The Son Of Man According To The Jewish Apocalypses
From what has been already discussed in these pages it will have been that the appellation "Barnasha," or "the Son of Man," is not a title like "Messiah," that could be applied to every prophet, high-priest, and legally anointed king; but that it is a proper noun, belonging exclusively to the Last Prophet. The Hebrew Seers, Sophees, and the Apocalyptists describe the Son of Man, who is to come in due time as appointed by the Almighty to deliver Israel and Jerusalem from the heathenish oppression and to establish the permanent kingdom for "the People of the Saints of the Most High." The Seers, the Sophees, foretell the advent of the Powerful Deliverer; they see him - only in a vision, revelation, and faith - with all his might and glory. No Prophet or Sophee ever said that he himself was "the Son of Man," and that he would "come again on the Last Day to judge both the quick and the dead," as the Nicene Creed puts it on the pretended authority of the Sayings of Jesus Christ.
The frequent use of the appellation in question by the evangelists indicates, most assuredly, their acquaintance with the Jewish Apocalypses, as also a firm belief in their authenticity and Divine origin. It is quite evident that the Apocalypses bearing the names of Prophets Enoch, Moses, Baruch, and Ezra were written long before the Gospels; and that the name "Barnasha" therein mentioned was borrowed by the authors of the Gospels; otherwise its frequent use would be enigmatic and an incomprehensible - if not a meaningless - novelty. It follows, therefore, that Prophet Jesus either believed himself to be the Apocalyptic "Son of Man," or that he knew the Son of Man to be a person distinctly other than himself. If he believed himself to be the Son of Man, it would follow that either he or the Apocalyptists were in error; and in either case the argument goes most decidedly against Jesus Christ. For his error concerning his own personality and mission is as bad as the erroneous predictions of the Apocalyptists, whom he believed to be divinely inspired. Of course, this dilemmatic reasoning will lead us to a final conclusion unfavorable to himself. The only way to save Prophet Jesus from this dishonor is to look upon him as the Qur'an pictures him to us; and accordingly to attribute all the contradictory and incoherent statements about him in the Gospels to their authors or redactors.
Before discussing further the subject, "the Son of Man" as depicted in the Jewish Apocalypses, a few facts must be carefully taken into consideration. First, these Apocalypses not only do not belong to the canon of the Hebrew Bible, but also they are not even included among the Apocrypha or the so-called "Deutro-canonical" books of the Old Testament. Secondly, their authorship is not known. They bear the names of Enoch, Moses, Baruch, Ezra, but their real authors or editors seem to have known the final destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews under the Romans. These pseudonyms were chosen, not for fraudulent purposes, but out of a pious motive by the Sophees or Seers who composed them. Did not Plato put his own views and dialectics into the mouth of his master, Socrates? Thirdly, "these books," in the words of the Grand Rabbin Paul Haguenauer, "in an enigmatical, mystical, supernatural form, try to explain the secrets of the nature, the origin [sic] of God, the problems of good and evil, justice and happiness, the past and the future. The Apocalypse makes upon all these questions some revelations which surpass human understanding. Their principal personages are Enoch, Moses, Baruch, Ezra. These writings are evidently the product of the painful and disastrous epochs of Judaism." (1) Consequently they cannot be fully understood any more than the Apocalypse which bears the name of St. John the Apostle. Fourthly, these Apocalypses have been interpolated by the Christians. In the Book of Enoch "the Son of Man" is also called "the Son of Woman" and "the Son of God," thus interpolating the Church theory of incarnation; surely no Jewish Seer would write "Son of God." Fifthly, it would be noticed that the Messianic doctrine is a later development of the old prophecies concerning the Last Prophet of Allah, as foretold by Jacob and other Prophets. It is only in the Apocrypha and the Apocalypses, and especially in the Rabbinical writings, that this "Last Deliverer" is claimed to descend from David. True, there are prophecies after the Babylonian captivity, and even after the deportation of the Ten Tribes into Assyria, about a "Son of David" who would come to gather together the dispersed Israel. But these predictions were fulfilled only partly under Zorobabel - a descendant of King David. Then after the Greek invasion the same predictions were preached and announced, and we only see a Judah Maqbaya fighting with a slight success against Antiochus Epiphanes. Besides, this success was temporary and of no permanent value. The Apocalypses, which carry their visions down to the time after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and Vespasian, foretell "the Son of Man" who will appear with great power to destroy the Roman power and the other enemies of Israel. Twenty centuries had to elapse before the Rome Empire was destroyed in the fifth century A.D. by a Turkish Emperor, Atilla - a pagan Hun - and finally by a Muslim Turk, the Fatih Muhammad II. But that power was completely destroyed, and for ever, in the lands promised to Ishmael by the Sultan of the Prophets, Muhammad al-Mustapha.
