THE HEART OF MARY
LIFE AND TIMES OF THE HOLY FAMILY
“I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA”
The Saga of the Forerunners
After the death of the Hasmonean, after the regency of Queen Alexandra, while Hyrcanus II occupied his position as high priest, after the civil war against his brother Aristobulus II, God raised the spirit of intelligence in Zechariah, son of Abijah.
Called to the priesthood because he was the son of Abijah, Zechariah focused his career in the administration of the Temple in the area of History and Genealogy of the families of Israel. A confidant of his father, with whom Zechariah shared his zeal for the coming of the Messiah, while his father and his partner the Babylonian led the search for the heir to the Crown of Judah, Zechariah conceived in his intelligence to open the Temple archives. When the failure of the search for the legitimate heirs of Zerubbabel was a fait accompli, Zechariah swore to himself that he would not rest until he turned the shelves upside down, and by Yahweh, that he would not stop until he found the clue that would lead him to the house of the living heir of King Solomon.
Jerusalem’s Temple fulfilled all the functions of a state. Its officials acted as a bureaucracy parallel to that of the Court itself. Registration of births, salaries of its employees, accounting of its income, School of Doctors of the Law, all this machinery functioned as an autonomous organism.
The positions of power were hereditary. They also depended on the influences of each aspirant. As an aspirant, Zacharias would have in his favor the three classic forces with which anyone could have reached the top.
He had the spiritual leadership of his father. He had the influence and full support of one of the most influential men inside and outside the Sanhedrin, Simeon the Babylonian, the Shemayas of traditional Jewish sources. In these sources Abijah is called Abtalion, a distortion of the original Hebrew, with whose perversion of the Hebrew sources the Jewish historian intended to hide from the eyes of the future the messianic connections between the generations before Jesus’ Birth and Christianity itself. And above all and most importantly, Zechariah counted on the spirit of intelligence that his God had given him to bring his enterprise to a successful conclusion.
At the command of God, the saga of the restorers led by Abijah and Simeon the Babylonian, whose names -I have said- were perverted by the later Jewish historians in order to root the origin of Christianity in the mind of a madman, God raised in the son of Simeon the Babylonian the forerunner spirit that He engendered in the son Abijah, his partner.
Having denied victory to the fathers, because the glory of triumph had been reserved for their sons, older that of Abijah than that of Simeon, God in his Omniscience willed that the son of Simeon, Simeon like his father, should have as his spiritual partner the son of Abijah, closing the friendship that already existed between them with bonds that always endure.
Also, like his father, Simeon the Younger seemed born to enjoy a comfortable and happy existence, far from the spiritual concerns of Abijah’s son. A chip off the old block, Simeon the Younger joined his future to that of Zechariah by placing at his service the fortune he would inherit from his father.
Counting on with these point d’ appui a man must have been very foolish - speaking of Zechariah - to fail in his attempt to rise to the pyramid of the Templar bureaucracy, and rise to the top as Director of the Historical Archives and Major Genealogist of the Theocratic State into which, after the conquest of Judah by Pompey the Great, the ancient kingdom of the Hasmoneans was converted. Given the unmeasured intelligence by God shone on him, Zechariah reached the top and planted his banner on the highest peak of the Temple structure.
Times were hard anyway. Civil wars ravaged the world. Horror was the norm. Thank God the failure of Simeon and Abijah closed with a compensatory happy ending.
After the death of Queen Alexandra, what had long been foreseen happened. Aristobulus II claimed the crown for himself, fought on the battlefield against his brother Hyrcanus II and won the victory. But if he dreamed of legalizing his coup d'état, he soon saw his mistake.
The world was no longer ready to return to the days of their father. The Sadducees themselves refused to lose the prerogatives that the Sanhedrin had conferred on them. Neither Sadducees nor Pharisees wanted a return to the status quo prior to the inauguration of the Sanhedrin. Obviously to the Pharisees less than to the Sadducees. So it was agreed to bring into the scene the father of the future king Herod, Palestinian by birth, Jewish by force. By order of the Pharisees, Antipater hired the king of the Arabs to expel Aristobulus II from the throne.
The maneuver of putting the burden of the rebellion on the shoulders of Hyrcanus II was a ploy of the Sanhedrin to stay out of the way in case of defeat of the hired forces. The ongoing war the situation was resolved in favor of Hyrcanus thanks to divine foreknowledge, which interposed between the brothers the Roman general of the moment, in triumphal stroll through the lands of Asia. We speak of Pompey the Great.
After conquering Turkey and Syria, the Roman general received an embassy from the Jews begging him to intervene in their kingdom and stop the civil war to which passions had dragged them. We are in the sixties of the first century BC.
Pompey agreed to act as arbitrator between the two brothers. He ordered them to come forward immediately to give him an account of the reasons why they were killing each other. Who was Cain, who was Abel?
Pompey did not enter into discussions of this nature. With the authority of a master of the universe he spoke words of wisdom and made known his Solomonic judgment on the case. From that day and until further notice the kingdom of the Jews became a Roman province. Hyrcanus II was reestablished in his functions as head of state, and Antipater, father of Herod, as chief of his staff. As for Aristobulus, he was to retire to civil life and forget about the crown.
And so it was done. Then Pompey left with the Roman eagles to complete his conquest of the Mediterranean universe, leaving the bells tolling in Jerusalem for the solution adopted, of all the worst the best.
In those days the dragon of madness trotted at ease throughout the confines of the Ancient World. He had been doing so since the dawn of time, but this time, when the Roman civil wars, wiser the Devil for old than for genius, his tongues of fire created more evil men than ever. Unlike the Divine Tongue that made saints, that of the Devil gave birth to monsters who sold their souls to Hell for the sake of the ephemeral power of the glory of war. Like a Superstar signing bloody wedding contracts with the bride and groom of Death, the Prince of Darkness signed autographs, hoping in his manifest madness to obtain from his Creator the applause due to the one who gave God an ultimatum.
