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    Reconstructing the
    Johannine Church

    Part 2 - The Sequel to "Ephesus, the Apostle John,
    and the New Covenant Church of God"

    Click here for Part 1 of Reconstructing the Johannine Church

    A Short Introduction to the Johannine Church

    I am writing this sequal to my first article on the Apostle John in response to requests by Christians who have been led to similar conclusions as ourselves and who wish to know more about the Johannine Church tradition. Though the New Covenant Church of God has a considerable amount of revelation on the apostle John my purpose today will be to look solely at his writings in the Bible and piece together the various hints as to the early Christian esoteric tradition which are to be found therein. In so doing I am following no school of external theological thought but am basing my finds on simple observation of the text and the inspiration of the Ruach haQodesh given to me.

    In the first essay I commented on the style and approach of John which differs markedly from the Synoptic Gospels, underlining the fact that the apostle's method of instruction is not so much a chronological account of the life of Christ with running explanations but a doctrinal treatise in which historical events serve as illustrations. We have seen that the apostolic "inner circle" of Peter, James and John consists not only of the early Church's core leadership - the Presiding Fathers or Patriarchs (Patriarchate) but we learn from the several writings of these men that there were major functional differences in leadership. It is the contention of the New Covenant Church of God that John was ultimately the leading apostle to whom was given a sacred esoteric custodianship which to all intents and purposes became lost in the wake of the advent of the Catholic and Gnostic heresies. What of the other two leaders? We know most about Peter to whom was given a distinctly exoteric Gospel and upon which the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Churches have built though all three have maintained different aspects of a Johannine tradition corrupted by gnosticism. The Petrine condition is mostly concerned with externals such as ecclesiastical authority, administration, and the bare facts of the Christian Evangel. As for James (Heb. Jacob), we must not forget that there were two of them, that the first was martyred early in the post-Pentecostal ministry and succeded by James the brother of Yah'shua. The Jamesian (Jacobian) tradition stands somewhere between the Petrine and the Johannine and is pastoral and mesoteric. Thus the New Testament Church was, we find, governed by a trinity of persons with offices as diverse as the Godhead itself - Johannine (Father, esoteric, remote, revelatory, Patriarchal, Ephesus), Jamesian (Son, pastoral, mesoteric, interceeding, consolidating, Eldership, Jerusalem) and the Petrine (Spirit, witnessing, practical, expansive, Deaconate) - though we should not take these comparisons too far. As such, then, the three Presiding Patriarchs had very different ministries. Peter, in company with Paul and most of the other apostles, is on the move, expanding the borders of Christendom in evangelical outreach; James is ensconsced as the Church's chief Bishop in Jerusalem resolving doctrinal conflicts and administering the Church, and John....John is in Ephesus, the primary channel to heaven for the Church, and guarding something about which he hints in his writings but never openly reveals.

    As soon as the Church lost its Patriarchal head it rapidly crystalised into a monolithic institution with little or no revelation. In place of a Presiding Patriarch, who was a prophet and a revelator to the Body, they convened Councils who resolved doctrinal issues and established scriptural canons by debate and democratic majority. The Johannine esoteric tradition became lost, remnants of it being taken up by gnostics who twisted and perverted it into "another gospel", bequeathing their heresy in ever mutating outer forms to their modern day successors such as the Rosicrucians, Kabbalists, Masons, and other pseudo-Christian orders. We shall not today trouble ourselves with their heresies about which I have written elsewhere but rather return to trhe canonical Johannine writings and see what the Patriarch is trying to tell us.

    Tips of the Hidden Gospel

    As I said in my previous, John was not teaching another Gospel but an amplification of the Petrine and Pauline traditions which represent a semi-crystalisation comprehensible to the masses. Yahweh, as we observe, does not reveal everything about Himself to man, in fact, precious little. We are reminded by the prophet Isaiah that The Eternal's thoughts are still far removed from our own. We must therefore be content to think on much lower levels.

