A time-traveling Iron Man emerges from a hole in heaven in ancient Egypt, reveals himself as the Chief Angel of the Lord, and grants a beautiful virgin girl’s wish to marry a powerful man and ascend to heaven.
I know, it sounds like a La La Land pitch for Marvel Comics. Actually, it is the plot line of Joseph and Aseneth, a fabulous ancient story that’s also got mysterious nano-technology bees, super honey angel food, a coat of many colors (a Rainbow Light Body) and wormholes!
Well, that’s my take anyway, and in my analysis, as it tells the story of the transformation of a human girl into an angel, this is an ascension story, too!
An important one at that.
When I first learned of this story a few years ago, I kept thinking it would make great deep research for Robert Downey Jr and the Iron Man team, but it just seemed too weird to me to talk with the actor who plays a fictional character, Tony Stark/ Iron Man, about his character’s fictional time-traveling ‘night life’ and (secret) role as the Chief Angel of the Lord!
In the Marvel story Tony Stark builds a suit of armor to save his life. He perfects the suit and uses it to protect humanity as Iron Man.
My work is devoted to the Gnostic belief that we, too, must build or perfect a suit of armor to save ourselves. But instead of being made of iron (or nano bots, as in the case of Iron Man), it is woven of strands of light and acts of love. The apostle Paul called it the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and said it would protect us from evil extraterrestrials and help us to build a new and better human. Gnostic stories are loaded with references to this ‘must get’ power suit, including this one involving an iron man who gifts the light body to one lucky Egyptian girl.
We know Marvel’s Iron Man fights the godless commies and religion drunk terrorists, but there is not a hint of him time venturing out of the Marvel Comics Universe and crossing over into our reality to influence Jewish history and teach the secrets of the light body!
Is it even possible?
A recent news story says Quantum theory now predicts that the future might be influencing the past. If this is true, anything goes in the quantum realm underpinning our reality.
As bizarre as it sounds, my study into the secrets of ancient ascension art, and the power of some angels and avatars to cross dimensions, tells me this kind of quantum entanglement may be allowed in the artful universe, or La La Land, we now find ourselves inhabiting.
Or maybe an Iron Man archetype pre-exists in the human imagination (matrix or simulation).
There are many possibilities.
This is why the honey dripping from this story kept calling this bear back out on this limb.
To celebrate the release of Spider-Man : Homecoming, featuring super cool Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, the super cool mentor of Peter Parker, I thought I would take you out there with me. Maybe, just maybe, baby, (an) Iron Man traveled to the ancient world to mentor a young Egyptian girl, helping her to transform into an angel.
So, here it is.
A REALLY GREAT ASCENSION STORY…WITH AN IRON MAN, NANO BEES, LIGHT BODIES AND WORMHOLES
Sometime in the late 6th century a book was found in the library of a Syrian episcopal family. Scholars believe it was originally written by the Essenes or Jewish mystics sometime during the hundred years before or after the birth of Christ.
The book is commonly known today as Joseph and Aseneth. It tells the story of Aseneth, the daughter of the High Priest of Heliopolis, Egypt, who is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible only in passing (Genesis 41:45, 50, 46:20) and Joseph of “the coat of many colors” fame.
Joseph’s robe or coat of many colors is one biblical term for ultimate power garment, the Rainbow Light Body. At least, that’s the way I choose to see it. The Rainbow Body is a state of being in which the soul dissolves the flesh and blood body and wears a luminous, rainbow-colored robe — the coat of many colors.
In esoteric Judaism, we are told that Joseph’s coat of many colors was the radiant garment which Adam wore in the Garden of Eden before we were evicted from Eden. This robe of light was handed down to Nimrod, builder of the Tower of Babel, to Esau, and finally obtained by Jacob of the stairway to heaven fame. When he received the blessings from his father, Isaac was able to smell the scent of Eden on his clothes. We are told that the coat Jacob gave to his son Joseph was actually this garment.
As my research reveals, this light body garment is not an actual garment, rather it is a transmittable state of being. In the story, Jacob bestows the coat of many colors to his son, reflecting his love for Joseph, who most resembled him.
In Joseph and Aseneth, it is Iron Man who does the bestowing by transforming Aseneth into an angel who wears this glowing robe.
THE VIRGIN AND THE TOWER
Aseneth, the story goes, is a gorgeous and arrogant virgin who refuses to marry any man and lives alone in a tower, adjacent to her parent’s home, along with her seven maidservants.
