יום שבת, 16 במאי 2015


(BMary 1:1-6; PsMt 1,2; PEv 1:1,2)
{Here begins The Book of the Birth of the Blessed Mary and the
Childhood of our Savior; which was written in Hebrew by the Most
Reverend Apostle Matthew.}
The holy and majestic Virgin Mary was born in the city of Nazareth,
descended from David’s royal bloodline, and received her instruction
in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. Her father’s name was Joachim
and his family was from Galilee and the city of Nazareth. Her
mother’s name was Anna, and her family was from Bethlehem. They
lived plainly and honestly before God; piously and blamelessly in the
sight of men.
According to The Chronicles of the Twelve Tribes of Israel,
Joachim, a wealthy man of Judah’s line, was in Jerusalem at this time.
He shepherded his own sheep, and loved the Lord wholeheartedly and
with all integrity. His entire concern was for the well-being of his
herds; and from the food that they produced, he fed every God-fearing
person, honoring God by offering a twofold charity to everyone who
served Him, and who worked at teaching. He brought all of his
offerings before the Lord, saying, “What I bring as a sacrifice for my
own sins will be dedicated to the Lord, that He might be appeased with
me. What is over and above that will be for the people to use.” So his
entire income--his lambs, his sheep, his wool, and everything else that
he owned--was split three ways: one part was devoted to orphans,
widows, foreigners and the needy; another to the temple, its officials,
and those who worship God; and the third part he reserved for his own needs and those of his entire family. He practiced this level of
generosity from the age of fifteen years, and all the while God
compounded his flocks and his wealth, such that there was no one else
like him in all of Israel. When he was twenty, he married Anna, the
daughter of Issachar, who shared his lineage from David. They
practiced this decent way of living for about twenty years; being approved by God and respected by men, yet she bore him neither sons
nor daughters.
The Great Day of the Lord was approaching, and the people of
Israel were bringing their oblations. Now during the festal days,
Joachim was gathering his gifts before the Lord in the company of
some other people who were offering their incense up. And this priest
named Reuben rose to his feet, walked over to Joachim and said, “It is
unlawful for you to stand here alongside these others and present your
offerings ahead of those who are sacrificing to God, seeing that you
have fathered no children in Israel.” (But they had solemnly pledged
that if God should bless them with a child, they would consecrate it to
the service of the Lord; which was why they went to the Lord’s temple
during every feast of the year.)
(BMary 1:7-1:12; PEv 1:3-7)
Jerusalem; The Hill Country
Now when the Dedication Feast was approaching during the high
priesthood of Issachar, Joachim and some others of his tribe traveled
up to Jerusalem. When he saw Joachim and his companions bringing
their offerings, he snubbed both him and his gifts, demanding, “Why
would a childless person like you be so presumptuous as to come and
stand here alongside those who are not? God will never accept any
offerings from you,” he added. “He hasn’t even deemed you worthy to
have children! Remember that the Scripture reads, ‘Accursed are all
who fail to father a son in Israel.’” He said, moreover, “You ought first
to free yourself from that curse by fathering a child, and only then
should you bring your offerings into the presence of the Lord.”
Taken aback by such a shameful and public censure, Joachim ran away from the Lord’s temple in tears. He felt discouraged and said to
himself, “I will check the register to see if I am indeed the only one in Israel who has not brought up any children.” So he consulted the
archives of the twelve tribes and learned that all of the upright in
Israel had indeed raised up children. Then he recalled that even as his
days were drawing to a close, God blessed the patriarch Abraham with
his son Isaac. Now since Joachim was so depressed, he did not wish to
go back home and face his wife and neighbors who, after all, had been
there and had heard all that the high priest had spoken, and feared
that they might publicly humiliate him as well. He therefore did not
go back home, but withdrew instead into the mountains of a faraway
land with his herdsmen, so that his wife Anna might hear nothing
about him. There he set up his tent, and after some time he started fasting. “For forty days and forty nights I will not eat or drink
anything,” he said to himself. “My prayer will be my only food and
drink until the Lord my God visits me.”
(PEv 2:1; 2:8-3:7; PsMt 2,3)
His wife Anna sang two elegies, and uttered a double lament: “I will
weep for my widowhood and wail for my barrenness.” For because she
had heard nothing of what had become of Joachim, she complained to
God, and in tears did she plead, “Oh Lord, Great and Powerful God of
Israel, You have given me no children; why have You taken my
husband as well? Behold, it has been five months since I have seen
him, and I have no idea where he might be. If I knew that he were
dead, I could at least bury him.” Then she entered into the courtyard
of his house in the depth of her sorrow, fell to her face and prayed,
pouring forth her requests to the Lord.
And afterward, even though she felt dejected, Anna got up from her
prayers, took off her mourning clothes, washed her hair, and put on
her wedding garments. At about the ninth hour, she went for a walk in
her garden and saw a laurel tree there. And sitting down beneath it,
she begged the Lord, “Oh God of Our Fathers, hearken to my prayer
and bless me even as You blessed the womb of Sarah and graced her
with her son Isaac.”
Then Anna looked into the sky and sighed. And noticing a nest of sparrows in that laurel tree, she sang the following elegy:
“Poor little me! Who gave me life?
What womb brought me forth?
For I was born only to be cursed before the people--
Even the sons of Israel.
And I was censured; they ridiculed me
And threw me out of the Lord’s temple.
Poor little me! With what am I to be compared?
I am not to be compared with the birds of the sky,
Because, oh my Lord, even the birds of the sky produce for You.
Poor little me! With what am I to be compared?
I am not to be compared with the speechless beasts,
Because, oh my Lord, even the speechless beasts produce for You.
Poor little me! With what am I to be compared?
I am not to be compared with the earth’s wild animals,
Because, oh my Lord,
Even the wild animals of the earth produce for You. Poor little me! With what am I to be compared?
I am not to be compared with these waters,
Because, oh my Lord, even these waters produce for You.
Poor little me! With what am I to be compared?
I am not to be compared with this earth,
Because even this earth is productive in its season
And praises You, oh my Lord.”
And she spoke sorrowfully saying, “Lord God Almighty, the One
Who has given posterity to all living things; every creature, be they
either tame or wild; to serpents, birds, and fish as well, that they might
all take pleasure in their young. Only I am deprived of Your generous
gift. But You, dear God, know that from my wedding day, I promised
in my heart that if ever You gave me a son or a daughter, I would give
them back to You, to serve You in Your sacred temple.”
(BMary 3:1-5; PEv 4:1,2; 2:2-7; PsMt 2,3)
And behold, even as she was saying all this, one of God’s angels
suddenly appeared to her and said, “Anna, Anna, do not be afraid! Do
not think that what you see is some delusion, for I am the angel who
has presented your petitions and charitable donations in the presence
of God. The Lord God has heard your plea and ordained seed for you.
You will conceive and give birth, and your child’s name will be the talk
of the whole earth. All generations will marvel at what you are to bear;
even until the end of the age.” “As my Lord is the Living God,” Anna replied, “if a child is given to me, be it either a boy or a girl, I will give
it to the Lord my God, and it will serve Him all the days of its life.”
Then the angel said to her, “I have been sent to you to let you know
that you are to bear a daughter. You are to name her Mary, and she
will be favored above all other women. And as soon as she is born, she
will exhibit qualities like those of the Lord. She will be brought up in
her father’s house until the three years of her weaning run out, then
she will be given to the service of the Lord. She will never set foot off
the temple grounds until she reaches the age of discretion. In short, in
that place she will serve the Lord, fasting and praying day and night,
keeping away from every unclean thing, and never lying with a man.
This will be unparalleled--a virgin will give birth to a son in a pure and
undefiled manner; without sleeping with a man, a young woman will
bring forth the Lord, who will rescue the world through his divine
nature, power, and labors.” And after he had spoken this, the angel
vanished from her sight. But because she had seen all this and heard such words, she withdrew to her bedroom in fear and dread, threw
herself over her bed as dead, and stayed there all day and night in
prayer and trembling.
When all of this had taken place, she called her servant to herself
and said, “Do you not see how my widowhood has deluded me and
caused me no end of confusion? Even so, you have been unwilling to
come in and visit me!” Now the Great Day of the Lord was
approaching, so her servant Judith asked Anna, “How long are you
going to wallow in your self-pity, because the Lord’s Great Day is
nearly upon us and you will be unable to do any mourning then.
Behold, here is a head-covering. A seamstress had given it to me, but
because I am just a servant I cannot wear it. Why not take it to
yourself instead, since it so greatly befits your regal appearance!”
“Go away!” Anna replied, “I will not accept this thing from you. The
Lord has humiliated me and who knows but that some evildoer has
not given it to you. Your passing it on to me might only get me caught
up in your sin!” Somewhat sullenly, Judith replied, “And how am I
supposed to bring a curse down on you seeing that you never even
listen to me? The Lord God has sealed your womb that you might not
bring forth any children in Israel. If God Himself has closed your
womb and taken your husband away from you, what could I possibly
do to you?” And when Anna heard that, she raised her voice and wept aloud.
(BMary 2:1-14; PsMt 3)
The Mountainous Countryside
Joachim, meanwhile, was alone on the mountains feeding his
flocks. One day a young boy appeared to him and asked, “Why not go
back home to your wife?” “I have been with her for twenty years now,”
explained Joachim, “and it has not been God’s will to give me any
children through her. With shame and reproach have I been cast away
from the temple of the Lord. Why should I return to her seeing that I
have already been completely scorned and driven out? So as long as
God gives me light in this life, I will simply stay here with my sheep.
With a little help from my servants, I will give the poor, the orphans,
and the God-fearing their portions.” And after he had spoken this, the
young man, an angel of the Lord, stood there bathed in a dazzling
light! Now because Joachim had been rattled by the visitation, the
angel who had shown himself to Joachim tried to console him, saying,
“Do not be shaken by my manifestation to you, for I am the Angel of
the Lord, sent to you by Him in order to let you know that He has heard your prayers and seen your alms. He has also seen your
humiliation and heard the unjust accusations leveled against you with
regard to your childlessness. But it is on account of their own sins that
God punishes people, and not their physical condition. Whenever He
closes a woman’s womb, He has its miraculous opening in mind; so
that what it brings forth might be seen as the gift of God, and not as
the result of mere passion. For was not Sarah, the mother of your
people, childless until her eightieth year? And did she not bring to
pass the blessing promised to every nation, bringing forth Isaac at
such an old age?
“And Rachel, who was so favored by God and beloved of Jacob,
went on for a long time before she ever bore a child, yet she later went
on to bear Joseph, who not only governed Egypt, but also spared many
nations a famine’s death. And even though both of their mothers were
barren, who among the Judges was braver than Samson, or holier than
Samuel? But if reason should fail to convince you of the soundness of
my speech, that many who were barren have conceived in their old age
and brought forth to their surprise, this very day I have appeared to
your wife as she sat weeping and praying, and comforted her. Know,
therefore, that your wife Anna will bring forth a daughter from your
very own seed, and you have abandoned her without even knowing
this. You are to name her Mary, and she is to be set apart to the Lord’s
service from the time of her birth, even as you have promised. She will
be filled with the Holy Spirit from her mother’s womb, and will remain
within the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit will live in her. She
will never eat or drink any unclean thing, and will speak only with
those inside the Lord’s temple, and never outside with the rest of the
world, that she might avoid slanderous and evil suspicions. She will moreover, be venerated above all other holy women, such that no one
will be able to say that any woman before her was ever like her, nor
indeed will anyone in this world come along hereafter who ever will
be. And even as she will be born in a miraculous fashion, so also in
due course will she bear in a way unparalleled--while yet a virgin she
will bring forth the Most High God, Who will rescue all nations, as His
name, Jesus, signifies.
“Get down from these mountains, therefore, and return to your
wife, whom you will find is pregnant. God has raised up a seed inside
her, and you will thank Him for it. Her child will be blessed, and so
will she. Indeed, she is to be made the mother of everlasting blessing.
And as a sign of what I have told you, as soon as you arrive at the
Golden Gate in Jerusalem, you will meet up with your wife Anna, who, though downcast over your not returning sooner, will be joyful at the
sight of you.”
Then Joachim worshiped the angel and said, “If I have found favor
in your eyes, then come, sit in my tent awhile and bless your servant.”
But the angel corrected him, saying, “Do not say ‘servant,’ but ‘fellow
servant,’ for we both serve a single Master. But my food cannot be
seen and my drink is invisible to men. You should therefore not invite
me into your tent. If, however, you were ready to offer me something,
sacrifice it instead as a burnt offering to the Lord.” And taking a
spotless lamb Joachim said to the angel, “I would never have taken it
upon myself to present a burnt offering to the Lord had you not first
commanded me and given me the priestly authority to do so.” “I
would never have said that you could,” the angel replied, “unless I had
first known the will of the Lord.” And as Joachim was offering up his
sacrifice to God, the angel ascended with the fragrance of the smoke
right up into the sky.
Then Joachim fell to his face and prayed from the sixth hour until
dusk. And the young men and hired hands who were with him there,
unaware of why he was lying there face down, supposed that he had
passed away. They hurried over to him and, with great difficulty, they
lifted him up off of the ground. And when Joachim related the vision
of the angel to them, they were stricken with alarm and amazement,
and advised him to do according to the angelic vision and hurry back
home to his wife just as soon as possible. And even as Joachim was considering whether or not he ought to go back, a deep sleep
overwhelmed him. And behold, the angel who had shown himself to
him before when he was awake now appeared to him in his sleep and
said, “God has appointed me to be your guardian angel. Go down
therefore, and return to Anna in complete assurance, because the
merciful deeds that you and your wife have performed have been
spoken in the presence of the Highest. God is giving you fruit such as
has never been given to either prophet or saint; nor will ever be given
Now when Joachim stirred from his slumber, he went down,
summoned his herdsmen and related his dream to them. “Bring me
ten spotless ewe-lambs,” he instructed them, “that I might give them
to the Lord my God. Bring me also twelve unblemished calves, which
will be for the elders and the priests, as well as a hundred young hegoats,
which will be for the entire nation.” Then they worshiped the
Lord. “See to it that you never again disregard an angel’s words!” they cautioned Joachim. “Let us rise up and move on! We will return at a
leisurely pace, feeding our flocks along the way.”
(BMary 3:6-10; PEv 4:3-5:5; PsMt 3)
Now after they had traveled for thirty days and drawn near to the
place, behold, two angels of the Lord came and appeared to Anna, who
was standing in the midst of prayer, and (one of them) proclaimed to
her, “Look, your husband Joachim is coming with his driver and his
droves of sheep, cattle, and goats. An angel, you see, has come down
to him from the Lord saying, ‘Joachim! Joachim! The Lord Himself
has heard your prayer. You must leave this place at once, for your wife
Anna is to bear you a child.’ Get up therefore, and as proof of what I
have told you, set out for Jerusalem, and when you reach that entrance
which, because it is overlaid with gold, is referred to as ‘The Golden
Gate,’ you will meet up with your husband, whose safety has so
concerned you, for he is coming back to you. When you see these
things happen as I have described them, believe that everything else I
have spoken to you will certainly come to pass.” So with all speed, she
and her maidens went out to greet him. They each therefore left their
places as they had been told by the angels, and they each arrived at the
specified place, where they met up. Anna, nearly exhausted from
standing and waiting at the gate so long and praying for him to show,
lifted up her eyes; and behold, she saw Joachim approaching in the distance with his droves! Now when Anna saw Joachim coming, she
ran up to him, threw her arms around his neck, offered up her thanks
to God and said, “Now I am certain that the Lord God has regarded me
highly; for I was a widow, but now I am a widow no more; barren, but
now I have conceived a child.” Then they, exulting in their respective
visions and fully convinced that they would bring forth a child, paid
their debt of gratitude to the Lord, who honors those who exercise
humility. Then, after they had praised the Lord, they both went home,
and Joachim spent his first day home at rest.
The following day he went to offer up his beasts, saying in his heart,
“The frontlet of the priest will clearly reveal whether the Lord is
favorable toward me.” And as Joachim was offering them up, he
ascended to the Lord’s altar, looked into the plate on the forehead of
the priest, and saw no sin within himself. “Now I am certain,” said
Joachim, “that the Lord God has favored me and forgiven me of all my
sins.” And fully vindicated, he left the Lord’s temple and went down to
his house, where they lived in joy and complete assurance that God would do what He had promised. And when word of this had gotten
around, there was much joy among all of their friends and neighbors,
inasmuch as the entire nation of Israel offered them congratulations.
(PEv 5:6-8:1; BMary 3:11-4:11;
PsMt 4,5,42; Qur 3:35-36)
So Anna conceived and then proclaimed, “Lord, please accept
what’s in my womb, for I am consecrating it to Your service, for You
surely know and hear all things.” And during her ninth month, after
coming to full term, Anna gave birth. “What have I borne?” she asked
the midwife. “A little girl,” the midwife answered. And Anna cried
out, “Today my soul is magnified! Lord, I have brought forth a
daughter and named her ‘Mary.’ Protect her and all of her children
from that Accursed One, Satan!” then she lay down. And when the
time of her purification had passed, Anna began to nurse the child.
Then, on the eighth day, they named her Mary, as the angel had
instructed them, for her name will never fade.
And the girl grew more robust with each day that passed. Now
when she was six months old, her mother set her on the ground to see
if she could but stand on her feet. And after taking seven steps, she
returned to her mother’s lap. Then Anna lifted her up and exclaimed,
“As my Lord is the Living God, you will no more walk upon this ground until such time as I take you into the Lord’s temple.” She then
converted Mary’s nursery into a sanctuary and allowed nothing defiled
or polluted to pass through. Then Anna sought assistance from the
Jewish virgins, and they took Mary to themselves, serving her, caring
for her, and keeping her amused.
And on Mary’s first birthday, Joachim readied a great banquet and
invited all of the priests, teachers of the law, and the elders--even the
entire nation of Israel. And he presented the girl to the priests, who
blessed her, saying, “God of our Fathers, bless this child and give her
an illustrious reputation that shines eternally throughout the
generations.” And all who were there replied, “Amen! Amen! Amen!”
From there they took her over to the chief priests, who blessed her,
saying, “God of the Highest heaven, look upon this little girl and grace
her with a perfect and unsurpassable blessing.”
Then her mother took her into her nursery and suckled her there,
singing this song to the Lord:
“I will praise the Lord with a song, For He has come and cleared me
Of the dishonor heaped upon me by my enemies.
And the Lord has given me virtue in its full fruitage,
Unparalleled--yet everywhere before Him!
Who will proclaim to the sons of Reuben that Anna is nursing?
Listen closely, you twelve tribes of Israel, Anna is nursing!”
She then placed Mary to sleep on her bed in her recently enshrined
nursery and then returned to serve at the feast. After the banquet,
they left rejoicing and praising the God of Israel.
The child grew apace as the months went by, and when she was two
years old, Joachim said, “Let’s take her up to the Lord’s temple, for we
made a promise which we must fulfill. Otherwise the Lord might
curse us and refuse our offering.” But Anna said, “We should wait
until the three years have passed, so the girl will no longer yearn for
her father and mother.” “Very well,” said Joachim, “we can wait.”
And when the child had turned three, the time allotted for her weaning
had run out, so Joachim said, “Summon the Jewish virgins and light a
torch for each of them, so that the girl might not return heart and
mind distracted from the temple of the Lord.” Joachim and his wife
Anna gave all diligence to this right up to the time that they reached
the Lord’s temple with the sacrifices they had brought to offer God.
There they entered the young Mary into the Society of Virgins, where
the other virgins stayed, praising God both night and day.
Now around the temple and before its doors were fifteen steps to
climb, which correspond to the fifteen Psalms of Ascent, and the
temple was built into the mountain in such a way that the altar for
burnt offerings, being outside, could not be approached except by these. And the holy and virgin Mary’s parents placed her on the first
step before the temple doors and, according to the practice, went to
change out of their traveling clothes and into some that were nice and
clean. Meanwhile, the Lord’s Virgin, not needing anyone to help or
lead her, ascended all of the steps one by one so quickly that she did
not even look behind, nor did she seek out her parents as other
children typically do. Anyone would have thought her to be of a
proper age.
The priest then hugged and blessed Mary. “The Lord has magnified
your name throughout the generations,” he said, “for at the close of
this age the Lord will unveil His plan to deliver all of the tribes of
Israel through you.” Then the priest placed her on the third step of the
altar, and the Lord filled her with such joy that her feet started
dancing, and all of the families of Israel adored her. Her parents, who had each been running around looking anxiously for the child until
they found her in the temple, were equally amazed. The priests were
also taken aback. This was how the Lord chose to bring to pass this
wonderful work--to show forth the greatness that the Virgin would one
day come to embody by means of this marvel done in her childhood.
Then Anna, filled with the Holy Spirit, said before them all:
“The All-Powerful Lord, the God of Hosts,
Has come to visit His people in holiness and benevolence,
Being ever mindful of His Word;
To cut to size the hearts of the Gentiles
Who had been rising up against us,
And convert them to Himself.
He has unstopped His ears to hearken to our prayers,
And has silenced the gloating of our enemies.
The barren one has become a mother,
Bringing forth joy and celebration to Israel,
For behold the gifts that I have brought to offer to my Lord!
And powerless were my adversaries to stop me,
For you see, God has opened their hearts to me,
And given me eternal gladness.”
And after her parents had offered up their sacrifices and completed
their pledge, even as the law directs, they left the Virgin in the temple
housing with the other virgins who were to be brought up there, and
they returned to their own home, exulting in the Lord, amazed that the
girl did not turn back.
(Now it was during that same year that Anna was widowed. Anna
and Emerina were sisters, you see, and Emerina was the mother of Elizabeth, who brought forth John the Baptist. And because Anna, the
mother of the blessed Mary, was so beautiful, she married Cleophas by
order of the Lord after Joachim had passed away. Now within a year
she bore a second daughter through Cleophas, whom she likewise
named ‘Mary.’ Anna then gave this Mary over to Alphaeus to wed, and
she later bore him James, son of Alphaeus, and also Philip, his
brother. Her second husband, Cleophas also died before the child
could be born, so an angel commanded her to take a third husband by
whom she bore her third daughter, Salome, whom she would also refer
to as ‘Mary.’ Anna then gave her in marriage to Zebedee, through
whom she bore the sons of Zebedee, James and John the evangelist.)
(Luke 1:5-7; BMary 5:1,2; PEv 8:2;
PsMt 6; Qur 3:37; QBar 2:15-21; LJB pt.1)
{With the aid of God and His divine guidance, we begin to write
about the life of that holy man, John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah.
May he intercede on our behalf. Amen.}
In the days of Herod, the King of Judea, there was this Levite priest
of Abijah’s course whose name was Zechariah, of the tribe of Judah.
He was a prophet who arose at that time from among the children of
Israel. And he had a God-loving wife, whose name was Elizabeth, and
she was of the daughters of the line of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi. Both
were righteous in God’s sight, and blamelessly lived according to all of
the Lord’s commandments and ordinances. And because they had
both grown old and Elizabeth was barren, they remained without
Mary’s Lord graciously accepted her and placed her under the care
of Zechariah, and everyone in Israel held her in the highest of regard.
By the time that she was three, she walked so gracefully, spoke so
fittingly, and praised God so passionately, that everyone was
impressed by her. So amazed were they, in fact, that she was not
thought of as a child at all, but even as a thirty-year-old adult. And as
the Lord’s Virgin matured, He modeled her into an exemplary child.
She grew more holy every day, and was the fulfillment of the Scripture
written in the Psalms that reads, “Her parents delivered her over, but
the Lord nurtured her,” and she remained continuously in prayer. So
truly beautiful and splendid was her appearance, that one could hardly look her in the face. She always kept herself busy with her
woolworking. So much so, as a matter of fact, that from her youth she
could do everything that even the elderly women could not. And this
was her daily schedule: from dawn until the third hour, she would
pray; from the third hour until the ninth, she would weave; and from
the ninth hour on, she would return to her prayers. She would not
stop until an angel of the Lord would visit her, at which point she
would eat food right out of his hand. Every day she spoke with them,
and every day she received visitors from God, which kept her from
every form of evil and caused her to overflow with the richest of
blessings. It was in this way that she became ever more perfect in the
work of God.
And she never rested a bit from praising God, even when the older
virgins would leave off, so that when it came to exaltations and vigils
to God, no one was found to surpass her, nor indeed were any more
knowledgeable in the wisdom of God’s law. No one was more meek or
modest, none could sing more beautifully, nor was any more complete in virtue. Truly she was steady, unmoving, and constant; and each day
she grew closer to perfection. No one ever saw her get angry, or heard
her speak wickedly. Her speech was marked by such eloquence, that it
was quite clear that God was in her tongue. She prayed without
ceasing, and diligently searched the law, ever mindful lest with so
much as a single word she should sin against any of her companions.
She was concerned that through her laughter, or the sound of her
melodious voice, she should cause offense; or that her elation should,
perchance, betray any misconduct or arrogance on her part to one of
her companions. She glorified God ceaselessly, and if anyone ever
greeted her, she would simply respond, “Give thanks to God,” that she
might never have to leave off, and this is where the custom among
men of saying, “Give thanks to God,” when greeting one another came
from. She nourished herself exclusively on the food that the angel
would hand-feed her daily, and would distribute every morsel that the
priests would give her to the poor. The angels of God were frequently
seen talking with her, and would obey her without question. If anyone
who was sick ever touched her, he would return home healed that very
“One day,” Mary related, “while I was living in God’s temple and
receiving my food from an angel’s hand, someone who had the
appearance of an angel revealed himself to me, but I could not make
out His face, and He did not have a cup or any bread in his hand like
the angel did that came before. Right away the temple’s veil was
ripped in two and the earth shook with tremendous force, and because
I could not look at Him, I fell to the ground. But He reached beneath
me and lifted me up. And I looked into the heavens and behold, a
dewy cloud came down and drenched me from my head to my feet; and with His robe, he dried me off. And the ‘angel’ greeted me, saying
to me, ‘Hello there, you favored one and chosen vessel, everlasting
mercy to you.’ Then He struck the right hand side of his robe and out
came a giant loaf, and He placed it on the altar of the temple, ate
therefrom and gave some to me. Once again He struck his robe on the
left hand side, and out came a giant cup that was brimming with wine.
He placed it on the temple’s altar, drank therefrom and gave some to me. Then I looked at them again and I saw that the bread and wine
had been restored to the way they were before.
And He said to me, ‘Three years from now I will send you My Word,
and you will bear Me My Son. He will renew everything in all of
creation. My beloved, go in peace, and My peace will be with you.’ And after telling me all of these things, He disappeared before my
eyes, and the temple was restored to the way it was before.”
(PsMt 7; PEv 8:3)
The Temple, Jerusalem
Now when Mary turned twelve, the priests all got together and said,
“Behold, Mary is now twelve years old. What are we to do with her, for
we do not wish to see the pollution of the holy place of the Lord our
God.” Abiathar the priest offered numerous gifts to the other high
priests in exchange for Mary’s hand in marriage to his son. But Mary
utterly refused, saying, “It can never be that I should ever know a man,
or that a man should ever know me.” All of the priests, and her family
as well, kept saying to her, “God is shown love through children, and is
worshiped in progeny, even as it has ever been among the children of
Israel.” “God is worshiped through chastity,” answered Mary. “This
was first demonstrated through Abel, before whom there was none
among mankind who was righteous. God was pleased with his
offerings, but Abel was mercilessly slain by the one who did not please
Him. He received two crowns as his reward; one for his offering, and
one for his virginity, since his body remained unsullied. And since
Elijah also kept his body undefiled the whole time that he was in the
flesh, he was taken up therein. And now, since I have been in God’s
temple from the time of my youth, I have come to learn that virginity
can be pleasing to God. So because I am able to offer to God the thing
that He holds dear, in my heart of hearts I have firmly decided that I
ought never to know any man.” MARY GOES TO LIVE AS JOSEPH’S WARD
(HJC 2-4; BMary 6:1)
Now there was this elderly man named Joseph who was from the
family and city of King David, the Judean town of Bethlehem. This
man was trained in all knowledge and wisdom, and had been made a
priest in the Lord’s temple. He was skilled in his carpenter’s trade,
and he took a wife as other men do--fathering four sons, whose names
were Judas, Justus, James, and Simon; and also two daughters, whose
names were Assia and Lydia. In due course, the wife of the righteous
Joseph, a woman who was bent on holiness in all that she did, passed
away. But that venerable man Joseph, my father according to the
flesh, and husband to my mother Mary, went off to his business and
practiced carpentry with his sons. Now my blessed, holy, and unblemished mother Mary was already
twelve years old by the time the honorable Joseph had become a
widower. Her parents had dedicated her to the temple when she was
three, you see, and for nine years she lived in the temple of the Lord.