------------- Footnote: 1. Munuel de Litterature Juivre Nancy, 1927. ------------ end of footnote
There remain two other observations which I cannot ignore in this connection. If I were a most ardent Zionist, or a most learned Rabbi, I would once more study this Messianic question as profoundly and impartially as I could. And then I would vigorously exhort my co-religionist Jews to desist from and abandon this hope for ever. Even if a "Son of David" should appear on the hill of Zion, and blow the trumpet, and claim to be the "Messiah," I would be the first to tell him boldly: "Please, Sire! You are too late! Don't disturb the equilibrium in Palestine! Don't shed blood! Don't let your angels meddle with these formidable aeroplanes! Whatever be the successes of your adventures, I am afraid they will not surpass those of your ancestors David, Zorobabel, and Judah Maccabaeus (Maqbaya)!" The great Hebrew conqueror was not David but Jesus bar Nun (Joshuah); he was the first Messiah, who instead of conver- ting the pagan tribes of the Canaan that had shown so much hospitality and goodness to Prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, mercilessly massacred them wholesale. And Joshuah was, of course, a Prophet and the Messiah of the time. Every Israelite Judge during a period of three centuries or more was a Messiah and Deliverer. Thus we find that during every national calamity, especially a catastrophe, a Messiah is predicted, and as a rule the deliverance is achieved always subsequent to the disaster and quite in an inadequate degree. It is a peculiar characteristic of the Jews that they alone of all the nationalities aspire, through the miraculous conquests by a Son of David, after a universal domination of the inhabi- tants of the globe. Their slovenliness and inertia are quite compatible with their unshaking belief in the advent of the "Lion of Judah." While they are awaiting the Moshiakh refered to in Islam as "Massiekh, ad-dajjal" meaning the anti-Christ or the false messiah. And that is, perhaps the reason why they have attempted to concentrate all, their national resources, energy, and force and make a united effort to become a self-governing people. This is the introduction of conclusion of the appearance of the anti-christ and the appearance of the great grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Al Mahdi, via his daughter Fatima, which both Sunni and Shi'a believe. Al Mahdi will fight the anti-christ, then Jesus will descend and kill him under a tree facing the Lake of Tiberias which had been dry for a long time, but now it has been replenished. Now to the Christians who claim Jesus to be the pro-phetical Son of Man, I would venture to say: If he were the expected Deliverer of Israel he would have delivered that people from the Roman yoke, no matter if the Jews had believed in him or not. Deliverance first, gratitude and loyalty after; and not vice versa. A man must first be liberated from the hands of his captors by killing or frighten- ing them, and then be expected to show his permanent attachment and devotion to the liberator. The Jews were not inmates of a hospital to be attended by physicians and nurses; they were practically prisoners in bonds and needed a hero to set them free. Their faith in God and in His Law was as perfect as was that of their ancestors at the foot of Mount Sinai when He delivered it to Moses. They were not in need of a thaumaturgical prophet; all their history was interwoven with wonders and miracles. The raising to life of a dead Lazarus, the opening of the eyes of a blind Barti- maeus, or the cleansing of an outcast leper, would neither strengthen their faith nor satiate their thirst for independence and liberty. The Jews rejected Jesus, not because he was not the Apocalyptic "Son of Man" or the Messiah - not be- cause he was not a Prophet, for they knew very well that he did not claim to be the former, and that he was a Prophet - but because they hated him for his words: Messiah was not the Son of David, but his Lord. (1) This admission of the Synoptics confirms the statement in the Gospel of Barnabas, where Jesus is reported to have added that the Covenant will be fulfilled with the "Shiloah" - the Prophet of Allah - who will come from the family of Prophet Ishmael. For this reason the Talmudists describe Jesus as "the second Balaam" - that is, the Prophet who prophesies for the benefit of the heathen at the expense of the "chosen people."
