- Religion and Philosophy
Karaite Comments: To My Brother Yeshua (Jesus) Part 3
As was presented in Part 2, the origins of Christianity were and are deeply rooted in Jewish Rabbinical teachings. The fact that these teachings bordered on the heretical and were not rooted in the Torah mattered little to these rabbinical scholars that pursued their own agenda. And therein lies the problem, the great rift between Rabbanites and Karaites, for it was this agenda of these so-called learned men that caused the greatest threats to the continued existence of Judaism. To understand this statement, one must fully appreciate the reasoning behind the development of the Messiah mythos that the rabbis fabricated and then foisted upon the Jewish people. To create an entirely new legend concerning a supernatural hero that pre-existed the beginning of time, that was superior to the angels and therefore next in line to God, who would suffer at the hands of his own people, yet never abandon them by taking on their sins and ultimately defeating their enemies, a doctrine which runs contrary to the Torah could only have been undertaken if the rabbis felt the reason for their heresy far outweighed the consequences. Even as these rabbis prepared this doctrine, one of their early leaders grew concerned. Hillel, probably the greatest sage of their Pharisaic brotherhood, and the man they esteem as the progenitor of their kind saw the fine line upon which they tread and he was gravely concerned. In Sanhedrin 98b of the Talmud, it is recorded that Hillel tried to put an end to their misguided philosophy by telling them that the Messiah had already come and gone. That he was the son of King Hezekiah and nothing more than a divinely inspired human. Unfortunately, although his students and followers clung to every other word he had to say, in this case they chose to ignore him, not willing to abandon their ‘divine being’ heresy. But the real question was why these supposedly intelligent men felt they needed to create this mythological hero in the first place and the answer lies in the fact that it was a belief 180 degrees from what was taught by the Zadokites who’s rulings reigned supreme at the time. Therefore their motivation was to challenged the existing infrastructure, to embarrass those that were holding on to the reins of power and to ultimately win over the hearts and minds of the people by promising them something better than what was being offered by the Sadducees but thinking that they would never have to deliver on their promises. To the Sadducees, the origins of the Messiah were a matter of fact. One would come from the House of Aaron, the other from the House of David. Neither divine by birth, only divinely inspired. Two very human figures that happened to be from the two houses that the Rabbis despised greatly and were more than happy to record their hatred for these various families in their Talmud. Therefore, even though Hillel was still insisting the Messiah would be from the line of the royal family, or had already been, the rabbis refused to accept this. Their messiah could not be tainted by either of these two families that were accursed in their minds; hence the creationist myth that the messiah was a godling spirit that existed from the beginning of the universe. Of course, having an entity greater than the angels is a direct contravention of the commandment, “Thou shall have no other God but me,” but the rabbis were willing to promote this sacrilege as long as they could eliminate the authority of the royal and priestly houses. As for the suffering that the suffering servant will endure at the hands of his enemies as outlined in Isaiah, the rabbis transformed this metaphor of Israel into a physical punishment borne by the messiah. Rashi was not the first to tell them that they were wrong but they would not listen. As long as they could convince the people that the ‘real’ messiah would suffer physically for their sins, then they could also point at members of the two aristocratic families and say, “See, none of them even knows what it is to suffer as they live in the lap of luxury; No way that they could be the progenitors of the messiah.” That was their sole reasoning, their only purpose in transforming the edicts of the Torah into the folktales of the messiah that inhabited their Talmud. Self-serving, self-empowering, and most of all providing revenge for what they considered several hundred years of suffering at the hands of these aristocratic families.
