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Precession as the Framework of Christian Origins


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My attached short essay on Precession as the Framework of Christian Origins was published last year as an Appendix in The Christ Conspiracy Second Edition by DM Murdock (Acharya S).  (4000 words)

I helped Dr Robert M. Price to edit this new second edition. This book was quite controversial when it first came out in 1999, with its uncompromising presentation of the hypothesis that the myth of Jesus Christ arose as a personification of the Sun.  I agree with this argument, and consider that it presents a complex and coherent perspective on religion.

Before her death in 2015, Acharya began editing her planned CC second edition, aiming to remove some of the more contentious material and present her main arguments more clearly. I had worked closely with her on some areas of her analysis of astrotheology, so was pleased to be able to help with this work, and enjoyed going through the book in detail to edit it. 

My own long term theological interest is in this topic of Precession as the Framework of Christian Origins, which I consider provides a compelling scientific explanation of many of the perspectives that Acharya presents. This idea helps to explain the role of conspiracy in Christianity, firstly among the secret Gnostic mystic philosophers who first developed the Christ Myth as allegory, and secondly in the orthodox church, as they systematically rewrote Christian origins to exclude its founding natural cosmology and pretend that the events described in the Gospels actually happened.  

As a hypothesis, the precession hypothesis raises such controversial material that it is difficult to discuss. The essential argument is that Jesus Christ was deliberately invented as avatar of the zodiac ages of Pisces and Aquarius. I think this idea should be of interest to ex-Christians, as a way to help excavate the abiding truths that are hidden beneath the supernatural rubble of Christendom. 

I would welcome any questions or critique or conversation about the ideas in this paper.

Thanks

Precession as the Framework of Christian Origins by Robert Tulip, published in The Christ Conspiracy Second Edition.pdf

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My attached short essay on Precession as the Framework of Christian Origins was published last year as an Appendix in The Christ Conspiracy Second Edition by DM Murdock (Acharya S).  (4000 words)

There’s no doubt that Eternal Life is the “killer app” that Christianity and other religions offer.   No reason-based belief systems can offer that.  Of course, what Christianity really offers is eter

And in those cases, rather than adopt new ways interpreting christianity or local pagan myths, the people simply went into more non-religious secular directions. I assume you're alluding to secular no

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I remember when you first arrived at Murdock's forum and you had been working out the astrotheology of the jesus myth for a long time already. But you assumed at that time that jesus was an historical mystic who was teaching disciples astrotheological allegory through parable and what not. We went back and fourth for a while about the historicity of jesus, which was the purpose of that forum. But unlike so many people, you read the content, took everything in, and began to realize that the historicity of the christ myth stood on weak foundations. And did what so many people struggle to do, you changed your opinion and reworked your positions. Joined the staff of moderators. And became good friends with DM Murdock. And finally contributed to the 2nd edition of the Christ Conspiracy. 

 

 

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Hi Josh

 

Yes, my conversion to Christ Skepticism owed a lot to reading Murdock.  I have had a passionate interest in existential theology for more than thirty five years.  I had never encountered the Christ Myth Theory until a friend at booktalk.org introduced me to Earl Doherty's work in 2009.  It was a complete shock to me to realize that Paul's Epistles make far more sense based on a fictional than a real Jesus, and that Philo never mentioned Jesus.  These were the immediate catalysts for me to say that the existence of Jesus is dubious, and to gradually work out that the only ethical path for Christianity is to engage in serious dialogue about the scale of fantasy involved in supernatural religion. As someone somewhere said, the truth will set you free. When a booktalk friend introduced me to Acharya's work, I found that her analysis provided a compelling explanation.  The general derision her work has received is a gross intellectual scandal, but reflects the deep emotional commitment people have to the historical Jesus as the core idea of Christian faith.  Indeed, the historicity of Jesus is the primary myth of Christianity. 

 

I hope people here will be interested to read my essay on precession.  I maintain that it is an entirely scholarly analysis.  The problem is that the scale of paradigm shift involved is deeply unsettling.  But for people who are trying to come to terms with how conventional Christianity has messed with their minds, a conversation about how Christianity actually evolved should be very useful.

