At the Crucifixion and Resurrection, there is a mysterious woman who
is present, named Mary Magdalene.  Some say she was the wife of Jesus.
Others say she was a prostitute freed by Jesus.  Still others say she
was an esoteric figure of a secret royal line in France.

   Just who was this mysterious figure?

   The Biblical evidence identifies a woman who anoints Jesus with an
alabaster box at the house of a Pharisee named Simon as "a woman of the
city who was a sinner."[Lk 7:37]  Jesus then forgives her all her sins,
which sins He says, "are many."  In the very next section, we are told
that Mary Magdalene, "out of whom He had cast seven demons," had begun
following Jesus and the Apostles [Lk 8:2].  Jesus says that because the
woman had been forgiven much, she loved Him much [Lk 7:47].

   Many have assumed this woman is Mary Magdalene and that she was some
sort of prostitute because "woman of the city" could have that meaning
in some situations.  The text does not explicitly identify the woman as
Mary Magdalene or as a prostitute, however.  Luke does say Mary had had
seven demons cast out of her and responded by following Jesus.  It must
have been clear to Luke as he wrote that the strong similarity between
these two women and their juxtaposition in immediate succession would
lead many to identify the two as the same person.  The gospels often go
to some pains to avoid such confusion, for example, when John speaks of
"Judas" at the Last Supper and adds, "not the Iscariot."  So by failing
to clarify that Mary Magdalene is not the same woman, Luke in effect is
allowing us to make that identification.

   This, if correct, would lead us to a second conclusion very rapidly,
for the anointing of Jesus is REQUIRED by an express command of Jesus
to be recorded whenever the gospel is preached [Mt 26:13].  Therefore,
because the ONLY anointing Luke records is the one by that "woman of
the city," we must conclude that this is the same anointing as we see
recorded in the other gospels.  Note what the other accounts add:

   The anointing is in the house of Simon THE LEPER of BETHANY and the
box contained "VERY PRECIOUS" ointment [Mt 26:6-13].  This anointing of
Jesus is followed WITHOUT A BREAK by Judas betraying Jesus, implying a
direct link between the anointing and Judas' decision [Mt 26:14-15].

   Mark adds the fact that this ointment in Simon's house was of a very
precious substance called "SPIKENARD"--but someone complains, "Why was
this WASTE of the ointment made?  For it might have been SOLD FOR MORE
THAN 300 PENCE."[Mk 14:3-5]  That equals a YEAR'S WAGES in those days,
or roughly $20,000 in modern terms.  Obviously, this was a black-market
ointment, something ILLEGAL, such as oil used to anoint someone KING.

   John, at last, completes the story:  The woman who anoints Jesus is
none other than Mary of Bethany, the SISTER OF MARTHA AND LAZARUS.  So
the woman was named MARY after all.  And because she and her sister are
supposed to serve guests in this house, a house we can now identify as
the house of Simon the Pharisee, a "leper" (which some say was a coded
way of identifying a person who advocated independence from Rome, and
who was ostracized like a leper on the Sanhedrin), we must see Simon as
the FATHER of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

   Now it becomes clear why these three siblings are living in the same
house; it is the family estate.  We know that Lazarus is wealthy when
we are told of the huge crowds that gather when Jesus raises Lazarus
from the dead.  Bethany was on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives
--prime real estate.  Yet Lazarus' family owns a large enough estate to
have this huge throng there ("the WHOLE WORLD has gone after Him"), and
a private tomb on the property of a PHARISEE who would want to maintain
ritual purity by keeeping his house as far from a tomb as possible.

   Simon is a wealthy Pharisee living on choice property near Jerusalem
with a house big enough to sleep several adult men and women.  It is
his daughter who anoints Jesus with contraband royal ointment in his
presence at a dinner in honor of his son Lazarus.