Then, when the priests recognized that the saintly and God-loving
Virgin was coming of age, they talked it over with one another. “Let us
try and find a just and pious man,” they agreed, “to whom we may
entrust Mary until such time as she should wed, just in case what
normally happens among women should take place within her while
housed in it, for should we fail to do this thing, we might bring God’s
wrath down on ourselves.”
So they promptly sent word, and assembled twelve elderly men
from the line of Judah. They wrote out the names of the twelve
Israelite tribes, and the lot fell upon the elderly, devout, and upright
Joseph. Now when at last the priests were resolved, they said to my
blessed mother: “Go with Joseph, and remain with him until it’s time
for you to wed.” So the righteous Joseph accepted my mother and
took her away to his own home. And Mary found the Lesser James
heartbroken and downcast over the recent loss of his mother, so she
looked after him in his father’s house; and this is why Mary is spoken
of as the mother of James. From that time forward Joseph left her at home and went away to his carpenter’s shop and practiced his trade.
And after living in his home for two years from the time that he took
her in, Mary was fourteen years of age.
(BMary 5:3-17; PEv 8:3-6; PsMt 8)
The Temple, Jerusalem
And it happened that by the time Mary had reached the age of
fourteen, every upright person who had ever met her respected her
lifestyle and manner of speaking, and no malicious person could
accuse her of any wrongdoing. Then the Pharisees affirmed that
because she had turned fourteen, and because it had been such a
longstanding practice, no woman who had reached that particular age
should remain within the temple of God. So the high priest issued this
decree: “All fourteen-year-old virgins who have reached physical
maturity, and who reside in the temple’s public housing, should return
to their own homes and seek to be wed in accordance with the custom
of their nation.” Mary, the Lord’s Virgin, was the only one to refuse,
even though the other virgins were eager to comply, saying that she
could not for the following reasons: that both she and her parents had
given her to the Lord’s service and that, moreover, she had pledged her virginity to the Lord, which was a vow that she was determined
never to break by sleeping with a man.
This put the high priest in a difficult position because he realized
that he could not annul the vow, disobeying the Scripture that reads,
“vow and pay,” nor did he wish to set a precedent that would seem
foreign to the people. So he ordered all of the prominent people of
Jerusalem and its surrounding areas to convene during the
approaching feast, and to offer up their recommendations as to the
most prudent option for such a difficult situation. And after they had
gathered together, he said to them, “Look, Mary has turned fourteen
in the temple of the Lord. What should we do to keep her from
polluting the Lord’s temple?” They all agreed that it would be best to
consult the Lord and to seek His advice. They therefore said to the
high priest: “You serve at the Lord’s altar. Enter into the sanctuary
and pray with regard to her situation, and we will comply with
whatever the Lord should reveal to you.” Then they joined together in
prayer, and the high priest took the breastplate of judgment, entered
into the holy of holies and prayed her circumstances over. Then an
angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Zechariah, Zechariah, go
and gather all of the widowers from among the people.” And all who
were there heard a voice coming from the ark and the mercy seat,
which said that the virgin ought to be betrothed to the one determined
according to the prophecy out of the book of Isaiah, for Isaiah says,
“A staff will proceed from the stem of Jesse,
And a flower will bud from its root,
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him The Spirit that enkindles wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that delivers power and instruction,
The Spirit that conveys knowledge and virtue,
And the Spirit that inspires an awe of the Lord will direct him.”
And so it happened that they came across the idea of sending a herald
out to the Israelite tribes and gathering them together in the Lord’s
temple on the third day.
(BMary 6:1-7; PEv 8:7-16; PsMt 8)
The Temple, Jerusalem
So in accordance with this prophecy, he ordered every available and
eligible man of David’s line to bring his own rod up to the altar. The
man from whose staff a flower would bud, and upon which the Lord’s
Spirit would alight in the form of a dove would be the one to whom the
Virgin should be betrothed. And the criers went throughout the Judean countryside. Then the Lord’s trumpet blared and everyone
came running up. Among them was Joseph, who tossed aside his
carpenter’s ax and joined in the gathering. And when they had all
assembled in one place, the high priest Abiathar got up and ascended
to a higher step, that all of the people might see him and hear. And
when he had gotten them to quiet down, Abiathar declared, “Sons of
Israel, listen! Open your ears and hearken to my words. From the
time that Solomon built this temple, it has housed virgins--the
daughters of kings and of prophets, of priests and of high priests--and great and venerable were they. But when the time was right they
followed in the footsteps of their mothers, and were married off, and
so were deemed to be pleasing to God. But Mary has found a new way
of life for herself; promising to continue in her vow of virginity to God.
For this reason, I think it is right to determine into whose care she
should be given by asking God and receiving His response.” These
words were accepted by the synagogue, so the priests cast the lot on
the twelve tribes, and it fell upon the tribe of Judah. “Tomorrow,” the
priest announced, “let all who are without a wife come together, staff
in hand.” So Joseph brought his rod along, as did all the younger
men, each of whom took his staff up to the high priest. But when
everyone else handed their rods in, Joseph held his own rod back.
After he had taken the staffs, the high priest entered into the temple
and prayed. And after he had finished his prayer, he gathered them,
returned with them, and distributed them among the men; but no sign
appeared on any of them. So when nothing that the heavenly voice
had spoken of seemed to happen, the high priest decided that it would
be best to once again consult the Lord, Whose answer was that the virgin should be engaged to the one man in the whole crowd who had
not turned in his staff.
Joseph handed in his rod, and when the high priest had received
them, he sacrificed to the Lord God and sought an answer from Him.
“Put their staffs into God’s holy of holies,” the Lord instructed him,
“and leave them all there. Tell them to return tomorrow and receive
their rods back. Let Mary be delivered into the keeping of the man
who shows this sign: ‘when his staff is returned into his hand, a dove
will issue from its tip, and fly away into the sky.’”
So they all assembled early the next morning. Then incense was
offered up, and the high priest entered into the holy of holies and
brought out the rods. Then he handed them out again, but no dove
came from any of them. The high priest then donned the twelve bells
and the priestly robe, entered into the holy of holies, burnt an offering and said a prayer. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him and
said, “Here is the shortest staff. You did not count it up or take it out
with the others, though you brought it in with all the rest. Now after
you have taken it out and given it to its owner, the sign that I spoke to
you about will appear.” Joseph was therefore exposed, because the
staff belonged to him. He had been passed up, so to speak, that on
account of his old age he might not get her--and neither did he wish to
ask for it back. And as he stood there meekly, last of all, the high
priest thundered, “Joseph! We are all waiting for you to come and get
your staff.” Now because the high priest had called him with such
vehemence, Joseph went up trembling. So he received his staff after
everyone else had received theirs. Now as soon as he had reached out
his hand and taken hold thereof, from out of the sky flew a beautiful
dove, which was even whiter than snow, and perched upon it. Then
the dove flew off of it and onto Joseph’s head. Then, after flying
around the rooftops of the temple for quite awhile, it flew away into
the heavens. Now everyone saw clearly that the virgin was to be
betrothed to him, so they congratulated the old man and said, “Father
Joseph, you have been blessed in your old age, for God has deemed
you to be worthy of Mary.” Then the priests all counseled Joseph:
“You must accept her, for out of the entire line of Judah, God has
chosen you alone to take the Lord’s virgin into your care.” But Joseph
answered them sheepishly, “I am an old man, with sons of my own;
she is but a little girl. I have children already, so why are you giving
me this young maiden, who is even younger than my grandsons? I
protest for fear of becoming an object of ridicule in Israel.” “Joseph,”
the high priest Abiathar cautioned, “you ought to fear the Lord your
God and call to mind what he did to Dathan, Abiram, and Korah; how the earth was ripped apart and all of them were swallowed up. It was
for their disobedience (and) contempt for God’s will that they
perished. Watch out Joseph, and realize that all of this could come to
pass in your house too. It most certainly will happen if you scorn what
God demands.” “Truly I do not despise God’s will,” Joseph replied,
“but I will foster her until I know to which of my sons it is His will to
give her. Let some of her virgin friends be given her for
companionship and consolation.” “Five virgins will indeed be
conceded,” the high priest Abiathar responded, “but only until the day
comes for you to take her to yourself, for she cannot marry anyone but you.” So Joseph, growing fearful, accepted Mary into his charge, along
with Rebecca, Sephora, Susanna, Abigea, and Zael, the five (other) maidens who were to live with her in Joseph’s house, and to whom the
high priest would give the silk, the blue, the choice linen, the scarlet,
the purple, and the fine flax. “Mary,” said Joseph, “I have accepted
you from the Lord’s temple, but for now I must leave you in my house
to go away and do some building. I will come again for you, and may
the Lord watch over you.”
(PEv 9:1-5a; PsMt 8)
Jerusalem; Bethlehem
A council of priests assembled and said, “Let us fashion a veil for
the temple of the Lord.” And the high priest said, “Summon the
undefiled virgins of the line of David.” And the officers went looking
and found seven virgins. The high priest then called to mind that
Mary, too, was of David’s line, so the officers went and got her also.
Then they gathered them into the Lord’s temple and the high priest
said, “Cast lots before me to see who will weave the golden thread, the
white, the linen, the silk, the blue, the crimson and the royal purple.”
The royal purple and the crimson fell to Mary’s lot, so she accepted
them and took them home. Then, so as to provoke Mary, the other
virgins taunted, “Since you are after us all, and younger than us all,
and ever so modest, you truly deserve to be awarded, and to accept the
purple.” Then they started calling her ‘The Virgin Queen.’ And even
as they were saying these things, the angel of the Lord appeared in
their midst and said, “These words will not have been spoken as a
mere insult, but uttered as a most prophetic truth.” They naturally
trembled at the sight of the angel and the words he had spoken; so
they asked Mary to forgive them and to pray on their behalf. Mary
then took the scarlet thread and began to spin. This marks the time when Zechariah became unable to speak.
(Luke 1:8-25; PEv 9:5b;
Qur 3:38-41; 19:2-10; 21:89-90; LJB pt.2)
Now Zechariah was ever presiding in the temple of the Lord. And it
happened that, even as he was executing his priestly duties in the sight
of God, according to his custom (and) the order of his course, and the
manner of his priestly office, it was his lot to enter into the Lord’s
temple and burn incense at the time of the lighting thereof. Now every
time Zechariah would look in on Mary in the temple, he found that she
had all of this food with her, so he asked her, “Mary, where does all
this food come from?” “All of this food comes from God,” she replied. “He gives generously to whomever He pleases.” After hearing this,
Zechariah secretly called upon his Lord and prayed, “Lord, You
hearken to my every prayer. My bones all creak, and my head has
aged to a lustrous gray, yet never have I prayed to You in vain. Lord,
do not let me leave this world without an heir, but give me righteous
children. Now, because my wife is barren, I fear that my cousins are in
line to replace me. Even so, You are over all who inherit. Give me a
son who is favored in your eyes--one who will be not only heir to me,
but also to the house of Jacob.” And even as he stood praying in the
temple, his answer came: an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to
him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. And as soon as
Zechariah saw him, he grew anxious--and he froze with fear, so the
angel said,
“Zechariah, have no fear, but rejoice instead;
For your humble prayer has been heard,
And your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
And you are to name him John;
A name that none before him has been called.
And God is inviting you to celebrate in the birth of John.
You are to be joyful and glad,
And his appearance will bring rejoicing to many.
He will be great in the eyes of God,
For he will give his strength to the Word of God. He is destined to be honorable and virtuous;
A prophet and an honest man
Who will never partake
Of wine or strong drink.
And he will be filled with the Holy Spirit
While yet in his mother’s womb.
And he will transform many hearts among the children of Israel,
That they might turn again to the Lord their God.
And the Lord’s face will be toward him
As he ventures forth in the spirit and power of Elijah,
That he might turn the hearts of the fathers toward their sons,
And the hearts of the disobedient,
That they might live according to the wisdom of the just;
To train a people to readiness,
That they might be prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah was taken aback by what had been said, and doubt
overtook him, for he had as yet not fathered any children. He did not
recall the case of Abraham, who was foremost among the Patriarchs, to whom God had given Isaac after having reached the age of one
hundred years, nor did he call to mind his wife Sarah who was just as
barren as his own wife was. “Lord,” Zechariah inquired, “how can I be
sure of this? How am I to father a son seeing that old age has crept up
on me and also my wife, who is barren?” “This is all the will of God,”
the angel replied, “He always does as He sees fit. This was how your
Lord put it, ‘For [Me] this is nothing, [I] brought you into being, and
you were nothing before that!’” “Show me Lord,” Zechariah said.
“Give me a sign!” “I am Gabriel,” the angel replied, “who stands in the
presence of God Himself. I was sent to speak to you and to give you
this wonderful news. Now behold, since you did not believe the words
I spoke, though your body will otherwise remain intact, you will be
unable to speak with any man except through signs, until the passage
of three days and nights, the time allotted for these things to happen.
Keep your Lord forever in your thoughts, praising Him both dusk and
dawn.” Then the angel vanished from his sight.
Meanwhile the people who had been waiting for Zechariah, were wondering why he had been in the temple so long. When he finally
came out of it, he was unable to speak, and they could tell that he had
seen a vision while in it, and he continued to speak to them in signs.
And when his time of service had ended, he returned to his home. And
Elizabeth came to learn of this (from God.) “[I] hearkened to the
prayer of Zechariah and gave him John, removing the barrenness of
his wife. Together they vied in good works and called on [Me] in all
honesty, fear, and submission.”
(LJB pt.3)
Now in those days Elizabeth conceived and remained in seclusion
until her fifth month, for she felt rather ill at ease, fearing to appear in
public, seeing that she was aged and pregnant, and milk was leaking
from her breasts. So she kept to herself, closed off in isolation in a
room of her house, as did Zechariah. The door that stood between
them remained shut tight, and they spoke to no one at that time.
(Luke 1:26-38; BMary 7:1-21; PEv 11:1-3;
HJC 5; SbOr 8:459-471; PsMt 9;
Qur 3:45-49; 19:16-22a; LJB pt.4)
Now during the sixth month of their engagement, when Elizabeth
was in her sixth month of pregnancy, God sent Gabriel, the angel of His Spirit, to the Virgin Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph, of the line
of David, in the Galilean city of Nazareth. This took place when she
first arrived in Galilee, in order to announce to her the conception of
our Savior, and the way that it would come to pass.
First of all, Gabriel was revealed in his holiness and might. Mary
took a pitcher and went out to draw some water, and while she was at
the well, he approached her. And behold, there came a voice: “Hello
there, exalted one, rejoice! You are more blessed than all women, for
the Lord is with you.” And she looked left and right to see where it
could be coming from, because the saying troubled her greatly, and
she wondered what such a statement might mean. And she went back into her house and put down the jug. And still shaken, she took the
purple thread, sat down and started working with it.
The next day, the archangel addressed the young woman a second
time in words. Mary was at the fountain filling her pitcher when the
angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “Mary, how blessed are
you, for you have readied a place in your womb for the Lord to live.
Just look, the heavenly light will come and dwell in you, and through
you will illumine the world.”
And on the third day, he approached her again in a similar way,
entering in the form of an unspeakably beautiful young man, filling
the room she was in with a blinding light, even as she was working
with her fingers on the purple. And behold, the Lord’s angel stood
before her; and when Mary saw him, she trembled with fright, (and)
said, “May the Merciful One shield me from you.” And he addressed
her in the most genial way imaginable, saying,
“Hello, Mary, most acceptable of the Lord’s virgins! Oh Virgin who is full of splendor, the Lord is with you!
You are blessed among women,
And blessed also is the fruit of your womb Jesus.
Blessed are you above all women!
Blessed (indeed) are you beyond all men who have ever been born!
For God has chosen you alone.
He has created you unblemished
And exalted you above all other women.”
And when Mary heard these words, she began to shake with fear.
The Lord’s angel then declared, “Mary, do not be afraid, for you have
received God’s favor. I am your Lord’s messenger, here to bring you a
holy son. Behold, you are to conceive in your womb, and bring forth a
king who fills not only the entire earth, but the heavens as well; and
whose rule spans from generation to generation. Mary, show your obedience to the Lord by bowing down and worshipping with the
worshippers. God is inviting you to rejoice in a Word from Him. His
name is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of Mary. He will show his greatness
in this world and the one that is to come, and God will greatly honor
him. He will preach to all men from the cradle to his final day, living virtuously all the while.”
But to the Virgin, such celestial light was nothing new; for she,
being no stranger to the faces of heavenly angels, was not alarmed by
the sight of the messenger, nor was she awed by the brilliance of the
light, but the angel’s words did trouble her greatly. “What could such
a fantastic greeting possibly mean?” she wondered. “What might it
foreshadow, or what might come of it?” And through divine
inspiration the angel responded to her thoughts, saying, “Mary, do not
be alarmed and imagine that by my greeting I meant anything that is
inconsistent with your chastity--for it is because of your purity that the
Lord has favored you.
Behold, while preserving your virginity,
And apart from any kind of sin,
You are to conceive in your womb,
And by His Word bring forth a son,
Whom you are to call Jesus.
He will be great, for he will rule from sea to sea,
And from the heads of the rivers to the ends of the earth.
And he will be called the Son of the Most High God;
For the one born into a lowly state upon the earth
In reality rules from one which is exalted in heaven.
The Lord will give him the throne of his forefather David,
And he will reign over the house of Jacob for endless ages, And to there will be no end to his kingdom.
He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,
Infinite and eternal is his heavenly reign.”
“Lord,” said Mary, “tell me how these things can be? How is it
possible for me to bear a child without a man’s seed, seeing that in line
with my vow I have never slept with, (or) touched any man, nor ever
have I been unchaste?” (The Virgin did not reply to the words of the
angel as though she disbelieved them, but merely to find out how these
things would come about.) To this the angel responded, “Mary, do not
think that you will conceive by sleeping with a man as others do, but as
a virgin, you will conceive, as a virgin you will bring forth, and as a
virgin you will give suck.” And when she heard that, she thought it over and asked, “Then will I conceive by the Lord, the Living God, and
give birth even as other women do?” “Not at all, Mary,” said the angel
of the Lord, “for the Holy Spirit will draw near to you, and the Lord’s
power, free from the slightest taint of lustful passions, will overshadow
you, so that what you bear will be completely holy, because it will be
conceived without sin, and be called the ‘Son of God’ upon his birth.
And you are to name him Jesus for he will save his people from their
sins. This is the way that your Lord put it, ‘This is simple enough for
[Me]. He will be a sign to all mankind, and a blessing that comes
straight from [Me]. [My] decree will surely come to pass.’ This is how
the will of God is: whenever He ordains anything whatsoever, He need
only say ‘appear’ and it appears. To him will He reveal the wisdom of
the Writings, the Torah and the Gospel--and He will send him out to
preach among the Israelites. He will say, ‘I am giving you a sign from
your Lord--I will form the shape of a bird from mud, and breathe into
it. Through God’s power, it will be changed into a living bird. And
through the power of God, I will heal the leprous and the blind, and
raise the dead back up to life. I will give you orders as to what to eat
and what to lay up in your homes. If your faith is pure, surely this will
be a sign for you. I have come in order to confirm the Torah that has
been revealed to you already, as well as to make lawful certain things
you’ve been denied. This is the sign that I bring to you straight from
the Lord; now honor God by obeying me! God is both my Master and
yours: therefore do all things for Him, for that path indeed is straight.’
“Now behold, Elizabeth, your kinswoman has also conceived a son
in her old age; and she that was thought to be barren is now in her
sixth month, for no word of God will be robbed of its strength. With
God, you see, nothing is impossible.” Then Mary, harboring no doubts in her heart, stretched out her hands and lifted her eyes toward heaven
and said to the archangel: “Behold the servant of the Lord! May these
things all be to me as you have said.” “Virgin,” the archangel replied,
“accept God into your unblemished heart.” And as he spoke, he
breathed God’s perfection into her who had ever been a virgin. She
was stricken with alarm and amazement as she listened. And even as
she stood and trembled, her mind raced and her heart throbbed on
account of the mysterious words that she had heard. But soon she
rejoiced, and her heart received its healing from the selfsame voice.
The young woman laughed so hard that her face turned red, and her
heart filled with awe as she reeled in joy. Courage, then, was given
her, and a Word flew into her womb; quickly putting on the flesh,
coming to life and taking the form of a child within her--(and) even so did Mary conceive. The angel then saluted her and left her presence.
“I, (Jesus,) chose her myself, according to my Father’s will, and the
counsel of the Holy Spirit, and was formed out of her flesh by a means
so mysterious that it defies the created reason.”
(Luke 1:39-56; PEv 12:1-3; Qur 19:22b; LJB pt.5)
Jerusalem, The Highlands of Judea
So Mary finished up the purple and the scarlet, and then she gave
them to the priest, who blessed her, saying, “The Lord God has exalted
your name, Mary, and your praises will span the generations of the
earth.” Then Mary rose up quickly in joy, and left in haste to a faraway
place--to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, her kinswoman, who
lived in a Judean town nestled in the hills. Now Mary was amazed
that Elizabeth could be expecting a child, and so kept saying in her
heart: “How great and wonderful are Your deeds, oh Almighty God, for
You have given children to an old woman who was barren. I will not
leave off walking until I have visited her and seen for myself the
marvelous thing that God has brought to pass in our days: a virgin
who will bear a child, and a barren woman who will give suck.” She
knocked at the door and called to her. And when Elizabeth heard
Mary’s cry, the baby leapt within her womb. Then Elizabeth, filled
with the Holy Spirit, cried aloud, “Blessed are you above all women,
and most holy is the fruit of your womb.” And she put down her
scarlet and with great joy and gladness, raced to the door, flung it
open, and as soon as she saw Mary there, she worshiped her and
asked, “How can it be that the mother of my Lord should visit me? For
behold, no sooner did the sound of your call enter into my ears, than
did the child in my womb jump for joy and give you praise! And
blessed indeed is she who believed, for the things spoken to her by the
Lord will certainly be fulfilled.” Then the devout and holy virgin
embraced the true turtle-dove, and the Word baptized John while yet
in his mother’s womb. Then David appeared in their midst and
proclaimed: “Mercy and truth have joined together, and virtue and
peace have kissed one another.” Just then John stirred within the
womb as if striving to come out and meet his Lord. And as they went
into the house, Mary (and) Elizabeth (together) said:
“My soul truly magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has delighted in God my Savior,
For He has looked upon the lowliness of His servant:
Behold, from this time forward all generations will honor me,
Because He that is all-powerful has done marvelous things to me; And His name is ‘Holy.’
His mercy is from generations to generations
And is on those that fear Him.
With His arm, He has shown His might;
To disperse those whose hearts imagine proud things.
He has pulled the rulers out of their thrones,
And replaced them with the oppressed.
He has heaped good things upon the hungry,
Plundered the rich and banished them.
He has brought deliverance to His servant Israel,
That He might call to mind His forbearance,
Even as He swore to our ancestors;
Toward Abraham and his children for all of eternity.”
But after they had greeted each other, Mary lost sight of the
mysterious things that the Archangel Gabriel had revealed to her. And
looking toward heaven, she groaned, “Lord, who am I that all the
people of the earth should venerate me?” For three months, until
Mary’s time was near, she remained with Elizabeth, and her womb
grew with each day that passed. Mary was sixteen years old by the
time that all of these astonishing things came about, and she returned
to her home for fear of the Israelites and hid.
(Luke 1:57-80; Qur 19:11; LJB pt.6)
The Highlands of Judea
Now Elizabeth came to full term and brought forth a son, and there
was great joy and gladness in her house. Her family and her
neighbors, hearing how the Lord had shown her compassion, rejoiced
along with her. So on the eighth day they came to circumcise him,
intending to name him after his father Zechariah. “Not so,” his
mother insisted, “his name is supposed to be John.” “There is no one
in your family with this name,” they protested. Elizabeth therefore
said to them: “Ask his father what his name should be.” Now when
Zechariah came out of the temple, they gestured to him, “Tell us what
you’d have us name him?” And he motioned for a tablet to write on
and wrote out, “His name is John,” and none of them could believe
these words. All of a sudden, he could open his mouth, and his tongue
was free to speak. Zechariah therefore praised the Lord, (and) urged
them all to glorify him morning and evening. Everyone grew fearful,
and news of these things spread throughout the hills of Judea. Now
because the hand of the Lord was upon him, all who heard it took
these things to heart, and they asked, “What is this child destined to become?” And filled with the Holy Spirit, his father Zechariah,
mindful of the gift he had received from God, prophesied concerning
his son John the Baptist:
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
For He has come and freed His people
And lifted up a horn of salvation
For those of us of the house of His servant David,
Even as He had foretold in ancient times
By the mouth of His holy prophets,
Deliverance from our enemies,
And from the grasp of those who hate us.
To show forbearance to our predecessors,
And call to mind the holiness of the promise;
The solemn pledge that He made to our father Abraham,
To grant that we be saved From the clutches of our enemies
And to serve Him without fear,
In purity and virtue in His sight every day of our lives.
Yes, child, and you will be known as the prophet of the Most High
Since you will go ahead of Him to clear His way;
To give knowledge for the deliverance of His people
In His pardoning of their sins,
For tender is the mercy of our God,
Which is why He will look upon us from above
As the dawn breaks forth,
(And even now that day is dawning.)
To shine on those who live in darkness;
Underneath the shadow of death;
To guide our steps on the road to peace.”
At that time John was living in prosperity, and for two years he nursed
at the breast of his mother. The joy of God was on his face, and he
grew up strengthened in the Spirit.
(BMary 6:6,7/8:1-11; PEv 13:1-14:2;
Matt 1:19-24; PsMt 10,11; HJC 5; AsIs 11:4)
Capernaum; Bethlehem; Nazareth
Even as all of this was going on, Joseph, because he was a
carpenter, was busily at work on a house-building project near the
seaside district in Capernaum, where he remained for nine months.
Now after the nine months had passed, as the customary engagement
ceremonies were drawing to a close, three months after Mary’s conception, that venerable man Joseph left the building site and
returned to his hometown of Bethlehem to get his house in order and
to supply the provisions necessary for the wedding. But Mary, the
Lord’s Virgin had returned to her parents’ home in Galilee, along with
the seven other virgins who were of the same age and period of
weaning, and who had been appointed by the priest to care for her.
And Joseph left Judea and traveled on to Galilee, planning to visit the
Virgin there, for it was by then nearly three months from their time of
Behold, by the time Joseph entered into his home, Mary was in her
sixth month of pregnancy. Now she was his betrothed, so it soon
became clear to him that she was expecting, for she could not hide it
from him--after all he did have free access to her and did speak
familiarly with her, so he naturally came to know.
When he realized that my virgin mother was pregnant, he was
stunned, and so entirely taken with distress, that he started to shake.
He slapped himself upon the face, dropped to the ground upon
sackcloth and wailed, “With what semblance am I to face the Lord my
God? What intercession am I able to offer on behalf of this young
woman? She was a virgin when I accepted her from the Lord’s temple,
but I have not protected her. Who has betrayed me? Who has carried
out such wickedness; violating this virgin in my very own home?
Could it be that my life has become like Adam’s? For Adam was by
himself in his time of prayer, when the serpent crept up and found Eve
alone and beguiled her; and a similar fate has befallen me. My Lord,
my God, take my spirit, for I would rather die than live!” And the
virgins who had been with Mary asked him, “What are you saying,
Master Joseph? We are quite convinced that no man has laid his hand
on her. We know for sure that she has not sullied her innocence and
that she has, in fact, preserved her virginity, for God Himself has
protected her. We have kept our eyes on her; and she continues ever
with us in our prayers. Every day an angel of the Lord speaks with
her; and every day she is fed by an angel’s hand. How any evil could
enter into her, or how there could be any sin within her we do not
know, but if you want us to tell you what we think it is, it is that
nothing less than God’s angel has impregnated her.” “Are you trying
to tell me that an angel of God has gotten her pregnant?” Joseph
replied. “Why are you trying to deceive me? Truly, it is more likely
that someone disguised as an angel from God has seduced her.” And
he sobbed as he spoke these things and asked, “How am I going to
look when I enter into the Lord’s temple? How am I to hide my circumstances from the priests of God? What am I supposed to do?”
