The Elder Cousin-Brothers of Jesus

(It's not in your Bible, but millions believe it to be TRUE!)







     Before the Council of Nicaea called into existence by Constantine the Great, Emperor of the Roman Empire in 325 AD, Christians were free to argue and debate a great number of subjects, and indeed they spent a large portion of their time doing just that. Some of these Early Church Fathers were more famous and respected than others, and their opinions have survived, and come down to us in bits and fragments of their writings, which are held to be of great value to researchers and theologians of today, some of which are still interested in what Christianity was like before it became the official accepted religion of the Roman Empire.

     There were winners and losers in all of these debates and arguments, and the fate of the losers was generally to have all or most of their propaganda and literature destroyed by the winners, and were often lucky to escape with even their lives.  Even after Constantine's decrees of religious toleration, it was hazardous to have a religious opinion that varied from that held by the group in power in that era, which eventually became the Roman Catholic Church, whose supreme leader at that time was the Bishops of Rome, later to be  known as the Roman Catholic Popes.

     The Council of Nicaea

gave us the Nicene Creed which is  considered to be the doctrinal basis for most Christian churches today, whose members are allowed to debate on other subjects, but not on those decided on by the Christian Bishops at Nicaea.  

    They decided that Jesus Christ was and is God as well as Man, that he preexisted as God prior to his "Incarnation" as a baby in Bethlehem, and that after he was crucified and rose from the dead, he returned to heaven to sit on the right hand with his Father, the Jewish God Yahweh or Jehovah.   Together with a third God-Person, the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons as One God rule the known Universe with particular attention to this world, and we who live on this planet.

     Problematic to the Bishops who made these decisions at Nicaea in 325 AD and a later Council held at Constantinople later in the 4th century was Jesus' real relationship to those known as his brothers and sisters (or "brethren") in the those Gospels that were by then accepted as most genuine in that era, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  There were also a great number of other gospels and religious books in existence held to be of lesser importance and reliability, and also the Epistles of Paul, whose counsels and opinions even by then were held to be the basis for most Christian beliefs and practices.

     By the second century after Jesus' birth, seventy years or more after his death by crucifixion, and thirty years or more after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by Rome the by now persecuted Christians were becoming interested in the personal details of the life of their original leader Jesus Christ, and certain writings called the INFANCY GOSPELS became available for them to read of dubious origins and authorship.  In some of these INFANCY GOSPELS Jesus had brothers and sisters that were older than he was who were not really his brothers and sisters in a biological sense but former children of Joseph, who was a widower, his previous wife before the Virgin Mary having died. 

     One such Gospel I have provided on this web site for my guests to read is called "The Protevangelion" or "Protevangelium Jacobi", also known as "The Birth of Mary", thought to have been written by James the Less, who was one of those who claimed to be one of the biological brothers (or perhaps cousins) of Jesus Christ.  

The Presentation of the child Virgin Mary to the High Priest in the Jerusalem Temple in "The Infancy Gospel of James"

     What seems more certain is that he did obtain and hold the office for many years of the Christian Bishop of Jerusalem. His less controversial book, the Epistle of James is included in the New Testament canon, as is the book written by his brother Judas, called "Jude" so as not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus at the crucifixion.  The Epistle of Jude is also in the New Testament, being the last book featured before Revelation, also known as The Apocalypse in some Bibles.

    A few artists, but not many, have fallen into line with the Catholic story, developed over the ages, that Joseph was a widower who had a rather large family before he became the husband (spell that c-a-r-e-t-a-k-e-r ) of the "ever-virgin" mary.  The artist whose politically and theologically "correct" picture of the Holy Family at the birth of Jesus shown above has included a daughter, shown second from the right (no beard --- breasts).  The tallest figure on the right may be intended to be a shepherd, and indeed we can if we wish to assume all the males in the picture other than Joseph are shepherds, but Joseph sitting there motionless and expressionless and the young woman there beside Mary shows the intention of the artist.  The one kneeling in front of Mary may be the active carpenter of Joseph's other sons.  Perhaps Jesus will inherit his job later.

      The fact that there are so few pictures like this one shows how hard it has been for the Church of the Middle Ages to actually sell this idea to the majority of Christians, especially so now that most modern Protestant Churches fail to accept the Catholic dogma of the "Ever-Virgin Mary" -- now elevated to "Queen of Heaven."