   This explains why a Pharisee would allow a "woman of the city who
was a sinner" into his house and let her POUR HER OINTMENT ALL OVER
JESUS AND ONTO HIS FLOOR.  Pharisees would NEVER permit a STRANGER to
enter their home who might be "unclean" and pour oil of UNKNOWN origin
onto their floor.  (She wipes the oil on Jesus' feet also.)  For the
ritually pure Pharisees this was anathema.  But if this is his very
own daughter, a woman he knew, and if he knew exactly where that oil
had come from, then the mystery vanishes.


   So where did that oil come from?

   The term "SPIKE-nard" is very misleading.  The Greek actually calls
it "GENUINE nard"--which the translators change to "SPIKE-nard" on the
assumption that some copyist made a mistake.  But the correct reading
of "GENUINE" has awesome implications.  It signifies that this was the
GENUINE anointing oil.  In other words, THE GENUINE royal anointing oil
of the priests and kings.  The oil of KING DAVID.  Of the MESSIAH, the

   No wonder Jesus insisted they include this story in every telling of
the gospel.  This was His official anointing as Priest and King.

   [The ancient origin of this alabaster box of oil is detailed in an
extensive audio/printed report called "THE SECRETS OF PETRA."  It is
far too much to cover on the web.  Copies can be ordered via our NEWS
& UPDATES page.]

   But could a fallen woman anoint Jesus Priest and King?


   Mary and Martha are grown women living in their father's house on a
large estate.  This is most unusual.  Ordinarily the only way a woman
would return to her father's house was by being widowed or divorced or
if her husband had gone on a long journey and left her otherwise alone.

   The Talmud has a curious story about a man named Nicodemus.  It says
he was one of the richest men in Jewish history.  This Nicodemus had two
daughters named Mary and Martha:  Martha was a widow who returned to her
father Nicodemus' house, while Mary had married an extremely rich man
and had brought him a huge dowry.  The Talmud does not say why Mary was
living at home, but we may assume her husband travelled a great deal.

   The Talmud places this story 30 years AFTER the Biblical Nicodemus--
a generation later.  Tradition says that Nicodemus and his whole family
were ARRESTED because of their Christianity.   All were exiled to Gaul
by 37 AD, except Nicodemus, who is said to have seen them sail off from
Caesarea.  Yet the Talmud seems to place the family a generation later.

   But according to Psalm 109, people convicted of capital crimes--and
the book of Acts says that professing Christianity had become a capital
crime--had their NAMES BLOTTED OUT "unto the second generation."  So it
was FORBIDDEN for the rabbis to publicly discuss or write about someone
who had been blotted out, as Nicodemus and his family had been.  By the
shifting of the "time" of the Talmudic stories 30 years later, rabbis
could write about blotted-out events during the "forbidden" period.  We
have many Talmudic stories about Jesus, Lazarus and other blotted-out
New Testament figures, which also exhibit a similar time-shift.

   It appears, therefore, that the Talmud has coyly "resurrected" some
forbidden history of the family of Nicodemus and Mary Magdalene, which
shows she was married to one of the richest men in her world.  Who could
that be?


   The term "Nicodemus" means "innocent of blood" and is hardly a name
one receives at birth.  So "Simon" might well be his given name.  When
Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin, the vote has to be UNANIMOUS.  Yet
we know that two members, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus do not feel
Jesus is guilty.  This can only mean that Caiaphas the High Priest held
their proxies and cast their votes for them.

   The Talmud and other sources reveal that Joseph and Nicodemus were
wealthy men who travelled far from Jerusalem, in the metals and grain
trades respectively.  Because they were not always available to vote,
they had to give their proxies to the High Priest.

   Nicodemus was a "RULER" of the people on the Sanhedrin, a man of
great wealth (he held a monopoly on grain in Jerusalem).  His friend
Joseph of Arimathea was in similar circumstances.  Undoubtedly, both
men often travelled together for months at a time.

   But why did they bury Jesus together?