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Hello Robert.  :)

 

I've downloaded your article today and will be taking a look at it fairly soon.  As an armchair astronomer I'll be able to follow what you have to say about precession and the movement of the constellations over time.  

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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This is extremely interesting, Robert. I know how much contributing information goes into the precession analysis, but it's all so very well summarized in the simplicity of the Chi Rho cross image: 

 

"The major Christian symbol the Chi Rho Cross, shown here and in the star map above, is primary evidence for the precession hypothesis, showing how natural cosmology was used and then suppressed in the origins of Christianity. The arms of the Greek letter Chi (X) match the observable heavenly circles formed by the path of the sun and the equator, while the Rho (P) matches the line of stars in the first fish of Pisces, at the symbolic beginning of the new Zodiac Age started by Christ."

 

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11 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

This is extremely interesting, Robert. I know how much contributing information goes into the precession analysis, but it's all so very well summarized in the simplicity of the Chi Rho cross image: 

 

"The major Christian symbol the Chi Rho Cross, shown here and in the star map above, is primary evidence for the precession hypothesis, showing how natural cosmology was used and then suppressed in the origins of Christianity. The arms of the Greek letter Chi (X) match the observable heavenly circles formed by the path of the sun and the equator, while the Rho (P) matches the line of stars in the first fish of Pisces, at the symbolic beginning of the new Zodiac Age started by Christ."

Yes exactly.  This origin of the Chi Rho symbol in astronomy is an original claim on my part that I have never seen discussed elsewhere.  Yet its scientific clarity and parsimony qualifies it to be an important hypothesis for the astronomical foundations of Christianity.  The conventional placement of the alpha and omega symbols also coheres with the idea that the advent of Christ was imagined as a turning point of time, with the BC/AD structure constructed from this ancient empirical observation of the movement of the spring point between the constellations.

The problem is that this whole field of thought was so comprehensively smashed by Rome that people now find it impossible to imagine something that so neatly undercuts the constructed edifice of supernatural faith. 

 

Here is a version of the chi rho diagram from my essay, illustrating how this core Christian symbol came from the stars, symbolising the principle of the Lord's Prayer, 'on earth as in heaven'. 

 

I will give a public zoom talk on this in a few weeks, looking at the broader relation between astronomy and theology.  
The_Ox_and_Lamb_and_Fish_Kept_Time_Prece

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Thank you for posting, definitely going to give it a read. Personally, I am agnostic on the historicity of Jesus. I don't think there is evidence there was a historical Jesus, but I am skeptical about the Christ Myth. It is more an argument from incredulity. I suppose I don't understand the motivations surrounding such an idea or how it would even get off the ground.

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4 hours ago, Hierophant said:

I suppose I don't understand the motivations surrounding such an idea or how it would even get off the ground.

 

A lot of help from Constantine and Roman government, supporting some very clever shysters??

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36 minutes ago, Weezer said:

 

A lot of help from Constantine and Roman government, supporting some very clever shysters??

 

After reading essay and other Christ Myth ideas, it is my understanding the original theology was astrological/mythical. Most compelling is how Paul talks about the celestial Christ; weird for a historical figure to say the least. I think a good argument can be made that Paul was going through the Old Testament and extrapolating a messiah and thinking about what happened to this messiah in the heavenly realm. Of course there are some aspects in Paul's writings that do not totally line up with that. Was that Paul's original idea? Did he hear it from someone else and start investigating himself?

 

This of course was a few hundred years before Constantine would have anything to do with it. As far as the idea of the Romans inventing Christianity as a means to reform Judaism...I'm not sure, it seems like a stretch. I have heard the argument and I understand the position, but I think it is an unlikely candidate.

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@Robert_Tulip

 

I had a question about the gospels containing clues or hints as to Christianity's astrological origins. It is my understanding that the gospels, whatever their original content may have been, were later redacted, who knows how many times, to make them more orthodox. If that is the case, are we really seeing clues of astrology? Would it not make more sense that the gospels as we have them are the workings of ecclesiastical redactors?

 

Is the argument being made that the original evangelist was writing a theology based on astrology? I have trouble tying that together, especially with the gospels being produced so much later. While thinking about it, I suppose it is not impossible the original story was astrological, but later historicized.

