MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT
CATHOLIC OR JEWISH?
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Revelation 17:4-5
BY BARBARA AHO
As a rule, theories of a “Jewish conspiracy” for world domination condemn all Jews as megalomaniac conspirators and the enemies of mankind. However, any treatment of a Jewish conspiracy must take into account the ancient schism that divided the nation of Israel in Biblical times. This division was precipitated by the apostasy of King Solomon, whose idolatry was afterward carried on by the northern tribes. This ancient schism has profoundly affected the subsequent history of the Jews and is the dynamic of the alleged “Jewish conspiracy” of the present day.
Following the death of King Solomon, the tribes of Israel separated into two independent kingdoms. The ten northern tribes formed the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin were thereafter called the kingdom of Judah. The schism between Judah and Israel, from which the Israelites never recovered, is recorded in 1 Kings. The Daily Bible Study gives a brief overview:
“One of the most misunderstood subjects of Bible study involves the total political division of ‘Israel’ and ‘Judah’ that occurred at the time of King Rehoboam. Before then, all twelve tribes of Israelites were a united kingdom through the reigns of David and Solomon, but after Solomon’s death they split into two completely separate and independent kingdoms – the southern kingdom of ‘Judah,’ consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes (1 Kings 12:23) with their capital at Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom of ‘Israel,’ consisting of the other ten tribes (Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh), with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes), with their capital up in Samaria.
“Israel and Judah were never united again… Surprisingly, they even fought wars against each other from time to time… A very important fact that many do not realize is that Judah, that is, the Jewish people of today, are only one of the tribes of Israel – while all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews.
“Because of their forsaking of Him, God permitted the two kingdoms to be destroyed. First, the northern kingdom of Israel was gradually conquered by the Assyrians,… and by 721 B.C. they had practically all been taken into exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-23). The vast majority of them never returned, and have become known as the ‘Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.’
“Then, about 135 years later, by 586 B.C., the southern kingdom of Judah was completely conquered by the Babylonians,… and the people of Judah were taken into captivity to Babylon. The original Temple of God in Jerusalem was destroyed at that time… The people of the southern kingdom of Judah however did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians…, and their descendants have become the Jewish people of today – but that return in the time of Nehemiah, or the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, were not the fulfillment of the many prophecies dealing with the future (as the context of the prophecies clearly show) gathering of all of Israel, Israel and Judah.”
The designation “Jew” belonged exclusively to the southern kingdom of Judah, the very word “Jew” having been derived from “Judah.” And so technically, only the kingdom of Judah was “Jewish” and the other tribes of Israel have no right to call themselves Jews. That this distinction was understood in the Old Testament is seen in II Kings 16:5-6 (KJV) where the people of Israel and the King of Syria fought against the “Jews” of the southern kingdom.
In the New Testament, in His message to the Church at Smyrna, the Lord Jesus Christ referred to a “synagogue of Satan” as “them which say they are Jews, and are not.” In other words, there was a synagogue of Israel that was not Jewish:
“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:9-10)
The “Synagogue of Satan” which is the subject of this series must not be confused with the “Remnant” of Jews, who will receive the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming and be saved by Him. The Synagogue of Satan are an occult power elite which, having rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel, conspire to substitute another messiah made in the image of their master, Satan, and to establish a world kingdom under Satan. The Synagogue of Satan claims Jewish descent, but does not fit God’s definition of a Jew, either in the Old Testament or the New: “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:29)
The Synagogue of Satan have contempt, not only for Jesus Christ, His Church and the Gentile masses, but for the Jewish “Remnant” who are Torah-observant and anti-Zionist and are, therefore, awaiting the kingdom of Israel to be restored when the Messiah appears, and not before. As well, the Synagogue of Satan have conspired to eliminate all people, whether Jew or Gentile, who stand in the way of their world kingdom. To this end they have developed a staggering number of fronts, as well as the capacity to create blinds and diversions, to obscure the fact that they are Cabalist Jews with an anti-Christ agenda. Through the centuries, the Synagogue of Satan have, by means of false identities, infiltrated Gentile institutions where they act as agents provocateurs—undercover agents who provoke violence and beget scandals, which are used to bring reproach upon Jesus Christ and His Church.
The division within Jewry is no longer neatly delineated along tribal boundaries; rather the lines have been spiritually drawn between the Synagogue of Satan and the Remnant of Israel
“I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.” (Micah 2:12)
“The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” (Zeph. 3:13; see also 2 Chron. 34:9, Isaiah 10:20, Jer. 6:9, 31:7, Ezek. 11:13)
Scripture is clear that the plans of the Synagogue of Satan shall utterly fail, and that they will ultimately be destroyed. What fraction of all Israel does the Synagogue of Satan represent? The Old Testament prophets foretold their proportions at the time they attack Jerusalem, whose rescue and restoration will be accomplished by the Lord Himself:
“The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem…
“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” (Zech. 12:7-10; 13:8,9)
“In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” (Mic. 4:1,2,6-8)
Following the division of Israel and the Assyrian captivity of the northern tribes, the southern kingdom of Judah adopted the pagan traditions of the heathen nation of ancient Babylon. These traditions, with their associated rituals which included human sacrifice, provoked God to judge the southern kingdom, of which judgment the prophet Jeremiah forewarned the Jews for a period of forty years, to no avail. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in three stages, from 605 to 586 B.C., in which year the Temple of Solomon was demolished and the remaining Jews were carried into captivity. During the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Ezekiel continued to reprove Judah for its apostasy from the God of Israel and their love affair with Babylon. Note, in the following passage, the Jews’ admiration for the images of rich, brightly attired Babylonian princes, which evoke visual images of the elegant processions of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church attired in their rich and colorful vestments:
“…[Jerusalem] increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion, Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity: And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea. And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them. So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her…” (Ezek.23:14-18)
Moreover, as Matthew Henry noted in his commentary on this passage, the kingdom of Judah patterned its own worship after the pomp and pageantry of the Babylonians with whom they had become enamored:
“Thus she increased her whoredoms; she fell in love, fell in league, with the Chaldeans. Hezekiah himself was faulty this way when he was proud of the court which the king of Babylon made to him and complimented his ambassadors with the sight of all his treasures, Isa. 39:2. And the humour increased (v. 14); she doted upon the pictures of the Babylonian captains (v. 15, 16), joined in alliance with that kingdom, invited them to come and settle in Jerusalem, that they might refine the genius of the Jewish nation and make it more polite; nay, they sent for patterns of their images, altars, and temples, and made use of them in their worship. Thus was she polluted with her whoredoms (v. 17), and thereby she discovered her own whoredom (v. 18), her own strong inclination to idolatry.”
According to two authoritative sources, H.P. Blavatsky and the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Jews also acquired from the Chaldeans their doctrines of Eastern mysticism. These were later developed into a written compendium of esoteric literature known as the Jewish Qabbalah or Kabalah, and in the Middle Ages as the Latin Cabala.
