Marcus Julius Agrippa AKA: St. Mark:
A book came to my attention one day called The Real Messiah: The Throne of St. Mark and the True Origins of Christianity by Stephan Huller. In this book Huller goes to great lengths to prove his following theory: Jesus was not the Messiah, Marcus Julius Agrippa was the true Messiah. Jesus was just a messenger preparing the world for the arrival of the true messiah, Agrippa, just as John the Baptist was. Huller also believes Marcus Agrippa and the apostle Mark are one and the same.
It’s an interesting theory he supports with evidence, but in examining his theory it is easy to see that Huller’s theory is nothing more than incredible assumptions and speculations based off of misinterpretations and negligence of available evidence.
First off Huller claims Jesus never admitted to being the messiah, despite the bible quoting Jesus numerous times as stating such. Huller says the gospels can’t be trusted because they have been corrupted and altered by the Catholic Church to say that Jesus was the messiah. But then he later uses quotes from the gospels (out of context) to support his theory. So how can Huller discredit the accuracy of the gospels, and then try to quote the gospels to support his theory. You can’t discredit a source of information, and then try to use that same source of information to your defense. He also on many occasions refers to the Gnostic gospels, despite the fact that almost all scholars agree the Gnostic gospels were falsely constructed.
As Huller claims: Jesus is just a messenger preparing the way for the “real” messiah. Meanwhile Marcus Agrippa, born in 27-28 A.D. becomes a follower of Jesus along with his family. Eventually Agrippa is jailed for following Christ. But in 37 A.D. Agrippa is released from jail in place of Christ who is crucified and killed. Thus Agrippa was “resurrected” from death by being freed from jail by the sacrifice of Jesus. It’s a stretch, but Huller goes on to say that the man named Barrabas in the bible who was released from prison by the Jews so that Christ would be crucified, was Agrippa himself as an 8 yr. old boy. Though he makes many speculations, Huller does not provide any concrete reasoning as to why Agrippa would be called Barrabas instead of his real name.
But the biggest problem with this theory is that Christ wasn’t crucified in 37 A.D. He was crucified in 33 A.D. as discussed earlier. Huller comes to the conclusion Christ was crucified in 37 A.D. because he believed the Last Supper took place on the first day of Passover and he believed that Christ was on trial for more than one day. His belief that the Last Supper was on the first night of Passover is not that uncommon, but it is indeed a misinterpretation. But Huller’s belief in Christ being on trial for multiple days was never explained, nor does the bible confirm it. None the less, Huller knew Jesus was crucified on a Friday, but because he thought Jesus was on trial for more than one day he concluded Jesus was captured on Wed night, the night of the Last Supper. Since he also believed the Last Supper was during the first night of Passover, the first night of Passover was therefore on a Wed night. He then researched calendars of the past and low and behold the only time (in that era) Passover began on a Wed night was in 37 A.D. and 30 A.D. (he later rules out 30 A.D.).
But Christ couldn’t have possibly been crucified in 37A.D. First, Pontius Pilate was only in power till 36 A.D. If Jesus died in 37 A.D. he would have been tried by someone other than Pilate. Second, John 13:1, Jesus said the evening of Passover would be His last night on earth, meaning he died the next day, not a few days later as Huller claims. Third, Jesus started His ministry at age 30, and lived through three Passovers. With Jesus being born in 2 B.C. He would have been 30 years old in the year 29 A.D. If He only lived to see three Passovers (dying right before the fourth) then he died in 33 A.D. If he died in 37 A.D. He would have lived to see at least seven Passovers since the age of 30, not three.
Huller goes on to say that Agrippa (at age 9) became good friends with Emperor Caligula, who then sent Agrippa to Alexandria (Egypt) to be King of that province. Alexandria at the time had a mixed population of Jews and Greeks, and the Jews were being mistreated and murdered by the Greeks. Then the Jewish Agrippa shows up and orders an end to the mistreatment and killing of the Jews. The Jews, of course, from that point on hold him in high esteem and crown him not only King, but their prophesized Messiah. Now everything said here is true and historically documented. The Jews in Alexandria considered Agrippa their Messiah. But the Jews in Judea, did not, in fact they’d never heard of Agrippa.
