or “finishing,” or “perfecting,” or “bringing to an end”: teleō or teleioō) of “prophecy.”

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The connection between the idea of “measuring” or “weighing” and the idea of “meaning”—and what that may imply for the interpretation of Biblical symbolism

I suggested in a previous post that there might be an etymological relation between the English word “meaning” and the English word “moon.”  The reason why there would be a relation between these words might not seem immediately clear; but I think a nexus between the two can be found in the idea of “measuring,” since for ancient peoples the cycles of the moon were the primary means of measuring time.[1]  And the connection between the ideas of “measuring” and “meaning” will, I hope, be made more clear in what follows.

It is thought by scholars that in the ancient Sumerian language, the word ma-na means “a unit of weight measure,” apparently being related to the later Akkadian word manum, meaning “to count.”  And both of these words appear to be related to the Aramaic noun mene, which means “a weighing, a measurement, an accounting, a numbering, a reckoning,” as well as to the Aramaic verb menah, which means “to weigh, to measure, to number, to reckon, to count, to enumerate, to appoint, to assign” (both of which Aramaic words are found used in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament).

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The figures of “the King of Babylon/Babel,” “Satan,” and “Lucifer”

Luke 10:1 says,

And with these things, the Lord (Jesus) appointed seventy-two [or seventy, according to some manuscripts] others,[1] and sent them out [or sent them away: apo-stellō, from which is derived the Greek word apostolos, meaning “apostle”] in twos [ana dyo] before [or prior to: pro] his face [or his appearance: prosōpon], into every city and place where he himself was going to come [erchomai; this may have been meant to allude to what is now popularly known as “the Second Coming”].

When the seventy-two “return” (or “turn back”; more literally, “turn under” or “turn beneath”: hypo-strephō),[2] the very first thing Jesus that says to them, in Luke 10:18, is,

I was beholding Satan falling [pesonta, a form of piptō] like lightning [astrapé] out of the heaven.

But it is important to recognize that this verse can also be translated,

I was beholding Satan falling [pesonta, a form of piptō] like (the flash of) a falling star [or shooting star, or meteor, or fallen star (or any other kind of bright flash of light in the sky): astrapé, related to the Greek word astér, meaning “star”] out of the heaven.[3]

Presumably the author meant this to be understood in reference to the work that Jesus’s “apostles” had been doing while they were “away” (apo)—or, perhaps, in reference to the very “returning” of the apostles from their period of being “away” (or “distant,” or “off [above]”)—or, perhaps, both.

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The fall of “Babylon” or “Babel” seen as signifying the fall of religious esotericism

The Hebrew word for “Babylon” is actually babel—as in, the “Tower of Babel.”  Most English translations of the Old Testament translate babel as “Babylon,” but the English word “Babylon” is of Greek derivation (the Greek word is babylōn or babulōn, depending on how you choose to transliterate it).  That means that whenever an Old Testament prophet railed against “Babylon,” what he actually had in mind was “Babel”:  the very same “Babel” that we all associate with the “Tower of Babel” and the “confusing of language” or “confusion of tongues” that purportedly took place there.

Furthermore, since much of the language and symbolism in the Book of Revelation is taken from the Old Testament prophetical writings, that suggests that when the author of the Book of Revelation wrote about “mystery Babylon” or “secret Babylon,” what he actually had in mind may have also been the “Babel” that we associate with the “Tower of Babel”—and, in turn, with a “confusing of language” or “confusion of tongues.”

That this is indeed what the author of Revelation had in mind is suggested by Revelation 17:1, in which the famous “great harlot” of Babylon is described as “sitting upon many waters.”  (Why “many”?)  Then, in Revelation 17:15, the angel says to the author, “The waters that you saw where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.”  Compare this to Genesis 11:6-9.

The Bible is a deeply esoteric book.  But it is my position that the Bible is not only an esoteric book—it is also, from beginning to end, and more than anything, a book about esotericism.  Moreover, I believe that the enormous importance of the symbol of “Babylon” in the Bible is due to its association with the notion of a “confusion of tongues”—which I think is really another way of saying:  Esotericism.  In other words:  Riddles.  Enigmas.  “Dark sayings.”  Cryptic parables.  Encoded meanings.  Allegorical symbols.  Obscure allusions.  Gibberish.

The Bible is one of the most paradoxical books ever written, because, even while being so thoroughly esoteric, it is my belief that the Bible’s most central and important “inner meaning” is that it is completely opposed to all esotericism, and looks forward to the day when it will cease to exist.  When a person makes an effort to look for evidence of this particular “inner meaning,” while expecting to find it, it is actually not all that hard to find.  While it’s true that the authors’ understanding of that meaning must have been partly unconscious, I nonetheless believe that this was the most central “inner meaning” that they wanted to convey to the reader.  It was a meaning that some “part” of each of their unconscious minds was, through the use of obscure symbolism, trying to “smuggle past” the “guards” set up by some other “part” of each of their own unconscious minds—the same kind of resistant psychological “part” that could also be found in the minds of many of their readers.

In short, there is reason to think that the symbolic “fall of Babylon” should be regarded as signifying the end of esotericism.  My own position is that religious esotericism is actually just a form of lying—in fact, an exceedingly dangerous form of lying, one which has had a catastrophic impact on humanity.  And there is reason to think that the author of the Book of Revelation—whether consciously or unconsciously—agreed with me, since it seems he believed that when the symbolic “Babel” or “Babylon” fell and the symbolic “new Jerusalem” came into being, the Lie itself would come to an end as an active force in the world.  (As proof, notice the special and repeated emphasis that the author gives to lying and liars in Revelation 21:8, 21:27, and 22:15.)