Books and Authors, New Testament

Revelation of the Magi, Overview part 3


 

Cave in Bethlehem

14. The Magi Realize Christ’s Polymorphism
After the experience in the Cave of Treasures, the Magi, excited about being the chosen generation, share with each other what they had seen.  While story-swapping, they realize that each of them had not seen the same thing.  They share what they had seen with each other.  While reading these “visions” one will notice a progression of events.  They tell it this way, In this order:  One saw “a light in which there were many images that were amazing”, one saw “an infant who had unspeakable forms”, one saw “a youth who did not have a form in this world”, one saw “a human being who was humble, unsightly in appearance, and poor”, one saw “a cross and a person of light who hung upon it, taking away the sins of the entire world”, one saw “that he went down to Sheol with force and all the dead rose and worshiped him”, one saw “that he ascended in glory and he opened the graves, and he raised up the dead” and  one saw “him ascending to the heavenly heights”.  These visions briefly tell the story of Orthodox Christianity.

15. The Father Speaks to the Magi
They heard a disembodied voice say, “Everything that you have seen, and heard, and discussed, and had spoken to you, and (at which) behold, you are amazed, is (only) one drop of salvation from the house of [majesty.]”  The voice then goes on to describe the Logos in just about every imaginable way, on and on and on it goes using language from the Johannine tradition.  He is “the image and form of the Father”, “only begotten Son”, “doing the will of he who sent him”, the way”, “the gate”, “the bread”, and so on.

16. The Miraculous Journey
The star then led them on a journey, but no one else could see the star that they were following.  It kept their provisions replenished, gave them constant light, made their paths clear, helped them across rivers, protected them from wild animals and “filled our hearts with great joy, and all the (stages) in which we journeyed were short and swift in our eyes, because our victorious sign and our powerful light, which is beyond every human mouth to speak, guided us with its victorious strength.”

17.  The Magi in Jerusalem
I think that the intent of this block of text was to clarify Christian confusion over the identity of the Magi.  While GoMatthew had left their identity vague, early Christians had tended to see them as Persian Astrologers, who had seen the signs in the heavens.  Whereas this author makes it clear that only the Magi had seen this particular star.

Let me insert another one of those meaningless things that rattles around in my mostly empty skull.  In 1956,   John Allegro, one of the scholars working on the Qumran texts, wrote a book entitled “The Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed”.  Allegro took a lot of heat later in his career, especially after “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” made it to the public, but he noted something particularly interesting, that has stuck to the roof of my brain ever since.  This is from a chapter discussing the community writings on the Zodiac.

“Doubtless the Qumran astronomers would be searching the skies particularly for this conjunction of the planets, and we need not look far from Bethlehem to find a school of thought from which the Magi story of Matthew could have come.” 1981 edition, Gramercy Publishing, p. 127.

They arrived in Jerusalem during “the month of flowers”.  Landau points out that this would have been the month of April.  The inhabitants are confused by these visitors’ strange behavior; they keep looking up, but no one can see what they’re looking at.  Herod asked the elders where this king was to be born, and tells the Magi to send message back to him so that he can go worship the king too.  However, Herod the “blind governor” and the “blind scribes” were not “worthy for the worship of the light”.  Their guide told them not to return to Herod.

18. Arrival in Bethlehem
When they got to Bethlehem, the pillar of light descended and stood in front of the cave “like the form and appearance of the Cave of Treasures of Hidden Mysteries”.  The star descended and “stood above the pillar” with angels off to each side.  The pillar, the star and the angels went into the cave and a voice told them to “Enter inside”, which they did.  They laid their crowns “under his feet” then knelt and worshiped him.  They opened their hidden treasures, which had been sealed, and “brought forth our treasures before him, who is the treasure of salvation, that we might receive them from him in the kingdom by many-fold before his own judgment seat of salvation.”  This is apparently meant to foreshadow Paul’s imagining in 2 Corinthians 5:10.

