𝐄𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐃𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐌𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐲 𝐁𝐫.𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐥 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝
𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐥 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫, 𝐚 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐦𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐀𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐓 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐌𝐞𝐥𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞.
𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐌𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐲 𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞.
“𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐬 𝐖𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐲, 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐚𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐦: 𝐖𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐥: 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐚𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐦: 𝐚 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐝𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐆𝐨𝐝.” 𝐒𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐡 𝐌𝐚𝐢𝐝𝐚 𝟓:𝟒𝟗
The Roman Empire was perhaps the most brutal empire in history. It included the Land of Judaea, where its appointed puppets were the Herodians, a corrupt and evil family.
It was accused by believers, of fornication (niece marriage and incest), riches, and pollution of the Temple. These three evils were described in the Damascus Scroll as ‘The Three Nets of Belial’.
John the Baptist was beheaded for criticizing the niece marriage of Herod’s brother Philip to Herodias. Matthew 14:3-5
There is no doubt that these Herodians were enemies of Jesus.
In Matthew’s Gospel 22:15-16 there is an account of an unsuccessful attempt by certain Pharisees, accompanied by Herodians (supporters of the royal family) to trap Jesus into a subversive statement. It is the oft-quoted separation of the rights of Caesar from those of religion.
Paul of Tarsus differed
Paul’s Letter to the Romans, giving greetings to his friends and allies, says: “Greetings to the household of Aristobulus. Greetings to my kinsman Herodion,..” Romans 16:10-11
Aristobulus may have been a common name, but it was most prominent among the Herodians and there were at least three of that name living at the time.
Eisenman remarks that Aristobulus who was the nephew of Agrippa I also had a son called Herodion, or ‘littlest Herod’. That Herodion is Paul’s relative is particularly significant. [The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians 1996]
Aristobulus was later one of the inner circle around Titus, the conqueror of Jerusalem and destroyer of the temple, along with Tiberius Alexander, Josephus, Bernice and Agrippa II.
He also married Salome, the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the head of John the Baptist.
There is also a reference to another apparently highly placed Herodian in the congregation of Paul’s church in Antioch the first group to be called “Christians.”
“In the church at Antioch were prophets and teachers: Barnabas…Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch…” (Acts of the Apostles 13:1-2)
Paul did receive gentle treatment from the Roman occupiers.
After a riot in the Temple, which was over his recognition as one who preached against the law of Torah, he was placed by the Roman authorities in the fortress for protection then escorted by troops at night to the Procurators’s palace in Caesarea.
Here he was lodged in the official residence of the Roman procurator, Felix who was married to Drusilla, the sister of King Agrippa II. Felix himself was the brother of Nero’s favourite freedman, Pallas. [Eisenman The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians]
Here he was interrogated rather gently by a party including King Agrippa, all recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, in which Agrippa declares ‘A little more, and your arguments would make a Christian of me.’ Acts 26:27
The treatment of James the Just was very different
Agrippa used the interregnum following the death of the Roman governor Festus by appointing a high priest who would obey him.
He called a meeting of the Sanhedrin brought James the Just and some of his companions before it and “delivered them to be stoned.” [Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. Book XX Chapter IX ]
Eusebius of Caesarea, friend of Constantine, described the martyrdom of James.
“So they went up and threw down the Righteous one. Then they said to each other “Let us stone James the Righteous”, and began to stone him, as in spite of his fall he was still alive. …. Then one of them, a fuller, took the club which he used to beat out the clothes, and brought it down on the head of the Righteous one.” [Eusebius of Caesarea. The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine. Penguin London. 1965 p. 59-60]
That illustrates the great gulf between the attitudes of the Roman authorities to those who followed Jesus and the Law of Torah and those of Paul of Tarsus, who in his Letter to the Galatians, condemned the Law.
Allah knows Best.