The count of the dead in the Roman world wars was never recorded. The future will never know how many souls perished under the insane wheels of the Roman Empire. Reading the chronicles of that empire of darkness on Earth one would dare say that the Devil himself had been hired as an advisor to the Caesars. Once again the Beast roamed the ends of the earth executing his sovereign will.
In the midst of those bloody times, when even a blind man could see the impossibility of opposing the new master of the universe, even worse if the aspirant was no more than a fly on the back of an elephant, against all logic and common sense Aristobulus II went beyond the Solomonic judgment of Pompey the Great and declared himself in armed rebellion against the Empire.
The unlimited ambition for absolute power does not understand races or times. History has seen the hare jump more times than the annals of modern nations can remember. Apparently the gulf between man and beast is less dangerous than man’s leap to the status of the sons of God. And yet those who deny man’s future what belongs to him by right of creation are the same ones who then defend the idea of evolution with fire and sword. We do not know if with the Doubt about God’s intentions in creating Man, Science hides an open rebellion against the final stage programmed in our genes since the origins of the historical ages. In the end, it could be only a question of cranial pride raised to the square of its power. That is to say, it is not a denial that God exists; what exists is a refusal to live a chronicle foretold. Why do we have to be passive objects of a story written before we were born? Is it not better to be active subjects of a tragedy written by Destiny?
The depths of human psychology never cease to amaze. In the darkness of the abyssal pits of the mind, luminescent creatures as beautiful as stars in the night suddenly transform into monstrous dragons. Their fiery arrows devour all peace, violate all justice, deny all truth. And coveting the power of the rebellious gods, they prove right those who do not believe in evolution when they affirm that after man there is something else.
After all, it is not so much a question of believing or not believing, but of choosing between the being of the Beast and that of the Son of God.
In this respect Aristobulus II had a mental structure very typical of his time. Either he had everything or he had nothing. Why share the Power? Between Cain and Abel he had chosen the role of Cain. Why was the Roman now coming to steal the fruit of his victory?
As long as Pompey the Great imposed his will on him at the point of the sword and the myth about the invincibility of the Pirate Killer kept his passion at bay, everything went smoothly for the Savior of the Mediterranean. As soon as Pompey’s back was turned, Aristobulus came out and he devoted himself to what he knew best, making war.
The way he understood how to wage war, at least he put it into practice.
Wherever he rode he dedicated himself to leaving his mark. A farm here and a farm there, Judea was to remember his father’s son for a long time to come. Fire, ruin, desolation, let history be written and let what is written be written, if not in the annals of history at least on the backs of the people!
The Ancient Serpent must have known that the Day of Yahweh was approaching, a day of vengeance and wrath. The Leviathan in the crosshairs of Hell redoubled the fire within him and from the pinnacle of his cursed glory began to lead the army of darkness to its impossible victory.
Brother against brother, kingdom against kingdom. Even the almighty Roman Senate trembled with fear the day Caesar crossed his particular Red Sea. Because of the Conqueror of Gaul, he who had just been acclaimed lord of Asia, Great Pompey himself, was seen crossing the Great Sea like a cat to end up being killed like a louse on a beach by order of a pharaoh in skirts.
Until Egypt came chasing his former partner who turned a river into a phrase for the legend, and there he would have been buried by the same pharaoh who killed Pompey had not providentially intervened in his favor the provincial armies of Asia, among whose squadrons the cavalry of the Jews excelled in courage and bravery, giving him the victory and, more importantly, saving his life. Salvation that earned the Jews of the Empire the gratitude of Caesar, and regained for the nation of the Jews its lost fame of valiant warriors.
The need that drives the powerful to need each other was the one that threw the Jewish chief of staff in the arms of the new master of the Mediterranean universe, winning the father of Herod for the Jewish people the honors of grace, as I said, and for him and his house the friendship of one who is grateful because he was well born, that of the unique and incomparable Julius Caesar.
This last grace was not felt in the same way in Jerusalem as it did in the circle of the family concerned. But, given the persistence of the son of the Hasmonean to follow in the footsteps of his father, it was respected as a contention wall against a new civil war. In such moments little or nothing the Jews believed that they should fear of the dazzling race to the power of the puppy Herod.
Not even when Herod showed more than enough courage to dismantle the forces of the Galilean bandits and sentence them to death by bypassing the laws of the Senate of the Jews?
Taking advantage of his position as lieutenant of the northern forces, Herod captured the bandits, dismantled their bases and condemned their leaders to death. Nothing unusual if it had been a Jewish leader. The problem was that by taking on the functions of the Sanhedrin - to judge and sentence to death – Herod’s personal ambition was exposed and forced the Sanhedrin to clip their wings while there was still time.
The matter of judging the Idumean puppy was complex because of his godfather, Caesar himself. The point was that if his wings were not clipped, no one would be able to stop his dazzling career to the throne.
Simeon the Babylonian and Abijah made this argument before the other members of the court that met to judge Herod. Had they been spared the usurpation of David¡s throne by a Jew by birth to see how a Palestinian would put his ass on it?
Without fear of the Idumean puppy Simeon the Babylonian laid out his sentence before all: Either they condemned him to death now that they had him at their mercy or they would repent of their cowardice the day the son of Antipater sat on the throne of Jerusalem.
Herod turned to look at that old man who was prophesying to him in the light of day what he had seen so many times in his dreams. Admired to find among those cowards a brave man, he swore there, in the presence of all his judges, that on the day he would wear the crown he would put them all to the sword. All except the one man who had dared to tell him to his face how he felt.
When Herod was king that was the first measure he took. Except for his particular prophet, he beheaded all the members of the Sanhedrin.