“Kabalah (Heb.) The hidden wisdom of the Hebrew Rabbis of the middle ages derived from the older secret doctrines concerning divine things and cosmogony, which were combined into a theology after the time of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. All the works that fall under the esoteric category are termed Kabalistic.” (Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary, p. 168)
“The Pythagorean idea of the creative powers of numbers and letters, upon which the ‘Sefer Yetzirah’ is founded, and which was known in tannaitic times…is here proved to be an old cabalistic conception. In fact, the belief in the magic power of the letters of the Tetragrammaton and other names of the Deity…seems to have originated in Chaldea (see Lenormant, ‘Chaldean Magic,’ pp. 29, 43). Whatever, then, the theurgic Cabala was …, the very fact that Abraham, and not a Talmudical hero like Akiba, is introduced in the ‘Sefer Yetzirah,’ at the close, as possessor of the Wisdom of the Alphabet, indicates an old tradition, if not the antiquity of the book itself…
“The whole dualistic system of good and of evil powers, which goes back to Zoroastrianism and ultimately to old Chaldea, can be traced through Gnosticism; having influenced the cosmology of the ancient Cabala before it reached the medieval one…
“The gradual condensation of a primal substance into visible matter, a fundamental doctrine of the Cabala, … is the ancient Semitic conception of the ‘primal ocean,’ known to the Babylonians as ‘Apsu’ (compare Jastrow, ‘Religion of Babylonia’), and called by the Gnostics βύθος = (Anz, ‘Die Frage nach dem Ursprung des Gnostizismus,’ p. 98).”
The Chaldean religious tradition that was embraced by apostate Jews during their captivity in Babylon was delivered to subsequent generations by word of mouth. According to Blavatsky, these disseminators of the Chaldean tradition in the few centuries before Christ were known as Tanaim:
“Kabalist. From Q B L H, Kabala, an unwritten or oral tradition. The kabalist is a student of ‘secret science’, one who interprets the hidden meaning of the Scriptures with the help of the symbolical Kabala… The Tanaim were the first kabalists among the Jews; they appeared at Jerusalem about the beginning of the third century before the Christian era… This secret doctrine is identical with the Persian wisdom, or ‘magic’.” (Ibid. p.167)
The dictionary defines the Medieval Latin cabala as derived from the Hebrew word “qabblâ” which means “received doctrine, tradition, from qibbl, to receive.” According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Cabalists claimed to have received these oral traditions, not from ancient Chaldeans, but from the Patriarchs and Prophets “by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“Cabala comprised originally the entire traditional lore, in contradistinction to the written law (Torah), and therefore included the prophetic and hagiographic books of the Bible, which were supposed to have been ‘received’ by the power of the Holy Spirit rather than as writings from God’s hand… Each ‘received’ doctrine was claimed as tradition from the Fathers…to be traced back to the Prophets or to Moses on Sinai… The chief characteristic of the Cabala is that, unlike the Scriptures, it was entrusted only to the few elect ones;…’”
Because of its heretical nature, the Cabala was not generally promulgated among the Jews but remained the “secret doctrine” of “elect” Jews. That is to say, certain Jews who were deemed worthy could comprehend hidden teachings in the written Torah and, through mystical techniques, make direct contact with “God.” Among these practices are rapid recitation of the “Holy Name of God” (YHVH, or Tetragrammaton), meditation on the 11 Sephiroth of the Tree of Life which are believed to be emanations of God, learning to use the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet as force-carrying energy patterns which serve as the building blocks of the cosmos, and, finally, transcending the space/time limitations of the physical world to realize one’s “inner divinity.” This “secret doctrine” has been preserved throughout the ages to the present time by a spiritual brotherhood who progress individually to various stages of enlightenment and proficiency in the hidden wisdom—from “elect” to “adepts” to “wise men” to “adepts in grace”:
“Cabala… The specific term for the esoteric or mystic doctrine concerning God and the universe, asserted to have come down as a revelation to elect saints from a remote past, and preserved only by a privileged few. At first consisting only of empirical lore, it assumed, under the influence of Neoplatonic and Neopythagorean philosophy, a speculative character. In the geonic period it is connected with a Mishnah-like text-book, the ‘Sefer Yetzirah,’ and forms the object of the systematic study of the elect, called ‘mekubbalim’ or ‘ba’ale ha-kabbalah’ (possessors of, or adepts in, the Cabala). These receive afterward the name of ‘maskilim’ (the wise), after Dan. xii. 10; and because the Cabala is called (‘Hokmah nistarah’ = the hidden wisdom), the initials of which are , they receive also the name of (‘adepts in grace’) (Eccl. ix. 11, Hebr.).” (Ibid.)
The “Tanaim,” which meant “teacher of the law,” were the Scribes, the rabbis whom Blavatsky identified as the first Kabalists. From the ranks of the Scribes evolved the sect of the Pharisees. According to Occult Theocrasy, by Edith Starr Miller, the creators of the Cabala were the Pharisees, who had formed their sect in Babylon during the captivity and functioned as a secret society after the Jews returned to Israel. The ‘secret doctrine’ of Babylon remained the oral tradition of the Pharisees until they committed it to written form:
“In his book Nicholas II et les Juifs, Netchvolodow explains that ‘the Chaldean science acquired by many of the Jewish priests, during the captivity of Babylon, gave birth to the sect of the Pharisees whose name only appears in the Holy Scriptures and in the writings of the Jewish historians after the captivity (606 B.C.). The works of the celebrated scientist Munk leaves no doubt on the point that the sect appeared during the period of the captivity.
“‘From then dates the Cabala or Tradition of the Pharisees. For a long time their precepts were only transmitted orally but later they formed the Talmud and received their final form in the book called the Sepher ha Zohar.’
“The Pharisees were, as it were, a class whose tendency was to form a kind of intellectual aristocracy among the Jews. At first, they formed a sort of brotherhood, a haburah, the members being called haburim or brothers. They were a subversive element, aiming at the overthrow of the Sadducean High-priesthood, whose members prided themselves on their aristocracy of blood and birth, to which the Pharisees opposed an aristocracy of learning. The war raged by the latter extends over a long period of time, and the rivalry was bitter…
“The power of the Sadducees fell with the destruction of the Temple by Titus and thenceforth the Pharisaic element held supremacy among the Jews. Quoting an acknowledged authority on Judaism, Mr. Flavien Brenier, Lt. Gen. Netchvolodow further describes the policy of the sect as follows:
“‘Before appearing proudly as the expression of Jewish aspirations, The Tradition of the Pharisees had serious difficulties to surmount, the chief of which was the revival of the orthodox faith stimulated in the Jewish people by the Captivity. To the exiles, bemoaning the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem and begging Jehovah to end the misfortunes of their homeland, the revelation that Jehovah was only a phantom, entailed not only a certain defeat, but also their own exposure to perils the least of which would have been the loss of all authority over Israel.
“‘The Pharisees, then, judging it wiser to capture the confidence of their compatriots by taking the lead in the religious movement, affected a scrupulous observance of the slightest prescriptions of the law and instituted the practice of complicated rituals, simultaneously however cultivating the new doctrine [i.e. secret doctrine] in their secret sanctuaries. These were regular secret societies, composed during the captivity of a few hundred adepts. At the time of Flavius Josephus which was that of their greatest prosperity, they numbered only some 6,000 members.” (Occult Theocrasy, pp. 76-78)
To these hypocrites, Jesus reserved His most scathing condemnations:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt. 23:27-28)
“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition… Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:9,13)
According to Occult Theocrasy, the Pharisees assumed the outward appearance of religious scrupulosity all the while they were conducting pagan rites in secret, as did their antecedents, the elders of Judah, in the Temple of Solomon, as the Lord revealed to the prophet Ezekiel.
“Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” (Ezekiel 8: 5-14)
Netchvolodow likens the Pharisees to our modern Freemasons, whose Gnostic and dominionist agenda were subversive of society. Compare Netchvolodow’s characterization of the Pharisees to our modern Zionists, i.e. the Judeo-Freemasons, who are secret practitioners of the Kabalah, while affecting to hold to the traditional beliefs of Judaism as set forth in the Old Testament.