The tower symbolism is meant to link us to Nimrod, the ancient magi who received the cloak of light and who built Babylon’s ‘gate to God’, the Tower of Babel (the ladder or stairway to heaven) and Esagila ascension chamber (called the Watch Tower). It also connects us with the Tower of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and with Mary Magdalene (the ‘beloved tower’). All of these towers reached into heaven. Scaling them represents our ascension.
It is in this ascension tower (okay stargate) that Aseneth is visited by a man of iron or an iron man.
Here’s how it happened.
When Joseph, pharaoh’s deputy, comes to Heliopolis, Aseneth is stunned by his beauty and falls in love with him at first sight, but he pushes her away, refusing to kiss a woman who worships idols. He’s Jewish. To him, she is an Egyptian idol worshiper.
Shocked and dismayed, Aseneth locks herself in her tower for a week, crying and fasting, repenting of her arrogance and her idolatry, and begging the Most High God to forgive her.
Next, an angel appears in her room, and tells her that her repentance has been accepted and that Joseph will marry her.
The angel also shows her a mysterious honeycomb and strange-looking bees, and insists that the mysteries of the Most High God have been revealed to her.
What do bees and honey have to do with ascension?
Everything. We’ll come back to that in a moment.
Following this visit, Aseneth marries Joseph — in a ceremony conducted by the pharaoh himself — and bears him two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:50).
Eight years later, when Joseph’s family comes to Egypt (Genesis 46:29-30). The actual historical Joseph is likely Imhotep, the first human to ascend. Joseph introduces his wife to his father, Jacob, and brothers. The plot thickens when Pharaoh’s son, who wants Aseneth for himself, convinces four of Joseph’s brothers to kill Joseph and kidnap Aseneth. A battle ensues in which Joseph, aided by his remaining brothers, defeats the scheming brother and his accomplices. The prince dies, Pharoah himself dies, and Joseph retains the throne of Egypt for forty-eight years, until Pharaoh’s younger son is old enough to assume power. This is the story’s happy ending.
There are several theories concerning the origin and meaning of this light body symbol rich story. The quest has only just begun by scholars to find its urtext or Source Text. Some believe it was written by Greek storytellers. Others say it is a Jewish work. Another theory places its origin in Egypt, as evidence by the fact that Aseneth is Egyptian. A fourth theory proposes Joseph and Aseneth was written sometime between the second century B.C. and the second century AD.
THE IRON MAN/ANGEL
Gideon Bohak, scholar of Jewish culture at Tel Aviv University and author of Joseph and Aseneth and the Jewish Temple in Heliopolis, places its origin in Egypt at the Essene compound in Heliopolis. I will follow his analysis and add my own comments.
Bohak begins his analysis at the heart of the story, the arrival of the angelic being. In this scene the heavens open and a being of light manifests. This figure appears to be on a mission, as after its arrival it intervenes in the life of Aseneth and Joseph (Israel) and Aseneth (Egypt) marry.
Apart from the unification of these two great ancient holy lands, the manifestation of an angelic being is what most catches our attention in the story.
The scene opens with Aseneth lying on the mud-covered floor of her chamber. Having fasted for a week, she is now in an altered state. She is lying next to the window facing east, waiting, it appears, for something to happen.
Suddenly, the morning star rises in the east. Aseneth sees it and rejoices, deeming that “Indeed, God has heeded my prayer, for this star rose as a messenger and herald of the light of the great day.”
She keeps on looking, “and behold, next to the morning star, the heaven was torn apart and a great and unspeakable light appeared. Awe-struck, she falls down on her face, when suddenly a man comes out of the open heaven, approaches her, and calls her name, “Aseneth, Aseneth”.
She is quite surprised that someone could enter her closed room, atop a high tower, but soon they start conversing, and he introduces himself as “the chief of the house of the Lord and commander of all the host of the Most High. He tells her to get up from the floor, and she lifts her head and sees him for the first time,
a man in every respect similar to Joseph — in his robe and his crown and his royal staff. But his face was like lightning, and his eyes like sunshine, and the hairs of his head like a flame of fire of a burning torch, and his hands and feet were like iron shining forth from a fire, and sparks shot up from his hands and feet.
A man whose hands and feet were like iron glowing like iron shining forth from a fire, with sparks shooting from his hands and feet?
