In my book Caesar’s Messiah I showed that the Gospels were a Roman mockery of the Jews’ messianic typology that had been deliberately linked to Josephus’ history. In other words, events in Jesus’ ministry were back-written to foreshadow events from Titus Flavius’ military campaign that culminated with the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
The typological system that linked Jesus to Titus was made up of parallel locations, names and concepts that occurred in the same sequence. For example, the Gospels’ story that Jesus came to the Sea of Galilee at the beginning of his ministry and told his disciples that if they followed him they would become fishers of men, was written to “foreshadow” Titus’ beginning his campaign by leading his men to the Sea of Galilee where they fished for men.
While the analysis in the first edition was correct, it was incomplete. It only included the parallels linking Jesus to Titus which I had uncovered at the time I wrote that book. I have just released the second edition of Caesar’s Messiah which presents the discovery that the entire storyline of Jesus’ adult ministry was created as a typological prophecy of Titus Flavius’ military campaign. I have named this discovery “The Flavian Signature”, and believe that the literary device was designed to eventually be discovered and bring Christianity to an end.
I present seven connections from the Flavian Signature below. They are just a small part of the overall typological mapping of the Flavian Signature, which has over 50 connections. None of these parallels were presented in the first edition, though they all fit into the perfect sequence of typological parallels between Jesus and Titus established in that work. To make the sequence easier to follow I have only used parallels found in the Gospel of Luke.
1) Journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, Messengers sent ahead
The new edition reveals a number of overlooked parallels between the physical journeys of Jesus and Titus. Readers of CM will already be aware that the Moses/Jesus typology used the parallel sequence of locations as a part of its typological system, and that the Jesus/Titus typology is an extension of that system.
“Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.” Luke 9:51
“Titus, when he had gotten together part of his forces about him, and had ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, marched out of Cesarea.” Wars of the Jews, 5, 1, 40
2) Divide the group 3 for 2
While many of the Jesus/Titus linkages have been seen by other scholars – though not recognized as being in a parallel sequence – the new edition presents many obvious ones that have been missed. Though the following parallel is easy to spot its meaning is obscure. It is actually a comment on the fighting that Josephus recorded occurred between the “five sons of Maccabee” during the war.
” ‘Do [you] suppose that I came to give peace on earth?
‘I tell you, not at all, but rather division.
‘For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.’ ” Luke 12:51-53
“These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple, and upon all the warlike engines therein, and then ventured to oppose Simon.
And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two,” Wars of the Jews, 5, 3, 104-105
3) Cut down the fruit tree
The following parallel is a good example of the many seemingly trivial parallels that contribute to the overall pattern. Jesus describes a fruit tree outside of Jerusalem that might be cut down in the future, which Titus then cut down during the war. While trivial parallels do not have much meaning unto themselves, when shown to be a part of a sequence, such parallels confirm that their linkage was deliberate.
” ‘And if it bears fruit, [well]. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ” Luke 13:6-9
“So they threw down all the hedges and walls which the inhabitants had made about their gardens and groves of trees, and cut down all the fruit trees that lay between them .” Wars of the Jews 5, 3, 106-107
4) The triumphal entrance and the stones that cried out
A centerpiece of the Flavian Signature is the “triumphant entrances” into Jerusalem. In the passage below, Luke describes Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and then “stones” that “cry out,” and things that were “hidden from your eyes”.
“saying: ‘Blessed [is] the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’
But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things [that make] for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’ ” Luke 19: 35-42
Josephus also describes a “triumphant entrance” into Jerusalem. In other words, Josephus describes Titus’ “entrance” into the city, which were the stones hurled by his catapults. In the passage, Josephus made his famous “mistake”, writing the “Son Cometh” rather than the “Stone Cometh”. Though the apparent blunder has puzzled scholars, simply placing the passage in its correct place in the Jesus/Titus typological sequence makes the meaning of Josephus’ “error” crystal clear.
Notice that Josephus first describes “the coming of the stone”, then a stone that “cries out,” and finally he recorded that the “son/stone” was “hidden from your (the Jews’) eyes”. It is amusing that in Whiston’s translation given below, he inadvertently, but correctly, captures the real meaning of Josephus’ wordplay concerning “stones crying out” with his phrase – “and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud”.
In other words, the Greek statement can be read logically in two ways: one way is just as Jesus predicted – the stone actually cried out. Notice also, that what the stones would “cry out” in the Gospels, was the true identity of the son of God. This is exactly what Josephus recorded the “stone” did in the passage below.