Revelations of Paul
The problem with creating myths is that somewhere, someplace, sometime, someone sees them as being true. As Saul admits, he considered himself a ‘good’ student of Rabbi Gamaliel. Though the rabbis immediately disclaimed him as one of their own, his statement was most likely correct. He was their perfect student, and for the most part their perfect soldier until he recognized a serious flaw in their teachings that contradicted sharply with their practices. In essence, “a do as we tell you but not as we preach,” attitude to which Saul eventually took exception and became Paul as a result. As a good little soldier for his Pharisaic brotherhood, Saul set out on a mission to harass and persecute the followers of Yeshua, taking his mission all the way to Syria, well beyond any actual jurisdiction that the rabbis had. Stoning, flogging, and clubbing were all in a good day’s work and he had no concerns if the victims of his persecutions should die in the process. But along the way he had his revelation; some will call it a stroke, Christian adherents will say it was the appearance of Yeshua, I consider it to be the light bulb finally going off in his head which resulted in a mental breakdown during which he had to rebuild the pieces of his life. Whatever the explanation, Saul (Paul) realized that the orders he followed were in direct contradiction of his rabbinical training. He understood that he was instructed to beat these heretics but in doing so he knew that their practices and beliefs were not in contradiction to the rabbinical teachings of the soon to be written Talmud. Following a mystical teacher with possibly a divine mission was certainly part of the rabbinic messiah tradition. Questions regarding his birth weren’t questions at all according to the rabbinic dogma. Since the messiah described by the rabbis was not born human but a spirit conceived at the creation, then how could there be any heresy if the claimant to the throne of the messiah was believed by his followers to be born via Immaculate Conception? And if his genealogy was not precisely that of either aristocratic house, then that suited the rabbis well since they were insistent that as a godling he could not be the descendant of their despised enemies, the Sadducees or Asmoneans (non-Davidic). But furthermore, the rejection of Yeshua by the majority of the Jews was exactly how the rabbis portrayed the Messiah would be received by those that he had come to serve and save. As a true rabbinical student, Saul was left with no other choice but to conclude that this Yeshua must have been the Messiah the rabbis were expecting. For him to deny that would be a denial of everything he had been taught in the school of Gamaliel. Abandoning his fuller’s club, he took up the mantle of the supreme apostle and began to preach the religion of this rabbinic messiah. At first the rabbis paid little attention to him but soon they were to be haunted by their own words and teachings that would create an entirely new civilization to supplant that which they had attempted to foist upon the uneducated masses.
What Paul experienced was the dilemma of conscience that all rabbis since the time of their formation have had to face. It’s one thing to create an entire mythos as a vehicle of pronouncing your own superiority over your adversaries and proclaim that your teachings are the only ones of relevance as you attempt to seize the power and authority from those that were legitimately invested with them. But it’s an entirely different matter when you’re suddenly faced with the monster you have created. It would seem that these monsters are a constant plague of the Rabbanites. As detailed in Shadows of Trinity (http://www.eloquentbooks.com/ShadowsOfTrinity.html) these monsters having rabbinic origins have always become the bane of Jewish existence. With two thousand years of making the same mistake over and over again, one would think the rabbis would learn their folly but admitting their mistakes is not one of their more noble characteristics. So when faced with the reality of Yeshua, and the fact that he appeared to meet the criteria that they had laid out for their version of the Messiah, they only had two choices. One was either to admit that they were mistaken, and all their teachings were contrary to the Torah and therefore they had sinned, or else they had to acknowledge that Yeshua was their rabbinic messiah. The fact that they were manipulated by the Sadducees into this situation as explained in The Caiaphas Letters (http://legendsofthekahana.webs.com/3onthecharts.htm) meant that either way they would have diminished themselves and resigned the authority they had gained over the centuries by battling the Sadducees for theological supremacy. What had not been anticipated was that they would take the third option, one which didn’t even exist. They simply denied Yeshua. Without justification, without explanation, they expanded and altered their messiah mythology, declaring that the true messiah would be from the Tribes of Joseph, he would be a warrior, and he would lead the heavenly host in the battle of Armageddon against Aramilius. Since Yeshua could not claim to have fulfilled any of these obligations, then he could not possibly be their messiah. The transition from suffering servant to military conqueror became the new curriculum vitae for their savior and the separation between the Zadokite messiah of the Torah and that of the Rabbanites became even wider. Clever as the rabbis thought they were in escaping from the snare that they themselves had set, they were not smart enough to realize that they had created an entirely new trap that would engulf them. And this time the danger of their continued existence was far greater than the threat from the widely expanding Christian religion.