      The idea that Jesus had brothers and sisters that were not really his biological brothers and sisters, and a father named Joseph who was very much older than Jesus' mother the Virgin Mary has become so popular over the past almost two thousand years that I have recently compiled a "Bible Study" in which I am attempting to refute this idea, which I consider to be false and invented only to provide an almost divine status for Jesus' mother Mary which was never really warranted and based on made-up stories that have become traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.   As a Protestant, and the son of Protestants, I have a right to go back to a more sure Biblical foundation, which I am doing here.


Thesis 1: Mary the mother of Jesus was also the mother of James and Joses (Barnabas) and Judas (Jude) and Simon (Silas).

 Bible Study (old style, no props or EG White).  Matthew 13:54 “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

    55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  56 And his sisters, are they not all with us?  Whence then hath this man all these things?”

    Mark 6:1 “And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue. 3 (the people surprised by his knowledge as in Matthew’s account just given-- said).  3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”

     Comment by RFH: These are brothers in the normal biological sense not “cousins” as the Jesuits suggest unless we can prove that Joseph had a brother, and had no other children with his very young wife Mary.  They cannot be just Christian symbolic “brethren” or there’s no sensible reason to pick out just 4 of millions for this distinction.


Thesis 2: All of Jesus’ brothers were younger than he was, unless we can prove that Joseph had a brother, and Jesus’ “cousins” were all older than him, or Joseph had a previous wife, whose children were brought up by young Mary.

     Luke 2:7 And she (Mary) brought forth her first born son (Jesus Christ), and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for him at the inn.”  RFH (Appropriate sarcasm) And evidently no room either for the 4 or more other children of Joseph’s the Jesuits insist we must believe Jesus’ parents must bring with them on this trip to Bethlehem – to be included in the census (tax?).

    If, however, we believe the Bible, that lightens the “baggage” to diapers-for-one.

    And if we also believe the “Flight to Egypt” Story (Matthew’s Nativity Story), we have a caravan of Joseph’s progeny fleeing across the Sinai Desert, of which no mention is made at all, either by Matthew, or the angels who are giving him repeated dreams.  We must also explain how Jesus, as the youngest, got stuck with the “carpenter’s” job to support his mother, while all his older “brothers” fled responsibility.

     An even more serious Jewish religious legal problem is raised by the dedication in the temple of Jesus as the first born son of Joseph and Mary, because only a first born son of a non-Levite family was required to be “redeemed” (in this case by the price of two doves) Luke 2:22-24 (only a first-born “opens the womb”) Exodus 22:29;Exodus 34:20;Numbers 3:12,13,45,46. If we assume that Joseph had two wives (as many do) then Deuteronomy 21:15-17 would forbid him treating Jesus as his first-born (by redeeming him as described in Luke 2:22-24).


Thesis 3: Multiple Names for Jesus’ Associates is not only one of the preferred methods by Gospel authors to limit their stories to whatever subject they wished to discuss at that moment, but is also common and obvious to any motivated Bible Student with any real desire to learn these peoples’ real identity.

        Matthew 4:16 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother –“  Peter would answer to both names, “Simon” and “Peter”.  And Matthew in his own gospel never calls himself “Levi”, but Mark and Luke do in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 and 29, and since Luke 5:27 is almost identical with Matthew 9:9, we can assume these two names are of the same person.  The really curious will forge on and eventually discover that the title “publican” that Matthew applies to himself, even in his list of the apostles (Matt. 10:3) really means he is a “priest” of the tribe of Levi (his other name).  A “joke” based on the fact that Jewish high priests levied a “temple tax” on all Jews who were not Essenes.   Since Alphaeus is listed as both the father of Levi (Matthew-Mark2:14) and of an apostle named James (Matt. 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13), we should be motivated to discover who this other “James” was who was not Jesus’ brother who was indeed the brother of Matthew-Levi.  Those really persistent will discover that Alphaeus is a name invented by these clever Gospel authors to hide the fact that Ananus son of Seth, father of all the Annas priests of New Testament fame was indeed the father of two of Jesus’ 12 Apostles, Jonathan Annus (James of Alphaeus) and Matthew – Levi (Annas).

 RFH Comment: It should be obvious that information like this would indeed spoil  the effect of the largely allegorical stories we are reading in the Gospels and using for our own agendas.   Such as creating the 1600+ year “myth” of the Ever-Virgin Mary!