Is this man glowing like iron? Or, is he like (really, dude) Iron Man? This description exactly matches Marvel’s latest iteration of this avenging angel, whose eyes glow like the sun and who has fire shooting from his hands and face.
To scholars, such as Bohak, this story is filled with cliches. The tearing open of heaven, the appearance of a great light, the angel’s sudden arrival, the fact that he calls her name twice — these are common stock of angelic revelations scenes in ancient Jewish literature.
To me, this is story features an early appearance of an Iron Man in the human universe. More importantly, this is a story of human transformation into a celestial being.
In my view, Aseneth’s transformation is modeled after Enoch, the pre-flood sage who was morphed into a glowing angelic being.
In the Merkabah text titled Sephir Hekhalot (the Book of Heavenly Places) or 3 Enoch we hear Enoch tell Rabbi Ishmael the story of how he, a human being, was transformed into the archangel Metatron, a hero of a number Merkabah ascension texts.
In the story Ishmael experiences a visionary ascent to heaven to meet Metatron, who was sent to protect him from opposing angels. Metatron tells him that he once was a human being — Enoch, the son of Jared mentioned in Genesis 5:24, who achieved purity during an evil age.
He was taken to heaven where God transfigured him into a giant being, bigger than the earth, with 72 wings and 365,000 eyes.
As an act of love, God fashions him a throne and dresses him in a majestic robe and crown. He is given divine wisdom, knowledge and abilities. He is the first ‘next human’ and is followed Noah, Moses, Abraham and other translated humans, including Jesus.
Enoch’s story reveals that attaining next human/angelic status is something that appears to be an option for humanity. It is a repeatable experience.
Enoch gives a powerful account of his translation or transformation from an earthly human to a celestial divine being:
“At once my flesh turned to flame, my sinews to blazing fire, my bones to juniper coals, my eyelashes to lightning flames… (15:3).
Okay, so Enoch became a burning man.
Although it doesn’t mention that he glowed like iron, the description is still strikingly similar to the description of the angel who visited Aseneth.
Out of love which he had for me, more than all the denizens of the heights, the Holy One, blessed be he, fashioned for me a majestic robe, in which all kinds of luminaries were set, and he clothed me in it. He fashioned for me a glorious cloak in which brightness, brilliance, splendor and luxor of every kind were fixed, and he wrapped me in it. He fashioned for me a crown in which 49 refulgent stones were placed, each like the sun’s orb, and its brilliance shone into the four quarters of the heaven of Arabot, into the seven heavens, and into the four quarters of the world (12:1-4).
Brightness. Brilliance. Flesh to flame. Glorious cloak. Majestic robe. All of these terms can be applied to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, excuse me, Aseneth.
Without question, Iron Man transforms Aseneth into exactly the same state of being as Enoch and, of course, Jesus after the Resurrection.
This is the state of being of the next human.
A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
Seeing her reaction, the angel tries to calm her fear, and tells her to rise from the floor, go to her second room, take off her mourning garments, wash her face and hands with “living water”, don a new linen robe, “untouched and exquisite” and gird herself with the double girdle of her virginity.
The meaning of the change of garments is readily apparent, notes Bohak. It signifies a change in Asenenth’s status and position. She is introduced in the story wearing the beautiful clothes of an important Egyptian priest. When Joseph refused to kiss her she changed into a black mourning dress, girding a sack around her waist and sprinkling ashes in her hair.
Bohak says this change of clothes signifies supplication. When begging the Jewish god for forgiveness she had to wear the appropriate clothes. Thus, when the angel tells her to change her mourning garments for a new and pure garment, says Bohak, this must mean that Aseneth is a suppliant no more.
Aseneth now stands in front of the angel, who rebukes her for having covered her head with a veil, contrary to his instructions. No veil is needed, he insists, “for you are a chaste virgin today, and your head is like that of a young man.”
Removing the veil, she is now ready for his message.
THE BREAD OF LIFE, THE ELIXIR OF IMMORTALITY AND THE HOLY OIL
The angel now tells Aseneth that her repentance has been accepted and that her days of humiliation, tears and affliction are over.
More, he tells her to take courage, for he has written her name “in the book of the living in heaven” at its very beginning, and it will never be erased.
He also promises her that “From today, you will be renewed and refashioned and revivified, and you will eat blessed bread of life, and drink a blessed cup of immortality, and be anointed with a blessed ointment of incorruptibility.”