“‘This group of intellectual pantheists was soon to acquire a directing influence over the Jewish nation. Nothing, moreover, likely to offend national sentiment ever appeared in their doctrines. However saturated with pantheistic Chaldeism they might have been, the Pharisees preserved their ethnic pride intact. This religion of Man divinised, which they had absorbed at Babylon, they conceived solely as applying to the profit of the Jew, the superior and predestined being. The promises of universal dominion which the orthodox Jew found in the Law, the Pharisees did not interpret in the sense of the reign of the God of Moses over the nations, but in that of a material domination to be imposed on the universe by the Jews. The awaited Messiah was no longer the Redeemer of original Sin, a spiritual victor who would lead the world, it was a temporal king, bloody with battle, who would make Israel master of the world and ‘drag all peoples under the wheels of his chariot’. The Pharisees did not ask this enslavement of the nations of a mystical Jehovah, which they continued worshipping in public, only as a concession to popular opinion, for they expected its eventual consummation to be achieved by the secular patience of Israel and the use of human means.
“‘Monstrously different from the ancient law were such principles as these, but they had nothing one could see, which might have rendered unpopular those who let them filter, drop by drop, among the Jews.
“The admirably conceived organization of the Pharisees did not fail soon to bear fruit.
“‘One cannot better define its action in the midst of Jewish society before Jesus Christ,’ said Mr. Flavien Brenier, ‘than in comparing it with that of the Freemasons in modern society.
“‘A carefully restricted membership tightly bound, imposing on their members the religion of ‘the secret’, the Pharisees pursued relentlessly their double aim which was:—
“‘1. The seizure of political power, by the possession of the great political offices (the influence of which was tremendous in the reconstituted Jewish nation) and the conquest of the Sanhedrin (Jewish parliament).
“‘2. To modify gradually the conceptions of the people in the direction of their secret doctrine…
“The second of these aims and its method of attainment is exposed in the so-called Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion so loudly denounced by the descendants of those who devised The Secret Doctrine in Israel, Israel here meaning the Jews as a religious community, most of whom remain quite ignorant of the intricate subversive schemes imputed to them.
“The attitude of Jesus Christ to this sect is definitely expressed in the New Testament (see Luke XI and John VIII’” (Ibid. pp.76-80)
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.” (Luke 11:44)
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him…” (John 8:44)
Here is confirmation of a long-standing division within Jewry that is in evidence today between the Zionist High Cabal and the non-Zionist, Torah Jews, as well as the common Jew who knows nothing of the Cabalists’ diabolical schemes perpetrated upon the Gentile world and even upon their own race.
Another faction within Jewry associated with the Kabalah were the Essenes, a monastic community which lived in the desert of Qumran, the area near the Dead Sea which had formerly been Gomorrah. The Jewish Encyclopedia describes the cabalistic practices of the Essenes, which were Judaized elements of Eastern mystical traditions:
“So, too, were the Essenes familiar with the idea of the journey to heaven…and they were also masters of angelology. The practise of magic and incantation, the angelology and demonology, were borrowed from Babylonia, Persia, and Egypt; but these foreign elements were Judaized in the process, and took the form of the mystical adoration of the name of God and of speculations regarding the mysterious power of the Hebrew alphabet …, ‘the name of God creates and destroys worlds’), to become, finally, foundations of the philosophy of the ‘Sefer Yetzirah.’” (Jewish Encyclopedia)
According to the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, as cited in the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Essenes were guardians of the secret writings of the Cabala:
“In fact, the apocalyptic literature belonging to the second and first pre-Christian centuries contained the chief elements of the Cabala; and as, according to Josephus (l.c.), such writings were in the possession of the Essenes, and were jealously guarded by them against disclosure, for which they claimed a hoary antiquity (see Philo, ‘De Vita Contemplativa,’ iii., and Hippolytus, ‘Refutation of all Heresies,’ ix. 27)…” (Ibid.)
The Essenes claimed to be the legitimate ‘sons of Zadok’, or Temple priesthood. They are credited with writing the Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered in 1945 and are now being promoted as the oldest known copies of Jewish scripture. According to a Coptic-Orthodox source, “Gnosis… is a key word in the scrolls of the Jewish Essene sect found at Qumran.” H.P. Blavatsky noted that the Essenes were pagan priests of the Greek goddess, Diana of Ephesus, where the Tanaim had established a college for instruction in the Chaldean mystery religion:
“Essenes… They had many Buddhistic ideas and practices; and it is noteworthy that the priests of the Great Mother at Ephesus, Diana-Bhavani with many breasts, were also denominated… It was at Ephesus where was the great College of the Essenes and all the lore the Tanaim had brought from the Chaldees… Essenes, believed in reincarnation.” (Theosophical Glossary, pp. 113-14; The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 111n)
The Masonic writers, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, are part of a great campaign to legitimize the Dead Sea Scrolls as the true scriptures and the Essenes as the rightful priesthood of Israel (based on personal sanctity rather than lineage). They further misrepresent Jesus and John the Baptist as high-ranking Essenes and the Qumran Community as the original Jerusalem Church:
“That the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, who we know call the Qumran Community, were Essenes is now beyond doubt; and that these people were the Nasoreans or the original Jerusalem Church…
“To us it seems inescapable that the man who was Jesus the Christ must have been a leading Qumranian figure during the crucial years of the third and fourth decades of the first century. The community’s numbers were tiny at that time, possibly no more than two hundred people, and perhaps there were little more than around four thousand Essenes in total. They…saw imminent salvation from their problems through holiness and, although they were not hereditary priests, through living a monastic existence. This involved a society that was extremely hierarchical, from the Guardian or Grand Master downwards…
“Initiation into the higher echelons required vows of secrecy that carried threat of horrible punishments should the secrets of the brotherhood be revealed to the outside world. This sounds like a highly Masonic practice… They wore white robes, took vows of poverty, swore to secrecy under threat of terrible punishment and claimed to possess secret knowledge…
“Finally the imagination of Ezekiel establishes the rules for the priesthood that would become the landmarks of the Essenes of Qumran. The legitimate priests of the sanctuary are to be the sons of Zadok, the erstwhile chief priest. Known to the people of Qumran as Zadokites, these sons of Zadok would wear white linen garments when they entered the inner court.” (The Hiram Key, pp. 54-58, 181)
Knight and Lomas also inadvertently reveal that an Essene monk will be the False Prophet who rises to power during the Tribulation period. Acclaimed as a “Teacher of Righteousness” and an “Interpreter of the Law,’ this Cabalist will “re-institute the proper worship” in the Temple of Jerusalem:
“Whoever the Teacher of Righteousness was, he must have been a pious, holy man and apparently was a priestly descendant of Zadok, who revealed to his Community that they were living in a time that would be ‘the end of days’ as predicted by the old prophets. Soon, he told them, God would crush His enemies in a final cosmic battle and usher in the new age of righteousness, and as the Community was the last remnant of true Israel—the people of Yahweh’s covenant—it would be they who would fight the battle and would return to Jerusalem to purify the Temple and re-institute proper worship.