     The opposite from multiple names for the same person is the same identical name for multiple persons, which is the main problem in separating all the various “Marys” in the Gospels!



Thesis 4: James the (younger) Brother of Jesus, in another attempt to limit the scope of these Gospel stories to mainly Jesus Christ, and not say much to distract later readers from that purpose, is called three names in the Gospels – Joseph of Arimathaea, Cleophas, and “the Rich Man” (or Rich Young Ruler) – He was the one who got permission from Pontius Pilate to bury his brother Jesus once John Mark had told Pilate Jesus was dead (John 19:34,35,38) and wrapped him in a loose linen garment in which Nicodemus hid a large quantity of myrrh and aloes.  As Cleophas, he and Theudas (not named) walked with the risen Jesus to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-31) (And as the “Rich Young Ruler”  he didn’t give up his wealth to follow Jesus until after Jesus was crucified, at which time he “inherited” the Jerusalem Christians.) Neither “James the Less” or “James the brother of John”, of the “Sons of Zebedee” refers to James the brother of Jesus Christ!

       Luke 24:10 “It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”  RFH Comment: Here Luke, who wasn’t around when any of these things happened, settles for just reminding us that the mother of Jesus was also the mother of James, who was in charge of the Jerusalem Christians when Luke was writing his books.



Thesis 5: James the (younger) Brother of Jesus, although identified as one of the sons of a Mary in a number of texts, these clever Gospel authors have purposefully kept readers guessing as to which of several Marys was his mother.

     Matthew 13:54  and Mark 6:1 (Quoted in full under Thesis 1, calls Jesus’ mother the mother of James and Joses and Simon and Judas (Jude)

     Matt. 27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. (called Salome in other accounts).  RFH Comment: Here Matthew has only shortened the list to 2 of 4 names.

     Matt, 28:1 “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcre.  RFH Comment: And here, a few verses later, called this same Mary (mother of James and Joses) a non-committal ‘the other Mary”)

     Mark 16:1And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.”   RFH Comment: The author of Mark (Peter) is here not differing with his fellow author Matthew (Annas) just temporarily shortening his list of sons of Mary (Jesus’ mother) to that of being the mother of James’, expected of course to take over her crucified (apparently dead) son Jesus’ responsibilities and position in a few days.

      Mark 15:47And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.”  RFH Comment:  Peter, writing a few verses before, lets us know that he knows Mary the mother of James (and Jesus) also has another son named Joses, but doesn’t mention Judas and Simon (Silas) because they’re not at this time doing anything worthy of being commented on.  They will later when they’re older.   Jude will write a book named, you guessed it – “Jude”. 

     It comes just before Revelation in your Bible.  Mostly “Jude” quotes the forbidden book of “Enoch” which the Church Fathers managed to get excluded from our Bibles.  Simon brother of Jesus Christ, as “Silas” spent a lot of time travelling around on missionary trips with the Apostle Paul.


Thesis 6: John Mark (author of “John”) Leaves one small Crack in this Wall of Evidence that Mary, Jesus’ Mother, was the Fertile Wife of Joseph and Mother of a Very Large Family! And Jesuit scholars have done what they do so well, exploded this small crack into a super highway of power and persuasion (and delusion) for their church.

     John  19:25  “Now their stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.”  RFH Comment: Since no one of that day or ours could match up (as in Matthew-Levi) Cleophas with James, Jesus’ brother, that allowed the Jesuit scholars to invent fictitious family trees for Joseph and Mary, including elder sons from another family, “cousins” instead of brothers, and the “whole nine yards” of fables and traditions.  What John Mark has done here is use the Essene – Christian meaning in which all women who are “believers” are “sisters” .

Using this symbolic meaning a properly motivated person could construct any sort of family tree that could gain them whatever they wanted.


Thesis 7: Mary the Mother of Jesus WAS NOT Immaculately Conceived and NEITHER was Jesus Christ the Son of Mary (and Joseph!) Immaculately Conceived. 

