If we read the New Testament without any religious preconceptions, but rather through the context of what really was taking place in the times which it purports to describe, we will be better able to understand its real significance. For who and by who it was written and how it connects to the reality of those times. Here are my observations upon rereading the first book, that of St. Matthew.
"And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ"
So tracing Jesus' linage back to king David is pointless as it is on the side of his "step father".
"When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
"And knew her not till she had brought forth her first son."
So it's clear that Mary didn't remain a virgin and had other children by Joseph.
"For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him."
The three wise men and the star in the east has been in interpreted as the belt stars of Orion pointing towards the bright star Sirius. But why does his star rise in the east? Another way of looking at it, is that his star is the sun itself which rises in the east.
"For it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."
The governor cannot be Jesus as he never came to rule. It more likely refers to Vespasian who was proclaimed Roman emperor whilst on military campaign in Judea. Josephus cynically attributed the prophesy to Vespasian to gain his clemency after having taken part in the Jewish rebellion against the roman occupying forces. Josephus went on to write his Jewish histories with the direct patronage of Vespasian's Flavian dynasty.
"And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."
The birth/ rebirth of the sun in the east three days after the winter solstice.
"When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt."
A little over looked fact is that Jesus grows up in Egypt. This is hardly surprising as most of his teaching and story are really recycled Egyptian ideas. Does this mean that a real historical Jesus was influenced by Egyptian religion? Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt supposedly to escape the wrath of Herod, yet if we are speaking historically Herod had already died in 4BCE. What we are probably dealing with here is a subtle admission by the gospel writers of where they got their ideas from for the myth of Jesus. There should usually be no shame in this as all religious ideas are influenced by previous ones, it is only Christianity, which professed to be a totally original doctrine and a radical break with the pagan past, that needed to cover its tracks so carefully, resulting in its utter destruction of millennia of human culture.
Another obvious reason why Jesus grows up in Egypt is that the gospel authors needed to parallel Jesus' life to that of Moses. It is not only the New Testament and Christianity that owes a debt to Egyptian religion, but also Judaism and the Old Testament. It is clear that Moses was a member of the Egyptian ruling class and knew exactly what he was doing when he created a new religion for his people. We can safely conclude that most of the values of archaic Judaism originated in Egypt, something that becomes plain upon reading the Egyptian book of the dead.
Jesus went to Egypt then for two reasons. It is where his ideas, through Moses and Judaism, originally came from. The authors mimicked the life of Moses as a way of showing an unsophisticated audience that Jesus was the legitimate new leader. However the fact that one's life so closely parallels the other's really just shows that both are clearly nothing more than literary creations.
"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of The Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."
"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called Nazarene."
These events seem to take place with the expressed intention of knowingly fulfilling the prophesies. Whoever wrote the gospel is all too eager to connect it with ancient Jewish literature.
"But he that cometh after me is mightier than I."
Jesus comes after John the Baptist as John represents the sun at the summer and Jesus the winter solstice. Jesus is mightier as after the summer solstice light & day are in decline until the winter solstice after which they are in the ascent.
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea."
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
The wilderness would be the Qumran community of Essenes to whom it is thought John and Jesus, or whosoever their characters are based upon, belonged. The community are thought to have believed in a messianic warrior king who would free them from Roman rule.
"And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
This passage is usually understood to refer to their acting as missionaries converting men to Jesus' cause. However there is an interesting parallel in Josephus' Wars of the Jews. Titus Flavius begins his military campaign here in Galilee just as Jesus here begins his ministry. It is here where the Roman military engage the Jews in a naval battle, in which according to Josephus, the Romans spear the Jews who had jumped overboard into the sea. Thus making Titus Flavius another 'fisher of men' in the same location and time sequence as Jesus.
"And they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with diverse diseases and torments, and those possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."
"And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean."
Similar healing miracles are attributed to many gods, but most tellingly Suetonius in his lives of the Caesars says that these abilities were practiced particularly often by the emperor Vespasian. Roman emperors had the need to look divine and this kind of propaganda is commonplace in the imperial literature, which the gospels emulate. Jesus seems to have the same gifts as the one who occupied Judea in those times and became governor of the world.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of god."
