Watchman Willie Martin Archive


By Bertrand L. Comparet

The four gospels written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and

John, tell of the life and ministry of Yahshua the

Christ. The gospel of Matthew traces Him from His

birth through His short sojourn in Egypt, then back to

Nazareth, still as a baby. He next appears in this

gospel in chapter 3, at the time of His baptism, just

before His 40 days of temptation at the beginning of

His ministry. In Mark, the baptism, temptations and

the beginning of His ministry, are all in Chapter 1.

In John, as in Mark, His childhood is not covered;

chapter 1 covers His baptism and the beginning of His


In Luke we have been given more details. Chapters 2

and 3 trace Him from the return to Nazareth through

His baptism, temptations and the beginning of His

ministry. Luke 3:23 tells us Yahshua's ministry

started at the age of thirty. Luke 2:41‑ 52 traces Him

on one visit to Jerusalem when He was 12 years old.

All four gospels are silent on the 18 years between

His 12th and 30th years. Where was He, what was He

doing during those years? It can be well demonstrated

that He was absent from Palestine for at least part of

this period, let's trace this absence.

Luke 1:36, 39‑56 tells us that Elizabeth, mother of

John the Baptist, was a cousin of Mary the mother of

Yahshua the Christ. There was a very close, friendly

relationship between the two families. Immediately

after the angel told Mary she was to bear Yahshua, she

went to the home of her cousin Elizabeth and stayed in

Elizabeth's home for about 3 months. It is only

natural that this close friendship would endure

throughout the years thereafter.

The law required that all the men and male children

must come to Jerusalem at three feasts each year.

Deuteronomy 16:16 states, "Three times in a year shall

all the males appear before Yahweh thy God in the

place which He shall choose: in the feast of

unleavened bread and in the feast of weeks and in the

feast of tabernacles." The feast of weeks was held 50

days after Passover, in our day is called Pentecost.

The feast of tabernacles was a weeklong feast, the

last of the fall festivals. The families of Yahshua

and John the Baptist, had to bring them both to

Jerusalem three times every year. The families, being

such good friends, surely met and the children must

have played together on those occasions. So, Yahshua

and John the Baptist were very well acquainted.

Between Yahshua's 12th and 30th years, the Scriptures

nowhere even hint Yahshua was in Palestine. We find

evidence He was absent from Palestine throughout the

greater part of that period.

John 1:29‑33 records the event of Yahshua being

baptized by John the Baptist, in these words. "The

next day, John seeth Yahshua coming unto him and

saith, Behold the Lamb of Yahweh, which taketh away

the sins of the world. This is He of whom I said,

After me cometh a man which is preferred before me,

for He was before me. And John bare record saying, I

saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and

it abode on Him. And I knew Him not." John had

received the vision by which he identified Yahshua as

the Lamb of Yahweh. However, he didn't recognize him

as a person, a relative of his for he says, I knew Him

not. If John the Baptist had seen his cousin Yahshua 3

times each year to that time, he certainly would have

recognized Him. If Yahshua had been in Palestine

during those 18 years, John surely would have seen

Him. Therefore Yahshua must have been absent during

those years.

This is not the only evidence  of Yahshua's absence,

for He was required to pay the stranger's tax. In the

original Greek, Matthew 17:24‑27 reads, "And they

having arrived at Capernaum, the collectors of the

didrachmas came to Peter and said, Does not your

teacher pay the didrachma? He saith yes. And when they

had come into the house, Yahshua anticipated him

saying, Which to thee seems right Simon? The kings of

the earth: from whom do they take custom or head tax?

>From their sons or from the aliens? To him said Peter,

>From the aliens. Yahshua said to him, Then the sons

are exempt. But that we may not offend them, going to

the sea cast thou a hook, and the first fish ascending

take up; and opening the mouth of him, thou wilt find

a stater; taking that, give it to them for Me and


Here is clear proof that Yahshua was regarded as a

stranger in the land. Remember, this took place at

Capernaum, in His home district of Galilee. Note that

the tax, which He was called upon to pay, the

didrachma, was a head tax levied by the Romans on all

strangers. This tax of a didrachma, a Greek silver

coin, was not the Jewish temple tax of a half shekel,

paid by all who were of the Jewish religion. Merely to

ask if He paid the temple tax would have been an

insult as doubting His citizenship. If this tax had

been the temple tax, this was not levied on any alien,

only on the Judeans. If this were the case Yahshua

could not have said that this tax was levied on the

aliens and the sons are exempt. Therefore it was

clearly the Roman didrachma head tax, levied only on

strangers. Also notice how Yahshua said to pay it. A

fish would be caught, having in its mouth a stater,

which was another Greek coin. The Jewish temple tax

could only be paid with a Jewish half‑shekel coin, not

a coin issued by pagans.

