Thursday, April 13, 2017

Christ the Schismatist: How History Forged the Hammer (Part II)

The Worldly Pillars of Divine Authority:
The Pharisees and the Sadducees

If you recall, Jesus claimed that he came to fulfill the scriptures, and he did that be basically becoming all of the characters of the Old Testament at once. He was the stone that David threw at the Goliaths who sought to destroy him, and Moses, who had come to lead the people out of their slavery to politicians and priests, money changers and slave drivers, bankers and sellers of fanciful beliefs. And he was Sampson, who had come to the church (i.e. the people) he loved so much, but that like Delilah, had betrayed him for the love of money.  And the Pharisees and the Sadducess were the temple pillars that he would topple to free his people.

Why did the Sanhedrin want Jesus dead? Because he was showing the world just how much the only "God" they Pharisees and the Sadducees really worshiped was power and money, both of which they had built by seducing people with the belief that their God could be found in a temple. Christ, however, wanted to abolish this ruse, which was the means by which charlatans have always accumulated both of these by reminding people that God was free, and that their "religion" was not something they had to pay to receive, but was as accessible to them all as the air itself. Their religion was not an institutional Church that had to be codified in a temple like a messianic coders from Microsoft, one written by soothsaying programmers inspired by the Holy Spirit to cryptically record God's wisdom in sacred texts. Instead, the true meaning of "God" for Christ, had always been one of an open source code that belonged to the people.

Think of it this way: In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father attempted to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. But when Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and he fell to earth and died. Like Icarus, religion offers it's "believers" the hope of eternal life, if they agree to finance the cost of the feathers and the wax. But on that wing and a prayer, the Church has risen to power to become no different than the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who rose to wealth by preying upon the prayers and religious dependence of their followers in the temple.

If you recall, the Pharisees controlled the Sanhedrin and like Catholics, they "gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God." The Sadducees, on the other hand, were aristocrats who were more concerned with politics than religion. And like Protestants, the Sadducees had a more sola scriptura point of view about their sacred texts. Both sat on the Sanhedrin,  and  like oligarchs, were far more concerned with money and power they derived from their elevated positions in the temple, than whether the claims they made about God or religion were true.  In fact, the Sadducees did not even believe in an afterlife.

Like any religion, the priests derive their power by preying upon the gullibility of their believers, and in exchange for advice about saving their souls, people spend and donate their money to those who tell them how they must live to avoid God's wrath. Included in that advice is a number of duties that must be performed, of course, including the necessary animal sacrifice that the Jews were required to perform to keep God happy, which the money changers in the temple were only too happy to finance, at a profit for themselves. 

Like Goldman Sachs making tons of money by charging for trades it knew were bad, so the money changers increasingly used the temple as a sheep skin to hide their scheme to make ever more money for themselves by convincing people they needed to keep God happy or else. This is why Jesus overturned their tables in the temple, and why he said   'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands."

Here, Christ is clearly not talking about simply rebuilding the temple he just said he would "destroy," nor was he talking about wanting anyone to build another temple "made with hands," like St. Peter's Basilica. Instead, given that he was from the Northern Kingdom of Nazareth (some people claim that his birth in Bethlehem was a forgery designed to falsely link Christ's lineage to King David, because the census that allegedly led Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem apparently never happened), and the fact that the Northern Kingdom did not care for the notion of kingship; as well as the fact that under the Samuel Compromise the prophets had been set up for the explicit purpose of warning agaisnt the dangers of kingship and centralized power, it's a safe bet that Christ was here referring to building the "heavenly kingdom" he would refer to when he (as the living "temple" of God) was about to be crucified.     

The Rise of the Monarchy

The history of Israel reveals that the true meaning of Jesus's threat to destroy the temple was not merely a foreshadowing of his own death and resurrection, but a charge levied agaisnt the institutionalization of religion itself, which was being used by both the Pharisees and the Sadducees to enrich themselves through their religion. And they had done all of this by becoming the very thing the Tribes of Israel had always opposed in other religions. In short, Christ had come to destroy the temple of religion because the Israelites had turned that religion into one that operated like the religion of the Canaanites. 

Shortly after 1200 BCE,  between the bronze age and the start of the iron age, Israel was a loosely organized group of twelve tribes. This time was known as the Tribal League period and constitutes the true beginning of Israels history. It began as follows.

Abraham, who is thought in reality to be an amalgam of different people, was born circa 1800 to 1625 BCE. The Tribal League forms and lasts from approximately 1200 to 1022, which is when Israel is essentially a nation state under the leadership of a group called Judges. This leads to the eventual formation of the "amphictyonies," which comes from the Greeks, and  was commonly used to represent people from a similar socioeconomic stratum who banded together in opposition to people from another such stratum.

With the arrival of the Philistines, the Israelites are forced to decided between continuing the tribal confederacy or adopting a monarchy. And like the 13 American colonies who scrapped the Articles of Confederation for a Constitution, for the sake of defense in the face of the threat posed by the Philistines, the 12 Tribes chose monarchy.

That choice results in the UNITED MONARCHY, which would exist from 1022 to 922. But that monarchy was never intended to be permanent.   And that's because the Israelites understood only too well that power always corrupts, and that the root of all evil was not ultimately money itself, but the power that money can buy.

Kings & The Power of Monarchy

The first three kings of the United Monarchy are Saul (1022-1000), David (1000 - 961) and then Solomon (961-922). Then, like the Civil War in the United States which saw 11 states secede from the Union because they felt the President was becoming a tyrannical King, so the Divided Monarch referred to the period when a united Israel separates into often competing Northern and Southern Tribes, only among the 12 Tribes, it was the Northern tribes who opposed the monarchy and the Southern Tribes that supported it.

The Southern Kingdom of Judah, which consisted of two tribes that lasted from 922 to 587, were more willing to go along with the dynastic kingship of David than the ten tribes of the North. Those southern tribes, however, would last a century and a half longer than the North before succumbing to the Neo-Babylonian or Caldians in 587 BCE. This, then, allowed the those Southern Tribes to rewrite history and their sacred texts as they saw fit, including the ability to rewrite their sacred texts as proving that their God wanted Solomon to build a temple, even though the Norther Tribes had always opposed this idea.

Ten tribes made up the Northern Kingdom, Ephraim or Israel, from 922 to 722. whose capital was Sumeria. The Northern kingdom, which did not care for kingship, was conquered by the Assyrians in 722. Among the many reasons the North opposed both the kingship of David and the building of the temple was  because the former would naturally lead to a desire to do the latter. And the North opposed building a temple because to do so was not only to imitate the very people Israel had committed genocide agaisnt, for fear of their religious beliefs (as horrifically described in Deuteronomy), but because it also allowed the tribe that built that temple to have superior access to God. And by so doing, declare itself to be the infallible voice of "right and wrong."  

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