In an earlier scene, Joseph had justified his refusal to kiss Aseneth by saying that “it does not befit a pious man, who blesses with his mouth the living God and eats blessed bread of life and drinks a blessed cup of immortality and is anointed with a blessed ointment of incorruptibility, to kiss a strange woman, who blesses with her mouth dead and dumb idols and eats from their table bread of strangulation and drinks from their libation a cup of insidiousness and is anointed with an ointment of destruction.”
In essence, Joseph is stating that he is in a different state of being (the Rainbow Light Body) than Aseneth. He wears the glowing robe of may colors, therefore he partakes of different food.
The bread of life Joseph eats is the star food of the angels and the manna the Lord made rain down one Moses and the Israelites (Exodus 16:4). It is also a title given to Jesus. During the miracle of feeding of the masses with a few loaves of bread, he said “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:32-35).
The cup of immortality contains the elixir of immortality, the nectar of the gods, that grants eternal life.
The holy oil is made from the Tree of Life. In the story of Enoch, this oil dissolves Enoch’s body into light so that his body is now the same as the glorious angels, meaning he is glowing rays, rainbow rays.
At the end of the encounter the angel beseeched God to “bless this virgin and renew her by your spirit, and refashion her by our hidden hand, and revivify her by your life, and let her eat your bread of life and drink your cup of blessing; and count her among your people, who you have chosen before all things to came into being; and let her enter your reset, which you have prepared for your chosen ones, and live in your eternal life forever.
What we are seeing, says Bohak, is the angel’s promise to Aseneth that Joseph’s prayer will be fulfilled, and that in the future he will be free to kiss her as she desires, for the obstacles preventing such contact will have been removed.
If, as I am saying, Josesph was in his Rainbow Light Body, he would be in another state of being, but is capable of crossing over dimensions to physically kiss Aseneth.
The Iron Man has done something to her so that the two worlds of Aseneth and Joseph can meet. What he has done is transformed Asenth into her Rainbow Light Body.
To me, the change of garment affirms her change of state of being. She has left the human realm and now wears the garments of the angels — the cloak of many colors, the Rainbow Light Body. She is now among the chosen ones and can kiss Joseph.
CITY OF REFUGE
The Iron Man now reassures Aseneth that he has given her to Joseph as his eternal bride, and that not only her state of being, but her name as well will undergo a striking transformation:
And your name shall no longer be called Aseneth, but your name shall be City of Refuge, because in you many nations will find refuge with the Lord, the Most High God, and under your wings will be sheltered many peoples who trust in the Lord God, and within your walls will be guarded those who attach themselves to the Most High God in the name of Repentance.
The Iron Man then tells Aseneth that he will soon go to Joseph, “and Joseph will come to you today, and he will see you and rejoice over you, and he will love you, and he will be your husband and you will be his bride forever.”
He also tells her to don her wedding robe and adorn herself with her wedding jewelry — another change of garments reflecting the change in Asenth’s status.
She has gone from listening to the angel to becoming a bride in waiting.
Aseneth now blesses the Most High God for having sent the angel to rescue her from darkness and “from the foundations of the abyss” and blesses the angel’s name.
But what is his name? When she asks, he refuses to tell her, saying that his name is in heaven,
“Written by the finger of God in the book of the Most High, at the beginning of the book, before all other names, for I am the chief of the house of the Most High. And all the names which are written in the book of the Most High are unspeakable, and human beings are not allowed to say them nor hear them in this world, because those names are great and wonderful and very laudable.”
This passage introduces yet another light body symbol, the heavenly book, into the picture. We already know that Aseneth’s name “was written in the book of the living in heaven, at the begining of the book,” by the angel’s finger. Now we hear that the angel’s name is written, by the finger of God, at the beginning of the “Book of the Most High”.
Following the Iron Man/Angel’s refusal to divulge his name, Aseneth invites him to lunch. The angel asks her for a honeycomb. Aseneth panics as she does not have a honeycomb to feed the angel, but offers to send a slave boy to the market to buy one. But the angel tells her she will find one in her storeroom.
When Aseneth goes into her storeroom she finds a honeycomb lying on the table. It was big and white and full of honey. And that honey was like dew from heaven and its breath like the breath of life. And Aseneth was amazed, and said to herself, Surely, this comb came out of the man’s mouth, for its breath is like the breath of this man’s mouth.
