Joseph of Arimathea; Part Two
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Joseph F. Dumond

Joe Started Sightedmoon in 2005 to assist him in spreading his understanding of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years according to Torah.
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Published: Dec 4, 2009 - (5856)
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Jowett continues:

Even during the short period of the ministry of Jesus there is definitely shown to exist A CLOSE AFFINITY between them, far greater than one would expect from an ordinary guardianship. It was fatherly, loyal, with a mutual affection death could not sever.

We know that Joseph never forsook his nephew. He stood by Him as a bold, fearless defender at the notorious trial, and DEFIED THE SANHEDRIN by going to Pilate and boldly claiming the body when all others feared to do so. His arms were the first to cradle the broken corpse when taken down from the cross and place it in the tomb. After death he continued to protect the mutilated body of Jesus from the conspiring minds of the Sadducees. He risked his all, wealth, power and position in those crucial years fulfilling his obligation as guardian of Jesus and of the family of Mary. He loved Jesus dearly. The disciples spoke of Joseph with an affectionate regard. They wrote he was a “just man,” a “good man,” “honourable,” and “a disciple of Jesus.” The latter clearly indicates that all through their association Joseph must have encouraged Jesus in His great work and that he was aware of the mystery of His birth and probably His destiny. All evidence proves that Joseph believed in the validity of all Jesus taught and ultimately suffered for. — The Drama of the Lost Disciples, pp.18-19.

This, then, was the man YEHOVAH God used to ESTABLISH THE DAVIDIC LINE OF PHAREZ in the final home of the wandering ten tribes of Israel! It was JOSEPH, not Jeremiah, who planted the seed of David in the islands of Britain. And what better man than Joseph with his great mercantile fleet and mining interests in Britain, coupled with a deep LOVE OF THE TRUTH of YEHOVAH God, to transfer the SEED OF DAVID and establish the Church of YEHOVAH God in the tin islands of Britain?

 

The Missing Years!

The pages of the Bible are strangely silent concerning Yeshua’s life between the ages of 12 and 30. The only incident of His childhood is to be found in Luke 2, where He goes missing and is found sitting in the midst of the teachers at the Temple:

And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. — Verses 42-47.

The last mention in the New Testament of the boy Yeshua is found in Luke 2:52, which simply states: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Then there is a gap of eighteen years in the life of the Messiah — eighteen years in which the New Testament is totally silent about the activities and whereabouts of the growing Messiah. Most people have thought that Yeshua lived in the town of Nazareth, working as a carpenter until he commenced his ministry at the age of thirty. However, there are a number of implications in the New Testament that indicate otherwise — that indicate he was OUT OF THE CONFINES OF PALESTINE during these years!
Notice what Luke says in Luke 4:16-22: “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read…And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him…So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’ ” There are a couple of things that stand out here. First of all, the use of the expression, “where He had been brought up,” seems to imply that while the Messiah had spent his childhood in Nazareth, he had not continued to live there. Obviously, he had not lived there for some time. This impression is reinforced by the question his hearers ask in the synagogue: “Is this not Joseph’s son?” — almost as if they were in doubt regarding his identity.
The same incident is recorded in Matthew 13, with added questions posed by the synagogue worshippers: “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? WHERE then did this Man get all these things?” (Verses 55-56). Clearly, they were not very familiar with Yeshua! He was such a STRANGER to them that the people could not even refer to him by name, but only by his relationship to the other members of his family whom they knew. “WHERE then did THIS MAN get all these things” clearly indicates that the Messiah did not receive his knowledge in the town of Nazareth!
Let us now investigate another passage in the New Testament which indicates the Messiah’s absence from the area: “After they arrived in Capernaum the men collecting the TWO DRACHMAS [tax] approached Peter and said: ‘Does your teacher not pay the TWO DRACHMAS [tax]?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ However, when he entered the house Jesus got ahead of him by saying: ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive duties or HEAD TAX? From their sons or from the STRANGERS?’ When he said: ‘From the STRANGERS,’ Jesus said to him: ‘Really, then, the sons are tax-free. But that we do not cause them to stumble, you go to the sea, cast a fishhook, and take the first fish coming up and, when you open its mouth, you will find a STATER COIN. Take that and give it to them FOR ME AND YOU.'” (Matthew 17:24-27, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).