In a time when Judea was occupied by the Romans, who are the peacemakers? Of course Judea was quite literally 'pacified' when the emperor Vespasian's son Titus ended the Jewish rebellion in 73CE. Titus the bringer of the Pax Romana was the son of the deified Vespasian, a child of a god. Jesus' pacifism is thus a pro roman position.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
A blatant admission that Jesus is knowingly using the prophets to justify his actions.
"And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."
This passage plainly shows the misogyny at the heart of the gospels. Didn't Joseph commit adultery with Mary if she was already with child?
"Our father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven...."
"... For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
The Egyptian sun god Amen, that is, who traverses the skies above us. If we want more evidence of Egyptian origins we need look no further than to the "as above so below" sky ground duality ideas of Hermes Trismagistos.
The Lord's Prayer thus reads: Our creator the sun which is in the sky, its name is sacred... We will build monuments down here on the earth to monitor and follow its movements and track its rising and setting points, so that we will always be aware of the coming passage of the seasons. Amon-Ra.
"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"
The pineal gland, which the Hindus understood as the third eye opens when we attain a balance between the two sides of our dualistic nature. Light/darkness, day/ night, sun/ moon, male/ female good/ evil etc. The gospels also seem to have a vague notion of this. However they make the mistake of opting for one side at the suppression of the other, resulting in centuries of misguided bloodshed. Fear of the darker side of our nature, the oppression of women or any man who dares express his feminine side and the political dominion of right wing ideas are all examples of this dualistic way of thinking.
Real wisdom is in recognising that when opposites become as one, true inspiration, heighten states of consciousness or enlightenment can be attained.
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine."
The true meaning of the gospels is esoteric and not meant for the masses who will take it literally. If you know how to read it without any religious preconceptions it's deeper meanings are clear enough.
"I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
Jesus is here speaking to the Roman centurion who asks him to heal his friend. Jesus clearly considers the Romans as being of greater piety than the Jews. Another insidious remark that has purposefully perpetuated anti Semitic prejudices ever since.
"He cast out the spirits with his word."
The way in which Jesus exorcised people of their demons. In classical times the daemon was not considered evil merely reflecting the duality of our nature. Where would Socrates have been without his daemon? The Greek gods clearly represent our conscience. In Homer's Illiad, when Achilles gets angry and wishes to strike out at Agamemnon, Athena flies down from Olympus to stop him. She is not seen by the others and is clearly part of Achilles' psyche. The dangers of having our daemons exorcised is that we end up with no inner way of determining ethical issues for ourselves and become dependent on external authorities such as the Catholic Church to determine them for us. Thus we arrive at the real reason for the Christian accusation that all pagan gods were demons which must be exorcised from our collective psyche, leaving us as little more than ethical pygmies.
"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the son of man hath not where to lay his head."
The first mention of the son of man. It does appear that Jesus is referring to himself in the third person. We will see more on precisely who the son of man could have been later on.
"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."
Jesus the solar deity is accompanied by the twelve constellations of the zodiac. We can see, in this passage, why people who follow astrology seem to think that it is a discipline that has a bearing on their well being and often inquire into it to know whether they will succumb to any such infirmity. It also shows us clearly how hypochondriacs are susceptible to these kinds of superstitions.
"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord."
A teaching that has put dangerous limits on our progress, and held the lowly in check not to rise above their station in life. Contrast with Nietszche’s phrase that a disciple repays a master poorly by remaining as such.
"And the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death."
It is just as well that Christians today do not take the Bible quite so literally as they would like to think that they do. Jesus seems to be totally against the family institution ironically one of the deep rooted conservative ideas of modern Christians.
"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?"
Jesus speaks to John the Baptist whilst he is in prison. Who ever the characters Jesus and John are based upon they were clearly both leaders who had spent time learning at the Essene community and would ultimately have paid for it with their lives. They would not have been the pacifist figures as portrayed in the gospels.
"The son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners."
As a publican is a tax collector, this can only mean that Jesus is friends with those who are in service to the empire. His disciple Matthew was also a publican and therefore collecting taxes for Rome. Wikipedia says:
In antiquity, publicans (Greek τελώνης telōnēs; Latin publicanus (singular); publicani (plural)) were public contractors, in which role they often supplied the Roman legions and military, managed the collection of port duties, and oversaw public building projects. In addition, they served as tax collectors for the Republic (and later the Roman Empire), bidding on contracts (from the Senate in Rome) for the collection of various types of taxes.