“…God, however, will save His people by the hands of two messianic figures who will arise at the end of time; one from ‘the Branch of David’ and the other ‘the Interpreter of the Law’.” (Ibid., p. 201-2)
In The White Goddess, Robert Graves associated the Essenes with the apostate tribe of Dan, the tribe of Samson, the Nazarite who judged Israel: “I also suggest in King Jesus that the two mysterious Orders of the Essenes, Sampsonians and Helicaeans, were adepts in the calendar mysteries and were named after Samson…and the Helix, or cosmic circle.” (p. 150) It is possible that Samson’s riddle was a prophecy that, at a future time, the tribe of Dan would try to usurp the messianic lineage of the tribe of Judah and inaugurate a pagan messianic kingdom. [See: The Lost Tribe of Dan] Graves states previously, “Though Jews… they believed in the Western Paradise” which is a reference to Atlantis’ Isles of the Blest (p.149).
The Essenes, which appeared in Judea during the Hasmonean dynasty (the Maccabean revolt against the Greeks) and continued through the Herodian dynasty, abruptly disappeared after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Robert Graves stated in The White Goddess that the “Alexandrian Gnostics…were the spiritual heirs of the Essenes after Hadrian had suppressed the Order in 132 A.D.” (p.150)
THE ALEXANDRIAN GNOSTICS
Alexandria, Egypt was a center of interchange of religious ideas as well as the intellectual meeting point between the Jews and the Greeks. After the fall of Jerusalem, Alexandria would become the epicenter from which the Cabalist Jews, who had synthesized their Chaldean witchcraft with Neo-Platonic philosophy, would cloak the new Cabalism in Christian terminology and attempt to penetrate the fledgling Church with heresy. As the origins of the Cabala were documented in the Chaldean mystery religion, the Jewish Encyclopedia locates the source of Gnosticism in Jewish Cabalism:
“But especially does Gnosticism testify to the antiquity of the Cabala. Of Chaldean origin… Gnosticism was Jewish in character long before it became Christian… Gnosticism—that is, the cabalistic ‘Hokmah’ (wisdom)—seems to have been the first attempt on the part of the Jewish sages to give the empirical mystic lore, with the help of Platonic and Pythagorean or Stoic ideas, a speculative turn; hence the danger of heresy…of which the systems of Philo, an adept in Cabala…show many pitfalls…
“Jewish gnosticism unquestionably antedates Christianity, for Biblical exegesis had already reached an age of five hundred years by the first century C.E. Judaism had been in close contact with Babylonian-Persian ideas for at least that length of time, and for nearly as long a period with Hellenistic ideas. Magic, also, which,…was a not unimportant part of the doctrines and manifestations of gnosticism, largely occupied Jewish thinkers. There is, in general, no circle of ideas to which elements of gnosticism have been traced, and with which the Jews were not acquainted.” (Jewish Encyclopedia)
Since the “secret doctrine” of the Alexandrian Gnostics was simply a Christianized version of that found in the Cabala, we are not surprised to find many correspondences. In a nutshell, the Gnostic gospel is based on the Cabalistic quest for liberation from the material world, with the assistance of angels, of course.
“Closely connected herewith is the doctrine that the pious are enabled to ascend toward God even in this life, if they know how to free themselves from the trammels that bind the soul to the body (see Ascension). Thus were the first mystics enabled to disclose the mysteries of the world beyond. According to Anz, l.c., and Bousset, …the central doctrine of Gnosticism—a movement closely connected with Jewish mysticism—was nothing else than the attempt to liberate the soul and unite it with God. This conception explains the great prominence of angels and spirits in both the earlier and the later Jewish mysticism. Through the employment of mysteries, incantations, names of angels, etc., the mystic assures for himself the passage to God, and learns the holy words and formulas with which he overpowers the evil spirits that try to thwart and destroy him. Gaining thereby the mastery over them, he naturally wishes to exercise it even while still on earth, and tries to make the spirits serviceable to him.” (Jewish Encyclopedia)
Contemporary with Jesus Christ was Philo Judaeus (c. 30 BC-45 AD), a Hellenized Jew of Alexandria who is credited with first allegorizing Scripture and applying the mystical method to the Mosaic writings. Unrivaled in esoteric knowledge, according to Blavatsky, Philo was a member of the elitist Alexandrian society called the Therapeutae, also called “an esoteric circle of ‘illuminati’ of ‘wise men’.”
“Therapeutae. (Gr.) or Therapeutes. A school of Esotericists, which was an inner group within Alexandrian Judaism… They were ‘healers’ in the sense that some ‘Christian’ and ‘Mental’ Scientists, members of the [Theosophical Society], are healers, while they are at the same time good Theosophists and students of the esoteric sciences. Philo Judeaus calls them ‘servants of god’…‘an esoteric circle of illuminati,’ of ‘wise men’… They were contemplative Hellenistic Jews.’” (Theosophical Glossary, p.329)
The Jewish Encyclopedia states concerning the Therapeutae, “The members of the sect seem to have branched off from the Essene brotherhood.” Both of these Gnostic orders were Jewish ascetics who practiced celibacy based on the Gnostic belief that, since the material world is was created by an evil Demiurge, to reproduce is to merely to populate and perpetuate Satan’s evil world system. Professor Constantine Scouteris of the University of Athens describes the differences between the strict celibacy of the Therapeutae and less rigid Essene community:
“In his De Vita Contemplativa the Alexandrian Philo makes an extremely remarkable description of an ascetic community with which he was familiar and which was settled not far from Alexandria, namely above Lake Mareotis. Philo’s intention in this treatise is…to sketch the way of life of a specific monastic community of Egyptian Jewish ascetics. At the very beginning of his treatise, Philo notes the substantial contrast between the Therapeutae and another Jewish ascetic sect, the Essenes. The Essenes led a more practical and active life, while the Therapeutae were dedicated to contemplative life. One could observe also other differences between the two ascetic traditions. The Essenes were exclusively male communities while women participated in the communal gatherings of the Therapeutae communities. Although the Essene’s highly organized communal life involved great frugality, there is no conclusive evidence that it denied the lawfulness of marriage. The ascetic tradition of the Therapeutae, on the other hand, insisted on absolute sexual abstinence. The Therapeutae did not practice the Essene communistic way of life but lived separately as anchorites. They practiced renunciation of property, living a life of severe discipline, fasting and praying daily according to an established horarium.” (The Therapeutae of Philo)
After Philo’s death in 45 A.D., there arose in Alexandria the Society of Ormus, which meant “Sages of Light.” The founder of this society was Ormesuis, a Seraphic monk / Egyptian magus who was reportedly converted by St. Mark (a likely story) and proceeded to blend the mystery teachings and rites of the Egyptian priests with Christianity. According to Albert Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, this society merged with the Cabalist school of the Essenes and other Jews, presumably the Therapeutae. The Essenes who belonged to the Society of Ormus were part of the Essene Brotherhood based in Alexandria. The insignia of the Society of Ormus was a red cross.
