Jesus Barabbas

This Article originally appeared on a Geocities site from the 1990s. It is reprinted here with permissions from the Author. Eric Gordon

That Jesus of Galilee was a rebel leader, is evident in allegorical format from the crucifixion story in the Gospels. In original Greek translations of the Bible, Barabbas, who was freed instead of Christ, is referred to as Jesus Barabbas. Barabbas, the murderer set free instead of Jesus Christ ,as per Christian tradition and the extant Gospels.

Translation & Etymology

Abba means "father" in Aramaic. Barabbas or bar-abbas, translates to "son of the father" which could be a surname, but makes little sense and it is not common in any other Hebrew or Aramaic text. [Bar- abba is found in the story of Jesus Pandera and Abba also appears as a personal name in the Gemara section of the Talmud. Abba has also been found as a personal name on a First Century grave site at Giv'at ja-Mivtar .]

Jesus sometimes referred to God as "father;" Jesus' use of the Aramaic word Abba survives untranslated in most English translations.

Mark 14:36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

Other similarities between Jesus and Barabbas also emerge.

Jesus and Barabbas were arrested in an insurrection and incarcerated simultaneously Prior to his arrest Jesus caused a riot in the temple by overturning tables and swinging a lash at people.

John 2:15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

The night of Jesus' arrest he had equipped his disciples with swords in anticipation of trouble.

Luke 22;36 He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

Barabbas was incarcerated for "murder and insurrection", obviously he was armed. And he was numbered with the transgressors.

Mark 15;28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. Isa 53:12

Original Christian Texts citing Jesus Barabbas

According to Jerome (On Matthew), the name in the apocryphal Gospel According to the Hebrews was filius magistri eorum -- i.e., "son of their teacher." (Jerome, Commentary on Matthew )

Syriac manuscripts of Matthew present Barabbas' name as Jesus bar Abbas.

The Caesarean group of texts, which have been identified as possibly being the origin of many parts of the New Testament present Barabbas' name as Jesus bar Abbas.

The Sinaitic Palimpsest [ a late 4th century manuscript of the four canonical gospels of the New Testament.], present Barabbas' name as Jesus bar Abbas.

Manuscripts used by Origen ,a distinguished Father of the early Christian Church., in the 3rd century present Barabbas' name as Jesus bar Abbas.

All these ancient sources cite the fact that Barabbas' name was originally Jesus Barabbas. Origen censored the reading in the manuscripts he was working with deliberately. . He would not tolerate the name Jesus being associated with anyone depicted as a sinner. "In the whole range of the scriptures we know that no one who is a sinner [is called] Jesus."

The corrupted version Modern Christians utilize reads

Matthew 27:17 "So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"

In actuality the original texts read

Matthew 27:17 "So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus who is called the son of the father, or Jesus who is called the anointed one? " {anointed one referring to a Worldly claim to the throne of David and Solomon or King of the Jews}

What the gospels are asking us to believe is that Pilate offers the crowd the choice between " Jesus Bar'Abbas , the criminal " or "Jesus Bar' Abbas the prophet /King.

This of course would render the entire passage very confusing to say the least for the average unitiated reader. To fully comprehend the Biblical crucifixion one must also consider the possibility that this entire crucifixion scenario may have been a symbolic / ritualized / Gnostic equation.

Gnostic Crucifixion

Origen, a Christian scholar and theologian and one of the most distinguished and influential of the early Church Fathers rejected the reading of "Jesus-Barabbas" in the manuscripts he had, he and others deliberately edited out "Jesus-Barabbas", for reverential reasons. Origen didn't believe the name Jesus should be associated with a sinner, and his school of religious thought did not understand nor endorse the concept of the Gnostic crucifixion.

. "Jesus" comes from the Greek Ιησους [Ioesous] found in the Greek text of the Gospels, and is assumed to be translated from Aramaic or Hebrew (Yehoshua or Yeshua other Alternative spellings/translations include Jehoshua, Jeshu). The Greek to English equivalent would be Joshua. The Greek is a Hellenized form of the Aramaic name Yeshua (ישוע), a short form of Hebrew Yehoshua (יהושע). Christian Arabs to this day refer to Jesus as "Yasu' al-Masih" . Why then did the original translators of the Gospels choose to call Barabbas "Jesus- Barabbas" when "Joshua Barabbas" would have sufficed? Because , to do so, would have undermined, if not destroyed the Gnostic - Allegorical value of the Crucifixion scenario of which original Christian initiates of the Mystery Schools were well aware.

In The Jesus Mysteries Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy bring to light an interesting facet of the early Christian Tradition of Martyrdom and crucifixion . Crucifixion being somewhat symbolic of executing ones "lower self" ,to crucify the false ego or "crucify" ones lower nature/ animalistic self in order to "born again" or resurrected.

Getting back to the original Greek texts of the New Testament one finds a totally new interpretation of the Crucifixion of Jesus. One finds the possibility that the real meaning of the crucifixion is to crucify the lower self and be "Born again" . Further support of this argument is derived from The Christ Myth and also Legend of St. Peter by Arthur Drews claims that a long standing feature of the Semitic world was a sacrifice of a 'Son of the Father' or a Barabbas, originally Jesus Barabbas. [1]

["The real meaning of crucifixion is to crucify the false self that the true Self may rise. As long as the false self is not crucified, the true Self is not realized." -The Souls Journey -Hazrat Inayat Khan ]

In this Allegorical version of the crucifixion, when the Jews clamored for Pontius Pilate to "free Bar Abba" they meant Jesus the anointed one The King of the Jews, their King. When Greek and Roman translators who did not fully comprehend Aramaic and many of the Gnostic implications and inferences retold the story, they included the petition for freedom, but bar-Abbas became a separate entity making the Romans less culpable, and the Jews more so. The release of a separate person - Barabbas shifted blame for the Crucifixion towards the Jews and away from the Romans. Naturally the Gospels were written/rewritten to entice a Roman Audience of Gentiles to the new Religion, there was little interest in appeasing the Jews who after all had lost the war. The War being the insurrection in which Barabbas had committed his crimes.