In a number of Bible translations they call the “TWO DRACHMAS” Temple tax, however the Temple tax was paid with a Jewish shekel– a coin especially minted for that purpose. In the above passage we find Yeshua being asked about his liability to pay the two drachmas or “strangers’ tax” which was a Roman poll-tax levied against FOREIGN VISITORS to Capernaum. Most often, these were merchants and traders who conducted their business there. Evidently the tax collector considered Yeshua a “stranger” or a “foreign visitor.” When we consider this incident, there is more than a suggestion that Yeshua had been absent from Palestine for a considerable length of time.
The same conclusion becomes apparent when we consider John the Baptist’s reaction to the Messiah. E. Raymond Capt explains:

When Jesus appears upon the banks of the Jordan River where John was baptizing, the Baptist seems scarcely to recognize Jesus, even though they were first cousins and must have known each other during their early childhood. Finally, John recognizes who the STRANGER is and exclaims: “Behold the Lamb of God!” Now, if Jesus had been living in Nazareth all those surely John would not have appeared puzzled as to His identity. Then, later, John sent two of his disciples to make a peculiar query: “Are you he who should come or look we for another?” Apparently, the two had not met for years since John displays a profoundly IMPERFECT KNOWLEDGE of the One whom he was proclaiming. — The Traditions of Glastonbury, p.6.

There is yet another incident in the New Testament indicating that Yeshua was absent from his homeland for a considerable period of time. In the book of John we read the following:

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael said to Him, “HOW DO YOU KNOW ME?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” — John 1:45-48.

Nathanael lived in Cana of Galilee, which is located about five miles from the city of Nazareth. If Yeshua had been living at Nazareth during his youth — some eighteen years — it seems very strange that Nathanael would not have known him. Both Nathanael and Philip should have been acquainted with Yeshua’s command of the Scriptures — it would have been known far and wide! Not only that, but would the very Son of YEHOVAH God have no effect upon the community in which he supposedly lived for eighteen years? The implication can only be that Yeshua had not been in Palestine for a long period of time.

Now, naturally, this brings to mind the following questions: If Yeshua was absent from Palestine for what appears to be a considerable period of time, then WHERE was he between the ages of 12 and 30? Is there any evidence that sheds light on his whereabouts during these years? The answer is a definite YES!

 

The Traditions of Cornwall

“Legends exist that Jesus traveled far and wide. The religious teachers of INDIA assert He had dwelt among them studying there for three years before traveling on to what is now Tibet. Ancient religious books of India record Jesus visiting the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. Other traditions take Jesus to Egypt” (The Traditions of Glastonbury, p.7). While it is certainly possible that Yeshua did visit other countries, the STRONGEST and MOST PERSISTENT traditions place a young Yeshua in CORNWALL and the ISLE OF AVALON near the little Somerset town of Glastonbury in England!

A number of legends link the boy Yeshua, and Joseph of Arimathea his uncle, with THE TIN MINES OF CORNWALL. One story relates how Yeshua and Joseph often anchored their ship in the natural harbor at THE MOUTH OF THE CAMEL RIVER to come ashore and collect water for the ship. “Nearby, is an ancient well that since olden times has been known as ‘JESUS’ WELL.’ It was regarded as having healing powers. For centuries pilgrims came to the well and the remains of a chapel, erected over it, are still discernible. Records of its existence go back to the 13th century, but even then, the date and origin of its name is unknown.” (The Traditions of Glastonbury, p.29).
Another story tells how Yeshua, visiting the mines of Cornwall with his uncle Joseph, taught the miners how to extract tin from the ground and PURGE IT of the ore wolframite. At the same time, according to local tradition, Joseph also taught the boy Yeshua how to extract the tin and purge it. Is it not significant that Malachi the prophet, in his prophecy and analogy of Yeshua, casts the Messiah in the ROLE OF A REFINER OF METALS (Malachi 3:2-3)? Malachi mentions silver, and it is a fact that silver was often extracted from Mendip lead during the time of the Messiah.

Associated with the mines of Cornwall are the mines of the MENDIP HILLS, north of Glastonbury — in the county of Somerset, England. During Roman times these mines produced lead, copper and other metals which form alloys with tin. The great war-machine of the Roman Empire consumed vast quantities of these alloys in the production of weapons. There are traditions among the people of the hill country of Somerset that Joseph, after first seeking tin from the SCILLIES (islands off of Cornwall) and in Cornwall itself, came to the Mendips — accompanied on a number of occasions by a YOUTHFUL YESHUA.

