Summary: True Gnostics do not believe in the Christian doctrines of the Virgin Birth,
the Immaculate Conception, Original Sin, or Blood Atonement.
Azrael’s Commentary - Virgin Birth
Yeshua, unlike Christ, was conceived in the same manner as all other humans. His
birth was a miraculous event just as all other births are miraculous events; but
it was certainly no more than that. What is the true story behind the conception
and birth of Yeshua? To answer this question, I must start at the beginning. I must
tell you the true love story of Joseph and Miriam, the father and mother of Yeshua.
Miriam was born into a large family and raised in Nazareth. She spent the first twelve
years of her life there. Her father was a disgruntled rabbi; he was petty, mean-spirited,
grasping, vain and hypocritical in his dealings with others. He was eventually expelled
from his synagogue for accepting bribes, and because of his dealing in stolen goods
which he foolishly tried to sell back to the original owners. And so the people of
Nazareth had had enough of Miriam’s father. His blatant dishonesty and pettiness
had simply become too much for them, and they drove him and his family out of town.
Miriam’s father went to Jerusalem where he had relatives. And although he was a disgraced
rabbi, he could never see that he had done anything wrong. He blamed everyone but
himself for his misfortunes. And he took out his hurt and anger on his family, especially
on his youngest daughter Miriam.
Joseph was also born and raised in Nazareth, and from an early age, he worked in
his father’s carpentry shop. Joseph was about ten years older than Miriam. And because
Nazareth was such a small town, Joseph knew Miriam and her family quite well before
they were expelled from the town.
By the time Miriam was twelve, Joseph was in love with her. But Miriam’s father proved
an enormous obstacle. He did not think that Joseph was good enough to marry his youngest
daughter. And so he demanded that Joseph pay an exorbitant price to initiate a marriage
contract. For Joseph, the price was beyond his means. Miriam’s father did not like
Joseph. Why? Because Joseph was just too happy about life. And although the people
of the town liked Joseph, they tended to think of him as just some tall, gangly,
young man who was just too dumb to know how miserable his life was. The one thing
that annoyed the Jews of Nazareth about Joseph was his friendliness towards anyone
and everyone. He was friendly and cheerful towards Greeks, Romans, Arabs, etc. Joseph
simply made no distinction between Jews and Gentiles; he treated everyone the same.
Thus in the synagogue, Joseph was never taken seriously. His natural disposition
was in contrast to most of the Jews in Nazareth. As a young man, Joseph was a happy,
jovial, sometimes boisterous person. He was always laughing, singing, smiling and
telling stories. Life was a wonder to him and that’s all there was to it. Joseph’s
whole family seemed to be that way: his father, mother, brothers and sisters. So
Joseph came by his happy disposition quite honestly. And while almost everyone liked
Joseph, the Jews of Nazareth did not know if they could quite trust him. To his friends
and neighbors, Joseph’s happy disposition seemed to imply that Joseph might be lacking
in mental awareness.
As for Miriam herself, she was viewed by her Jewish neighbors as contrary and strange.
As a young girl she did not seem to know her proper place in the social fabric of
Jewish society. Miriam was great at cooking, cleaning, spinning and sewing; but she
seemed to think that her opinion should carry as much weight as any boy her age.
This attitude scandalized the Jews of the synagogue. For Miriam seemed to have an
opinion on Jewish laws, customs and scriptures. She not only had large portions of
scriptures memorized, Miriam could also read and write.
And who taught her to read and write? Joseph did! When Miriam was only five years
old, she wandered into Joseph’s shop. The young girl proved precocious, curious and
delightful. Over succeeding years Joseph taught her what he knew. By the time Miriam
was twelve, she would engage Joseph and his brothers in lively theological debate.
This knowledge of scripture troubled the Jews of Nazareth and they began to wonder
if Miriam might not be a witch. This view would have taken a dark and dangerous turn
if Miriam’s father hadn’t been driven out of Nazareth first.
When Miriam’s family left Nazareth in disgrace, they settled in the city of David,
Jerusalem. Joseph did not see Miriam for five years. In Jerusalem, Miriam’s father
became more and more embittered; for he was forced to live in much poorer circumstances,
and he blamed Miriam for this. He convinced himself that it was Miriam’s strange
ways which got him kicked out of his synagogue, and that he was just an innocent
victim of his daughter’s witchery. At the tender age of fourteen, Miriam was thrown
into the streets and back alley ways of Jerusalem to fend for herself.
So at the age of fourteen, Miriam was forced by necessity to take up the only profession
allowed to the women of her day, prostitution. And her father took every opportunity
to denounce her as a whore. And every time her father saw her, he would demand a
part of her earnings to pay him back for all the trouble she caused her family. By
the time Miriam was seventeen, she had gotten pregnant, and the father was a Roman
soldier named Pensius; a decturian at the Fortress Antonio in Jerusalem.