 

In your essay, I see where you point our specific verses as a possible clue to the theory, but I don't know if that is what the evangelists had in mind when writing the gospels (considering the entirety of the gospel(s)).

 

I am trying to think through the sequence of events as to how this would have played out.

 

EDIT: Another question in that same vein would be the extensive knowledge of the Old Testament the evangelists had. Not knowing much about Gnostic Platonist, were they known to be well read in Jewish literature?

 

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1 hour ago, Hierophant said:

 

This of course was a few hundred years before Constantine would have anything to do with it. As far as the idea of the Romans inventing Christianity as a means to reform Judaism...I'm not sure, it seems like a stretch.

 

I see what you mean about the early development.  It is very interesting.  I didn't mean to imply the Romans invented Christianity.   But that they helped catapult it into history.

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Hello Robert.  :)

 

I'm intrigued by what I've read in the downloaded pdf file you supplied. 

 

However, I'm currently unable to visualise quite how the Chi Rho cross aligns with the crossover point of the precession line and the celestial equator and the relevant constellations.  The graphic on page 1 shows the Chi Rho tilted, but sitting almost on the tail of Cetus the Whale. 

 

Surely it would be more helpful to show the Chi Rho actually overlying the 'triple intersection'? That is, centred on the precession - equatorial crossover point, superimposed on to the relevant parts of Aries and Pisces and with the main shaft of Rho symbol matching the line of stars that make up the first fish?  Seeing the three necessary elements of the intersection aligning with what is in the sky would be helpful, imo. 

 

Once you've visually established that the Chi Rho does indeed fit in the way you claim it does, this gives you a firm foundation upon which to build your following arguments.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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On 9/14/2020 at 10:41 PM, Hierophant said:

I don't think there is evidence there was a historical Jesus, but I am skeptical about the Christ Myth. It is more an argument from incredulity. I suppose I don't understand the motivations surrounding such an idea or how it would even get off the ground.

Hi Hierophant, thanks for these and later comments.  Regarding this 'argument from incredulity', either Jesus Christ lived or he didn't. I'm not sure from your brief remark what you think constitutes the argument from incredulity.  Are you saying that people just find the Gospel story incredible and jump to the conclusion it must have been fiction?  I agree that is not a strong argument by itself, in view of the possibility that the Gospel myths were woven around a real person.  However, where the argument for total fabrication is strong, in my view, is in the religious and political motivations for constructing a cosmic Christ based on the visual structures of the astronomy of precession, which provides a natural basis for the metaphysical ideas of the presence of eternity in time in the person of Christ. 

 

A basic motive of religion is to explain reality through a comprehensive cosmology.  Starting from the observations of the heavens provides a systematic encompassing framework for explaining the orderly stable patterns of life on earth.  Religion can then ask why the perfection of the heavens both is and is not not reflected in perfection on earth.  Using the principle that life on earth should reflect the overall processes of observable reality, the structure of time provided by the observation of the precession of the spring point between constellations provides a simple coherent basis for the moral religious theory of planetary transformation in the New Testament. 

 

The idea is that the unique harmony between the stars and the seasons observed by western astronomy at the time of Christ was imagined as producing a messianic presence, with the predictive hope eventually giving rise to the later historic belief set out in the Gospels.  Observation of precession of the equinox, which was known well before the time of Christ, provided the accurate prediction that at the time of Pilate the traditional month of Aries, beginning at the March equinox, would match the time when the sun entered the stellar constellation of Aries.  Modern calculation puts this event in 21 AD.  The ancients could have predicted it to decadal accuracy for centuries beforehand. 

 

This visual astronomy provided a basis for a messianic prophecy grounded in a vision of cosmic harmony, elaborated into religious ideas of the descent of grace.  Before that date, the month of Aries started with the sun already inside the constellation, and since then, the month of Aries has started with the sun in the stars of Pisces. The time of Christ is like when the tumblers on a safe fall into place. Only at that exact moment were the stars and the seasons in perfect alignment.  This can be calculated exactly because the constellation of Pisces starts with a line of stars perpendicular to the path of the sun, and the equinox point crossed this line in 21 AD.