Expectations of Mohammed
As a young caravan driver travelling the length and breadth of Judea, Galilee and Samaria, Mohammed was very familiar with the Messianic legends of his time. He knew of the story of Yeshua as well and the reasons for his rejection. What most people may not realize was that Mohammed first went to the Jews, explaining that he would fulfill their requirements for the messiahship and that they would be delivered by his sword arm. Just as Yeshua met the initial set of criteria, Mohammed knew that he met the requirements of this second set. He was already upon a path of conquest and determined to bring about the final battle for domination of the world. He declared to the Jews of every town that he was the fulfillment of their prophecies. He even went as far to claim that he represented the Messiah ben Joseph so that he would fulfill all the new criteria that the rabbis had created for this messiah. How he did so was quite unique, since he could not establish a blood link to Joseph. Taken from Muhammad in World Scriptures (Vol. 2) by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi, Mohammed’s explanation does border on the genius in that he calculated he could prove his connection to Joseph through ‘equivalence’. He claimed the following, “That he, like Joseph would be the target of all cruelties by his brothers (Qur’an 12:102).” Furthermore, whereas Jacob said to Joseph that he would be chosen, the Qur’an says that Mohammed was granted eminence by the Lord. Drawing conclusions that Jacob would have warned Joseph not to tell his brothers about his visions, the Qur’an also mentions that Mohammed was warned that people would do mischief towards him once they heard his revelation. Mohammed also stated that Jacob had told Joseph that God would make his favour complete to him, and similarly Mohammed too was apprised of his triumph in the early revelations. Since Joseph had been sold by his brethren to Ishmaelite traders and Mohammed was often slandered as the son of a handmaid, referring to Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, he extended this slur to include all Ishmaelites and therefore by right of purchase he obtained everything that belonged to Joseph. Thusly, both Joseph and himself were able to interpret the signs sent by God. Just as Joseph was placed in prison, Mohammed claimed he was besieged in Shi’b of Abu Talib, which for a time became his prison. And just like Joseph who preached to his companions in prison, Mohammed did the same to Banu Hashim in Shi’b. Mohammed also explained that the plague of famine played a major role in both their lives; seven years in Egypt for Joseph and seven years in Makka for Mohammed. And just like Joseph who received honours following his release from prison, Mohammed similarly received honours from the Jews at Madina. In the end, Joseph’s brothers had to beg for mercy from him and the same happened at Makka where Mohammed’s persecutors had to beg for mercy from him. Joseph in his generosity told his brothers that there would be no reproof against them that day. Mohammed intentionally used these same words when he vanquished the Meccans when he conquered their city. And in the end, Joseph became a ruler in Egypt, just in the same way that Mohammed became a ruler at Madina.
The final icing on the cake that Mohammed used was Genesis 49:10, the same sentence that the rabbis used to explain how they could reassign the messiahship from the houses of Aaron and David. For in that Old Testament sentence it states then in the final days the sceptre of Judah and the Law Giving by Aaron will be wrested away with the coming of Shiloh. Since Shiloh was a city within the boundaries of the tribes of Joseph, the rabbis concluded that the messiah would be from Joseph. But both Christianity and Islam claimed it meant that the messiahship would fall to an outsider, Shiloh referring more to the hinterlands. But what exactly was the meaning of Shiloh, we still do not know. But clearly it did not mean that the messiah would come from Joseph. That much I can tell you with certainty. I have my suspicions as to its meaning but that will be for another day. More importantly, the situations that arose, both with Paul and Mohammed were entirely the result of the political machinations of these rabbis, bent on seizing power and creating the litany of legends and myths to support their claims. Too short sighted to recognize the repercussions of their meddling ways, and constantly opening the right to claim messiahship to those that simply believed all they had to do was fulfil the dictates that the rabbis had themselves created, crisis situations arose not only once but twice. And the deeper the rabbis dug this quagmire for themselves, the worse the situation grew for the Jews, because each time these claimants were rejected, they vented their anger and frustration against the Jewish people. Because of their stubbornness, the rabbis were not prepared to explain that they had merely fabricated the criteria for their coming messiah and so thousands upon thousands had to die for their folly and arrogance. Even in the Talmud there are three separate rabbis that are quoted saying that they long for the coming of the Messiah, but definitely do not want him to come in their lifetime. Why, you might ask? Because that would mean that they would have to give up their power and resign their authority, and even after all the death and destruction they had caused, they were still not prepared to do that.
The Anguish of Anan
Viewing the damage created by the rabbis through their Talmudic tales and messianic mythologies, Anan ben David in the 8th century knew that the time had come to reassert the old beliefs in order to correct the runaway train that Judaism had become. He knew that the Exilarchate was not only necessary for the fulfillment of the original Zadokite messianic beliefs because of its descent from the House of David but over the intervening centuries it had intermarried with the House of Aaron so many times over that there was a strong paternal descendancy from that family as well. The problem was that over the years the Rabbanites had wrestled more and more of the Exilarch’s power and authority away until the position was little more than a figurehead and incapable of fulfilling its destiny and the original messiah concept from the Torah had become a distorted, corrupted mess due to rabbinic interference. Both Christianity and Islam were now flourishing based on the false messianic mythos established by the Rabbanites and both were growing geometrically with every accusation they made that the Jews had abandoned their own beliefs unwilling to acknowledge either of these other religions’ claims of having fulfilled their precepts. Anan didn’t need to be in possession of prophetic insight to understand what that meant to the future of Judaism as it was about to be eclipsed by two tidal waves that had sprung from an ocean of inaccurate theological arguments. In order to restore the dominance of the Exilarch, the rabbis knew that meant Anan was seeking the means of removal of their power and authority that they had worked so hard to contest and gain over the preceding centuries. They were definitely not prepared to let that happen even though by that time they had proven that they could abuse the privileges of power as badly as any despot. Using their ill-gotten censuring authority that had been granted to them by the Caliph as representatives of a recognized state religion the rabbis laid charges against Anan ben David that he was attempting to interfere with their governance, committed heresy by declaring their doctrine to be false, and was trying to assert himself as an actual monarch rather than satrap which placed him in opposition to the Caliph. Serious charges which immediately resulted in his arrest and imprisonment for a considerable length of time, some reports saying as long as five years.