“‘Their founder was a seraphic priest of Alexandria, a magus of Egypt named Ormesius, or ORMUS, who with six of his companions was converted in the year 96 by Saint Mark. He purified the doctrine of the Egyptians according to the precepts of Christianity, and founded the Society of ORMUS, that is to say, the Sages of Light, to the members of which he gave a red cross as a decoration. ABOUT THE SAME TIME THE ESSENES and other Jews founded a school of SOLOMONIC WISDOM, to which the disciples of ORMUS attached themselves. Then the society was divided into various Orders known as the Conservators of Mosaic Secrets, of Hermetic Secrets, etc. (45)’ (46).” (illumiGnosis, quoting Mackey II, p. 636)
Two centuries later, Philo’s method of allegorical interpretation of Scripture was taught by Clement and Origen in their catechetical school of Alexandria where they synthesized Neo-Platonism with Christianity to produce a Christianized version of Gnosticism. These misnamed “Church fathers” were ascetics, whose harsh treatment of the body is rejected by Scripture: “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Col. 2:23) In his History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff described the basis of the false doctrine of asceticism as spiritual elitism akin to Gnosticism:
“The Alexandrian fathers furnished a theoretical basis for this asceticism in the distinction of a lower and higher morality, which corresponds to the Platonic or Pythagorean distinction between the life according to nature and the life above nature or the practical and contemplative life. It was previously suggested by Hermas about the middle of the second century. Tertullian made a corresponding opposite distinction of mortal and venial sins. Here was a source of serious practical errors, and an encouragement both to moral laxity and ascetic extravagance. The ascetics, and afterwards the monks, formed or claimed to be a moral nobility, a spiritual aristocracy, above the common Christian people; as the clergy stood in a separate caste of inviolable dignity above the laity, who were content with a lower grade of virtue. Clement of Alexandria, otherwise remarkable for his elevated ethical views, requires of the sage or gnostic, that he excel the plain Christian not only by higher knowledge, but also by higher, emotionless virtue, and stoical superiority to all bodily conditions; and he inclines to regard the body, with Plato, as the grave and fetter of the soul. How little he understood the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith, may be inferred from a passage in the Stromata, where be explains the word of Christ: ‘Thy faith hath saved thee,’ as referring, not to faith simply, but to the Jews only, who lived according to the law; as if faith was something to be added to the good works, instead of being the source and principle of the holy life. Origen goes still further, and propounds quite distinctly the catholic doctrine of two kinds of morality and piety, a lower for all Christians, and a higher for saints or the select few. He includes in the higher morality works of supererogation, i.e. works not enjoined indeed in the gospel, yet recommended as counsels of perfection, which were supposed to establish a peculiar merit and secure a higher degree of blessedness. He who does only what is required of all is an unprofitable servant; but he who does more, who performs, for example, what Paul, in 1 Cor. 7:25, merely recommends, concerning the single state, or like him, resigns his just claim to temporal remuneration for spiritual service, is called a good and faithful servant. Among these works were reckoned martyrdom, voluntary poverty, and voluntary celibacy.” (“Heretical and Catholic Asceticism”)
Here we see that the false doctrine of the so-called “Christian” Gnostics resembled the “salvation by works” taught by the Gnostic Jews at the Platonic schools in Alexandria. It is worth noting here that the Gnostic heresiarchs were Jews, a fact well-known to the true Church Fathers who were their contemporaries. This huge piece of the puzzle has been missing in the sanitized accounts of the Gnostics disseminated to the Gentile world, but is readily available in the Jewish Encyclopedia:
“It is a noteworthy fact that heads of gnostic schools and founders of gnostic systems are designated as Jews by the Church Fathers. Some derive all heresies, including those of gnosticism, from Judaism … It must furthermore be noted that Hebrew words and names of God provide the skeleton for several gnostic systems… This fact proves at least that the principal elements of gnosticism were derived from Jewish speculation, while it does not preclude the possibility of new wine having been poured into old bottles.” (“Gnosticism”)
Irenaeus, whose treatise, Against Heresies, was directed against the Gnostics, indicted apostate Jews as the inventors of this heresy:
“Arising among these men, Saturninus (who was of that Antioch which is near Daphne) and Basilides laid hold of some favourable opportunities, and promulgated different systems of doctrine—the one in Syria, the other at Alexandria… These men, moreover, practise magic; and use images, incantations, invocations, and every other kind of curious art… They declare that they are no longer Jews, and that they are not yet Christians; and that it is not at all fitting to speak openly of their mysteries, but right to keep them secret by preserving silence.” (Against Heresies, Book I, Ch. XXIV)
The Plot Against the Church, a history of Jewish infiltration of the Catholic Church by Maurice Pinay (a pseudonym for a team of Catholic priests), documents from various sources the foundation of Gnosticism to be the Jewish Cabala, and the Alexandrian Gnostics to be Jewish Cabalists.
“Matter, the renowned historian of Gnosticism reports to us that the leading Jewish personages, the Alexandrian philosophers Filon and Aristobulus, who were completely and utterly true to the religion of their fathers, resolved to deck themselves out with the remains of other systems and make a way clear to Jewry for enormous conquests; both were also leaders of Gnosticism and Cabbalists…
“The said author explains: ‘that ‘The Cabbala’ existed before Gnosticism, is an opinion which the Christian writers little understand, but which the scholars of Judaism admit with true certainty’; they also assert, that Gnosticism was not exactly a falling away from Christianity but a compilation of systems, in which several Christian elements were taken up…
“In his confirmation that Cabbalists founded Gnosticism, the famous historian of Freemasonry, Ragon, reports that: ‘The Cabbala’ is the key of the secret sciences. The Gnostics emanated from the ‘Cabbalists’. The ‘Jewish Encyclopedia’ asserts that Gnosticism had a ‘Jewish character,’ before it was transformed into the Christian…
“…On the other hand, the ‘Encyclopedia Judaica Castellana’ alludes to the fact, that:
“The original Gnosticism, both the Christian as well as the Jewish, used Hebrew names in its system and that it even based its opposition upon Biblical ideas, points to Jewish origin. It says in addition that it influenced the later development of the ‘Cabala’…” 525:262-3
Perhaps the most influential of the arch heretics was Valentinus, whose Gnostic school endured for over 600 years and whose belief system exists even today. Valentinus, a Jew born in Egypt around 100 A.D., was educated in Alexandria where he became a disciple of one Theudas who claimed to have been a disciple of the apostle Paul who privately taught the “hidden wisdom” to his inner circle. Typical of the early Gnostics, Valentinus also claimed to have had a vision of the risen Christ, after which he commenced his career as a teacher at Alexandria (c. 120 AD). The truth about Valentinus’ conversion is more available in historical accounts of the Romans’ brutal suppression of Jewish sedition in Egypt in 118 A.D.
“Decimated by Roman troops deployed in the Jewish quarters, with their urban and religious organisation shattered, remnants of Egyptian Jewry metamorphosed into embryonic Christians (‘… in the eyes of the local Greeks, Christianity was just another brand of Judaism.’ – Irshai.) Notable among them was a young man – he would have been about eighteen at the time of the insurrection – studying in the very city of Alexandria and witness to the carnage: Valentinus. Another was Basilides. Following in the tradition of synthesis and syncretism of long-standing in Alexandria (e.g. Philo a generation earlier), these ‘proto-Christian theorists’, Valentinus and Basilides competed against each other, had their own cult followings, and produced their own ‘gospels’.”