 Now I understand that no one uses the term “Immaculate Conception” when referring to the conception and birth of Jesus Christ, but instead “Virgin Birth” is presumed to suffice – I’m using this different terminology for the purposes of drawing parallels that will follow.  RFH

      Luke 3:23 “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli—31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Mirian, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of David, 32 Which was the son of Jesse, ---38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”

      RFH Comment: Here Luke has cleverly hidden from those not authorized to clearly see such things, that there’s another reason for that “as was supposed” in the parenthesis brackets, assuming that they were not just put there arbitrarily by King James’ translators.  Not used colloquially, but in it’s plainest English usage, it merely makes it more than usually definite that Jesus WAS the biological child of Joseph.  Try moving the words around – As one would suppose (assume, conjecture) Jesus WAS the son of Joseph.  Then Luke gives his ancestors in Joseph’s line to show who else he “was the son of” – David, etc. ending or beginning with Adam.   But no, I’m misreading here – beginning or ending with God.  Some will realize that Luke has put something over on the uneducated and the slow to think.  He’s called Jesus a son of God, and even the translators have neglected to capitalize “son” in this case as in “Son of God”, because it’s clear from the context that so was Adam, and David, and You, and I.   So there you have the hidden meaning of the parenthetical expression “as was supposed.”

     Luke 1:30 “And the angel said unto her, Fear not Mary: for thou has found favour with God, 31 And , behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS,  32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.”

     RFH Comment: Luke, an educated author, and careful with his words, would have phrased this thus, if he had wanted to support the usual belief of Christians – PARAPHRASE: --32 “He shall be indeed the GREATEST – God in disguise!—and shall be called the son of David: but the Lord God shall give unto him the whole world, the throne of his father God.”


     The Immaculate Conception is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the unique privilege by which, when the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in her mother's womb, she was kept free of original sin through the anticipated merits of Jesus Christ. The teaching about her immaculate conception is a dogma of the Church and her immaculate conception itself is celebrated with an annual feast day.

      The doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary concerns her own conception in her mother's womb, not Mary's conception of Jesus (the virgin birth of Jesus) nor the perpetual virginity of Mary..

       Although the belief that Mary was sinless and conceived immaculate was widely held since at least Late Antiquity., the doctrine was not dogmatically defined until December 8, 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffable Deus.


      The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary expresses the Virgin Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to Jesus the Son of God made Man. According to the doctrine, Mary was ever-virgin (Greek: ἀειπάρθενος aeiparthenos) for the whole of her life, making Jesus her only biological son, whose conception and birth are held to be miraculous.

       By the fourth century, the doctrine was widely supported by the Church Fathers, and by the seventh century it had been affirmed in a number of ecumenical councils. The doctrine is part of the teaching of Catholicism and Anglo-Catholics, as well as Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy as expressed in their liturgies, in which they repeatedly refer to Mary as "ever virgin".  Some early Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther supported the doctrine, and founding figures of Anglicanism such as Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer "followed the tradition that they had inherited by accepting Mary as 'ever virgin'" However, later Reformed teaching largely abandoned it. The doctrine of perpetual virginity is, however, currently maintained by some Anglican and Lutheran theologians.


       The brothers of Jesus is a designation based upon the New Testament's description of James.,  Joseph (Joses),, Judas (Jude) and Simon as "brothers" of  Jesus Christ. Also mentioned, but not named, are "sisters" of Jesus. Some scholars argue that these brothers, especially James,[held positions of special honor in the early Christian church.. Antidicomarianites and many critical scholars claim that these "brothers" and "sisters" refer to the biological children of Mary and Joseph. Followers of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, as well as some Anglican and Lutherans, accept the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary and therefore reject the claim that Jesus had blood siblings. They maintain that these "brothers" and "sisters" received this designation on account of their close association with the family of Jesus, but are actually either cousins or children of Joseph from a previous marriage.

        In the third century blood relatives of Jesus, without explicit reference to "brothers" or "sisters", were called the desposyni, from the Greek δεσπόσυνοι, plural of δεσπόσυνος, meaning "of or belonging to the master or lord". The term was used by Sextus Julius Africanus, a writer of the early 3rd century. 

      RFH Comments: The quotation from Sextus Julius Africanus is important here because he lived and taught before the Council of Nicaea had apparently made it impossible for anyone to claim that they were even blood relatives of Jesus Christ.  That there were indeed people who claimed to be even related to Jesus (that’s the meaning of desposyni in a general sense) is the basis for my next remarks.


 Whatever Happened to Jesus “Our Advocate”?