   The Jewish law of burial left a man UNCLEAN for handling a dead body
--which would have prevented these men from eating the Passover, if we
accept John's gospel [Jn 18:28].  But the NEXT OF KIN were REQUIRED to
bury their family members.  That means both men were related to Jesus.

   Catholic tradition makes Joseph the UNCLE of Jesus' mother, Mary, but
they also say he was YOUNGER than Mary.  The Church has evolved a view
of Mary as staying a virgin AFTER giving birth to Jesus, and this led it
to elevate Mary to a semi-divine status Rome feels is incompatible with
her having any siblings.  The idea is that her mother Anna had no other
children but Mary.  But the starting point of this odd logic is Rome's
belief in Mary remaining virgin AFTER giving birth to Jesus, an idea the
Bible goes to great lengths to refute:

   The Bible declares, for example, that Mary lost her virginity at the
birth of Jesus [Lk 2:23; Is 66:9; Rev 12:4], had sex with her husband
[Mt 1:25], and was mother to many other children after Jesus [Mt 12:46-47;
13:55-57; 27:56,61; 28:1; Mk 6: 3-4; and many other similar passages]. To
maintain the myth of Mary keeping her virginity even after giving birth,
Rome decided in 1871 that Mary had herself had a miraculous birth without
original sin and without any siblings.  This meant Joseph of Arimathea
had to be pushed back another generation BEFORE Mary, even though he was
younger than Mary and was said to outlive her by 15 or 20 years.

   This confusion vanishes in light of the Biblical verses cited above,
which removes the need to falsify Mary's family structure. Joseph was her
younger brother, uncle to Jesus.  When their father, Heli Joachim, died,
Joseph took over the family's seat on the Jewish Sanhedrin.  If this were
not so, Jesus could not be David's heir.  The "honored seat" Joseph held
on the Council was, of course, the seat of the House of David, the KING'S
SEAT.  Jesus sat on it at age 12 [Lk 2:41-51].  Joseph of Arimathea had
to adopt Jesus by Jewish law if he believed Jesus to be legitimate, for
Joseph was the male elder of the family and a brother had to adopt his
sister's unheired sons.

   Had Joseph been an uncle of Mary the line of inheritance would have
deviated away from Jesus:  Mary would not have had it to pass down to
Jesus in the flesh.  Rome's efforts to deify Mary deny Jesus the throne
of David by natural inheritance, contrary to Scripture [Lk 1:31-33].

   So Joseph of Arimathea was obligated to adopt Jesus.  The adoption
papers are quoted by Luke in chapter 3 of his gospel.  Rome admits the
genealogy there is that of Mary's side of the family, but ignores the
fact that the "Joseph" who is adopting Jesus is her brother by using
the bizarre argument that her husband acquired his wife's genealogy by
adopting Jesus--even though the whole point of adoption was the reverse
situation:  To give Jesus the adopting male's genealogy.  Had this male
been Joseph the "Carpenter" of the line of Jeconiah, whose descendents
were cursed from sitting upon the throne, Jesus would have been cut out
of the royal inheritance like all other men of Jeconiah's line.  Only
a BROTHER of Mary could adopt Jesus and keep Jesus in the royal line of
succession as the heir of David:

   "When Jesus was about to be thirty years of age, He became by
   custom [by adoption] the son of Joseph, the son of Heli..."
                                  [Lk 3:23, literal rendering]

   All this means that Joseph of Arimathea had to be married to a woman
of very wealthy and high status.  Only such a woman would be suitable to
wed a man who held his position.  Nicodemus married his daughter Mary to
such a man.  Could Mary be Joseph's wife?

   The gospels state that Jospeh of Arimathea [the city of Matthew: See
his genealogy] buried Jesus in his own UNUSED tomb in Jerusalem.  Joseph
had acquired it RECENTLY, for no one in his family had died and ever been
buried in it; yet the average age of death in those days was under thirty,
with many babies born dead.  This can only mean that Joseph had obtained
the site during his life and did not inherit it.