The Genealogy of Jesus according to Luke
In the midst of those days of bloody horrors Nature defied Hell by flooding the earth with beauty. It was indeed a time of beautiful women. In the service of her Lord, Nature conceived a woman of extraordinary beauty, and gave her a name. She called her Elizabeth.
Elizabeth was the daughter of one of the priestly families of the upper class of Jerusalem. Her parents belonged to one of the twenty-four families, heirs of the twenty-four Temple shifts. Her parents were clients of the house of the Simeons; the extraordinary beauty of that girl opened the doors of the heart of Simeon the Younger, with whom she came to be raised as if she were a sister.
Elizabeth¡s parents could only look favorably on the relationship between the kids. Thinking of the possibility of a future marriage, her parents granted Elizabeth a freedom generally denied to the daughters of Aaron. Was there anything that could fill the hearts of those parents with more pride that their eldest daughter becoming the mistress of the heir to one of the largest fortunes in Jerusalem?
It was no longer just a question of wealth, there was also the protection Herod had extended over the Simeons. The death of the leading members of the Sanhedrin after his coronation left the Simeons in a privileged position. In fact, that of the Simeons was the only fortune that the king did not confiscate.
If Elizabeth were to impose her beauty on young Simeon, … more than her parents could ever have dreamed of.
This secret possibility in mind, which every year seemed to become more real by reason of the intelligence with which Wisdom had enriched what Nature had clothed with so many gifts, Elizabeth¡s parents let her cross that thin frontier on the other side of which the Hebrew woman was free to choose a husband.
The normal thing in the Jewish castes was to close the marriage contract of the Aaronic females before reaching that dangerous age, reached which by law the woman could not be forced to accept the paternal authority as if it were the will of God. Convinced of the irresistible influence of Elizabeth¡s beauty on the young Simeon, her parents took the risk of letting her cross that frontier.
She crossed it with delight, and he was her accomplice.
Simeon played along with the soul mate that life had given him. Raised himself to enjoy a privileged freedom, by the time Elizabeth’s parents came to realize the truth it would already be too late. Elizabeth would by then have crossed that border and nothing and no one in the world could prevent her from marrying the man she loved more than her life, more than the walls of Jerusalem, more than the stars of the infinite sky, more than the angels themselves.
The day her parents understood who Elizabeth’s chosen one was, that day her parents cried out to heaven.
The problem of the man whom Elizabeth loved in such a way that was so superior to the family’s interests was simple. Elizabeth had given her heart to the stubbornest young man in all Jerusalem. In reality, no one was betting anything on the life of Abijah’s son. It had gotten into Zechariah’s head to enter the Temple and drive out all the genealogy peddlers and wholesale birth document dealers. Shocked by what they believed to be a frontal attack on their pockets, many swore to end his career at any price. But neither threats nor curses could scare Zachariah.
In this everyone recognized that the son was his father’s replay. Was not his father the only man in the whole kingdom capable of standing before the Hasmonean in his best days, cutting him off and prophesying to his face a volcano of misfortune? What could be expected of his son, being a coward?
In any case, why didn’t Zacharias direct his crusade elsewhere? Why had he got it into his head to focus his crusade against the flourishing business of buying and selling genealogical documents and false birth records? What harm was being done to anyone by issuing those documents?
The interested parties came from Italy itself, ready to pay as much as they asked for a simple piece of papyrus signed and sealed by the Temple. Why was the son of Abijah so obsessed? Why didn’t he dedicate himself to enjoying life like any other son of a neighbor? Was he having fun cutting everyone’s hair?
Well, but before we go any further, let us enter into the mind of Zechariah and the circumstances against which he rose up.
I have said that Zechariah, son of Abijah, and Simeon the Younger, son of Simeon the Babylonian, picked up the baton of the search for the living Heir of king Solomon.
Given all the circumstances established in the previous chapters, it is understandable that secrecy was the sine qua non that was to lead them to the end of the thread. No one was to know what the goal in mind was.
If to the Hasmoneans the very idea of the Davidic restoration made their hair stand on end, at the slightest suspicion of the intentions of the sons of their protégés, the Shemayas and Abtalion of the official Jewish writings, Simeon and Abijah for us, King Herod would on the day carry off all the sons of David.
Then there were the classic pirates who would be happy to denounce their sons, our Simeon and Zechariah. Herod would reward the denunciation for treason to the crown with honors thousands. And in passing they would eliminate from the scene the lone crusader with whom no agreement could be reached.
So, knowing the sea of dangers on whose waves he sailed, Zacharias opened his mind to no one in the world. Not even to Elizabeth herself, the woman he was aware he would marry despite the will of his future in-laws.
It was natural that of all the men of Jerusalem there was no other in need of the strongest protection than the son of Abijah.
Let us now enter into the causes of that widespread corruption into whose arms the Temple officials threw themselves.
In gratitude for their salvation by the Jewish chivalry - as I have said before - Julius Caesar granted to Judea fiscal privileges and liberation for its citizens from the service of arms.
Caesar was unaware of the complex extent of the Jewish world. Shrewd as anyone, the Jews throughout his Empire took advantage of his ignorance to benefit from the privileges granted to the citizens of Judea. But to benefit from such privileges they were obliged to present the relevant documents.
All the Jews had to do was to go to Jerusalem, pay a sum of money and get hold of them.
Was it this little trick enough to get mad? Did Zachariah not love his brothers in Abraham? Why did he object? What was in it for him? The Temple coffers were getting full. Was he, as a priest and a Jew by birth, not interested in the prosperity of his people?
The growing enmity against Zechariah stemmed from the fact of his unstoppable ascent, which, in a short time, if no one were to cut him off, would lead him to the top of the direction of the Historical and Genealogical Archives, on which depended the issuance of the aforementioned documents.
