Books and Authors, New Testament

Revelation of the Magi, Overview part 2


Zampieri - Adam et Ève (détail)

Zampieri - Adam et Ève

4. Prophecy of the Star
These sons of Seth keep these sacred writings, called the Books of Hidden Mysteries, in a cave called the Cave of Treasures of the Mysteries of the Life of Silence, which is at the top of the Mountain of Victories in the east of their country, Shir.  They are told to wait until a light shines from the east.  This light, a star, will come to rest on a pillar of light in the cave.  They are told what or who this star would be, using symbolic language such as “voice of the Father”, “offspring of the hidden thought”, “ image of his hiddenness”, “word of his thought”, “an image that has no form or likeness among any things that exist”, “the ray of light of the glory of the Father of ineffable majesty”.

That’s some cabalistic language there, huh?  It sounds like Gnostic language to me.  The Logos, the Ineffable, the Hidden, the Light.  Does this mean that we need to dig out the bong to understand?  It couldn’t possibly hurt, but I don’t think so.  I don’t think it was written by a Gnostic, but that is speculation.

When the star appears they are to take the gifts from the cave and follow the star.

4:8 – And you will see a great and amazing sign, God appearing in the bodily form of a human being, unsightly, poor, imperfect, frail, lowly, even the sign of the cross appearing upon him.

Landau gave examples from medieval Christian art showing how this “sign of the cross” had been interpreted by some; depictions of the magi and the star, with Jesus inside the star, holding a cross.  This don’t really mean nuttin’, but let me present another possibility.

DSS manuscript 4Q534, sometimes titled the Birth of the Chosen One, tells that “he” would be identifiable by marks on his body such as moles and small marks on his thighs.  Naturally, 4Q534 wasn’t actually talking about Jesus, but, hey, neither was the Hebrew bible.  Anyway….

In exchange for their loyalty and gifts, they will “receive from him the blessing of salvation.”

5. The Ritual of the Magi
Each month, on the 25th day of the month, they would go to foot of the mountain and bathe in the Spring of Purification.  On the first day of the month they would then climb the mountain and stand before the cave.  There they would kneel, extend their hands toward the sky and pray and worship in silence.  On the third day they would enter the cave, read from the sacred writings and then descend the mountain to teach what they had learned to those who would listen.  They identified that not everyone was receptive to their teachings, which is interesting to note.

5:11 – We also taught the people of that country, those who gave themselves to the love of revelation to learn with joy.  And those who did not wish to learn and distanced themselves from help because they saw our quiet way of life, that we prayed in silence, [we] said our mysteries to them with honor.

6. An Excerpt from Seth’s Books of Revelation
In a scene somewhat reminiscent of the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, Adam tells Seth how this light used to rest over the Tree of Life but had disappeared when they got evicted.  In the Conflict of Adam and Eve, they left the garden and moved into the Cave of Treasures, west of the garden.  NOT the move George Jefferson would have recommended.

7. The Fall of Adam
In an interesting twist, Adam goes on to place the blame for his fall from grace directly with Eve.   He warns Seth not to listen to his mother, like he had, saying things like this:

“guard from her the words of your mouth and do not reveal to her all the mysteries of your heart”
“I made her an injury for me and a destroyer of my foot prints so that she cast me out of Paradise, my kingdom”

8. Adam’s Ignorance of God’s Mercy
Adam tells how he did not understand everything that he had been given until it was too late, common human struggle, eh.  Yet God showed him mercy.  He tells how the “Evil One” was “put under my feet that I would trample him.”

Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered if the serpent used to have legs, but had lost them as a result of his deceiving of Eve, here is what this author said:

8:6 – And like a judge (in) his justice, he shut his lying mouth and filled it with dust, and he tore off his feet so that he could not walk upon them, (and) he separated him from every animal created like him.

Adam can’t help but once again place the blame where he thought it belonged; “The cause of all these evil things, Eve your mother, was a stumbling block for me.”

9. Adam’s Prediction of the End Times
In true apocalyptic fashion, Adam describes what the world will be like, at the end of times.  Many will be deceived, proud and blasphemous.  They will make graven images and serve the sun and the moon.  All these things will happen to the people, “just as also to me through Eve”.

10. Adam’s Final Exhortation to Seth
Adam recaps his lesson to Seth and then Seth wrote it all down.  The writings were put into the Cave of Treasures of Hidden Mysteries where the Magi have since learned and taught them to their sons and families.

11. The Appearance of the Star to the Magi
When it became time for the star to appear, the magi began to have “wondrous and diverse visions” which they had never experienced but which were foretold in the sacred writings.  They began their monthly ritual and saw something, “(text missing) in the form of an ineffable pillar of light” which came down and rested over the water.  It was so bright that it almost made the sun disappear, but the light did not appear to anyone other than them.

12. The Star descends to the Mountain of Victories
As their ritual described, they ascended the mountain to find the pillar of light in front of the cave.  The knelt with their hands stretched upward and prayed in silence.

12:3-4 – And again, we saw the heaven had been opened like a great gate and men of glory carrying the star of light upon their hands.  And they descended and stood upon the pillar of light, and the entire mountain was filled by its light, which cannot be uttered by the mouth of humanity.  And (something) like the hand of a small person drew near in our eyes from the pillar and the star, at which we could not look, and it comforted us.  And we saw the star enter the Cave of Treasures of Hidden Mysteries, and the cave shone beyond measure.

12:7 – And when we rose at its command, we lifted our eyes and saw the light, which is unspeakable by the mouth of human beings.

13. Epiphany in the Cave of Treasures

13:1 – And when it had concentrated itself, it appeared to us in the bodily form of a small and humble human, and he said to us: “Peace to you, sons of my hidden mysteries.”

The miniature person tells them not to doubt what they have seen, that it appeared in human form because that is the only way that humans can see it.  The being of light, the “Son of the Father of majesty” in human form, then goes on to tell about the big plan.  “And again, I will perfect the love of the Father, even unto the death of a cross.”  “And you will believe without doubt, seeing in me signs of many forms.”

They are to take the treasure from the cave and go to where he will be born like a human being and worship him.

Note that the author says that “he” will appear to people in many different forms.  Landau also pointed out that in the body of this part of the text, the words “Jesus” or “Christ” are never used.

The next post will begin with “The Magi Realize Christ’s Polymorphism”. (chapter title names were added by Landau)

In the meantime, the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, is a fun read.

Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Introduction
Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Part 1
Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Part 3
Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Part 4 (final)

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Revelation of the Magi, Overview part 2

  1. Hey Xcntrik, the link for the “Birth of the Chosen One” gives me a good ole 404 not found error. This is a fun read, but I haven’t read all the linked articles yet.

    Posted by Byroniac | January 17, 2011, 11:59 am
    • You are correct, that link no longer seems to work. Sorry about that, it worked when I posted it. I have it in book form, “The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation” by Wise, Abegg and Cook, Harper Collins, 1996, p. 428.

      Here is another one that hopefully won’t go down after I use it.

      Posted by Xcntrik | January 17, 2011, 8:41 pm
  2. Yes, great work! And I wasn’t familiar with the Qumran text you cited, so thank you for mentioning that.

    Posted by Brent Landau | January 10, 2011, 8:30 am
  3. Fascinating read. Keep it up.

    Posted by Ed-M | January 9, 2011, 2:00 pm

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