19. Epiphany in the Bethlehem Cave
“The glorious infant and the ancient light perfecting the will of the Father of majesty” then began to speak to them, congratulating them on their faithfulness and promising them their reward.  He tells them that they would be witnesses for him in the land of the East, along with his disciples.  He then tells them that while he is there with them, he is also with the Father and has “not become separated from the majesty of the Father”.  He tells them that the world will see another sign; the sun will darken, there will be a great earthquake and the voice of the dead will be heard from their graves giving praises”.

It looks like this was taken directly from GoMatthew’s unique tale of the death of Jesus.  One can note that in GoMark, the sky becomes dark, Jesus dies and the Temple veil rips from top to bottom.  In GoLuke the sky becomes dark, the Temple veil rips and then Jesus dies.  In GoMatthew, the sky becomes dark, Jesus dies, the Temple veil rips, the earth quakes and the corpses of the saints come back to life, crawl out of their graves and take a stroll into Jerusalem.  GoJohn left out all these signs and simply said that Jesus knew that his job was done and died.  Saying that zombies invaded Jerusalem may sound a bit silly.  Perhaps that’s why it is now changed to say that that their voices will be heard from their graves.

20. Angels Praise Christ
The cave becomes even brighter, “in our eyes like another world” and they hear the voices of countless angels.  They reinforce what the Magi had already been told.

21. The Commissioning of the Magi
All this excitement was just too much for the Magi.  They fell to the ground as if dead, but “the child, the offspring of the light” touched them and comforted them.  They will be the witnesses for him in the East.  He tells them that they have “weak flesh” and that is why they can’t see all the “wonderful things” that belong to him and the Father.  Not even the angels or the watchers are able to speak of them.  The watchers are the luminaries from “The Book of the Watchers” in Enoch.  He congratulates them on their faithfulness and has now appeared, just as their sacred writings predicted.  He will “offer you up to the Father”; they are pure because of their loyalty.

It is in this chapter that Dr. Landau points out that the feminine form of the adjective “Holy” is used in the phrase “Holy Spirit”.

“This usage, found in the second-century Odes Sol. And the writings of Ephrem and Aphrahat, indicates a probable date earlier than the fifth century for the RevMagi, since Syriac writers after this period generally understand the Holy Spirit as a masculine entity.”

22. The Magi Meet Mary and Joseph
Oddly enough, Mary and Joseph aren’t really happy with the Magi.  They think that the Magi have taken away the light, because they saw it leave with them.

23. The Magi’s Revelation to Mary
Here is where the Universalist message becomes the strongest, IMO.  They tell Mary that he is inside her, and he is also waiting for her in the house, and he is also with them.  “This great gift and light of salvation is not yours alone, but is (for) all the heavenly and lower worlds.  And lift up your eyes and see that he is in the entire creation and enlightens it all, and it is full of his glorious mysteries.”  The hidden mystery of the Father has been revealed in the child.

24. Mary Speaks to Christ
Mary goes back to her house and “found the child of light laughing”.  Mary and Joseph worshiped him.  “I had thought, O my beloved, that the Easterners were taking you, with your great love for them, in exchange for the gifts they offered to you from your own, since I saw your holy form going along with them.”

25. Christ Blesses Mary
Through Mary, humanity will have salvation.  “Therefore, I am turning to all my brethren who are in the entire world, that I may perfectly fulfill everything that the Father commanded me for my believers, so that they may bring forth the fruits of eternal salvation.  And I shall also give to them all the promises of my Father, which through me are fulfilled, and are given, and are accomplished for my believers and everyone who believes in me.”

26. The Return Journey Home
They begin their journey and the “sign of light” appears once again to them.  He tells them that he is everywhere, “and there is no land in which I am not.  I am also where you departed from me, for I am greater than the sun, and there is no place in the world that is deprived of it, even though it is a single entity”.

They describe that when they went to check their provisions, they realized that they now had more than before.  Here we begin to see how this food played a part in their mystical revelation.  When they eat, they each began to have unique visions.  Looks like we might be needing that bong after all.  I’ll see if I can scrounge it out of a box for next time.

Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Introduction
Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Part 1
Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Part 2
Revelation of the Magi, Landau: Part 4 (final)

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