Man, there were reasons for the son of Abijah to turn a blind eye and take advantage of the occasion to get rich, and on the way to share with everyone the prosperity that heaven had given them after so many past evils.
But no, the son of Abijah said that he did not marry corruption. His head was as hard as a rock. To make matters worse, the protection he counted on left his enemies no other way out but to try to stop his career by all means.
So as much as she adored the man of her life, Elizabeth herself wondered what the crusade of her beloved was all about. When she brought up the subject with him, he would give her the runaround, look the other way, change his tune and leave her speechless. Did he not love her?
Simeon the Younger laughed at those two impossible lovers.
Elizabeth laughed; and as she was the daughter of Aaron and had Nature on her side, that her soul friend was going to discover what mystery the two of them were up to.
Simeon the Younger gave her the runaround at first. The last thing he wanted was to endanger Elizabeth’s life. In the end he had to open his heart and reveal the truth.
A Jew from any part of the Empire who wished to register as a citizen of Judea to which family would he be related and in which city would he ask to be registered as a native?
The answer was so obvious that Elizabeth understood instantly.
“In Bethlehem of Judah and to King David”.
Difficult that it was for the Major Genealogist of the Kingdom to advance among mountains of documents, this avalanche of David’s children suddenly coming to the legendary king from all sides…
“Then you are looking for Solomon's heir”, Elizabeth replied to Simeon. “How nice!”. Simeon laughed heartily at her witticism.
Zechariah didn’t find that funny his partner discovering the truth to Elizabeth. Once the damage was done, it was necessary to move forward and trust in her prudence. Trust that Elizabeth never let down.
The same Spirit that stops the advance of the warriors and denies them the passage to the goals reserved by Him for those who will follow them, that same God is the one who orders the times and moves on the stage the actors for whom He reserved the victory that He denied to those who opened the way for them.
Against all the bad omens that their enemies wished them, Zechariah reached the top of the direction of the Archives of the Temple. He also married the mate chosen for him by destiny. When they found that they could not have children, it was said: “God’s punishment”, because she had rebelled against the will of her parents, but they consoled themselves by loving each other with all the strength of which the human heart is capable.
To the sorrow of finding themselves sterile was added the failure of their search.
The Birth of Joseph
Zechariah spent years sifting through the mountains of genealogical documents, sorting scroll by scroll of history in search of the clue that should lead him to the last living heir to Solomon’s crown. He did not go mad because his intelligence was stronger than the despair that seized his mind, and, of course, because the Spirit of his God smiled on him through the lips of his partner Simeon, who never lost hope and was always there to boost his morale.
“Calm down, man, you will see how in the end we will find what we are looking for where we least expect it, and when we least imagine it, you will see. Don’t break your head because your God wants to open your eyes in his own way. I don’t think He’s going to leave you empty-handed. It’s just that we are looking in the wrong direction. The fault is ours. Do you think he has lifted you up to where you are to leave you with your desolation at the top? Rest, enjoy your existence, let Him make us laugh”.
That Simeon was an extraordinary man. But in every sense. When he married the woman of his dreams, he also enjoyed the dream of being the happiest man in the world. With that happiness of his that spilled over to all the clients of his House and made him the banker of the poor, one fine day business matters took him to Bethlehem.
The clientele of the Simeons also extended its branches to the towns around Jerusalem. Among the families that did business with them was the Clan of the carpenters of Bethlehem. By this time the leadership of the clan was in the hands of Mattath, father of Heli. The Clan of the carpenters of Bethlehem had carved its reputation as professional woodworkers since nobody knew when. It was even said that the founder of the Clan put one of the gates of the holy city in the days of Zerubbabel. Simple rumors, of course. The thing was that the arrival of Simeon the Younger in Bethlehem coincided with the birth of Heli’s firstborn. They called the newborn Joseph. Congratulations aside, closed the business that brought him to Bethlehem, the child’s grandfather and our Simeon entered into conversations about the origins of the family. The ongoing topic wanted the conversation itself Mattath to elaborate on the Davidic origin of his house.
In Bethlehem it never occurred to anyone to question the word of the head of the Clan of the carpenters. Everyone was, because it had always been believed in the town, that the Clan belonged to the house of David. Mattath, Joseph’s grandfather, did not go around using the genealogical document of his family as if it were a whip ready to fall on the unbelievers. That would not have been the point. It was simply so, it had always been so and it did not proceed otherwise. His parents had been considered sons of David since nobody remembered when, and he, Mattath, had every right to believe in the word of his ancestors. After all, everyone was free to believe himself to be the son of whomever suited him best.
But of course, Zechariah’s research at a standstill, the search for the son of Solomon at the level of historical archives anchored in a dead end, the fact that a simple family of carpenters jumped into the realm of infallible realities, necessarily our Simeon had to find that absolute certainty of grandfather Mattath, if not funny, at least quite sympathetic. More than anything else, it was the tone of certainty in the breath of Joseph’s grandfather.
When, without intending to offend the head of the clan of the carpenters of Bethlehem, Simeon the Younger questioned the legitimacy of the Davidic origin of his house, Grandfather Mattath looked at the young Simeon with somewhat offended eyebrows. His first reaction was to feel offended, and by his beard that, had the doubt come from another individual, for his honor he would have instantly kicked him out of his house. But in honor of the friendship that bound him to the Simeons, and because in no way did the Young Man intend to offend him, Grandfather Mattath refrained from giving free rein to his temper. Also because with the winds that were blowing, when it was enough to kick a stone to produce children for David, the boy’s doubt was understandable to him.
A very good-natured man, in spite of this way of entering into our story, not wanting any doubt of any kind to float between his house and that of the Simeons from now on, Grandfather Mattath took our Simeon by the arm, and took him aside. With all the confidence in the world in his truth, the man led him to his private room. He went to a chest as old as winter, opened it and took out of its interior a kind of bronze roll wrapped in rancid furs. Before Simeon’s eyes Grandfather Mattath placed it on the table. And he unrolled it slowly with the mystery of one who is going to bare his soul.
