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5.9.5.
Since the Christians interpreted the astrological Age of Pisces

Ephesus, theatre
Ephesus, theatre

as the heavenly sign of God’s kingdom, Christian disciples and missionaries were called fishermen.

5.9.6.
Simon Peter also aspired to the title of Messiah as Jesus’ successor after his death.

5.9.7.
Peter’s father was not called either John (John 1:42; 21:15ff) or Jonas (Matt. 16:17). In fact, Peter was converted by John’s disciples to faith in Jesus, and Jonas is the prophet Jonah in the eponymous prophetic writings in which the story of Jesus is presented in the Old Testament in the form of a prophetic account.

Peter is both a spiritual son of the church of John and of Jesus the Messiah: that is what the mentions of fatherhood mean. Family relationships such as brother, father and son are often used in the old texts to denote dependency or friendship: cf. also 1 Macc. 12:7.

 

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V  9   Simon Peter

5.9.1.
The Gnostic, Simon Magus in Samaria, had his own followers and was converted to John’s branch of Christianity

Pergamum, temple, columns
Pergamum, temple, columns

by Philip, the Christian Baptist. He founded the third separate early Christian church; he is called Simon Peter in the Gospels.

5.9.2.
Simon Magus/ Peter was active as a Gnostic preacher; then he recognised the great potential of invoking Jesus who was known throughout the country.

5.9.3.
Simon Magus/ Peter brought new impetus to the quiet Christian Baptist movement by interpreting the anticipated Kingdom of God as the astronomic/astrological Age of Pisces that was then succeeding the Age of Aries.

5.9.4.
The triumph of Peter’s church in early Christianity is reflected in the Christian festival of Pentecost that celebrates the help of God’s Spirit in overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers. This gives confirmation of Christian teaching about God’s kingdom: confirmation in visible form in the heavens that can be interpreted in astrological terms.

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5.6.5.
The great disciples James, John, Peter and Judas formed Jesus Groups

Troy, excavations
Troy, excavations

within their original movements: Judaism, Baptists, Gnostics and rebels.

The Jesus Groups later linked up with the early Christians; the original movements Judaism, Baptist sect, Gnosis and rebels remained autonomous.

5.6.6.
In the Jewish world around them the disciples formed political movements that were only loosely linked to the early church and carried out independent missions even outside their Jewish world.

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V  6  The disciples / Apostles

5.6.1.
The dominant master narrative about the disciples states that the disciples were Jesus’ personal followers,

Troy, excavations
Troy, excavations

whom he had sought out and appointed. Many of them were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee; after their encounters with Jesus they left their work and families to join Jesus, the itinerant preacher. Peter was the leader of the disciples; he and the brothers James and John were the most important disciples.

5.6.2.
And these are my theses about the disciples: Jesus’ disciples were not fishermen. They were preachers of the astrological Age of Pisces (the star sign), the new spring constellation that they interpreted as a heavenly sign of God’s kingdom that they were expecting.

5.6.3.
Jesus’ disciples were not his personal followers.

5.6.4.
The disciples were independent political and religious leaders in early Christianity; the great disciples James, John and Peter aspired to succeed Jesus as Messiah after his death.

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5.5.21.
An ecumenical movement: between 62 and 64 AD the Apostolic Council took place in Jerusalem, where Paul and Barnabas,

Hattusa, Lion Gate
Hattusa, Lion Gate

the Apostles to the Gentiles, met the heads of the Palestinian Jesus Groups of Peter, James and John.

Reports about the Apostolic Council show that the Jesus Groups in Palestine still existed as separate organisations but that they worked together, and that Paul and Barnabas were recognised as representing the Gentile Christian church, but their work was also viewed with distrust.

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5.5.18.
The encounter: the Jesus Groups from the different movements

Masada, vault
Masada, vault

met each other during their missionary activities. They recognised that they had a lot in common and worked together, but retained their separate structures and links with their original movements.

The most important event of the mission in Palestine was that the Jesus Groups founded communities in Jerusalem, though these remained strictly separate along confessional lines until the end of the Jewish Revolt. The Israelite group of James was transformed during this process from a Samaritan to a Jewish-Christian Jesus Group.

The Jesus Groups did not restrict themselves to peaceful missions; they also played a robust role in social conflicts. One example for this is the execution of James and Peter in 46 AD, probably after food riots in which they took a leading part.

The deaths of the two leading Apostles was a significant turning point in the history of early Christianity.

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5.5.15.
Original movements and Jesus Groups: the Samaritans, the baptism sect and the Gnostics around Simon Magus

Masada, ruins
Masada, ruins

had few solid structures and little in the way of binding dogmas. They were groups with many different views, and Messianic ideas were widespread at the time, so Jesus’ followers within these movements could form groups without leaving the movement.

What we seen in the Gospels are a range of interpretations of Jesus that can be attributed to the movements named and to which we can allocate disciples’ names. These names are James (Israelites), John (Baptists) and Simon Peter (Gnostics).

These men clearly led Jesus Groups that remained within their movements. We can see the conflicts among the Christian Jews that they were confronted with. The disputes always focused on the issue of how far a Jesus Group could or should distinguish itself within the parent movement.