About what happened to
Hellmantle in the mission in the
mountains and the
crucifixion of Jesus
Sayangon, Mountain Province
The mother and daughter
served them a large chicken dinner with a number of bottles of San Miguel beer
and then left for the night half an hour later, leaving the fridge unlocked and
packed with cold beer. They ate as if they hadn't touched food for weeks,
Hellmantle quaffing the liquid bread like a sponge. Upstairs D'Aqs eased
back on his cot in the corner of the room stretching his weary legs, and
flipping through the booklet with blistered hands. Hellmantle had a smoke
sitting at desk in front of a big window overlooking the storm brewing in the
valley, hunched over a map without his eyeglasses in the dim light.
is the highest church in the Philippines," he said finally, lifting his head
from the map.
mean closest to God."
Closest to God!"
"This booklet is full of
things said during the ordination process," he said, looking at Hellmantle with
interest. "It records what was said during the ordination of someone by the
name of Reverend Elpido D. Silug."
Hellmantle grunted, keeping his eyes on D'Aqs.
"On the opening page it says:
The Times Are Bad.
You Are There To Make It
A Wise Man Will Make More
Opportunities Than He Finds.
You Are The One Path To Lead
Others To Find The Path,
You Are Chosen! Carry On!
Hellmantle took a sip of his beer and sighed.
"I like this one:
Not In Our Heads
But In Our Hearts
Lies The Strength
That Carries Us
Unto Great Deeds.
"And following the heart theme:
God Is A Friend Who Knows
In Your Heart Who Will Sing
To You When You Have
Forgotten The Words.
The night air between gusts
was quiet when Hellmantle asked for the booklet. D'Aqs gave it to him with the
same page open. He read:
You are the greatest of all
God's earthy creations.
Now, make the most of your
Rouse your mind and discover
the powers that God has given you.
When the winds calmed down, Hellmantle could hear a
waterfall from behind the café. Perhaps the air was a bit thin here in the
mountains because with the amber nectar and the rev of the engine still in
ears, the booklet struck a chord. He went on:
God's chosen are not only a
glory to His name.
They are grace and blessing
to His people.
"It says here the priest
reads these words to a newly ordained priest and to the people there in
A young man lives in the
An old man lives in the
For youth, time is moving
For the aged, time is moving
A young man dreams of the
The before him will bring;
An old man dreams of the
When life held the magic of
No matter how young or how
The present alone can
The only time we can harvest
Our blessings as fortunes
Therefore, once and for all,
this short command is given to you:
Love and do what you will;
If you keep silent, keep
silent by love;
If you speak, speak by love;
If you correct, correct by
If you pardon, pardon with
Let love be rooted in you,
And from the root nothing
but good can grow.
"I like that one." A strange
tingling sensation rippled up D'Aqs' spine that produced a shiver right from
"That was written by our
Dutch friend Vande Winkle," said Hellmantle, face flushed, something stirring
within him. "He was here just after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu."
"Yes, I noticed that. Do you
remember that guy Barnes in the next grade?"
the tall guy, always had a purpose."
know what you're saying. Well he died during that Nato war against Serbia. He
became a pilot."
a shame; a real shame." Hellmantle thought if those early mornings he
used to get out to bed to sneak into the library to do work, and Barnes was
there, quiet but with purpose. He and his twin brother used to laugh about the
Barnian porpose and the firm step he had inheirted from his ancestors, Barnes
being a descendent of one of the main men in the Sixth Crusade, the last the
most terrible of all the Crusades.
of the few Canadians to be shot down." Hellmantle sighed.
"You probably know this but
the ordination ends with:
You are a priest forever in
the order of Melchizedek.
Psalm 110, verse 4.
Wasn't Melchizedek one of the Three Wise
Men who were present at the birth of Jesus?"
I believe so." He put the booklet down and closed his eyes, exhausted from the
"He was a Magi, part
of the West Manasseh Magi - a priestly caste of Samaritan philosophers
headed by the disciple Simon Zelotes, who was also known as Simon Magus,
or Simon the Magi."
Magus? The disciple?"
"That's right. He was known as the greatest
Magi of his day, and was the oldest and most socially prominent disciple to
follow Jesus. The word Magi being the root word of the word we know
today as magic. Compare being the head of the ancient Magi to Peter and
Andrew who were fishermen." That look of surety came over Hellmantle again.
"You know, the lion and the unicorn, the arrows and the oak leaves, he ended up
dying in Britain. Simon Magus was also the disciple who revived Jesus after his
crucifixion with a hundred pounds worth of myrrh and aloes, after he had put
Jesus to sleep on the crucifix with the sponge spiked with snake venom. He was
the agent provocateur to ensure Jesus survived the cross." D'Aqs looked
down for a moment, deep breath calming him for the maelstrom about to be
"Can you explain to me why
you think Jesus survived the crucifixion?"
you lend me your Bible I will, but are you sure you want to?" D'Aqs took out
his Bible and handed it to Hellmantle.