And after he had spoken this, it occurred to him that he should run
away, and secretly put her away as well.
Then Joseph got up from the sackcloth, summoned Mary to himself
and asked, “Why have you who were cared for by God, forgotten your
God and done this thing? Why have you who were hand-fed by an
angel and raised in the holy of holies gone and debased your very
soul?” And through her tears, she sobbed, “I am chaste and have
never slept with any man.” “As my Lord is the Living God,” Joseph
replied, “I don’t know why this has happened to me.” And he could
not even bring himself to eat or drink anything that day on account of
his sorrow and dread.
And Joseph left her there, unsure as to which course it would be
best to take. He grew all the more anxious and confused the more he
tried to figure out what he should do with her, for he was a righteous
man and was not eager to expose her, nor as a pious man was he
willing to stigmatize her with the reputation of a whore. “If I should
cover up her sin,” he said, “I will be opposing the law of the Lord, and
if I should expose her to the children of Israel, I fear that I might be
handing over innocent blood to the sentence of death, for what is in
her may indeed be from the angels.”
He therefore determined firmly to terminate their engagement
quietly, and to divorce her secretly. And when he had decided this, he
started to devise a scheme to hide Mary and put her away: he planned
to get up in the middle of the night, leave her there and live in
seclusion, but night fell upon him as he was working out the details.
Now behold, later on that evening that holy prince of angels, the angel
of the Lord’s Spirit, Gabriel, came to this earth with an order from my
Father, and spoke to Joseph in his dreams, saying, “Joseph, son of
David, do not be afraid! Do not fear to take this child, nor hesitate to
take Mary as your wife. Do not think unseemly thoughts about the
Virgin, and do not imagine for a moment that she is guilty of
fornication, for it is by means of the Holy Spirit that she has conceived,
and among all women is the only virgin who will ever give birth. And
she will bring forth a son--even the very Son of God--whom you are to
name ‘Jesus,’ which means ‘The Savior,’ for he will save his people
from their sins.” Now all of these things came to pass in order to fulfill
what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin
will conceive and bring forth a son, whom they will call Immanuel;”
which means ‘God in our midst,’ when interpreted. “He will rule all nations with a rod of iron.” And after saying all of this to him, the
angel left his presence. And at midday, Joseph rose up from his
slumber, gave praise to the God of Israel, and thanked Him Who had
shown him such mercy.
He then shared his dream with Mary and the other virgins who
were there. And after receiving assurances from the angels and from
Mary, he confessed, “I have sinned in my mistrust of you.” And he did
not divorce her, but kept her instead as the angel had instructed him;
and she remained in there with him. Even so, he did not speak these
things to anyone.
(PsMt 12; PEv 15:1-16:2 BMary 8:12; AsIs 11:5,6)
Jerusalem, The Hills of the Countryside
A rumor started to get around that Mary was pregnant, so Annas,
the teacher of the law, came to Joseph and demanded, “Why have you
not seen fit to join in our assembly?” Joseph replied, “Because my
travels tired me out and I took it easy on my first day back.” Then
Annas caught sight of Mary and saw for himself that she was with
child. He ran to the priest and said: “Joseph, for whom you have
borne witness, has done a terrible thing!” “What is it?” the high priest
asked him. “He has deflowered the virgin whom he received from the
Lord’s temple,” Annas replied, “consummating his marriage to her
without telling it to the children of Israel.” “Has Joseph really done
this thing?” the priest inquired. “Send officers and you will find that
the ‘Virgin’ is pregnant.” Some officers then went and verified that it
was true, bringing Joseph and Mary back with them to the court. The
temple officers seized Joseph and led him before the high priest who
began to accuse him, (together with the other) priests, saying, “How
could you have been cheated out of a wedding like this; a virgin whom
God’s own angels nurtured as a dove in the temple, who never sought
the company of any man, and whose understanding of God’s law was
unexcelled? Why have you done this kind of thing? Had you not
defiled this maiden, she would be a virgin today.” But Joseph swore
on oath that he had never even touched her, saying, “As my Lord is the
Living God, I am not to blame for the state she is in.” “Do not perjure
yourself,” the priest rejoined. “Own up to the facts; you have failed to
bow your head beneath the hand of power, and have consummated
your marriage without telling it to the children of Israel, and have
thereby denied a blessing on your children.” Joseph did not speak a
word, so the priest demanded, “Restore the ‘virgin’ that you took from
the Lord’s temple.” As Joseph wept in bitterness, the priest announced, “I will give you both to drink of the water of the Lord’s
testing, and it will witness to you of your sins.” He then brought it
over to Joseph to drink and sent him out into the hills, and he
returned to them unchanged.
“As God is living,” the high priest Abiathar said to Joseph, “I will
therefore give you to drink of the water of the Lord’s testing, and He
will immediately show the sign of your sin.” So Joseph was also called
before the altar and given the water of the Lord’s testing, out of which
should anyone drink and walk around it seven times, will expose his
guilt, for if he has spoken a falsehood, God will show it in his face.
Joseph drank it gladly and went around the altar, and not a trace of
guilt appeared on him. So the priests, the officers, and the people
there exalted him, saying “Blessed are you, for evil was not found in
Then a great crowd of Israelites gathered around, and Mary was
ushered into the Lord’s temple. The priests, her neighbors, and even
her parents clamored to Mary: “Confess to the priests that you, who
were hand-fed as a dove by angels in God’s temple, have committed
sin.” And calling Mary to themselves, they asked, “What excuse can
you possibly give? What sign will He give over and above the
pregnancy that is clearly revealed in your own womb?” And the priest
demanded, “Why have you who were raised in the holy of holies,
hand-fed by an angel, heard hymns and danced in His presence, done
this, humbling your very soul and forgetting the Lord your God? Since
Joseph has been cleared with regard to you, we will only accept one
answer from you, and that is that you should tell us who it was that
seduced you. For truly it would be better for you to confess than to
have the wrath of God revealed as a sign on your face, exposing you
before us all.” But Mary burst into tears and replied, “As my Lord is
the Living God, I am untainted before Him and have never slept with
any man.” But he had Mary drink as well, and venture out into the
hills, whereupon she also returned unchanged.
Mary then stood firmly, and boldly proclaimed, “If there is any evil
or defilement in me, or if there has ever been in me any lust or
lasciviousness, may the Lord expose me before everyone here, that
they might learn a lesson from my case.” And she approached the
altar of God in complete assurance, drank the water of testing, and
went around it seven times, and not a trace of guilt was found in her.
Seeing that she was pregnant, yet still displayed no sign of guilt, all
of the people stammered, and were bewildered. But, as is common in
crowds, some of them became disorderly and complained to one another. Some of them blessed her, saying that she was holy and pure;
but others, motivated by doubts, denounced her, saying that she was
wicked and defiled. Then Mary, seeing how her integrity had not rid
the people of their doubts, confidently said to them: “As God, Adonai
of the multitudes, in whose sight I stand lives, I have never slept with
any man, nor has it ever crossed my mind, seeing that from the time of
my youth until this day I have been ever mindful of this vow. And I
made this pledge my offering to God from early in my childhood, that I
might dwell uprightly with Him Who made me; live solely in Him with
Whom I share my convictions; and remain spotlessly and exclusively
with Him.”
Then the priest announced to them, “If the Lord God has not
revealed any sins in you, then neither will I judge you,” and he let
them both go. Then everyone started kissing her and asking her to
forgive them for their vicious mistrust. Then Joseph and Mary left for
his house, joyfully praising the God of Israel. Everyone, including the
priests and the virgins led her home, rejoicing, celebrating, and loudly
proclaiming, “Blessed be the name of the Lord, who has revealed your
holiness to Israel.” And after this, Joseph married the virgin and
guarded her, living separately alongside her for two months; never
approaching her or lying with her, but keeping her as a perfect virgin as the angel had instructed him.
(Luke 2:1-6; BMary 8:13,14; PEv 17:1-18:1;
PsMt 13; ArIn 1:1,4-6; AsIs 11:7; HJC 7; Qur 19:23-26)
Nazareth; Jerusalem; The Road to Bethlehem
{We found the following reports written in the Book of Joseph the
High Priest, who some say is Caiaphas:}
Now it happened shortly after the two months, in the three hundred
and ninth year of the reign of Alexander, when Joseph the Carpenter
was living apart from his wife Mary in her house, that a registration
was imposed according to the edict of Augustus Caesar the king: that
everyone in the inhabited world should register in his own town. (This
registration was the first to take place during the governorship of
Quirinius in Syria.) So everyone returned to enroll in their own home
towns. It was needful, therefore, for Joseph to sign on with Mary (in
Bethlehem), because they, being of the tribe of Judah, and the stock
and lineage of David, were both from there. By then it was approaching nine months from her time of conception, and by then
Mary was great with child.
“I will enter my sons,” (said Joseph,) “but what am I to do with this
girl? How am I to register her? As my wife? I am too embarrassed to
admit that! Perhaps as my daughter! I cannot, for the children of
Israel are all aware that she is not my daughter. No, on this, the Lord’s
Day, the Lord will do as He sees fit.” So the aged and righteous Joseph
got up, packed some essentials, saddled his donkey, and seated her on
it. Joseph then left the city of Nazareth, his son leading and himself
trailing behind. They passed through Galilee and entered into Judea,
then traveled on to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
And as they were approaching the third milestone, Joseph turned
around and noticed Mary looking sad, so he thought within himself,
“Perhaps the child within her is causing her anguish.” Later on, Joseph
turned around and saw her laughing out loud, so he asked her, “Mary, why do I see laughter on your face one minute and sorrow on it the
next?” And Mary replied to Joseph, “I can see two peoples with these
eyes of mine: one of them weeping in bitterness and one triumphing in
utter joy.”
When they reached the halfway point along the road to Bethlehem,
Mary called out to Joseph, “I see two nations before me, one weeping
and the other rejoicing.” “Sit quietly upon your beast,” answered
Joseph, “and speak only when necessary!” A handsome young man,
all dressed in white, appeared before them there and asked, “Joseph,
why did you say that the words that were spoken by Mary concerning
the two peoples were superfluous? For she saw the Jewish people
weeping because they have abandoned their God; and the Gentile
people rejoicing because they have drawn near to the Lord, even as He
promised to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for the time
has now come for a blessing to be extended toward all the nations of
the children of Abraham!”
And after he had spoken this, they drew near to the cave. And the
angel commanded the donkey to stop, for it happened at that point
that the time for her to give birth had come. Mary then let Joseph
know that it was her time, and that she would be unable to make it
into town. The angel then told Mary to come down from her beast.
“Joseph,” said Mary, “take me off of this donkey, for the child within
me is struggling to come out.” And Joseph helped her down from it.
And the throes of childbirth drove her to the base of a palm, where she
lamented, “Oh that I had only died before and passed into oblivion!”
And from within a voice cried out, “Do not be sad, for below at your feet, your Lord has provided you with a brook. Now if you should
shake the palm a bit, it will drop fresh, ripe dates into your lap. Eat,
drink, and rejoice therefore; and if you should meet with anyone,
merely say, ‘I have sworn a fast to the Lord this day, and will not speak
with any man.’”
And (Joseph) asked her, “Where am I to take you in this forsaken
place that I might conceal your disgrace?” “Enter into an
underground cavern which has never seen the light of day,” the angel
replied, “but which has forever been choked with darkness.” Joseph
found a cave nearby, and Mary said, “Let us enter into it,” and he took
her inside. Now as soon as Mary entered the cave, it began to shine as
bright as the sixth hour of the day. And the light, which came from
God, was such that so long as Mary was there, be it either night or day,
there was never any lack thereof.
(Luke 2:7a; Matt 1:25; PEv 18:1-20:3; PsMt 13;
SbOr 8:471-476; BMary 8:15; LtIn 73,74 in Arundel Ms 404;
ArIn 1:2,3,7; AsIs 10:7-31, 11:8b-14;
OSol 19:6-11; IgEph 19)
In a Cave Between Jerusalem
And Bethlehem;
The Seven Heavens
And Joseph, leaving his sons to care for her, went out to seek for a
Jewish midwife in the region of Bethlehem. Now behold, a girl drew
near with a birthing chair and came to a stop. Both of them were
startled, and Joseph asked her, “Girl, where are you going with that
chair?” And she answered him, “My mistress has sent me here because
a young man came running up and crying out, ‘Hurry now! Come and
assist in a remarkable birth, because for the first time ever a virgin will
bring forth.’ Now as soon as my mistress heard this, she sent me out
ahead of her. Look, here she comes now!” And behold, there was this
woman coming down from the hills. Joseph turned around and saw
her approaching, so he went up to her and they introduced themselves
to one another. “Mister,” the midwife asked Joseph, “where are you
headed?” And he answered her, “I am in search of a Jewish midwife.”
And the woman asked him, “Are you an Israelite?” “Indeed I am,”
Joseph replied. The woman then asked him, “Who is this ‘virgin’ who
is ready to bring forth in this cavern?” “It is Mary,” answered Joseph,
“who was educated in the Lord’s temple and betrothed to me.” “Is she
therefore not your wife?” the midwife asked him. “Well, she was
betrothed to me,” Joseph replied, “but it was the Holy Spirit that brought about her conception.” “Is what you say indeed the truth?”
the midwife asked him. “Come and see it for yourself!” responded
Joseph. And she followed him to the mouth of the cave, where they
came to a stop. “Come and have a look at Mary,” he directed her, so
both of them went inside. And even as she was about to enter into the
innermost chamber, behold, a luminous cloud shone brilliantly within
it, and the midwife froze with fear.
“Behold,” Joseph cried aloud to Mary, “I have brought you a
midwife, Zachel, who is standing outside at the opening. Not only
does she not dare to enter, but indeed finds it impossible to do so.”
When Mary heard this, she grinned. “Do not smile,” Joseph
complained, “but be prudent, for she has come to examine you and see
if you need medicine.” He asked the midwife to go inside and have a
look, and she stood before Mary.
“Now as I was going in,” (the midwife later reported,) “I saw the
virgin looking up and facing heaven. And although she seemed to be
talking to herself, I truly believe that she was praying to and praising
the Most High God. And when I came up to her, I said, ‘Tell me, my
daughter, do you not feel any pain? Is there no part of your body in
anguish?’ Yet she remained motionless; fixed like a solid rock toward
heaven.” And for several hours Mary allowed herself to be observed.
(And when the Lord was about to be born, Joseph went away to seek
And [in his vision, Isaiah] heard the voice of the Most High, the
Eternal One, [his] Lord’s Father saying to [his] Lord, the Son, the
Christ, the one who is to be called Jesus, “Withdraw from here and
pass through the heavens. You must descend below the skies of that
world to dwell within that sphere, and further descend as far as the
angel in Sheol, but you will by no means travel as far down as
destruction and perdition. And you are to take on the appearance of
those of the five heavens, and must take care to transform yourself
into the image of both the angels of the sky, and those in Sheol. Not a
single angel of that realm will perceive that you are Lord with me over
their angels of governance and those of the seven heavens. And they
will fail to grasp that you are with Me when with the utterance of the
skies I summon you unto Myself--along with their angels and stars--
until My voice ascends to the sixth heaven, that you might pass
judgment upon and utterly destroy the rulers, angels, and ‘gods’ of
that realm, and the domain that they control. For they have all denied
Me and said, ‘We are all alone, and there is no one here but us.’ After this, you will rise again from the dead, rising from the ‘gods’ of death
and entering into your true stature. And you are to wear no disguise
in any of the heavens, but in the fullness of your splendor will you rise
up and sit to My right, and the princes and powers will worship you, as
will each and every angelic being and authority, be they in heaven, on
earth, or in hell.” These are the instructions that I heard the Great and
Glorious One giving to my Lord.
And I could see the Lord departing from the seventh heaven and
entering into the sixth. The angel who had accompanied me from that
world was with me, and he said, “Isaiah, look and see, that you may
understand the disguising and descent of the Lord.” Then I looked,
and when the angels of the sixth heaven saw him, they exalted and
venerated him, for he had not been changed into the form of the
angels there. And as they were praising him, I sang praises to him
right along with them. And when I saw him descend into the fifth
heaven, he transformed himself to resemble the angels there; and they
did not exalt or venerate him when they saw him, for his appearance
was like their own. He then went down into the fourth heaven and
changed his appearance into that of the angels who were there, and
when they saw him, they neither exalted nor venerated him, for his
form was just like theirs. Again, I saw him descend into the third
heaven, that he changed himself into the form of the angels there.
Now the gatekeepers of that realm demanded the password, so to keep
from being known, the Lord spoke it to them. And when they saw
him, they did not exalt or venerate him because his appearance was
like their own. Again I saw him descend into the second heaven,
where the gatekeepers likewise demanded the password, and the Lord
provided it. Then I saw him disguise himself to look like the angels of
the second heaven, but because he looked like them, they did not exalt
him when they saw him. And when I saw him descend into the first
heaven, he spoke the password to the gatekeepers there. Then he
disguised himself to appear as the angels to the left of that throne, and
they neither praised nor worshiped him because his appearance was
like their own. (As for myself, no one even questioned me on account
of the angel who was guiding me.) And once again, he descended into
the sky where the Prince of this World resides and spoke the password
to those on the left hand side, and because his form was just like
theirs, they did not exalt or venerate him there. Quite to the contrary,
they were jealously contending with one another, for there is an evil
power and a competition over trivial matters in that place. And I saw
him descend and disguise himself to resemble the angels of the air, and they did not exalt him there, because he looked like one of them.
He did not speak the password to them, nor did they even question
him, for they were busy pillaging and beating one another.
Now as for the virginity of Mary, and the way that she brought
forth, and the passion of the Lord, they were all concealed from the
Prince of This World. Even though these mysteries were shouted out
loud, God brought them about in complete silence. So how was all this
shown to the world? Up in the heavens a star far more luminous than
any other blazed forth. No words could express its brilliance; its
incomparability left men utterly perplexed. The sun, moon, and stars
surrounded it in harmony, but this star outshone them all. Then
extreme bewilderment ensued; where could this star, which was so
different from its companions have come from? Everywhere, magic
disappeared before it--all the spells of sorcery were broken, and
superstition was removed. The ancient kingdom of darkness was
about to be undone; for God, by coming down in human form, was
ushering in a new order of eternal life. Now what had been devised by
God was being brought to pass; and everything from that day forth
was thrown into disarray on account of this design to destroy death.
“As I was walking along,” (Joseph recalled,) “I came to a stop and
then looked up. There I saw the clouds astonished. And gazing
upward further still, I saw birds motionless against the unmoving sky.
Then I looked around me and saw work hands who were sitting at a
table. A bowl had been placed before them, and their hands were in it,
but they were not moving them to feed themselves. And those in the
process of eating were no longer chewing. Those who were lifting their
food were putting none of it down, while those whose food was near to their lips were putting none of it into their mouths. Everyone was
looking up. And behold, sheep that were being driven along stood still
and did not advance, while the hand of the shepherd whose rod was
set to strike them remained frozen in its place. Then I glanced over to
see what the river looked like. I could see a number of young goats,
some with their muzzles over and others with theirs in the water, but
none of them were drinking. And just as suddenly, everything
returned to normal.” By then the sun was going down.
“At that moment,” (the midwife related,) “everything came to a
complete stop. There was an utter and fearful silence--even the winds
stopped blowing! The leaves did not rustle on the trees, nor did the
waters babble, for the rivers all stopped flowing, and the oceans ceased
their undulations. All that the waters bring forth grew still. There was
no human voice to be heard, and the silence was complete--for the very pole stopped spinning at that moment and time nearly ground to
a halt. All of them were taken with fear and everyone stopped talking.
We were all anticipating the Most High God and the end of the world.”
When the moment was ripe, God showed His power visibly.
Fixated on heaven, the Virgin stood and became as white as snow, for
the fulfillment of all good things was near. “My soul indeed is
magnified,” the midwife exclaimed, “and these eyes of mine have seen
great things, for this very day has brought about the deliverance of
Israel!” And immediately the cloud withdrew from the cave, and was
replaced by a light so bright that our eyes could not endure the sight.
The light brought forth even as the dew from heaven condenses upon
the earth. And even as it blazed, she bore a son by virgin birth. And as
he was coming forth, the luminous beams intensified to a level far
brighter than the sun, filling the entire cave with their brilliance. And
with it came the most fragrant odor imaginable; more redolent than
any aromatic ointment. (Now even though among mankind this is
thought to be an incredible miracle, for God the Father and God the
Son, nothing at all is considered miraculous.) The merry earth
shuddered as the child came forth; the heavenly throne burst out in
laughter as creation celebrated in joy, (and) a dazzlingly brilliant star
was worshiped among the Magi. The angels encompassed him at his coming, and the voices of many invisible beings joined together in
chorus and shouted, “Amen!”
Immediately upon his birth, he stood to his feet, and worshipping
him the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the heights and peace to
men of goodwill on earth.” “Mary looked in astonishment with her
own eyes and saw the infant, and exalted the one to whom she could
see she had borne. As for the child, he radiated a bright and beautiful
light, which was like the rays of the sun. He was indeed a sight to
behold, for his mere arrival pacified and brought to rest the entire
world.” After her astonishment had faded, her womb became even as
it had been prior to conception, and she bound him up in swaddling
“I, however, was amazed,” (the midwife continued,) “and I stood
there stunned, staring in utter astonishment at the spectacularly
bright light that had just been brought forth. But in time the light
withdrew and began to take on the form of a newborn child. Soon its
appearance changed to that of a normal infant born after the usual
fashion. And as he came with all of these visible signs, Jesus spoke to
his mother from the cradle, saying, ‘Mary, I am Jesus, that Son of God
and servant; that Word which you have brought forth, even as the angel Gabriel announced to you, and my Father has sent me here to
save the world.’
“And growing ever the more daring,” (the midwife related,) “I bent
down to pick him up and touch him with my hands. What was
startling to me was that unlike other babies who are born on this
earth, he weighed nearly nothing at all! I looked him over closely and
could find no flaw upon him anywhere, but found him instead to be as
luminous in body as the dew from the Most High God. And since he
weighed nearly nothing at all, he was effortless to carry. He was
magnificent to behold, (and) for some time he astounded me by not
crying as other babies do. And as I held him in my arms and gazed
into his face, he let out the most joyful laugh--and when he opened up
his eyes, they pierced me through with just a glance. All of a sudden, a
bright light beamed forth from his eyes like a lightning flash. ‘This has
been a great day for me,’ [I] exclaimed, ‘for I have seen something
completely new!’” Then Jesus went and nursed at the breast of his
mother Mary.
Now Joseph (had) ventured off to see if he could find [any
midwives] for Mary, and after he had found some, he came back. He
spotted an elderly Jewish woman coming from Jerusalem. By the time
Joseph arrived at the cave with the old woman, it was already past
sunset. “Kind woman,” said Joseph, “please come this way and enter
this cave. There you will see a young woman who is about ready to
give birth.” And both of them went inside, but behold, everything there
shimmered with a light that was brighter than lamplight and
candlelight--it was, indeed, even brighter than the sun! By that time
the child was already wrapped up in swaddling clothes and nursing at
the breast of his mother, Saint Mary. And the two of them were taken
aback by the spectacle of light. And when her husband Joseph saw her
there, he said to her, “Tell me what has startled you?” Immediately, his
eyes were opened and he could see the new born child, and he praised
the Lord, because the child had arrived as foretold by the lot. And they
heard a voice proclaim, “Relate this vision to no one!”
“I have brought you two midwives,” Joseph said to Mary, “Zelomi
and Salome. They are standing outside by the mouth of the cave, but
the light is so intense that they dare not enter.” When she heard all
this, Mary smiled. “Stop smiling!” said Joseph. “Be sensible and allow
them to inspect you. What if you should need their medicine?” Then
Mary gave them her permission to enter. And when Zelomi came
inside, she requested of Mary, “Grant me consent to look at you.” And
after Mary had agreed to the examination, the midwife exclaimed, “Lord, oh Almighty Lord, have mercy on us! Never before has it been
heard, nor ever even imagined that a mother should show every sign of
virginity after milk has come into the breasts and a son has been
brought forth! But she has suffered neither loss of blood, nor the
slightest pain in giving birth. As a virgin she has conceived, as a virgin
she has borne a child, and a virgin she remains.”
“Are you the mother of this boy?” the elderly woman asked Saint
Mary. “Indeed I am,” Saint Mary affirmed. “You are completely
unlike other women,” the elderly lady replied. “Even as there is no
child who can compare with my son,” explained Saint Mary, “neither
is there any woman who can compare with his mother.” “My Lady,”
the aged woman replied, “I have come here to receive an everlasting
Now the midwife came out of the cave and Salome greeted her.
“Salome! Salome!” the midwife shouted, “I must tell you of this novel
sight; a virgin has given birth, something that her condition forbids!”
And when Salome, the other midwife, heard that, she scoffed, “As my
Lord is the Living God, I will not believe what I have heard--that a
virgin has given birth--unless I first examine her (and) prove it with
my own finger!”
And Zelomi entered in and said, “Mary, prepare yourself, for there
is no small controversy brewing over you.” And when Mary heard
these words, she lied back down and readied herself. Then Salome
came in and demanded, “Mary, allow me to inspect you and see
whether what Zelomi has told me is true.” And Mary gave her
permission to examine her. So Salome went inside, made her ready,
and proved her status. And when she had inspected her as she had
said and withdrawn her hand, it began to wither up. And overcome
with anguish and horrible pain, she started weeping bitterly. “What
misery for my sin and doubt,” Salome shouted, “for I have tempted the
Living God. Just look, my hand feels like it is burning with fire and
falling right off!” And dropping to her knees, she wept and pleaded
before the Lord, “Oh God of my fathers, consider my case; for I am a
child of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Do not humiliate me before the
children of Israel, but restore me to the destitute; for as You are well
aware, oh Lord, I offer my services in Your name, and my payment
comes from You alone. Oh Lord God, You know that I have always
worshiped You, and cared for those who live in want. Never have I
taken pay from widows and orphans, nor have I ever turned the poor
away empty-handed. Now behold, I am made to suffer for my lack of
faith, for I sought to put Your virgin to the test for no reason whatsoever.”
And even as Salome was recounting these deeds, a young man
dressed in glistening clothes, an angel of the Lord, (appeared and)
stood beside her. “Salome! Salome!” he cried aloud, “The Lord your
God has heard your prayer. Go right now, and worship the babe.
Touch him with your hand and he will heal you, and joy and
deliverance will be to you, for he is the Savior of all the world, and of
all who trust in him.” “Place your hands upon the child!” our Lady
Saint Mary bid her. So she quickly approached the infant and adored
him, saying, “I will truly worship this child, for an illustrious king has
been born to Israel!” Then Salome touched the hem of his swaddling
clothes and immediately her hand was healed, and she was restored as
she had implored.
And upon her restoration, she got up to leave, testifying along the
way, “From this day forward, I will serve this child and care for him!”
And as she was leaving the cave, she started crying out and
proclaiming the marvelous things that she had seen--the way that she
had suffered and the healing that she had received--and great
numbers were persuaded by her testimony. Now behold, an angel of
the Lord cried out to her, “Salome! Salome! Let no one hear of the
wonders you’ve seen until this child enters Jerusalem!” But stories
about him circulated widely throughout Bethlehem. Some of them
claimed, “The Virgin Mary has brought forth before even two months
of marriage.” Many others contended, “Mary did not really give birth;
the midwife never went up, and we heard no cries or anguish of birth.”
All of them were blind to him; everybody knew of him, but they did
not know where he came from.
