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   THEre ARE Various Versions of THE CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH of Jesus Christ, SO to be  INTELLECTUALLY HONEST, I MUST GIVE each VERSION AT LEAST some mention.


     Ellen G. White

Excerpted and condensed from 3 chapters  of  "Desire of Ages" copyright 1898 by Pacific Press Publishing Co.

"As a Child" pg 68-74  "The Passover Visit" pg 75-83 "Days of Conflict" pg 84-92

"As a Child"

     "The childhood and youth of Jesus were spent in a little mountain village. There was no place on earth that would not have been honored by his presence.  The palaces of kings would have been privileged in receiving him as a guest.  But he passed by homes of wealth, the courts of royalty, and the renowned seats of learning, to make his home in  obscure and despised Nazareth." Comment: Here we can assume that Jesus (as God) had a choice as to where he would be incarnated, or born.   And that "choice" was Nazareth.

       "Wonderful in its significance is the brief record of His early life:  'The Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the Grace of God was upon Him.'  In the sunlight of His Father's countenance, Jesus 'increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.' Luke 2:52.  His mind was active and penetrating, with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years.  Yet His character was beautiful in its symmetry.   The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood." Comment: Here Ellen White is rejecting the premise of both the "Infancy Gospels" quoted on the previous page, that Jesus had unusual powers to perform childhood miracles, and unusual knowledge with no need to learn as other children.

       "As a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition.  His willing hands were ever ready to serve others.  He manifested a patience that nothing could  disturb, and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity.  In principle He was firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy." Comment: Very close to the Latin Infancy account ---but quite the opposite to what is revealed by the author of The Infancy Gospel of Thomas -- an angry, vindictive Child that lashed out at everyone that crossed him.

     "With deep earnestness the mother of Jesus watched the unfolding of His powers, and beheld the impress of perfection upon His character.   With delight she sought to encourage that bright, receptive mind.   Through the Holy Spirit she received wisdom to cooperate with the heavenly agencies in the development of this Child, who could claim only God as His father.

      "The Child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools.  His mother was His first human teacher.  From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things.  The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother's knee.  As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis.   He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources, for God was His instructor."

      The life of Jesus was a life in harmony with God.  While he was a child, he thought and spoke as a child, but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him.  Yet he was not exempt from temptation,  The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness.  The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathaniel's question, 'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?' John 1:46.  Jesus was placed where His character would be tested.  It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity.  He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood."

     "Christ was the only sinless one who ever dwelt on earth; yet for nearly thirty years He lived among the wicked inhabitants of Nazareth.  This fact was a rebuke to those who think themselves dependent on place, fortune, or prosperity, in order to live a blameless life.   Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness."

      "As long as He lived among men, our Savior shared the lot of the poor.  He knew by experience their cares and hardships, and He could comfort and encourage all  humble workers.  Those who have a true conception of the teaching of His life will never feel that a distinction must be made between classes, that the rich are to be honored  above the worthy poor."

    "The Savior condescended to poverty, that He might teach how closely we in a humble lot may walk with God.  He lived to please, honor, and glorify His Father in the common things of life.   His work began in consecrating the lowly trade of the craftsmen who toil for their daily bread.  He was doing God's service just as much when laboring at the carpenter's bench as when working miracles for the multitude."

     Comment: Ellen White never questioned several misconceptions that are supported in the surface Gospel story, including that Jesus spent no time gaining a formal education, that he lived thirty years in Nazareth, and that he was a carpenter by trade.  I will indeed question all these supposed "facts" in my page on Jesus as an Essene "Messiah".

"The Passover Visit"

     "Among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law, and also a son of God.  He was given special opportunities for religious instruction, and was expected to participate in the sacred feasts and observances.  It was in accordance with this custom that Jesus in His boyhood made the Passover visit to Jerusalem.  Like all devout Israelites, Joseph and Mary went up every year to attend the Passover; and when Jesus had reached the required age, they took Him with them."

     "For the first time the Child Jesus looked upon the temple.  He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry.  He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice.  With the worshippers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God.  He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service.  Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly.  Every act seemed to be bound up with his own life.  New impulses were awakening within Him.  Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem.  The mystery of His mission was opening up to the Savior."

      "Rapt in the contemplation of these scenes, He did not remain beside His parents.  He sought to be alone.  When the paschal services were ended, He still lingered in the temple courts; and when the worshipers departed from Jerusalem, He was left behind."

      "At that day an apartment connected with the temple was devoted to a sacred school, after the manner of the schools of the prophets.  Here leading rabbis with their pupils assembled, and hither the Child Jesus came.  Seating Himself at the feet of these grave, learned men, He listened to their instruction.  As one seeking for wisdom, He questioned these teachers in regards to the prophecies, and to events then taking place that pointed to the advent of the Messiah."  

      Comment: Here Ellen White, who wrote this chapter before 1898, is merely guessing about the meaning of Jesus' Jerusalem encounter with the "Doctors" (Luke 2:41-52), as were everyone else before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s and 1950s.  People knew before that about the "Essene Gate" not far from the temple, but were unaware that the Essenes owned that whole section of Jerusalem.  Essenes were "doctors" in more than one way, providing most of the medical treatments of that day.  Jesus was there as an Essene youth, being tested by the Essenes for his religious and political preferences.   More about this later!