 

As I discuss further in my essay, this ancient observation provides strong motivation for imagining Jesus Christ as incarnating an eternal cosmic structure on earth.  The intimate connection between astronomy and religion dates back for millennia before Christ.  As a coherent scientific method it is entirely reasonable to ask how these themes were connected in Christian origins to produce a coherent story.  

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On 9/15/2020 at 3:41 AM, Weezer said:

A lot of help from Constantine and Roman government, supporting some very clever shysters??

As Hierophant has pointed out, the later construction of Christendom by Constantine is a separate issue from the original possible precessional cosmology.  But there is the very interesting ‘Chi in the Sky’ allegedly seen by Constantine as a heavenly sign before the decisive battle of Milvian Bridge, leading to the Chi Rho Cross becoming an imperial standard. 

 

My view is that this story has a likely connection to the astronomy, reflecting secret knowledge that Christianity was grounded in the observation of the overall structure of time symbolised by the movement of the chi formed by the path of the sun and the celestial equator.  This knowledge was maintained as a secret for initiates, as explained by Christ in the synoptics, but its perceived later conflict with supernatural orthodoxy led to its ruthless successful suppression, except for fugitive traces such as Constantine’s heavenly cross.

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Hi Tulip How are you doing today? I was Just wondering if you seen or read my new topic yet? I could do some converations here to if you like?

 

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:17 AM, Hierophant said:

After reading essay and other Christ Myth ideas, it is my understanding the original theology was astrological/mythical. Most compelling is how Paul talks about the celestial Christ; weird for a historical figure to say the least.

This question of Paul’s intentions should be central to theology. His tiny ambiguous references to Christ as a historical person are marginal to his main vision of Christ as a symbol of cosmic grace. 

My interpretation of Paul is strongly influenced by my MA thesis on the existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger.  His definition of logos as “the original connecting connectedness of being” appears to draw strongly from Paul, imagining Christ in purely conceptual terms as the universal principle of connectedness.  This conceptual framework imagined Christ as a mediator, connecting our fallen and deluded world with the eternal unchanging orderly perfection of the heavens, as expressed in Hebrews 9:15, “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant”.

These ideas imagine the world moving into a new age in which Christ marks the point of connection between time and eternity, as the presence of eternity within time.  That is exactly the function of Christ understood in astronomical terms as avatar of the Age of Pisces. Theologically, this expands to imagine Christ as the presence of the golden age in the midst of the iron age, in the temporal framework of Vedic myth.

The astronomical framework of precession sits behind Christian theology and gives it direction and impetus. This framework was destroyed by the depraved mentality of the church.  Popular thinking could only grasp messianic identity as a real individual person, much as God can only be imagined in popular religion as an existing real entity, rather than the abstract imaginary concept which appears to underpin the philosophical mystical astronomy that constructed the idea of Christ.

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:17 AM, Hierophant said:

I think a good argument can be made that Paul was going through the Old Testament and extrapolating a messiah and thinking about what happened to this messiah in the heavenly realm. Of course there are some aspects in Paul's writings that do not totally line up with that. Was that Paul's original idea? Did he hear it from someone else and start investigating himself?

My view is that Paul was part of a Gnostic mystery philosophy tradition, integrating the Jewish prophetic tradition with the Platonic idea of the philosopher king, with the astronomical/astrological framework of the zodiac ages as the underlying natural structure.

Imagining what Paul really thought is a bit like looking at a bare field and trying to picture the complex ecology of the rich forest that once stood there.  It is very difficult to do, and very easy to get it wrong.  We have a tendency to wrongly assume that the extant situation represents what originally occurred, and to read aspects of later texts and situations back into earlier ones.  With the Bible, that is completely wrong, and not just with reading the Gospels back into Paul. The historicist monkish sieve censored heretical ideas for nearly two thousand years, producing the shallow, impoverished and misleading impressions which unfortunately still dominate Christianity.  The New Testament texts emerged from communities that we can barely imagine, given that secret material for initiates was transmitted by spoken rather than written word, and so was highly vulnerable to destruction and loss.  Reconstructing an astronomical framework for Christian origins is an essential step toward understanding the moral and intellectual culture that produced the texts.