That Jesus may be considered a wine bibber is fitting as he is a type of the Greek god Dionysus who also made water into wine.
"He who is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Another example of the kind of dualistic thinking that has blighted human exchanges up to the present day. Think of George W Bush’s anti terrorist rhetoric.
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
When the sun reaches its extent along the horizon at the winter solstice it rises in the same position for three days before returning in the opposite direction on 25th December. Thus ancient cultures thought that the sun died on the solstice, remained dead for three days and was then reborn on 25th December. A memory of this is preserved in the myth of Jesus, which is a retelling of older mythical stories of other solar deities such as Horus in Egypt. It is interesting that in this passage the gospel authors accept that Jesus’ death and resurrection is not original, rather modelled on earlier types. It would not have been prudent for them to have admitted to reshaping pagan ideas, but the story of Jonas seems to have been acceptable to Christian ears.
"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
The gospel authors are here referring to those who believe everything literally, a sign of limited intelligence. Do those Christians who take it all as literal truth also read Jesus' parables in the same way? The New Testament itself here includes a warning about this kind of 'understanding' and justly shows that the gospel authors knew exactly how most people, even including the Bible's most dedicated readers, would not be able to comprehend what their writings are really all about. This passage shows us that nothing has changed in this regard as Jesus himself despairs of having to deal with precisely this sort of people, and has to resort to explaining his parable of sowing seeds 'literally'.
"He that soweth the good seed is the son of man."
"The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."
Jesus here uses a parable that compares the passage of human life to the annual passing of the seasons, in the same way that his life itself is a parable of the solar year. The myth of Jesus includes such astronomical information, as it evolved from older mythical stories of a culture to which agriculture was of primary importance. The harvest is represented in countless pre Christian 'parables' such as the Homeric hymn to the goddess Demeter. Having Jesus here recount such a parable is a subtle admission by the gospel authors of the true sources they used for the creation of the Jesus myth and that Jesus' life is itself a parable of the very same cycle of the natural world.
"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world."
"The son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity."
The historical reality of the period is of foreign occupation of Judea by the Romans. As we shall later see, the son of man is Titus Flavius, the son of the deified emperor Vespasian. The angels therefore are the roman military and the kingdom that of Rome itself. If we accept the pro Roman stance of the gospels 'all things that offend' can be seen as a direct reference to the Jews who had rebelled against Roman rule, who in the eyes of the occupying forces 'did iniquity'.
The parable ends then with a double meaning. As the harvest ends the yearly cycle when the 'tares are gathered and burned in the fire', so too does the Roman destruction by fire of Herod's temple appear as the other 'end of the world' disaster which the Jews suffered through in this period.
"Is not this the carpenter's son?
The word used in the original Greek gospels for Jesus' profession is 'tekton' and has usually been translated as meaning carpenter or woodcutter. However if we ignore the translations and go by the original Greek this is what we get:
Τεκτων s.m. mason; freemason. ~ονισμος s.m. freemasonry.
Freemason s. Τεχτονας . Μασονος m.
Freemasonry s. Τεκτονισμός
Carpenter s. μαραυχος μ. ~ry s. ξυλουρυιχη f.
Woodcutter s. ξυλοχοπος
Stonemason s. Λιθοξοος
It seems that the term Freemason came from the idea of Jesus having been or belonging to an order of stonemasons.
We know that the Qumran community of Essenes to whom Jesus is supposed to have belonged had plans to rebuild Jerusalem after ending the Roman occupation of Judea. A plan which of course never came about and has lead to the utopian idea of "the new Jerusalem". Yet these plans seem to have been very similar in design to what eventually came about with the sudden building of the Gothic cathedrals of France in the 12th century, just at the time when the Knights Templar had supposedly rediscovered the Essenes scrolls buried under Herod's Temple.