Joseph then (went and) entered his name into the register; for
Mary’s husband was a son of David, from the tribe of Judah. So it
happened that my mother, the Virgin Mary, brought me forth in
Bethlehem; in a cave near to the tomb of Rachel, the wife of Jacob the
patriarch, and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She became a
gracious mother, and it was not without reason that her labor and her
childbirth were free from anguish; for she did not seek after a midwife
because the Father used her as a conduit of life itself. She, driven by
her intense determination, gave birth manfully, and her childbirth
came about precisely as it had been foretold, and was effected by an
extreme power. And in her love was deliverance, in her guardianship was benevolence, and in her declaration was grandeur.
(Luke 2:8-20; ArIn 1:2,3,19-21; PsMt 13; SbOr 8:477-479)
The Cave, Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem
The newly born infant was revealed to those who are obedient to
God: drivers of cattle, herders of goats, and shepherds of sheep. There
were shepherds staying overnight in a nearby place keeping watch
over their flocks in the field. An angel of the Lord (came and) stood
near to them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them, and all
of them were taken with fear. “Do not be afraid,” the angel reassured
them, “for behold, I am bringing you great news of unbounded joy that
everyone will come to know: for this very day, in the city of David, a
Savior has indeed been born, the Anointed Lord. And this will be a
sign for you: you will find a baby lying in a manger, all bound up in
swaddling clothes.” And suddenly, a vast array of the heavenly host
appeared to them and joined the angel who was praising God, saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men who please
Him.” Then the angels rose up from their midst and into the sky, and
the shepherds said to one another, “Let us all make our way to
Bethlehem this very instant and see what the Lord has revealed to us.”
They hurried there and found Mary with Joseph, and the baby lying in
the manger. And after the shepherds had seen it, they went inside, lit
a fire (and) made known the words that were spoken to them about
this child, and also about the angels they had seen at midnight,
praising and worshipping the God of heaven and proclaiming, “The
Anointed Lord and Savior to all, has been born to us. Through him
will deliverance be restored to Israel.”
All were celebrating in delight. Just then, the entire array of the
heavenly host appeared to them, praising and worshipping the God of
Perfection. And since the shepherds were doing the same by then, the
cave came to resemble a glorious temple, for the tongues of men and
angels joined to worship and give praise to God for the birth of Christ
the Lord. When the elderly Jewish woman saw all of these evident
miracles, she also gave God praise and said, “Oh God of Israel, I thank
you for granting that my eyes should see the birth of the Savior of the World!”
And all who heard the shepherds speak marveled at the things they
said. But Mary committed their words to memory and pondered them
within her heart. And as the shepherds were returning, they exalted
God and gave Him praise, for all that they had seen and heard came to
pass as they were told. And a powerful star, larger than any other seen
since the world began, beamed over the cave from dusk until dawn.
The Jerusalem prophets, moreover, affirmed that this star was the sign of the birth of the Christ; the one destined to restore the covenant
not only to Israel, but also to the other nations. And Bethlehem was
proclaimed to be the providential birthplace of the Word.
(PsMt 14,15; ArIn 2:1-4; Luke 2:7, 21)
A Stable; Bethlehem; The Cave
Three days after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary ventured
out of the cave. Now because there was no room for them at the inn,
she entered into a stable (and) laid the child in a manger, where an ox
and a donkey worshiped him. It was then that the words of the
prophet Isaiah, “The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s
feeding trough,” had their fulfillment. So without ceasing did the
animals, the ox and the donkey, worship him who was in their midst.
Then the words that were spoken by the prophet Habakkuk, “You are
revealed between the two creatures,” were fulfilled. For three days
Joseph stayed in the same place with Mary, and on the sixth, they
traveled on to Bethlehem and kept the Sabbath there.
And when the time came for him to be circumcised, that is, the
eighth day--upon which the law dictates that a child must be
circumcised, they performed it in the cave. They named him Jesus,
which was what the angel had called him prior to his conception in the
womb. And after the child had undergone parhithomus, or
circumcision, the elderly Jewish woman took the foreskin and
umbilical cord and preserved them in an alabaster jar filled with aged
spikenard. Her son happened to be a pharmacist, so she cautioned
him, “Be careful not to sell this alabaster jar of nard-oil, even if
someone should offer you three hundred denarii for it.” This same
alabaster jar was later procured by Mary the sinner, who poured it
over the head and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wiped it off with
the hair of her head.
(Luke 2:22-39; ArIn 2:4-10; AsIs 11:15,16b,17b;
PsMt 15;Qur 19:27-33, 43:63)
When Mary’s period of purification as required by the Mosaic Law
had passed, Joseph (and Mary) took him to Jerusalem to present him
to the Lord. Mary came bearing him to her family. “Mary,” they said,
“this is an astonishing thing. Sister of Aaron, your father was never a
whoremonger, nor ever was your mother a harlot.” She gestured to
them and pointed to the babe. “How are we to speak with an infant in a cradle?” they questioned her. Then Jesus spoke right up and said, “I
am God’s servant. He has placed the book into my hands and decreed
my prophethood. I have come to confer wisdom upon you, and to
make plain many of the issues that currently divide you. His goodness
follows me wherever I go. He has instructed me to pray continuously
and to give alms to the poor my whole life long. He has encouraged
me to honor my mother, and has driven evil and foolishness far from
me. I was blessed on the day of my birth, and will be blessed on the
day of my death, and may peace rest on me on the day of my
resurrection. Honor God by obeying me. God is both my Master and
yours, so do all things for His sake, for this path is truly straight.”
And ten days later, forty days after his birth, they presented him
before the Lord in His temple, in accordance with what’s written in the
Law of the Lord, “Every male that passes through the womb must be
given to the Lord.” They also offered up a sacrifice in keeping with the
law of the Lord: “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now
behold, in the Jerusalem temple there was this righteous and religious
man named Simeon who was one hundred and twelve years old. He
was anticipating the consolation of Israel, and the Divine Inspiration
was upon him. And the Holy Spirit revealed to him the Lord’s
response--that he would not die before having seen the Lord’s
Messiah, the Son of God, alive and in the flesh. Simeon entered into
the temple completely inspired, and the parents of the infant Jesus
brought him in with them, so that they could do to him as the law
directs. And at that moment--when his mother, Saint Mary the Virgin,
cradled him in her arms--the elderly Simeon overflowed with
boundless joy, for he saw the boy as a glorious beam of light. And the
angels worshiped him, surrounding him as guardians around their
king. And as soon as Simeon saw the child, he cried aloud, “God has
come to visit His people, and the Lord has brought His word to pass.”
Then Simeon hurried over to Saint Mary, stretched out his hands to
her and took Jesus into his arms. After taking Jesus into his robe,
Simeon kissed his feet, worshiped him, and paid his respects to God,
“Lord, let Your servant go in peace,
In accordance with Your word;
For these eyes of mine have seen Your deliverance
Which You have readied in the sight of all:
To uncover a light for the Gentiles
And the glorification of Your people Israel.”
His father and mother were amazed by the things that were said of him. And Simeon blessed them and prophesied to his mother Mary,
“Behold, this child is set for the falling and rising
Of many in Israel,
And as a sign that’s spoken against.
And your soul will be pierced by the sword,
So as to expose the thoughts of many hearts.”
And there was also in the temple a certain prophetess by the name
of Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, who was of the tribe of Asher. She
married as a virgin and lived with her husband for seven years before
being widowed, then lived eighty-four years more in the temple of the
Lord, fasting and worshipping day and night without ever leaving.
And at that moment, she came up to them and offered her thanks and
praises to God. Anna also worshiped the boy and came to share in
Mary’s joy, saying to those who were there and awaiting the
deliverance of Israel all about him, “In him lies the redemption of the world.”
And after completing all that was required by the law of the Lord,
they set out for Nazareth in Galilee. While in Nazareth he nursed at
the breast of his mother as any other infant would, so that he might
remain concealed. And this was hidden from the heavenly realms, and
the ‘gods’ and rulers of this earth.
(Matt 2:1-12; ArIn 3:1-10; PEv 21:1-4;
PsMt 16,17; HJC 8; LJB pt.8)
Jerusalem; Bethlehem
Now more than two years after Jesus had been born in Bethlehem,
during the reign of Herod the king, Joseph was ready to travel on to
Judea. At that time, there was a great disturbance taking place in
Bethlehem of Judah over some Magi who had come from the east
bringing marvelous gifts to Jerusalem, in keeping with the prophecy of
Zoroaster. “Where,” they were asking, “is the king of the Jews who has
been born to you? We have seen his star in the east and have come to
worship him.” But Satan went and informed Herod the Great, father
of Archelaus, about these things. Now when King Herod caught wind
of it, he was disturbed by all that he had learned of the Magi, and all of
Jerusalem likewise, seeing that the youngster was the King of the
Jews. And he wanted to kill him that very instant. So shaken was he,
as a matter of fact, that he assembled all of the scribes, Pharisees, chief
priests, and teachers of the law from among the people and asked
them where the prophets had foretold the birthplace of the Messiah
would be. “What is written about this Messiah?” he inquired. “Where
is he supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem of Judah,” they answered
him, “for this is how the prophet worded it:
‘And you, Bethlehem, of Judah’s land,
Are in no way least among the princes of Judah;
For a leader will arise from you
Who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then King Herod dismissed them all and secretly summoned the
Magi to himself, asking, “What was this sign that you saw that showed
that a king had just been born?” “We saw how a star outshone all of
these others,” the Magi answered, “dimming them inexpressibly, such
that these stars no longer gave light. This is how we came to know
that a king had been born unto Israel. We have come to worship him.” Herod asked them the time of the star’s appearance to them, and
learned from them the precise time that the star had appeared. Then
he sent them off to Bethlehem with these words: “Go right now and
investigate! Uncover every detail having to do with this child, and
after you have tracked him down, bring me a report, that I might come
and worship him too.” And hearing the king, they went their way.
And behold, the star that they had seen back east, guided them, going
before them until they arrived at the cave where the child was. And
when the Magi saw the star, they rejoiced in inexpressible delight.
And it came to rest over the head of the cave. They went inside and
saw the child seated on the lap of his mother Mary, and they
prostrated themselves in worship. Then they opened the treasures
they had brought to them and presented the holy Mary and Joseph
with generous offerings. Each of them offered the child gifts (and)
gold; one gave him gold, another frankincense, and a third one gave
him myrrh.
And rather than pronouncing a blessing upon them, our Lady Mary
took one of the swaddling cloths that the young child was wrapped-up
in and offered it to them, which they accepted from her as a glorious
gift. And when they would have gone back to King Herod, even as they
slept, God (sent) an angel to warn them in a dream not to return, so
they set out for their native land by another route. Soon an angel
appeared to them in the semblance of the star which had guided them
on their way before; and they followed the light thereof until they
came into their own land.
And upon their arrival, kings and princes came up to them and
posed all manner of questions to them, such as, “What did you do?”
and, “What did you see?” and, “What was your trip like?” and, “Who
did you meet along the way?” But they handed them the swaddling
cloth that Saint Mary had given them and held a banquet in its honor.
Then they lit a fire, which they worshiped according to the custom of
their nation. Then they cast the swaddling cloth into the flames, which
received and preserved it. After the fire had been put out, they pulled
it from the ashes unharmed, just as though the flames had never
touched it. Then they started kissing the cloth, placing it over their
heads and eyes. “Without question,” they affirmed, “the truth of this is
impossible to doubt, and it is truly astonishing that the fire was
powerless to char it, much less to devour it.” Then, with the utmost of regard, they took the cloth and treasured it alongside their other
hallowed possessions.
(Matt 2:13-15; ArIn 4:1-4; PEv 22:2; InThL 1a; LJB pt.8)
Jerusalem; The Cave; The Road to Egypt
Herod began to recognize that the Magi had been away too long,
and were not about to return to him, so he called for all the priests and
sages. “Tell me,” he (again) prodded, “where is the Christ supposed to
be born?” “In the Judean town of Bethlehem,” they answered him;
whereupon he began to plot in his mind the death of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Now this was the same Herod who called for the beheading of
my friend and kinsman John. And he likewise sought me out,
imagining that mine would be an earthly kingdom.
Now behold, after the departure of the Magi, the day before these
things took place, the Lord’s angel appeared in that pious old man
Joseph’s dream (and) warned him as he slept, saying, “Get up! Take
the young boy and his mother, Mary, and as soon as the rooster crows
escape from those who seek to slay him through the desert and into
Egypt. Wait there until I say otherwise, for Herod is going to try to
hunt down and murder the young child.” Now when Mary heard that
the babies were about to be killed, she grew terrified, took the boy,
wrapped him up in the swaddling cloth, and placed him into an ox’s
feeding trough. And that night Joseph rose up, and as he was
planning his trip, dawn started to break. He then took me, the young
boy and my mother Mary by night and set off for Egypt as the angel
had commanded him, and I rested in her bosom. He stayed in Egypt
until after the death of Herod that what the Lord had spoken through
the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son,” might be fulfilled.
(Matt 2:16-18; PEv 22:1,3-24:1; PsMt 17; LJB pt.9)
Now when it was clear to Herod that the Magi had mocked him, he
was enraged. And wishing to take and murder them, Herod ordered
his executioners to travel down every road, but he could not track
them down. Then Herod sought after the Master in order to put an
end to him, but he could not find him. He therefore sent his
executioners to Bethlehem and its surroundings, and started putting
the children to death. (And as) Herod (had) commanded, (they)
slaughtered every male child age two and under, according to the
precise time given to him by the Magi. It was then that the word
spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled,
“In Ramah a voice was heard Wailing in horrible anguish.
Rachel was weeping for her children;
And nothing could console her,
For they no more.”
Now Elizabeth heard that the executioners were out searching for
John, and fearing that her son would be killed with the other children,
she immediately took him to Zechariah in the temple. “Oh my lord,”
Elizabeth implored, “let us take our son John to another land, that we
might save him from that unbeliever Herod, who is slaughtering
children on account of Jesus the Christ. Mary and Joseph have
already escaped into the land of Egypt. Let us go this very moment, so
that they don’t kill our son, and turn our joy into sorrow.” “I must not
abandon my service in the temple of the Lord,” Zechariah said, “only
to enter into a foreign nation that is teeming with idol worshippers.”
“What am I to do therefore,” she asked him, “that I might save my
infant son?” “Rise up,” the old man said to her, “and venture forth
into the wilderness of ’Ain Karim. There, by the will of God, you will
find refuge for your son. If they should come here seeking him, they
will shed my blood instead of his.” And how great was their sadness at
their parting! The faithful Zechariah took the child into his arms,
blessed him, kissed him and lamented: “Oh John, my son, how deep is
my pain! Oh glory of my later life! They have taken from me the glory
of your face, which is so very full of grace.” Then Zechariah took him
into the temple and blessed him, saying, “May God guard you along
your path.” Just then, Gabriel, the head of all angels, came down from
heaven and into their midst carrying a garment and a leather belt, and
said to him: “Zechariah, take these clothes and put them on your son. God is sending them down from heaven. This clothing belongs to
Elijah, and this belt is of Elisha.” So the blessed Zechariah accepted
them from the angel, prayed over them and presented them to his son,
binding on him with the leather belt the garment of camel’s hair. Then
he took him back to his mother and instructed her: “Take him out into
the desert, for the hand of the Lord is upon him. I have come to learn
from God that he is to remain in the wilderness until the day that he’s
revealed to Israel.” Then, with weeping, the blessed Elizabeth took the
child; and Zechariah, also weeping, said to him, “I know that I will
never again look on you with these eyes of flesh. Go in peace and be
led by God.” Then Elizabeth walked away with her little boy.
After this, she took John and fled into the hills with him. She
looked left and right for a place to conceal him, but there was nowhere
for him to be hid. “Mountain of God,” Elizabeth wailed, “accept a mother and her child.” Now because Elizabeth was unable to climb,
the mountain suddenly split down the middle and received her. A
light was there to show the way, for an angel of the Lord traveled with
them and looked after them, and they entered into the wilderness of
’Ain Karim, where she remained with him.
And so it happened that when King Herod sent troops to Jerusalem
to slaughter the children, the executioners came and started putting
them to death until sunset. This all happened on September seventh.
Herod sent officers to Zechariah in an effort to track down John.
“Zechariah,” they demanded, “tell us where you’ve hidden your son?”
“I am the servant of God,” he replied, “here at work in the temple of
the Lord. I have no idea where my child could be.” The servants then
left and passed these things on to Herod, whereupon he seethed and
raged, “His son is to reign as king over Israel!” Again, he sent inquiry
to him, “Where is your son? You had better own up, because as you
well know, your very life is in my hands!” And the agents went and
apprised him of this. “I am indeed a martyr of God,” Zechariah said.
“Spill my blood, but the Lord himself will take my spirit, for you are
shedding the blood of an innocent man at the very threshold of the
Lord’s temple.” And as they were on their way back to their king,
behold, Satan approached them and asked: “How can it be that you
have left the son of Zechariah without killing him? He is hidden away
in the temple with his father. Do not spare him, but kill him instead,
that the king may not be enraged with you. Return for him, and
should you fail to find the son, kill the father in his stead.” The officers
did as Satan had said, and returned to the temple early in the
morning, where they came across Zechariah, who was standing in his
service to the Lord. “Where,” they demanded, “is your son? You are
hiding him in here somewhere!” And Zechariah replied: “There is no
child in this temple.” “You most certainly are hiding him here,” they
insisted. “You are shielding him from the king.” “Oh, you most
merciless fiends!” Zechariah said. “Your king laps up blood like a
lioness! How long will you shed the blood of the innocent?” “Bring
out your son,” they answered him, “that we might slay him. For if you
should refuse to do it, then we will kill you in his stead.” Then the
prophet answered them: “As for my son, he has fled into the
wilderness with his mother, and I have no idea where he might be.”
Now after Zechariah had bidden farewell to Elizabeth and his son
John, he blessed the boy and made him a priest. Then he handed him
over to his mother, and she bid him, “Pray for me, my blessed father,
that God might make my way bearable in the wilderness.” And he responded, “May the One Who caused us to bring forth our child in
our old age, guide you both along your way.” Then she accepted the
child and entered into the wilderness where not a single soul resided.
(How truly great and commendable is your case, oh blessed Elizabeth.
You did not ask for anyone to travel along with you, though you knew
neither of the way nor of any place to hide. You did not seek to take
any food or water for the child to [eat or] drink. You did not demand
of his father Zechariah: “To whom are you sending me in this desert
region?” The wilderness at that time had neither a monastery nor an
assembly of monks that you might say: “I will go and live among them
with my son.” Likewise, when Herod’s executioners came to [you,]
Zechariah, demanding, “Where is your newborn son, the child of your
old age?” you did not deny the truth and claim: “I do not know of any
such child,” but in truth did you respond: “His mother fled with him
into the wilderness.”) Now after Zechariah had spoken these words to the officers with regard to his son, they slew him there inside the
temple. And Zechariah was murdered as the day was dawning, and
the children of Israel did not know that he’d been killed.
But as the priests were leaving at the salutation hour, Zechariah was
not there to offer the customary benediction. And the priests stood
around waiting for Zechariah; to welcome him with a prayer and offer
praise to the Most High God. But when he did not come out, they
feared the worst. Even so, one was bold enough to go inside. He
looked around, and beside the altar he saw congealed blood. Then he
heard a voice that said, “Zechariah has been slain, and his blood will
not be wiped clean until his Avenger comes.” These words terrified
him, and he left to inform the other priests about what he had seen.
And they steeled themselves to enter therein, and saw firsthand just
what had been done. The fretwork of the ceiling wailed, and the
priests tore their robes from top to bottom. And they found his driedup
blood, but they could not find his corpse. And with deep regret
they went out and let the people know about the murder of Zechariah.
And all the tribes of the people heard about it and mourned for him.
The priests therefore placed his remains in a shroud, and then for fear
of the wicked one, laid it to rest in a hidden burial ground near the
body of his father Berechiah. Now his blood seethed upon the earth
for fifty years, until Titus, the son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian,
came and demolished Jerusalem--destroying the Jewish priests for
spilling the blood of Zechariah, as the Lord had himself decreed. They
mourned him for three days and nights. After that, the priests all got
together to determine who was fit to replace him, and by lot they installed Simeon. This was the same one to whom the Holy Spirit had
revealed that he would not see death before having seen the Christ in
the flesh.
{Conclusion to the Protevangelion of James}
{I, James, penned this narrative while yet in Jerusalem. And at the
time that the uproar began, I got away into the wilderness until after
the death of Herod, when the disturbance in Jerusalem had died
down. And I praise the Lord God, Who graced me with wisdom
enough to record an account such as this to you spiritual ones who
love God, to Him belong glory and dominion forever. Mercy to all who
worship our Lord Jesus Christ. May he be worshiped forevermore.
(PsMt 18-22; cf. HJC 8; InThL 1b)
Between Bethlehem and Egypt
As soon as Joseph and Mary came to a cave, they decided that they
should rest in it, so Mary climbed down from her mount, seated
herself, and placed the boy Jesus upon her lap.
There were three young men who traveled with Joseph, and also a
girl named Salome, who traveled with Mary. Now behold, many
dragons suddenly came thundering out of the cave! And when the
boys caught sight of them, they shrieked in horror. Jesus then came
down from his mother’s knees and stood to his feet before the beasts,
which worshiped him and went their way. It was then that the words
spoken through the prophet David were fulfilled, “Dragons, praise the
Lord--from upon the Earth, and the depths of the seas.” And the boy
Jesus ordered them not to injure anyone, and he traveled on ahead of
them. But Joseph and Mary were very concerned that the dragons
would do harm to the lad. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus consoled them,
“nor think of me as just a child, for I am now and have always been the
embodiment of perfection. No woodland creature can help but be
gentle in my presence.”
Lions and leopards worshiped him also, walking with them across
the desert, traveling ahead of Joseph and Mary, bowing their heads
and showing the way wherever they would go. They worshiped Jesus
with sincere veneration, and wagged their tails in submission to him.
When Mary first saw all of the lions and the leopards and the many
other wild animals that were thronging them, she began to grow
concerned. But the little boy Jesus gazed into his mother’s eyes with
the most pleasing expression and said, “Mother, do not be afraid, for
they have not come to harm you in any way. Much to the contrary, they are eager to attend to you and me both.” With this assurance he
dispelled all of the fear that she had in her heart. The lions continued
to walk with them, injuring neither them, nor the oxen, nor the
donkeys, nor any of the pack animals that were carrying their
provisions in the least. They were even docile toward the sheep and
the rams that they had brought from Judea. They walked among
wolves and none of them had any fear, nor did a single one do harm to
another. Then what was spoken by the prophet, “Wolves will eat
alongside lambs, and lion and ox will eat hay with one another,” was
fulfilled. Two oxen hauled [the] wagon that was filled with their
provisions, and the lions guided them along the way.
And on the third day of their journey, as they were traveling along,
it happened that the extreme heat of the desert sun started to
overwhelm Mary; so when she caught sight of a palm tree, she said,
“Joseph, I would like to rest awhile under the shade of this palm.”
Joseph promptly took her over and helped her get down from her
beast. And as Mary rested there, she looked into its canopy and saw a
profusion of date clusters. “Joseph,” she said, “how I long to eat of the
fruit of this palm; if only there were some way for us to pick some!”
“I’m truly surprised that you’re speaking this way,” Joseph replied,
“even considering how you would like to eat the fruit of this tree when
you can plainly see how high it is! I am far more concerned with our
lack of water, for our skins have been depleted, and we don’t have
enough for ourselves, much less our livestock.” Then the boy Jesus,
lying in his mother’s lap with an amused look on his face, commanded
the palm, “Lower your branches, oh palm, and refresh my mother with
your fruit.” Now as soon as the palm tree heard these words, it
immediately bowed its top all the way down to Mary’s feet; and they
ate their fill of the fruit they had plucked. And after they had picked it
clean it remained there lowered, awaiting the command to stand from
the one who had ordered it to bend. “Palm tree,” cried Jesus, “rise up
now and strengthen yourself! Become like the trees in my Father’s
paradise and cause your roots to open up a hidden spring, so that we
might have enough to drink.” Just then it stood tall, and cold, crystal
clear water began to gush from between its roots. And when the
people who were there saw the fountain of water they all rejoiced and
gave thanks to God. All of them then drank their fill, as did their
livestock and the other beasts.
The following day as they were on their way, at the very hour that
their journey began, Jesus turned to the palm and said, “Palm tree, here is the blessing that I will give to you: my angels will take off one
of your branches and plant it in my Father’s paradise. I will,
moreover, present you with this mark of distinction: to anyone who
prevails in any challenge, it will be said, ‘You have received the palm of
victory.’” And even as he was saying these things, behold, an angel of
the Lord appeared to them, stood atop the palm, plucked one of its
branches off, and flew away, branch in hand, into the sky. Now after
they had taken it in, they prostrated themselves as dead. “Why are you
so full of fear?” he questioned them. “Are you not aware that this
palm, which I have arranged to be transplanted into paradise, is to be
readied for the holy ones in the place of bliss, even as it has been
readied for us today in this desert?” And they rose up strengthened in
their joy.
After this, as they journeyed on, their saddle straps broke, (and)
Joseph said to Jesus, “Lord, we are all about to broil in this heat. If it
should seem good to you, please allow us to travel alongside the sea,
that we might lodge in the coastal towns.” “Joseph,” said Jesus, “do
not fret; I will shorten the distance that you must go, so that what
would have required thirty days to pass, you will complete this very
day.” And right as he was saying this, behold, the mountains and
townships of Egypt came into view just ahead. And after Joseph had
left his home and withdrawn into Egypt, he remained there for an
entire year, until the anger of Herod had diminished. And Jesus was
two when he came into Egypt.
(PsMt 22-24; InThL 1:1c)
Sotinen, Greater Hermopolis
They entered joyfully and exultantly into the region of Hermopolis.
And as Jesus was walking through a field of grain, he reached out his
hand and grabbed hold of some ears. After roasting them upon a fire,
he crushed them and ate. They then entered the Egyptian city of
Sotinen. Now since there was no one there from whom they knew to
seek hospitality, they went into a certain temple known as the Egyptian Capitol Building. Three hundred and sixty-five idols had
been set up in that place, each receiving religious devotion and
hallowed rituals on its particular day. The Egyptians who lived in that
town would enter into the capitol, where the priests would tell them
how many sacrifices to offer up that day, corresponding to the regard
in which the ‘god’ was held.
And it happened that as soon as Mary took the young boy into the
temple, every idol in that place fell flat on its face, and each of them was lying there face down on the floor, smashed and demolished in a
show of their powerlessness. Then was fulfilled the word of the
prophet Isaiah: “Behold, the Lord will enter Egypt on a swift cloud,
and all that the Egyptians have crafted will be cleared away at his
And when that city’s ruler Affrodosius was notified, he and his
entire army marched toward the temple. And when the temple priests
caught sight of Affrodosius entering into that place, in the full strength
of his military might, they felt certain that he would retaliate against
those who overthrew the idols. But when he entered into the temple
and saw all of the gods lying there face down, Affrodosius went up to
Mary, who was holding Jesus in her arms, and worshiped him. Then
he confessed to his army and his supporters, “Our gods would never
have fallen in his presence, nor would they have remained here
prostrated before him unless he were God over our gods; so even
though they cannot speak, they silently acknowledge his lordship. If
we should fail to do as we see our own gods doing, then we are all in
danger of infuriating him and being devastated like Pharaoh, King of
the Egyptians, who drowned with his whole army in the sea for not
acknowledging such a masterful authority.” Then everyone in that
place put their faith in the Lord God through Jesus Christ.
(InThL 1)
And on entering into Egypt, they lived for a year as boarders in a
widow’s house. When Jesus was three, he joined in with some boys
that he saw playing. He placed a dried-up fish into a tub and said,
“Breathe,” and it started to respire. “Release the salt within yourself,”
he commanded the fish, “and jump into the water.” And it did as he
had said. Seeing, then, what he had done, the neighbors went and
informed the widow who was housing his mother Mary; and as soon as
she found out about it, she evicted them.