    In my pastoral sermon on 8 April (The Chosen Race) I explained why Christendom is, in part, divided into many hundreds of sects. On the positive side, this is to ensure that Israel is gathered for breeding purposes as well as to administer different aspects of the Gospel in proportion to the willingness of different character-types to receive it. On the negative, it reflects the effective division caused by demonic powers who do not wish to see an empowered New Testament Church restored that will shake Satan's kingdom and deliver the elect from delusion. Where previous attempts have been made to bring together the Johannine teachings into the light of day there has, almost without exception, been a corrupting influence in the form of the Gnostic writings from which these parties have tried to excise the apostle's doctrine. This has led virtually all of them into the occult and away from the biblical Christ. Though the New Covenant Church of God has, to be sure, examined the gnostic traditions, we have built up our knowledge almost entirely from the biblical Johannine writings themselves. Whilst this has been a time-consuming process this has at least ensured that we have kept withint the universally acknowledged cannon of truthful and uncorrupted original sources.

    We will now assemble a number of pieces from the Johannine texts and effect an assembly of them as we go along. To begin with it must be stated that all four New Testament evangelists uniquivocably state the facts of the life, crucifixion and physical resurrection of Yah'shua, leaving no room whatsoever for occultic teachings. The basic doctrines of the Christian faith, as stated in the Apostles' Creed, are coherent and unimpugnable. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all completely united as to the saving principle of the Gospel. And so long as we remain within these parameters we shall be safe.

    As we look at the various pieces we will do well to notice that there are seeminlgy endless "paradoxes". These paradoxes, however, are quite illusiory and have been placed by the Ruach haQodesh in the texts to mislead those who are not filled with the Spirit. The truth of Christ is only ultimately comprehensible to those who are indwelt by the Spirit - to everyone else it is incomprehensible and foolish. But even those indwelt by the Spirit have problems with the "paradoxes" and that is because the Gospel is always taught from different vantage points or spiritual loci. It's rather like the radio transmitter detectors in the last war. To catch an enemy agent you needed two dectors in different places. Each would get a bearing from their particular vantage point. Where the two bearing lines crossed was the point where the enemy transmitter was located. It is the same in the teaching of divine truth - two seemingly contradictory "facts" are taught but the point at which they cross is where the truth is to be found. But you need both facts first of all and then you need the Ruach haQodesh to show you the meeting point.

    Let us take an example. Yah'shua is described as a man just as we are. He is called the "Son of Man" many times, showing His earthly origin. But He is also described as one having divine attributes, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. He is thus called the "Son of God". Which is true? Liberals will focus on the Son of Man because they do not believe in supernatural men, and conservatives will focus on His deity. But He is both. Yah'shua was, and is, Son of Man and Son of God.

    Let us take another. In numerous passages Yah'shua is described as being equal with the Father. From these passages the Catholic Church constructed the Trinity doctrine which describes Father, Son and Holy Spirit as completely co-equal. But in other passages the Son is described as being subordinate to the Father and not co-equal, something the Jehovah's Witnesses and Arians in general take as the complete revelation of Yah'shua's deity as a secondary "god"; indeed, we are told, that at the end of the Millennium Yah'shua will return His authority to the Father and become eternally subordinate! However, both positions are true and the locus is explained more fully in other articles which I have written.

    Let us take one last example. Many scriptures say that the Kingdom of God is in heaven, others that it will be on this world. That is a simple solution - heaven is coming down to earth! It came solely in the person of Yah'shua in the meridian of time but at the end of time it will come down lock, stock and barrel.

    It is well to note such pairs of seeming opposites as we look at John for he divides them with great effect - the unspiritual see only the exoteric twin and rejoice in God; whereas the spiritul see the esoteric twin, marry the two together, and see the greater picture. What we must not do - and I must stress this - is when we have found the esoteric twin forget the exoteric, for the two are not supposed to be separate. I have met far too many people who, in pursuance of the esoteric, lose a grip of reality and have their heads up in the clouds far away from the needs of terra firma. The Gospel is about wholeness - we must not go the occult way and disdain the practical, basic exoterica - if we do, we will most assuredly miss our way. The Gospel of Yah'shua is about earth and heaven united in one, just as His spirit was united in an eternal resurrection to the physical dust of this world.

    The first thing we notice about John's Gospel is that He is not remotely interested in Yah'shua's genealogy or the circumstances surrounding His birth. Were we not to have the Synoptics we would know nothing of the virgin birth which Matthew alone describes. From a short theological introduction (1:1-19) we leap past four Synoptic chapters to Bethany and the testimony of the Baptist. We are left with no account of the Annunciation, Yah'shua's circumcision, the visit of the wise men, His youth, or even His baptism though there is plenty about the Baptist. Instead we are given an explosive introduction describing Yah'shua as the Eternal Cosmic Word and Creator and next see Him in Cana supernaturally turning water into wine. And from this point the riddles begin. Why the ommissions?