E. Raymond Capt notes that “at the parish Church of PRIDDY, high on the top of the Mendips, they have an old saying: ‘As sure as OUR LORD WAS AT PRIDDY.’ And a carol sung by the children of PRIDDY begins: ‘JOSEPH WAS A TIN MERCHANT, a tin merchant, a tin merchant,’ and goes on to describe him arriving FROM THE SEA IN A BOAT [WITH THE BOY YESHUA].” (The Traditions of Glastonbury, p.34).

St. Just, in CORNWALL, also has LEGENDS OF YESHUA COMING TO THE DISTRICT. Among the many traditions is one that relates the story of a STONE Yeshua stepped on when he first landed there. In 1932, while cleaning out a blocked CULVERT, workmen came across a flat stone covered with curious and unintelligible markings. Since this stone was blocking the flow of water from a well known as the “CHRISTENING WELL,” the people of St. Just immediately thought that it was the one of legend — the one the Messiah stepped on when He landed. They reasoned that the strange markings on it were placed there later when the identity of their visitor became known. “Even before the finding of the stone, the old folks would tell visitors to the area the Holy Legend of Christ COMING THERE AS A BOY WITH HIS UNCLE. They spoke of the legend and ‘it was as much of your life was worth’ to express any doubt about Christ coming to ST. JUST.” (Ibid., p.33).

The old Ordinance maps of the west part of CORNWALL show two rich lodes or veins of TIN, bearing the names “CORPUS CHRISTI” (BODY OF CHRIST) and “WHEEL OF JESUS.” (Wheel is an old Cornish word for “mine”).

Another LINK between YESHUA AND THE TIN TRADE OF CORNWALL is found in St. Anthony-in-Roseland. Here is located an almost unknown structure called “Place Manor Church” with a Pre-Norman stone arch over the South Door. Carved in this arch are ancient pictographs — estimated to be more than a 1000 years old — telling the story of Yeshua and his uncle coming to Place for tin. According to the pictographs their boat got into difficulties during a storm, and was washed ashore on the headland where the modern lighthouse now stands. The operators of a local trading post managed to bring Joseph’s damaged boat into the sheltered side of the headland, by Place, where repairs were carried out. Joseph and Yeshua stayed at the trading post while the boat was being repaired. The pictographs go on to say that before they left the area, they erected a stone with an account of their visit there.

Scattered throughout the tin mining areas of Cornwall are to be found a number of very ancient CELTIC CROSSES called “TUNIC CROSSES.” These crosses, found alongside roads and in church cemeteries, are of a type found NOWHERE ELSE IN THE BRITISH ISLES — or anywhere else in the world, for that matter! States E. Raymond Capt: “On one side of the cross is a crudely cut Christian cross and on the other, THE FIGURE of what can only be A BOY, DRESSED IN A KNEE-LENGTH TUNIC. Here we have NOT a crucified Messiah, nailed to a cross, but A YOUTH WITH HIS ARMS OUTSTRETCHED IN AN ATTITUDE OF BLESSING. These crosses may well portray the AGE-OLD MEMORY of the visits of the young Jesus to these shores in the company of His uncle Joseph” (The Traditions of Glastonbury, p.34).

Apart from the places already mentioned, West County traditions also associate St. Michael’s Mount, Redruth and Glastonbury with a visit from Jesus. Ivor C. Fletcher uncovered a tradition in Upper Galilee that tells of a visit to Glastonbury:

Among the Maronite and Catluei villagers of Upper Galilee the tradition lingers that Jesus as a youth became a shipwright on a trading vessel from TYRE, one of the biblical “ships of Tarshish.”
According to the story, He was storm-bound on the WESTERN COASTS OF ENGLAND throughout the winter. The location of the visit is given as “THE SUMMERLAND,” a name often used in ancient times for the modern COUNTY OF SOMERSET. A district associated with this visit to Somerset is known as “PARADISE.” This place is sometimes found on old maps of the area. — The Incredible History of God’s True Church, p.51.

