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   THEre ARE Various Versions of THE CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH of Jesus Christ, SO to be  INTELLECTUALLY HONEST, I MUST GIVE each VERSION AT LEAST some mention.


Norman Bull, M.A., PhD

Excerpted and Condensed from "Jesus the Nazarene"

      Dr. Bull, a scholar not minister, accepts that Joseph and Jesus his son were both woodworkers, carpenters, and lived in the tiny village of Nazareth, in Galilee.  6 KM from the much larger city of Sepphoris.

      "Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, was a humble workman who plied his trade.   His house was made of mud and straw, with wooden beams.   It was white-washed and it had an outside staircase leading up to the flat roof.  He worked at his trade in the 'Street of the Carpenters'.   The advertisement over his shop may have read MY YOKES ARE EASY, MY BURDENS LIGHT. a saying which Jesus used when he called men to him.   Our old English Bible says that Joseph was a 'carpenter'.   The Greek word ('tekton') means WORKER IN WOOD. Since wood was used in so many ways -- building houses, laying roofs, making furniture and farm implements -- the wood-worker was often much more than a carpenter.   He could also have been a BUILDER."

      "Joseph had a large family to provide for.  Beside Jesus there were four other boys --- James, Joses, Jude and Simeon.  There were also at least two girls.   Joseph had to work hard to feed and to clothe them all, as well as to pay his taxes both to the Romans and to his own people.   His taxes had to be paid in money, but he was often paid in kind --- in corn or wine or oil, for example.  Mary did her own spinning and weaving to make clothes, as far as she could.   People wore a cotton undergarment, tunics and cloaks and sandals on their feet.   Men wore their headdress and women wore veils.  Often Mary had to patch the children's torn clothes."

      "The family lived on home-made bread, fish from the Sea of Galilee, different kinds of fruit, eggs and milk.   Mary had to be a careful housekeeper, for the family would have little money to spare.  The lamb at the annual Passover Feast was a very special dish --- and a very great luxury for a peasant home at Nazareth."

      "The house was all one room.   It had a raised platform at one end where the family slept at night.   The animals were brought in at night and tethered below, by the manger.   Joseph would have owned an ass, a goat and chickens and they helped to warm the room at night.   Furniture was simple.   There were earthenware pots for oil and water and grain; a special chest for clothes and family treasures; millstones for grinding corn; and the precious oil-lamp which was kept burning day and night in the shadowy, windowless house.   Beds were simply mattresses, rolled up and stored in a special alcove during the day."

       "Jesus often helped his  mother at her tasks -- washing up; sweeping the earthen floor; grinding corn, heating the oven and making bread; filling, cleaning and lighting the lamp.   He would go with her to the village well to draw water, Mary gracefully balancing the water-jar on her head." 

      "Jesus learnt his very first word from his mother.  It was ABBA -- FATHER, the word for God that he loved best all of his life.  After the evening meal Joseph took out his precious scroll of Scripture from the family chest and read to his large family.   He would tell them stories of God's loving care for his chosen people, and of great heroes of the Jewish faith."

      "Every Friday Jesus joined in the solemn preparation for the sacred Sabbath; and on the Sabbath day he went with Joseph to take part in the synagogue service.  He would look forward to the great festivals of the Jewish year -- Passover and Pentecost and Tabernacles, as well as the other feasts and fasts.   For all of them were observed in the home, and it was there that Jesus learnt  to know God."

      "Education was free for Jewish boys from the age of five to thirteen years.   Jesus went with his friends to the synagogue school at Nazareth.   The people of Palestine spoke the Aramaic language, so the boys had to learn Hebrew -- the ancient language of their people in which their Scriptures were written."

     "The boys sat on the ground, cross-legged, at school.   They wrote in the sand with their fingers, or sometimes  with chalk on the flagstones.  Their text-books were the Jewish Scriptures -- the Christian Old Testament; school was later called BETH HASEFER --- THE HOUSE OF THE BOOK.   They learned to read the sacred books, to write them out and to know them by heart.   They learnt the important passages by repeating them over and over again.   Every boy had to learn special texts which began and ended with the first and last letters of his  own name.."