   The common way such a tomb would come into a family was as part of a
DOWRY.  But if Joseph married Mary of BETHANY of the Mount of Olives,
then the dowry tomb would have been on the Mount of Olives and the site
of the Crucifixion must have been near Bethany at the summit of the
Mount.  This is in fact the case [See the link below to our discussion

   Now we can see that Mary was a woman of great importance.  To gain a
tomb on the summit of Olivet was one of the most sought-after desires
of every Jewish person, but hardly anyone could achieve it.  Joseph was
given a piece of land when he married Mary that he would LITERALLY die
for.  But if he were to divorce her, it would revert to Nicodemus.


   This man Nicodemus was not only a member of the Sanhedrin, but a rabbi
and Pharisee and a ruler of the people.  All this makes him one of the
CHIEF SCRIBES.  The house of Benjamin was given the right to keep the
written genealogies of the priests and kings to decide which persons were
entitled to inherit.  The Torah says Benjamin will "DIVIDE the SPOILS"--
that is, the inheritiances of Israel.

   Benjamin was allotted six seats on the Council.  One of these seats
was occupied by the chief elder of the tribe, the RULER of it.  John
calls Nicodemus a "RULER" and implies Nicodemus is the chief elder.
We know from 1 Chronicles 5 that the elders of Benjamin were expected
to live in Jerusalem, and that included Olivet.  The grain monopoly he
held indicates that his family had PRE-EMINENCE.  To have absolute and
total control over the food supply of Jerusalem is hardly the kind of
thing a lesser line of Benjamin would inherit.  Nicodemus had to be of
the chief family--hence the HEAD of the tribe.

   But there's a catch.  In Benjamin, the WOMEN pass down the line of
inheritance.  Not Lazarus, but Nicodemus' elder daughter Mary was the
heir of the line.  Her son would sit on the Sanhedrin.

   The term for the one who holds the authority is "PILLAR" (from the
idea that the family is a kind of building and a pillar is the most
prominent support of the edifice, hence the regal building block of a
family or institution).

   In Hebrew, "pillar" is a "M'GD'L" or "magdal."  So the name "Mary,
the Magadalene" means "Mary the Pillar (of her tribe)."  She was the
chief heir of the tribe of Benjamin.

   To compare how this title was used in the Bible, the term used to
describe "The High Priest" in Hebrew was "Ha-Kohen Ha-Gadol" or "The
Priest, The Pillar"--that is, he was the SUPREME Priest of the tribe,
the Chief elder of Levi.  Mary is called "Ma-Gadol-aH-eN" or "Great
Pillar Female One"--that is, she was the "Great Supreme Woman" of her
tribe:  Benjamin.

   Now we see her conferring her tribal honor on Jesus, making Jesus
the heir of Benjamin by adoption through her husband Joseph.  That had
the effect of giving Jesus the LEGAL RIGHT TO OFFICIALLY APPOINT what HE
called "SCRIBES of the Kingdom"--the writers of a NEW testament.  But the
tribe of Benjamin could do more than keep written records that DESIGNATED
the Priest and King.  It could ANOINT them.

   When Mary brought out the "GENUINE Nard" and anointed Jesus, she was
declaring Jesus the OFFICIAL King.  Jesus observed that she in effect had
anointed Him for BURIAL.  Why?  Because it was ILLEGAL and He now reeked
of contraband oil.  The penalty was death under Rome's law.

   But her anointing seems so informal, so loving and casual.  Or is it?

   The gospels say she stood behind Him and poured it all out upon His
head and wiped the residue on His feet with her hair.  This act of hers
for an OFFICIAL ROYAL ANOINTING.  Apparently she did not intend to pour
it all out, and when she did, she tried to wipe it up with her hair.

   But Jesus chooses to emphasize her love and His forgiveness of her
prior sins "which were many."  What had Joseph of Arimathea's wife done
to be regarded as such a sinner?