------------ Footnote: (1). Matt. xxii 44-46; Mark xii 35-37; Luke xx. 41-44. ------------ end of footnote
It is quite clear, therefore, that the Jewish reception to, or their rejection of, Jesus was not the condition sine qua non to determine the nature of his mission. If he were the Final Deliverer he would have made the Jews submit to him, nolens volens, as Prophet Muhammad did. But the contrast between the circumstances in which each of those two Prophets found himself, and their work, knows no dimensions and no limits. Suffice it to say that Prophet Muhammad converted about ten million pagan Arabs into most sincere and ardent believers in the true God, and utterly uprooted idolatry in the lands where it had struck root. This he did, because he held in one hand the Law and in the other the Scepter; the one was the Holy Qur'an and the other the emblem of power and government. He was hated, despised, persecuted by the noblest Arab tribe to which he belonged, and forced to flee for his life; but by the Power of Allah he accomplished the greatest work for cause of the true religion which no other Prophet before him had ever been able to do.
I shall now proceed to show that the Apocalyptic Son of Man was no other than the Prophet Muhammad al-Mustapha.
- The most cogent and important proof that the Apocalyptic Barnasha is Prophet Muhammad is given in a wonderful description in the vision of Prophet Daniel (vii.) already discussed in a previous article. In no way whatever the Barnasha therein described can be identified with any of the Macca- bees' heroes or with Prophet Jesus; nor can the terrible Beast which was utterly killed and destroyed by that Son of Man be a prototype of Antiochus Epiphanes or the Roman Caesar, Nero. The culminating evil of that dreadful Beast was the "Little Horn," which uttered blasphemies against the Most High by associating with His Essence three co-eternal divine persons and by its persecution of those who maintained the absolute Oneness of God. Constantine the Great is the person symbolized by that hideous Horn.
- The Apocalypse of Enoch (l) foretells the appearance of the Son of Man at a moment when the small flock of the sheep, though vigorously defended by a ram, will be fiercely attacked by the birds of prey from above and by the car- nivorous beast on land. Among the enemies of the little flock are seen many other goats and sheep that had gone astray. The lord of the flock, like a good shepherd, sudden- ly appears and strikes the earth with his rod or scepter; it opens its mouth and swallows up the assailing enemy; chases and drives away from the pastures the rest of the pernicious birds and brutes. Then a sword is given to the flock as an emblem of power and the weapon of destruction. After which the flock is no longer headed by a ram but by a white bull with two large black horns.