    Nothing is juxtaposed arbitrarily by John. The location of a passage is as important as its content for the boundary between two seeminly unrelated events or theological points is the locus or point of revelatory fusion. Thus the Creation of the World by the Eternal Word (1:1-18) is set in contrast with the Wedding at Cana (2:1-11). True, there is alot of material sandwiched in between (1:19-50) which, whilst this is the bridge between the two pieces of revelation, is mostly exoteric padding. There are two creation passages - the one cosmic, and the other local (Cana) but they are inextricably connected and illuminate one another. If you want to understand the mechanics of creation you will find the answers in these two passages.

    Firstly we must ask ourselves: why is the marriage at Cana mentioned only by John? Surely the other evangelists must have know about so important a miracle - Yah'shua's first public one, in fact. How could the Synoptists ommit it?

    It is assumed by most scholars that the Gospel writers composed their gospels entirely independently of one another though they borrowed from a common source which scholars call "Q" or Quelle. Some even say that the Gospel of Thomas was the first real Gospel and authentic source of Yah'shua's sayings but we know it has been heavily tampered with by Gnostics. Clearly some sort of "borrowing" or "sharing" of material has taken place between them. The writers must have had some sort of contact with one another - Matthew (Mattias) was an apostle like John, and Luke was the physician-companion of Paul. Only Mark is the real mystery for we are not sure who he is. Even he is surrounded by mystery, his Gospel abruptly ending at 16:8 and containing a later, truncated resurrection account (vv.9-20) which appears to be an exoteric version of a more detailed counterpart.

    That it is a possible scenario is made more likely by the fact that at least one other part of his writing was removed from the public version of his Gospel. The 'fuller account', which had somehow 'leaked' to the public and had been sequestered by a Gnostic sect called the Carpocratians' who totally twisted the text to justify immorality, was ordered suppressed (with good reason) by Clement. I reproduce the text below:

      "And they came into Bethany, and a certain woman, whose brother had died, was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to Him, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.' But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near, Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway, going in where the youth was , he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with Him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days, Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to Him, wearing a linen cloth over {his} naked {body}. And he remained with Him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kimgdom of God. And thence arising He returned to the other side of the Jordan" (M.Smith, The Secret Gospel, London, 1974, pp.16ff).

    How accurate this fragment is is hard to tell. What it does establish is that there was an esoteric tradition of some sort which Yah'shua taught, amongst others, to Lazarus in private. We will see the high profile that Lazarus has in John but not in the Synoptics. Clement acknowledges in his writings that there is an authentic secret Gospel of Mark. The passage above is, of course, the raising of Lazarus as found in the Johannine account (11:1-54) though it lacks certain details and appears to be second-hand. As Mark was not one of the known disciples of Yah'shua he must have obtained it from John or one of the others of the Twelve. I suspect what happened was that Mark wrote about matters which were not intended to be public and was instructed by the Patriarchate to remove the account from his Gospel.

    But Mark did not excise everything that points to a special rôle played by Lazarus. In his Gospel he includes a mysterious episode at the arrest of Yah'shua in Gathesemane:

      "A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Yah'shua. When they {the temple guards} seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind" (Mk.14:51-52).

    There is much I could say about this for in it is another clue. The modern carnally-minded Carpocratian will interpret this as only they know how but those who know anything about the Priesthood and they way they dressed will find in this passage a key to Yah'shua's private instruction of Lazarus in the fragment from the Secret Gospel of Mark. More of this another time, though.

    Let us return to the Johannine text of which C.H.Dodd, the eminent theologian, says: "Behind the Fourth Gospel lies an ancient tradition independent of the other Gospels" (Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel, Cambridge 1963, p.423), and to the wedding at Cana. Though John's Gospel was probably written last it undoubtedly contains information which the Synoptists had no access to. The other two members of the Inner Circle, James and Peter, never wrote Gospels. Thus to know what the mystical, esoteric tradition of the early Church was we are forced to turn to John. Matthew, Mark and Luke knew nothing of many of Yah'shua's teachings.

