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Temptation of Christ, Assumed UFO Contradictions

on Thu, 01/26/2017 - 22:07

Redaction Criticism of the Temptation of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels

      That Mark was the earliest Gospel and that later both Luke and Matthew used it as the basis for their own accounts of the life of Jesus is the scholastic assumption for this critique*.  This theory is commonly called the Two Source Hypothesis (Hayes, 128).  Most Biblical scholars are in general agreement that both Luke and Matthew’s gospels are dependent upon the Gospel According to Mark, believed to be the oldest of the gospels (Hayes, 129, 130) and probably written sometime in the decade preceding the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 C.E. (instructor’s comments).  The points of commonality in the gospel accounts of Luke and Matthew with Mark are attributed to a hypothetical earlier source document, referred to as Q for the German word quelle, or source (instructor’s comments).  Of course, this could have been an oral account passed down, but the details in various accounts are so strikingly similar that a written Q is deemed more probable.  Some scholars include the gnostic Gospel According to Thomas among the synoptic texts (Hayes, 129) largely because some of the 114 sayings ascribed to Jesus therein are also mentioned by Mark, Luke and Matthew, and Matthew as a disciple of Jesus is particularly mentioned in Thomas’ account.  This indicates that the writer of this gnostic text may have had some access to Q as well.

            The text I have chosen for redaction criticism is Luke 4:1-13 (The Temptation of Christ), which finds its parallel in Mark in just two verses:  Mark 1:12-13.  In the New Revised Standard Version (1989), these verses read: “12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”  From Mark, we learn that the Spirit impelled Jesus to travel into the “wilderness” for a period of 40 days.  Like real estate agents might say, the most important element in these two verses is “location, location and location.”  But, “Why so?” you might ask; with the answer being that Mark mentions the exact word “wilderness” two times in the short text and at the same time informs us that this is a place where Jesus leaves behind the mundane world of first century Palestine and enters the realm of the devil (which he names as Satan), the wild beasts and the angels.  One might also ascribe some significance to the number 40, at least insofar as the Hebrews wandered around in the wilderness themselves for 40 years until God felt they were ready to enter into the Land of Promise.  

      Therefore, despite the short length of this scripture, it packs a lot of information for the one already familiar with the context of what truly being in the “wilderness” for 40 days would entail.  Both Luke 4:1-13 and Matthew 4:1-11 provide us with additional details concerning the nature of a least three of the temptations presented to Jesus by the devil, but mixes up the order of these.  Both agree that the first temptation was the bread offered to Jesus following his long, 40-day fasting period.  But Luke presents the second temptation as being the kingdoms of this world while Matthew presents the second temptation as the bidding of Jesus to step off the high point of the temple to show that the angels would lift him up, not permitting that the true Son of God should even dash his foot against a stone.  As such, we only see the order of the last two temptations inverted in Luke and Matthew, but not their essential contents.  Therefore, in trying to answer why Mark did not feel it was necessary to explain these temptations in detail, it may well be that the largely Hebrew audience of Mark knew just what was “out there” in that wilderness and the deeper significance of any metaphysical encounters that Jesus would experience in such a place.  In other words, the “wilderness” was largely thought of as a dwelling place for angels, devils and satyrs.  People headed out there knew what they would encounter.  For example, as to wild beasts, Isaiah 13:22 tells us that it abounds with jackals, while 34:13-14 of the same book informs us that the “wilderness” consisted of a great variety of birds, most notably ibises, ostriches and ravens.  Isaiah also warns any would-be-travelers to this region that they should beware as it is also a “habitation of monsters” where “devils meet with satyrs (goats) and cry one to another.” 