------------- Footnote: (1). I regret to say that the "Jewish Apocalypses" are inaccessible to me. The Encyclopedias given only a compendium of each book, which does not satisfy my purpose of examining the text. I know that the Irish Archbishop Laurence has translated this Apocalypse into English, but it is, unfortunately, beyond my reach. ------------ end of footnotes
This parabolical vision is transparent enough. From Prophet Jacob downwards the "chosen people" is represented symbolically by the flock of sheep. The descendants of Esau are described as boars. Other heathen people and tribes are represented in the vision, according to their respective characteristics, as ravens, eagles, vultures, and different species of brutes, all thirsty to suck the blood of the sheep or hungry to devour them. Almost all Biblical scholars agree that the vision indicates the painful period of the Maccabees and their bloody struggles with the armies of Antiochus Epiphanes until the death of John Hurcanus in 110(?) B.C. This method of interpreting the vision is totally erroneous, and reduces the value of the whole book to nothing. That an antediluvian Prophet or a Seer should illustrate the history of the human race from a religious point of view, beginning with Adam, under the symbol of a White Bull, and ending with John Hurcanus or his brother Judah Maccabaeus (Maqbaya) as the Last White Bull, and then leave the flock of the "Believers" to be devoured again by the Romans, the Christians, and the Muslims to this very day, is ridiculous and shocking! In fact, the wars of the Maccabees and their consequence are not of such great significance in the history of the religion of God as to be the terminus of its development. None of the Maccabees was a Prophet, nor the founder of the so-called "Messianic reign" which the Gospels name the "Kingdom of God." Besides, this interpretation of the vision is inconsistent with the characters represented in the drama under the figurative symbols of the master of the flock, scepter in hand, the Ram, and the White Bull; and then with the large sword given to the shepherds with which they kill or drive away the impure animals and birds. Furthermore, this Christian interpretation of Enoch's Apocalypse does not explain the mystical transplantation or the transportation of the terrestrial Jerusalem into a country farther to the south; and what meaning can be given to the new House of God built on the spot of the old one, larger and higher than the former sacred edifice, to which flock not only the believing sheep - the faithful Jews - but also the various pagan nationalities that have embraced the religion of the Son of Man who destroyed the enemies with his Scepter or Rod! For all these particular acts and representations are seen and described in this dramatic vision. The chain that links together the events depicted in this figurative language begins with Prophet Adam and ends in the person of the Prophet of Mecca! There are several cogent arguments to prove this assertion.
- The two divisions of the sheep indicate the people of the Scriptures, whether Jews or Christians, among whom were those who were believers in the Oneness of God, and those who made Prophet Jesus and the Holy Spirit also equal and consubstantial with God. The Seer distinguishes the be- lievers from the apostates. The Gospels report that on the day of the Last Judgement "the sheep will be separated from the goats," (1) which indicates the same view. As to the symbolical Ram, we may understand thereby Arius or some spiritual Unitarian leader for the true Nassara and the chief Rabbi for the faithful Jews - because they both had the same common enemy. If we identify Constantine with the evil Horn, we may justly identify Arius with the Ram. In fact, Arius is entitled to this dignity because he headed the larger group in the Council of Nicea and vigorously defended the true religion against the monstrous doctrines of Trinitarian and Sacramentarian Churches. From a strictly Muslim point of view the Jews, from the moment they rejected and condemned Jesus Christ to death, ceased to be the "chosen people," and that honorable title was given only to those who believed in his apostleship.
------------- Footnote: 1. Matt. xxv. 32 - 46, etc. ------------- end of footnote
- The Son of Man who saved the flock of sheep from its various enemies whom he sent down into the bosom of the earth by striking vehemently his pastoral station it and gave a strong sword to the sheep to slaughter the impure brutes and birds of prey, was decidedly Prophet Muhammad. The scepter (in Hebrew "shebet" - rod, staff is the emblem of sovereignty, jurisdiction, and administration. The little scepter accorded by God to the tribe of Judah (1) was taken away, and a stronger and larger one was given to the Prophet of Allah (the "Shiloah") in its place. It is indeed marvel- ous how this prophetical vision of the Seer was literally fulfilled when Prophet Muhammad's scepter became the emblem of the Muslim sovereignty over all the countries - in Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, Syria, and Arabia - where the people of God were persecuted by the pagan powers of those countries and by the foreign heathen powers of the Medo-Persians, Greeks, and Romans! What a glorious fulfillment of the vision it is when the flock of sheep, for many centuries having been exposed to the merciless beaks and claws of the birds of prey and to the sharp and terrible teeth and claws of the beasts, was now equipped with a large sword to defend which every Muslim carried until the blood of the Saints and Martyrs (2) was equitably avenged.
