THE MISSING YEARS IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST ‑By
Bertrand L. Comparet
Fri, 20 Apr 2001 10:43:50 ‑0700
"Bob Jones" <[email protected]>
"Pastor Bob Jones" <[email protected]>
THE MISSING YEARS IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
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 ministry.
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 thee."
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
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 Yahweh.
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
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