As soon as he saw the contents wrapped in those rancid furs, Simeon’s pupils opened like windows when the first spring rays burst. A mute “Holy God” escaped from his lips, but he concealed his surprise and hid the emotion that was running down his back. And the fact is that rarely in his life, even being the intimate of the Genealogist Major of the Kingdom, and in spite of how accustomed he was to seeing ancient documents, some as old as the walls of Jerusalem, rarely had his eyes seen a jewel as beautiful as it was important.
That genealogical scroll had the antiquity to the surface. The seals on its metal were two stars shining in a leathery firmament as dry as the mountain where Moses received the Tablets. The characters of his writing gave off exotic fragrances born on the battlefield where David raised what would be the sword of the kings of Judah. Grandfather Mattath unfolded the genealogical roll of his House in all its magical extension and let the Young Man read the list of the ancestors of Joseph, his newborn grandson. It read:
“Heli, son of Mattath. Mattath, son of Levi. Levi, son of Melki. Melki, son of Jannai. Jannai, son of Joseph. Joseph, son of Mattathias. Mattathias, son of Amos. Amos, son of Nahum. Nahum, son of Esli. Esli, son of Naggai. Naggai, son of Maath. Maath, son of Mattathias. Mattathias the son of Shemain. Shemain, son of Josech. Josech, son of Joddah. Joddah, son of Johanam. Johanam, son of Rhesa. Rhesa the son of Zerubbabel.
While Simeon the Younger did not dare to raise his eyes. A dazzling energy was running fiber by fiber through his marrow. Inside he wanted to jump for joy, his soul felt like that of the Hero after the victory, jumping naked through the streets of Jerusalem. If Zacharias had been there with him, at his side, by God they would have danced the dance of the brave around the fire of victory.
Sure enough, of course Simeon the Younger had seen a document just like that one, varying in names, but of the same antiquity, keeping in its secrets the oldest Hebrew characters, written by the men who lived in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. He had seen it in his own house. His own father had inherited it from his father and brought it to Jerusalem to deposit a copy in the Temple Archives. Yes, he had seen it in his own house, it was the family jewel of the Simeon family. How many families in all of Israel could put such a document on the table? The answer Simeon had known since he was a child: only the families that returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon could do so, and all those who could do so were in the Sanhedrin.
Holy God, what our Simeon would have given to have had his Zechariah by his side at that moment. The Moon and the stars were not worth in his eyes what that Babylonian bronze scroll embraced to that cowhide parchment of Eden. That document was worth more than a thousand volumes of theology. What he would not have given to have had the opportunity to have heard from the lips of Zechariah the reading of the rest of the List! It said:
“Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel. Salathiel, son of Neri; Neri, son of Melchi: Melchi, son of Addi; Addi, son of Cosam; Cosam, son of Elmadam: Elmadam, son of Er; Er, son of Jesus; Jesus, son of Eliezer; Eliezer, son of Jori; Jori, son of Matath; Matath, son of Levi; Levi, son of Simeon; Simeon, son of Judah; Judah, son of Joseph; Joseph, son of Eliakim; Eliakim, son of Melea; Melea, son of Menna; Menna, son of Mattatha; Mattatha, son of Nathan. Nathan... son of David."
The Great Synagogue of the East
Perhaps I am somewhat hasty in the succession of events, moved by the emotion of memories. I hope that the reader will not hold it against me to have launched me almost unbridled through the plain of the memories that I am unveiling to him. After having been two thousand years asleep in the silence of the high peaks of History, the author himself cannot control the emotion that seizes him, and his fingers go to the clouds with the ease with which the wings of the snow eagle tend towards the unreachable sun that gives life to its feathers.
The truth that I have passed over is the relative international calm that Julius Caesar’s empire brought to the region, a relative peace that played in favor of our heroes, exciting their intelligence, especially that of our Zechariah. Under other geopolitical circumstances, perhaps, the possibility of bringing that Peace into the scheme of their interests would not have crossed their minds.
Roughly speaking, everyone knows what kind of love-hate relationship between Romans and Parthians kept the Near East in check during that century. In any case, textbooks on the history of the Ancient Near East and the Republic of Rome are available to anyone. It is not a topic that predominates in the official recreation, especially in terms of the Asian origin of the Parthians, a detail that, for Western historians, influenced by their Greco-Latin culture, is sufficient excuse to touch in passing the subject of the history of their Empire. This History is not the best place to open the horizon in that direction; let it be noted here the desire to do so at another time. In the end, this History cannot open up to infinity the scenario where it developed. The official manuals are there to open the horizon to anyone who wants to delve a little deeper into the subject.
The fact that comes to mind and belongs to this History centers its epicenter in the influence that Caesar’s peace had on the area and the options that it put in the hands of its inhabitants. Let us think that every time one thinks of the days of the conqueror of Gaul, the predominant note remains in the paraphernalia of his wars, his dictatorial instincts, the skein of political conspiracies against his imperium, always passing over the benefits that his peace brought to all the peoples subject to Rome. In relation to our story, Caesar’s peace was more important than great.
Zechariah, who did not stop scheming how to bring to completion his search for the rightful heir to the crown of Solomon, one day thought of the words of his partner: “Relax, man, you'll see that in the end we find what we are looking for where we least expect it, and when we least expect it, you'll see”, and he said that Simeon had all the truth in the world. They had not yet found what they were looking for because they had been wandering around in a vacuum. Nor would they probably ever find the clue to the sons of Zerubbabel if they kept poking around where there were no traces of their existence. So why not play the Great Synagogue of the East card? All they had to do was to send a mail asking the Synagogue of New Babylon to search for Zerubbabel¡s genealogy among their archives. It was that easy, that simple.