(InThL 2)
And as Jesus was walking through town with his mother, he looked
up and saw an instructor who was teaching his students. Behold,
twelve sparrows were fighting there, and they fell from the wall and
into the teacher’s lap as he was lecturing them. When Jesus saw it, he
came to a stop and burst into laughter. The instructor, marking his
amusement, became enraged. “Go get that boy,” he told his students, “and bring him right back here to me!” And as soon as they took hold
of him, the teacher pinched his ear and asked, “What have you seen
that you think is so funny?” “Look into my hand,” he answered, “is it
not full of grain? I revealed the grain to these birds, and distributed it
among them. It was at their own peril that they made off with it; for
they were all fighting over the division of this grain!” And Jesus did
not leave that spot until they had divided it. The instructor therefore
threw both Jesus and his mother out of town.
(ArIn 4:5-23)
A Large Egyptian City
And they approached a large city that housed an idol which received
the sacrifices and pledges from all the other Egyptian gods and idols.
Now there was a priest nearby who would attend to it and, as often as
Satan spoke through it, pass along to the Egyptians and the others
every word that it would speak. This priest had a three-year-old son
who was possessed by a legion of demons, and would utter many
senseless things. Now whenever the demons would exercise their
power over him, the boy would tear his clothing and walk around
naked, throwing rocks at everyone in sight. The city’s inn was near to the idol, and when Joseph and Saint Mary entered that city and
checked into the inn, the residents were all amazed. All of that idol’s
judges and priests gathered before it and asked, “What does all this
fear and terror that has gripped our region forebode?” “Truly the
unknown and unrivaled God is visiting us,” the idol replied. “He is no
doubt the Son of God, and no one but he is worthy of adoration. The
entire nation trembled at his fame, and his arrival has brought this
present fear and dread upon us; and we do ourselves shrink before his
tremendous might.” And even as he said this the idol fell, and its
collapse prompted everyone from the land of Egypt and parts beyond
to run away.
The next time the disorder overcame the son of the priest, however,
he went into the inn where Joseph and Saint Mary were staying and
approached those from whom everyone else had fled. And when our
Lady, Saint Mary, had finished washing the swaddling cloths of the
Lord Jesus Christ, she hung them over a post to dry. The demonpossessed
boy pulled one off and wrapped it around his head,
whereupon the demons spewed out of his mouth as crows and snakes,
and flew away from him in haste. The boy was healed once and for all
by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he began to offer thanks, and to sing songs of praise to the Lord, who had made him well. When
his father saw that his boy was again in health, he prodded him, “Son,
tell me what has become of you. Explain to me how you were
restored?” “As soon as those devils got hold of me,” his son replied, “I
went into the inn, where I met a very beautiful woman--and her young
boy was there with her. She had just washed his swaddling clothes
and hung them over a post to dry. Then I took one and placed it over
my head, at which point the demons came out and fled.” When his
father heard all of these things from him, he jumped for joy and cried
aloud, “My child, this might just be that boy--that Son of the Living
God--who brought all of creation into existence; for the very moment
that he came to us the idol was destroyed, and every single god,
overwhelmed by a higher power, fell flat on its face.” In this was
fulfilled that prophecy that reads, “Out of Egypt I have called my Son.”
(ArIn 5:1-6)
Egypt, on a Road Frequented by Robbers
When Joseph and Mary heard that this Idol had fallen down and
been destroyed, they grew fearful. And trembling they said, “Back
when we were still in Israel, Herod put all of the infants that were in
and around Bethlehem to death because he sought to murder Jesus. If
the Egyptians should hear that this idol has fallen down and shattered
to bits, they will set us all ablaze!” They therefore sought refuge where
bandits lie in wait for passersby, to steal their clothing and their
wagons, to bind them up and carry them off. And even as Joseph and
Mary drew near to it, these robbers perceived their approach as a king
with a mighty army, attended by legions of horses, complete with
drums and trumpet blasts announcing the departure from his city.
The sound of it so frightened them, that they left everything they had
stolen behind and ran. When this happened, those who had been
captured got up and untied one another--each one took what was their
own and they all went on their way. When they saw Joseph and Mary
approaching, these people asked them, “Where is that king that we all
heard--who so alarmed the bandits that they ran away, leaving us all
here free and unharmed?” “He is following after us,” said Joseph.
(ArIn 6:1-4)
An Egyptian City
They entered into another town where there lived a demonpossessed
woman in whom Satan, the one condemned for rebellion,
had made himself at home. One night, as she was going out to draw some water, she found that she could not keep her clothing on or stay
inside of any house. Still, no matter how many times anyone had tried
to chain her up, she had broken free and made her way into desert
places, where she would on occasion lie in wait at crossroads and
places of worship to cast stones at people, and she brought great
hardships on her friends.
Saint Mary felt for this woman the moment she laid eyes on her;
and Satan fled away from her in the shape of a young man, screaming, “Mary, I am utterly tormented by you and your Son!” So she was freed
of her affliction, but when she recognized her nakedness, the woman
blushed and hid from the eyes of men, put on some clothes and went
back home. She then related the story to her father and her family--
who, by the way, happened to be the most prominent people in that
town--and they showed themselves greatly hospitable to Joseph and
Saint Mary.
(ArIn 6:5-9)
Another Egyptian City
The following morning they were given the necessary provisions for
their journey, and they headed out. They came into another town
around sunset, where a marriage was about to be performed. But the
bride had become unable to speak to such an extent that she could not
even open her mouth on account of some magical spells that some
sorcerers steeped in the Satanic arts had cast on her. But when this
speechless woman saw Mary on her way into town bearing the Lord
Jesus Christ in her arms, she reached out to him and held him in her
embrace, hugging and kissing him all over; moving him back and forth
and squeezing him against herself. Immediately the string of her
tongue was loosed, and her ears were cleared, and she started singing
praises to God, the One Who had healed her. So the people of that
town were overjoyed that night, and they truly believed that God and
His angels had come down to them. They stayed in that place for three
whole days, being shown true veneration and great hospitality.
(ArIn 6:10-37)
Another Egyptian city
Then, after receiving provisions for their journey, they traveled on.
They entered into another town, where they truly wished to lodge, for
it was a popular place. There was a woman in this town who had gone
to the river to bathe one day, and behold, Satan, the Accursed One,
sprang on her in the form of a snake and wrapped himself around her body; and he wrenched her every night thereafter. When this woman
saw our Lady, Saint Mary, with the child, the Lord Jesus Christ, in her arms, she asked the Lady Saint Mary to hand the little one over to her,
so that she might kiss and hold him in her arms. Now when Mary
handed him over--even as she was taking hold of the child--Satan
suddenly took off and abandoned her, and that woman never saw him
again. Everyone in that place immediately broke into praises to the
Most High God, and the woman gave them generous gifts.
The next day, that same woman bought perfumed water with which
to bathe the Anointed Lord, and set it aside. Another girl was there
whose skin was white with leprosy, and as soon as she was sprinkled
with it, and had scrubbed herself off, her skin disease was washed
away. So the people all proclaimed, “There can be no doubt that
Joseph, Mary, and this boy are gods, since they do not seem like
mortal men.” And as they were getting set to travel on, the girl who
had been afflicted by her skin disease approached them and asked if
she could come along. And they answered that she could, so the girl
traveled on with them until they came to a town in which stood the
palace of a great king, and that place was near to the inn where they
were staying. One day, when the girl went to visit the prince’s wife,
she found her grieving and suffering terribly, so she asked her, “Why
are you weeping?” “Please don’t ask me why I weep,” she pleaded, “for
I am under such a trial that I dare not tell a soul about it!” “But if
you’ll confide in me,” the girl replied, “and disclose to me the nature of
your personal suffering, then I might just be able to find you a
remedy.” “Then you must keep it to yourself,” the princess insisted,
“and not tell anyone about it! I have been married to this prince who
reigns over many regions as a king, and had lived with him for quite a
while before I bore him any children. At long last he managed to get
me pregnant, but wouldn’t you know, I gave birth to a leprous son!
Now as soon as my husband saw him, he immediately denied his
paternity and said, ‘You either take and destroy him, or else send him
off to a nurse in a place so far away that he will never be heard from!
As for you, look to yourself, because I never want to see you again!’ So
here I am, languishing and grieving over my horrible situation. Oh,
for my son! Oh, for my husband! Do you get the idea?” “I have found
a remedy for your plight that I know you can trust,” the girl replied, “even the one who is called Jesus, the son of the Lady Saint Mary. You
see, I also had a skin disease, but then God washed me clean of it.”
“Where,” asked the woman, “is this God of whom you speak?” The girl answered, “He is staying right here in your very own home!” “But how
is this possible?” the princess said. “Tell me where this child could
be!” “Behold,” the girl replied, “you know Joseph and Mary? The
child who is with them is called Jesus; and he was the one who freed
me from my own illness and suffering.” “Well then,” the princess
asked, “just how were you cleansed of it? Will you at least explain that
much to me?” “Why, of course I will,” the girl replied. “After I had
bathed the boy, I took the water used to wash his body, and poured it
over myself, and my skin disease disappeared.” The princess then got
up and showed herself hospitable to them, throwing a banquet in
Joseph’s honor before a great many men. The following day, she took
perfumed water in which to bathe the Lord Jesus, and later poured
some over her own son, whom she had brought along, and
immediately he was freed of his leprosy. She then sang praises of
thanks to God, saying, “Oh, Jesus! How blessed is the mother who
bore you! Is this how you restore mankind: making them even as you
are yourself with the very water that was used to clean you off?” Then
she offered lavish gifts to our Lady, Saint Mary, and bid her farewell
with every conceivable honor.
(ArIn 7:1-35)
Several Egyptian Cities
After this, they came to another town and decided to lodge there.
So they went to the house of a man who had just completed his
nuptials, but due to the influence of some sorcerers, could not
consummate his marriage. But they spent the night at this man’s
house, and he was relieved of his affliction. Early the next morning, as
they were gathering their things to go their way, the newly wedded
man did not let them go, but instead showed them great hospitality.
Even so, they traveled on the following day.
And they entered into another town, where they saw three women
who were weeping and wailing as they were leaving a certain
graveyard. As soon as Saint Mary saw them, she asked the girl who
had sought to travel with them, “Would you please go over to those
women and find out what is troubling them, and what circumstances
they are under.” They did not answer her question though, but
questioned her instead, “Who are you, then, and where are you
headed? For the day has nearly passed, and the night is on its heels.”
“We are travelers searching for an inn in which to stay,” the girl
replied. “Follow us,” they answered them, “You can come and stay
with us.” So they followed after those women, and were ushered into a brand new house--all decorated with every kind of furniture
imaginable. By now it was winter, and the girl entered into the parlor
and found the women there, crying and lamenting over their plight,
even as they had before. A mule was standing next to them all draped
in silk. A black feedbag was hanging from his neck--and they were
kissing him and feeding him. But when the girl remarked, “Ladies,
that’s a fine looking mule you’ve got there!” they all burst into tears
and said, “What you see as a mule was once our brother, born from the
very same mother as we. For when our father passed away, he left us
with a large estate, and this was our only brother. We tried to find him
a suitable companion, thinking that he should wed as others do, but
some woman got jealous and cast a spell on him without our knowing.
Then one night, right before dawn, when the doors to the house were
still shut tight, we saw that our brother here had been changed into a
mule, as you can plainly see. And we, being in the sorry state that you
see us in now, having no father to console us, have sought the services
of all the sages, wizards, and sorcerers in the world, but they have not
helped us in the least! So now when we find ourselves feeling down,
we get up and travel with our mother to our father’s grave. And after
we have cried it off, we all simply come back here.”
And as soon as the girl had heard all this, she said, “Now take heart,
and have no fear, for truly a cure for what ails you is near. It is, in fact,
right here with you--even in your very home! I was a victim of a skin
disease, you see, but when I saw this woman with her child Jesus, I
sprinkled my body with the bathwater that his mother had used to
wash him off, and in that instant I was healed. Now I am certain that he can bring your troubles to an end. Get up, therefore, and go over to
my lady Mary, and after you have brought her into this room, share
your secret with her. And while you are at it, ask her to show you
compassion for the circumstances you are under.” The moment the
women heard what the girl had said, they went quickly to our Lady,
Saint Mary, introduced themselves to her, seated themselves before
her and wept. “Oh, our Lady, Saint Mary,” they pleaded, “show us
some compassion, for our house is without a head, and we have no one
who is older--neither father or brother--to lead us either in or out!
What you see as a mule over here was once our brother. Some woman
using witchcraft has brought him to his present state. And for this
reason do we beg of you, please have pity on us all!” When she heard
this, Mary felt sorry for them, so she took the Lord Jesus, placed him
on the back of the mule and said, “Oh, Christ Jesus, through your
absolute power, restore this mule into a man, having the same sense as he had before.” The Lady, Saint Mary, had scarcely finished speaking
these words when the mule returned to the form of a young man
without any deformity whatsoever. Then he, his sisters and his
mother all worshiped our Lady, Saint Mary. Then they lifted up the
child and held him out above their heads, kissing him, and
proclaiming, “Oh Jesus, Savior of the World, how blessed is your
mother! How blessed and joyful are the eyes that see you!” The two
sisters then confessed to their mother, “Truly, it was the Lord Jesus
Christ who helped our brother, restoring him to his prior state; but it
was also through the kindness of that girl who told us about Mary and
her son. So seeing that our brother here is not yet wed, it seems good
that we should marry him to this servant girl of theirs. So they
consulted Mary about it, and when she had given them her consent,
they threw a stylish wedding for her.”
So their sorrow turned to gladness, and their grieving into joy. And
they dressed up in their finest clothing and bracelets, and began to
celebrate and to be festive. Then they all broke out in song, and soon
they were all exalting and praising God, saying, “Jesus, oh son of
David, who changes sorrow into joy, and misery into elation!” And
after these things, Joseph and Mary remained there with them ten
days more, receiving tremendous appreciation from them. And after
Joseph and Mary had gone away, they all went home weeping, but
none of them wept more than the girl.
(ArIn 8:1-8)
The Desert, Where Bandits Lie In Wait
And as they moved on from that district, they came into a desert,
where they were warned about all of the robbers that lurked there.
Joseph and Saint Mary therefore waited until nightfall to pass
through. And even as they journeyed forth, they caught sight of two
bandits who were sleeping in the road--and many of their companions
were sleeping nearby. These two robbers were named Titus and
Dumachus. “Dumachus,” Titus implored him, “I beg you, please allow
these people to pass us quietly by, so that no one in our band might
notice them.” Now Dumachus refused to do it, so once again he said
to him, “I will give you forty goats; and look, here is my belt, take it
also as a pledge.” And he handed it over to Dumachus even as he was
bargaining with him, so that he might not sound the alarm. When our
Lady Saint Mary saw the kindness that this robber had done them, she
informed him, “The Lord God will forgive you of your sins and place you at His own right hand.” “Mother,” the Lord Jesus said to her, “in
thirty years time, the Jews will crucify me in Jerusalem. These two
thieves will be crucified alongside me; Titus will be to my right, and
Dumachus to my left--and Titus will pass into paradise even before I
do.” “My son!” said Mary, “God forbid this should happen to you!”
Then they traveled to another town. There were several idols in that
place that turned into mere sand dunes at their approach.
(ArIn 8:9-11)
After this, they traveled on to that sycamore tree, a place that is now
called Matarea. And there in that region the Lord Jesus caused a
fountain to spring forth, and Saint Mary washed his coat in it. And the
sweat that dripped from the Lord Jesus in that land produces a
medicinal oil.
(ArIn 8:12-13)
From Matarea they moved on to Memphis, where they met together
with Pharaoh. For three years they remained in Egypt, and the Lord
Jesus performed all kinds of miracles which are neither to be found in
the Gospel of the Infancy, nor the Gospel of Perfection.
(Matt 2:13-23; Luke 2:40; ArIn 8:14-17;
PsMt 25; InThL 3; HJC 9)
Egypt, Judea, Nazareth
But after three years had come and gone, Herod passed away. (Now
he died from the worst death that you can imagine, paying the price
for those innocent children, whose blood he so wickedly shed.) After
the death of that evil despot and the passing of Joseph from Egypt, (an
angel of the Lord) led him out into the desert until those who sought
after the boy’s life were no longer a threat and Jerusalem was once
again at rest. Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a
dream, saying, “Get up! Take your young child and his mother into
Israel, for those who sought to kill him are dead.” And behold, one of
the Lord’s angels came (also) to Mary, saying, “Take the child and
return to the land of the Jews, because the ones who were trying to kill
him have themselves passed on.” Joseph therefore got up, took the
young child and his mother and entered into Israel. The closer he drew to Judea, however, the more reluctant he became to enter into it.
(Joseph, you see, had heard that Herod had passed on and that his son
Archelaus was reigning in his stead, so he was afraid to go there.) And
on his arrival in Judea, an angel of God appeared to him in a dream,
warning him: “Joseph, travel on to the city of Nazareth and settle in
that place.” So Joseph and Mary got up and left with Jesus for the
region of Galilee, and they entered into Nazareth, where she had an
inheritance from her father; that what was spoken through the
prophets, “He will be called a Nazarene,” might be fulfilled. And
Joseph returned to his carpenter’s trade, earning a living with his own
two hands; for he would never have tried to live off of another man’s
labor; (even) as the Mosaic Law forbids. And he thanked the Lord God
for His kindness, and for giving him such an understanding. It is truly
mysterious that the Lord of every nation should be moved around all
over like this--back and forth across so many lands. And the boy grew,
and became strong, and extremely wise. And God endowed him with
His nature.
(ArIn 9:1-11)
Later, after they had entered into Bethlehem, they came across
several victims of a grave disorder that had become so serious that
most children who suffered from it would die. A woman there had a
son who was afflicted thereby, and was standing at the door of death.
And she brought him to our Lady, calling on her as she was bathing
Jesus Christ. “Oh my Lady Mary,” the woman implored her, “consider
the misfortune of my son, who is wracked by such extreme pain.” And
hearing her, Mary said, “Take and sprinkle him with a little bit of that
water with which I have just now finished bathing my son.” Then she
took some of that water, even as she had been told, and mottled her
boy who, worn out by tumultuous sufferings, had drifted off. After
sleeping but a little while, he was restored to health and he awoke.
Thrilled by this turn of events, the mother returned to Saint Mary, who
replied, “Offer up your praise to God. It is He Who has healed your
A neighbor of the woman whose son had been made well was
nearby, and this woman’s boy was also suffering from the very same
illness. His eyes had nearly closed forever, and day and night she
mourned for him. The restored boy’s mother then suggested, “How
about taking your son to Mary as I have done? I took my boy to her as
he was in the throes of death, and the water with which she had washed the body of her son Jesus healed him.” As soon as the other
woman heard what she said, she went there also. And after getting
hold of some of the same water, she used it to wash her son as well.
After she had done this, his eyes and his body were immediately
restored to the way that they had been before. And when she returned
to Saint Mary with her boy, our Lady told her to offer thanks to God
for the recovery of her son, but to avoid telling anyone about what had
been done.
(ArIn 10:1-14)
In that very town, there were these two wives of one husband, each
of whom had a boy who was ill. One of them, whose name was Mary,
had a son named Cleophas. She got up, took her son with her, and
went to visit Jesus’ mother, our Lady Saint Mary. She offered her a
fine, luxurious rug, and pleaded, “Oh my Lady Mary, please accept this
rug from me in exchange for a tiny piece of swaddling cloth.” Mary
then agreed to it, so when the mother of Cleophas left, she fashioned a
garment from it, placed it upon her boy, and he was relieved; but the
son of the other wife died.
Out of this disparity there arose a conflict in the running of the
house. Each mother had been taking a turn every other week. When
Cleophas’ mother Mary’s turn came around, she fired up the furnace
to bake some bread and left her son nearby as she stepped away to get
some flour. The competitor wife, seeing the boy unattended, grabbed
him, threw him into the sweltering oven and ran off quickly. When
Mary came back and saw her son Cleophas lying in the midst thereof,
which was just as cool as it had been before being heated, she
recognized that the rival wife had tossed him into the flames. After
she had pulled him out, she took him over to the Lady Saint Mary, and
explained to her what had happened. “Keep this to yourself,” she said.
“I need to know that you will not tell these things to others.”
Afterward, the enemy wife was drawing water at the well, and
seeing Cleophas playing nearby, and no one around to witness it, she
snatched him up and threw him in. Some men came to the well to
draw some water and saw the boy sitting there on the surface, and
were taken aback at the sight. Then they gave praises to God and
pulled him out with ropes. His mother came and took him straight to
our Lady Saint Mary, saying solemnly, “Oh my Lady, see what my rival
has done to my son! See how she has thrown him down a well, and I have no doubt but that sooner or later she will be the death of him.”
“God Himself will avenge your cause,” replied Saint Mary. A few days later, the other wife came to the well to draw some water, and her foot
got caught by the rope in such a way that she fell headlong into the
well, even as befit her case. And those who rushed to help her out
found her head bashed in and her bones in splinters. So she came to a
sorry end, and the saying of the prophet who wrote, “They made a
deep well, but ended up falling into the pit that they had dug,” was
fulfilled in her.
(ArIn 11:1-8)
In that city there was yet another woman who had twin sons who
had fallen prey to a disease. And after one had died, she took the
other, who was himself on the verge of death, cradled in her arms to
our Lady Saint Mary. And she pleaded through her tears, “Oh, my
Lady, please help me in my distress. Not long ago I had two sons, but
I have just now buried one and can see that the other one is on the
brink. Behold, I am desperately seeking mercy from God, and am
offering up my prayers to Him.” “Oh my Lord,” the woman said, “You
are kind and gracious and giving. You have given me two sons and
taken one again to Yourself, please leave me this other one.” And
sensing the depth of her despair, Saint Mary felt sorry for her and said,
“Rest your boy on the bed of my son, and lay the clothes of my child on
him.” The very moment she had laid him who had just closed his eyes
in death onto the bed where the Anointed was lying, and the scent of
the clothes of the Lord Jesus Christ hit the lad, his eyes popped open,
and he cried to his mother for bread, which when he had taken some,
he promptly ate. “Oh my Lady Mary,” confessed His mother, “now I
am convinced that God’s powers work through you, such that your son
is able to heal children, who are by nature like him, as soon as they
come into contact with his clothing.” The boy who was cured like this
is the same one who is called Bartholomew in the Gospel.
(ArIn 12:1-6)
The Cave Outside Bethlehem
Now there was a leprous woman who came to the mother of Jesus,
our lady Saint Mary, and pleaded, “Help me, my Lady.” “What kind of
assistance are you seeking?” Saint Mary inquired. “Will you ask for
silver or gold, or would you have your leprosy cured?” “Who can do this thing for me?” the woman asked. “Just wait until I have bathed
my son Jesus and put him down to rest” she said, and the woman
waited as advised, and after Mary had laid Jesus down to sleep, she
gave her some of the water she had used to wash his body and said,
“Take some of the water and pour it over yourself.” And when the
woman had complied, she received her cleansing and so praised God,
thanking Him with all her heart.
(ArIn 12:7-22)
After staying there with her for three days, the woman went away
and into town. And as she was going in, she met up with a certain
prince who was married to the daughter of this other prince. But
when this prince went in to examine her he saw evidence of leprosy--a
star-like sign between her eyes--and he immediately nullified their
marriage vows. When the woman saw the two in such a state, pouring
forth a flood of tears, she asked them why they all were weeping so.
“Do not pry into our affairs,” they said, “for we are not even able to
breathe our circumstances to anyone.” Even so she prodded them to
share their case with her more fully, suggesting to them that she might
be able to help them. So after showing her the maiden with the mark
of her disease between her eyes, she said, “I, the very one who stands
before you now, also suffered from the same disease, but when my
dealings brought me to Bethlehem, I entered into this cavern and saw
a woman there whose name was Mary, and her son Jesus was there
with her. And seeing me in my leprous state, she felt for me and
offered me some of the water with which she had washed the body of
her son. And when I had sprinkled myself with it, I became clean.” At
that point the woman asked, “Young lady, would you be so kind as to
take us to the Lady Saint Mary and let us meet her?” And after she
had agreed to it, they got up and traveled over to our Lady, taking
some very costly gifts along with them. And when they had gone in to her, they presented their offerings to her, then revealed to her the skin
disease of the young lady that they had brought with them. At that
point Saint Mary said, “May the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ be with
you.” Then she offered them some of the water that she had used to
wash the body of Jesus Christ, and instructed them to cleanse the
diseased woman with it. And when they did as they were told, the
woman was immediately healed, so these and some others who were
there exalted God and returned in joy to their own town, praising God
for what had been done. And on hearing that his wife was cured, the prince again took her into his house and took her hand in marriage,
giving praise to God for restoring his wife.
(ArIn 13:1-13)
In that place there also lived this girl who was tormented by Satan.
That filthy spirit, you see, would often appear to her in the form of a
dragon and swallow her whole. He sucked so much blood from her, in
fact, that she looked just like a corpse. Every time she would come to
her senses she would hold her head in her hands and scream, “How
wretched I am, seeing how there is none to save me from this wicked
dragon!” Her father and mother cried for her and lamented, as did all
the others there; and all who were there would feel particularly bad for
her whenever they would hear her weeping, wailing, and crying out,
“Oh my friends! Oh my family! Is there no one who can save me from
this murderer?”
The prince’s daughter, whose leprosy had completely vanished,
upon hearing the wailing of that girl, went all the way up to the roof of
her palace and saw the girl’s hands wrapped around her head,
surrounded by her sorrowful companions, and pouring forth a stream
of tears. Then she asked the possessed girl’s husband if his mother-inlaw
were living, and he let her know that both her mother and her
father were indeed alive. She then had the girl’s mother sent to her.
And as she caught sight of her approach, she asked her mother, “Is this
possessed girl here your daughter?” “Yes, young lady,” she woefully
and sorrowfully confessed, “I was the one who gave birth to her.” The prince’s daughter then replied, “Tell me all about her state, because I
am here to tell you that I once had a skin disease, but the Lady Mary,
the mother of Jesus Christ, healed me of it. If you’d like to see your
daughter cured, then take her to Bethlehem and ask to see Mary, the
mother of Jesus, and have no doubts as to whether your daughter will
recover for I believe with all my heart that you will go back home
rejoicing over your daughter’s restoration.” And when she had
finished speaking, she got up and took her daughter there. Then she
went up to Mary and shared her girl’s circumstances with her. And
when she had listened to her story, Mary gave the woman some of the
water she had used in washing the body of her boy Jesus, and asked
her to pour it over that of her daughter. She also gave her one of the
swaddling cloths of the Lord Jesus, saying, “Take this cloth and show
it to your adversary every time that you see him.” And she bade them
peace and sent them off.
(ArIn 13:14-20)
After leaving that town and returning home, the hour that Satan
would typically show up and take control of her came around. The
accursed spirit suddenly showed himself to her in the likeness of an
enormous dragon. On seeing this, the girl was terrified, but her
mother said, “Daughter, have no fear, but allow him to draw near to
you. Then reveal to him the swaddling cloth that was given to us by
our Lady Mary, and let us see what comes of it.” Then Satan
approached her in the form of a terrifying dragon and the girl became
so afraid that she began to tremble with violence. But even as she held
the swaddling cloth to her head and about her eyes, where the dragon
could see it, flames shot out and the dragon was pummeled with fiery
cinders. What a wonder was brought about through all that had
happened, for just as soon as the dragon caught sight of the swaddling
cloths of the Lord Jesus, fire shot out of it and bespattered his eyes
and face. “Why should you and I meet like this, Jesus, son of Mary?”
he shrieked loudly. “Where am I to run and free myself from you?” So
he fled away from her in fear. She, being freed from her torment, sang songs of praise and thanks to God along with everyone else who was
there at the time that this miracle took place.
(ArIn 14:1-10)
Satan had taken possession of the son of another woman in that
region. As often as Satan would take control of this boy, whose name
was Judas, he would go around biting everyone in sight; and if there
was no one around, he would bite his own hands and limbs. The
mother of this wretched boy, hearing about Saint Mary and her son
Jesus, rose up quickly and carried her child in her arms to our Lady
Mary. Meanwhile James and Joses had taken the young Jesus to play
with some other children, and while they were out, they all sat down
alongside him. Then Judas, the possessed boy, came and sat down to
his right. And when Satan was working through him in his usual
manner, the boy attempted to bite the Lord Jesus. But because he was
not able, he struck him so hard against his right hand side that he
cried aloud. And the moment that he did so, Satan left the lad and ran
away like a mad dog. This very child, the one who struck Jesus, and
out of whom Satan fled in the form of a dog was he who betrayed him
to the Jews--Judas Iscariot. And the Jews pierced him with a spear on the very spot where Judas had stricken him.