On a purely symbolic level, regardless of whether we believe that there ever was a historical Jesus, things couldn't be clearer. The mythical Jesus represents god as some kind of architect of the universe, which is precisely how the deists came to understand him during the enlightenment period. Whatever we choose to make of the coincidence that modern freemasonry takes its name from Jesus' profession, it should be obvious why they understood the letter G of god as meaning geometry. The book of Enoch also shows us precisely what it was that the gods were getting up to. When Enoch is taken to the island home of the gods he asks what they are doing and the response he gets is unequivocal: they are measuring. Measuring the earth that is and engaging in some kind of antediluvian survey project.
Ancient religions in this sense are absolutely correct in what they tell us about god bringing our world into being as the sun did in fact create the earth, albeit through the slow process of accretion. Our modern terms for parts of the earth such as tectonic plates also come from the Greek word tekton, so we should not be at all surprised. Jesus as a stonemason then could be understood as the solar deity forming the very earth itself. In hindsight there is no more appropriate job for Jesus to have had.
"A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."
This it would seem is Jesus’ problem with the concept of the family. As having known who one once was, they cannot come to accept what one later becomes.
"We have here but five loaves, and two fishes."
It is commonly forgotten that Jesus' original symbol was not that of the cross, rather one of two fish. If we accept Jesus as a solar deity, it is clear that he represents the sun during the age of Pisces, which began more or less at the beginning of the common era. Due to an astronomical phenomena called the Precession of the equinoxes (which is caused by a slow wobble in the earth's axis) the sun appears to rise on the spring & autumn equinoxes in a different constellation of the zodiac approximately every two thousand years. We can see clear imagery in previous eras such as the importance of the bull in Minoan culture, and that of the ram in early Judaic. This is because those cultures lived respectively in the ages of Taurus and Aries. When Moses comes down from the mountain he criticises his people for bull worship and convinces them to adopt the symbol of the ram. This goes to show that Moses represents the transition into the age of Aries, just as Jesus later parallel's this with the shift into the age of Pisces.
"For god commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death."
Jesus accuses the scribes and Pharisees of being hypocrites, yet he himself here states the opposite of his earlier teaching that one cannot love both ones parents and Jesus.
"Oh ye hypocrites, can ye discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall be no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas."
The fish representing the age of Pisces as the sign of the times is confirmed here with the gospel authors using typology to represent Jonah as Jesus. Jonah's three days and nights in the belly of the great fish is given as a sign of Jesus' coming death & resurrection. We of course know that a whale is not a fish, yet it's meaning here is pure symbolism as understood in those times.
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the son of man am? And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets."
Jesus leaves us with an ambiguous sense as to whether he is the son of man or not. Others seem to think that he is in fact John the Baptist which would make sense if we understand that they are both aspects of the same solar deity, representing the sun at the summer & winter solstices.
Elias or Elijah was a Jewish prophet from the 9th centuryBCE, whose name Eli=god jah=Yahweh is a direct reference to the Hebrew war god. Similarly to the son of man, Elijah's 'second coming' was also prophesied so we can see the gospel authors yet again using typology to give the appearance of legitimacy to the New Testament as the continuation of the Hebrew literary tradition.
Jeremias or Jeremiah (Yahweh exalts) is also an interesting choice as he is said to have predicted Nebuchadnezzar's seizure of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the Jews' subsequent Babylonian captivity, in much the same way as Jesus predicts the Romans' seizure of Jerusalem and destruction of Herod's temple. These events were the two greatest disasters which the Jewish people faced in the ancient world and the gospel authors clearly wanted to use typology to relate them.
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."
The gospel authors here reveal the Jesus myth as having originated in one of many middle eastern solar cults. If one considers any medieval Christian iconography it is clear that they have unknowingly preserved this idea, as Jesus always seems to have the sun emanating its radiance from behind his head.
"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
If there is anything at all in the gospel teachings that are of any lasting relevance to us it is surely this passage. Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything which you desire.
"Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Jesus is selective of Moses' Ten Commandments in much the same way as Moses had been selective in choosing certain of those same from the Egyptian book of the dead. Where the bible implores 'you will not...' The book of the dead pleads 'I have not...' with moral prohibitions which amount to much the same things. The book of the dead was designed for the deceased to navigate through the perils of the afterlife and gave him precisely these statements to save himself in the hall of judgement. Jesus could be said to be reminding his disciples that he too would become another judge of the deceased following much the same principles as the ancient Egyptians once had. The fact that Moses was adopted and brought up within the Egyptian ruling class should leave us with no doubt as to where he really got his ideas for what would become the Judaic and hence Christian moral code.