Mark 15:7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.

Luke 23:19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

As per Christian tradition Barabbas was a thief, murderer, and criminal. But if you read more closely it appears that he was a freedom fighter against Roman Authority. Possibly a zealot such as Simon Peter and others among the recognized apostles of the Gospels. If Barabbas was Jesus "son of the father", or the higher self as opposed to "Jesus the anointed one " ..lower self it would not be advantageous to depict him as an adversary of Rome, if one were seeking Roman converts.

In addition, if Barabbas was Jesus, the description of him in Mark 15:17 and Luke 23:19 as an insurrectionist would go along with the descriptions of Jesus of Gamala, Jesus Ben Shaphat, Jesus Ben Sapphias, Jesus Ben Ananus , and Judas of Galilee which the contemporary Historian Flavius Josephus recorded in his writings.




Further notes on Jesus Barabbas

[1] Drews cites a statement from Jewish historian Philo according to which, on the entry of the Jewish King Agrippa into Alexandria in 38 A.D. , a fool / village idiot was chosen by the mob to be the Jewish King. He was covered with a robe and bore a crown of papyrus on his head and a reed in his hand as a scepter. A group of men surrounded him, forming a bodyguard, and others approached him to hail him as the king of the Jews. Philo's report suggests that karabas may have been a popular expression used to describe someone impersonating a king. But it also may have been a corruption of the Hebrew name Barabbas,- "Son of the Father." Mr Drews goes on to trace, or attempt to trace this tradition to Babylonian and Persian rituals whose origin resides in primitive nature worship relative to the changing of the seasons. See :Hoffers' Lecture on Arthur Drews .

{In the acts of the apostles,1.23 and 15.22 we have a Joseph barsabas and a Judas barsabas, both first names claimed as brothers of Jesus}. As per Acts 1:23 Joseph Barsabbas was surname Justus so we can safely assume that barsabbas is actually bar sabbas or son of sabbas and is very close to barabbas . It is also very possible that at one time these two barsabbas brothers , being equated with the Holy/Royal Jesus family were referred to as the sons of Abbas or bars abbas, and the word simply mutated over time and translation to barsabbas.

The Early Western text manuscripts of the New Testament are very similar to that of Early Christian texts of Rome, they generally however contain longer passages and additional details not found in the the Roman versions which comprise our New Testament of today. In at least two Western texts, the Gospels appear in a variant order: Matthew, John, Luke, Mark.

Acts 15:22 in the Modern Bible reads .."Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. "

In the Western Texts Barabbas is used in place of Barsabbas

Paul [Pol] the apostle also used the word "Abba" in his epistles , " Abba , Father. "(Romans 4:15) " Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6).

Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."

The procedures of Roman crucifixion adhered to a precise procedure. Upon being convicted the prisoner would be flogged , his outstretched arms would be fastened to a heavy wooden beam placed horizontally across his shoulders and neck . And the victim would be led to the place of crucifixion where he raised by the beam on a vertical post. This put intense pressure upon the victim's chest and made it impossible for him to breathe unless his feet were fastened to the stake. Leg breaking , such as portrayed in the biblical accounts, was a form of mercy to avoid prolonging the agony - with no support the victim would die of asphyxiation much faster. According to the gospel, Jesus' legs were never broken, he should have survived several days longer. but he dies, after a few hours on the cross. Even Pilate is surprised upon learning of his death.

[Mark 15:44]. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.

Religious scholars agree that Jesus modeled his life {At least as per the Gospels} and movements to coincide with ancient Jewish writings that spoke about the coming of a Messiah and the tribulations he would undergo. It is not impossible for Jesus to have died on the cross so soon , but highly improbable that he did. the death of Jesus comes very conveniently, it occurs just as soldiers are about to break his legs.

John 19:33 'But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs.'

Which maintains the Prophecy concerning a Messiah in Psalms

Psalms 34:20 'He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.'

In the Gospels Jesus, hanging on the cross, says that he thirsts and is given a sponge soaked in vinegar.

Matthew 27:48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink.

Mark 15:36 One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.

John 19:29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips.

Tradition has it that this act was an act of cruelty, in actuality vinegar, or soured wine - was a temporary stimulant used to resuscitate exhausted galley slaves. As soon as Jesus tastes or inhales the sponge he dies. If vinegar was given the opposite effect would be expected. .If it were a sponge soaked in a soporific drug , such as opium for instance, which was known to be used in Palestine at that time - unconsciousness would occur, giving the impression of death. What the Gospels are portraying may well be an elaborate charade designed to produce an appearance of death when in fact the "victim" was still alive. Such a hoax would not only save Jesus' life but would have also realized the Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah.

In the Greek version when Joseph of Arimathea asks for Jesus' body, he uses the word soma - which is a word that applies only to a living body, when Pilate replies , he uses the word ptoma - which is a word that applies only to a corpse. There is little historical information about this Joseph of Arimathea. The Gospels have him as a secret disciple of Jesus, was very wealthy and belonged to the Jewish Council of Elders, the Sanhedrin. It would thus seem apparent that this Joseph was a very influential man.

John 19:20-22 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews." 22Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."