    Cana. Here, in the first account of Yah'shua's public ministry, we shall find the most important clues of all to the Johannine tradition. It is, moreover, a very strangely worded account and in places seems to leave big gaps which modern Bible versions have tried to gloss over. It does not flow naturally. But it is peppered with esoteric clues as to what John is hinting at. Let us take them one by one.

    Cana is not, strictly speaking, a public event, but semi-public (v.9). It is a wedding to which only selected guests are invited to witness a consecration. In it Christ not only gave the first of His signs but also "manifested His glory" (v.11, NASB). As the first of His miracles it must be directly compared with the last of His miracles, which is the resurrection. Here are the two poles of His ministry, the alpha and omega of His works, which are intended to illuminate one another. There is therefore supposed to be a direct link between marriage and the resurrection.

    One could write a book on this one incident alone. It is jam-packed with esoterica. We find another connection with Mark for in the latter's Gospel Yah'shua refers to Himself as the Bridegroom (2:18-22), the wine represents (on one level) the new relationship between God and man, which Yah'shua has brought about - what in Jn.1:17 is called "grace and truth". But that is not all. Here is a locus where hundreds of potent symbols flow together in a cascade of divine revelation. The marriage at Cana is also a shadow of the Last Supper and the wine which is Yah'shua's blood, hinting at hidden processes concealed within the symbolism on a number of different levels. The six stone jars of Jn.2:6 should be compared with the six days in which Lazarus spent alone with Yah'shua in the secret Gospel of Mark. But what were these stone jars? They were'nt used for storing drinks. They were used for the Mosaic rites of purification such as foot washing. Thus the wine which Yah'shua gives in place of the water of purification is the new order of grace and truth, the gift of eternal life.

    We now have a pot of jumbled up jigsaw pieces with one or two fitting together. Let us keep filling it or we shall end up with only half a puzzle. This miracle took place on the "third day" of Yah'shua's public ministry, a symbolism you will, I hope, not ignore. A quick flashback will help: "Behold, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn.1:29, NASB). And then a quick look forward and you will remember that Yah'shua arose from the dead on the "third day". The marriage at Cana and the resurrection draw closer together with all the same ingredients - wine (blood of atonement), a miraculous transformation of water to wine (resurrection), the transformation of the Mosaic Law (stone jars of water) to the Law of Christ (jars of wine). With everything pointing to Yah'shua why is it that in the Petrine tradition it is assumed that the wedding at Cana had nothing directly to do with Yah'shua save, perhaps, as a relative? The signs point to the eschatological Wedding Feast of the Lamb made possible by the resurrection and yet we are told that the wedding at Cana has nothing directly to do with Yah'shua at all. His presence is simply coincidental but He uses it to make some prophetic pointers. We must remember that none of the apostles witnessed this wedding - it was semi-private. Any knowledge some or all of the apostles subsequently obtained must either have been communicated by Yah'shua Himself or by the Virgin Mary. And since John was the official custodian of Yah'shua's mother, appointed such while Christ hung on the cross, it seems more than likely that he at least obtained much of his data from Mary. She lived in his household in Ephesus where she died. And the Gospel of John was written as late as 100 A.D., long after the Synoptics. There were things he knew that were held back - and what he did share in his Gospel was, like the best wine, held back until last (cp. Jn.2:10). He figures as the fourth Evangelist too - chronologically the last, but it is the best - the others are as water by comparison, a diluted form of the Word of Life.

    I must now back-peddal to the "sandwich" material of Jn.1:18-51 where we find reference to a certain "Nathanael", the sceptical Istraelite with no guile who confessed the Messiahship of Yah'shua (vv.45-51). Why has John chosen to mention this man? The Synoptists are silent about him. But is not hard to understand why John has told this story because the name "Nathanael" literally means "gift of God". Furthermore, Cana was Nathanael's home village. Cana was also the site of a second miracle a little later when Yah'shua raised a nobleman's son from the dead (Jn.4:46-54). John calls this a "second sign" (v.54). Is this not confirmation that we are to see in the "first sign" a pointing-forward to the resurrection? For the Nobleman respresents, on one level, our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, who raises His Son Yah'shua from the dead. But what of the word "Cana" itself? Our spelling of it is Greek. The ruins of this place are found in a village today called Kfar Kenna though there is a rival site which in the Arab is called Kana-el-jelil. Could there be a relationship between "Cana" and the Hebrew kenath meaning a "companion"? If so, who or what is this "companion"? And are there any other clues to indicate that a "companion" has anything to do with this miracle? And what does a "gift of God" (Nathanael) have to do with it?