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Prayer is really a misunderstanding of meditation. It's real significance is as a technique of self hypnosis in order to more effectively achieve the things which one consciously strives towards. When a religious person speaks to their god it is the same as others do when speaking to their inner self or a Greek speaking to their daemon.
"What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way."
This is a typical quotation used to show the gospels' pro Roman stance. The Romans did in fact have control of Judea through the governors they had put in place there. Whatever we may criticised the Romans for we cannot accuse them of religious intolerance, as their form of multi cultural paganism meant that they assimilated local cults and deities rather than suppressing them. There are many examples of syncretic deities such as Serapis in Egypt, a kind of amalgamation of Osiris and Jupiter. In general as long as the provinces paid their taxes their religious institutions were respected. In return for this respect the Romans asked for a statue of the emperor to also be placed in religious temples alongside the local deities, a request which more often than not caused little or no hinderance to the temple goers. However no such policy would work with the monotheistic Jews, who categorically refused to accept the emperor as a god. We can further see what Jesus' statement about rendering unto Caesar actually means. It is not only that the Jews should pay their taxes to Rome, which wasn't such a problem, but also that it makes a direct comparison between the emperor and god.
Jesus himself then, could be understood as having been one of these syncreticised deities, which the Romans were so experienced in creating. An amalgamation of old Hebrew prophets with Egyptian mythical features mixed together into a new hellenised solar deity. By creating a pro Roman form of Judaism the Romans were effectively blurring the difference between what was Caesar's and what belonged to god.
"God is not the god of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine."
If there is in fact a god it does not necessarily follow that there is also an afterlife.
"Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation."
It is clear that Jesus is only speaking of events to do with the times in which he lived and should not be taken out of the context of those times by wishful religious thinking.
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
"Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
"And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven... And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet."
Chapter 24 contains perhaps the most revealing passages as to the true significance of the gospels and as to the son of man's real identity. There can really only be one person who fits the description. Jesus predicts the destruction of Herod's temple within a generation which is exactly what came to pass in the year 70CE when Titus Flavius did precisely as the gospels say. Josephus' account of Titus' military campaign tells us precisely that Titus approached Jerusalem from an easterly direction at the head of his Roman legions who of course carried an eagle as their standard and marched to the sound of a trumpet. If we read Josephus' account of the times we do in fact find a startling parallel that seems to confirm that this is precisely what the gospels are talking about. Compare the above passages to this one taken from Wars of the Jews, book 3, chapter 6, lines 123/124:
"Then came the ensigns encompassing the eagle, which is at the head of every Roman legion, the king, and the strongest of all birds, which seems to them a signal of domination, and an omen that they shall conquer all against whom they march; these sacred ensigns are followed by the trumpeters."
"When the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and ha shall separate them one from another , as a Shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."
Titus the son of the emperor Vespasian will follow after his father to the imperial throne, and after submitting Judea to Roman rule, will be able to divide the various nations under his rule into provinces of the empire.
"And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
The famous Passover scene of the last supper. Most Christians who take the Bible literally are at least sophisticated enough not to do so here, especially when they encourage their children to reenact this passage in church. Yet for all the harm done by literalist interpretations of the Bible, this passage in particular appears to have just such a literal meaning of eating the body of Jesus the Passover lamb sacrifice, or as we should call it plainly, cannibalism. Again, the passage's meaning becomes clear when we forget religious interpretations and focus on the context of the times.
In Josephus' War of the Jews chapter 6, line 201, (a reading of the full passage is recommended) he relates the sufferings of the Jewish people as they withstood the Roman siege of their city. As with all sieges in history the people are starving, but the rebels refuse to give in to the Romans. Josephus uses a very specific example of their sufferings by telling us of a woman called Mary who resorts to eating her son. She laments:
"Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets and a by word to the world."