       Now I’ll not burden my readers with a long account of my Adventist childhood and upbringing, but let me just say that I was glad that I was taught that Jesus was my advocate before “the Father” and that I understood that he might just be able to understand what it was like to be a teenage boy because it was my understanding from my parents and my fellow church-members that Ellen White, our “prophetess” had assured us that Jesus himself was once a teen-ager and would always be a human being (besides being divine).   I ignored the “besides being divine” part because it was meaningless to me.   I was also assured (from the same author) that Jesus was at that time in a Heavenly Sanctuary participating in a very long “Yom Kippur” (Day of Atonement) ceremony that had gone on for many years at that time, and was expected to continue for a definite (but unknown) length of time in the future, during which time, I, as an Adventist, had nothing to fear from either Jesus or His Father so long as I tried to live a good life and attended church on Saturday, as Christ had while he lived in Judaea and Galilee, not “Heaven”. 

       This confidence was built on my understanding that Jesus was a Jewish High Priest and knows what every Jewish High priest knows.   What it’s like to be a human being living the life of a human being.  Later I came to understand a little of what immaculate conception meant because some of this strange and weird theology had traveled the 20 miles between Notre Dame University to Andrews University in Berrein Springs, Michigan and trickled down to us folks going to church at the “grass roots”.  What I began to sense was that I had been robbed of my childhood “High Priest” and someone I didn’t know and couldn’t know had taken his place.   I was no longer a “relative” – no longer one of the desposyni.  In my former High Priest’s place was a God posing as a “man” and not doing a very good job with his pantomime show.

 Ordinary Rank and File

Catholics Robbed Also

       All my life from mid-grade school on I have had Roman Catholic friends.  Indeed my first child-hood sweetheart was a little blond-headed girl named Laura Robishaw who lived in Derby, Maine in a Bangor & Aroostock railroad row house one street over from our street.  My last Roman Catholic girl-friend befriended me after my Seventh-day Adventist wife left me to live nearer a Seventh-day Adventist junior academy, taking 3 of our children with her.    From these and other Catholics I understood that Mary, as Jesus’ totally human mother, was the same kind of advocate and friend to them as Jesus was to me when I was younger.   Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, with his papal bull Ineffable Deu robbed all Catholics in the same way I was robbed But especially Catholic young girls and women.   How could a Jewish girl baby born without sin, and with no inclination to sin, and no boys allowed to tempt her, even her husband Joseph, possibly understand the problems of being a Catholic wife and mother?  In families where the babies are born like clockwork, one a year (or more).

      Not long, relatively speaking, after Priest and Professor Martin Luther nailed up his 95 Theses on the door of the Catholic Cathedral in Wittenburg, Germany, he also made one of the Catholic “sisters” (nuns) his wife, because he came to fully believe in the humanity of Jesus Christ.   Which meant to Martin Luther that Jesus also felt “carnal desire” as Martin Luther himself came to know it.

Following Luke, to the End of His Gospel Trail!

          The Gospel of Luke, in spite of what the present crowd of Form Critics such as the Jesus Seminar have to say, was not written decades after Christ’s crucifixion, but about 41 AD, a mere 8 years after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.  Jesus himself was available to help this author with those details he needed help with, and these “joint authors” had a hidden agenda.   To provide what would later become the Roman Catholic church with beautiful rituals to be used in the worship of Jesus and Mary his mother, while at the same time providing a hidden framework of details, places, and historically reliable dates to document the real lives of both these totally human beings.   (By “totally human” here I mean “as human as other humans” – all of us are born with divine potentials, whether or not we develop and use them.)

       “Luke” was dedicated to Theophilus Annas, the brother of Jonathan Annas (James or Jacob of Alphaeus, mentioned before) and Matthew Annas (“Levi” the priest, “son of Alphaeus”) during the short period of time while Theophilus was High Priest at Herod’s Jerusalem Temple. This event has a historical date because Josephus mentions it in connection with an event of tremendous historical importance to both Jews and the Roman Empire, the death of Tiberius Caesar and the accession of Gaius Caligula to become Emperor of the Roman Empire.  Caligula soon made his friend Herod Agrippa I king of Judaea at a time when both Theophilus Annas and later Matthew Annas (Jesus’ friend, apostle, and “Gospel Writer”) each served a term as High Priest of all the Jews. 