Simeon the Babylonian, a native of Seleucia of the Tigris, a perfect connoisseur of the Synagogue in question nodded his head. He laughed and blurted it out as it came from his soul:
“Sure, how have we been so blind all this time? Therein lies the key to the riddle. Don’t waste your time. Somewhere in that mountain of files you must find the jewel that has you in your head. The time is ripe. It is now or never. No one can say when the peace will be broken. Let's get to work.”
Zechariah and his men chose a trusted courier from among the couriers of the Great Synagogue of the East who used to bring the Tithe to Jerusalem once the roads were open. The message he was to carry on his return to Seleucia, to be read exclusively by the heads of the Synagogue of the Magi of the East, concluded with these words: “Focus the investigation on the sons of Zerubbabel who accompanied him from Babylon to Jerusalem”.
The tension between the two empires of the moment, the Roman and the Parthian, a rope in tension that could break at any moment, besides having to reckon with the continuous nationalist insurrections typical of the Near East, the answer could take some time. But they had time.
Since the days of Zerubbabel the Jews on the other side of the Jordan had managed to circumvent the dangers and fulfill the Tithe. During the stability that Western Asia was given by the empire of the Persians the caravan of the Magi from the East arrived year after year. Later, after the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great, the situation did not change. Things got worse when the Parthians pitched their tents east of Eden and dreamed of the invasion of the West.
Antiochus III the Great struggled to contain the onslaught of the new barbarians. His son Antiochus IV died defending the frontiers. Once converted the lands of the Near East in a no man’s land open to looting and pillaging after the death of the Beast of the Jews, the Jews east of the Jordan had to learn to cope alone, but whatever happened the caravan of the Magi of the East always arrived in Jerusalem with its cargo of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
This adversity being accounted for, Zechariah’s mail reached its destination. In due time he returned to Jerusalem with the expected answer.
The answer to the Zechariah question was as follows:
“Two were the sons whom Zerubbabel brought with him from Babylon. The eldest was named Abiud; the youngest was named Rhesa”.
And there was more, the courier of the Magi continued to tell them:
“To the eldest of his sons Zerubbabel gave the roll of his father, king of Judah. The son of Abiud was therefore the bearer of the Solomonic scroll. To the younger he gave the genealogical roll of his mother. Consequently, the son of Rhesa was the bearer of the roll of the house of Nathan, son of David. Except in their lists the two rolls were the same. As to where both heirs were, about this they could not give you details”.
How strange is the Almighty! coming back from Bethlehem was thinking Simeon the Younger. How strangely the Almighty moves! The river is hidden under the earth, the stone swallows it up, no one knows what path it will carve through the hypogeum far from the sight of all the living. Only He, the Omniscient One, knows the exact place where it will break and float.
The Lord laughs at the despair of his people, he lets them dig in the ground looking for where the river that was lost in the heart of the earth just born will go, and when they throw in the towel under the weight of the impossible victory and their hands bleed with the wounds of frustration then the Omniscient is moved by the soul, he gets up, smiles at his people and with a slap on the back goes and tells them: Come on guys, what’s wrong with you? Lift up your eyes, what you are looking for is right under your noses.
Simeon the Younger laughed thinking about the face his partner Zacharias was going to make when he told him the news. He already imagined himself telling him the movie of his discovery.
“Sit down Zechariah”, he would say.
Zechariah would stare at him. Simeon the Younger would continue to wrap him in the mystery of his joy, predisposed to enjoy that moment second by second.
“What’s the matter, brother, have you lost that ability of yours to read my mind?”, Simeon the Younger would insist.
Yes sir, he was going to enjoy that moment to the last second.
At that moment there was nothing in the world he wanted more than to live in the open sky the gaze of his partner when he would say to him:
“Mr. Senior Genealogist of the Kingdom, tomorrow I am going to have the infinite pleasure of introducing to you Rhesa, the son of Nathan, son of David, father of Zerubbabel”.
The Alpha and the Omega
Against the horizon the ocean raises its mouth, devouring the sky. The winds rustle, the sharks sink their paths in the dark depths fleeing from the brambles of fire that in the form of whips of water lash the strong arms that preferred to die fighting to live dying. What unknown force from the remote altars of the universe sprinkles with its nectar of laughing courage the eyes of men who go barefoot and walk bare-souled on a path of thorns seeking to warm their bones to the fire that is never consumed? What energy hardens the bones of the lark of the distances between the two poles of the magnet traveling the short seasons of its ephemeral life? Why does the suffering, crushed, exhausted and burned earth of its primordial sludge give birth to spirits born to turn their backs on the beach of coconut trees and go solitary into the depths of the black forests? What mystery is hidden in the human soul, which so many seek and so few reach? In what cradle did the firmament of the heavens suckle the breast that shows the arrow the cleft that will serve as a quiver between its ribs?
Are not the pleasures of life waves of cream and chocolate on whose lips fragrant petals deposit their kisses? The king of the jungle sits on the plain to admire the dance of his queen in the valley of the gazelles. The indomitable condor walks his feathered ship over peaks that cut the sky like heroes’ swords the ranks of the enemy. The dolphin of the oceans is carried away by the warm currents, dreaming to meet along the paths of the sea, caravels of colonists drunk with dreams. Why was it man’s lot to be the one who had the beating of ambitions, the clash of interests, the rustling of passions?
What shall we do with that part of the nature of our Gender? Shall we sing a lullaby before the requiem? Shall we banish from our future the birth of new heroes? Shall we do with the children of the future what others did, give them a tomb for freedom? Or shall we lock them up in a cage so that they may roam sadly like those silly little birds that die if their freedom is stolen from them?
Every man has before him a life of dangers and a life of comfort in forgetfulness of the fate of others. Every age has had its devil’s advocates and its prosecutors of Christ. The only thing we know is that once you start down the road there is no turning back.
