Bryan Aalborg, pastor of the Foster Seventh-day
Adventist church in Asheville, North Carolina, as
he is pictured on Facebook with his wife, below.
He raised the following questions in his December 11, 2010 sermon which he
gave before an audience of both Seventh-day Adventists and visitors at the Foster
Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church.
How old was the "Virgin" Mary when she was told by the angel that she would be the mother of the Messiah? Bryan guessed about 16 years old.
How old was Joseph? Bryan guessed quite a bit older than Mary but admitted he didn't really know how old.
Why does the account of the Wise Men's visit call Jesus a "young child" not a baby, a term which Bryan admitted could refer to a half-grown individual?
Why was the "young child" and his parents now described as living in a house while the shepherd story says he was "lying in a manger" when they visited?
He asked a lot of questions outright about the Star of Bethlehem --- Was it an angelic star? Was that star visible before Jesus was born? Was it visible to the Wise Men of the East but not visible to the residents of Judea? Or was it the same light seen by the shepherds on the night of his birth --
And if it was NOT visible until Jesus let out his first cry after his birth then the Wise Men might not have saddled up their camels until a day or so after Jesus was born – then we’re looking at a long journey. So, How long did it take them to travel to Judea from wherever they came?
Implied in Bryan's comparison of Mary's ride on a donkey from Asheville to Johnson City for perhaps three days is the problem of the known very long distance from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, and the related problems of identifying the supposedly historical Tax or Census of Caesar Agustus and an official Luke names "Cyrenius the governor of Syria" in Luke 2:2-5.
Were it not for the rules supposedly set up by this "Cyrenius" it would seem likely that the 9-month-pregnant Mary could stay at home in Nazareth, or that both Mary and Joseph could register for this census locally in Nazareth! Obviously Luke is trying very hard from his research (mentioned in Luke 1:1-4) to give us an exact date for Christ's birth, and all the other information Pastor Bryan is groping for here, and trying to understand and tell us about, but seemingly unsuccessfully!
The interesting and provocative "Truth" hidden here, seemingly totally beyond Bryan Aalborg's reach, is that all the information is here "hidden" in these texts in Matthew and in Luke -- but only available to Bryan if he takes the radical and career-menacing step of admitting that we are dealing with Essenes here, and perhaps even taking the trouble of learning to use what Dr. Barbara Thiering PhD has called "Gospel Pesher."
Like the Wise Men here pictured as gazing at the famous "Star of Bethlehem", the light could be available for Bryan Aalborg even if to "pass it on" would be hazardous to his career for reasons that we will discuss later in this same series of web pages.
YOU, who are not Seventh-day Adventist ministers, are entitled to know the ANSWERS to all the QUESTIONS pastor Aalborg has raised, and I will give them forthwith!
Using now the INFORMATION available from a logical further pursuit of the historical clues found in the Matthew and Luke texts, coupled with the almost overwhelming evidence that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were indeed ESSENES, HERE ARE THE ANSWERS TO BRYAN AALBORG'S QUESTIONS!
Mary the mother of Jesus was indeed only 16 years old when she became pregnant with the child we all later came to know as JESUS the Christ.
Joseph was about 40 years old (38-40) when he fathered Jesus because of a recent Essene view that this was the proper age to begin another Davidic dynasty.
Answering other questions Bryan did raise later in his sermon, Mary was fully aware of the possibility that Jesus would be the accepted "Messiah of the Essenes" specifically because Joseph (not she, herself) had a known Genealogy reaching back to King David. The genealogy given in Luke 3:23-38 through David's son NATHAN [not Solomon] is Jesus' real genealogy through Joseph, not his mother Mary's genealogy -- falsely labeled as such in many bibles. Had Mary become pregnant by any person NOT of David's ancestry, Jesus would never have been acceptable to the Essenes as their "David" Messiah. [Since God is, to Jews at least, EVERYONE'S "Father", "Son of God" that just won't work in this situation].
Joseph and Mary broke other Essene expectations in regards to the time of year that Jesus was to be conceived, causing Jesus a lot of trouble as he was growing up in this dynastic environment. He was supposed to be born in September, according to the expectation of the priestly Essenes, and was instead born in March.
The Magians (or Magi) were a group of Essenes (assigned to the Tribe of Mannassah) who were more favorable to a Spring birth (time of the Passover) than a Fall birth ("Trumpets" and "Day of Atonement") thus Jesus' birth was heralded as legitimate by the Magi (Magians) long before Jesus was accepted by the "Shepherds" [the priestly Essenes]. Indeed, as Bryan Aalborg has suspected in his sermon there was a delay of not 3 years but a full 11 plus years between the events of the Wise Men Story and the Shepherd Story of Luke. The famous Census or Tax of Cyrenius occurred in 6 AD, the time Pontius Pilate became governor, which began a long series of protests and guerilla attacks on Roman soldiers and outposts that eventually culminated in the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 AD.