 

Yeshua at Avalon

The strongest and the most persistent traditions place the young Yeshua on the mystical island of AVALON — later to become the little Somerset county town of Glastonbury. Here, as the story goes, Yeshua and his uncle constructed a wattle hut similar to those at the nearby Glastonbury Lake Village. The site they chose was at the base of a hill from which ran a spring of water, later known as Chalice Well.

In early times AVALON was a small island at the back of a large, marshy estuary known as the Uxella. The estuary was covered by waters from the Bristol Channel, and received the waters of the rivers Axe, Parret and the Brue. The River Brue was a navigable river from the foot of the nearby Mendip Hills to the sea — just south of Bristol.
Rising above the landscape is the hill, known today as Glastonbury Tor. Once a place of Druid worship, the 500 foot tor may have also been the chief stronghold of one Melwas, king of the “Aestive Regio” (the Summer Kingdom) of Somerset. It is likely that the tor stronghold was the political center of a much wider area than Glastonbury.
Archaeologist E. Raymond Capt notes that “the earliest name of Glastonbury was “YNIS-WITRIN” (Ynys gyrdyn — British; Glaestingabyrig — Anglo-Saxon) or the “GLASSY ISLAND.” Later, when it was found to be fruitful and ideal for the cultivation of apples, it was called “INSULA AVALONIA,” or Isle of the Apple Trees. AVAL, in Welsh [Celtic], means apple. Just how this area came to be known by the name “GLASTONBURY” remains in doubt. One suggestion is that the origin of Glastonbury is in “Glaestingaburgh,” the hill fort of the Flaestings, a family who settled in the area. Another, and more accepted theory is that the CELTIC word for green is “Glas” and hill is “ton.” GLASTON is therefore “the green hill,” so named after the tor, or mount that dominates the landscape.” (The Traditions of Glastonbury, p.13).

When the Saxons arrived in the 6th century A.D., they built a town about a half mile from the tor and obtained a charter, adding “borough” or “bury” to the original name — thus “Glaston-bury.”

Tradition and written testimony assert that Yeshua did indeed reside on the Island of Avalon, and there created a building to live in which was later called a “church.” A wealth of ancient writers, both ecclesiastical and secular, affirm this. For more than a thousand years it was commonly spoken of as “the church [home, house] built NOT BY HUMAN ART.” Augustine, the Catholic monk who was sent to evangelize Britain by Pope Gregory I, was quite familiar with the facts and the existence of this structure. In a letter to Pope Gregory (Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam) Augustine writes with obvious delight and at great length about the “church”:

In the Western confines of Britain there is a certain ROYAL ISLAND of large extent, surrounded by water, abounding in all the beauties of nature and necessaries of life. In it the first Neophytes of Catholic Law, GOD BEFOREHAND ACQUAINTED THEM, found a church constructed by no human art, BUT DIVINELY CONSTRUCTED, OR BY THE HANDS OF CHRIST HIMSELF, for the salvation of His people. The Almighty has made it manifest by many miracles and mysterious visitations that He continues to watch over it as sacred to Himself, and to Mary, the Mother of God.

Augustine’s statement in his letter is verified by the Saxon historian, William of Malmesbury, who wrote in the twelfth century. His last work, De Antiquitate Glastoniae, mentions the little wattle house. Other works, such as De origine Ecclesiae Britannicae by Elvan of Avalon (a British scholar educated in the School of Joseph of Arimathea at Avalon — circa 180 A.D.); Relat. Hist. de rebus Anglicis Act, by Pitsaeus; De Sancto Joseph at Aramathia, by Capgrave; The Magna Tabula of Glastonbury, at Haworth Castle; John of Glastonbury, by Hearne; Bede’s Ecclesiastical History; the British historian Gildas and Geoffrey of Monmouth also make mention of the wattle “church” built by the Messiah.
William of Malmesbury also recites the well-known story of St. David who went to Glastonbury in 540 A.D. In 546 A.D. David enclosed the original wattle structure in LEAD in order to preserve it, and erected a pillar on the site with a brass tablet bearing record to the fact.