So the son of Mary is eaten on the Passover just as Jesus suggests. If we are in any doubt about a direct parallel here we should remember that it happens at exactly the same time in both texts. We should also ask ourselves why is Mary's son a 'byword to the world'? This only makes any kind of sense in relation to the gospels' version. The son of Mary in both cases then, is a Passover lamb sacrifice, one such as ancient cultures celebrated on feast days.
Furthermore it should sicken us to realise not only the literal cannibalism represented in the gospels, but also how it belittles (and even seems to make fun of) the suffering of the Jews who lived through the Roman destruction of their country. We should reflect a little here and not suppress a natural feeling of deep revulsion for what people are really doing, when they make their children reenact this ritual upon taking holy communion.
"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?"
Jesus is waiting in the garden of Gethsemane to be arrested and crucified. He is thinking of his immanent death & resurrection in a mythical sense; as well as his historical 'second coming' as Titus Flavius, the son of man in order to fulfil the prophesies concerning the destruction of the temple and the fall of Judea to the Romans. Just as the New Testament 'fulfils' the prophesies of the ancient Hebrew prophets, so too does Josephus' War of the Jews 'fulfil' Jesus' prophesies in the New Testament.
"But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."
The text seems to constantly over stress the fact that it was written with the specific purpose of proving to its audience that these events were those which the prophets were speaking about, and to justify Titus' destruction and pacification of Judea.
"Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas."
This is the famous scene from the passion of Christ which well known enough not to relate here. What is less well known however, is that Barabbas' name in the original Greek was in fact Jesus Barabbas. A detail that has been omitted from many editions and translations for the simple fact of the utter confusion which it quite obviously causes. Not only do the two prisoners share their first name, but we should also be dumbfounded to realise that Barabbas actually means son of the father. Wikipedia tells us:
Barabbas or Jesus Barabbas (a Hellenization of the Aramaic bar abba בר אבא, literally "son of the father" or "Jesus, son of the Father" respectively) is a figure in the accounts of the Passion of Christ, in which he is the insurrectionary whom Pontius Pilate freed at the Passover feast in Jerusalem, instead of Jesus.
Thus proceeds a total farce with the crowd calling out which of the two men, both with the same name, should be freed and which crucified! This leads us to the obvious corollary of how, supposing there ever had really been a historical Jesus, he later turned up alive after Pontus Pilate had accidentally crucified the wrong Jesus.
Matthew does not mention who Barabbas is, however we learn in Mark that it is he 'that made insurrection' implying that he is based upon a Jesus who had been involved in the revolt against the Romans, which was then occurring. The fact that there are two Jesus' makes total sense when we realise that the Barabbas Jesus is the historical Jewish warrior messiah, or rebel leader who would have fought against the Romans, whilst Jesus himself is the mythical Christ pacifist messiah which the Romans used to supplant radical Judaism. This is the moment when the switch between the two messiahs was enacted and Christianity born.
"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye unto it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."
Being a pro Roman text no Roman ever appears in a negative light, and so the Roman governor is thus absolved of any responsibility, all of which is all too eagerly taken on by the Jews. The anti semitism in the passage is clear enough, but it seems to go much further than necessary by also holding the Jews' children to account for the crucifixion. It is impossible to think of how much harm this cruel addition has caused to countless unborn future generations of Jewish people.
"And many women were there be holding far off , which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdeline, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children."
The first mention of Mary Magdelene in the gospels. It is curious how even as she is introduced there is similar confusion with many Marys, in like manner to that between the two Jesuses during the trial scene. Jesus' mother Mary, Mary's sister Mary, the 'other' Mary, Zebedee's wife Mary. This is either very bad story telling or designed on purpose as some sort of puzzle. Nowadays Mary is a very common name due in most part to the popularity of the gospels, but we would never envision such a situation with so many Marys! The solution is simple when we consider the context of the times. The word Mary in Hebrew actually means rebellious. This makes it clear why all the women who Jesus knows are called Mary, as from the perspective of the Roman occupying forces all Jewish women would have been rebels against the empire. Magdela was one town in particular where a considerable part of the Jewish resistance was based in those times and thus Mary Magdalene should not be seen as a single individual but rather many rebels from that town who would have supported the historical Jewish messiah or resistance leader, which the Jesus of the gospels was a pacifistic copy of.