The date of 6 AD for the Tax and 7 BC for the Star of Bethlehem (a fully known conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in the constellation Pisces) allows us to know with reasonable certainty that Jesus was 12 years old at that time, and that the "Shepherd Story" was part of a Bar Mitzveh celebration for Jesus at a time when everyone was agreed (temporarily at least) that he was to be the Essene Messiah of the line of King David once he reached the proper age. THE STORY READS LIKE A "PLAY" IN LUKE BECAUSE IT WAS INDEED A "PLAY"!
Historical Trivia: The first "Nativity Play" was acted out in the Spring of 6 AD, during the time of Cyrenius' TAX, and the teen-age Jesus himself participated in it to celebrate his Bar Mitzveh. Since Mary eventually had four other sons besides Jesus (listed in Matthew 13:55, 56 and Mark 6: 3) she may have been pregnant at the time this Bar Mitzveh play was put on (adding another element of realism to this event).
As for the donkey trip of
the pregnant Mary in March of 7 BC, it probably did occur but it was only
about 7 miles long, and all down hill. It was probably made at night to
avoid the daytime heat of the Qumran area, even in March, and, of course,
there was no TAX in March of 7 BC that would have compelled this
trip. The real reason for the trip was Mary's pregnancy and Mary's
labor pains, and that there were Essene midwives located at the Queen's House
1 Km. south of the Qumran monastery, and no such midwives that night at Mar
Saba, the present name for what the Essenes called "the Nazara".or
"Nazareth" because "Nazarenes" (like Joseph)
The "Queen's House" could also be called "the
Manger" because that's where the donkey was kept that Mary was riding
on that night. So what appears to be a discrepancy in the two stories is
only an apparent discrepancy, not a real one. Obviously Jesus was
born in one place, not several. A place that could be called either the
"House of the Queen" (mentioned in the Copper Scroll) or "the
Manger" because it was the closest place to the Holy Essene Monastery
that unclean animals, and pregnant women about to give birth to babies of
questionable parentage could be allowed to live.
The "Queen's House" could also be called "the Manger" because that's where the donkey was kept that Mary was riding on that night. So what appears to be a discrepancy in the two stories is only an apparent discrepancy, not a real one. Obviously Jesus was born in one place, not several. A place that could be called either the "House of the Queen" (mentioned in the Copper Scroll) or "the Manger" because it was the closest place to the Holy Essene Monastery that unclean animals, and pregnant women about to give birth to babies of questionable parentage could be allowed to live.
The Nativity Play enacted in honor of Jesus' Bar Mitzveh in March of 6 AD was held, appropriately, at the same place he was born, one kilometer south of the Qumran monastery in the "House of the Queen", 12 years after his birth in March of 7 BC. At which time both the "Shepherds of Israel" (who did not, by the way, have sheep manure on their boots) and the "Wise men of the Essene Magi" were in attendance. Why are you hearing this from me, not watching it on TV or hearing it from your church pulpit? The answer is simple and easy to understand! Millions of dollars are collected annually by tourist-related enterprises all over Israel which depend on people ignoring this real history. Like the construction of wooden camels mentioned by Bryan Aalborg in his sermon, "follow the money". And why is no one interested in learning more details of the real life of Jesus Christ the Essene? ANSWER: Jesus as "God" has provided the Church since the Council of Nicea incredible power and wealth! Why should I, or anyone else, expect these various churches to give up any of this power and wealth for such a minor detail as telling the truth and being historically more accurate?
Seventh-day Adventists in the beginning had a very great opportunity to give the current message of the Life of the Real Jesus to a world almost ready to receive it, but they instead, like Sir Joseph of the Gilbert and Sullivan Comic Opera "HMS Pinafore" were quite content to instead "polish up the handle on the big front door" intently and vigorously, their ministers seeing this as an opportunity to advance up the church ladder until they (by the "Peter Principle") had reached that place where they had become quite useless to both the Church and to Jesus Christ. Assuming Jesus Christ, of course, to be interested in both "Truth" and "Historical Accuracy."
Well, this will be the FIRST CHRISTMAS, December 25, 2010, that the real story of Christ's birth in March of 7 BC, in the "Queen's House" 1000 meters south of the Qumran Monastery will be so clearly presented on the Internet. And so clearly introduced by a Seventh-day Adventist Minister, albeit unwittingly, who had at least the courage to ask the right questions!
"Merry Christmas, Mary!
Merry Christmas, Joseph!
Once upon a Christmas,
Christmas was a bit more – earthy!"
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