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The Crucifiction

According to the Gospels, Jesus had no particular quarrel with Rome and did not violate Roman law.  And yet he was punished by the Romans in accordance with Roman law, and executed by a means exclusively reserved for those guilty of crimes against the empire.  There is a reason for the latter: It is a "cruel and unusual" punishment, calculated to derive the maximum amount of suffering.  As such, the Roman practice adhered to a very precise procedure.  First a flogging and weakening by a loss of blood.  Then outstretched arms fashioned by throngs or nails to a heavy wooden beam, which the victim carried across his neck and shoulders to the place of execution.*

With the victim hanging from the beam, it is raised and attached to a vertical post or stake.  Hanging from their hands, the victims can no longer breathe.  But to prolong the event, their feet are fixed to the cross.  This latter point is critical in that it allows them to press down on their feet and thus relieve the pressure on their chest.  Despite the agony, a man suspended with his feet fixed (especially a healthy and fit man) can survive for a least one or two days.  In fact some victims might take as much as a week to die -- from exhaustion, thirst, or blood poisoning from the nails.  As an act of mercy, the agony could be foreshortened by breaking the victim's legs or knees.  This coup de grace then caused a very rapid death, from asphyxiation of the pressure on his chest.           

According to John's Gospel (the only Gospel modern scholars consider to be based on an eye-witness account) Jesus' feet were fixed to the cross, and yet, he was pronounced dead within no more than a few hours.  In the Gospel of Mark, even Pilate is astonished by Jesus' rapid demise (“And Pilate marveled if he were already dead.” -- Mark 15:44).  Jesus' executioners were in fact about to break his legs when they were forestalled.  Which is strange.  Why hasten one's death, if apparently death had been very imminent?  In many respects, the timing of Jesus' death is a bit too opportune.           

According to John, Jesus from the cross complains of thirst.  In reply, he is given a sponge allegedly soaked in vinegar.  Rather than another act of cruelty, vinegar -- or soured wine -- is a temporary stimulant with the effects similar to smelling salts.  As such, it was often used to resuscitate flagging slaves on galleys.  For a wounded and exhausted man a sniff or taste of vinegar produces a restorative effect, a momentary surge of energy.  And yet in Jesus' case, his reaction is to utter his last words and "give up the ghost", all of which is physiologically inexplicable.   

On the other hand, his reaction would have been entirely consistent with a sponge soaked in something other than vinegar, such as belladonna or a soporific drug.  Such drugs were common in the Middle East at the time, and would have constituted a stratagem designed to produce a semblance of death, and in the process save Jesus' life.           

Modern scholars agree Jesus deliberately and unabashedly modeled his life in accordance with the prophecies of the Old Testament which heralded the coming of a Messiah:  

For example, riding upon two asses on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem was one such act.  ["Rejoice, rejoice, daughter of Zion, shout aloud, daughter of Jerusalem; for see, your king is coming to you, his cause won, his victory gained, humble and mounted on an ass, on a foal, the young of a she-ass."  Zecharia 9:9]   

Another is his betrayal by a disciple.  "They say, 'Put up some rascal to denounce him, an accuser to stand at his right side.'  But when judgment is given, that rascal will be exposed and his follies accounted a sin.  May his days be few; may his charge fall to another!  May his children be fatherless, his wife, a widow!"  [Psalms. 109:6-9]  Judas had already been entrusted with the group's money, its 'hoarded wealth', such that he was likely the “rascal” who was set up to denounce Jesus -- potentially at Jesus’ request! 

The apparent death of Jesus is also no exception.  "Yet on himself he bore our sufferings, our torments he endured, while we counted him smitten by God, struck down by disease and misery; but he was pierced through for our transgressions, tortured for our iniquities; the chastisement he bore is health for us and by his scourging we are healed.  We had all strayed like sheep, each of us had gone his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all...  With protection, without justice, he was taken away; and who gave a thought for his fate, how he was cut off from the world of living men, stricken to the death for my people's transgression?" -- Isaiah 53:4-8.  

The beginning of Psalms. 22:1 is also interesting:  "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me...?"  Or Psalms. 69:21... "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."  

With a knowledge of the Scriptures (Old Testament), Jesus realized that to be accepted as the true Messiah, it was essential that every aspect of his life be in full accordance with the Jewish prophecies.  Fortunately for him, the Scriptures did not require his death!           

