Thursday, May 5, 2011

Understanding the Mystical Significance of the Numerical Value of the Name Jesus

I don't know if my readers can see it yet but we have solved the mystery of what the literary purpose of the 'gospel of Jesus.'  We have found a little island in the middle of a sea of speculation.  Whenever we move to the right or to the left of this understanding people without understanding will roll their eyes to heaven and mutter that we are engaging in 'fanciful speculation.'  Yet when we identify that the original author of the gospel was fitting in Jesus into a traditional formula regarding the death of Moses and the appearance of Joshua as savior of the nation of Israel, I don't think anyone other than the lunatic fringe will object to our interpretation.

Of course, as I said, when we start to move around on our little island and get comfortable with where we are and take in the sights and sounds, then we will be accused of 'engaging in heresy' of the like.  For it is impossible to take seriously the traditional assumption that the gospel is really just 'the story of a man named Jesus.'  This cannot have been the real purpose of the original author.  He wouldn't have developed the narrative in the way that he did if he were trying to simply argue that only Jesus stood at the center of the Christian universe.

Christianity is not pure monotheism and never was.  Their apologists may try to pretend that revering a 'Father' and a 'Son' isn't polytheism but they have just learned to turn of their ability to count whenever it is convenient for them to do so.

The Father and Son is the mirror image of Jesus and the beloved disciple.  There is a reason why the earliest texts of the Transfiguration have the voice from heaven reference 'My beloved and my son.'  Jesus is the Son of God and 'the Beloved' is the disciple he initiated into the divine mysteries of perfection.  The closest historical whisper that such a cult was originally associated with the Church of St. Mark in Alexandria is found in the so-called History of the Arians when it makes reference to the fourth century Arian Pope of Alexandria (and thus vicar of Christ) and his ritualized association with a young man who was his associate.

We are told that George "finding one Epictetus a novice, a bold young man, he loved him perceiving that he was ready for wickedness." As Philip Schaff notes the Greek for the 'he loved him' reference is ᾽Επικτητόν τινα…νεώτερον…ἠγάπησεν, ὁρῶν ... It derives from the Question of the Rich Youth in the Gospel of Mark "νεανίσκος, ῾Ο δὲ ᾽Ιησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ, ἠγάπησεν αὐτόν." (Mark 10. 21). This cannot be coincidence. Athanasius is mocking the ritualized veneration of Jesus and St. Mark as teacher and student in the tradition Alexandrian (= Arian) understanding.

While the Alexandrian heretics are condemned by Irenaeus and the Church Fathers for developing theories about the generation of various hypostases the real thing that horrified the orthodox was their understanding of the generation of Christ the Father from Jesus the Son.  This was the 'redemption' baptism which is referenced in the letter to Theodore's fragment from the original Alexandrian gospel of Mark.  It is at the absolute core of any real understanding of the literary purpose of the 'gospel of Jesus.'

As we noted, in the traditional Alexandrian understanding shared by the so-called 'heresies' Jesus was not a man.  The story of the 'gospel of Jesus' is not that of a man named Jesus who was the Christ but rather the narrative of the Jubilee year in which the divine name Ἰησοῦς (or perhaps even the letter yod or iota if we are to think like Marcosians) became wedded to the future redeemer of Israel. When the original narrative tells us that Ἰησοῦς came down to Judea from heaven we are not supposed to conceive of this as a man per se but a name - perhaps even a letter - which has come to restore the world and man through a particular human being, the one called 'the disciple whom he loved' or the 'beloved disciple.'

Jesus is supposed to be the divine name and we should remember that whether conceived by the Jews (haShem) or the Samaritans (Shemah) this being has the letters of the name Moses jumbled up in a different order as the core to his being. This could not have escaped the notice of those who followed Mark. Nor could it have eluded them that their master's name is not mentioned in the gospel but that it - at least according to the Samaritan Aramaic spelling - had the same numerological value as all the aforementioned names (i.e. Moses, haShem, Shemah and even Shilo cf. 49:10) and that is 345.

It seems a strange coincidence to me that on some level both Mark and John are identified as either 'the disciple Jesus loved' or 'the beloved disciple' and then in Acts and in the Coptic tradition the two names 'Mark' and 'John' are interchangeable with the same apostle. There is never an explanation of how John also took on the name 'Mark' which as we noted has a numerical value of 345. My guess would be that the figure who is named 'John' throughout the gospel eventually becomes 'Mark' as a sign of his transformation into a divine 'god man' who is truly 'like Moses' (cf. Deut 18.18).