      "In the synagogue school the boys spent all their time learning their Bible, especially the sacred books of the Law of Moses.   Even the alphabet was learnt from the Law.  It was here that Jesus came to know and to love so well the Jewish Scriptures, for they spoke to him of the heavenly Father."

      "At the synagogue school at Nazareth Jesus learnt to read and to write.  'Jesus' is the Greek form of his name.  In the  language of his people it was YESHUA.. This is how he would have written it.

       "This writing was inscribed on a Jewish burial chamber.   Yeshua was a popular name.   We do not know who was the Yeshua buried here.   One of the stories in the Gospels mentions Jesus writing.   Read John 8:6-8.   Writing in sand was common.   Boys often did this at school."

     At play

      "Jewish children played their games in the open streets, on the flat roofs of their houses and out in the fields.   Like children today they imitated grown-ups in their games.   They played at mothers and fathers and at weddings and funerals, with processions and music and dancing."

      "Girls had dolls and model animals made of pottery or clay.   Boys made pipes and whistles from reeds or played with a sling and stones.  Everyone played with pebbles.   One game was called GAP -- throwing twelve pebbles in the air and seeing how many could be caught on the back of the hand.   Another was like hop-scotch.   Children played it on the flat roof of the house which was surrounded by a parapet so that no one could fall off.   They drew squares and numbered them and then threw pebbles into the squares, one after another."

At work

       "Jesus had to work, too.   The Jews had a saying -- 'If a man does not teach his son a trade he teaches him to be a robber.'  Fathers usually taught their own trade to their sons.   Jesus learnt to be a woodworker.  He would help Joseph to make yokes  and ploughs for the farm, chests and stools and cradles for the home, doors and roof-beams and window-frames for new houses."

      "Jesus was well taught by Joseph and he became skilled in his craft.  When Joseph died, Jesus took over his business.  That was why everyone knew him as JESUS THE WOOD-WORKER when he was grown up.  Rich and important Jews, such as the Sadducees, looked down on humble craftsmen like wood-workers.   Many Pharisees were carpenters and other such workers.   They sneered at this wood-worker of Nazareth, setting himself up as a Rabbi."

Out of Doors

     "Nazareth lay in the lap of the hills of Lower Galilee.   Jesus had only to climb the hill to see far into the distance in all directions.  To the north he could see snow-capped Mount Hermon.  To the west was Mount Carmel.  To the east lay the Jordan valley.  To the south he looked over the great  Roman road from Caesarea to Damascus, with its constant stream of travellers -- soldiers, merchants, kings, camel caravans and well-laden asses, pilgrims and beggars."

      "Jesus loved to be out on the hills.  In the wild flowers he saw God's beauty: in the birds of the air he saw God's loving care for every living creature.  As he lay still on the grass he watched the bird returning to its nest, the eagle swooping on its prey, the fox creeping back to its hole."

     "Sometimes he went to the farms of his friends.  He watched the workers scattering the seed, reaping and winnowing; he noticed how rich men stuffed their barns full to overflowing.  He saw the mother hen tenderly sheltering her chicks under her wings.  He helped the farmer to pull out an ox fallen into a pit."

     "Perhaps he loved best to be up on the hills with the shepherds, for he often spoke of them in his teaching.   He knew the difference between the true shepherd and the hired man.   The shepherd knew and loved each single one of his flock, just as they knew him and answered only to his voice.   It was the hired man who fled when the ravenous wolf threatened the flock.   He knew how the true shepherd after counting his sheep at night and seeing them safely into the fold, would go back and search for even one lost lamb.   And when he had brought it back, rejoicing, he would lie across the entrance to the fold all night.   He himself was the door, keeping out wild beasts.  So, by both night and day, the good shepherd guarded his flock, ready to defend them with his own life."

      "Jesus loved, too, to be with his friends the fishermen by the Sea of Galilee.   He grew up with their sons.   He helped them mend the torn nets, wash away the filth of the sea, and sort out the heaving catch.  They learnt to know Jesus, too.  When the day came that he called them they gladly left everything and followed him."