Yahshua spoke of the kings of the earth collecting the

tax. The priests, not by a king, collected the temple

tax. So we see that Yahshua had been gone so long

that, in His own home district of Galilee, He was not

recognized as a local resident. He was asked to pay

the stranger's tax, the didrachma.

If Yahshua was absent from Palestine for many years,

between the age of 12 and 30, where was He during this

time? The various enemies of Christianity have

originated many legends about this. Some of the

various forms of devil worship of Asia claim that He

spent these years in their lamaseries in Tibet and in

the ancient oasis in the Gobi desert, learning their

teachings. Of one thing we can be sure, He who was

Yahweh in the flesh did not waste His time studying

devil worship among the pagans! He didn't borrow any

of His teachings from them!

Where did He spend these years? Before we can go into

this, we must lay a foundation for it. We must learn

some facts, as background, which will show how likely

our explanation is the true one.

A fairly prominent character in the New Testament is

Joseph of Arimathea. Arimathea was 8 miles north of

Jerusalem, the first stopping off place of northbound

caravans and an important commercial center in its

day. Matthew 27:57 tells us that Joseph of Arimathea

was wealthy, while Mark 15:43 and Luke 23:50‑51 tell

us that he was an honorable counselor or member of the

Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem.

All four gospels praise him as a good man and Matthew

and John further tell us that he was one of Yahshua's

disciples. However, during Yahshua's life he remained

a secret disciple, for fear of the Jews. The Jews

would have persecuted Joseph much more savagely than

just a poor nobody, had they known he was a follower

of Yahshua the Christ.

This tradition is evidently well founded, for Matthew

27:57‑60 records that Joseph of Arimathea went to

Pontius Pilate, asked for the body of Yahshua and was

given it. He then buried Yahshua in his own tomb. This

seems like a highly dangerous thing to have done. This

showed reverence for the remains of one who was so

bitterly hated by the Jews and who had been condemned

to be killed as a criminal.

There were two cemeteries outside Jerusalem reserved

for the bodies of condemned criminals. Here was a man

who, during Yahshua's lifetime, had not dared to

openly admit that he was Yahshua's disciple. He now

openly shows reverence and affection for the remains

of the One they had killed that very day.

Pontius Pilate had consented to the murder of Yahshua,

after officially adjudging Him completely innocent of

any crime at all. He had done this astonishingly evil

act to avoid offending the Jews. It was unlikely that

he would have authorized an honorable private funeral

for Yahshua, if the leaders of the Jews had not

consented to it. Only one explanation of this can be

found. Under both Jewish and Roman law, it was the

duty of the nearest relatives to provide burial for

anyone, regardless of how they died. Despite all their

hatred, the Jewish authorities could hardly refuse

permission to the uncle to bury his nephew. The

Palestinian tradition of this relationship was

probably correct.

What if Joseph of Arimathea was our Savior's uncle?

Palestinian tradition is that his wealth came from

being an importer of tin, from mines that he owned in

Cornwall in the British Isles. Naturally he would have

frequently gone with his ships to Cornwall, to inspect

his properties there. What would be more natural than

he would take this wonderful nephew of his along. If

this did occur, there must be some record or tradition

of it in the place to which they went. Next, let us

look for such evidence.

First, a little review of what was then known about

the tin trade. The ancient writers agree that the

Phoenicians were the earliest traders who brought tin

from the islands beyond the Straits of Gibraltar.

Without tin, it was impossible to make bronze. Copper

alone, without tin to harden and strengthen it, was

not good enough, so tin was very valuable. Ships of

many other nations tried to follow the Phoenician

galleys, to find where they were able to get tin. The

Phoenicians were such expert sailors; they were

usually able to get away from their pursuers.

Other records tell of one who could not shake off a

Roman ship which followed him and who finally wrecked

his own ship to avoid being traced to the source of

the tin. This record tells how his countrymen

reimbursed him for the loss of his ship, being

grateful to him for his having protected the valuable

secret at so great a cost.