She brings the honeycomb to the angel, who teases her that he said she didn’t have one. She is afraid, and says once again that she did not have one, “but you spoke and it came into being. Did this comb come out of your mouth — for its breath is like the breath of your mouth. The angel smiles at Aseneth’s understanding and pats her head with his right hand. She is terrified by the spark-emitting hand, and he smiles again and says to her:
“Blessed are you, Asenth because the unspeakable mysteries of the Most High were revealed to you, and blessed are all those who attach themselves to the Lord God in repentance, because they will eat from this comb. For this comb is a spirit of life. And the bees of Paradise have made it from the dew of the roses of life in God’s Paradise. And all the angels of God eat from it and all the chosen ones of God and all the sons of the Most High, because it is a comb of life, and whoever eats from it will not die forever.”
What is this comb made in heaven and eaten by the angels, by “the chosen ones of God” and by “the sons of the Most High”?
We know that Joseph is “the (firstborn) son of God. We also remember that in his prayer he beseeched God to “count Aseneth among your people, whom you have chose before all things came into being”, and let her go to the “place of rest” which God has prepared “for his chosen ones”.
In actuality, as I have proposed, Joseph’s prayer asked God to transform Aseneth from her earthly flesh into the celestial flesh of the coat of many colors or Rainbow Light Body. The Iron Man/Angel is the agent sent to assist in her translation from human to angel, from earthly flesh to celestial rainbow light body.
The angel stretched out his right hand and broke a small part off the comb, and he ate some of it, and what was left he threw with his hand into Aseneth’s mouth, and said to her, “Eat.” And she ate.
And the man said to Aseneth, “Behold, you ate bread of life, and drank a cup of immortality, and were anointed with an ointment of incorruptibility. Behold, from today your flesh will bloom like flowers of life from the land of the Most High, and your bones will grow like the cedars of God’s Paradise, and untiring powers will embrace you, and your youth will not see old age, and your beauty will not diminish forever. And you shall be like a walled mother-city of all those who seek refuge in the name of the Lord God, the king of the ages.”
The Iron Man is telling Aseneth she is no longer in the human state, but has now ascended to the angelic state. Her flesh “blooms like flowers of life from the land of the Most High” and she is now immortal.
As proof of her transformation, Aseneth eats the honeycomb, which suggests that she is now one of the Chosen Ones and “the sons of the Most High” who also eat the honeycomb.
Just as Joseph prayed, Aseneth is now among “the chosen ones of God”. She has morped into her light body. Now, her body is the same as the angels, “the chosen ones of God” and “the sons of the Most High”. This gives her supernatural strength and beauty, accompanied by immortality.
For us, this story tells us there is a “bread”, a “drink” and an “oil” that can transform the human body into a celestial body.
We next find the Iron Man/Angel touching the broken comb and restoring it to its previous shape (that’s very cool). He then traces two lines across the comb, dividing it — like a loaf of bread — into four equal parts, “and the way of his finger became like blood”.
What happens next is mind blowing:
And the man said to the comb, “Come.” And bees rose from the cells of the comb, and the cells were innumerable, myriads upon myriads and thousands upon thousands. And the bees were white as snow, and their wings were like purple and like violet and like scarlet and like gold-woven linen garments, and they had golden diadems on their heads, and they had sharp stings, but they harmed no one. And all these bees encircled Aseneth from her feet to her head. And other bees were large and chosen like their queens, and they rose form the damaged part of the comb and encircled Aseneth’s face, and made upon her mouth and her lips a comb similar to the comb which was lying before the man. And all these bees ate from the comb which was on Aseneth’s mouth.
What is happening here? Who or what, exactly, are these ‘bees’ making a vortex around Aseneth?
As Bohak comments, clearly these are not actual bees for nature has yet to reveal multi-colored bees “with golden diadems on their heads”.
So what are they? Well, if this is time travel story (as I suggest), they could be nano-bot bees sent by Iron Man to give Aseneth a DNA overhaul. Nanobots are often made of gold. These tiny robots can assemble anything out of nothing. Or, as Aseneth said, to reform themselves into any shape.
Nano engineers imagine nanobots doing all kinds of things for humanity from cleaning our bloodstream and insuring immortality, to giving us new exoskeletons that make us super strong, to making new bees that may eventually save us.
That’s right, nano bees.