      "In the market-place and the streets of Nazareth Jesus saw all kinds of people.  He listened  to the open-air law court, learning how men's ways differed from God's ways.   He saw the hawk-eyed traders, cheating as they measured the corn; ragged beggars, crying out for alms; noisy news-mongers with tidings of happenings throughout the land; great teachers and wise men preaching in the market-place; hypocrites making a show of their learning; tax-collectors piling up coins at the custom-seat; merchants bargaining for a good sale, with dishonest oaths; blind men led by kindly friends.   Even a boy could listen to what was being said.   Jesus heard stories of travellers waylaid and robbed, of unjust judges  and of dishonest stewards; of foolish sons who went off to waste their father's hard-earned money."

     "Jesus grew up like any other Jewish boy  -- at home, at school, at work and at play.  When he was a man, teaching about God, he spoke to the people of things they knew and understood and made up stories about daily life.  That is why we learn so much about his boyhood from his teaching."

    Doctor Norman Bull, MA, PhD, author of school books for public school children for Hutton Books, of Great Britain, is trying here to present a believable Jesus for everyone, not the "Divine Child" of the Latin Infancy Gospel, nor the "Miracle-working Child" of the Apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas, nor even the "Perfect Child and Youth" of Ellen White's 1888-1898 presentation in Desire of Ages.  A Jesus that Ellen White is imagining was contemplating his mission to became a bleeding lamb sacrifice for the whole world at twelve years old!  

     Noting that Jesus' father Joseph and Jesus himself are called "Wood-workers" (Carpenters) in two of the four gospels, and that Mary is taking care of 7 children (4 boys and 2 girls besides Jesus) Professor Bull assumes logically that Jesus, the firstborn of this menagerie, must have taken over the family business and provided a living for everyone else up till the time of his baptism by John the Baptist, at which time one or several of Joseph's other sons was old enough and talented enough to take over this same "Carpenter" business and support the family while Jesus left to preach his own version of the "Good News for All Jews." 

The first visit to Jerusalem   Page 78

        "Doctor Luke  tells us the only story we have in the Bible of Jesus as a boy..  At the age of thirteen years a Jewish boy left school.  Still today a Jewish boy has his BAR MITZVAH, his coming of age, at this time. By this ceremony he becomes a SON OF THE LAW.  Now he is regarded as an adult Jew.   He is expected to  recite the great prayer HEAR O ISRAEL twice a day; to fast on the appointed days; to keep the feasts; to attend the synagogue; to go as a pilgrim to Jerusalem, and generally to accept the responsibility for bhis own behavior."

      "When Jesus left school and came of age he was ready to make his first pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Joseph and Mary took him with them for the greatest feast of the year -- the Passover, in the spring.   There, with the other boys of his age, he would be questioned and tested by leading teachers."

      Here Professor Bull mentions, without comment, the distance between Nazareth and Jerusalem, 128 KM, about 2 hours drive by modern car on good roads under ideal traffic conditions.  But by normal walking speeds of 2-3 miles per hour plus frequent breaks perhaps a 7 to 10 days journey. with the Biblical assumption that it would take three days to make this journey.

       This is one of several ways that Dr. Barbara Thiering in 1992 was able to convince some of us that the "Nazareth" of Jesus' era was at Mar Saba, a mere 7 miles from Jerusalem.   Not in far-away Galilee.


      "The journey of 128 km to Jerusalem took three days.  They traveled with friends and relatives from Nazareth in a caravan for safety and company, camping by night.  Jesus must have been entralled by what he saw at Jerusalem, above all at the temple of God, for on the way home Mary and Joseph found that he was missing.  They had thaought he was with his friends, but he was nowhere to be found.  Anxiously they hurried back to Jerusalem.   There at last they found him.   He was still with the Rabbis, seeking answers to questions that puzzled him.  They were astonished by his knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and by the questions which he asked.   Mary spoke crossly to her son for being so thoughtless and giving his parents such a lot of worry.  'But why were you searching for me?' Jesus said to her, 'Didn't you realize that I would be in my Father's house?'"

     "Luke's story shows us that already, even as a boy, Jesus was completely dedicated to God."

The silent years 

     "Jesus went back home to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary.  He was a good son, obedient and dutiful.   The next we hear of Jesus is when he left home at Nazareth to begin his work for God.  He was then about thirty years old.   We know nothing about him from the age of twelve to the age of thirty.  We call these THE SILENT YEARS.  What was Jesus doing during that time?"