Ezekiel 27:12, written about 595 B.C., mentions the

tin trade of the ancient city of Tyre. "Tarshish was

thy merchant, by reason of the multitude of all kinds

fiches: with silver, iron, tin and lead, they traded

in thy fairs". This tin trade originating in Britain

was very ancient, going back to at least 1500 B.C. A

tremendous amount of bronze (mistranslated brass in

the King James Bible) was used in the construction and

equipment of King Solomon's temple. The tin mines of

Cornwall probably supplied most of the tin for this

bronze. Remember that Ezekiel mentioned tin and lead.

Both of these metals as well as some copper were mined

in Britain in those days. An ancient pig of lead has

been found, bearing the stamp of Britannicus, the son

of Claudius. This shows that the mining of lead in

Britain was in progress during the time of Yahshua.

Despite all Phoenician efforts to keep it secret, the

Greeks discovered the source of tin in Britain in the

year 330 B.C. The Phoenician monopoly was broken. So

in Yahshua's lifetime, his uncle Joseph of Arimathea

was the owner of tin mines in Cornwall. Did he take

the young Yahshua there?

The first tradition that he did so is found in

Cornwall. In Baring Gould's Book of Cornwall he

writes, "Another Cornish tradition is to the effect

that Joseph of Arimathea came in a boat to Cornwall

and brought the boy Yahshua with him. The latter

taught him how to extract tin and purge it of the

wolfram. When the tin is flashed, then the tinner

shouts Joseph was in the trade". We find it again at

Priddy, a little village lying at the top of the

Mendip Hills, right in the center of the ancient lead

and copper mines.

We next find the tradition that Yahshua was brought to

Britain, at Somerset, by his uncle Joseph of

Arimathea. The tradition says,"They came in a ship of

Tarshish to the Somerland, and sojourned in a place

called Paradise". The Summerland is Somerset. At the

mouth of the Brue river, which runs down from

Glastonbury, lies Burnham and Godney. Old ordinance

survey maps give the name of the area around Burnham,

Paradise. It is still known by that name. Ancient

writings have said that Glastonbury was once known as

Paradise. About a mile from Glastonbury lies the

village of Godney. Godney means God's marshlands. The

Glastonbury traditions are more concerned with

Yahshua's visit during His manhood.

Tradition also attests that much of Yahshua's sojourn

in Britain was spent at or near Glastonbury. Later

there was built at Glastonbury a great Abbey. For

almost a thousand years the greatest kings, bishops,

saints and heroes of the British race were buried

there. In its day it was the greatest abbey in

Britain. Royal charters were signed in the church.

King Cnut still in existence, the one signed by King

Ina in 704 A.D. and one signs two of these there, in

1032 A.D. In 1184 A.D, the abbey buildings and the

famous library of Glastonbury, covering a thousand

years of history, was burned. Therefore, today we only

have scattered references to these things in the works

of various historians of the early days. However,

there were many of these.

Taliesin the Druid, the great Welch prince and Bard of

the sixth century wrote, "Christ, the Word from the

beginning, was from the beginning our teacher, and we

never lost His teachings." The great church historian,

Hugh Paulinus de Cressy, writing in 1668 A.D. said,

"This, our land of Brittany, though called by the

Romans another world, as being divided from the whole

then discovered habitable earth, yet the riches of

Divine mercy received the beams of the Son of

Righteousness before many other countries nearer

approaching to the place where He first rose."

Further support is lent to these ancient reports by

what happened later, after Yahshua's crucifixion. The

Jews bitterly persecuted the Christians, as we know.

John 12:10‑11 tells how even during Yahshua's

lifetime, the Jews plotted to murder Lazarus, because

Yahshua had raised him from the dead.

Cardinal Baronius, a very careful church historian who

was librarian to the Vatican, quotes a Vatican

manuscript dated 35 A.D. This manuscript reports that

in that year the Jews had arrested Joseph of

Arimathea, the Virgin Mary, Martha, and two other

Christians. They were put in a boat and were set

adrift in the Mediterranean without oars or sails.

They finally reached land and went to Britain. Many

early historians confirm this.