It is here that Joseph re-enters the life of Miriam. Joseph had gone to Jerusalem
to do some carpentry for a very rich merchant. Jerusalem was a small city, and one
day as Joseph was walking through the market, he saw Miriam sitting nearby. He was
delighted to see her. But Miriam seemed terribly despondent. She was happy to see
Joseph, but she was pregnant with the child of a Roman soldier. Finally, after some
gentle prodding from Joseph, Miriam told him everything. Joseph proved compassionate
and understanding, for all he really knew was that he loved her and was glad to be
near her again. At seventeen, Miriam was very beautiful.
For days thereafter, they would walk separately to the Garden of Gethsemane and there
they would meet in the shadow of the olive trees. After several weeks, Joseph took
his cloak and wrapped it around her, saying: “From this day forth you shall be to
me as a dear and loving wife, and I shall be to you a husband and protector.” So
Joseph took Miriam to his small house in Jerusalem and they lived there as husband
and wife. Miriam came to know the love and devotion of a strong and gentle man.
The seasons passed and Miriam delivered, giving birth to twin sons. The first son
was named Yeshua, and the second son was named Judas Thomas. The young family lived
in Jerusalem for a year after the birth of the twins. When Joseph finished his work
in Jerusalem, he took his family to Nazareth. No one in Nazareth ever knew that Miriam
was the daughter of their most infamous rabbi. No one ever knew about the prostitution,
or of anything else. One day Joseph simply returned with his young family in tow.
Joseph and Miriam were a very happy and loving couple. At the ages of ten, Joseph
began teaching his sons the trade of carpentry. Yeshua was a natural born carpenter.
But Thomas was not. The twins were as different from each other as night and day.
As a child, Yeshua was always bright and cheerful. He was always anxious to please
his parents. And he loved to talk scriptures and the law with his mother.
But Thomas was a dark and brooding child. He was always causing trouble in Nazareth.
The relationship between Yeshua and Thomas was always difficult. Thomas seemed to
have a mean streak, Yeshua did not. They grew up together in Nazareth, and Joseph
and Miriam had many more children. Yeshua seemed to possess his mother’s gentle nature,
while Thomas possessed the nature of his natural father, the Roman soldier named
Yeshua’s birth was not heralded by angels. There was no virgin birth, no shepherds
tending their flocks, no star of Bethlehem, no three wise men, and no stable because
there was no room at the inn. None of these things actually happened. Yeshua was
born just as we are born. And it is in that fact, that you will find the greatest
miracle of all.
As for the natural father of Yeshua, Pensius the Roman decturian, he died in a cholera
epidemic around 12 CE, in the city of Ostia in Italy. Yeshua never met his natural
father; he never knew his name.
[The Teacher addresses the doctrine of Virgin Birth]
2. And one of them spoke, saying: “How long will you cause us to wonder? Come now
and tell us plainly: What think you of Christ? Whose son is he?”
3. And the Teacher, turning to those gathered there, said: “Consider how the teachers
and preachers of religion have desired to remove you from the Father of your soul,
for fear that you should take to yourself some knowledge of him.
4. For they and their fathers before them have established a multitude of doctrines
and creeds which have become as a wall to separate you from God; that no one should
by any means approach nigh unto God except that they first go to the builders of
5. Thus would they have you believe that this one whom they call Christ should be
brought forth of a virgin, being conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit;
that he, being unlike the natural man, might be made free from sin.
6. Thus, by such a birth would they make Christ a stranger unto the children of men;
for they desired to hedge up the way, round about, against even all who would come
to a knowledge of God.
7. For by reason of your natural birth have they proclaimed through a million preachers
that all people are filled with evil and corruption continually, having been made
partakers of Adam’s transgression.
8. Thus would these men proclaim the perfection of Christ, who by his divine nature
performed many miracles and mighty works, being made unlike yourself. Yet I tell
you truly, that no man is born of a woman except some man first give seed.
9. Why, therefore, have you not fulfilled that measure of God which was granted unto
you through the teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth? You have not for you are made to
despair continually. For how can you follow Christ seeing that he is unlike the natural
10. Hear now and take heart: For this Yeshua of Nazareth was brought forth like unto
yourselves, having both father and mother, that by the greatness of the natural man,
he might bring all who are willing near unto the heart of God.
11. Rejoice, therefore, and be glad, for God thought it not unseemly to come unto
the children of his soul even as a man, being filled with mercy and healing whereby
he might draw all people unto his bosom in love exceeding.