(PsMt 26)
Galilee, by the Jordan River
And when he had returned from Egypt, by the time that he was four
years old, it so happened that he was playing in Galilee by the banks of
the Jordan with some other youngsters on a Sabbath Day. Now as he
was sitting there, Jesus fashioned seven puddles out of mud, each
complete with its own viaducts, and at his command the waters rushed
into them and out again. Then one of those boys--a child of Satan who
was jealous of Jesus--stopped up the channels that were feeding these
pools and demolished all that Jesus had made. “Curse you, you son of
the devil!” Jesus reproached him. “Will you tear down my hard
work?” And right away the one who had done this dropped dead. The dead boy’s parents then loudly denounced Joseph and Mary,
complaining, “Your boy has killed our son, and now he is dead.” And
when Joseph and Mary heard the clamoring of the parents and the
convergence of the Jews, they went out to where Jesus was. Privately,
however, Joseph confided to Mary, “I do not dare to lecture him. You
must therefore chasten him, and be sure to ask him why it is that he
stirs the people’s anger against us and forces such animosity upon us.”
And when Mary went and questioned him, “Oh my Lord, what did he
do that he should die?” Jesus replied, “He deserved to die for
scattering all that I worked so hard to build.” Then his mother
pleaded with him, “My Lord, do not conduct yourself like this, for
everyone is up in arms against us.” And Jesus, not wishing to cause
his mother grief, kicked the boy who had died in the rump with his
right foot and ordered him, “Get up, you child of darkness! Because
you have destroyed all that I had worked so hard to make, you are
unfit to enter my Father’s rest.” Then the one who had died got back
up and ran away. And at Jesus’ command, the water gushed back
through the channels and into the puddles.
(InTh Greek 1)
{Here begins the book of the holy Apostle Thomas the Israelite
philosopher regarding the discourse on the childhood of the Lord. I,
Thomas the Israelite, have felt the need to inform you brothers from
among the Gentiles, filling you in on the mighty childhood deeds that
our Lord Jesus Christ brought to pass in our land from the age of five
forward, even as he spoke bodily in the city of Nazareth.}
(InTh 2(3); QBar 2:11; PsMt 27)
When Jesus was five years old, he was playing near the shallow
crossing of a stream. He diverted some of the flowing water into
puddles and with a word he gave command and they instantly
Afterward, Jesus took some clay out of the puddles he had formed
and, before them all fashioned twelve sparrows from it, representing
the twelve apostles. There were many other children who were playing
with him there. A certain Jew, when he saw what Jesus was doing as
he played there on the Sabbath Day, hurried over right away to his
father Joseph. “Look, the boy informed him, your son is playing down
by the river. He has taken mud and made twelve sparrows with it,
which is unlawful for him to do, thereby desecrating the Sabbath Day.”
And when he heard this, Joseph made away for that place. And as
soon as he got there, the boy said to him: “See? Your son, by doing
work, is violating the Sabbath! He has fashioned twelve sparrows out
of clay.” And Joseph chastened Jesus, saying, “Why do you break the
Sabbath with such unlawful acts?” But when Jesus heard Joseph, he
offered no reply, but instead turned toward the sparrows, clapped his
hands and cried aloud before them all, “Fly now, and go your way!
Sail throughout the world and live, calling me to mind your whole life
long.” And at the sound of his word they all flew into the air, flapping
and chirping loudly even unto the ends of the earth. And when Joseph
saw this miracle, he was astounded. And when the Jews saw it, they
too were astounded. Everyone, in fact, upon seeing such wonders, was
astounded. Many who were there praised Jesus and offered him
thanks, but a few others denounced him--still others went and notified
the high-ranking priests and the leaders of the Pharisees that Joseph’s
boy Jesus had performed great signs and wonders in the sight of
Israel. And word got around to the Israelite tribes.
(InTh 3(2); ArIn 19:16-21; PsMt 28,29)
Jesus left his mother in the house one day after a rain, and went to
play on a riverbank with some boys. After making some ponds they
dug little channels, drawing some of the river water into the small fish
ponds. Then Jesus said to the waters: “Clarify and become fresh,” and
they all became so right away. The Lord Jesus had also formed twelve
sparrows around his puddle, placing three on each of the sides. But this all happened on the Sabbath, and the son of a Jew named Annas,
a temple priest, happened along and saw them making all of these
things and protested, “Are you making images of clay on the Sabbath
Day?” Then he hurried over to them and ruined all of their ponds.
But when the Lord Jesus clapped his hands over the sparrows he had
fashioned, they took off chirping. Soon the son of Annas the scribe
again stood nearby, branch in hand before them all, this time with
Joseph. And with bitter anger, he took the willow branch and
approached Jesus’ fish pond to break down its dams that he had
fashioned with his own two hands. And upon destroying the ponds
with the branch, the waters that had flowed into it streamed out again.
He sealed off the inlet, moreover, and broke down the channel
supplying it. And when Jesus saw what he had done, he was angry,
and he reproached the boy who had destroyed his levees, “You
disrespectful fool! What an evil, godless, and lawless one you are! In
what way were these ponds harming you that you have felt the need to
drain them?” Then the water disappeared and the Lord Jesus
reproved him, “Oh evil seed most foul! Oh, son of death! Oh, devil’s
workshop! The fruit of your seed will be powerless indeed! Your roots
will parch, and your fruitless branches wither. Behold, you will travel
no further; but you also will waste away like a tree and sprout neither
leaves, nor roots, nor any fruit; and your very life will evaporate even
as this water has, and you will become as dried-up as the stick which
you now hold.” Moments later, as he headed off along his way, the boy
fell down before them all; withering up suddenly and completely, thus
surrendering his spirit and passing on. Then Jesus left that place and
entered into Joseph’s house. Now when the youngsters he was playing
with saw what had happened, they were astonished and went to the
dead boy’s father and let him know. He then ran over to the scene and
saw that the youth was dead. The withered boy’s parents then carried
him away, grieving over the loss of this child. And they took Jesus
straight to Joseph, chastening him, “What kind of boy do you have
that does such things?” Then Joseph, trembling, took hold of Jesus
and went with him and his mother (back) into his house.
(ArIn 19:22-24; InTh 4; PsMt 29)
And after a few days had passed, Jesus was again walking home one
evening through the midst of town with a very frightened Joseph. And
behold, a certain boy, another evildoer, threw a stone at Jesus and ran quickly up to him from the front wishing to make a laughingstock of
him or even injure him if at all possible, pounding him so soundly
against his shoulder that he slammed against the ground. Jesus
became furious and condemned the boy, “May you go no further on
your way (so as to) return from it unharmed! And even as you have
knocked me down, so also will you fall to the ground, but you will
never recover.” And in that instant the boy fell dead.
Some who had witnessed the event, however, including the dead
boy’s parents shouted, “Where could this boy have come from, seeing
how every word he speaks is true, and is carried out in fact, sometimes
before he even utters it?” They all came up to Joseph, bringing with
them the parents of the dead boys. And they started to reprove him
saying, “Because your son does things like this, you may no longer live
with him alongside us in this town. Take Jesus away from here--or
else kindly teach him to bless and not to curse, for he is killing our
children, since every word of his has an immediate effect.”
(InTh 5; PsMt 29)
Joseph then went up to Jesus, calling the boy privately to himself.
Now after Joseph had seated himself upon his chair, the boy came and
stood before him there. He then reproved Jesus saying, “Why do you
do these kinds of things? Many of these people are heartbroken
already because of you, and therefore they despise and harass us.
Many of them are now talking bad about you and deride us both on
your account, and we have no choice but to endure it.” Jesus
answered them, “According to the knowledge of this age, unless a
father has taught his son, he is not to be considered wise. Even so, the
Father’s curse cannot hinder any man unless he is an evildoer. I
recognize that these words are not coming from you, so for your sake I
will speak no more. In either case, these people will be punished.”
And those who had accused him were at that moment all made blind,
and all who saw it were terrified and taken aback, and they
proclaimed, “Good or bad, everything that this boy speaks becomes an
action--and indeed, a miracle!” And when they had established that
Jesus had done this, Joseph got up and pulled him hard by the ear.
Then Jesus stared him down in all severity, crying out, “That is quite
enough! For you to seek and not to find is one thing,” the boy angrily
rebuked, “but for you to act in so reckless a manner is quite another.
Are you not yet convinced that I’m not truly your own? Do not
provoke me!” Then they banded together against Jesus, and denounced him to Joseph. Now when Joseph saw what was going on,
he grew fearful over the furious outcry of the Israelites. Jesus then
grabbed the dead boy by the ear and lifted him up before them all, and
they could see that he was scolding him as a father would scold his
own son. The spirit of the boy was then returned and he was raised
again to life, and all were amazed at his restoration.
(InTh 6:1-12,(6); ArIn 20:1-4; PsMt 30)
There was also a certain teacher in Jerusalem named Zacchaeus
who was standing nearby and had heard what Jesus had said to his
father. He was stunned that a mere child such as he would speak such
things. And seeing that Jesus could not be vanquished, and
recognizing the power that was within him, he was incensed, and
started fearlessly, foolishly, and rudely denouncing Joseph, “Don’t you
think that you should turn your son over to me, so that he might learn
worldly wisdom and respect for other people? It is clear to me that
you and Mary care more about your own son than you do the elders of
Israel and what they have to say of him. You ought to have shown us
all--the entire congregation of Israel--a little more respect, so that he
might like other children and be better liked by them, and that he
might receive a proper Jewish education.” Joseph, however,
questioned them, “But who is capable of taking him on and teaching him anything? If you think that you can do it, then we are more than
willing to let you try and provide him with a common education.”
And a few days later he went up to Joseph, saying, “You know, your
boy really is quite clever, and he has tremendous insight. Why not
turn him over to me so that he might learn his letters? I will teach him
all there is to know of them. I will also teach him the proper way to
address his elders, giving them all their due respect as fathers and
forefathers, as well as how to get along with those who are his age.”
Joseph agreed and told Saint Mary.
The next day Joseph took Jesus by the hand and led him over to
Zacchaeus saying, “Very well, Rabbi, take this boy and teach him
letters.” “Brother,” he responded, “if you will turn him over to me, I
will cast light on the Scriptures for him, convincing him that he ought
to bless everything and curse nothing.” And Jesus, hearing what
Zacchaeus had said, burst into laughter and answered them, “The
lessons to which you refer, and the principles that underlie them are
sufficient for an ordinary person’s education, and as such ought to be
kept by them; but your law courts are alien to me. You speak as you can understand, but I understand much more than you can, for before
the ages came about I AM. I even know when your fathers’ fathers
were born; yet I have no fleshly father. You who read from the law and
know about it do indeed hold to it; but I existed before the law was
given. Since, however, you imagine that no one else’s learning is a
match for your own, I will teach you a thing or two about the things to
which you refer that no one could possibly expound, unless he were
worthy. For when I am exalted in this world at last, I will bring to an
end all reference to your lineage. You see, you do not yourselves recall
the occasion of your birth. I not only know when all of you were born,
but also how much longer you will live on this earth.” “Oh, oh, oh!”
they all responded in amazement. “What a great and incredible
mystery this is. We have never heard any such claims before. No one
else has ever said such things, not even the prophets themselves, or
the scribes, or the Pharisees. We know where this boy came from. He
is scarcely even five years old. Where does he get off saying things like
this?” The Pharisees declared, “We have never heard such claims from any other child of his years.” But Jesus replied, “Does it surprise you
that a child would say such things? How is it that you do not believe
me when I speak these words to you? All of you were astonished when
I revealed to you that I knew when you were born. I will go even
further than this, so that you might marvel all the more. I have both
seen Abraham and spoken with him--the one who you call ‘father’--
and Abraham has seen me too!” Everyone there was taken aback, and
no one even dared to speak. And Jesus added, “I have been in your
midst as a child among your children, and you have not even come to
know me. I have spoken to you as with the wise, and you have failed
to comprehend my speech. Indeed, you are more childish than I am,
and your faith is stunted.”
Once again he said to them, “You find it hard to believe that I know
how many years have been given you to live? Believe me; I know when
the world was formed. Behold, though you don’t believe me now,
when the day comes that you see my cross, you will know that I am
telling the truth.” And when they heard these words they were all
(ArIn 22:1-6; InTh 6:3-7:4(7))
Zacchaeus wrote out the Hebrew alphabet and one by one
pronounced for him all of the letters from [Aleph] to [Taw], asking
him question after question. He said “[Aleph]” to him, and the boy said “[Aleph.]” The teacher repeated, “[Aleph,]” and so the boy
repeated it also. Then, the third time that the master said “[Aleph,]”
Jesus looked right at him and demanded, “You who do not know the
[Aleph] according to its proper sense, how ever will you teach anyone
about the [Beth]? You hypocrite, if you know the [Aleph], then
explain it to us; only then will we believe you when you teach about
the [Beth].” Then Jesus started to examine the teacher on the topic of
the first letter, and the teacher could not answer. And the boy taught
Zacchaeus loud enough for all to hear, “Listen, teacher, and pay close
attention to the composition of the first letter; how it has lines and a
stroke intersecting the two down the center, as you can see,
intersecting, rising up, dancing there and turning together; three
signs, each alike, subordinate to, yet supportive of one another, all of
them the same dimensions. There you have it--the lines of the
Now when Zacchaeus the instructor heard so many allegorical
interpretations of the first letter being elucidated by the boy, he was
bewildered by his answer, and his exposition, and was utterly amazed
and could give him no reply. And beginning at [Aleph], Jesus
expounded all twenty-two letters without any prompting whatsoever.
Then Zacchaeus confessed to the people there, “How miserable and
wretched and troubled I am. By taking this boy to myself, I have
gotten only shame. I beg you, Joseph, take this boy away from me, for
I cannot bear the way he looks at me so demandingly. I cannot
understand in the least the things about which he speaks. This child
cannot be of this world. Perhaps he was born before the world was
formed. What belly could carry him? Whose womb could nourish
him? My friend, I am undone; he utterly perplexes me--I cannot even
begin to scale the heights of his understanding. I have fooled myself,
and been disgraced thrice over. I had sought after a student, but have
instead gotten a teacher. I am, my friends, completely ashamed that a
mere child such as he has gotten the better of an old man like me.
Depression and death overwhelm me on account of this lad. I cannot
look him in the face--and when everyone goes around saying that I
have been bested by a little boy, how am I supposed to reply? What
am I to say about the first letter and its lines as he explained it to me?
My friends, I have no idea, for I understand neither beginning nor
And turning to Joseph he remarked, “Without a doubt, brother, this
child was not born of this earth, so I implore you, brother Joseph, take
him back home with you. Be he a god or an angel or some other magnificent being I do not know, and cannot say.”
(ArIn 20:7-12; PsMt 31; InTh 8)
Then the doctor of the law, master Zacchaeus urged Joseph and
Mary a second time, “Turn the boy over to me and I will take him to
Master Levi--he will teach him letters and give him an education!”
Then Joseph and Mary pacified Jesus and took him over to the school
so that the elderly Levi might teach him letters. And from the moment
he entered that place, Jesus remained silent. And starting with the
first letter, Aleph, Master Levi kept saying just that one letter to Jesus,
and ordering him to explain it, but he held his peace and gave no
answer. Then Master Levi, his instructor, grabbed his storax rod and
cracked him over the head with it. Then Jesus, standing up to his
teacher Levi, demanded, “Why did you hit me? You can be quite sure
of this: the one who has been stricken can teach the one who struck
him much more than he could ever learn from him. You see, I can
teach you all about what you claim to know. Everyone who speaks,
and everyone who hears is as blind as the noise of brass or the clang of
a cymbal; which cannot hear the sounds they make.” To Zacchaeus he
added, “Every letter from Aleph to [Taw] is understood by the way that
it’s composed. Explain what the [Taw] is first, and then I will make
clear to you what the Aleph is.” And once again he said to him, “How
can those who know not the Aleph, ever come to know the [Taw],
seeing how hypocritical they are? Say what Aleph is first and then I
will believe you when you expound to me the Beth.” Then, one by one,
Jesus started asking about the names of each, and said, “Let the law
teacher explain to us what the first letter is, or why it has so many
triangles, which gradually flow from pointed to broad, bringing
together, drawing across, and reaching over; being perpendicular,
prostrate, and curving.” And when the teacher threatened him with a
whipping, the Lord Jesus expounded the meaning of the letters Aleph
and Beth to him. He also pointed out which parts of the letters were
straight, which were diagonal; which of them had double strokes;
those with and without points; the reason that one preceded another;
and he began to make plain to him one thing after another, explaining
things that his instructor had never so much as heard of before, nor
read out of any book.
And when Levi heard this, he was surprised at such an arrangement
of letters and names, and started loudly denouncing Jesus before them all, “Does he even deserve to live on this earth? No, he ought to be
hung instead upon a giant cross! He can put out any fire and talk his
way out of any punishment.” The Lord Jesus went on to explain to the
teacher, “Listen carefully to the way that I speak them.” Then he
started plainly and intelligibly to pronounce, “Aleph, Beth, Gimel,
Daleth...” and all of the others to the end of the alphabet. Upon
hearing this, the teacher was so beside himself that he cried out, “I
honestly believe that this child lived before the deluge and was born
before Noah. What womb gave rise to him? What mother brought
him into this world? What breasts nursed him? I flee from his
presence. I cannot endure the words from his mouth, and my heart is
amazed at the sound of such speech. I do not believe that any man
could comprehend his expositions unless God were with him. Now I--
pitiful fool that I am--have allowed myself to become a joke in his
eyes, for the whole time that I was thinking of him as a student,
ignorant of who he was, I have come to see that he’s my better. Now
what can I say? Because I cannot endure the words that this boy
speaks, nor do I find myself able to plumb their depths, I must surely
leave this town. For seeing as how I am able to grasp neither
beginning nor end of his exposition, an old man like me stands
vanquished by a little child. It is no small matter to ascertain even the
first thing about him. I tell you most assuredly, and do not lie when I
say that from where I stand, the actions of this boy, the source of his
speaking, and the thought that underlies his objective, seem to have
nothing to do with those of mortal men. Hence I cannot tell whether
he is a sorcerer, or a god, or if, perhaps, there is some angel of God
speaking through him. From where he derives his essence, or from
where he came, or what ever will become of him I cannot say.”
Turning to Joseph, he confessed, “You brought me a boy who is more
knowledgeable than any master, as though he were in need of
learning.” And turning to Mary the teacher affirmed, “This son of
yours has not the slightest need of any teaching.”
And even as the Jews were attempting to console Zacchaeus, the
boy Jesus cracked a smile and laughed out loud. Then he said to the
sons of Israel who were standing there listening, “Let those among you who have borne no fruit now bring it forth, and let those whose hearts
are blind now see, those who are lame now walk straight, the poor
enjoy good things, the dead come back to life, and everyone be
restored to their original stature to live in Him Who is the
fountainhead of life and of eternal sweetness. I have come down here
from on high that I might bring a curse on these for their own good, so that I might summon them again to what is above, even as it has been
decreed by the One Who sent me.”
And when the boy Jesus had spoken these things, those who had
fallen victim to grave disorders were immediately healed. After that,
no one dared to say a thing to him, or to hear anything from him, or to
anger him for fear that they might be cursed by him and thereby suffer
(ArIn 19:4-11; InTh 9(8); PsMt 32)
Joseph and Mary then went away and took Jesus into the city of
Nazareth, and he lived with his parents there. And a few days later, on
the first day of the week, Jesus was playing on a housetop in Nazareth
with some other youngsters. One of them shoved another headlong to
the ground from the upper floor, whereupon the child died. And when
they saw it, all of the other children who had been playing with him
ran away, leaving Jesus standing there by himself on the housetop
where the boy had been pushed off. And when the dead boy’s parents
heard of it, they ran over to that place in tears. And when they found
the dead boy lying on the ground and Jesus standing up above, they
assumed that he had pushed him down. And the dead boy’s parents,
who had not witnessed the event, confronted Joseph and Mary,
saying, “Your son has thrown our boy to the ground, and now he is
dead.” But Jesus held his peace and did not answer. Then they looked
up at Jesus and denounced him, accusing him of having thrown him
off: “Surely it was you who threw our boy from the top of that house!”
Joseph and Mary quickly ran over to where Jesus was; and his mother
questioned him, “My Lord, tell me, was it you who pushed him down?”
But Jesus denied it, answering, “I did not throw him off--he jumped
down from it himself. He was simply being careless and hurled
himself from the roof to his death.” But they shouted and threatened
him, saying, “Our son has been killed, and this is the one who
murdered him!” And sizing up the situation, the Lord Jesus answered
them, “Do not accuse me of a crime that you have no way of proving.
Let us go and ask him ourselves. He will tell us what really happened.”
And immediately Jesus jumped down from the roof and yelled out as
loud as he could, “Zeno! Zeno!” For that was the young boy’s name.
And Zeno answered Jesus, “Yes, Lord?” “Was I the one who pushed
you from the roof to the ground?” Jesus asked him. “Get up and say
who threw you down!” And at his word, the boy got up and worshiped
Jesus saying, “Lord, you were not the one who threw me down. That indeed was someone else. Rather, it was you who raised me from
death to life!”
And when they saw what had happened, everyone was astounded,
including the parents of the previously dead boy. And when the Lord
Jesus advised those who had gathered around to consider the boy’s
words carefully, they praised God for the miracle. And the parents
praised God for the sign that Jesus had shown and worshiped him.
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus then moved on to Jericho.
(InTh 10(9))
A few days later, in that very quarter, there was this man chopping
wood in a nearby corner who lost control of his ax, splitting open and
severing the sole from his foot. He was bleeding so freely that he was
near to death. Such a disturbance then arose in that place that many
people ran up to him and gathered all around him. The boy Jesus ran
there also, shoving his way through the midst of the crowd. He then
took him by the foot, and healed the young man with just a touch.
Then Jesus ordered him, “Get up! Split your wood, and think of me.”
The man got up and worshiped him, thanked him, and then began to
split his wood.
And seeing what had happened, everyone there also gave thanks
and marveled, worshipping the lad and confessing, “Without a doubt the Spirit of God is alive in this child.”
(ArIn 19:12-15; InTh 11(10); PsMt 33)
Now when Jesus was six years old, his mother handed him a pitcher
and sent him out with some children to draw water from the well and
return with it. He pulled it out completely full, and after he had drawn
it out, as he was walking in a crowd, one of the children bumped
against him and hit the jug, whereupon he stumbled and it broke!
And going over to the well, he laid out the garment he was wearing,
drew up as much well water with it as had been in the pitcher, and
carried it to his mother in his robe. And when his mother saw this
astonishing miracle, she pondered it within herself, and she was
completely amazed; she then hugged and kissed him all over. Mary
etched this and all of the other wonders that she had seen in her heart,
keeping the mysteries she had seen him perform to herself.
(PsMt 34)
On another day, Jesus took a tiny measure of grain from his
mother’s storehouse and went out to the field and seeded it himself.
Then it sprang forth and grew, bearing increase with astonishing
speed. In time he harvested it alone; and it yielded him three
measures, which he freely gave to his many friends.
(LJB pt.10)
The Wilderness of Judea
Now as for the blessed John, he wandered with his mother out in
the desert, and God supplied locusts and wild honey for him to eat,
even as it had been spoken to his mother about him, that he might not
let any unclean food pass through his mouth. After five years had
come and gone, the devout, exalted, and aged mother Elizabeth passed
away and the holy John sat weeping over her body. He had no idea
how to enshroud or bury her, for he was but seven-and-a-half at the
time of her passing. (Now the blessed Elizabeth died on the same day
as had Herod, which was February the fifteenth.)
Jesus, who could see both the heavens and the earth, saw his cousin
John sitting and wailing over his mother. And Jesus also started
weeping at length, but no one knew the cause of his tears. When Mary
saw the grieving of Jesus, she asked him, “Why are you weeping? Did
Joseph or someone else scold you?” “No, mother,” answered the
Mouth Abounding with Life. “The truth is that Elizabeth, your aged
kinswoman, has left my dearly beloved John an orphan. Even now he
is weeping over her body, which is lying on the mountain.”
When Mary heard this, she began to mourn over the loss of her
kinswoman. “Weep not, dearest mother,” Jesus consoled her. “We
will go and visit her this very hour.” And even as he was saying this to
his mother, a bright cloud came down and settled in between them.
Then Jesus said, “Call upon Salome, and have her come along with
us.” Then they all climbed onto the cloud, which flew them out to the
wilderness of ’Ain Karim where John was sitting, and Elizabeth’s body
was laying. The Savior then commanded the cloud, “Drop us off on
this side of it.” Then the cloud, without delay, traveled there and went
away. But the sound carried over to John. And when John heard the
noise of their approach, he was afraid and abandoned the body of his
mother. He then heard a voice that said, “John, do not be afraid. I am
your kinsman Jesus. I have come with my mother to see to the proper burial of your own hallowed mother Elizabeth, for she is near of kin to
my mother and me.” When John heard this, he turned around and
headed back in the direction of Christ and his mother Mary and
embraced them. Then the Savior said to his mother, “Mother, Salome,
rise up and wash her body off.” They bathed it in the spring from
which she used to wash herself and her boy. Mary then held John
close and wept with him, cursing Herod for his many crimes.
Then the Angels Michael and Gabriel came down from the heavens
and dug a grave. “Go now,” said the Savior, “and return with the souls
of Zechariah and Simeon the priest, that they might sing as you bury
her body.” Immediately Michael returned with the souls of Simeon
and Zechariah, who placed the shroud over Elizabeth’s body and sang
for rather a while. Now the mother of Jesus wept, as did Salome, and
the two priests traced the sign of the cross upon her corpse and prayed
over it three times before laying it to rest in the grave. Then they
buried her body there, sealing the plot with the sign of the cross, and
they each returned in peace to their places. For seven days Jesus and
his mother remained with John--consoling him on the loss of his
mother, and teaching him how to survive in the desert. Then Jesus
said to his mother, “Let us move on to where I can resume my work.”
And Mary burst into tears over the isolation of the young boy John, so
she suggested, “Since he has been left an orphan and there’s no one
here to care for him, we will take him home with us.” But Jesus
replied, “This is not the will of my heavenly Father. He is to remain in
the wilderness until the day that he’s revealed to Israel. He will not
remain in a wasteland full of wild beasts, but will instead walk in a
desert full of prophets and angels, as though there were great
multitudes of people there. Archangel Gabriel is also with us, and I
have charged him with protecting John and granting him power from
on high. What is more, I will make the water from this spring as sweet
and pleasing to him as his own mother’s milk. Who was it that
watched over him in his youth? Oh, mother, do I not love him more
than the world itself? Zechariah loved him too, and I have decreed
that he should also come and care for John, for though his body lies
buried in the ground, his soul indeed lives on.”
Jesus spoke these words to his mother in the wilderness, even as
John remained behind. They then climbed back onto the cloud, and
John watched and grieved as they left him there. Mary agonized and
mourned for John saying, “How wretched I feel, seeing you alone out
here in the desert. Where is your father Zechariah? Where is your
mother Elizabeth? Let them come today and weep alongside me.” “Mother,” Jesus reassured her, “do not weep over this child, for I will
never forget him.” And even as he was saying these things, behold, the
cloud picked them up and carried them off to Nazareth. And while in
Nazareth, Jesus fulfilled all things human except for sinning. And
John lived in the desert with great simplicity and devotion. God and 
His angels were with him there, and his only nourishment came from
grasses and wild honey. He prayed without ceasing, fasted often, and
remained in expectation of the salvation of Israel.
(ArIn 15:1-7)
One day, when the Lord Jesus was seven years old, he was playing
with some friends of his who were about his age. As the boys were
playing, they molded clay into various shapes--donkeys, cattle, birds,
and other creatures. Each of them was boasting to the others about
how much better their own was, and each of them was attempting to
outdo the others. Finally the Lord Jesus said to the young men, “I will
order the forms that I have fashioned to walk.” And right away they
started walking, and when he ordered them to return, all of them came
back to him. He had, moreover, modeled images of sparrows and
other birds, which flew around when he ordered them to fly, stayed in
place when he said “hover,” and ate and drank when he gave them
food and drink. After a while, the boys went off and reported to their
parents all that had happened, and their fathers all admonished them,
“From now on, children, beware of his companionship, for he is an
enchanter. Steer clear of him and have nothing at all to do with him,
for from this time forward you are forbidden ever to play with him.”