   John records the Sanhedrin bringing a woman to Jesus who was caught
"in the very act" of adultery.  Jesus is asked to JUDGE her.  Only her
husband, her father, and her eldest son had this right.  The reason is
that each had a LEGAL STAKE IN THE DOWRY.  If found guilty, a divorce
would cause the dowry to revert to her father's house.  Jesus as Mary's
male heir, albeit by adoption, had a legal basis for judging her.

   When Jesus sets her "free," He does so conditionally.  "Where are they
who accuse you?"--meaning her father and husband.  No doubt they were off
on one of their merchant trips, which is why Mary had gotten into trouble
out of loneliness.  While Jesus had saved her life for the moment, she
was still under a kind of "house-arrest" pending the return of Joseph and
Nicodemus.  A woman left alone for months or even years at a time could
easily fall into adultery.  And could be forgiven for her weakness.

not the throne of David!  Orthodox rabbis still hold to this rule.

   Even if Mary were the wife of Jesus as some claim, it would be of no
inheritance value to her descendents.  All her subsequent offspring in
the aftermath of adultery would be legally bastards with NO CLAIM ON

   Therefore, all those pretenders who are now claiming to be the heirs
of David through Jesus and Mary Magdalene are claiming an inheritance
that cannot exist.  Most of them cite an "heir" produced long after
Mary's sexual escapades (if she had any; being caught public embrace of
one not your spouse could in some cases be "in the act" of adultery).


   Aside from the obvious fact that much of the New Testament is about
Jesus as the Bridegroom of the Church, the Bride of Christ, how could
Jesus have married?  No father would have married his daughter to this
man whom the general public believed was a result of fornication with an
UNKNOWN FATHER. (The Talmud later suggested the father of Jesus might be
a gentile Roman soldier, ie an uncircumcised rapist.) Even Mary's about-
to-be husband Joseph was ready to divorce her over this issue [Mt 1:19].

   Even if Joseph had tried to marry Jesus off under his own name, it was
a problem, for his line carried the CURSE of Jeconiah.  In fact, it is a
well-documented tradition that his own first-born, James, never married.
This hardly boded well for Jesus.  James would not have made a decision
to be celebate at 13 because of some Christian piety, for James did not
yet believe in Jesus as the Christ.  James simply could not be married
because of the family curse, which he carried as first-born of Joseph.
Even if James had not inherited that curse, all Mary's children were also
tainted by her first supposed "illigitimate" birth.

   (Joseph's marriage to Mary was by special circumstance as we discuss
in our article about him [coming soon].  Briefly, Joseph innocently put
Mary's father in a position where he had to let her marry Joseph.)

   So Jesus could not be married until He was adopted by a man without
the curse, namely Joseph of Arimathea, His wealthy and powerful uncle.
One could argue that Jesus waited until He was thirty to be adopted and
get married.  But that is exactly what the New Testament says: Jesus was
going around the land "wooing" a Bride, the Church.

   The marriage feast at Cana is sometimes said to be His marriage to
Mary Magdalene...or somebody.  The "bridegroom" is not named; so the now
critics want to assert he is Jesus because His family is invited to the
wedding.  But John says Jesus was "INVITED" to the wedding.  However, a
groom is never invited to his own wedding!  He and the bride don't get
invitations to their wedding; they or their parents are the ones who do
the inviting. [Jn 2:2]

   If Jesus is the bridegroom, why is He unconcerned that the guests to
His own wedding have no wine?  Why does His mother have to urge Him to
act against His inclination?  Why does Mary have to tell the staff to
obey the bridegroom?  This makes no sense at all.  On the other hand, if
Jesus is merely a GUEST, it makes perfect sense.  It could be one of His
younger sisters getting married, which would explain why the staff obeys
Mary, but must be instructed to obey Jesus.