Valentinian Gnosticism attracted a large number of adherents in Egypt and Syria. In 136 AD, Valentinus relocated to Rome where he founded another school and rose to prominence throughout Europe. Maurice Pinay recounted the powerful refutation of this adversary of the Christian faith by Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202):
“…The evidence of the Church Fathers completes the total picture of proofs…in order to show that Gnosticism was the work of Jewry; for they name several of the leaders of the Gnostic schools as Jews…
“…Saint Ireneus, described Valentinus, a Jew from Alexandria, as leader of the Gnostics…
“The most dangerous of all…secret sects for Christianity was directed by the crypto-Jew Valentinus, who was the type of classical member of the ‘Fifth Column.’ For he was outwardly active as true Christian and spread disintegration in Holy Church, by spreading out his disastrous sect. At first he had the city of Alexandria as chief bulwark, but towards the middle of the second century he went to Rome with the intention of undermining Christianity in the capital of the Empire itself. The Valentinians seriously threatened to disintegrate Holy Church from within, which finally in order to nullify the disastrous work of this false Christian, a true Jew of the ‘Fifth Column,’ cast him out of its bosom…
“The Gnostics had mystery plays and initiations. Tertullian assures us, that the sects of the Valentinians destroyed the Mystery plays in Eleusis and made a ‘sanctuary of prostitution’ out of them. And we must not forget, that Valentine, the false Christ and crypto-Jew from Alexandria was revealed by the Saint Irenaeus as leader of the Gnostics, whose sects according to several people were directed by one and the same power…
“That great leader, who appeared in the Church, in order to combat Gnosticism and to triumph over it, was in fact Saint Irenaeus, who thoroughly studied its disastrous sects and their dark teachings and mercilessly fought them in word and deed. Simultaneously he attacked the Jews, whom he described as leaders of this disintegrating underground movement,  whose strongest and most dangerous sect for Christianity was that of the Valentinians, which was led by Valentinius, behind whose false Christianity Saint Ireneus discovered the Jewish identity.
“Thanks to the manly and ceaseless labour of Saint Ireneus, Holy Church was successful in triumphing over the Gnosis, which for rising Christianity was a more threatening internal danger than the grave external intrigues which were then represented through the frontal attacks of the synagogue and its intrigues… Naturally, the existence of a devout and very combative clergy, to whom indulgence was disguised with the cloak of peaceful coexistence or of diplomacy was not known, had the effect that Holy Church emerged victorious from this terrible struggle, in which it completely overcame its foes: Jewry, Jewish Gnosticism and Roman paganism…
“ His work Adversus Haereses is especially important.” (The Plot Against the Church, pp. 262-8)
In 143 A.D. Valentinus was a candidate for the office of bishop of Rome, but upon being passed over for that position he left the Christian community. About the time of Valentinus, another arch heretic, Marcion, arrived in Rome. Irenaeus wrote of his official rejection by the Church at Rome, which was under the oversight of bishops (not “popes”):
“For Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too, Marcion’s predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus, who was the ninth bishop. Coming frequently into the Church, and making public confession, he thus remained, one time teaching in secret, and then again making public confession; but at last, having been denounced for corrupt teaching, he was excommunicated from the assembly of the brethren.”
After Valentinus’ death, his disciples developed his ideas into a system which they spread throughout the Roman Empire. In his work, “Valentinus: A Gnostic for All Seasons,” Stephan A. Hoeller theorizes as to the course of Christendom, had Valentinus become “Pope”:
“It is certainly a question of some interest what the course of Christian theology might have been had Valentinus been elected to the office of bishop of Rome. His hermeneutic vision combined with his superb sense of the mythical would have probably resulted in a general flowering of the Gnosis within the very fabric of the Church of Rome, and might have created an authoritative paradigm of Gnostic Christianity that could not have been easily exorcised for centuries, if at all.” (“The Almost Pope”)
During the first century, the apostle Paul had valiantly contended against the Judaizing heresy, giving no place to the unbelieving Jews who stalked him from city to city agitating the crowds as he preached the Gospel. “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews…” (Acts 20:19)
The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Textus Receptus) translates the last phrase of verse 19 “plots of the Jews.” Verse 3 of this chapter mentions that the Jews who were involved in the uproar at Ephesus continued to plot against the disciples. “And having continued three months, having been made against them a plot by the Jews, being about to sail into Syria, arose a purpose to return through Macedonia.” The word “plot” suggests that the continual attacks on the Gospel were planned, as in a conspiracy: “Plot, n. [Abbrev. from complot.] 1. Any scheme, stratagem, secret design, or plan, of a complicated nature, adapted to the accomplishment of some purpose, usually a treacherous and mischievous one; a conspiracy; an intrigue…cabal” (Webster’s)
It seems that Jews were also infiltrating the churches, bringing their false doctrines with them; as Paul stated, these Jews were “false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.” (Gal. 2:4) It is likely Paul anticipated that the Judaizing heresy, which had appeared in Corinth and Galatia, would eventually manifest in other churches, and especially in Rome, the center and seat of earthly power and government. For this reason, the doctrinal position of the Christian community in Rome, whose power and influence was destined only to increase, would carry great weight in deciding the Judaizing controversy. This may explain why Paul’s epistle to the Romans was a defense of the fundamental doctrine of “the righteousness which is of faith” as contrasted with the Jewish concept of righteousness which is “of the law”.
“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth… That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom.10:2-4,9)
Tragically, before his departure from Ephesus to Jerusalem, whence he would appeal to appear before Caesar in Rome, Paul prophesied that the Christian churches would be infiltrated by heretics, chief among whom were the Judaizers.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:20)
Before departing on his final journey to Rome, Paul also commended the believers to the “word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (v.30) as opposed to the “works of the law” by which no flesh is justified. (Gal.2:16)
JEWISH COMMUNITY IN ROME
During the time of Christ and the early Church period there was a sizeable Jewish community in Rome, estimated at 40,000 Jews. Josephus mentioned a lawsuit that involved 8,000 Jews in Rome during the reign of Caesar Augustus (44 BC-14.AD), presumably adult men each with a family of at least four or five members. (Jewish Antiquities, Vol. II, p. 80) The number of Jews in Rome increased considerably after the mass deportation of captives from Jerusalem following its destruction in 70 A.D.
There was also a thriving Jewish community in the area which became the Vatican. According to “The Vatican & Rome as elements of apocalyptic discourse”: “The origins of the ‘Cittá del Vaticano’ are as an unpleasant neighborhood outside the city walls populated by Jews and beginning in the first century by (Jewish) Christians and still later by the persecuted Gentile converts to the Christian sect.” The Latin word “Vatican” means “divining serpent” (see Papal Crest Dragon):
“The word ‘Vatican’ literally means ‘Divining Serpent,’ and is derived from Vatis=Diviner and Can=Serpent. Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica were built on the ancient pagan site called in Latin vaticanus mons or vaticanus collis, which means hill or mountain of prophecy. Coins minted in Vatican City often bear the inscription ‘CITTÁ DEL VATICANO’, which means City of Prophecy.” (The Wine of Babylon)
The Jewish community in Rome dates at least as far back as the Maccabees, who had cordial relations with Rome and received pledges of Roman friendship and protection. (See: Jews become allies of Rome) Jewish culture prospered in Rome during the early centuries of first millennium, even to the extent that Jews held government positions and received favored treatment from the Caesars. It was not until Constantine the Great, who reigned as emperor from 306 to 336, that Jews were proscribed from holding state offices, owning slaves or testifying in court against Christians, among other restrictions. The Jewish Virtual Library reveals the influence and status of the Jewish community in Rome.
“The Jewish community in Rome is known to be the oldest Jewish community in Europe and also one of the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world, dating back to 161 B.C.E. when Jason ben Eleazar and Eupolemus ben Johanan came as envoys of Judah Maccabee. Other delegations were sent by the Hasmonean rulers in 150 and 139 B.C.E. After the Romans invaded Judea in 63 B.C.E., Jewish prisoners of war were brought to Rome as slaves, Jewish delegates came to Rome on diplomatic missions and Jewish merchants traveled to Rome seeking business opportunities. Many of those who visited Rome stayed and the Jewish population began to grow.