------------- Footnotes: 1. Gen. xlix. 10. 2. Rev. vi. 9 - 11. ------------- end of footnotes
The White Bull. Until
Prophet Ishmael, all the Prophets are represented as white bulls; but from
Prophet Jacob downwards the princes of the chosen people appear in the form of
rams. The universal religion had been reduced to a national one; and the
Emperor had become a petty chief. Here is again another amazing fulfillment of
the vision in the Islamic era. The leaders or the patriarchs of the ancient
international religion are represented as white bulls, and those of the Muslim
Commanders of the Faithful also as white bulls, with the only distinction that
the latter have large black horns, emblem of twofold power, spiritual and tem-
poral. Among all clean quadrupeds there is nothing more beautiful and noble
than the white bull, and more so especial- ly when it is crowned with a pair
of large black horns. It looks most majestic and full of grace! It is very
remarkable that the Imam of the believers, whether a Calipha or a Sultan, or
possessing both titles, is distinguished and per- ceived day and night by the
purity of his faith and actions and by the solidity of his power and majesty
at the head of the vast and innumerable hosts of the faithful composed of all
races and languages! The vision expressly avows the entrance and admission of
the apostates and unbelievers into the flock. Jews - thousands of Jews -
Christians, and Sabians, as well as millions of Arabs and other heathen
nationalities, believed in the Oneness of Allah and embraced Islam. In this
connection it is worthy of note that all the blood shed in the wars of Badr,
Ohud, and other campaigns led personally by the Prophet Muhammad, could not
exceed one-hundredth of the blood shed by Prophet Joshua. Yet not a single
instance of cruelty or injustice can be proved against the Prophet of Allah.
He was clement, noble, magnanimous, and forgiving. This is why he is alone
among all the human race represented in all prophetical visions "the Son of
Man," like the first man before his fall!
The Son of Man establishes
the Kingdom of Peace, the capital of which is no longer the old Jerusalem, but
the new Jerusalem - the "Daru 's-Salam," the "city or court of Peace." The
Sophee or Seer in this wonderful vision nar- rates how the terrestrial
Jerusalem is lifted up and trans- planted in a southern country; but a new
Temple, larger and higher than the first one, is built upon the ruins of the
old edifice! Gracious God! how wonderfully all this was accomplished by Your
most illustrious and Holy Prophet Muhammad! The new Jerusalem is none other
than Mecca, for it is in a southern country, its two hills, the "Marwa" and "Sapha,"
bear the same names as those of Moriah and Zion, of the same root and
signification but originally earlier. "Irushalem" or "Urshalem" of old becomes
a city of "Light and Peace." It is for this reason, too, that Mecca as the
seat of the sacred Ka'aba became the "Qibla" - the direction towards which the
Muslims turn their faces at prayer. Here every year tens of thousands of
pilgrims from all Muslim countries assemble, visit the Holy Ka'aba, offer
sacrifices, and renew their fidelity to Allah and promise to lead a new life
worthy of a Muslim. Not only Mecca, but also Medina and the territory
surrounding them, has become sacred and inviolable, and forbidden to any
non-Muslim man or woman! It was in the fulfillment of his vision of Prophet
Idris or Enoch, too, that the second Caliph, Omar, rebuilt the Sacred Mosque
at Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, on the spot of the Temple of Solomon! All
these marvelously prove that the vision was seen by a Seer inspired by God,
who saw the Muslim events in a far-distant future. Could Rome or Byzantium
claim to be the New Jerusalem? Can the Pope or any schismatic Patriarch claim
to be the Apocalyptic White Bull with two large horns? Can Christianity claim
to be the Kingdom of Peace (Islam = "Shalom") while it makes Prophet Jesus and
the Holy Ghost coeval and consubstantial with the Absolute One God? Most
- In those chapters dealing with the Kingdom of Peace, the Messiah is called Son of Man, but in the description of the Last Judgement which follows at the end of this Reign of Islam or Peace he is called "Son of Woman" and "Son of God," and made to share with God in the Judgement of the World. It is admitted by all scholars that these extravagant and foolish statements are not of Jewish origin but belong to the Christian imagina- tions, inserted and interpolated by them.
The other Apocalypses, those which bear the names of Moses, Baruch, Ezra, the Jubilees, and the Oracula Sibylliana, should be studied impartially, for it is then that they, like those of Daniel and Enoch, will not only be understood but also prove to be fulfilled in Prophet Muhammad.