“As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness;
accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud, in their own country language, ‘THE SON COMETH’ so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm.
But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand,”
Wars of the Jews 5, 6, 269-273
The above pun on the Hebrew words “ben” and “eben” (son and stone) continues a theme established earlier in the Gospels:
“. . . and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as [our] father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up sons to Abraham from these stones.” Matt 3:9.
To digress, it is extremely important that the Greek word “tekton” in the Gospels be translated correctly as “stonemason” and not, as is usually the case, “carpenter”. This translation is necessary to see the “stone/son” theme in the Gospels and Josephus, which is a mockery of the masonic imagery found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
5) Jerusalem encircled with a wall
Luke then describes Jesus “envisioning” the encircling of Jerusalem with a wall. The new CM book edition shows that the overall pattern often connects to a parallel like this one that cannot be disputed. Scholars have always recognized that Luke 19:43 was dependent upon Josephus’ description of Jerusalem encircled with a wall, but heretofore have not seen the parallel in the overall pattern.
” ‘For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side’ ” Luke 19:43-44
Josephus then describes Titus’ encircling of Jerusalem with a wall. This event has always been understood as the basis for Jesus’ prophecy above.
“. . . they must build a wall round about the whole city; which was, he thought, the only way to prevent the Jews from coming out any way,” Wars of the Jews, 5, 12, 499-501
6) Drive out the thieves from the area in front of the temple
Keeping in sequence, Luke recorded that Jesus had an event “foreseeing” Titus’ victory over the “robbers” in the area in front of the Temple. Notice the typological concept of the Jews seeking to “destroy” Jesus.
“Then He went into the temple area and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, ‘It is written, “My house is a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves.” ‘ …the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him . . .” Luke 19:45-47
Following the “triumphal entrance” and the encircling of the city with a wall in Josephus, Titus conquered the area in front of the Temple. In other words, the robbers were driven out by the “son of man”. Josephus and the Gospels each used the word “lestes” to describe the “robbers”.
“Then the Romans mounted the breach . . . and all the Jews left the guarding that wall, and retreated to the second wall; so those that had gotten over that wall opened the gates, and received all the army within it.
And thus did the Romans get possession of this first wall on the fifteenth day of the siege . . . ” Wars of the Jews, 5, 7, 301-302
7) The Abomination of Desolation
Another of the incontrovertible parallels found in the Flavian Signature is the “Abomination of Desolation” predicted by Jesus and recorded by Josephus. The passage in Luke that should contain a reference to the AoD does not, though the parallel passage in Matthew does. Notice that the author of Matthew asks that the reader “understand” something about the “Abomination of Desolation”. What the reader needs to “understand” is that by placing typological parallels into one Gospel, and not all 4 books, made the Jesus/Titus typology less obvious.
” ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.’ ” Luke 21: 10-20
” ‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) . . .’ ” Matt 24:7-15
“on that very day, which was the seventeenth day of Panemus, [Tamuz,] the sacrifice called ‘the Daily Sacrifice’ had failed, and had not been offered to God, for want of men to offer it, and that the people were grievously troubled at it) . . .
. . . And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them, – and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city?” Wars of the Jews, 6, 2, 93-94, 109-110
Whiston noted the “miraculous” date of the Abomination of Desolation in a footnote:
“This was a remarkable day indeed, the seventeenth of Panemus, [Tamuz,] A.D. 70, when, according to Daniel’s prediction, six hundred and six years before, the Romans ‘in half a week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease,’ Daniel 9:27. For from the month of February, A.D. 66, about which time Vespasian entered on this war, to this very time, was just three years and a half.”
Whiston’s point is that Daniel predicted that the “Abomination of Desolation” would occur in the middle of a “week” or seven years.
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.” Daniel 12:11
Simply on its face, the fact that Jesus and Josephus both understood Daniel’s prophecy as having come to pass during the Jewish war is suspicious. Jesus could only see this by looking into the future; and the date Josephus recorded the AoD occurred was also “miraculous”. The fact that this dual miracle occurred at the same point in their campaigns seems to lay to rest any question as to whether the linkage was deliberate.
I believe readers will find many of the new insights in the Flavian Signature edition of Caesar’s Messiah to be of interest. It reveals the real identity of “Mary Magdalene” and the actual confession by the Flavians that they invented Christianity.
Originally published June 18, 2011
Atwill is an independent scholar who has set the world of New Testament scholarship in a new direction.