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Eisenman's "New Testament Code", Chapters 5-7

Chapters 5-7 continue with the theme of James as a type or incarnation of Elijah, which concludes Part II of the book.

In the Old Testament, Elijah decrees that there will be no rain or even dew for (parts of) three years. At the end of that period of time he draws a circle (around a sacrificial bull) and then calls down a torrent of rain. This is followed by a futile attempt at reconciliation with Ahab and Jezebel. He had earlier openly criticized them, which led to a price being put on his head and his going into hiding. After Jezebel renews her determination to kill him, Elijah vanishes once again into the wilderness, but this time is overtaken and directed to make a 40-day-and-night journey to the mountain of God (where Jezebel would make good on her threat).

Eisenman astutely interprets the rainmaking and 40-day-and-night ordeal of Elijah as an identification with the Flood of Noah. The sequence is however inverted in the Elijah account. In the days of Noah, the archetypal Elijah (Osiris/Patriarch Muhujael, "smitten of God") was killed first. Bloodshed (including and especially the blood of Mehujael) was cited as a primary cause for the Flood as a judgment upon mankind. Similarly, Eisenman finds in the Talmud references to the destruction of Jerusalem as a consequence of the shed blood of James (and as an Elijah of his day).

What Eisenman does not perceive is the full political significance of James within the Herodian dynasty and of Jerusalem as capital of a much more expansive Herodian empire. The Herodian family does now emerge as a vestige of the interrelated houses of the Ptolemies and Seleucids, and perhaps having more of a Seleucid bias than Ptolemaic. This more than anything else would have made it difficult for Herodians to gain acceptance as rulers in Israel. The Maccabees, as it turns out, were Ptolemies in disguise. They had successfully passed themselves off as local heroes and defenders of Judaism. The Seleucids on the other hand were deeply distrusted, partly due to effective Ptolemaic propaganda, and partly for the defilement of the temple perpetrated by Antiochus Epiphanes the Seleucid.

The Ptolemaic and Seleucid thrones ultimately both collapsed under Roman pressure. Herod the Great, brought up in Rome, became a Roman puppet king over a patch-work of territories formerly controlled by either the Ptolemies or Seleucids. Improbably, the relative backwater of Jerusalem in Israel became the capital of that reconstituted empire, and Herod transformed it into a city worthy of that distinction - the center of a neo-Davidic dynasty. Yet, like Thebes of old, it would find itself in the middle of a deadly tug-of-war between rival brothers, placed under a prolonged siege, utterly devastated, and then abandoned.

The role of Elijah was by definition a subversive one. His prayer for rain to stop and then to return was not for the purpose of achieving good harvests, but as an omen for destruction, even as a deadly drought had preceded the fatal Flood of Noah. Elijah called down judgment upon himself by publicly attacking Ahab and Jezebel, and by privately working to overthrow them. In the role of Elijah, John the Baptist got help from Herod Antipas and Herodias, who obligingly entered into an adulterous relationship (patterned specifically after Ahab and Jezebel). Eisenman does not see the logic in that move, but logic is beside the point. In order for John to be an Elijah redivivus (as Eisenman puts it), earlier precedent had to be followed, whether it made any sense or not. James, taking the role next, was similarly not condemned for pronouncing the forbidden name of YHWH (as Eisenman speculates), but for denouncing his royal superiors, particularly Agrippa II and Berenice (libeled as a new Ahab and Jezebel).

Paul had earlier given James a hand in establishing his Jacob-Re typecasting by pushing him down the stairs of the temple so that he could thereafter walk with a limp as Jacob. Fantastically, he again helped James in taking on the further role of Elijah-Osiris. Eisenman notes that Paul deliberately timed his trip to Jerusalem to coincide with Pentecost, and that this was a festival particularly concerned with both religious and racial purity. Paul knew that the Gentiles traveling with him and the gifts to the Temple collected from Gentile churches would be particularly offensive and cause a major uproar in the city. Before visiting the Temple however, Paul spent the night at the home of Manaen/Mnason, an alias of James himself if Eisenman is correct. What this means of course is that James and Paul were partners in creating the riot, even if the outcome was not exactly as they planned, that is, resulting in the almost immediate death of James.

James had made a conscious decision to pursue the path of Elijah and other Osiris figures of the past who wished to die. And not only James, but his half-brother Peter and the other four sons of Mariamne IV/Helen all became something of a family of Elijahs. Each was prepared to sacrifice themselves in order to topple Agrippa and reclaim their lost inheritance (of kingly succession) within the Herodian clan. Their strategy was not limited to undermining Agrippa directly. They also made common cause with those who wished to oust his patron Nero and thereby restore respectability in Rome, especially the Claudian relatives of Nero who were in the best position to establish a new ruling dynasty over the Roman Empire. With Nero deposed, Agrippa would go down with him. In any event, there would be nothing in Jerusalem for Agrippa to rule over. The city was to be deliberately sacrificed and along the lines of the former sacking of Jerusalem. Moreover, rebels against Rome were to be baited into the open and then massacred using a variation of the Purim model.