(ArIn 15:8-15; InTh: Paris Manuscript #239)
On another day, when the Lord Jesus was playing and running
around with the boys, he passed by the shop of a dyer named Salem.
There were many clothes in that shop belonging to the people of that
town; each with orders to be dyed in various ways. He saw a young
man dipping some clothing and leggings into a rather gloomy color,
dying them according to the instructions given by each of his
customers, and placing them into the vat. The boy Jesus, entering into
the dyer’s shop, approached the young man who was doing this, took
all of the garments and threw them into the dryer. When Salem
returned and saw that the clothes had all been ruined, he started to rant and to rave, and to take Jesus to task, saying, “Oh Son of Mary,
what have you done to me? You have not wronged me alone, but my
neighbors as well. They all wanted their clothing to be dyed properly,
but you came along and ruined them entirely!”
Then the Lord Jesus answered him, “I will restore each and every
piece to whatever color you wish.” And he immediately started pulling
the cloths from out of the dryer, and they all were colored as the dyer
had intended. And when the Jews saw this amazing miracle, they all
started praising God.
(GPh 37, 47; Qur 2:138)
The Lord entered into the shop of a dyer named Levi, took seventytwo
different pigments and poured them all into the vat. Now as Jesus
took them out, they all turned white. Then he said, “The Son has come
as one who dyes in the selfsame manner.”
God is a dyer, and even as the excellent dyes are called “true,” and
fuse with everything that is colored within them, so it also happens to
whomever God dyes. Even as His are dyes of immortality, so also do
they achieve eternal life by means of His tinctures. These days what
God dips, He dips in water. We soak in the dye of God. Who can
boast of a dye that is better than God’s? Truly we will worship Him!

(ArIn 16:1-16)
Now whenever Joseph would go into town, he would take the Lord
Jesus along. Whether his work involved making gates, milking
buckets, sieves, or crates, anywhere that he would go, the Lord Jesus
would go there with him. Now any time Joseph was working on
something that needed lengthening or shortening; widening or
narrowing, the Lord Jesus would reach his hand out toward it, and it
would immediately become as he needed it to be. He therefore had no
need to complete any job with his own two hands, for Joseph was not
an expert in this line of work.
The king of Jerusalem once summoned Joseph and instructed him,
“I want you to fashion a throne for me of precisely the same
dimensions as the place where I usually sit.” Joseph agreed and
started working on the project. He labored for two whole years in the
palace of the king before he was able to finish it off, and when he
brought it to the spot to fit it in, he found that it was two spans short
of the commissioned size on either side. And when the king saw it, he
seethed with rage at Joseph. Joseph was so distraught over the king’s anger, that he did not even eat his supper, but went straight to bed,
taking nothing with him to eat.
The Lord Jesus then inquired, “What are you upset about?”
“Because,” Joseph replied, “I have wasted two whole years of labor in
this effort!” “Do not fear,” Jesus reassured him, “neither should you
be distraught. You take hold of one side of the throne, and I will take
hold of the other, and we will stretch it to its proper length.” And
when Joseph did what Jesus had said, and each had pulled as hard as
they could, the throne obediently stretched itself to fit the space
When those who were standing there saw it, they were all
astounded and gave praise to God, for this throne was made from the
same kind of wood as was used in Solomon’s day, decorated as it was
with many intricate figures and designs.
(ArIn 17:1-10)
On another occasion the Lord Jesus went out into the street, saw
some young boys playing together, and went over to them to join in.
But as soon as they caught sight of him, they all hid themselves from
him, leaving him to look for them. The Lord Jesus came up to the gate
of a certain house and asked the women standing there, “Where did all
of those boys go?” And when they said that there were none around,
the Lord Jesus asked them, “Then who are those you can plainly see in
that archway over there?” “Those are three-year-old goats,” the
women replied. Then Jesus shouted, “Hey you goats, come on over to
your shepherd!” And the boys came out and frolicked all around him
like goats. And when the women saw that, they were utterly
astounded, and trembled. And right away they worshiped the Lord
Jesus, begging him, “Oh Jesus, our Lord, and son of Mary, you are
without question the Good Shepherd of Israel! Have mercy on your
maidservants, who stand in your presence, Lord, and have no doubt
that you have come to save and not destroy.”
Then the Lord declared to them, “The children of Israel appear even
as Ethiopes compared to the rest of mankind.” “Lord,” the women
replied, “you know all things, and nothing can hide itself from you; but
now we are asking you--even appealing to every mercy that is within
you--to restore these boys to their prior state.” Then he said, “Come
on you guys, let’s go and play!” And right in front of those women,
the goats all changed back into boys.
(ArIn 18:1-19)
In the month of Adar, Jesus gathered the boys together, arranging
them as would a king. They spread their clothes out on the ground so
that he could have a seat. Then they fashioned a garland of flowers
and placed it on his head. Then they arrayed themselves to his left and
right as guardians of the king. Now if anyone happened to pass him
by, the boys would take hold of them and drive them along saying,
“Come on over here and pay the king his due respect, that all may go
well with you along your way.”
And even as they carried on like this, some men came along bearing
a boy upon a mat. This child, you see, had gone to gather wood up on
the mountainside with some friends of his, where he came across a
partridge’s nest. He reached out his hand to collect the eggs, and
without warning a venomous viper shot out of it and struck him on his
hand. Then he shouted for his friends to come and help him out. But
by the time they got to where the young boy was, he was already lying
like a corpse upon the ground. His neighbors showed up a little while
later and carried him back into town. Now when they arrived at the
place where the Lord Jesus sat enthroned as a king--and the other
boys standing as his guardians--the youngsters raced to head off the
snake-bitten child and said, “Come with us and pay the king the
respect he is due.”
When, however, out of their unbearable grief they declined, the
boys compelled them, forcing them to against their wills. And when
they got to the Lord Jesus, he said, “Tell me why you are carrying that
child?” And when they said that he had been bitten by a snake, the
Lord Jesus said, “Let us go and slay that serpent.” But when that boy’s
parents begged to be excused, seeing that their son was all but dead
already, the young men said to them again, “Did you not hear the
king’s pronouncement, ‘Let us go and slay that serpent’? Will you
disobey him?” So they brought the stretcher back, though it really was
against their wills. And when they arrived at the nest, the Lord Jesus
asked the boys, “Is this where that serpent likes to hide?” “Yes it is,”
they all replied. Then the Lord Jesus called to the viper, and it
slithered out submissively to him. And Jesus commanded the serpent,
“Go right now and suck out all of the venom that you’ve injected into
that boy!” So it skidded over to him and sucked all of it back out of
him. Then the Lord Jesus cursed it, and the snake burst open and
And he placed his hand upon the lad, restoring him to his former state. And when the boy began to cry, the Lord Jesus said to him,
“Wipe away your tears, for the day is coming when I will take you on
as one of my disciples.” And this is the one who is referred to as
Simon the Canaanite in the gospel.
(InTh 12)
Once again, during the sowing season, the boy went out with his
father to sow grain in their field. Now even as his father sowed, the
boy Jesus planted but a single grain, and after harvesting and tossing
it, he garnered a full one hundred measures from it. Then he called
the needy of that town to the threshing floor and distributed the grain
among them, and Joseph gathered what remained, and he was eight
when he worked this wonder.
(PsMt 35)
Jericho, The Jordan River
There is this road which passes from Jericho over to the place on
the Jordan River where the children of Israel had crossed over; and it
is said that the Ark of the Covenant once rested there. Now Jesus, who
by then was eight years old, left Jericho and headed out for the
Jordan. This path was not safe for men to walk because over by the
side of the road, not far from the riverbank, there was this cave where
a lioness lay nursing her cubs. Jesus came from Jericho knowing full
well that a lioness had recently brought forth a litter in that place, and
he went right in before them all. Now as soon as the lions caught sight
of Jesus, they all ran up and adored him. And the whole time that
Jesus sat within the cave, the little cubs rubbed up against him and
played with him, even as the older lions kept their distance and
lowered their heads, worshipping him and patting their tails
affectionately upon him. Now those who were standing off in the
distance, unable to see Jesus said, “He would never have offered
himself to the lions unless he or his parents had committed some
serious offence.” And as these people were speculating to one another,
overwhelmed by their grief, behold, Jesus suddenly came out of the
cave in plain sight of them all; the pride of lions going before him, and
the cubs playing with each other all around his feet. And Jesus’
mother and father stood, heads bowed, in the distance as they looked
on. The others also kept their distance on account of the lions, not
daring to approach them. Then he said to the people there, “How far superior are the untamed animals to the likes of you, seeing how they
both recognize and venerate their Lord, whereas you men, even
though you have been made in the image and likeness of God, have no
idea who He is! Wild animals sense me and become docile; whereas
men look right at me and do not even acknowledge me.”
(PsMt 36)
The Jordan River
After this, the waters of the Jordan spread to the right and to the
left, and Jesus went across before them all, attended by the lions.
Then loud enough for all to hear, Jesus called out to the lions, “Now go
in peace along your way, injuring no one, and may no man do you any
harm until you return to the place from which you came.” And they
bid him farewell through their cries and their gestures. They then
moved on to their proper domain.
(InTh 13(11); PsMt 37)
And when Jesus was eight years old, Joseph was commissioned by a
wealthy young man to build for him a bed of six cubits, because at that
time he was working as a carpenter specializing in wooden plows,
yokes for oxen, farm equipment, and beds. And Joseph went out to
the field to collect some wood, and Jesus went along with him. He
ordered his servant to cut a beam with an iron saw to the given length.
But he did not keep to the specified measure, cutting one of the
timbers a bit too short. And after sawing two wooden planks, he
produced one and placed it up against the other. Then Joseph,
noticing that one board was shorter than the other, grew troubled.
Then he measured it and confirmed that it was wanting, so he became
frustrated and was not sure what he should do about it. As he started
thinking about what to do, he headed off to find another. Jesus, when
he saw what had happened, and marking the perplexity of Joseph, that
to him the situation seemed hopeless, comforted him, saying, “Come
now, let us take hold of both ends of these beams and position them
together, lining up the ends; for by fitting them together precisely and
pulling them to ourselves, we will make the one the same as the
other.” And Joseph, unsure of what Jesus had in mind by saying this,
did as he was told, since he knew full well that Jesus could do
whatever he willed. So Joseph grabbed the ends of the two wooden
beams and pressed them flush against the wall beside him, and Jesus took the opposite ends. Once again Jesus said, “Hold tight to this
shorter piece.” And Joseph, still bewildered, took hold of it. Jesus
then grabbed the other end and stretched it to himself until it was the
same as the other beam. “From now on,” Jesus assured him, “be
anxious for nothing, but go back now and finish your work, even as
you have agreed to do, with nothing whatever to stand in your way.”
His father Joseph took it all in and was dumfounded. Then he hugged
and kissed the boy, saying in his heart, “How blessed I am that God
has given me a son like this!” Then Joseph went ahead and finished
the job, even as he had promised.
And as soon as they returned to town, Joseph explained all that had
happened to Mary. Now when Mary heard about and had seen the
glorious miracles that were done by her Son, she exulted, worshipping
him along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forevermore;
throughout an eternity of ages. Amen.
(InTh 14; PsMt 38; ArIn 20:13-16)
When all of the people started urging Joseph and Mary to enroll
Jesus in a school so that he might learn his letters, Joseph came to
accept just how much the boy truly understood for a child of his years,
and that he was becoming much more mature. So he, not refusing,
decided that Jesus should not go on any longer without learning them,
and complied with the order of the elders. They took him to school a
second time around, to an even more learned teacher, who would
instruct him in human knowledge. “First I will teach him Greek,” the
teacher said to Joseph, “then I will move on to Hebrew.” That teacher,
you see, knew all about the knowledge that this boy possessed and it
frightened him. Even so he wrote out the alphabet for him and went
over it with him for several hours; but Jesus did not answer him. Then
the instructor started teaching him in a forceful way, saying, “Say
Alpha!” Then Jesus challenged him, “If you are such a clever teacher,
and know the letters so well, then tell me the strength of the Alpha,
and I will show you that of the Beta--or, if you prefer, you may tell me
first what is the Beta, and then I will explain the Alpha.” Now the
teacher was enraged at this, but when he lifted his hand to flog the
child, and beat him over the head, the boy winced in pain and cursed
him, and his hand immediately withered. Then he fell face down to
the ground and died.
Then the boy returned to the house of Joseph and Mary. Joseph,
however, grew anxious and fearful. He called Jesus’ mother Mary over to himself and issued her the following command: “Never again will
we let him out of this house. Do not let him set so much as a single
foot outside the door, because everyone who angers him ends up dead.
Know that my soul suffers almost to death because of him! Who
knows but that one day someone might strike and kill him out of
rage!” “Oh man of God,” Mary replied, “do not even think this way,
but have faith instead that the One Who sent him as one born among
mankind will keep him from all spite and in His name guard him
against all evil.”
(InTh 15; PsMt 39)
Now a little while later the Jews asked Joseph a third time to coax
Jesus into being schooled by yet another teacher. This teacher--
someone who was close to Joseph--advised him, “Bring the boy to me
at my school; and if I can win him over, perhaps I’ll be able to teach
him letters.” And Joseph, knowing that it was impossible for any man
to teach him anything, since his knowledge came from God alone,
answered him, “Brother, if you think that you can teach him, then go
ahead and take him to yourself.” Joseph and Mary, fearful of the
people, intimidated by the rulers, and broken by the priests, went
ahead and delivered him up to the school despite the misgivings of
Joseph. The boy, however, went along cheerfully. And Jesus walked
boldly into the classroom, saw the book on the podium and, moved by
the Holy Spirit, pulled it from the instructor’s hands even as he was
teaching from the law. Then in the sight and hearing of all, Jesus
started reading and teaching them from out of the law, though he did not read from the words inscribed. It was instead through the power
of the Living God that he opened his mouth and, by means of the Holy
Spirit that he taught them all--as a never-ending flood of water
gushing from a fountain of life! And it was with this kind of power
that he taught the people the sublime things of the Living God. And
the hearts of the people seated there changed to absolute
astonishment upon hearing such words from him. And a great crowd
gathered around, and they stood there, listening in amazement over
the excellence of his teaching and the fluency of his speech. Everyone
there, including the teacher, who dropped to the ground in adoration,
was utterly astounded that a mere child like him could bring such
things as these to light. But as soon as Joseph heard of it, he grew anxious and raced over to
Jesus at the school, wondering to himself if this teacher might, for his
lack of experience with him, be dead already. But when the
schoolmaster caught sight of Joseph, he confessed, “Brother, I realize
that I took this boy on as a pupil, but he is brimming with all grace and
wisdom. This is no mere student that you have brought to me, but a
great teacher! Who can hear the words he speaks? Brother, I beg you,
take him home with you.” This fulfilled the Scripture that reads, “The
river of God overflows with water. Their food You have readied, for
even thus is the preparation thereof.” And when the boy heard all
these things, he quickly smiled at the teacher and said, “Because you
have spoken so aptly and testified so truthfully, the one who was
stricken will now be made whole.” And just then his former instructor
was healed. Then Joseph took the young man and returned to his
(PsMt 40)
After this, because their enemies had been acting so spitefully
toward them, Joseph took Jesus and Mary and went away to
Capernaum by the sea. Now during the time that Jesus was there,
there lived this other, rather wealthy man whose name also happened
to be Joseph. But this man had withered up and died from an illness, and was laying lifeless on his bed. Now when Jesus heard the
townspeople sorrowing and wailing and grieving over the departed, he
asked Joseph, “Why not do this man a kindness that’s in line with your
benevolence, seeing that you and he both share the same name?”
Joseph then inquired of Jesus, “How is it within my authority or
capacity to do anything for this man?” And Jesus answered him,
“Take the cloth off of your head and lay it over the face of the man who
is dead, and say to him, ‘The Anointed One is saving you.’ The lifeless
man will then be restored and rise again from his bed.” Joseph, when
he heard what Jesus had said, quickly rose up and ran into the house
of the deceased, placed the cloth he had been wearing around his head
over the face of the man on the bed and said, “Jesus is saving you.”
And the man who had died immediately got up from his bed and
asked, “Who is this Jesus?”
(ArIn 19:1-3; InTh 16; PsMt 41)
They moved on from Capernaum to Bethlehem, where Joseph could stay with Mary and Jesus in his own house. One day Joseph
summoned his eldest boy James and sent him out into the garden to
collect herbs and firewood for the stew and return home with them.
The young Jesus, however, tagged along behind him into the garden
without either Joseph or Mary knowing about it. When they got to the
spot where the firewood was, James started gathering vegetables, and
behold, a poisonous snake shot out of its hole and bit James on the
hand, whereupon he started yelling and screaming in great pain. Then
he grew faint and cried out in anguish, “Oh, no! No! An accursed
snake has bitten my hand!” The Lord Jesus, who was standing there
across from him, hearing his cries of agony and seeing him in this
state--all sprawled out and nearly dead--ran up to him, took him by
the hand, and with nothing but a puff to the wound, he cooled it off,
and James was immediately healed. His pain disappeared, and the
serpent split apart.
Joseph and Mary, when they heard the cry of James and the call of
Jesus, ran to the garden unaware of what had happened, and found the snake dead and James healed.
(InTh 17)
Now after this had come to pass, there happened to be a little child
who lived near Joseph who had died from an illness, and his mother
was crying out in bitter anguish. Hearing that horrible wailing and the
ensuing commotion, Jesus hurried over there, found the child dead,
laid his hand upon his chest and said, “I say to you, do not die, but go
and live at your mother’s side.” And looking up, the child laughed.
“Take this boy and suckle him,” he instructed the woman, “and
remember me.” Now when the bystanders saw it, they were all
amazed and they confessed, “Without a doubt, this lad is either
himself a god or else he is an angel of God, for every single word he
speaks brings about a reality.” And Jesus left them there and went to
play with some other children.
(InTh 18)
Some time later a rather large disturbance broke out where a house
was being built, so Jesus got up and headed there. When he saw a
man lying there dead, Jesus took him by the hand and said, “Get up
sir, and do your work!” And the man rose right up and worshiped him. And when the people saw this thing, they were all astounded,
and cried aloud, “This boy assuredly comes from heaven, since he has
delivered so many from death, and as long as he remains alive, he has
the power to save them all.”
(PsMt 42)
Joseph took his sons, James, Joseph, Judah, Simeon, and his two
daughters to a banquet. Jesus and his mother Mary met them there,
along with her sister Mary, daughter of Cleophas. And when they had all arrived, he sanctified and blessed them all.
(The Lord God had given this Mary over to Cleophas and Anna, her
father and mother, since they had presented Jesus’ mother to the
Lord. She was known by the same name, Mary, that her parents might
feel somewhat consoled. Now Jesus would always be the first to eat,
for not one of them would ever venture to dine, drink, recline at table,
or break bread unless he had blessed them first. And if for some
reason he was not present, they would wait around for him. And
whenever he did not wish to come for food and drink, then neither did
Joseph, Mary, or any of his brothers, the sons of Joseph. These
brothers of his would obey him with all severity, seeing his life as the
light of a lamp. And whenever Jesus would sleep, be it either night or
day, the glory of God would shine on him. May all praise and honor be
to him forevermore. Amen and amen!)
(Luke 2:41-43a; ArIn 21:1-8; InTh 19:1a)
Caravan to Nazareth, The temple in Jerusalem
Every year, Jesus’ parents would go to the Passover feast in
Jerusalem. And when he was twelve years old they traveled up, as
their custom was. And after the feast was over and they had satisfied
the number of days required, they all started out for home. And even
as they were all returning, the Lord Jesus headed back for Jerusalem.
His parents knew nothing about him staying behind in the temple
among the teachers, elders, and learned men of Jerusalem. He posed
many questions to them and answered them concerning many issues
having to do with their expertise.
For example, Jesus asked them: “Whose son is this ‘Messiah’?”
“David’s,” they replied. Jesus therefore questioned them, “Then why
in the Spirit does David call him ‘Lord’ when it states, ‘The Lord said
to my Lord “Sit here to my right until I have made all who oppose you a stool for your feet?”’” Then this particularly eminent Rabbi prodded
him, “Have you read books?” “Not only have I read books,” Jesus
replied, “but also what is in those books.” Then he gave them a
detailed explanation of the books of the Law--the rules, the
legislations, and all of the riddles that were interwoven into the
prophetic Scriptures--matters that were too profound for the mind of
any ever to unravel. At that point the Rabbi said, “I have never seen,
or even heard of such things before! What do all of you suppose will
become of this boy?”
(ArIn 20:9-21)
The Temple in Jerusalem
And when this astronomer who was there asked the Lord Jesus,
“Have you ever studied astronomy?” he answered him by revealing to
him the number of spheres and celestial objects, together with their
triangular, square, and sextile facets; which ones moved prograde and
which ones moved retrograde, their various proportions and their
various forecasts, along with many other depths, never yet plumbed by
the minds of men.
There was also this Philosopher among them who was very skilled
in medicine and the physical sciences, who asked the Lord Jesus,
“Have you ever studied medicine?” He answered him with an
explanation of both medicine and its theoretical underpinnings.
Moreover, he defined precisely what lies above the powers of nature,
along with all that is subject thereto; the physical potential, and the
interactions between the body and its fluids, and how they respond to
one another. He also revealed the number of its constituent parts,
such as bones, arteries, veins, and nerves; the various physical aspects
of the body, namely warmth and dryness, coolness and moisture, as
well as their various functions; how the soul controls the body, and the
various senses and modalities that are open to them; the capacity for
language; desire and anger; and last of all, the composition and
decomposition of the body; and a whole host of other subjects that
have eluded the grasp of all mankind. Then that philosopher got up
and worshiped Jesus, saying, “Oh Jesus, my Lord! From now on, I
will follow you and work for you.”
(Luke 2:43b; InTh 19:1b-5; ArIn 21:22-29)
Caravan to Nazareth, The Temple in Jerusalem
But his parents imagined that Jesus must have been in the crowd
with them somewhere. And after they had done a full day’s walking,
they went looking for him among their kin, and when he was nowhere
to be found, they grew troubled and headed back to the city to search
for him. They found him at last on the third day, sitting in the temple
amid the Teachers, hearing the law and posing questions to them.
And all of those who heard him there were astounded by his
understanding and his exposition. And everyone there paid careful
attention to him and wondered how in the world a mere child like this
could throw so much light on passages from out of the law and
parables within the prophets, leaving the elders and the Teachers of
the People utterly unable to speak.
It was even as they were all addressing these and other issues that
the Lady Saint Mary came walking in after having wandered around
all over with Joseph for three days seeking after him. And when she
saw that he was seated in the presence of doctors, asking them
questions and giving them answers, Joseph and Mary were both
astonished. Then his mother Mary approached him and asked, “Why
have you put us through all this, my child? I’ll have you know that
your father and I have gone through a great deal of trouble in
searching for you, and we worried about you all that time!” Jesus then
replied to them, “Why did you go looking all over? Were you not
aware that it was needful for me to be employed in the house of my
Father, taking care of His affairs?” But they failed to grasp the sense
in which he meant for them to hear his words.
But the scribes and Pharisees then spoke up, “Are you the mother of
this lad?” “Yes I am,” she replied. “Oh Mary,” they all confessed, “how
joyful are you among women! You are truly blessed to have brought
forth a boy like him, for such a blessing has God lavished on the fruit
of your womb. Never before have we seen or heard such glorious and
excellent wisdom.” Jesus then rose up and followed his mother, going
down with them, and traveling with them on to Nazareth, where he
lived in obedience to them. His mother treasured up all that had been
said in her heart. And Jesus waxed ever wiser and wiser, all the time
growing in grace and stature; and the esteem of God and men. To him
be boundless glory forevermore. Amen.
(ArIn 22)
This marks the time when Jesus began hiding his miracles and secret works. He dedicated himself to a careful study of the law until
the end of his thirtieth year, the age at which the Father acknowledged
him openly at the Jordan with the sound of His voice, and the Holy
Spirit in the form of a dove, addressing him with this declaration from
the sky above: “This is My Son, whom I love and in whom I take
delight!” He is the one we worship with all honor, because he brought
us from the womb of our mother; calling us into being and bringing us
to life. He who for our sakes has taken on a human form and rescued
us, that he might embrace us with eternal kindness, and freely show us
the greatness and abundance of his mercy and goodness. May all
glory, praise, power and dominion be to him from now on and
forevermore. Amen.
(HJC Intro,1)
{In the name of God; three Who are comprised of one. The
narrative of the death of our father, the aged and venerable Joseph the
carpenter. Brothers, may his blessings and his prayers sustain us all.
His entire lifetime amounted to one hundred and eleven years, and
his passing from this world took place on the twenty-sixth of Abib,
which is also known as Ab. May we be upheld by his prayer! Amen.
And it was truly none other than our Lord Jesus Christ who disclosed
this narrative to his most reverend disciples on the Mount of Olives;
all about the labors of Joseph, and also of his final days. And the holy
apostles preserved this address, and left it in written form in the
Jerusalem library. May their prayers sustain us all! Amen.}
One day it happened that our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ,
was sitting on the Mount of Olives with his followers who had
gathered there. And he addressed them as follows: “Brothers, friends,
and sons whom the Father has chosen out of all mankind; you know
how I have frequently spoken to you about the crucifixion I must
undergo, and of the death that I must endure in order to redeem Adam
and his children, and how I will arise from death. I will now entrust
you with the teaching of the sacred gospel which has been preached to
you already, so that you might make it known around the world. I
will, moreover, give you power from on high, filling you with the Holy
Spirit. And you are to preach repentance and the remission of sin
throughout each and every nation. For if a man could find so much as
a single cup of water that is from the world to come, it would seem far
greater and more vast to him than the collective riches of this earth. Moreover, the ground covered by even a single foot in my Father’s
house is beyond the wealth of this whole world. Truly a single, joyful
hour in the home of the godly is more gracious and dear than a
thousand years among evildoers: since their wailing and mourning
will never cease, nor ever will their tears stop flowing, nor will they
even once enjoy any comfort or rest.
“And now, oh my distinguished members, go and proclaim this in
every nation, saying to them, ‘Truly the Savior, the Administrator of
Justice, is looking diligently into the inheritance that is due. And the
angels will throw down their opponents and fight on their behalf on
the Day of Battle. And he will closely scrutinize every senseless and
baseless word that mankind has spoken, and they will all be forced to
give account. For even as death is inescapable, so also will every single
one of man’s works, whether they are good or bad, be spread out on
the Day of Judgment.’ Also, be sure to relate to them this message I
am giving you today, ‘Let not the strong man glory in his might, nor
the rich man in his wealth; but if any man must glory, let him glorify
the Lord.’”
(HJC 10-32; ArIn 22:7b)
After many years had come and gone, the elderly Joseph arrived at
a ripe old age. Despite working continuously, his body never grew
frail, nor did his vision ever fail, nor ever did his teeth fall out, nor was
he ever senile his whole life long; but he, like a young lad, went about
his business spryly and energetically, with his arms and legs intact and
free from aches and pains. All together, his lifetime amounted to one
hundred and eleven years, stretching his days to their furthest extent.
Now two of Joseph’s oldest boys, Justus and Simeon, were married
and had their own families. Both of his daughters were also married
and living in their own homes. That left Joses and the Lesser James
living in Joseph’s house with my virgin mother. I lived with them
blamelessly as one of his sons, calling Mary my mother and Joseph my
father, doing whatever they would tell me to. I never defied them, but
always obeyed them no matter what they would say, even as other men
who are brought forth on this earth are inclined to do. I never did
provoke them to anger, nor did I talk back to them, or contradict
them, either. On the contrary, as the apple of my eye did I lavish them
both with love and affection.
