The scene has been compared to the semi-legendary meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jerusalem priesthood, in the 4th century BC. While other historians have suggested the mosaic represents the attack on Jerusalem by Antiochus VII in the 2nd century BC. But the characters are not named, which is unusual for mosaics in this era, and there are a number of problems with these interpretations. The main problem is that the king is bearded, which Antiochus and Alexander were not. And the meeting between Alexander and the Judaic priesthood was supposed to have been friendly, not antagonistic. And neither Alexander nor Antiochus were defeated, as the bottom of the mosaic appears to show.
Archaeological site of Huqoq, Israel, where the new mosaic has been revealed. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Detail of mosaic. (Source: NationalGeographic/Mark Thiessen)
Mistaken IdentitySince traditional academia have been unable to satisfactorily decypher what this mosaic represents, perhaps we should rework these interpretations using the new religio-historical framework that has been constructed in 'The King Jesus Trilogy'. This radical new theory, which is fully supported by all the original texts, suggests that the gospel era and story refers to the late AD 60s, and the tragic events of the Jewish Revolt. And if we use this new framework, we can immediately see that this mosaic does not depict Alexander the Great or Antiochus. The classical interpretations are wrong.
More intriguingly, this is actually a depiction of an obscure scene from the Talmud, where bar Kamza offers a sacrificial calf on behalf of the Romans, to rabbi Zechariah Abkulas (see Gittin 55-57). This was in about AD 68, just prior to the Jewish Revolt. But bar Kamza was being devious here, because he had cut the calf's lip (you can see the mark on the mosaic), knowing that Zechariah would have to reject the blemished Roman offering - and thereby offend the Romans, and in turn precipitate the Jewish Revolt. This was one of the ways by which the Jewish Revolt was deliberately contrived.
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According to the account, King Abgarus received the Image of Edessa, a likeness of Jesus. (Public Domain)And all the Edessan royalty, including King Abgarus, were bearded, a detail which suits the king in this mosaic much better than does Alexander or Antiochus. In fact, Josephus Flavius calls the Edessan monarchy the 'barbarians beyond the Euphrates', because they were bearded and lived across the Euphrates ('barbarian' being derived from 'barber' meaning 'hair', rather than from a foreign language). And all the Edessan kings wore the diadema headband, the same as in this mosaic, which was the symbol of both the Greek and the Greco-Persian royalty.
So it is possible that this mosaic depicts King Abgar V of Edessa. But we are actually looking for the son of King Abgarus here (bar Kamza, not Kamza), and he was called King Izas Manu VI of Edessa. And we know that the Talmud's enigmatic character called bar Kamza was King Izas Manu of Edessa, because both are said to have lived in Antioch-Edessa, and both are said to have started the Jewish Revolt (see: Gittin 55-57, and Josephus Flavius). But who was this relatively unknown King Izas Manu? (who was almost completely deleted from the works of Josephus Flavius.) Believe it or not, King Izas Manu was the biblical King Jesus Em Manu-el, which is why the king on this mosaic wears a Judaic side-lock of hair. (These 'two' monarchs share many, many similarities, including their near-identical names and a ceremonial Crown of Thorns.)
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The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem during Jewish-Roman war. (Public Domain)So the upper register of this mosaic depicts bar Kamza giving a sacrificial calf to the priests of Jerusalem, to start the Jewish Revolt, while the bottom register depicts his eventual defeat. And so we see here the start and the end of the Jewish Revolt - an event that plays a large role not just in Josephus Flavius' history of the Jews, but also in the Talmudic and Gospel accounts. And so this mosaic confirms that bar Kamza was King Izas Manu of Edessa, and confirms that King Izas Manu was the biblical King Jesus Manu-el. Which is, in turn, a complete confirmation of the new religio-historical framework discovered, explored, and explained in 'The King Jesus Trilogy'.
Ralph Ellis is author of Jesus, King of Edessa. You can find out more at Edfu-Books.com
The full mosaic can be seen here:
Top Image: Architectural elements and ruins at the archaeological site of Huqoq, Israel (CC BY-SA 3.0). Inset, decorated mosaic floor uncovered in the buried ruins of a synagogue at Huqoq. (National Geographic)
By Ralph Ellis