The courier from New Babylon who brought the answer to the Forerunner Saga was named Hillel. Hillel was a young doctor of the Law in the handwriting of the school of the Magi of the East. As in his day did Simeon the Babylonian, Hillel made his entry into Jerusalem bringing the Tithe in one hand, and in the other a secret wisdom fit only for that class of men whom the earth stops, though their fellow men condemn them.
The earth also weeps, and her children also learn. It has always been said that man knows more about hell because he has lived among its flames since he was expelled from paradise, than the devil himself and his rebellious angels, because their future being our fate, such cursed children have not yet tasted the bitter taste of the fires of the terrible avernus that awaits them around the corner.
The Hellenic sages believed themselves superior to the Hebrews because of their ability to penetrate the mystery of all things. It is therefore obligatory to ask, does he who stumbles on the stone of the donkeys know more than he who has never fallen? In other words, we are all condemned to learn by stumbling twice like the donkeys. And therefore we must condemn by system everyone who learned the lesson without the need to bite the dust where the Serpent writhes.
In those days of dragons and beasts, of scorpions, two paths opened before men. If the first way was chosen: to forget to look at the stars and dedicate oneself to one’s labors, existence demanded no more speech than “live and let live”, let the tyrant crushes and the powerful devour the soul of men, it is his destiny, and that of the weak to be crushed and sunk.
If the second way was chosen all wisdom was little and all caution insufficient. Zechariah and his men had chosen the latter way. So had Hillel, the young doctor of the Law sent to them by the Magi of the East from New Babylon with the answer to their question.
Hillel not only brought them the names of the two sons of Zerubbabel who accompanied him from Old Babylon to the Lost Homeland. Alone with the Saga of the Forerunners he told them what they had never heard, he made known to them a doctrine whose existence they could never have imagined in their wildest dreams.
That Zerubbabel was the heir to the crown of Judah, and in his capacity as prince of his people led the caravan of the return from captivity is a classic of sacred history. Starting from this well-known fact, presupposing Zechariah and his Saga that the eldest son of Zerubbabel had the birthright of the kings of Judah, Zechariah made his way through the genealogical mountain ranges of his nation. Eventually the impossibility of overcoming those mountain ranges of endless archives led him to look across the Jordan. And from what was once the land of earthly paradise came the answer on the lips of the doctor of the Law, the protagonist of the following discourse.
“Here I am with the two sons the Lord gave me”, began Hillel the message he brought from the present Chief Magi of the East, a man named Ananel.
“Many times have all of us present read these words of the prophet. There were not two however the sons that David had. He had many. But only two, as his words testify, he included in his messianic inheritance. We speak of Solomon and Nathan. The first was wise, the second was a prophet. David divided his messianic legacy between them.
“In so doing David removed from his heir to the crown the idea of being the son of Man, the Child who would be born to Eve to crush the Serpent’s head. In other words, Solomon was not to be swayed by the cry of his Court clamoring for the universal kingdom; for he was not the Messiah-king of his father David’s visions.
“Worthy son of his father, the wise king par excellence followed to the letter the Divine Plan. So did his brother Nathan the prophet. This one, from the day after the coronation of his brother withdrew from the Court and merged with the people leaving behind him the trail that is never forgotten nor ever reached”.
(Many doubts may arise here as to whether Nathan, son of King David, and Nathan the prophet were one and the same person. I would not want to get lost in digressions typical of a historian of things past. When the documentary evidence necessary for the reconstruction of the history of a character is lacking, the historian must resort to the elements of an infinitely more exact science, we are talking about the science of the spirit. Just one question I put on the table and leave the subject: to what other prophet would the king of the prophets have opened the door of his palace if not to the one born in his own house, born of his thigh as the Greeks would say? Did not his God astonish him by making him laugh in that way? Of course, the matter remains to be confirmed by way of official documentation. But I insist, when natural evidence is lacking, the investigator must raise his eyes and look for the answer in the one who keeps in his memory the record of all things in the universe. But if faith fails and the testimony of God is reputed for nothing before the court of history then we have no choice but to pass over the subject or to wander endlessly after that unattainable wisdom of the Greeks. Considering here that the wisdom of those present is free from prejudice against the Creator of heaven and earth, this said, we continue).
“The house of Solomon and the house of Nathan were separated. In due time, when in his omniscience God would determine it, these two messianic houses would meet again, they would unite in one house and the fruit of this marriage would be the Alpha. When such an event took place his parents gave him a name; they called him Zerubbabel. This birth took place approximately five centuries after the death of King David.
“Zerubbabel, son of David, heir to the crown of Judah, married and had sons and daughters. From among his sons he chose two of them to repeat the operation performed by his legendary father, and among them he divided his messianic legacy. The names of his two heirs were Abiud and Rhesa.
“Love to their father, fearful of their God, princes Abiud and Rhesa accompanied their father from the Babylon of Cyrus the Great to the Lost Homeland. They took up the sword against those who tried by all means to prevent the reconstruction of Jerusalem, and after the death of their father they separated.
“Each of them inherited from his father Zerubbabel a genealogical scroll written in David’s own handwriting. The Solomonic scroll begins its List from Abraham. The Nathanic scroll opens its List from Adam himself.
“If on the Royal List of Judah no one ignores the succession from David to Zerubbabel, something else happens with the Nathanic List. Its succession is this: Nathan, Mattatha, Menna, Melea, Eliakim, Jonam, Joseph, Judah, Simeon, Levi, Matti, Jorim, Eliezer, Jesus, Er, Elmadam, Cosam, Addi, Melchi, Neri, Salathiel.
“Anyone who claims to be a son of Rhesa must present this List. Otherwise his candidacy for the messianic succession must be rejected”
But let us recapitulate.