"When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered."
Josephus in his The War of the Jews tells us how when he had converted to the cause of the Romans against his own people, he saw that Vespasian had crucified three of his friends and so begged Vespasian for his clemency. He is too late however for two of the three who died while one survived. This parallels the account here of another Joseph asking of Pilate the same thing. Jesus was crucified as it is well known along with two others, and again, one of the three survived. The parallel could be considered a coincidence until we take into account that it takes place in the same sequence right at the end of the war of the Jews just as it happens here at the end of Matthew. What is more, before Josephus was adopted into the imperial family he was known as Josephus Ben Matthias, very similar to Joseph of Arimathaea. That 'Ben' in Hebrew means 'of' is too much to take as anything but a direct parallel. If Josephus of Matthias was producing his history of the Jewish war with Roman consent what then of the New Testament? We do not really know the real authorship of the gospels yet Joseph of Matthias is quite close to a direct admission to some involvement if not out right authorship of the gospel of 'Saint Matthew'. Neither do we know exactly when they were written although most scholars place Matthew as having been written after Mark in approximately the seventies CE. In other words exactly when we would expect them to have been written, just after the Jewish Roman war and contemporary with Josephus' account which they were designed to 'prophesy'. That a parallel figure for Josephus of Matthias appears right at the end of the gospel of Matthew is very suspicious to say the least.
"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdaline and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of The Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."
People who take the Bible as some sort of divine truth direct from God which must be taken literally word for word, should be shown how their literal truth is not even self consistent. Following such reasoning they must simultaneously believe that Mary Magdaline came with 'the other Mary' according to Matthew 'as it began to dawn' yet also believe that she came alone 'when it was still dark' according to John and also 'early in the morning' with the mother of James, and Salome according to Mark. They must also believe simultaneously that when Mary arrived the cave was still closed, that it was opened before her eyes, as in Matthew, and that it was already open. Furthermore they must accept that there were both one, two and no angels present when she arrived.
This is a prime example of how only people who accept internally illogical contradictions could at all come to take it all literally. They do not think, rather believe as the writers of the gospels wanted them to. The contradictions are of course acceptable if we take them purely as literature or as mythological stories, such as those of the Greeks, which are well known to have multiple inconsistencies which have never troubled us due to them having been folkloric tales which have changed over millennia. The gospels however, are not stories which existed for such periods of time and cannot be explained in this way.
The apparent inconsistencies are resolved once we accept that Mary Magdaline is not a single woman, but rather representing many of the various Marys or rebels who were following the Jewish messiah. The different times which they arrive at the cave in the different gospels show us the sequence of what really happened that morning. In John, one Mary arrives 'while it is still dark' and finds the cave empty. She goes to tell two of the disciples, who then run to the cave to check out her story. One of the disciples outruns the other. Another Mary arrives at the cave 'as it began to dawn' and finds what she thinks is an angel, but is really the first disciple (from the other gospel) who opens the cave before her. Then later another Mary arrives to find two angels, as now the second disciple, who had been left behind, has arrived. The curious fact that the first Mary, who came when it was still dark, finds the cave already open, while the second Mary, who came at dawn, witnesses the cave being opened, seems to suggest that the first Mary went to the wrong cave in the dark which is then followed by an absurd comedy of errors and Chinese whispers as one Mary or disciple tells the next, repeating that the messiah has arisen, all based upon error and wishful thinking. This is a typical puzzle which is simple enough to work out, yet easily deceives those who merely believe and have not developed any logical faculties.
"And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The final passage in Matthew. It has been suggested that the Greek term aion actually means age and that what Jesus is really referring to is his astronomical 'presidency' during the age of Pisces. This may be confirmed in another gospel passage where Jesus specifies that after he has gone his disciples should look out for a man bearing a water pitcher, clearly a reference to the fact that Aquarius follows Pisces in the precessional cycle.
On another level Jesus could be understood as being with them 'until the end of the world' as he has already suggested that what he is really talking about is the coming of Titus the son of man to destroy the Judaic world within that same generation. From then on Jesus will abandon the Jewish people as their religion and prophesies of warrior messiahs will have been supplanted by a hellenised, pacifistic one.