    On the obvious level, marriage is not only a gift of God but has to do with companionship. On the level of the Church, this too is a "companionship" of believers who are allegorically married to Christ in a polygamous relationship. We are the companions of Christ by His blood (wine) purchase of us at Calvary. However, of what are we the allegory? Of what are we the type? What is the literal marriage? An anonymous wedding at a little village called Cana?

    Some more data first. The Greek for "waiters" or "servants" in Jn.2:5,9 is diakonoi which literally translates "Deacons". It is the Deacons who traditionally administer the Lord's Supper after it has been consecrated by the Eldership. They are under the authority of a Head Deacon paralleled by the Head Servant or Waiter in the Cana account whose responsibility is to taste the wine before its serving to the guests.

    And now a vital key. Notice that there are TWO TYPES OF WINE. There is natural wine and there is supernatural wine. This is a hint at two Lord's Suppers - the one which is natural and symbolic, which the Church has been using for centuries, and a last days Lord's Supper in which the wine is created supernaturally.from water. For those of you familiar with New Covenant Christian teaching on this end-time Lord's Supper which turns the blood of he who drinks it into the blood of Christ and the Father and which confers immunity to disease, the administration of it is by the same method as in Cana. He who has authority blesses water and it is turned supernaturally into wine. This was the Lord's Supper administered by John at Ephesus. Again, I will have much more to say about this at a later time when it is needed.

    As I said earlier, the water in the six stone jars was used traditionally for ritual washing - of the feet of dusty travellers, of hands before meals, and for other purposes. Note that six is the number of imperfection in scripture - ritual washing - and that includes baptism - cannot cleanse your soul and can only ever be symbolic (cp. Heb.7:19). Why "stone" jars? That we will address another time for many symbols attach to this which we don't have time to examine now.

    It is my firm belief that the wedding at Cana was Yah'shua's own. Indeed, the idea of an unmarried, celibate Christ is completely disjunctive. This is a Catholic tradition borrowed by Protestantism. There is no explicit statement in the New Testament that Yah'shua was either married or unmarried because there was no need to state the obvious. If celibacy were some ideal Christians should follow then there would be something about it somewhere. As it is, celibacy ran against the whole stream of Jewish thought, Most if not all the apostles were married - there is no doubt Peter was and Paul must have been to have been a Pharisee. Most importantly, Yah'shua Himself never advocates celibacy but the very opposite, calling to mind the Genesis mandate in Matthew 19:4-5. And if Yah'shua did not preach celibacy then there is no reason to suppose that He practicied it either. His ministry was one of example which His disciples were supposed to imitate. As I have pointed out in many articles, marriage was not only usual but mandatory amongst the Jewish contemporaries of Christ. Whilst certain extremist Essenes practiced celibacy, we now know that not all did. One Jewish writer of the first century even went so far as to compare premeditated celibacy with murder. A Jewish father was as obliged to find his son a wife as he was to ensure he was circumcised. Marriage was virtually universal except among some eccentric Essenes.

    If Yah'shua had not been married, then, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb. He would have drawn attention and criticism for advocating and practicing celibacy. It would have been a stigma that would have been used against Him time and time again. So why no mention of celibacy in the Gospels? Because He wasn't celibate and never taught the doctrine. Indeedx, there is no reference to a celibate Yah'shua until centuries afterwards by which time Catholicism with its ban on married priests held sway. Yah'shua almost certainly conformed not only to the conventions of His time but to the mandate of Scripture to be fruitful and multiply. Only a married Christ explains why nothing is said about marriage in the Gospels - it was as normal as going to the toilet...and nothing is ever said about that!

    Yah'shua would have married young as all Jewish boys of His day did. And as I have pointed out elsewhere, Yah'shua could never have held the position of 'Rabbi' and been single. He was no self-appointed teacher breaking the scriptures. The Mishna is quite adamant: "An unmarried man may not be a teacher" (W.E.Phipps, The Sexuality of Jesus, New York, 1973, p.44).

    If Yah'shua were indeed married, and Cana was the place of at least one marriage, why doesn't John come out directly and say so? Why imply that He was only a guest? (Jn.2:2) Why doesn't he openly say it was the wedding of a relative? Why the anonymity? As it is, there is no explanation as to why the mother if Yah'shua is "there" (2:1).