I'm not sure but I do want to hear what you have to say, just...just be gentle."
he die on the cross? How many times have I asked myself that question? But how could
he have died on the cross is the better question to ask. The crucifixion
happened on a Friday. Then the disciple Simon Zelotes gave Jesus the sponge
with ‘gall and vinegar' just before Jesus passed out. Indeed it is
believed that the gall and vinegar was actually snake venom, which is
like taking a serious Valium in today's parlance. So it looked like
Jesus was dead, but he was just severely drugged."
you think there was some...tampering."
there was some serious tampering. But the bottom line here is that how
can a 37 year-old man, who spent his time walking and moving around the towns
and the countryside preaching, have expired so quickly? He wasn't stabbed deeply
nor did he have his legs broken. By the way, how does a man die on a crucifix?"
"He- Um, he dies of
dehydration? That's strange, I never thought about it."
"The way someone dies on a
crucifix is when he has his legs broken, he suffocates to death. But if you
remember the Romans didn't break Jesus' legs. Only the guys beside him." D'Aqs
nodded, knowing this was plain to read in all four gospels. "So He was given a
slice with a blade and bled in the abdomen but that wasn't enough to kill a
grown man in good physical shape. That poke or slice was administered to see if
he was still alive but he was conked out from the snake venom concoction given
to him by Simon Magus. The ugly holes in his hands and feet didn't kill Him,
nor did the cuts around His forehead from the Crown of Thorns. It was James,
his younger brother, who is known in history as Joseph of Arimathea, who
demanded the dead-looking, unconscious Jesus be taken down from the cross on
the Sabbath - which happened to be the next day at daybreak - because it was
part of the Jewish law not to have unburied dead on the Sabbath. James actually
held up the scriptures to the Roman guards and demanded Jesus be buried
immediately according to Jewish custom. It was because they stirred up this ruckus
to bury Him on Saturday morning that they were able to get Jesus off the cross
"According to the story, he
was revived by Simon Magus with aloe and myrrh and used these ingredients as a
diuretic and purge. Once revived, Jesus then left the tomb on his brother's
property. His tomb was discovered empty but this was after he left on his own
two feet. Think about it: what better way to drop out of a failing rebellion
than by being presumed dead? And he dies a martyr. So some time later, when the
dust has settled he leaves Palestine."
"Why though? Why would He do
"To fulfill the prophecies
of the coming of the New Messiah. All the Hebrews were waiting and expecting
Him. And since Jesus was from the Royal Line, why wouldn't He?"
"I don't know. It's all a
"Not if you think it
through. Ask yourself why He rode into Jerusalem on an ass rather than walk?"
D'Aqs shrugged his shoulders. "To fulfill what was written in the Book of
Isaiah. It's clear in the New Testament how Jesus as a young man spent so much
time in the synagogue reading the Torah and lecturing the scribes and rabbis!
He knew the first five books of the Old Testament like the back of His hand! He
designed it so He would fulfill the prophecy by riding into Jerusalem on an ass
after gathering His disciples, and after He was baptized by his cousin John the
Baptist in the River Jordan."
"And the miracles? How did
He walk on water?" Compassion appeared in Hellmantle's eyes as if he were
looking at a neophyte.
"Walking on water is not
literal. It means applying your knowledge. The New Testament is loaded
with metaphors and parables because at the time Rome was breathing down the
neck of the Hebrews. Rome conquered them in 70AD after the failed rebellion
from 66 to 70. And as you know the New Testament was written way after
"And miracles, like bringing
Lazarus back from death?"
"The resurrection of Lazarus
was not literal either. It was the spiritual rebirth of Lazarus. But His
ability to heal I think was learned during what is known as the Lost Years of
Jesus, after His Bar mitzvah when He left Palestine when He was thirteen years
old. It is believed He went to India and learned the ways of his Indo-European
ancestors." D'Aqs hadn't moved an inch since Hellmantle had begun on this
"Yeah, something like that.
Listen, there's obviously a lot of historical inertia at play in this
discussion. The Catholic Church has decided what happened so this chat is
"But it doesn't stop us from
speculating what actually happened."
my point. There's no way of knowing."
from diligent research and studying the canon one can certainly have an informed
opinion that can be defended by rational argument." D'Aqs threw up
then what do you think really happened?" Hellmantle took a big swallow of the
amber liquid, and sat up in his chair happy to have a chance to say his piece.
think Jesus was strong as nails actually, not weak, meek and humble. Likely
ticked off that He wasn't accepted by the ruling Pharisees because of He wasn't
born in September, I think He was a rebel and zealot, which is why He had so
many zealots as disciples, like Judas Iscariot. He was the most fervent zealot.