With the passage of time the little wattle house became an object of deep veneration by all, and many swore oaths by the old “church” very much like people today swear an oath on the Bible. William of Malmesbury wrote:

The church of which we are speaking (Glastonbury) from its antiquity called by the Angles, by way of distinction, “EALDE CHICHE,” that is the “OLD CHURCH” of wattle work at first, SAVOURED SOMEWHAT OF HEAVENLY SANCTITY EVEN FROM ITS VERY FOUNDATION, and exhaled it over the whole country, claiming SUPERIOR REVERENCE, though the structure was mean….Men of that province had no oath more frequent, or more sacred than to swear by the Old Church, fearing the swiftest vengeance on their perjury in this respect. In the meantime it is clear that the depository of so many saints may be deservedly called an HEAVENLY SANCTUARY UPON EARTH…who there more especially chose to await the day of resurrection under the protection of the Mother of God. — Acts of the Kings of the English, bk. I, ch.2.
For centuries before the island of AVALON was renamed GLASTONBURY by the invading Saxons, two names were frequently found in the writings of the old scribes — clearly referring to something of great importance. Usually no explanation is given, indicating that the people of the day were quite familiar with the names. “To the Priesthood and historians of those enthralling years, the TWO NAMES employed designating the particular place were ‘SECRETUM DOMINI’ and ‘DOMUS DEI.’ The first title means ‘THE SECRET OF OUR LORD’ and the second, ‘THE HOUSE OR HOME OF GOD.’ The explanation given is that the LITTLE WATTLE TEMPLE WAS THE HOUSE, OR HOME OF GOD, BECAUSE THEREIN HE DWELT, and the Secret of the Lord was the Dowry and dedication of the same to His mother” (The Drama of the Lost Disciples, p.144).
This is not myth, legend or unsupported tradition. The title is officially recorded in the ancient names found in the famous DOMESDAY BOOK — a document that embodies the results of a statistical survey of England carried out by order of William I, King of England. The survey, made in 1086, was an attempt to register the landed wealth of the country in a systematic fashion, in order to determine the revenues due to the king. The term DOMESDAY is a corruption of DOOMSDAY (the day of the final judgment), and the work was so named because its judgments regarding levies and assessments were final and irrevocable. The entry says: “The DOMUS DEI, in the great monastery of Glastonbury, called The Secret of Our Lord. This Glastonbury Church possesses in its own ville XII hides of land which have never paid tax.”

 

The Education of the Messiah!

Finally, there is evidence that Yeshua attended school in Britain! During the first century A.D. Britain was known throughout the Roman world for the excellence of its educational system. Gildas states, in the Cottonian Manuscript, that the British universities of Yeshua’s time were the largest in the world — both in size and in attendance — with a listing of sixty large universities and an average attendance of over sixty thousand students! The wealthy and the aristocracy of the Greek and Roman worlds sent their children to Britain to study law, science and religion.

The wise men of India, in their ancient books known as the Rig-Vedas, make mention that Britain was a great center of religious learning. The great library at the abbey in Glastonbury housed the largest known collection of books outside the library of Alexandria in Egypt! The fact is, ancient Britain had then acquired great stature in the world, with institutions of learning and attendance rivaling those of advanced nations today!

Ivor C. Fletcher expounds on this:
Britain, during the first century A.D., would have been an ideal place to study and develop skills in various aspects of the building industry.
Eumenius states that British architects were in great demand on the Continent during his day. Several writers mention the skills of British craftsmen, especially in the metal working industries.

The enameling process was invented in Britain. A superb example of the local “La Tene” art is the famous Glastonbury bowl which was produced about the time of Christ. There is little doubt that Jesus could have developed many skills from British craftsmen. — The Incredible History of God’s True Church, pp. 56-57.
The Bible indicates that Yeshua was a public speaker par excellence. He had a tremendous impact on the crowds that gathered around him, “and they were struck with awe at his mode of instruction.” (Mark 1:22). Not only was he a good speaker — he was also an EDUCATED speaker! The New Testament records that the people of his home town of Nazareth were astonished at his preaching: “So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Luke 4:22).
Remarks Ivor C. Fletcher:

It is very clear that not all of His formal education and public speaking training had been received at Nazareth. If His training had been merely the product of a local school or college then the people would not have been so astonished.

It is unlikely that higher education of that calibre was even available in a provincial town such as Nazareth. Nathanael implied this in his remark: “Can any good thing proceed from Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

Jerusalem was the academic headquarters of the nation, yet Jesus had not trained among the professional public speakers here either. Mark relates that: “HE TAUGHT THEM, as possessing authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22).