Five years in a cell gives a man an opportunity to think deeply on matters and Anan put his time to good use. Both Christianity and Islam as I have indicated were based on distorted prophecies and false doctrines. He didn’t bother to focus on either of those upstart religions deciding that was the Rabbanites problem and that they would have to deal with them; he instead would restore the original Zadokite doctrines; those messianic beliefs that had been firmly established within the Torah and were immutable. Dismissing the concept of the appearance of the messiah at the beginning of creation, Anan re-established the original doctrine that the two messiahs will come when the need arises. Therefore there was no premeditation, only a responsive action by God when necessary. That they were to be men, nothing more, favored by God, gifted by God, and descended from the Houses of Aaron and David was also a fact from the Torah. Their purpose was/is not to save the Jewish people by defeating their enemies through battle but by turning their enemies into brothers by teaching them the true path to God the dawn of a new age would result. The Moreh Tsedek or Righteous Teacher as messiah was restored as had been the original belief. So whereas the Rabbanites saw the coming of the messiah as salvation, Anan looked at the Torah scriptures and saw the coming of the messiahs as a reward. Just as the Rabbanites viewed messianic times as the End of Days, Anan’s view taken from the Torah was that it was the ‘Beginning of Days.’ Not just a reward for the Jews but for all of humanity. Whereas the rabbis looked at the End of Days with trepidation, hoping to avoid its onset as long as possible, Anan taught that the coming of the Messiahs should be welcomed openly and if it could be hastened, then all the better. And once the Messiahs come, then the Jews from the Diaspora would be gathered from the four corners of the globe and returned to Israel so that all would be as it was originally described in the Torah.
There is some discussion by those that assert that perhaps Anan ben David saw himself as one of the two Messiahs and that his migration to Jerusalem was his attempt to encourage other Jews to migrate and thereby hasten the messianic age. He certainly saw himself as a teacher and viewed his mission as being righteous. His family genealogy was correct, and he did manage to restore the faith to many of the Jews. But if it was his thinking, then he failed to take into account that the Messiah will not know that he is the messiah. So the real messiah will not ever claim to be the messiah because he simply will not know. The honor of messiahship will be thrust upon him by those that follow once he has achieved the end goal. And the end goal is one in which all of mankind adopts the one religion, that being the original faith of the Jews, and a feat of that magnitude can only be achieved by the Moreh Tsedek.
The Moreh Tsedek
The Righteous Teacher of Karaism is not to be confused with the same person or title used by the Essene community in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The person to bear this title from Karaite interpretations of the Torah will be the Messiah that will ultimately change the world and bring about the age of peace. As his title would ascribe, he will not do it through war, or bloodshed, or even force. But with a barely audible whisper that will eventually grow into a thunderous rumble that will silence all other voices. His sword is his pen, his army is his insight and he will change the world not through bloodshed but through a searing vision of a better place. He will not only know the answers to all of the questions that have remained unanswerable from Torah Law but more importantly, he will know what questions still need to be asked. The Moreh Tzedek will be ignored, chastised and ridiculed in the beginning but he will never abandon his mission, continually bearing the scorn of his own people until the time that the first of them listen to his words. They will accuse him of every conceivable sin, and he may in truth have committed them all since it is written that he will take upon himself the sins of the people, but it will never corrupt him and he will find repentance and forgiveness directly from God. Because it is also written that in his life he will need to become the lowest of men, looked down upon by others, despised and his soul considered ugly to look upon, in order to ascend to the pinnacle of mankind, he knows that whatever sins he may commit are already anticipated and necessary to fulfill his destiny. And then it will happen. One will become ten, then a thousand, a million and finally six and a half billion. His words will conquer their hearts, their minds and eventually their souls. All that had been written in the Torah will come to pass and the blessings of the Lord shall be upon us all.