Eventually Agrippa jumps around to different lands as different emperors move him around to different cities in which he is to govern. He eventually becomes the King of Jerusalem, but the Jews of Jerusalem revolt against him, since they felt he was mismanaging their money and embezzling it, they kicked him out. This happened in 66 A.D. It should be mentioned that the majority of Jews in Judea never once considered Agrippa their Messiah as the Jews in Alexandria did. The Jews began a large scale revolt and Rome responded with its army starting the Jewish-Roman War from 66-73 A.D. Agrippa, seeing his chance for revenge aligned himself with the Romans, as he always did, and joined in the attack.
Here Huller makes an outrageous claim. In this war the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed. Now, the true messiah was prophesized to have to destroy the temple to signify the end of the old covenant with God, and the beginning of the new covenant with God. Since Agrippa was aligned with the Romans who destroyed the temple, Huller concludes that this is proof that Agrippa is the messiah.
But the bible says that Jesus said He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, this of course alluding to His death and resurrection three days later. It was by Jesus’ death for our sins and His resurrection showing His divinity that we know the true definition of what was meant by the prophecy of the temple being destroyed. It wasn’t a literal prophecy of destruction.
Huller then goes on to say that Agrippa documented the life of Jesus as his messenger and then documented his own life in full detail. This gospel would be later corrupted and altered by an early church father by the name of Irenaeus, who made up three other gospels also corrupted (Matthew, Luke and John) that would instead mark Jesus as the messiah and remove any indication of Agrippa being the messiah. Why does Huller believe it was Irenaeus that did this? Because prior to Irenaeus, the Church fathers would refer to the story of the messiah as the gospel (singular). Irenaeus was the first one ever documented referring to the story of the messiah as the gospels (plural). Therefore, he must have been up to something fishy… Not exactly earth shattering evidence.
But where is the motivation for Irenaeus to do this? Huller speculates that Irenaeus felt that Agrippa’s interpretation of heaven being a physical kingdom on earth threatened the future of the Roman Empire, where as Jesus’ interpretation of heaven being a supernatural kingdom did not. So Irenaeus modified the gospel into multiple gospels supporting Jesus as the messiah. It’s a nice theory but there is no evidence to support it, just tons of speculation. Not to mention that the Roman Empire DID feel threatened by Jesus’ followers long before Irenaeus’ time, hence why so many Christians were jailed, tortured, executed and martyred by the Romans in the first 300 years after Christ’s death. The main reason for this treatment was related to a growing Christian population that would not worship the traditional Roman Gods. Irenaeus modifying scripture as Huller insists would not change the Roman’s treatment and view of Christians anyways. There would be no logical need for Irenaeus to modify the bible for these reasons.
The most important part of Huller’s theory is the Throne of St. Mark. The throne, he claims, proves that Agrippa was the messiah, and that St. Mark and Agrippa were one in the same. After going over tons of assumptions and speculations of codes hidden in images found all over the throne, and a cryptic message carved on its front, he fails to bring up two major problems with his throne:
- The throne is dated to over 500 years after the lifetime of St. Mark or Agrippa.
- The throne has on it in two separate locations, crosses. Why would the throne of Agrippa contain images of crosses if he was the messiah not Jesus? Only Jesus was crucified, and if Jesus was not the messiah, than the symbol of the cross would have no meaning for Agrippa. At least none great enough to warrant being carved on his throne two separate times.