    We may perhaps find a clue to that in the anonymity John chooses to use in others of his writings. For instance, who is the "elect lady and her children" in 2 John 1:1? Why the secrecy? Theologians have come up with many answer, some plausible. It may have been that the mother of Yah'shua was at risk and he didn't want the to know where she was. By referring to the "chosen lady" (NASB) he left the matter open to interpretation. Hence many believe the "chosen lady" is just a reference to the Church of God, the allegorical Bride of Christ. Or it could refer to a local congregation, perhaps even the congregation at Ephesus which was highly exalted. But that is unlikely unless John was away on a mission and as far as we know he hardly ever left Ephesus. He refers also to "your chosen sister" in v.13 to complexify and add even more mystery to the situation. Whatever the correct interpretation, my point is that John is not above concealing sensitive matters by veiling them with deflective words.

    John writes at a time of great persecution of Christians. If Yah'shua had been married and had a wife and maybe also children you can be sure that capturing these would have been a feather in the cap of the Church's enemies especially if a wife and children had important leadership positions. Remember this was about 100 A.D. Any wife of Yah'shua would have by then been extremely old and likely dead but His children would be adults in full maturity and probably in their 60's or 70's, a little younger than the apostle himself. There would almost certainly have been grandchildren and great grandchildren of Yah'shua running around.

    Mary behaves in an unsual way at the marriage of Cana. She orders Yah'shua and the servants to do very things more as if she were the hostess and not a mere family guest. Mary even ignores Yah'shua's protests to solve the wine problem - she goes ahead in full authority. The servants behave as though they were accustomed to taking orders from Mary and Yah'shua. You have to remember too that this was Yah'shua's first miracle - before this time He had no reputation whatsoever. So the servants wouldn't have responded out of deference to His reputation. And even if He were well known, they would still have been obedient to Master of the House. Which suggests to me that Yah'shua was the Master of the House.

    In a way, Yah'shua is forced into this miracle by His mother. Since He has never displayed His supernatural miracles before it is unlikely Mary was expecting Yah'shua to change water into wine. She was expecting Him, as the Bridegroom, to simply make sure there was more wine for the guests. When she said to the servants: "Whatever He says to you, do it" (v.5) she wasn't saying: "OK, He's going to do a miracle now - follow His instructions precisely" but rather "He's the boss, obey Him!" Nothing more or less. When Yah'shua said, "Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come" (v.4) I doubt she had a clue what He was saying. This strange English rendition would be better demystified of the bias of the translators and stated: "My moment for action has not yet come" - and Mary probably thought, "Oh, He's just being difficult - avoiding His responsibility - wants me to do it all". What is quite sure is that Mary and Yah'shua are not remotely united in purpose and understanding yet - that comes later (Jn.19:25ff). His responses at that time simply mystified her inspite of the prophecy made in the temple at His circumcision.

    John has inserted anbiguities to alert those with the eyes to see. Exoteric Christians will come to their own conclusions and that is as it must be. Certain things must be concealed for the protection of members of the Christian community for this is a time of persecution of God's people. We must be alert to this.

    This is not, however, the only evidence that Yah'shua was married. In fact, there is evidence that He was married polygamously (see Messianic Psalm 45:8-11). If He wasn't then there were some mighty strange things happening in the Gospel accounts that might lead us to believe that Yah'shua was acting in an immoral way. And if He had been, His enemies would have pounced like lions on a rabbit in order to accuse Him of being against the Law and traditions and so discredit His ministry.

    The most likely candidate for a wife of Yah'shua is Mary Magdalene from the Gaililean village of Migdal (Magdala). Her rôle is ambiguous in all four Gospels and she is not even named in two (Matthew and Mark) of them until quite late. Not until the crucifixion is she clearly indentified as one of the disciples. Only in Luke is she given greater prominence early on in Yah'shua's ministry and she is seen to accompany Him on His travels, again suggestive of a married woman following her husband around. Single women did not go following religious teachers and prophets around in those days! They had to be accompanied by a relative. Yah'shua would have been scandalised for this alone and accused of being an adulterer.