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On 9/15/2020 at 8:51 AM, WalterP said:

Hello Robert.  :) I'm intrigued by what I've read in the downloaded pdf file you supplied.  However, I'm currently unable to visualise quite how the Chi Rho cross aligns with the crossover point of the precession line and the celestial equator and the relevant constellations.  The graphic on page 1 shows the Chi Rho tilted, but sitting almost on the tail of Cetus the Whale.    Surely it would be more helpful to show the Chi Rho actually overlying the 'triple intersection'? That is, centred on the precession - equatorial crossover point, superimposed on to the relevant parts of Aries and Pisces and with the main shaft of Rho symbol matching the line of stars that make up the first fish?  Seeing the three necessary elements of the intersection aligning with what is in the sky would be helpful, imo.   Once you've visually established that the Chi Rho does indeed fit in the way you claim it does, this gives you a firm foundation upon which to build your following arguments.  Thank you.  Walter.

Hi Walter, good points.  I tried in the text to explain your point about visualising the alignment.  I didn’t put the chi rho cross straight on top of the triple intersection because it is important to see them side by side for comparison, angled to match the corresponding features of the sky at the time of Christ. It is interesting that the conventional constellation figure has the Aries ram directly indicating this X point with his hoof.

 

You say you have trouble visualising it, but your comment seems to understand it quite well.  The Chi is an X, which was described by Plato in the Timaeus four centuries before Christ as formed by the intersection of two great imaginary geometrical circles in the sky, conventionally understood as the path of the sun through the zodiac stars and the celestial equator.  This X point marks the annual beginning of spring, the day the sun crosses the equator from the southern hemisphere into the northern hemisphere at the March equinox. Plato said one of these circles is always the same and the other is always different.  That matches to the fact that the sun’s path does not change, but the position of the equator constantly moves as a result of the slow wobble of the earth’s axis.

 

As a result, the position of the X is constantly precessing backward along the path of the sun, at the rate of one degree of arc every 71.6 years. The cycle of zodiac ages produced by the slow movement of this X in the sky has long been called the Platonic Year, which suggests that Platonic philosophy knew much more about this natural observation than has survived in their texts. 

 

My claim with the Chi Rho Cross is that from long before the time of Christ, astronomers could see that the X in the sky was located in Aries, and would move into Pisces when it crossed the line of stars known as the first fish, which actually happened in 21 AD as shown in my diagram. This line of stars in Pisces accurately symbolises the rho or P shape in the chi rho cross.  The triple intersection only existed in the sky at the time of Christ. The Greek astronomer Hipparchus is recognised for calculating the speed of precession in about 140 BC, but it is likely that Babylonian and other astronomers already knew this, as Joseph Campbell has argued.  It is even possible that this knowledge was the basis of the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9, with the idea that a new messianic age would begin when the spring point crossed into Pisces.

 

The challenge here of visualising the sky is very important, considering that most people today are completely unfamiliar with the shapes of the constellations.  The stars were like the TV of the ancient world, providing a basis for popular stories.  The Greek myths of heroes like Hercules and Perseus placed in the heavens as star groups is somewhat familiar, but other cultures also had their own star stories.  My suggestion is that Jewish and Hellenistic astronomer priests who constructed the prophecy of Christ did so on the basis of this dynamic stellar observation of the coming new age of the heavens, understood as the Age of Pisces, with its inception accurately symbolised with the chi rho cross.  The rho is an actual line of stars, while the chi follows Plato’s geometry by mapping the moving intersection of the great heavenly circles.

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:24 AM, Hierophant said:

I had a question about the gospels containing clues or hints as to Christianity's astrological origins. It is my understanding that the gospels, whatever their original content may have been, were later redacted, who knows how many times, to make them more orthodox. If that is the case, are we really seeing clues of astrology? Would it not make more sense that the gospels as we have them are the workings of ecclesiastical redactors?

My view on your excellent question is that the mystery of Christian origins can be compared to building a house, where scaffolding is erected as a framework to enable the workers to do their jobs during construction, and then removed leaving no trace once the building is finished.