Clearly the throne does not support Huller’s theories. But even the life of Agrippa himself does not testify to him being the Messiah of the Jews. Huller continuously makes the life of Agrippa to be of mysterious divinity and amazing feats of achievement that clearly mark him as the messiah. But even if we believe what Huller is telling us about Agrippa, his life was not that amazing:
v He escaped prison when pardoned in place of Jesus. (based on incredible assumptions).
v Was crowned King at a very young age (not uncommon in the ancient world).
v He was crowned the messiah by the Jews of Alexandria after he ended their plight (despite not fitting hardly any other prerequisites for the prophesized messiah).
v Remained King during the reign of ten different Roman emperors. (Although impressive, it hardly claims divinity).
v He read from the Torah standing up as opposed to sitting down to fulfill an obscure prophecy that the messiah would stand before all when he read the word of god (despite, once again, leaving over a hundred other prophecies of the messiah unfulfilled).
v He was allied with the Romans which destroyed the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, which the messiah would have to do to mark the end of the old covenant. (But being allied to the force that destroyed the temple doesn’t say much. You could just as easily believe that one of the Romans involved in the attack was the messiah then).
To be honest I was a little disappointed in reading the book. I thought Agrippa’s life would entail much more amazing historical feats, but that’s it. And in comparison to the life of Jesus, his life was hardly divine in any way. Even if we assumed the story of Jesus was not true, and Agrippa’s was, I would still not believe Agrippa’s life was that of messianic divinity. He hardly even fulfilled a few of the prophecies from which God provided hundreds so that we could identify the coming messiah. Hundreds of prophecies Jesus fulfilled.
Now let’s look at the problems I found with the life of Agrippa:
- Agrippa was only considered “the messiah” by the Jews in Alexandria, not in Jerusalem or Judea for that matter, where they despised him.
- Once you establish the fact Christ died in 33 A.D. Huller’s whole supposed relationship between Agrippa and Jesus unravels. That means Agrippa would have been 4-5 years old when Christ died, meaning he would not really be able to accurately document Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion in his “gospel” he supposedly later wrote. Agrippa would have been one year old when Jesus began His ministry for crying out loud.
- Although of Jewish decent, Agrippa always sided with the Romans over his own Jewish people (the only exception being the case in Alexandria).
- Agrippa did not conduct a single miracle. Huller claims the feats of his life (listed above) were miraculous, but they’re hardly that at all.
- Agrippa married his sister. That’s not very Jewish, but is acceptable in a Roman’s eyes.
- If Agrippa was the messiah, why would only he himself write of his divinity? Why wouldn’t scores of other people write about it, as we find with Jesus.
- In reading manuscripts about Agrippa, he on different occasions has been documented saying there are many Gods. Not just one God. And he considered the God of Israel weak. Clearly he was influenced by his Roman counterparts (that had multiple Gods) he held so dearly over his own Jewish people. Huller defends Agrippa, saying that because he is the messiah, he knows more than we can comprehend about a true super God that succeeds the weak God of Israel. Once again speculation without appropriate evidence to back up the claim.
- In the siege on Jerusalem, Agrippa aided the Romans in the killing of thousands of innocent Jews. Huller again justifies this fact, saying that he “wept” over the loss, but it was a necessary means to an end.
Clearly, Agrippa was no messiah. Huller’s attempt to make him fit this role was based off nothing but misinterpretations of available evidence, and a truck load of unwarranted speculation and assumption. Huller left me with a question that seems to undo his entire book. If Agrippa was indeed the Son of God and Messiah, how could Agrippa fail? How could God let him vanish almost entirely out of history while some other false messiah (Jesus) becomes recognized world wide? Even Huller admits in his book, that Agrippa failed. But that it was do to the corrupt church. But if we believe in an all powerful God, and if we believe that God would send us a messiah, we cannot expect that messiah to “fail.” A messiah truly sent by God would succeed no matter what, God would ensure us that. Would God really send us a “failure?”
When comparing the life of Jesus to the life of Agrippa, it’s easy to see where the true divinity lies. It lies with Jesus Christ.
-Steven Huller, The Real Messiah; The Throne of St. Mark and the True Origins of Christianity, New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. 2009