‘Iscariot' means he who uses the knife, a known rebel group at the
time. Jesus must have had tested mettle from all the walking, traveling
and preaching He did. I bet that when He was put up on the cross, He was a man
with firm and able muscle and clean lungs so when He took those spikes through
the wrists and feet, adrenaline was high and man's great instinct to survive
kicked in. He didn't die of thirst in less than 24 hours. He didn't die from a
thin blade slice in his side, which as I said was likely a token swipe from a
handy Roman guard to see if he was alive. It was barely deep enough to draw
blood. And he didn't asphyxiate because when the Roman guards came around to
break the legs of those on the cross, Jesus was spared because he looked
dead. But he was merely unconscious from Simon Magus's potion." He opened the
Bible in his hands.
John's Gospel they describe it:
At about three o'clock Jesus cries out with a loud shout: ‘Eli,
Eli, lema sabachthani?' which means, ‘My God, my God, why did you abandon
me?' Some people standing there heard him, and said: ‘He is calling for
Elijah.' It is here that one of them ran up with a sponge soaked in cheap wine,
put it on an end of a stick and gave it to Jesus to drink. Others said: ‘Wait,
let us see if Elijah is coming to save him.' Then Jesus gives out a loud cry
and breathes his last.
Then the Jewish authorities asked Pilate to allow
them to break the legs of the men who had been crucified, and to take the
bodies down from the crosses. They requested this because it was Friday, and
they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses on the Sabbath, since the
coming Sabbath was especially holy. So the soldiers went and broke the legs of
the first man and then of the other man who had been crucified with Jesus. But
when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they did not
break his legs.
"So Joseph of Arimathea, who
was actually James His younger brother and James the disciple, took Him,
wrapped Him in a new linen sheet, and placed Him in a tomb on his family's
property. The tomb was apparently recently dug out of solid rock."
Hellmantle lit a cigarette and leaned closer to the Bible. "It says:
When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea
arrived; his name was Joseph, and he also was a disciple of Jesus. He went into
the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for
the body to be given to Joseph.
"The next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief
priests, or rabbis, and the Pharisees meet with Pilate and decide to
make the tomb as secure as possible to guard against Jesus rising from the
dead. They seal the tomb but it is unclear whether they see the body of Jesus
when they seal it."
would think so."
isn't mentioned specifically."
that cheap wine, or snake venom, knocks Him out like a sleeping potion for...how
long again did you say?"
"That was Friday evening.
Right before Jesus drinks the ‘wine' when He's on the cross, in John's gospel,
Jesus knew that by now everything had been
completed; and in order to make the scripture come true, Jesus said: ‘I am
thirsty.' A bowl was there, full of cheap wine; so a sponge was soaked in the
wine, put on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted up to his lips. Jesus drank the wine
and said: ‘It is finished!' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit
an expert at potions and medicines, Simon Magus slips Jesus a very strong
tonic, which as you can see is mentioned in the Gospels. Drinking the potion
from the Magi knocks Him unconscious but ultimately saves His life."
"If Simon Magus supplied
Jesus with some sort of potion that was strong enough to render him out of it,
so much that he could feign death, it must have been pretty strong."
"Very limp body for a
"He would have to had to be
unconscious to feign death," said D'Aqs.
"There's no way he could pretend
to be unconscious."
what about the other two Gospels? What do they say about drinking this wine?"
"In Mark it says the wine
was ‘mixed with a drug called myrrh.' In Luke it says the wine was given
to Jesus by Roman soldiers. But what's interesting about Luke is what the two
angels tell the two Marys after they discover his empty tomb:
Why are you looking among the dead for one who is
alive? He is not here; he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while
he was in Galilee: The Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, be crucified,
and three days later rise to life.
"That's pretty blatant language isn't it? Now,
doesn't that read differently, as if He had it all planned? And note the ‘Son
of Man' reference." Hellmantle snuck a long sip of his beer and went on:
"Luke and John have the most
suggestive endings in the Gospels in my opinion. Luke has a unique account of
Jesus after leaving the tomb. In this story it is Sunday and just after He has
spoken to the two Marys - so He hasn't seen His disciples yet. He meets two of
his followers on the road about seven miles from Jerusalem, who don't recognize
Jesus. They talk of the crucifixion but only come to recognize Jesus at night
as they eat dinner. The way I see it, Jesus woke up and then left Jerusalem and
bumped into these guys by accident.
when he does finally see his disciples, they are terrified. He says to them:
Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up
in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel
me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn't have flesh and bones, as you can see
"It reads like he's still very much alive," said
D'Aqs, surprised at this re-reading of the New Testament.
Hellmantle enthused at his cousin's change of attitude. "Then he tells them
he is hungry. Since when did Holy Spirits say they are hungry and ask
"Spirits are never hungry!"
"So then Jesus leaves and
sends his directives to his disciples?" said D'Aqs, exasperated and becoming cranky.
"Not quite. He commits to
His faked crucifixion, retires from the Messiah business and lets history take
There was too much on the table, and D'Aqs
rubbed his head to try to alleviate the growing pain in his temples. The wind
whistled across the windowpanes, but after the gust there was only silence in
peace and good fellowship.