First Temple Jerusalem (that is, Karnak in Thebes of Egypt) sided with pharaoh Necho. Its final king Amenemope (Biblical Zedekiah) ignored the warnings of the opposition High Priest Pinedjem II (Jeremiah) to submit to another powerful king and kinsman Siamun (Nebuchadrezzar), which led to his doom and that of the great city and temple. Like Jeremiah, James nominally held the office of High Priest, but lacked control over the temple to consistently practice as such. Like Jeremiah, James faced persecution and kept a low profile, but probably also hoped like Jeremiah to survive the destruction of his Jerusalem. This was not to be. James was killed and the role of Jeremiah had to be carried forward by another, one Jesus ben Ananias.

James was murdered by a rival High Priest Ananus (grandson of Sethi) with the assistance of Paul (Simon Magus). As with Mehujael, the archetypal Issachar (Osiris), James was killed by a Levi (Set) and a Simeon (Thoth). His execution was authorized by Agrippa II as a rival to James in the role of Jacob (Re). Perhaps Agrippa felt that executing James was the lesser of two evils. If James were allowed to live, he could then better claim the role of High Priest Amenhotep (Hebrew Hanan), who was "suppressed" but recovered his office twice during foreign invasions and occupations of Old Jerusalem (Thebes).

That former High Priest Amenhotep (Biblical Hananiah/Amariah) of Egypt's glory days was the obvious inspiration for the High Priest Hanan of the Maccabean Era. Although suppressed as High Priest and subsequently killed, it was later said that he had only fell asleep to awaken again during the tenure of his grandson, also a High Priest and called Hanan (as well as Honi the Circle Drawer and Hanan the Hidden). The family of this Hanan proved to be remarkably resilient. In fact, the Ananus that put James to death was likely descended from him. Their family had lost control of the temple on multiple occasions only to regain it. They were evidently not prepared to let James usurp the coveted role of "Hanan" and continue the proud tradition in their place.

The scripted role of James (as Elijah/Mehujael) was not to save Jerusalem but to seal its fate with his sacrificial death. In the previous sack of Jerusalem, its king Mattaniah/Zedekiah placed his trust in Necho pharaoh of Egypt. The defeated Zedekiah was led out of Jerusalem and forced to watch as his sons were killed, after which he was blinded. During the siege of Herods Jerusalem, the role of Zedekiah was played by High Priest Zadok, who the Talmud depicts as the staunchest of patriots. As the city fell, Zadok was brought out specifically by order of Vespatian. As a repetition of the earlier history, the Talmud remarks with irony that he lived only to see his children sold into slavery (in which state they soon died).

By maneuvering to have Vespatian sent to squash the Jewish Revolt, Herodian opposition leaders (to Agrippa) made clear their choice of successor to Nero. Vespatian as a new Joshua would conquer the land of Israel and drive out its Canaanite zealots. He was assisted by Paul (Simon Magus) in the role of Nebuchadrezzar. Other leading Herodians, such as Josephus and Tiberius Alexander, invested Jerusalem ala Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. As shown by Atwill in Caesars Messiah, the tragic role of Necho (Taharqa/Astyges) was laid upon Peter (referred to by Josephus as Simon son of Gioras). His appointed mission was to fight valiantly and nearly to the last man, but ultimately to be captured and put to death. He was in fact taken into custody by Titus and crucified by order of Vespatian in repetition of earlier history. His fellow rebel leader and nemesis, the tyrant John, assumed the role of Hananiah/Johanan son of Kareah (a.k.a. Tanuatamon the nemesis of Necho-Taharqa).

The New Covenant of Peter, Paul, and James became as the one in the days of Noah and as in the days of Moses, born in blood. It was inaugurated with the slaughter of the masses and salvation of only a chosen few. It also was associated with political change. For after the Great Flood, the corrupt old line of deities were overthrown and replaced by a formerly subordinate line of god-kings. The supremacy of Shu/Enlil had given way to the equally violent line of Horus/Adad. The destruction of 1st Century Jerusalem was likewise associated with the fall of the venerable Julio-Claudian dynasty and rise of the Flavians. Agrippa was forced into an early retirement giving his Herodian rivals opportunity to supplant him in Roman favor.

Essentially, the Herodian opposition leaders conceded the superior role of Persian Ahasuerus (Egyptian Mentuemhet) to Vespatian, and that of Cyrus (Egyptian Nes-Ptah II) to the Roman Titus. Vespatian's younger son Domitian would be the new Darius (Egyptian Osorkon V). The immediate goal of Herodian opposition leaders was royal self-perpetuation. With survival came the hope of someday turning the tables on Rome, even as Alexander the Great had against Persia.