St. Gregory of Tours, in his history of the Franks

written shortly before 600 A.D., Haleca, Archbishop of

Saragossa and the Chronicon of Pseudo Dexter, all

agree that Joseph of Arimathea was the first to preach

the gospel of Christianity in Britain. Hugh Paulinius

de Cressy says, "Now the most eminent of the primitive

disciples and who contributed most to this heavenly

building, was St. Joseph of Arimathea and eleven of

his companions along with him, among whom is reckoned

his son of the same name. These, toward the latter end

of Nero's reign and before St. Peter and St. Paul were

consummated by a glorious martyrdom. By the testimony

of ancient records they were said to have entered this

island because of its isolation, the benevolence of

the British princes and freedom from Roman tyranny.

This place was more opportune and better prepared for

entertaining and learning the gospel of the kingdom,

than almost any country under the Romans."

Various historians, of these early times, such as

Gildas and William of Malmesbury, record that the

British King Arviragus granted to Joseph of Arimathea

a considerable area at Glastonbury. This was to be

held forever, free from all taxes, as a site for a

church and its accessory buildings and fields.

That this is no mere legend is proven by one of the

greatest official records of all British history.

After conquering England in the year 1066 A.D.,

William the Conqueror had a survey made of all the

lands of the kingdom, as to what taxes had been paid.

This record called Domesday Booke was completed in

1088‑ A.D. and it contains this record. "The Domus

Dei, in the great monastery of Glastonbury, called the

secret of Yahweh. This Glastonbury church possesses in

its own villa XII hides of land which have never paid

tax." Note that this official record names this early

church Domus Dei, the home of God, and the secret of


Joseph of Arimathea and his companions erected a mud

and wattle church at Glastonbury. Among their first

converts were members of the royal family, children of

Aractious, cousin of King Arviragus of South

Wales. Still existing royal charters granted by King

Ina, dated 704 A.D., and by King Cnut dated 1032 A.D.,

attest that these kings in this church signed them.

Ancient records tell of its being preserved by a shell

built around it of boards covered with lead. Later a

stone building was erected, enclosing the original

church. St. David erected a large stone church as an

addition to this in 546 A.D. A record he made of this

on a bronze tablet was still in place at the time of

the seizure and dissolution of the monastery under

orders from King Henry VIII.

Even in Ireland is found the tradition of Joseph of

Arimathea having founded the Glastonbury church. St.

Patrick, who had spent considerable time at

Glastonbury and who returned there for the last years

of his life, no doubt brought the record to Ireland.

This great abbey was the one destroyed by fire in 1184

A.D. Immediately thereafter, King Henry II of England

issued a royal charter for the rebuilding of

Glastonbury Abbey. The charter called the abbey, "The

mother and burying place of the saints, founded by the

very disciples of our Lord".

Well‑substantiated ancient records tell of the death

and burial of Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. The

epitaph on his tombstone read, "I came to the Britons

after I buried the Christ. I taught, I rest." Between

1345 A.D. and 1367 A.D., the body was placed in a

silver casket with a beautiful stone sarcophagus,

which was still in position in the year 1662 A.D.,

when the St. Joseph chapel containing it had become

partially ruined.

Later, out of fear that Puritan fanaticism would

result in it being destroyed as an object of idolatry,

the sarcophagus was secretly removed by night to the

parish churchyard. Saying that the initials J.A.

carved on it stood for John Allen concealed its

identity. Thus it escaped destruction.

In 1928, it was found nearly buried in the soil. It

was removed into the church, in the north transept of

the ancient St. Katherine's Chapel. Its construction

indicates it was made to fit the silver casket. It

bears the initials J.A., with a dacuceus between the

initials. The caduceus, a winged staff with two

serpents twined around it, is used today as the emblem

of physicians. Originally it was the badge of Mercury,

the messenger of the Gods. Even today it has been

assimilated into the symbolism of some Christian

churches. In our own times, the patriarchs of the

eastern churches have a caduceus, not a crozier,

carried before them in official processions. It was an

official badge, which would not have been put on a

mere common person's grave.

Therefore we see that not only ancient legends and

ancient historical records, but the official acts and

records of the kings of the middle ages, have

recognized the close connection of Joseph of

Arimathea, the uncle of Yahshua the Christ, with

Cornwall and Glastonbury in Britain. All of these lend

strong support to the ancient legends and records of

these places that it was here that Yahshua spent those

18 years of His life, which the Bible does not account

for. Where else would we expect Him to go, but to what

was to become the principal home of His own people



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