The Jews were deeply puzzled by this very fact. They asked the question: “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15).
The Weymouth translation renders this: “How does this man know anything of books,” they said, “although he has NEVER BEEN at any of the schools?” — Ibid., p.57.
The Bible indicates that Yeshua was an educated man and a superb public speaker. It is evident that he did not receive such an education at any college in Galilee or Judea. However, he most certainly could have received such an education in Britain! If Yeshua had visited Britain, and was educated there ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONS, he would have found some sixty colleges or universities to choose from. Ivor C. Fletcher comments on the QUALITY of the British educational system:
The educational standards were such that students came not only from the British nobility but also from several FOREIGN NATIONS. It is said that even PONTIUS PILATE, as a young man, studied in Britain.

A very high standard in oratory or public speaking was often attained by first century Britons. Tacitus records on a word by word basis the speeches of several high ranking Britons of his day.

Such speeches were often colourful, stirring and inspiring, much like, in some ways, the speeches of Jesus.
A few hundred years before the time of Christ, the Greek writer STRABO described an EDUCATED BRITON of his day, Abaris, as follows: “He was easy in his address; agreeable in his conversation; active in his dispatch and secret in his management of great affairs; diligent in the quest of wisdom; fond of friendship; trusting very little to fortune; yet having the entire confidence of others, and trusted with everything for his prudence. HE SPOKE GREEK WITH A FLUENCY THAT YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT HE HAD BEEN BROUGHT UP IN THE LYCEUM.”

It may be mere coincidence but Jesus had far more of the QUALITIES AND TALENTS OF AN EDUCATED BRITON than He ever did of an educated Jew of the same period. — Ibid., p.58.
It is NOT mere coincidence — Eastern and Western traditions claim Yeshua completed his education in Britain!
William Blake, British poet born in London in 1757, was familiar with the stories associated with Glastonbury and the presence of the Messiah in the British Isles. In his beautiful poem entitled Jerusalem, Blake pens his thoughts in a tender and loving way:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
The Death of the Messiah and the Saulian Persecution

When Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to claim the body of the Messiah, he really sealed his fate as far as the Sanhedrin was concerned. It was bad enough when Joseph defended the Messiah before the hastily assembled group of Jewish leaders; now he was rubbing salt into an already festering wound! Yeshua was charged by the Jewish authorities with the most heinous of crimes — that of BLASPHEMY (see Matt. 26:65). This meant that the Messiah was looked upon by the Sanhedrin as “accursed of God”; and Joseph, because of his long association with him and the “heresy” he promoted, was looked upon in a similar vein.

Joseph’s audience with Pilate to retrieve the Messiah’s body was, in the eyes of the Sanhedrin, a slap in the face and perceived as a defilement of Jewish law. Because the Messiah was considered “accursed of God,” even the instrument of death and the very soil it stood in was defiled. The apostle Paul said that the TREE (the stauros) the Messiah died on was reckoned “a shame” (Hebrew 12:2) and he called the crosspiece (Latin — patibulum) “the reproach” — see Hebrews 13:13. In other words, all the instruments of death were “accursed” because they came into contact with the “accursed one” — the Messiah! How this was dealt with by the Jewish authorities is explained by Ernest L. Martin:

The essential teaching on how to CLEANSE the land of such “accursedness” is found in Deuteronomy 21:22,23, and in the previous verse 21 it says this purging was to be done by BURNING (Hebrew: bahgar). In the Old Testament example of such purging, it was thought necessary to BURN THE POSSESSIONS of such an “accursed one” because the abominable sin of the person was even TRANSFERRED TO THE THINGS OWNED BY THE SINNER (since he had touched them and this reckoned even his possessions “accursed”. This was the case with the things belonging to ACHAN who sinned so grievously in the time of Joshua (Josh. 7:15, 24-26). What happened was that Achan himself was killed (with his children and animals) and all his “accursed” things were burnt up together with him. This practice of utter destruction was considered the only way to purify the land of Israel from such defilements….

To keep the land from being polluted, Christ HAD TO BE DESTROYED before sundown and the “accursed” stauros had to be burnt up so that no person could ever touch it again….

What the Jewish authorities wanted to do was to take the dead body of Christ AND the “accursed” (shameful) tree and BURN THEM UP TOGETHER just as the Israelites did with Achan in the Old Testament. — Secrets of Golgotha. ASK Publications, Alhambra, CA 1988. Pp. 180-181.

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