Perhaps the vinegar was not vinegar, but a drug to cause Jesus to appear dead.  Concocted by an Essene herbalist-physician, the drug would be sufficiently powerful to induce almost total paralysis -- and in particular, near extinction of respiration and heartbeat.  With Jesus apparently dead, there would be no reason to break his legs (an act which might have been imminent in order to allow the corpse to be taken down before Passover Sabbath, as required by Jewish Law).  Simultaneously, one of Jesus' friends in high places could approach the authorities for permission to remove the body for burial to a nearby, spacious tomb (where in the coolness and privacy, hidden Essene physicians, armed with the appropriate antidote, could treat and revive their patient).           

But things did not go entirely according to plan.  With the guards already breaking the legs of the other two crucified men, one Roman guard contented himself with making sure of death by thrusting a lance into Jesus' side.  This complicated the Essene physicians' tasks.  Jesus' flogging had possibly been more severe than expected, and there was also an apparent delay while Pilate checked the report of Jesus' death.   

While the doctors might well have been able to save Jesus' life, the greater disaster was that he would be unable to fulfill the final stages of his mission -- to rise and lead a triumphant hoard of Jews back to Jerusalem in three days hence (again, in accordance with the Old Testament prophecies).  The latter appears in the three days Jonah appeared in the Whale (the same three days of the "Dark days of the Moon”) and, for example, Psalms. 118:17-18:  "I shall not die but live to proclaim the works of the Lord.  The Lord did indeed chasten me, but he did not surrender me to Death."           

There is also the consistent agreement of modern scholars that the Crucifiction was more likely held at the Garden of Gethsemane -- which would leave considerable room for a mock crucifixion, a skillfully stage-managed ritual.  Only a few eyewitnesses would have been immediately present, with the general populace constrained to witness from a distance, the latter fact confirmed by the Synoptic Gospels.           

Furthermore, in the Greek version of the Gospels, when Joseph of Arimetha asks for Jesus' body, he used the word soma -- a word applied only to a living body.  Pilate, assenting to the request, employs the word ptoma -- which means "corpse".  (Perhaps the Greeks knew something we didn't.)  Interestingly, there is also the possibility that Pilate was bribed.  This would account for the crucifiction taking place at the Garden of Gethsemane (private land), and for the body being taken down so quickly.  In short the evidence is overwhelming that the Cruci- fixion was instead a Cruci- fiction.           

The true aftermath has several possibilities.  Jesus was undoubtedly removed from his tomb by the morning of the third day.  Unfortunately for all their planning, Jesus, still seriously hurt, was unable to lead his followers into Jerusalem.  Instead, he may well have been taken to Egypt, specifically Alexandria -- where, at about the same time, the sage Ormus is said to have created the Rose-Croix by amalgamating Christianity with earlier, pre-Christian mysteries.  According to certain Islamic and Indian legends, Jesus eventually died, at a ripe old age, somewhere in the east -- possibly in Kashmir.  At least one modern scholar has made a persuasive argument that Jesus died at Masada when the fortress fell to the Romans in AD 74 -- by which time he would have been approaching his eightieth year.  His wife, Mary Magdalen, may well have fled the country, and in fact landed in Southern France.  With her, she would have carried the Holy Grail -- or "Blood Royal".           

Remember Barabbas?  The one spared in lieu of Jesus?  Some scholars consider the term to be a corruption of Jesus Berabbi.  "Berabbi" was a title reserved for the highest and most esteemed rabbis and was placed after the rabbi's given name, as it may have been done in Matthew's Gospel.  Alternatively, "Jesus Barabbas" might originally have been "Jesus bar Rabbi" -- literally, "Jesus, son of the Rabbi".   

There is no record anywhere that Jesus's father was a rabbi, but if Jesus had a son named after himself, that son would indeed have been "Jesus bar Rabbi".  Furthermore, rabbis were expected, as a matter of course, to marry and have children.  If Jesus was a rabbi, it would have been very unusual for him to remain childless.  It is also noteworthy that, in Matthew's Gospel, Barabbas is described as a "notable prisoner", which would be true if Barabbas was the son and heir apparent of Jesus, the King of the Jews.           

Such a situation would account for the crowd of Jews, which when given the choice between the two, would consider the dynasty more important than the individual, and thus ask for the release of the son.  Would not a people, faced with the dreadful choice, prefer to see their king sacrificed in order that his offspring and his line might survive.  If the line survived, there would at least be hope for the future.           

Thus it would seem that a son, a "Blood Royal", could have accompanied his mother, the wife of Jesus to safety in the South of France.  


Roman Crucifixion        History 009

Forward to:

A Family Perspective

The Hypothesis

*This very abbreviated historical perspective is taken from numerous sources, including specifically, the excellent book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln [Dell Publishing, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, 1983].   


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