|The Second Coming of Christ|
Extract from Barbelo – The Story of Jesus Christ, by Riaan Booysen
For the majority of devout Christians the return of Christ following his departure to Heaven must certainly be their most anticipated event, given that they will otherwise have to die just like the rest of us. Although Christ had made many references to his wrathful return (as we learn from the New Testament), there is one particular promise he had made that has really become a headache for scholars and believers alike. In Matthew 16:28 and 24:34 he promises
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”
The obvious interpretation is that Christ intended to return while some of those he was addressing were still alive, but as 2 000 years have since passed, a variety of other interpretations have been suggested, all of which require a bit of a stretch of the imagination. But what if Christ was meaning precisely that?
In Barbelo I argue that Christ, who was originally known as Simon Magus, adopted the alias Paul of Tarsus after his crucifixion, which he had survived. Under the guise of Paul he continued to build the rebel force with which he intended overthrowing the Romans and becoming the king of Judea. That would have been his promised ‘return’ to Palestine. The Jews knew Christ as “the Egyptian” and Josephus records that Felix had defeated the rebel forces led by this Egyptian, although the Egyptian himself managed to escape. He was eventually captured as Paul, taken to Felix and later sent to Rome to be executed.
Evidence that Christ and Paul were the same person can be found here and evidence that Christ and Simon Magus were the same person here, but can Christ as the Egyptian be linked to the rebellion led by the Egyptian? When Paul was arrested, he was accused (Acts 21:28, 38),
“This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and against our Law and against this place. Furthermore, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place,”
“Aren’t you the Egyptian who incited a rebellion some time ago and led four thousand members of the ‘Assassins’ into the wilderness?”
It was Christ who had upset the Jews with his teachings and who had defiled the Temple by storming it with more than 300 men who had come from all the walks of life, and robbed it of its riches and holy objects.
The canonical gospels furthermore record that it was Christ who had fed four thousand men, excluding women and children, in the wilderness (Matthew 15:13-21), and it is easy to show that the dagger-wielding Simon Peter had later, as Simon bar Gioras, become the leader of the Assassins faction.
Finally, Josephus’ infamous Egyptian, who claimed to be a prophet and rebelled against the Romans with thirty thousand followers, declared on the Mount of Olives that he would break down the walls of Jerusalem. Christ likewise frequented the Mount of Olives with his followers and warned that Jerusalem would be destroyed, which he apparently planned to do during his uprising. Incidentally, Felix and his wife Drusilla frequently sent for Paul to talk to him, while Simon Magus convinced Drusilla to marry Felix. Simon Magus and Paul are therefore linked to Felix and Drusilla in the same setting, confirming that they must have been one and the same person.
So, when can we expect the Second Coming of Christ? The answer is a straight ‘never’ – it happened 2 000 years ago but was thwarted by Felix.