   This absurd argument flies in the face of the express statement of
John's gospel that Jesus had "NEVER studied" under the rabbis or the
scribes in Jerusalem or apparently ANYWHERE:

   "And the Jews marveled, saying, 'How does this man have learning,
   having NEVER studied?'" [Jn 7:15]

   Jesus TAUGHT, but He had no formal training, and was therefore NOT
an OFFICIAL rabbi, who had to be married under the rules.  Jesus was a
"small r" rabbi, an unofficial teacher, as John states.  Being unable
to marry, Jesus could not qualify to study under the official rules.
All throughjout the gospels we are told how the scribes and Pharisees,
the OFFICIAL teachers of the people, were jealous of Jesus, spied on
His teaching, tried to discredit Him, etc.  If Jesus had credentials
from them, they would have boasted of Him.  But He did not.  Jesus was
a COMPETITOR, and outsider, someone they had NOT taught, a teacher who
had his learning directly from God, Nicodemus concluded.

   Which brings us to how Nicodemus could find Jesus so easily at night
in that house at Bethany, coming to Him "secretly" by night.

   He simply walked down the hall and knocked on His door.  After all,
it was his own house, and Jesus was his grandson by adoption.

   And that explains why Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were the two
men who were required by law to bury Jesus:  His adoptive father and
maternal uncle and His adoptive grandfather, respectively.  It also
explains why Mary Magdalene, his adoptive mother, was at the tomb with
His natural mother Mary and her sister Salome.

   As for the business about Mary calling Jesus "rabboni"--it was her
proper title for the heir of the family and the person who had saved
her life and was now sort of her "parole officer" and responsible for
her behavior in the future.  He had become a legal guardian over her,
because her continued life was His responsibility, having let her go
after her capital crime, under the Law of Moses, of adultery.

   We see Jesus' authority over Mary at Lazarus' funeral.  As the true
elder of her family, Mary was sitting in official mourning in the house
to receive visitors, as Jewish custom required (and still does).  She
could only leave the house under very special circumstances.  It would
be like calling the bride away from the midst of her wedding to give
her a message.  But because Jesus was acting as a kind of warden over
her--she was a convicted felon on parole in the eyes of the law--Mary
had to obey Jesus who held custody over her, in effect.  It had not a
thing to do with her being His wife, as many mistakenly assume.  Why
would she have been under some strange obligation to remain inside her
BROTHER'S house as a wifely duty?  There is no such custom.  She was
the chief official mourner, a role that fell to the eldest woman.  It
had nothing to do with marriage or Jesus.


   All the "evidence" about Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married to
each other collapses when examined closely.  The ulterior motives of a
few royal lines in Europe in asserting an inheritance back to Jesus
from Mary Magdalene have produced a slew of specious arguments which
are flatly contradicted by the very Bible passages they cite and by the
known practices and customs of the Jewish people at the time.

   Jesus has a Bride to which He has pledged to come back.  It is the
Bride of Christ, the true spiritual body of believers.  The whole idea
is that the New Covenant is a spiritual MARRIAGE covenant with this
Bride, not a sexual union.  While she may well be among the saints He
will raise up and "wed" at His coming, Mary is but one of the many in
the Church.  If she were His carnal wife, His future "wedding feast"
would be confused and distorted,  Indeed, it would have been ADULTERY,
in a technical legal sense, for Jesus to have been seeking to create a
marriage covenant with the Church while married to Mary.  He would have
been unfaithful to her.  The whole idea would defile the entire basis
of the New Covenant relationship:  That Jesus is an UNMARRIED King who
is "betrothed" to the Church [Ephesians 5:21-33].

   If Mary Magdalene is Jesus' adoptive mother, a thousand mysteries are
resolved.  But if she is His wife, a thousand conflicts are created.


More about Olivet
Still more about Olivet
The date and related issues
The birth of Jesus month by month...
Back to the Q&A page...
Shroud of Turin & Burial Clothes of Jesus as Wedding Garments