      The author of “Luke” begins this “trail of discovery” with a Priest named Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, who is NOT listed among the Jerusalem temple priests because he was an Essene priest functioning in the “hill country of Juda” ().  We know he was a high priest because in Luke chapter one he is “offering incense with all the people waiting outside” ()  It was  “Yom Kippur” (Day of Atonement) always performed (except in Seventh-day Adventism—which teaches an infinitely expanded version of Yom Kippur) on the 10th day of the 7th month – September usually.   But September of what year?  Enter the Star of Bethlehem of Matthew 1:    and back off one year, because John the Baptist was born 6 months before Jesus Christ.   If Jesus was born the year of the “star” and John was born in September of the previous year, then everything can be dated, including the non-immaculate conceptions of both John the Baptist and Jesus and that both occurred in “the hill country of Juda” where both Zechariah the priest and his wife Elizabeth “cousin” of Mary the mother of Jesus were for a period of time specified by Luke in a way in which it can be discovered.

The Barren Elizabeth was Easily Cured

     Before the re-discovery of both the ruins of the Qumran Monastery and the Dead Sea Scroll caves nearby in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the “hill country of Juda” of Luke 1 () didn’t mean much to Bible readers.  Now it means a lot, but people avoid this meaning because they wish to keep the Gospels totally allegorical so they can  teach and preach what they’re used to teaching and preaching because familiar is always better and our way is always the only truthful, right, and useful (to us) way.

If Christian Theologians and Church Leaders could prove that the Essenes never existed and that Jesus, Paul, and the 12 Apostles were not Essenes they would indeed do so, and spare no effort nor expense to do so.  This being impractical or maybe even impossible, the next best thing to maintain the all important status quo, is to ignore the Essenes, never talk about what they taught and did, and by all means not emulate their totally impractical lives of holiness, rigid Sabbath-keeping, and vegan diet.   It’s so much better to be “not under the law, but under grace.”

       Josephus, the famed Jewish historian, in Antiquities  () documents that the Essenes practiced strict celibacy most of the time, but also that certain members of important Essene families “preserved their bloodlines”  Zachariah “of the (priestly) course of Abiather (“Abai”) was one of these important Essene families.  Elizabeth, his wife, was “barren” while he served as high priest because he was not allowed to have sexual intercourse with her.  Once Gabriel gave him permission and relieved him of his duty temporarily, Elizabeth’s non-pregnancy was soon remedied.  And after six months (June of 8 BC) she was 6 months pregnant (babies can be felt to move by their mothers at that time).   Luke () documents that her “cousin” Mary came to visit Elizabeth “in the hill country of Juda” at that time, and stayed with her until “3 months” (the third month of 7 BC), at which time Mary returned to her “own house”.  Once we admit that both Elizabeth and Mary were Essenes, we know where Mary’s “house” was (1 Kilometer south of the Qumran monastery) and what it was used for (to deliver illegitimate or unwanted babies who were adopted by the Essenes as “the lambs of God”).

      Much of what is puzzling and undocumented about the birth of Jesus Christ at this point on our “trail of discovery” now has a date (March of 7 BC) and a place (a now missing wooden structure 1 kilometer south of the Qumran monastery).   What we still lack is a time of conception for Jesus.   Simple subtraction of 9 months (normal human gestation) from March, 7 BC, identifies June of 8 BC as the proper date.   The very same date on which Mary walked down a mountainous desert trail full of wild beasts and occasionally robbers (consider the parable of the “Good Samaritan”) to visit her “cousin” Elizabeth.  Now Mary was a virgin teenager, but she was not insane, and not likely to take such a trip in the heat of June on one of the hottest places on earth (Dead Sea Area) in the daytime and alone.   She was, according to Matthew and also Luke (), betrothed to Joseph, a descendent of King David at that time.  Now I ask you, who else but Joseph would be escorting his betrothed Mary along this desert trail at night in June of 8 BC.?   Perhaps it’s just coincidental that Jesus Christ was born 9 months later. Perhaps there’s some sort of mysterious connection between these two events – one in June of 8 BC and the other in March of 7 BC.  It’s up to you to think this over, and if it’s possible for you to do so, realize that we do indeed have a High Priest who is human, and tempted in all points like as we are.

       Accept if you must all this Jesuit nonsense about Jesus’ younger brothers, all children of one woman, Jesus’ mother, and one man, Jesus’ human father, being instead another family of older children belonging to Joseph, or perhaps Jesus’ “cousins” – for me, I’ll accept all the evidence left for me, and others like me, who have a brain, and know how to use it, on Luke’s desert trail of discovery –“in the hill country of Juda”.


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