    The suggestion that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute belongs to speculation only, assumed because of the woman who anointed Yah'shua's feet was a "sinner". But there is no evidence this was Mary Magdalene, though it could have been. Though it is true she had seven devils cast out of her (Lk.8:2) in my experience as a minister involved in deliverance ministry most people have a number of demons in them, including believers. From the biblical data we cannot conclude what her problem was, whether it was extreem possession or demonic strongholds. The fact that there were "seven" is interesting in itself but this also is the subject of an other much longer discussion. A point of interest is the home of Mary, Migdal or Magdala, which means "Village of Doves". The dove is, as we know, a symbol of the Ruach haQodesh. Bearing in mind the feminine identity of the Ruach haQodesh we might like to think about Yah'shua's saying, "He who has the Bride is the Bridegroom" (Jn.3:29), a reference to Yah'shua possessing the Holy Spirit. Mary of the Village of Doves would indeed be a fitting symbol of the divine Bridegroom, more so as Mary in the Hebrew means "bitter", a state of heart all three biblical Marys would experience at the crucifixion of their Lord.

    Mary Magdalene's friends included those of the comtemporary aristocracy and so she was probably a woman of some wealth. Mark points out the enormous cost of the perfume with which the woman anointed Yah'shua's feet so some say this could have been Mary Magdalene. John puts this matter straight and says she was Mary of Bethany (Jn.11:1-2; cp. 12:23). A marriage such as this would have given Yah'shua access to the upper classes and perhaps explains why He had adherants there. The anointing is given great promienence in the Gospels so that one is left with the impression that it is more than a spontaneous gesture by a devoted follower. It is more like a royal anointing though Yah'shua claims He is being prepared for His death and burial. By the end of His ministry Mary of Magdala is always listed as part of the inner circle of female disciples. But the greatest witness of their close and intimate association must surely be the resurrection for it was to Mary that he first revealed Himself. It was Mary who wished to throw her arms around Him but who was restrained, something an unmarried woman would never have done. No, Mary of Magdala is rather "special", receiving preferential treatment as one would expect of a wife, and according to some apocryphal writings is caused some jealosy in the male disciples. We need pay no attention to the erroneous supersititions of later generations who attempted to blacken the name of Mary in order, I suspect, to preserve Yah'shua's "purity" as a good Catholic.

    There are at least two others who could have been wives of Yah'shua too, namely the two sisters of Lazarus. Mary and Martha showed a familiarity with Yah'shua which would have been unbecoming for women at that time, whether married or single. Lazarus, as we have seen, was, like Mary Magdalene, wealthy, and even possessed a private tomb. He may well have been a part of the contemporary aristocracy too.

    When Lazarus died Mary sat shiveh at home, the traditional way to mourn and did not come out to meet Yah'shua as Martha did. She was the more obedient of the two sisters. Had she been single she could have - and would have - come out to meet Yah'shua, for according to the custom of the day a woman "sitting shiveh" was strictly forbidden to emerge from her house except at the express bidding of her husband. Thus in this incident the behaviour of Yah'shua and Mary conforms precisely to the traditional comportment of a Jewish man and his wife.

    There is no doubt that Yah'shua exercise some sort of authority over Mary and Martha (Lk.10:38-42) and there is a strong allusion to a marriage between Him and Mary. The two Mary's show the same kinds of affection and devotion as one would expect of married women.

    If Mary of Bethany was one of Yah'shua's wives, then Lazarus was His brother-in-law. Interestingly Lazarus is only known to us in the Gospel of John (excluding the secret Marcan account). That he has some sort of preferential treatment as one would expect of a family member is evidenced in many places. For one thing, he was raised from the dead. He was also menaced unlike the other disciples - the chief priests not only wanted Yah'shua dead but Lazarus too! According to Mark's secret account he was a disciple. And yet he mysteriously disappears, apparently absent at the crucifixion and never being mentioned again thereafter. What happened to him?

    Only two people are ever described as a person whom Yah'shua "loves" - Lazarus and John (Jn.11:3; 21:20). Indeed John is called the disciple (Jn.21:24). Is this favouritism of the one who was "no respector of persons" or was the title "the beloved disciple" an allusion to his special position as the chief of the apostles? Why does he never identify himself as "John"? Only once, in Revelation 1:4, does he use his name - otherwise it is simply "the elder" (2 Jn.1:1; 3 Jn.1:1). What were the six days of instruction that Yah'shua gave to the resussitated Lazarus all about? And what did Thomas mean who, upon learning of Lazraus' death, declared: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (Jn.11:16)?