 

Similarly, proto-Christian mystics developed the idea that a world messiah would arrive at the dawn of the zodiac age of Pisces – that was the scaffolding.  They then developed an elaborate fantasy mythology based on this framework, as a simplified popular version aimed to introduce people to the cult – that was the house.

 

But the difference with Christianity, to continue the analogy, is that once the scaffolding of astronomy was removed by the early orthodox church, part of their agenda was to insist there never was any scaffolding at all.  It is like they said they had built the house in this picture using miraculous supernatural methods that did not require any external platforms for workers to walk around the upper levels.

New-house-build-scaffold-e1518580596194.  And They went on to indicate that anyone who believed in scaffolding was the AntiChrist: “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!”— 2 John 1:7  As the church took this AntiChrist idea literally, the zodiac idea, which does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, was condemned as the Docetic heresy, the idea that Jesus only seemed to exist.  So for example Irenaeus condemned the idea that there are twelve ages governed by precession.  The actual teaching was suppressed and never honestly explained.  And all written versions of it were under anathema. The outwash of the Edict of Thessalonica and the Arian Controversy required that anyone in possession of heretical literature should be executed.

 

So yes, getting back to your question, the New Testament texts were extensively changed to remove taint of heresy.  But the problem was that the heresy was too central: the alpha and omega first and last beginning and end motif from Rev 22:13 came straight from the stars, with the associated synoptic idea that the last will be first.  My view is that the original writers had anticipated this problem of suppression, by writing in such a way that the real meaning was thoroughly concealed, so its traces would remain visible.  The loaves and fishes, the only miracle that appears in all four gospels, is a superb example, symbolising the movement of the heavens into a new alignment marked by the axis of Virgo (loaves) and Pisces (fishes).  The Virgo bread connection is that its main star Spica symbolises a spike of wheat.  There are many more examples that I can expand on.

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:24 AM, Hierophant said:

Is the argument being made that the original evangelist was writing a theology based on astrology? I have trouble tying that together, especially with the gospels being produced so much later. While thinking about it, I suppose it is not impossible the original story was astrological, but later historicized.

 

Yes, with a significant twist on Young Earth Creationism.  The Gospels were constructed on the basis of the 7000 year theory of time, but the underlying secret teaching that gave rise to this fundamentalist theory was that the zodiac age of Taurus was the time of Adam and Noah, the Age of Aries was the time of Abraham and Moses, the Age of Pisces is the time of Christ, and the Age of Aquarius is the millennium of restoration inaugurated by the Second Coming of Christ.

 

The Millennial Day Theory article in Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennial_Day_Theory  explains that this theory sees each millennium as a day according to God, as found in Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8, and that eventually at the end of the 6,000 years since the creation, Jesus will return to inaugurate the Millennial Reign of Christ described in Revelation 20.  Believers in this theory included Pseudo Barnabas, Papias, MethodiusLactantius, Commodianus, TheophilusTertullian, Melito, Hippolytus of RomeVictorinus of Pettau, as well as various Gnostics groups and the Montanists. It models the 3.5 “times” of history in Daniel and Revelation on the seven days of creation.

 

The twist on this theory that I am suggesting is that it was originally based on empirical understanding of astronomy, with no supernatural content, but this origin was suppressed, forgotten, ignored and denied.  The implication is that the first coming of Christ as described in the Gospels was originally constructed as purely imaginary, as a public entry point to the secret teachings of astronomy, and was only misinterpreted as literal history because it was so wildly popular. 

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:24 AM, Hierophant said:

In your essay, I see where you point our specific verses as a possible clue to the theory, but I don't know if that is what the evangelists had in mind when writing the gospels (considering the entirety of the gospel(s)).

Yes it is a very interesting question exactly what the evangelists had in mind.  Conventionally, the goal of the evangelists is set out in John 21, “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”  The purpose of these public documents was to inculcate belief and encourage growth of the cult.  Luke opened his Gospel with the claim to be informing a lover of God “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.  But Luke 8:10 also includes Mark and Matthew’s statement from Jesus to the disciples that "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables.”  This indicates that Luke’s opening claim about ‘certainty’ from “eyewitnesses” is a lie, since the whole document is speaking in parables.  My view is that the big parable of the Gospels is the whole story, which is a symbolic explanation of the underlying astronomical observation that the turning of ages was seen as a time of cosmic harmony.