“While the treatment of Jews by the Romans in Palestine was often harsh, relations with the rulers in Rome were generally much better. Julius Caesar, for example, was known to be a friend of the Jews; he allowed them to settle anywhere in the Roman Empire. According to historians, when Caesar was assassinated by Brutus in 44 B.C.E., Roman Jews spent day and night at Caesar’s tomb, weeping over his death. His successor, Augustus, also acted favorably toward the Jews and even scheduled his grain distribution so that it would not interfere with the Jewish Sabbath. Two synagogues were founded by slaves who had been freed by Augustus (14 C.E.) and by Agrippa (12 B.C.E.)…
“From the second half of the first century C.E., the Roman Jewish community became firmly established. A majority of the community were shopkeepers, craftsman and peddlers, but other Jews became poets, physicians and actors… Evidence has been found that twelve synagogues were functioning during this period.”
Always industrious and enterprising, the Jews used Rome as a base to gain influence throughout Europe,. Their success was largely achieved through finance, and especially usury, the charging of excessive interest on loans by means of which wealthy Jews would eventually enslave the European monarchies. As the headquarters of the empire, Rome was strategic to the European operations of the Jewish elite. The scheme employed in the takeover of Rome is revealed by the two Jewish “converts” to Roman Catholicism who became priests:
Usury for Power…
“The human causes of [the persecution of Jews], unique in history, are witnessed by the Jews’ insatiable appetite for turning to usury to gain power through betrayal in order to dominate, and whenever possible, to take over and overthrow the State.
“In every country, this immutable law of Hebrew prosperity in every country is always to the detriment of the well being and liberty of the inhabitants. Many years before Rome fell into the claws of history, the famous Lemann brothers, who converted from Judaism and became priests of the Catholic Church, in one of their works, which merits meditation, wrote:
“‘O Israelites of Rome, we understand the attitude of our people. If you are conceded the right of possession which you invoke, we wager that, within thirty to fifty years from now, Rome will be in your hands.’ (ff. Rome et les juives. ‘Rome and the Jews’)
“And so the prophecy came to pass. The city of Rome fell quickly into the abyss, and was economically and materially subjugated to the Jews, as were all of the major cities of the great nations of Europe.” (La Civilta Cattolica)
It was into this prospering Jewish community at Rome that the Gospel of Jesus Christ made an entrance, for the it is recorded in Acts 18:2 that, while in Corinth, Paul “found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.” A Commentary on Romans by James R. Edwards alludes to the tensions between the Jews and Gentile converts in Rome who, at the council of Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts 15, had been officially released from the Mosaic Law.
“The Edict of Claudius. Claudius, who ruled Rome from AD 41 to 54, found the Pax Romana threatened by Jewish disturbances from Rome to distant Egypt. In his first year of office he imposed a restraining order on the Jews, ‘forbidding them to meet together in accordance with their ancestral way of life.’ Eight years later, in AD 49, he cracked down on foreigners in general. The Roman historian Suetonius says, ‘Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, (Claudius) expelled them from Rome.’…
“The expulsion of Jews from Rome dramatically changed the constituency of the fledgling Christian communities there. A movement that from its inception had identified more or less with Judaism was now confronted with a predominantly, if not exclusively, Gentile Christian membership. Freed from the influence of scrupulous Jewish Christians, particularly in dietary matters, the Gentile Christian communities would have grown numerically stronger. But more importantly, they more than likely developed a distinctly antinomian consciousness during the absence of their Jewish Christian counterparts. How long this situation lasted we cannot say, but the five years between the proclamation of the edict in AD 49 and Claudius’ death in AD 54 is a reasonable guess.
“This changed when Claudius died and the edict lapsed. It is not difficult to imagine the difficulties which must have ensued when Jewish Christians returning from exile tried to reestablish themselves in Christian communities that had since matured in Gentile character, especially regarding laxness toward the Torah. Paul’s greetings at the end of Romans seem directed to several different (house) churches (see 16:5,14,15), the existence of which may be evidence of tensions between Jewish and Gentile Christians. If our dating of Romans is correct – and the date cannot have been more than a year or two away from AD 57 – then Romans was written only a few years after the onset of this social and religious maelstrom.” (pp. 8-11)
A maelstrom indeed ensued when Claudius was succeeded by the Emperor Nero who, in A.D. 64, launched the fierce persecutions of Christians that would continue for two hundred and fifty years. A World History website ascribes the Great Fire of Rome to Jewish fanatics, who shifted the blame to the Christians:
“An official investigation concluded that the fire had been started by Jewish fanatics. This put the Jewish community in Rome in danger, and Jewish leaders in Rome may have tried to avert this danger by describing to authorities the difference between themselves and the Christians. The leaders of Jews in Rome could reach the emperor, Nero, through his new wife, Sabina Poppaea. Nero learned of the separate identity of those Jews who were followers of Jesus, and he put blame on them for the fire.”
It was Constantine the Great whose Edict of Milan in 313 ended the persecution of Christians and legalized the worship of Jesus Christ. At the same time, Constantine also obstructed Jewish ascendancy in the Roman Empire.
“The Jewish position in Rome began to deteriorate during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-336), who enacted laws limiting the rights of Jews as citizens… Some of the relevant decrees in these codes include prohibitions against making proselytes, intermarriage, owning slaves (slave labor was very common and this prohibition severely restricted the economic life of the Jews), holding any esteemed position in the Roman state, building new synagogues and testifying against Orthodox Christians in court.” (Jewish Virtual Library)
Was there an inverse relationship between the two traditions — Judaism and Christianity — so that the expanding influence of one negatively affected the numerical growth of the other? And can it be that Constantine’s conversion and outlawing of Jewish operations against the Christians is the reason this Roman emperor consistently receives bad press from the intellectual community?