I know many of my readers will likely struggle with the idea that this kind of mysticism could be at the heart of the gospel.  That is why I recommended that most of us just stay with the relatively 'safe' idea that the gospel narrative was shaped by Mark to resembled the story of Joshua.  In the 'safe' version of this discussion we would stick to the certainty that Jesus was of the typology of Moses and the disciple whom he loved was Oshea who only became transformed into the redeemer Joshua with the coming over of the divine name (or perhaps also - the divine letter of the alphabet).

There should be no question that this is what is being described in the narrative of Secret Mark preserved in the Letter to Theodore.  For those who want more than this, I remind them of Irenaeus's frustration with the mystical system of letters and numbers associated with the Alexandrian tradition of St Mark.  All we need to do is re-read his attack against the manner in which an idea can be described by a particular formula one moment and then another set of letters and numbers the next (cf. AH 2.24).  Irenaeus couldn't accept the idea that all of these codes and all of this mystical teaching were in fact merely a screen for a hidden historical identification that the messiah of Christianity was someone other than Jesus.

Nevertheless for those who are ready to take that plunge I remind you of the most basic mystical formula involving the gematria of the name Jesus in Jewish and even Samaritan sources:

345 + 543 = 888

I will leave it to those who are eager for deeper truths to figure out how this applies to the gospel narrative as we have presented it here ...

UPDATE - Well perhaps I should help everyone because it has been almost two thousand years.  Let's begin by saying that even Marqe the Samaritan (Mimar Marqe II.7) identified the fact that when the ancient Israelites crossed the sea in Exodus 15.1 the LXX deliberately began with the words τότε ᾖσε as a symbol of the supernal power 888 (i.e. the letters in the phrase τότε ᾖσε add up to 888). No one needs to look farther than 1 Corinthians 10:2 to see the connection between Christian baptism and the crossing of the sea.

Yet the crossing of the Jordan is even closer to the heart of Christian baptism.  It is only because the Catholic editions of the gospels have plastered a particularly reactionary version of the original source for ritual water immersion (i.e. the closing words of the Secret Mark fragment in the Letter to Theodore).  The Marcionite gospel as von Harnack and others rightly note did not have the Jesus standing in the Jordan with a certain 'John the Baptist.'

The narrative in Secret Mark preserves what I believe is the original context of baptism as Joshua's crossing of the Jordan from the other side.  Nowhere in the Book of Joshua is there any notion that Joshua received the divine name Jesus (= 888) while crossing.  The idea is wholly from the Alexandrian tradition associated with Secret Mark and I suspect that it explained how the figure named 'John' throughout the text assumed the name Mark (which as noted has a numerological value of 345 in Samaritan Aramaic).

So if the name 'Mark' is 345 how does crossing the Jordan explain the other 543 that is missing from the name Jesus?  Well why not take a look at the phrase 'across the Jordan' (עֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן) which appears throughout the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua:

בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן = 543

I don't know how to count the number of times this expression 'across the Jordan' appears in these books but here are a few of many references:

  • the first line in Deuteronomy "These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan" (Deut 1:1)
  • Joshua 24:3 "And I took your father Abraham from across the (Jordan) River, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac."
  • "Now these are the kings of the land, whom the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrising, from the valley of Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the Arabah eastward" (Joshua 12.1)
Of course the original formula that the evangelist is drawing from is Moses (345) + the name of the Most High God 'I am that I am' (543) = 888.  Nevertheless it is being adapted or filtered through the symbolism of Joshua going across the Jordan by means of the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15).  It should also be noted that Joshua interestingly sings the Song of the Sea after crossing the Jordan and the words appear in the speech of Rahab to the two spies (Joshua 2:9, 15). 

Also if my theory that the canonical baptism narratives where developed from the oral traditions associated with Secret Mark you can see how all the elements became reformed into the idea of a dove or a yonah (= diminutive form of the name 'John') and the Jordan (= Heb. 'descender') became transformed into the notion that a bird descended from heaven on to the head of the Christian messiah while he stood in the Jordan river.  

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