    To harmonise all the texts some have to come to the conclusion that John the apostle and Lazarus the brother of Mary and Martha are one and the same. Were it not for the fact that that the Scriptures clearly teach that John was a poor Galillean fisherman this would indeed be compelling unless he somehow got rich and migrated to Judea. But we find no evidence for this. Rather, the fisherman became a fisher of men. Yet there are many similarities between the two and if the Secret Gospel of Mark is reliable they may have been about the same age. The cause of Lazarus' death is not given so we cannot say if it was related to age or not. The most we can say is the Lazarus was a kind of Judean counterpart of the Galilean Apostle for both were beloved of Christ. Lazarus, which in the Hebrew means "without help" or "lost" was found by Christ when he visited Bethany, which in the Hebrew means "House of Figs" (the modern Arab village of el-Azariyeh or Lazarieh), on one of His southern circuits. If John and Lazarus had been one and the same it would have been hard to conceal the fact. Lazraus mysteriously "disappeared" at the end of the Gospels again leading some to suppose that he was John. They argue that this must be so because John immediately took Yah'shua's mother into his own home (Jn.19:27) - all the other disciples were from Galilee and had left their homes behind, but Lazarus's was in Judea. They also say that that also explains why John writes so much about Judea and seems to know the topogarphy of Jerusalem so well, whereas the Synoptists are Galilleans and focus on Christ's ministry in the north. Fascinating a theory though this is it is flatly contradicted by John's Gallilean origin.

    Finally, let us resolve one more mystery today. Do you remember Peter's jealosy of John? He was told that he would be martyred, though did not understand Yah'shua's meaning:

      "Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Yah'shua loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Yah'shua at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Yah'shua answered: "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me." Because of this, the rumour spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Yah'shua did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?" (Jn.21:20-25, NIV).

    John and Peter had very different missions indeed. Peter was to be an evangelist and be martyred for his witness. John became a custodian - the custodian of Yah'shua's mother and possibly His wives and children too, as well as the custodian of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

    Tradition says that John died in Ephesus and that Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Martha of Bethany, and Joseph of Arimathea and a few others were taken to Masillia (today called Marseilles) in southern Gaul (France). Joseph was sent by the apostle Philip on a mission to England to establish the Church of God there while Lazarus, Martha and the Mary's remained in Gaul. Tradition maintains that Mary Magdalene died at either Aix-en-Provence or Saint Baume, and Lazarius at Marseille after founding a Metropolitan Colony (Bishopric) there. But that, as they say, is another story altogether.


    My purpose today has been to show that there is more than is commonly found in the Catholic and Protestant traditions. I have barely scratched the surface of the Gospel of John about which volumes could be written. I have chosen only to look at the marriage of Cana. As yet we have not linked the opening verses of the Gospel of John with Cana. Yah'shua was married, as we have seen, with most likely three women, an appropriate symbolism in itself, and that the first of these marriages took place at Cana with a local girl from the nearby village of Magdala. His other two wives were Judeans from Bethany. This in itself ought to point us to another important symbolism, namely the future unification of the northern tribes with the southern. If Yah'shua had more wives we are not told of them - it seems unlikely to me that he would have waited until He was 30 to marry His first - Jewish boys were expected to take their first bride when they were as young as 18. The number of His wives is not nearly as important as the fact that He was married, that He was related by marriage to John. And perhaps even more important than that as far as we are concerned today was the fact that John was taught the mysteries of the Kingdom of God which are wholly absent from the Synoptics and which are just hinted at in John's own Gospel.

    What did Yah'shua spend six days instructing John/Lazarus in privately? Why was he wearing only a single garment both after the six days and when Yah'shua was arrested? Why did John/Lazarus take Yah'shua's wives to southern France? What rôle does the Johannine tradition have in these last days in a world where Christendom is almost entirely dominated by a corrupt Petrine tradition? What of the second James? What was his rôle in all of this?

    These are questions we will have to answer another time. My hope, though, is that we have not only put more pieces of the puzzle into the pot but have assembled enough to give a rather clearer picture of the historical Yah'shua and perhaps hint at what is coming around the corner in the Mellennial Zion. Those who are called to pursue this path will, and those who are not will not. What ever your call, may you answer it and complete it faithfully.

    Click here for Part 3 of Reconstructing the Johannine Church

    This page was created on 6 April 2000
    Last updated on 6 April 2000

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