            One clue to the region of this wilderness of Judea might be found in Matthew 3:1, where it is described as a wild, barren region lying between the Dead Sea at En-gedi and the Hebron Mountains.  First Samuel 23:19 identifies this location as being Jeshimon, the place where David hid out as a fugitive from King Saul for a season.  In my research into UFOs and other paranormal phenomena, I have discovered that all peoples share in knowledge of specific locales where certain seekers can cross over into the realm of gods, angels, aeons, archons, aliens, demons, ghosts, elves, fairies and other entities, for the purpose of purging their souls of Earthly attachments in preparation for embarking upon some mission of great spiritual significance.  I consulted a map of first century Palestine to locate this possible “Area 51” for the Hebrew people.  To get to this remote area from the region of the Jordan River, where it empties into the Dead Sea, one would have had to pass through the Essene community at Qumran heading in in a south-southwesterly direction.  Since Jesus would have had to pass this way en route to Jeshimon, one must wonder if he had any business with the Essenes and what did that entail?  It was widely believed among the Hebrews of the first century C.E. that angels assumed human form and attended to the needs of humans, unawares (Hebrews 13:2).  Were the Essenes serving in the capacity of guides and ministering angels to Jesus?  But where would these guides lead Jesus to seek such an encounter with the world beyond human sight and hearing?  Remember how Jesus was taken into a “high place” where he could behold the splendor and glory of all the world’s kingdoms in an instant of time?   There was no such place so high on the Earth where you could behold simultaneously all of these kingdoms.  Rockets and satellites were still millennia away.  Satan, perhaps himself a ministering angel, a commissioned tester from an angelic council as he was with Job, would have needed to guide Jesus into a higher dimension for him to access this augmented vision.   

Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), the great Swedish scientist and theologian who traveled to the planet Venus in a higher dimension (See R. A. Keller, Chapter 2 in Venus Rising….(Terra Alta, West Virginia:  Headline Books, 2015), once declared that the number 40 in regards to the 40 days in the wilderness experienced by Jesus had a higher spiritual significance, in that any period of 40--- days, weeks, months and years--- always signifies a time of purging and preparation (initiation) before the start of any great enterprise.  God himself in Deuteronomy Chapter 29 recounts the travails he made the Hebrews pass through before bringing them to the point in Moab where they were ready to fully receive his law and cross the Jordan River with Joshua in faith and courage.  Basically, he indicates that it was necessary for one whole generation to pass away in order to purge the Hebrews of the last vestiges of contaminating Egyptian culture.  So while the Hebrews probably took only about 40 hours to assemble themselves and get out of the borders of Egypt, it took them 40 years to get Egypt out of them and their consciousness.  Here is the significance of 40 days of fasting and prayer for Jesus in the desert:  In order to come to the point of relying solely on God and perfecting his life for the coming ministry, he needed to shed whatever influences the world still exercised over him and be initiated into the higher law preparatory to start of kingdom preaching and work.  That the gnostic Gospel According to Thomas is also considered synoptic in places, hence derived in part from the Q, is reason enough that I think a deeper analysis of its possible Q-related sayings and teachings attributed to Jesus might be warranted here, especially as they relate to initiation, temptation and access to higher spiritual awareness.

My report ends here, but additional insights are provided below for future reference.

Addendum/Theosophical Observations For a goodly portion of my youth, I spent a lot of time with Gabriel Green of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America out at his residence at Yucca Valley in Southern California.  He would frequently take us out to Giant Rock or other isolated areas in the Mojave Desert on UFO sky watches or for other gatherings for the “true believers” in the accounts of the contactees, those individuals claiming to have experienced physical encounters with extraterrestrial or ultra-dimensional entities.   Most people thought we were crazy, “off the beam,” so to speak.  But Gabriel Green, also an astrophysicist; Jack Parsons, early rocketeer, occultist and one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; L. Ron Hubbard, popular science fiction author and the founder of Scientology; George Adamski, science fiction writer, mystic and fellow Theosophist; George Hunt Williamson, early pioneer of astro-archaelogy; Orfeo Angelucci and Daniel Fry, airplane mechanics for Aerojet Corporation; George Van Tassel, the owner of the airport out at Landers Field and builder of the Integratron; and countless others, including myself, have encountered non-Earthly entities, primarily Venusian, out in these remote desert areas of Southern California.   Therefore, I have done a lot of research into the significance of certain desert and mountain areas as places, where the veil between our physical, third-dimensional construct of reality prevails and other ultra-dimensional realms existing parallel with our own, is at its thinnest.  Because the sequel to Venus Rising will be coming out soon, I do not want to place a photo here of myself with such an entity out on the floor of the Mojave Desert, but will show it to you if you would like to see it.  I just do not want it to be stolen by hackers.  It depicts Dolores Barrios, a young woman who was last photographed before she dematerialized at a flying saucer conference on top of Mt. Palomar in California back on 8 August 1954, along with me in contemporary times.  The photograph with Dolores and I was taken when I as at the age of 58, and she looks like she hasn’t aged one day.  All I can say about it for now is that we are “blowing something up” out in the desert that we didn’t want anyone to find any evidence of its existence at that particular time.  

*Based on Chapter 8 of J. H. Hayes and C. R. Holladay’s Biblical Exegesis, Third Edition (Louisville, Kentucky:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2007),