      "Some Jewish boys went on to study at Jerusalem after they left the local synagogue school.  They were usually boys who were going to become Rabbis.  At Jerusalem they were taught  by the great Doctors of the Law.  One of them was Paul who was proud of having been taught by the famous Rabbi Gamaliel.   It was like going to a university.   But it was very expensive.   Paul came from a wealthy home.  Jesus came from a village wood-worker's home.  We can be certain that there was no money for Jesus to study at Jerusalem.  But we can be sure that he went to Jerusalem each year for the Passover as a pilgrim."

       "What then was Jesus doing during the Silent Years?"

       "When he began to preach at Nazareth the people said, 'Why this is Yeshua bar Joseph the wood-worker!"  They knew him well enough.  So we can be sure that Jesus was at Nazareth during those years.  Joseph was not mentioned again when Jesus began to teach.  He must have died when Jesus was a young man.   Jesus had taken over Joseph's shop.   He too had to work hard to provide for his widowed mother and her other six children.  He did not have to leave home until they were old enough to care for Mary, and until the time had come for him to preach the kingdom of God."

"The Kingdom of God in the Wilderness" 

Norman Bull, M.A., PhD

"Jesus the Nazarene"  page 38

     "Some Jews lived alone all their lives.  These monks werre called ESSENES -- PIUS ONES.   Ancient writers described how they lived in the bleak and blazing desert at Engedi, near the Dead Sea  -- 'with only palm trees for company,' one of them wrote. "

       "Nothing else was known about  these monks till 1947.  In that year a goatherd by chance found earthenware jars in a lonely cave up on the cliff by the Dead Sea.   In them were leather scrolls wrapped in cloth.  They are the famous DEAD SEA SCROLLS, a complete library of ancient books.  Scholars found among them many books of the Old Testament as well as other writings.   They are very precious, for they are 1,000 years older than all our other manuscripts of the Old Testament."

      "But whose library was this?  In 1951 scholars dug up the ancient ruins at the foot of the cliff by the Dead Sea called KHIRBET QUMRAN. They found the remains of the monastery where the Essenes had lived together.   The library of books must have been theirs."

     "Why had they hidden them?  The Essenes had lived in the monastery by the Dead Sea for over 100 years when the Zealots started the last war against Rome.  In CE 68 the monastery was captured by Roman troops and the monks were killed or scattered.  But they had time to hide their precious library safely in the caves where it was found almost 1900 years later."

     "from Qumran, the home of these Essenes, groups of monks went out to set up other lonely monasteries.   They called themselves THE COMMUNITY, for they lived as brothers, sharing everything, eating communal meals, and praying together at the appointed times.  They worked hard to support themselves and fed only on the vegetables they grew.  Each monk promised to be obedient to the rule of the Community, to remain unmarried, and to own nothing of his own. Some Essenes lived quite alone.  John the Baptist may have been one of these."

     "The Essenes were devoted to the Law of God which they kept strictly.   Led by their priests, they had ceremonies of washing as symbols of their inner purity.  Their simple white garment of linen cloth was a symbol of the good life to which they were dedicated."

NEXT:   "Essene Child at Qumran and Mar Saba

Dr. Robert Flewelling Holt, MD   Doctor Holt's alma mater, Loma Linda University
       Dr. Robert Holt md, mph, who spent a lot of the money he made as an Emergency Room Physician in various North Carolina Emergency Rooms, including Ahoskie, Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Sampson County Memorial Hospital in Clinton, Bladen County Hospital in Elizabethtown, Good Hope Hospital in Erwin, and Cherokee Indian Hospital in Cherokee, traveling all over the world doing research on the Essenes, and the origins of the Bible and of Christianity,--has been to both Qumran by the Dead Sea and Kashmir in the Himalaya Mountains.  He bought Dr. Barbara Thiering's book Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1992, and after almost 20 years of travel and research since then, still is quite certain that not only was Jesus an Essene, but also that he spent many years in Pakistan and India before his 3 1/2 years as an Essene Messiah at or near Qumran.    

  For more about Jesus as King of Kashmir: Click Here

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