It is difficult to resist the suspicion that Jews, certain of whom held positions in the Roman state before Constantine, may have been behind the persecution of Christians, accusing them to the Roman emperors as the Jews accused Paul and Silas to the rulers of Thessalonica, “…these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.” (Acts 17:7) The issue of allegiance to Jesus Christ as God in preference to Caesar also recalls the charge which the chief priests and scribes leveled against Jesus Himself when He stood before Pilate: “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.” (Luke 23:2)
Having failed to eradicate Christianity by way of extermination, is it possible the Jews then tried to destroy the Christian faith by other means? In very fact, this was the case, according to Maurice Pinay:
“Gnosis…for rising Christianity was a more threatening internal danger than the grave external intrigues which were then represented through the frontal attacks of the synagogue and its intrigues. The latter attained, as we have already observed, that the whole power of the Roman Empire was applied with its terrible persecutions, as a result of which there were so many martyrs for Christianity. These facts prove, that from its first beginnings onwards the activity of the Jewish ‘Fifth Column’ which had penetrated into its interior, was far more dangerous than that of external foes.” (The Plot Against the Church, p. 268)
Although Constantine restricted Jewish power and influence, the last of his direct descendants to become Roman Emperor favored the Jewish religion to the extent that he made plans to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon. The deeds of Julian the Apostate are favorably recorded by Jewish historians such as H. Graetz, whose History of the Jews was cited by Pinay:
“In the year 360 Julian, a cousin of Constantine, was proclaimed Roman Emperor by the army. Constantine, who had prepared for battle against him, died on the way; this made easier the final victory for Julian and his proclamation as Emperor of the Orient and Occident. The policy of Julian had three principle aims: I. To renew the Pagan belief and to again declare it a state religion of the Empire, so that Rome which according to his view had declined through Christianity, might return to its old glory. II. To destroy Christianity. III. To concede to Jewry its old positions, from which it had been expelled by Constantine and his sons; even the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon was to be arranged…
“The famous Jewish historian says of Julian:…that Julian paid great admiration to the Jewish religion and confirms that ‘the period of government by Julian…was a time of highest fortune for the Jews of the Roman Empire…’
“Graetz likewise establishes that Julian called the leader of Jewry in the Empire, the patriarch Hillel, literally ‘his respected friend,’ and promised him in a personal letter to make an end of the misdeeds committed by the Christian Emperors against the Jews. Further, Julian made all necessary preparations in order to begin the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. He addressed a letter to all Jewish congregations of the Empire, in which he spoke in friendly way of the leader of Jewry in the Empire, the Patriarch Julos (Hillel), as his brother. He promised the abolition of the high taxes laid upon the Israelites by the Christians, guaranteed that in the future none should accuse them of blasphemy, promised freedom and security and promised to have Jerusalem rebuilt at his expense, as soon as he returned victorious from the Persian war. For the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem Julian commissioned his best friend, Alypius of Antioch, to whom he gave instructions to spare no expense, and commanded the governors of Palestine and Syria, to assist with everything necessary…” (pp. 285-6)
The death of Julian in 363 A.D. curtailed plans for rebuilding Solomon’s Temple; however, the Jewish Virtual Library boasts of a Hebrew revival in Rome in the centuries which followed:
“During this period there was a revival of Hebrew studies in Rome, centered around the local yeshiva, Metivta de Mata Romi. A number of well-known scholars, Rabbi Kalonymus b. Moses and Rabbi Jacob ‘Gaon’ and Rabbi Nathan b. Jehil (who wrote a great talmudic dictionary, the Arukh), contributed to Jewish learning and development. Roman Jewish traditions followed those practiced in the Land of Israel and the liturgical customs started in Rome spread throughout Italy and the rest of the world.”
Did the abovementioned Jewish “liturgical customs” which started in Rome somehow find their way into the Church at Rome? Were they little by little incorporated into its worship, which gradually developed into the Roman Catholic Mass? It may come as a surprise to many Catholics that the Catholic Encyclopedia officially defines the Catholic liturgy as a carryover from the Mosaic Law:
“…the word liturgy…is used for the public service of the temple…the function of the priests, the ritual service of the temple… So in Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.”
After which we find a startling admission, viz., that the Mass was “a Christianized synagogue service” conducted by “learned elders”:
“The Eucharist was always celebrated at the end of a service of lessons, psalms, prayers, and preaching, which was itself merely a continuation of the service of the synagogue. So we have everywhere this double function; first a synagogue service Christianized, in which the holy books were read, psalms were sung, prayers said by the bishop in the name of all (the people answering ‘Amen’ in Hebrew, as had their Jewish forefathers), and homilies, explanations of what had been read, were made by the bishop or priests, just as they had been made in the synagogues by the learned men and elders (e. g., Luke, iv, 16-27)… The likeness between the prayers of thanksgiving (ix-x) and the Jewish forms for blessing bread and wine on the Sabbath (given in the ‘Berakoth’ treatise of the Talmud; cf. Sabatier, ‘La Didache’, Paris, 1885, p. 99) points obviously to derivation from them.”
Little wonder that one Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism made the astounding statement that entering the Catholic Church was not a “conversion” experience for him, but rather a continuation of Judaism. Roy Schoeman, the author of Salvation is from the Jews, confirms as well that the Mass is based on the Jewish ceremonial worship and that Catholic theology is based on the Old Testament!
“As a Jew coming to the Catholic Church, it was natural for me to find the relationship between Judaism and the Catholic Church among the most interesting things in the world. It was obvious to me that for a Jew to enter the Catholic Church wasn’t a matter of conversion at all, but was rather simply coming into the fullness of Judaism — into the form that Judaism took after the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
“Although Catholics are aware of this in principle, they often don’t think of the Catholic Church as the continuation of Judaism after the Messiah… It’s everywhere you look. It’s obviously in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the way the Mass is prefigured in Jewish ceremonial worship. It’s in the role that the Old Testament, Jewish Scripture have in Catholic theology and the structure of the Catholic Faith.” [Seattle Catholic]
A listing of parallels between Roman Catholicism and Judaism, which have analogues in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well, presented us with the startling prospect that Roman Catholicism may have been a Judaized form of Christianity from its inception. In the list of traditions below, links to the Catholic Encyclopedia show that the Roman Catholic Church justifies most of its practices by appealing to the Old Testament. Even in cases where the New Testament is cited as justification, these practices are not required under the New Covenant but have their basis in Judaism.
Priesthood (cf. Levitical priesthood/mediators between God and men)
Pope (cf. Jewish High Priest)
College of Cardinals (70) (cf. seventy elders of Moses/Deut.17:8)
Confession of sins to priest for forgiveness (cf. Lev.5:5)
Daily sacrifice of the Mass (cf. Daily burnt offering / Heb.10:11)
Altar vessels of gold and silver
Vestments for priests
Cardinals’ skullcap (cf. Jewish yarmulke)
Offertory (cf. Offerings)
Church buildings for worship (cf. Temple)
Liturgy (cf. service of the Temple)
Sunday obligation (cf. Sabbath observance)
Ecclesiastical Feasts (cf. Jewish feasts)
Works-based salvation (cf. Mosaic Law)
Sacrament of infant baptism (cf. Rite of Circumcision / Talmud)
Wafer-only Communion (cf. Manna/Shew Bread)
Sacrament of Confirmation (cf. Jewish Bar/Bat Mitzvah)
Holy water font (cf. The Laver / Exodus 40)
No salvation outside the (Catholic) Church (Gentiles must convert to Judaism to be saved)
The following Roman Catholic traditions were not part of the Mosaic Law but were adopted by the Israelites in their apostasy:
Traditions of men (Mark 7:6-13)
Vain repetitions (Lip service (Isa.29:13)
Veneration of saints (Idolatry/pagan gods)
Worship of Mary as Mother of God (Jews worshipped Queen of Heaven / Jer. 44)
Statues/images (images on the walls of Solomon’s Temple) (Ezek 8:10)
Demotion of Jesus to Co-Redeemer (cf. Jews’ denial of Jesus as Messiah)
Preoccupation with Christ’s death rather than resurrection (Jews’ denial of Jesus’ resurrection)
The above is only a partial catalog of Jewish traditions found in Roman Catholicism. The sacerdotal (priesthood) and daily sacrificial systems alone strongly implicate the Roman Catholic Church as, not only a front for apostate Judaism, but as a vehicle for converting Christians, without their knowledge, to the very religious system that rejected Jesus Christ. One commentary compares the Roman Catholic teaching on salvation to that preached in Judaism:
“The Catholic perspective on salvation is largely ‘judaized’ Christianity. In the days of the Apostles, many Jewish Christians believed that Christians had to follow all the requirements of the Mosaic Law, e.g., circumcision, the system of offerings, going to a priest to have sins forgiven, making sacrifices as atonement for sins, etc. A system that requires some type of ‘priest’ to act as an intercessor between the layperson and God is known as a sacerdotal system (from the Latin word sacerdote, meaning ‘priest’.)”
In view of the striking parallels between Roman Catholicism and Judaism, it becomes apparent that Roman Catholicism represents, to a remarkable degree, the triumph of the Judaizers. How did it happen that the doctrines, rites and traditions of Judaism crept into the Church at Rome?