      "Meanwhile Joseph and Mary were in great perplexity and distress.  In the departure from Jerusalem they had lost sight of Jesus, and they knew not that He had tarried behind.  The country was then densely populated, and the caravans from Galilee were very large.  There was much confusion as they left the city.  On the way the pleasure of traveling with friends and aquaintences absorbed their attention, and they did not notice His absence till night came on.  Then as  they halted for rest they missed the helpful hand of their Child. -- Returning to Jerusalem,  they pursued their search.  The next day, as they mingled with the worshippers in the temple, a familiar voice arrested their attention.  They could not mistake it, no other voice was like His, so serious and earnest , yet so full of melody."

       "In the schools of the Rabbis they found Jesus.  Rejoiced as they were, they could not forget their grief and anxiety.  When He was with them again, the mother said, in words that implied reproof,  'Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us?  Behold, thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."

      "How  is it that ye sought Me? answered Jesus. 'Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"

     Comment: Here Ellen White gives the usual explanation that the twelve-year-old Jesus was already, upon watching the Passover service, contemplating a course of action that would see Him crucified 21 years later as "The Lamb of God" that taketh away the sins of the world.   But there are other explanations for this statement of Jesus the Essene youth, that we will contemplate later.

"Days of Conflict"

        Here is where Ellen White's portrayal of the early life of Jesus Christ falls far short of the actual history of the Essene son of Joseph and Mary because of her lack of knowledge of the Essenes.   She had the excuse that the Dead Sea Scrolls had not yet been discovered.  We have no such excuse, but everyone loves the old stories better, so they are repeated endlessly just like no one ever heard of the Essenes.   But in the case of Jesus being the oldest of Joseph's sons, not the youngest,  Ellen White should have known betterShe has fallen into a Jesuit trap designed from ancient times to make Mary an ever-virgin, with no son but Jesus, conceived miraculously.

     "From its earliest years the Jewish child was surrounded with the requirements of the rabbis.   Rigid rules were prescribed for every act, down to the smallest details of life.  Under the synagogue teachers the youth were instructed in the countless regulations which as orthodox Israelites they were expected to observe.   But Jesus did not interest Himself in these matters.  From childhood He acted independently of the rabbinical laws.   The Scriptures  of the Old Testament were His constant study, and the words, 'Thus saith the Lord,' were ever upon His lips."

      "In a gentle and submissive way, Jesus tried to please those with whom He came in contact.   Because He was so gentle and unobtrusive, the scribes and elders supposed that He would be easily influenced by their teaching.   They urged Him to receive the maxims and traditions that had been handed down by the ancient rabbis, but He asked for the authority in Holy Writ.  He would hear every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; but He could not obey the inventions of men.   Jesus seemed to know the Scriptures from beginning to end, and He presented them in their true import.  The rabbis were ashamed to be instructed by a child.   They claimed that it was their office to explain the Scriptures, and that it was His place to accept their interpretation.  They were indignant that He should stand in opposition to their word."  

       Comment: I have shown elsewhere that wherever Jesus in the Gospels appears to be disagreeing with the traditions of the rabbis he is instead supporting the rules and traditions of the Essenes, which differed markedly from those of orthodox Judaism.  Of course Ellen White could not know this, because the Essene rules and practices were not available to us until the 1950s and some were not translated and explained properly until the 1990s.

     "His brothers, as the sons of Joseph were called, sided with the rabbis..  They insisted that the traditions must be heeded, as if they were the requirements of God.  They even regarded the precepts of men more highly than the word of God, and they were greatly annoyed at the clear penetration of Jesus in distinguishing between the false and the true.   His strict obedience to the law of God they condemned as stubbornness.  They were surprised at the knowledge and wisdom  He showed in answering the rabbis.  They knew He had not received instruction from the wise men, yet they could not but see that He was an instructor of them.  They recognized that His education was of a higher type than their own.  But they did not discern that He had access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which they were ignorant."

      "All this displeased His brothers.  Being older than Jesus, they felt that He should be under their dictation.  They charged Him with thinking Himself superior to them, and reproved  Him for setting Himself above the priests and rulers of the people.  Often they threatened  and tried to intimidate Him; but He passed on, making the Scriptures His guide."


Dr. Robert Flewelling Holt, MD   Doctor Holt's alma mater, Loma Linda University
       Dr. Robert Holt md, mph, who spent a lot of the money he made as an Emergency Room Physician in various North Carolina Emergency Rooms, including Ahoskie, Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Sampson County Memorial Hospital in Clinton, Bladen County Hospital in Elizabethtown, Good Hope Hospital in Erwin, and Cherokee Indian Hospital in Cherokee, traveling all over the world doing research on the Essenes, and the origins of the Bible and of Christianity,--has been to both Qumran by the Dead Sea and Kashmir in the Himalaya Mountains.  And also the Damascus in Syria, where Saul of Tarsus had the experience described in both Acts and in his own epistles as a "light" that blinded him, cured by three days of instruction by a person that turns out to be Simon Magus in disguise. 

       Similar attention to detail allows us to discover that Jesus' younger brother James, born 6 years after Jesus, after Joseph and Mary were properly married, was after James reached near adulthood, a cause of contention in this family.    James was the favorite of Caiaphas and some other High Priests at the Jerusalem temple,  to be the Messiah of the Essenes.   The conflict of Jesus with his brothers, the subject of Ellen White's chapter 9 of Desire of Ages, was not about beliefs and laws, all these brothers of Jesus, all younger than he was, were Essenes.   The conflict was about competition for the same Essene position, that of the Essene "Messiah" of the bloodline of King David.   After Jesus was crucified, James took his place.  


NEXT:  "Jesus' Typical Jewish Childhood

- Prof. Norman Bull

OR:  SKIP   to "Essene Child at Qumran and Mar Saba

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