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On 9/15/2020 at 4:24 AM, Hierophant said:

I am trying to think through the sequence of events as to how this would have played out.  Another question in that same vein would be the extensive knowledge of the Old Testament the evangelists had. Not knowing much about Gnostic Platonist, were they known to be well read in Jewish literature?

A good summary of the Hellenistic period of Judaism from the time of Alexander’s conquest is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_Judaism My view is that this period was far richer intellectually than is generally recognised, as I explained above with the metaphor of a bare field that once was a rich forest.  For example, Gnosticism is now viewed by Christians as a later corruption of the original Jesus story, whereas I see it in reverse, that Gnosticism was the parent and orthodoxy the corrupt offshoot.  As the Greeks established cities such as Alexandria and Antioch, they sought to create deliberate syncretistic cults to enable cooperation in religion with the locals.  That was the explicit basis for the creation of the cult of Serapis in Egypt, combining Zeus and Osiris and banning animal gods.  My view is that Greco-Jewish syncretism was also the basis of Christianity, combining Greek and Jewish ideas within a secret mystery philosophy.  Similarly such syncretism appears to be the basis of the Mithras cult in Persia.  These movements also drew on traditions from Babylon, Egypt and even India, which exported the monastic system to the Hellenistic world through Buddhist missionaries.

 

Russell Gmirkin provides a strong scholarly argument that the Pentateuch was written in its entirety by a team of Jewish scholars working in the Library of Alexandria in 273-272 BCE, who also published the Septuagint Greek translation of the Torah around the same time.  This illustrates how conventional assumptions can be questioned.

 

The Greek Platonist philosophers with their interest in the culture of fifth century Athens had an agenda to further Plato’s suggestion in The Republic that philosophers should rule the world.  I see Jesus Christ entirely as an imaginary Platonic philosopher king based on integration of Greek thought with Jewish tradition. 

 

The problem with all these suggestions is obviously that they are speculative, involving an overturning of accepted tradition.  But the reason why such a revolution in understanding is needed is that the conventional beliefs in Jesus Christ as the historical founder of Christianity are themselves completely implausible, and not only in their supernatural miracles.  The precession model has the advantage that it is entirely possible, and that it provides an intellectually coherent explanation for the origins of Christianity, as well as a much better moral framework than conventional Christianity.

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On 9/16/2020 at 7:59 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

Hi Hierophant, thanks for these and later comments.  Regarding this 'argument from incredulity',[emphasis added] either Jesus Christ lived or he didn't. I'm not sure from your brief remark what you think constitutes the argument from incredulity.  Are you saying that people just find the Gospel story incredible and jump to the conclusion it must have been fiction?  I agree that is not a strong argument by itself, in view of the possibility that the Gospel myths were woven around a real person.  However, where the argument for total fabrication is strong, in my view, is in the religious and political motivations for constructing a cosmic Christ based on the visual structures of the astronomy of precession, which provides a natural basis for the metaphysical ideas of the presence of eternity in time in the person of Christ.

 

I apologize, I phrased that poorly. What I meant to say was that it is difficult for me, that is, I am committing the fallacy of incredulity, to think the Christ story was made out of whole cloth because the motivations to do such a thing are beyond my personality and character. Essentially, it would be so far from me to do such a thing that I cannot understand why anyone would do it. I have difficulty understanding their mindset, motivations, and the energy to take to such a task.

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Thank you @Robert_Tulip for your responses. Very interesting topic and I enjoyed reading it. I would definitely have to learn more about astrology to better understand what you are saying. Back in my Christian days astrology was not on the table for studying and I don't really have much of an idea about it other than I am a Cancer, which I think is a crab or something.

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6 hours ago, Hierophant said:

Thank you @Robert_Tulip for your responses. Very interesting topic and I enjoyed reading it. I would definitely have to learn more about astrology to better understand what you are saying. Back in my Christian days astrology was not on the table for studying and I don't really have much of an idea about it other than I am a Cancer, which I think is a crab or something.

There really is no need to use any astrology to understand this material, although I grant  that at the popular level of understanding any discussion of the zodiac is closely linked to astrology.  However, I want to steer completely away from any magical claims about influence of the stars, and just stick to the empirical observable information.