A February, 2017 report puts bees and butterflies at risk of extinction…and with them the human race.
A team of researchers from Harvard and Northeastern Universities have been developing micro robotic bees — micro drones — that can pollinate flowers and do the job of real bees. With bee population at risk and no natural solutions in sight this could prove to be one of humanities best bets for the future of our food supply…otherwise humanity will starve.
“During the past decade a troubling phenomenon was observed by bee keepers in the U.S. where European honey bee colony’s abruptly disappear with no apparent reason. In recent years this phenomenon had grown so rapidly that it received the title Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). A great deal of research has been done to find the cause of CCD but to this point there is no conclusive evidence that can point to a specific cause. CCD is extremely disturbing, since bees are responsible for a large percentage of plant pollination which is at the heart of the world commercial agricultural industry (not to mention a vital part of countless plant and animal ecosystems worldwide).”
With no bees crops will die and animals (and humans) could starve.
Scientists in Japan lead by Eijiro Miyako at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Nanomaterial Research Institute have designed and tested a tiny drone that can pollinate flowers. The drone has material that acts like the tiny hairs on a bee and collect the pollen then deposit it elsewhere.
In the face of this ominous threat researchers from the Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences alongside Northeastern University neurobiologists have been working for the past 4 years on the challenging task of developing a robotic replacement for the honey bee. We will be challenged with incorporating the ‘best’ artificial intelligence, GPS and camera systems in these little guys if we are going to have a chance.
No one wants to live in a world where bees are extinct and are replaced by nano robots. So, we better get cracking on saving our natural pollinators.
In addition to keeping us from starving — they help us to produce angelic star food — the bees bear a symbolic significance, but what is it?
One clue is the behavior of bees who set to establish new colonies. The bees have left their old home, the comb, and settle in Aseneth’s mouth.
The story of bees settling in a person’s mouth is found in the experience of Plato, Homer, Pindar, Sophocles and Ambrose. Poets all. All had a swarm of bees alight on their lips and deposit their honey or wax there. (To me, this is a hint asking us to question if these figures have ascended, too.)
A third clue relates to the bee’s appearance. While the angel was said to be “a man in every respect similar to Joseph, in his robe and his crown and his royal staff”, the bees too seem to share this resemblance, with their golden diadems, their multicolored “garments”, and perhaps even their large stings, which fill-in for the royal staffs of the angel and Joseph.
The fourth clue is the most important and is found in the description of their appearance. They are said to be “white as snow, and their wings like purple and like violet and like scarlet and like gold-woven linen garments”.
This combination of four weaving materials — purple, violet, scarlet and linen — is a most telling clue, for it is out of these four materials that many objects in the Jewish temple, including the priestly garments and the veil, were made.
These four materials are found in Exodus 28:4-5:
They (the craftsmen) shall make sacred vestments for Aaron your brother and his sons to wear when they serve me as my priests, using gold, violet, purple, scarlet and linen.
As Bohak observes, the mention of the four materials in this scene points directly to a Jewish priestly setting, and the bees, with their diadems and priestly “garments”, must be a symbolic representation of Jewish high priests. This could also explain the apparent similarity to the angel himself, in their garments and diadems.
The garments worn by the Jewish high priest when he operated the Ark of the Covenant match the Armor of God. As I have uniquely shown, they also match the Tibetan images of Padmasambhava in the Rainbow Light Body.
This is the missing piece in Bohak, and other scholar’s analysis, of this story. The Essenes sought this bodily and spiritual perfection in order to cross over a veil or boundary and commune with the angels. The Essene’s desire to attain the angelic light body, and to cross the veil, is the same as the Christian idea of resurrection and ascension.
If the bees stand for Jewish priests, the honeycomb they live in certainly must stand for their temple. After all, it is in a temple that we would expect to see “myriads upon myriads and thousands upon thousands” of cells with priests, especially since this very phrase is commonly used in Jewish and early Christian literature to described the ministering angels in the heavenly temple.
Moreover, says Bohak, the association of a honeycomb with a temple has much to recommend it, given the structural similarity between bee-hives and temples — both depend on the perfect orchestration of numerous attendant’s minutely conceived individual tasks, and both are headed by one supreme ruler. Moreover, both bees and priests share a strong emphasis on chastity and purity.
This association occurred elsewhere in the ancient world, as in Delphi, where the Pythia was known as “bee” and where Apollo’s second-most ancient temple “was made by bees from beeswax and feathers”.