The Daughter of Solomon
Five centuries after the death of David, the two messianic houses met in the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar II. In the Court of the Hanging Gardens came into the world Salathiel, prince of Judah. Salathiel was united to the heiress of the house of Nathan, and they had Zerubbabel.
Already all the Jews were rejoicing because the son of the Scriptures had been born when God raised up the spirit of prophecy in Daniel. With the authority of Nebuchadnezzar’s chief magician, Daniel silenced that messianic clamor by announcing to all the Jews the divine will. Namely, God had given the empire to Cyrus, prince of the Persians.
What Daniel did and said is written. I will not be the one to tell wise experts in Sacred History the number of the portents among whose halos Daniel wrapped the throne of the Chaldeans, taking the crown from them to give it to the chosen of his God.
The price that Cyrus paid for the crown speaks with indisputable evidence about the nature of the participation of the prophet Daniel in the events that led to the transfer of the empire from Babylon to Susa. But the concern that brings us together here has to do with the fate of the Alpha.
Indoctrinated by Daniel the young Zerubbabel repeated in his flesh what his father David did with his own. He took the two sons raised up by God and divided his messianic legacy between them. To the elder, Abiud, he gave the genealogical list of Solomon the king. To the younger, Rhesa, he gave that of Nathan the prophet. And then he separated them so that the Alpha would follow his paths and grow until he became the Omega.
“We already have the bearer of the prophetic scroll”, continued Hillel, “the legitimate heir of the prophet Nathan, son of David. His surfacing is a carnal manifestation of how close we are to the hour when the other arm of the Omega will break and come to light. The word of hope that my lips carry from the East is in your hearts: God is with you. The Lord who has led you to the house of Rhesa will pave the way for you to the house of his brother Abiud. In his Omniscience he has gathered us all together to witness the Birth of the Alpha and the Omega, the son of Eve, the heir of the Scepter of Judah, the Savior in whose name all the families of the Earth shall be blessed”.
The discovery of the doctrine of Alpha and Omega amazed Zechariah and his Saga. Possibly it is also astonishing to all of you who are reading these pages. The two Genealogies of Jesus have been in front of everyone’s eyes since the Gospels were written. Many have been the headaches that these two lists have caused to the exegetes and other experts in the interpretation of the sacred scriptures. I do not intend on such a beautiful day to raise my victory over the memory of those who tried to transform these Lists into a kind of heel against which to shoot the arrow that killed Achilles. If God is the one who closes the door, who will open it against His will? Only He knows why He does what He does and no one enters into His reasons but the one whom He engendered in His Heart. Or does anyone believe that against His will anyone can wrest from Him the victory that was denied to so many? Is it not true that Noah had in his Ark mighty eagles capable of beating the winds and casting their gaze over the distant horizons? And hawks swift as shooting stars, born to defy storms. And yet it was the most fragile of all birds that defied Death.
But let us return to our story.
Finding the son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Nathan, son of David, raised the morale of Zechariah and his men to fantastic heights.
They already had the bearer of the Nathamite scroll. It was a newborn child who had just come into the world in Bethlehem. His parents had named him Joseph.
According to this, the son of Nathan in swaddling clothes, the search for the son of Solomon became the search for the Daughter of Solomon. A woman who could have been born or not yet born. Imagining that they would find her and assuming in the best of cases that they would achieve from her parents the rapprochement of her family to that of her brother Rhesa, and consequently the union of their heirs, Zechariah and Simeon the Younger were before the Birth of the Son of David, son of Abraham, son of Adam. In the fruit of that marriage between the son of Nathan and the Daughter of Solomon the Alpha and the Omega would be incarnated in the Child born to them.
They could only congratulate themselves and get down to work.
But there was still a problem. If, as had been demonstrated with the house of the Son of Nathan, the parents of the Daughter of Solomon belonged to the humble classes of the kingdom, how would they find her? The answer would once again have to be sought in the Archives of New Babylon. Somewhere beneath the mountain of documents in the Great Synagogue of the East was to be found the clue that would lead them to Solomon’s Daughter. Of the two needles in the haystack they had already found one, now they had to go for the other.
Zechariah and his men did not take long to send mail to New Babylon with the following question: Where did Abiud, the eldest son of Zerubbabel, settle in the Holy Land?
It was inevitable that among that mountain of parchments in the Great Synagogue of the East there would be a document signed in Abiud’s handwriting.
It was to be believed, they were sure that, following the messianic doctrine, the two brothers separated and deposited the future of their encounter at the feet of God.
Constant in those days the communication between those who left Babylon and those who stayed, looking for a letter sealed by Abiud, there had to be some personal document in his handwriting that would reveal to them to which part of Israel the eldest son of Zerubbabel went and where he settled.
Faith moves mountains, sometimes of stone and sometimes of paper. In this case it was paper.
The following year the answer was brought to Jerusalem by the chief of the Magi from the East in person. Ananel came with the Tithe. He presented his credentials before the king and the Sanhedrin. After the protocols were completed he held a secret meeting with Zechariah and his Saga. It was brief.
“Indeed, Abiud and Rhesa separated. Rhesa settled in Bethlehem and his descendants did not move from the site. His brother Abiud, on the other hand, pulled northward, crossed Samaria and reached the heart of Galilee of the Gentiles. Following the policy of peaceful settlement by buying the land from its owners, Abiud bought all the land that he could see with his eyes from a hill they called Nazareth”.
Ananel repeated this name, “Nazareth”, with the accent of one who knows that his hearers are drinking in his words. “Nazareth!” repeated Zechariah and Simeon.
“Galilee of the Gentiles, a light has risen in your darkness”, whispered the two men in unison.
Knowing how things were going Ananel could assure them without any doubt that the House of Abiud was still standing. The question they now had to resolve was how to approach the Daughter of Solomon without arousing suspicion in the tyrant’s court.