 

For those who are less familiar with visual astronomy, and the basics of precession, I have just made a ten minute youtube video, available at https://youtu.be/NN5fIhwIS_Q, showing an animated star map going through 7000 years of precession from 4004 BC to 3000 AD.  Here is the text for it. I encourage you to watch the video to understand it better.

 

7000 years in the stars

 

This video providing a scientific hypothesis to help explain how ancient Christianity developed its belief that time is 7000 years long, starting from the alleged Creation of the Universe by God on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC, the date calculated by Bishop Ussher in 1650, through to the thousand year millennial reign of Christ ending around 3000 AD. 

 

Ancient religion was intimately connected to astronomy.  In looking at the stars, astronomer-priests in countries such as Egypt and Babylon noticed that the annual seasons were slowly shifting against the background stars.  This picture, using the astronomy program Skygazer 4.5 from Carina Software, shows the equinox stars in 4004 BC. 

 

The diagonal yellow line is called the ecliptic, marking the annual path of the sun through the background stars of the zodiac.  The horizontal white line is the celestial equator, dividing the north and south hemispheres as seen from earth.  The date each year when the sun crosses from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere is the March equinox.  For the northern hemisphere this is the beginning of spring, while in the southern hemisphere it is the start of autumn.  The point in the sky where the ecliptic crosses the equator, marked here as 0°, is known by astronomers as the First Point of Aries.  They use this point to define the position of the stars with a measurement called right ascension. 

 

At that time the constellation of Aries sat between right ascension of 330° and 300°.  Back in 4004 BC, the first point of Aries was nowhere near the constellation of Aries, but was close to the Milky Way, between Taurus and Gemini.  How is that possible?  I will now animate the diagram to show you.  We see here the X point marked by the crossing of the ecliptic and the equator moves backward through the zodiac at the rate of one degree every 71.6 years. This motion is called precession of the equinox, and is caused by a slow wobble of the axis of the earth. 

 

Ancient astronomers were aware of this movement because over a few centuries it changed the alignment of their temples to the stars. It also changed the annual dates when constellations rise and set, an observation they used to know when to plant and harvest crops.  By 2000 BC, the equinox point had travelled through Taurus and reached Aries.  This period from about 4000 to 2000 BC is therefore called the Age of Taurus, and the period from about 2000 BC to the year zero is called the Age of Aries.  Actually the exact time the equinox takes to travel through one star group is 2148 years.

 

Stopping the clock at the time of Christ provides a picture of the sky at that moment.  Here we can see that the constellation of Pisces has a line of stars at right angle to the path of the sun.  The equinox crossed this point in the year 21 AD.  Using Skygazer we can zoom in to find the exact date when the equinox entered Pisces. This happened on 16 September, 21 AD, based on the actual visible line of stars known as the first fish.

 

The conventional constellation picture used by Skygazer shows how the Ram is pointing to this spot with his hoof. Ancient Christians could not calculate this so accurately, but they could work it out to within one or two decades.  This observation helps to explain why our calendar begins with the year one, with the Before Christ and Anno Domini dating system based on the zodiac Age of Pisces.  It also shows that the traditional Christian symbol known as the Chi Rho cross exactly matches the astronomical vision of the sky at the time of Christ, combining the path of the sun, the equator and the first fish of Pisces, as the ‘alpha and omega’ moment, the turning point of time.

 

Continuing the movement of the equinox through the Age of Pisces, we see that since crossing the first fish it has tracked along the second fish, and today has reached the group of stars known as the circlet.  The boundary between the constellations of Pisces and Aquarius does not have a simple line like the first fish of Pisces, so defining the date of the dawn of the Age of Aquarius is not as simple as for the Age of Pisces.  Using the 2148 year period for a zodiac age means this will happen in about the year 2169, assuming the Age of Pisces started in 21 AD. However, we can see that by the year 3000, the equinox will be well inside the constellation of Aquarius.

 

Most ancient astronomy has been lost, but this explanation shows how the Jewish and Christian mythology of creation and time could have been developed from careful observation of the precession of the equinox.  Thank you for watching.

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