In Bohak’s view, this story is about a swarm of bees (priests) leaving the the original temple-comb to build a new comb, similar to the old one. It conceals the story of Jewish priests leaving their own temple and building a new one.
This happened in several known instances.
The establishment of the Elephantine temple in the sixth century B.C., the Samaritan temple in the fourth century and Onias’ temple at Heliopolis in the second century B.C. where a duplicate of Solomon’s Temple was constructed.
For Bohak, the fact that the new honeycomb-temple is built in Asenenth’s room, in Heliopolis, leaves little room to doubt that this symbolic story refers to the establishment of Onias’s temple in Heliopolis. This temple was a copy of the Jerusalem temple, complete with 10 story tall tower.
In Bohak’s view, the bloody incisions in the honeycomb which precede the bees’ departure refers to the priestly feuds of the 170s and 160s BCE, and perhaps even to Antiochus’ desecration of the Jerusalem temple in 167 BC — events that directly preceded Onias’s flight to Egypt and the establishment of the second Temple of Solomon.
Jerusalem was turned into a no-man’s-land of rioting and guerrilla war led by a Hasmonean family of priests known as the Maccabees who refused to worship the Greek gods in the Temple of Solomon and accept further Hellenization. Following the successful revolt (166 B.C.), led by the priest Mattathias, against the Seleucid empire, the Jews regained control of Jerusalem.
Macca-bees. Get it?
Josephus declares that it was during the time of the Maccabean Revolt that the Essenes first appeared: “At this time there were three sects of the Jews…the third was the Essenes (Ant. 13.171-172).” In The Essene Hypothesis, Gabriele Boccaccini, says the Essene community were led by Zadokite priests, particularly the Teacher of Righteousness, who, in the aftermath of the Maccabean revolt, fled to the wilderness to Qumran and isolation from other humans to build a new hive and to attain or perfect their light bodies.
The Iron Man said to the bees,
“Go to your place.” And all the bees rose and flew and went off into heaven. And those who wished to harm Aseneth fell on the ground and died. And the man stretched out his staff over the dead bees and said to them, “Rise you, too, and go off to your place.” And the dead bees rose and went off into the court adjoining Aseneth’s house and settled on the fruit-bearing trees.
As Bohak notes, it is hardly surprising that when the angel sends the bees to “their place” they all go straight to heaven — this is exactly what he meant when he said that whoever eats from the honeycomb “will not die forever”, and when he told Aseneth, once she ate a bit, that her youth “would not see old age”. The bees must have gone to Paradise, whence they seem to have come, or to that “place of rest in heaven which God and Repentance have prepared for all the “chose ones” to live there forever.
THE VISION ENDS
As the story comes to a close the Iron Man asks Aseneth whether she has seen it all, and then promises her, “So will be all my words which I have spoken to you today.” Having shown her the events of the distant future, he now insists that the vision, and all his promises, will be fulfilled as foretold. His next action is astounding:
And the Iron Man stretched out his right hand for the third time, and touched the damaged part of the comb and fire immediately went up from the table and consumed the comb, but did not harm the table. And much fragrance came forth from the burning of the comb and filled the room.
Why is the angel burning the comb? The answer is unknown.
The honeycomb gone, Aseneth now asks the angel to bless her seven virgin maidens, “just as you blessed me”. She calls them to her room,
and the man blessed them and said, “The Lord the Most High God will bless you, and you shall be seven pillars of the City of Refuge, and all those who join the chosen ones of that city will rest upon you forever.
Bohak says the seven pillars clearly point to Proverbs 9:1, “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars”.
Thus Aseneth is destined to become not only a “City of Refuge”, but a house of wisdom as well, in which the “Chosen Ones”, and all those who join them, will live forever.
His mission accomplished, the Iron Man / angel is ready to depart. He tells Aseneth to put the table away, and when she turns around he quickly disappears.
And Aseneth saw something like a four-horse chariot, going into the heaven toward the east. And the chariot was like a flame of fire and the horses like lightning. And the man was standing on the chariot.
Flying away on his fiery chariot, the angel vanishes into heaven and Aseneth is awe-struck once again. Afraid that she may have said something wrong — “I said that a man came from heaven into my room, and I did not know that a god came to me.”
A god? Or a time-traveling fictional character from the Marvel Universe?