And after all this, it happened that the death and passing from this
world of the pious and elderly Joseph was drawing near, as is the case
for every man that is born of this earth. And even as he was at the point of death, an angel of the Lord informed him that his passing was
near. He therefore grew fearful and perplexed. He then rose up and
traveled on to Jerusalem. And when he went into the Lord’s temple,
he poured forth his prayers before the sanctuary, pleading, “Oh, God,
author of every solace; God of all pity, and Lord over the whole human
race; God of my soul; God of my body; and God of my spirit; I worship
You and plead with You. Oh, my Lord, my God, if my days are at an
end, and the hour of my passing from this world is at hand, I beg of
You, send Michael, the great prince of Your holy angels, to accompany
me, that my miserable soul might leave this tortured frame of mine
without incident; free from any threat or fear. For unspeakable fear
and dread seize all bodies on their dying day; be they either male or
female, wild or domestic animal, or whatever crawls along the ground,
or flies through the air. Every creature under heaven that breathes in
the breath of life becomes panic-stricken as their souls fearfully and
woefully pass away from their bodies. Oh, my Lord and my God, let
Your holy angel be there to help ease the separation between my body
and soul, and do not let the face of the guardian angel appointed to me
from the time of my birth turn away from me now; but may he
accompany me on my journey even until he brings me to You. Let his
expression be pleasing to me and comfort my heart, and let him go
with me in peace. Let not the demons approach me with their frightful
faces on the way that I must go, until I arrive in Your delightful
presence. Let not the gatekeepers keep my soul from paradise. Show
not forth my sins so as to condemn me before the terror of Your
judgment seat. Do not permit the lions to lunge on me, nor allow the
swells of the fiery sea to overwhelm my soul before I have gazed upon
Your face, so glorious and divine; for every soul must face these things.
Oh, God, most upright Judge, Who with justice and fairness will pass
judgment on all mankind, and will pay them back for what they have
done. Oh, my Lord, my God, I beg of You, draw near to me with Your
compassion, and shine Your light upon my path, that I might draw
near to You; for You are a fountain overflowing with every glorious
thing, and are possessed of everlasting glory. Amen.”
And it happened afterward that when he had returned to his own
home in Nazareth of Galilee, Joseph was stricken by an illness that
confined him to his bed. And it was at that time that he passed on, as
is the lot of all mankind. This disease, you see, completely
overwhelmed him. From the day that he was born, he had never yet
suffered such an affliction, and truly it pleased Christ to arrange this
end for the righteous Joseph. And for forty years he remained unwed; afterward he cared for his wife another forty-nine until she died. And
a year after her death, the priests entrusted my mother, the blessed
Mary to him, to look after her until such time as she should wed. She
lived in his house for two whole years; and during her third year in the
house of Joseph, when she was fifteen, she brought me into this world
by a means so mysterious that no created being can recount it, nor yet understand it, but only myself, my Father, and the Holy Spirit, who
are of one substance with me.
The age of my father therefore, that venerable old man, was one
hundred and eleven years, as it had been decreed by my Father in
heaven. And it was on the twenty-sixth of Abib that his soul left his
body. For it was then that the choice gold started to lose its luster, and
the silver to wear out through use. (By this I mean his wisdom and his
intellect.) He also refused all food and drink. And having lost his
carpentry skills, he began to let his business go. And so it happened
that, in the early morning hours of the twenty-sixth day of Abib, that
that honorable man, the aged Joseph, lay upon his bed, surrendering
his troubled soul. He therefore opened his mouth and cried:
“Cursed was the day I was brought into this world!
Cursed was the womb that carried me!
Cursed were the bowels that moved for me!
Cursed were the feet that I sat and rested on!
Cursed were the breasts that nursed me!
Cursed were the hands that carried me and cared for me until I was
For in sin was I conceived, and in sin did my mother long for me.
Cursed are my lips and my tongue, which have brought up and
spoken foolishness, scandal, lies, ignorance, ridicule, gossip,
dishonesty, and hypocrisy!
Cursed are my eyes, which have gazed upon scandal!
Cursed are my ears, which have rejoiced in the slanderous words of
Cursed are my hands which have taken things that were not theirs!
Cursed are my stomach and my guts, which have longed for
forbidden foods!
Cursed is my throat, which as a blazing fire has consumed all that it
has come across!
Cursed are my feet, which have taken paths offensive to God!
Cursed is my body, as is also my pathetic soul, which has already
deserted God, Who fashioned it!
What will I do when I am made to stand before the Righteous 120
Judge; when He will demand an account for all the deeds that have
been accumulating from my youth? Cursed is every man who dies in
his sins! Behold, that same event that overtook my father Jacob as his
soul sailed away from his body has truly overtaken me! Oh, how
miserable I am today, and fit to be mourned! God, however, and no
one else, will concern Himself with my body and soul; and deal with
them as He sees fit.”
Then I went over to Joseph and found his soul in its distress, for he
was suffering terribly. And I said to him, “Bless you, father Joseph!
How are you feeling, oh man of honor?” And he responded, “Bless you
too, my beloved son. Truly do I say to you that pain and fear
encompass me, but my soul grew still when I heard your voice. Oh
Jesus of Nazareth! Jesus who rescues me! Jesus who sets my soul
free! Jesus who defends me! Oh, Jesus! How sweet is your name in
my mouth--and in the mouths of all who cherish it! Oh All-Seeing
Eye, and All-Hearing Ear, hearken to the words I speak! I worship you
and serve you today in all humility, and my tears rain down before
your face. You are my God, and my Lord, even as the angel has
reminded me so many times, particularly on that day when wayward
thoughts tossed my soul to and fro concerning the holy and virgin
Mary, of whom I was secretly plotting to rid myself, though she was
bearing you within her womb. At the time that I was weighing my
options, behold, these angels of the Lord appeared in my sleep, and
related this incredible mystery to me: ‘Joseph, son of David, do not
fear to take on Mary as your wife; do not be sad or speak such
unbecoming words with regard to her conception, for she is carrying
the child of the Divine Inspiration, and will bring a son into the world,
who will be called Jesus, since he will free his people from their sins.’
Oh my Lord, please do not permit me to suffer on account of my lack
of knowledge concerning your birth, neither of the mystery involved.
Oh my Lord, I also recall the occasion when that boy died of a
snakebite--how his family wished to turn you over to Herod, accusing
you of killing him--but even so, you brought him back from death and
restored him to his mother and father. How I then came up to you,
grabbed your hand and admonished you, ‘Watch yourself, my son!’ At that time you answered me, ‘Are you not seen as my fleshly father? I
will show you who I truly am!’ For all of these reasons, my Lord and
my God, please do not be mad at me, nor call me to account for that
instance. I am your servant, your servant girl’s son; but you are my
Lord, my God and my Deliverer, and assuredly the Son of God.” Now when my father Joseph had spoken this, he was worn from all
his weeping. And I could see that death clearly held him in its sway.
Then my unblemished virgin mother stood to her feet, walked over to
me and said, “Oh, my beloved son, this honorable old man Joseph is
even now at the point of death.” “Oh, dearest mother,” I replied, “truly
the burden of death is shared by all things that are brought forth on
earth; for death has its way with all of mankind. Even you, oh virgin
mother, must experience the same fate as other mortals. Nevertheless,
neither your departure, nor that of this righteous man, qualifies as the
true death, but rather as eternal life. Furthermore, even I must die
with regard to the body that I got from you. Even so, rise up dearest
mother of mine, and go over to the blessed old man Joseph, that you
might bear witness to all that takes place as his soul rises up from his
My spotless mother Mary walked over to where Joseph was and
went inside. There at his feet I sat and watched over him, for by then
the signs of death could be seen in his face. And that honorable old
man lifted up his head and fixed his eyes upon me, but had no
strength to speak to me on account of the pains of death that had
taken him. But he kept on gasping for air, and I held his hands for an
entire hour, at which time he turned and looked at me, motioning to
me not to leave his side. At that moment, I held my hand up to his
chest, and sensed his soul around his throat, ready to depart its
And when my virgin mother saw me touching his body, she also felt
his feet. And when she found that they were lifeless and cold, she said
to me, “Oh, my beloved son, truly his feet are stiffening, and are even
now as cold as snow.” She then called Joseph’s sons and daughters,
saying, “Come now, all of you, and gather all around your father; for
he is surely at the gates of death.” Then his daughter Assia remarked, “Oh my brothers, this is certainly the same affliction that claimed the
life of my own dear mother!” And she mourned and wept in
bitterness; whereupon all of Joseph’s other children likewise cried
alongside her, my mother and myself weeping along with them.
And glancing southward, I saw Death already drawing near, and all
of Gehenna with him, closely guarded by his army and his helpers;
flames shooting out of their clothing, faces, and mouths. And when
my father Joseph saw them coming, his eyes welled up with tears, and
at that moment he groaned in a very strange way. When I saw him
gasping furiously, I pushed Death back, and all his minions. And I
called upon my holy Father and said, “Oh Father of every mercy--the All-Seeing Eye and the All-Hearing Ear--hearken to my prayers and
petitions on behalf of the elderly Joseph. Send in the brightness of all
Your angels, Michael, the Prince of Angels, together with Gabriel, the
Proclaimer of Light. Allow the entire host of them to walk alongside
the soul of my father Joseph until they bring it near to You. This is the
moment when my father needs Your compassion the most.” (And I
say to you also that each and every saint--indeed each and every man
that is born to this world, be they either just or corrupt--must
necessarily pass away.)
Then Michael and Gabriel approached the soul of my father Joseph.
Then they took and wrapped it in a glistening cloth. This was the
means by which his spirit was given into the hands of my good Father,
Who granted him peace. None of his children yet knew that Joseph
had died. And the angels defended his soul from the demons of
darkness who were blocking the way, glorifying God until they had
conveyed it into the abode of the devout.
Now his corpse was lying flat on its back and devoid of blood. I
therefore reached out and straightened his eyes, shut his mouth with
my own hand, and said to the Virgin Mary, “Oh, mother of mine,
where is that ability which he so aptly showed throughout his lifetime
in this world? Sadly, it has gone away, and is as though it never was.”
And when his children overheard my conversation with my spotless
and virgin mother, they knew that he had breathed his last, and they
burst into tears and mourned for him. “Your father’s death,” I
explained to them, “is in truth not really death, but rather it is endless
life: for he has been freed from this world and its concerns, and has
moved on to endless and eternal rest.” And hearing these words, they
tore their clothes and wept aloud.
And the people of Nazareth and Galilee converged on the scene
when they heard their weeping, and they wept from the third hour all
the way until the ninth. And at the ninth hour they all went together
to the bed of Joseph. And they rubbed his body with precious
ointments and raised it up. But I prayed that same prayer to my
Father in the heavenly language which I had made with my own hand
before I was carried in the womb of my mother Mary. And when I had
completed it, I said “Amen,” and the entire host of angels appeared.
And I ordered two of them to extend their glistening robes and to
enshroud the body of the blessed old man Joseph in them.
At that point I spoke to Joseph, saying, “The stench of death and
corruption will have no power over you, nor will so much as a single
worm ever come from out of your body. None of its limbs will ever be broken, nor will a hair on your head be moved from its place. Oh
Joseph, my father, no part of your body will ever be lost, but it will
remain intact and never decompose, even until the thousand-year
feast. I will bless and repay in the assembly of virgins anyone who
should make an offering on your special day. And on the day of your
memorial, whosoever should feed the wretched, the poor, the widows,
and the orphans in your name from the work of his hands will never
lack any thing good as long as he lives. And to anyone who has so
much as offered a cup of water or wine to drink to either widow or
orphan in your name, I will place him in your care, that you may travel
along with him as he enters into the millennial feast. And to every
man who should offer a gift on the day of your commemoration, I will
bless and repay in the assembly of virgins: to one I will give thirty
times over, to another, sixty, and to yet another, a hundred. And as for
anyone who should write down the story of your life, and of your
labors, and of your passing from this earth--and even this narrative
that is from my mouth--him I will commit to your keeping as long as
he lives. And when his soul leaves his body and he has parted from
this realm, I will burn the book of his sins and not afflict him with any
penalty on Judgment Day; but he will travel through the sea of flames,
passing across without trouble or pain. And to every poor man who
can offer none of these things, this will be what he should do: if a son
is born to him, he is to name him Joseph, so that neither poverty nor
untimely death might ever come to pass in that house.”
After this, the leading men of that town gathered together at the
spot where Joseph’s body had been placed, bringing with them burial
shrouds with which they wished to wrap him up, according to the way
the Jews prepare the bodies of their dead. But they found that his
shroud held tight--clinging like iron to his body--for when they would
have taken it off, they found it impossible to loosen or budge, nor
could they find a linen edge, which astonished them to no end. Finally
they carried him over to a place where there was a cave and opened
the gate so they could lay his body to rest alongside those of his
forebears. Just then I called to mind the day that he traveled with me
into Egypt, and of the tremendous hardships that for my sake he was
compelled to endure. And I mourned his passing for quite some time;
saying as I was sprawled out over his corpse: “Oh Death, which causes
all knowledge to disappear and brings about tears and sorrows in
abundance, surely it is my Father, God Himself, who has given you
this power. Because men perish for the transgression of Adam and his
wife Eve, and Death does not spare anyone. Even so, nothing ever happens to anyone, or is brought upon him without my Father
commanding it first. Surely there have been men whose lives reached
nine hundred years; but even these have passed away. And though
there were others who lived even longer, all of them have come to this
end, and not one of them can say, ‘I have never tasted death.’ For the
Lord does not send the same affliction twice; hence it has satisfied my
Father to inflict it upon mankind but once.
“Death goes out the very instant that it sees the order coming down
from heaven, and it says, ‘I will go forth against that man, and afflict
him most grievously.’ Then, in a flash it sets upon the soul and
overpowers it, doing with it as it pleases. Because Adam violated my
Father’s decree, you see, and failed to act in line with His will, the
anger of my Father seethed over him, and He then condemned him to
death; and this was how Death came into the world. If, however,
Adam had kept my Father’s laws, Death would never have gotten the
better of him. Don’t you know that I could ask my Father to send me
down a chariot of fire to take my father Joseph’s body up to the
peaceful place that it might live among the spirits there? But because
of Adam’s disobedience, the trouble and violence that come with
Death has befallen all of mankind. And it is for this reason that I
myself must die in the flesh; that I might secure grace for those who
are my handiwork.”
Having said this, I embraced the body of my father Joseph, and
wept over it. Then they opened up the mouth of the tomb and placed
his body into it, near to that of his father Jacob. And at the time of his
passing, he had lived one hundred and eleven years. Never had a
tooth in his mouth pained him, nor had his eyesight ever grown dim,
nor ever did his body bend, or his strength ever fail him, but he
worked at his carpenter’s trade even until his dying day, which was on
the twenty-sixth of Abib. And after Joseph, who was worn out by old
age, had died and received a burial alongside his forebears, the blessed
Mary went to live with her sisters’ children.
And when we apostles heard these words from our Savior, we rose
up in joy and prostrated ourselves in his honor. “Oh Savior of us all,”
we implored him, “show us your grace. Now we all have heard the lifegiving
word! Even so, we still have questions about the fates of Enoch
and Elijah, oh Savior of ours, for they were both reprieved from death.
For truly they dwell in the place of the just even unto this very day, nor
have their bodies known decay. Even so, that aged carpenter, Joseph
was, after all, your father according to the flesh. And you have ordered
us to go throughout the world and preach to them your holy Gospel; and you have said, ‘Relate to them the account of the passing of my
father Joseph, and honor him every year with a solemn holiday and
festival, and let them know that anyone who takes anything away from
this narrative, or adds anything to it, sins by so doing.’ Yet we are
especially eager to understand why it is that you did not cause Joseph
to be immortal like these, though he called you his son from the day
that you were born in Bethlehem, and you say yourself that he was
both chosen and righteous?”
And our Savior answered us, “Truly my Father’s prophecy regarding
the disobedience of Adam has now been fulfilled. Everything is
ordered by my Father according to His will and pleasure. For if any
man should despise the commands of God, and in imitation of the
devil continue to sin, his life is prolonged, that he might have a change
of heart, and think about how he must be given over to death. If,
however, anyone is quick to do good works, his life is also prolonged,
that the more his life is lengthened and discussed, the more that
upright men might imitate him. But when you see a man whose mind
tends toward anger, his days are indeed cut short; for these are the
ones who are taken in the prime of their lives. Therefore every
prophecy that has been spoken by my Father concerning mankind
must be fulfilled in every one of its aspects. Yet with regard to Enoch
and Elijah, and how they are alive to this day in the very flesh in which
they were born, and with regard to my father Joseph, whose body has
not been spared as were theirs; indeed, even if a man were to live
many thousands of years upon this earth, he would nevertheless at
some point be compelled to exchange his life for death. And my
brothers I say to you that Enoch and Elijah must return to this world
toward the close of time and be slain as well. To be more specific, this
will happen on the day of upset, terror, confusion, and evil. For
because of the reproach with which he will be revealed, the Antichrist
will mutilate the bodies of the four who are to disgrace him utterly
when they expose him for his ungodliness during the time that they
are alive, and he will pour their blood out like water.”
“Oh, our Lord, God, and Savior,” we asked, “who are these four
about whom you have spoken, those whom the Antichrist will cut off
on account of the reproach that they will lay to his charge?” “They are
Enoch, Elijah, Schila, and Tabitha,” the Lord replied. When we heard
our Savior say this to us, we all exulted and rejoiced, giving glory and
thanks to the Lord God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. To him be glory,
honor, dignity, power, authority, and praise, the good Father along
with him, together with the life-giving Holy Spirit, from now on and forevermore. Amen.
{Here ends the complete Infancy Gospel, which through the aid of
the Most High God has been completed in accordance with what we
found written in the original.}
(Mark 1:1; Luke 3:1; Lentulus to Tiberius)
Here begins the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate
was the governor of Judea, and Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee.
Philip, his brother, was the tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachontis, and
Lysanias was the tetrarch of Abiline. In those days there emerged, and
to this day exists, a man of tremendous might named Jesus Christ,
who is referred to as the prophet of truth by the Gentiles, and the Son
of God by his own disciples, since he raises the dead and heals the ill.
He is a man of average height, handsome and dignified in his
appearance, giving those who look on him a feeling of love and at the
same time fear. His hair is the same shade as an unripe hazelnut, and
is straight nearly to his ears, but from that point down, it becomes
darker, curlier, and shinier; flowing over his shoulders and parting
down the middle of his head as is typical of Nazarenes. His brow is
gentle and serene, and his face has neither wrinkles nor flaws, and its
comeliness is enhanced by a slight ruddiness thereto. There is no
defect to be found on either his nose or his mouth. His beard is full,
and about the same shade as his hair; not too long, but parting a bit
below the chin. His expression is one of mature simplicity, with
sparklingly clear gray eyes. His rebuke is fearful, but his warnings are
humane and motivated by love, that is to say he strikes a balance
between lightheartedness and solemnity. On occasion he has wept,
but he has never indulged in laughter. He stands tall and straight,
with particularly arresting hands and arms. His manner of speaking is
serious, measured, and down to earth; more captivating than the
children of men.
(Mark 1:1; Luke 3:1; Lentulus to Tiberius)
Here begins the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate
was the governor of Judea, and Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee.
Philip, his brother, was the tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachontis, and
Lysanias was the tetrarch of Abiline. In those days there emerged, and
to this day exists, a man of tremendous might named Jesus Christ,
who is referred to as the prophet of truth by the Gentiles, and the Son
of God by his own disciples, since he raises the dead and heals the ill.
He is a man of average height, handsome and dignified in his
appearance, giving those who look on him a feeling of love and at the
same time fear. His hair is the same shade as an unripe hazelnut, and
is straight nearly to his ears, but from that point down, it becomes
darker, curlier, and shinier; flowing over his shoulders and parting
down the middle of his head as is typical of Nazarenes. His brow is
gentle and serene, and his face has neither wrinkles nor flaws, and its
comeliness is enhanced by a slight ruddiness thereto. There is no
defect to be found on either his nose or his mouth. His beard is full,
and about the same shade as his hair; not too long, but parting a bit
below the chin. His expression is one of mature simplicity, with
sparklingly clear gray eyes. His rebuke is fearful, but his warnings are
humane and motivated by love, that is to say he strikes a balance
between lightheartedness and solemnity. On occasion he has wept,
but he has never indulged in laughter. He stands tall and straight,
with particularly arresting hands and arms. His manner of speaking is
serious, measured, and down to earth earth; more captivating than the
children of men.
(Matt 3:1-12; Mark 1:2-8; Luke 3:2-18; John 1:19-28;
GEb 1, Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.3;
GEb 3, Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.13)
Judean Countryside Near the Jordan River Now in the days when Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the
Word of God came to visit this man in the Judean countryside by the
name of John, who was a descendant of Aaron the priest, and the son
of Zechariah and Elizabeth.
John turned up at the Jordan River and traveled throughout the
regions of Judea to either side thereof, preaching a baptism that
changed peoples’ hearts; of rededication and forgiveness of sins,
saying, “You must turn your lives around, for the kingdom of heaven is
drawing near.” This was he who was prophesied of in accordance with
what is written in the Book of the Oracles of Isaiah the Prophet:
“Behold, I will send a messenger ahead of you
Who will make arrangements for your arrival.
The voice of someone crying in a wilderness,
‘Everyone, make all things ready for the coming of the Lord!
Make every one of his ways plain.
Every valley will be filled in,
And every mountain and hill will be made flat.
The crooked roads will be made straight,
And the bumpy roads will be made smooth.
Then all men will be convinced of God’s salvation.’”
John’s clothes were woven from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather
belt around his waist. For nourishment he ate locusts and natural,
raw honey that tasted like manna, like a cake pan-cooked in oil.
Everyone in the Judean countryside, the regions along the Jordan, and
Jerusalem, went out to him. They confessed their sins and were
baptized by him in the Jordan River.
But when John saw that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees were
coming to him to be baptized, he cried out to them, “You brood of
vipers, who counseled you to flee from the judgment to come?
Produce results consistent with true penitence. Now do not say to one
another, (or) think to yourselves that you can say, ‘Our father is
Abraham,’ because I am telling you now that God can transform even
these very rocks into children of Abraham. The ax is already laid at
the roots of the trees, and every tree that fails to bring forth fit fruit
will be chopped up and relegated to the flames.”
And those who were assembled asked, “Well then, explain to us
what we must do?” And John replied, “Any man who has two
garments should give to someone who has none, and whoever has food
should do likewise.” Tax-collectors were also coming to him to be
baptized, so they asked him, “Teacher, what are we supposed to do?”
And he replied, “Only collect the amount that’s due.” Then some
soldiers who were there inquired, “What are we supposed to do?” And
he responded, “Be content with what you earn, accuse no one falsely,
neither extort any money from anyone.”
All of these people were waiting in expectation, wondering to
themselves if John were indeed the Messiah. Now this was John’s
answer to the priests and the Levites when the Jews of Jerusalem sent
them out to ask him who he was. He did not fail to acknowledge, but
freely admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Who are
you then? You must be Elijah.” “I am not!” He replied. “How about
the Prophet?” He answered them, “No!” Finally they asked him,
“Who are you, then. Give us a statement to take back to those who
sent us. What is it that you say of yourself?” John answered them
with the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“Mine is the voice of one crying in a wilderness,
‘Make every one of his ways straight!’”
Now some from among the Pharisees who had been sent prodded him,
“If you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, then why do
you baptize?” John responded to the people there and removed all
doubt. This was what he had to say:
“I baptize you in the water of repentance,
But there is one who stands among you--
Someone who you do not know,
Someone who is greater than I.
He is following on my heels.
It is he who comes after me,
Whose sandals I am not fit to carry.
Nor am I so worthy as to bend down
And untie the laces thereof.
He will baptize you with Holy Spirit
And with fire.
His sifting fork is in his hand
To empty out his threshing floor
And gather his wheat into his barn.
But the chaff he will burn
In unquenchable flames.”
All of these things took place at Bethany, on the other side of the
Jordan, where John was baptizing. And John spurred them on with
many such words, preaching the gospel to the people.
(Matt 3:3-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-3;
John 1:29-32; GHb 2, Quote by Jerome, Against Pelagians 3; GHb 3, Quote by Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 4, concerning
Isa 11:2; GEb 4, Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.13;
Severus, Syriac Baptismal Liturgy; DTry 88:3)
The Jordan River
One day, when the people were being baptized, the Lord’s mother
and brothers said to him, “John the Baptist is washing for the
forgiveness of sins. Let’s all go and be baptized by him.” “In what way
have I erred?” Jesus replied. “Why should I go and be baptized by
him? That would only be fitting if I did not understand my own
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee over to the Jordan
to be baptized by John. The next day John saw Jesus heading his way
and said, “Behold, it’s God’s Lamb of Atonement for the sins of the
world! This is the one I was talking about when I said to you, ‘A man
who comes after me surpasses me, since he went before me.’ I never
did know him myself, but the reason I came washing with water in the
first place was so that I might reveal him to Israel.” Even so, Jesus
also was baptized, though John tried to discourage him, saying, “I ought to be baptized by you, and here you are coming to me?” “Let it
be this way for now,” Jesus replied. “It is proper insofar as it allows
for the forgiveness of all.” Only then did John consent. Now John was
standing up above the waters as Christ went down into them to receive
baptism in the Jordan. And just then a great light blazed forth all
around; and fire was visible upon the water, such that all who were
there were afraid. And even as Jesus was praying there and being
baptized, he rose up from the water and the sky started spreading
apart. On his way up and out of the water, Jesus saw the sky splitting
open and the entire wellspring of the Holy Spirit plunging down--
perching upon him in physical form like a dove (and) filling him. For
truly the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit manifests,
liberation ensues. And a voice came from the sky: “You are My Son
and I love you. You bring Me great joy! This very day I have become
your Father. I awaited you in all the prophets, Son, biding My time
until your arrival, that I might settle all things in you. For you are My
rest, My firstborn Son, who rules forever.” And right away a bright
light illumined that place. And when John saw all of this, he asked
him, “Who are you?” And once again a voice from the heavens
confirmed, “This is My precious Son. He pleases Me immensely, (and)
I accept him completely!” Then John knelt down before him and
pleaded, “Lord, I beg you to baptize me!” But Jesus refused, saying,
“That will not be necessary. This is the means by which all things are to be fulfilled.” And Jesus was about thirty years old when his
ministry began.
(John 1:32-51; Papyrus Berolinensis 11710)
Bethany; Far Side of the Jordan
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit coming down as a
dove out of the sky, and lingering upon him. Had that One Who sent
me to baptize in water not disclosed to me, ‘The man upon whom you
see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with
the Divine Inspiration,’ I would never have recognized him. I have
seen, and do confirm that this one is the Son of God.”
The next day, John was standing there with two of his followers.
And as Jesus was walking along, John looked his way and cried aloud,
“Behold--the Lamb of God!” And when the two of them heard what
John had said, they started following after him. Jesus, turning
around, saw them in pursuit and asked, “What are you seeking?” And
they asked him, “Rabbi, (which means ‘Teacher,’) where are you
staying?” And Jesus answered, “If you’d like to know, then come
along!” They went with him and saw the place, and that day they all remained together until about the tenth hour. Andrew, Simon Peter’s
brother, was one of the two that heard John testify, and who afterward
followed Jesus. The first thing he did was to go and find his own
brother Simon. And he said to him, “We have found the Messiah,
which means the Christ.” Andrew then took Simon over to introduce
him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, the son
of John. You are to be known as Cephas, which means ‘the stone.’”
The following day, he was of a mind to move on to Galilee, so Jesus
found Philip, and bid him, “Follow me.” Philip, you see, was from
Bethsaida, the same city that Andrew and Peter were from. Philip
went to get Nathanael and said, “You know the one about whom
Moses wrote in the Law and the prophets? Well, we have found him!
He is Joseph’s son; Jesus of Nazareth.” And Nathanael asked him,
“Nazareth? Can a blessing come from there?” “You will see,” Philip
said. “Come on!” Jesus saw Nathanael approaching and said, “Look,
an Israelite in whom there truly is no guile!” “How can it be that you
know me so well?” Nathanael asked him. Jesus replied, “I saw you
even before Philip summoned you. You were underneath the fig tree.”
“Rabbi,” Nathanael confessed, “my Master--you are God’s Lamb of
atonement for the sins of the world! You are assuredly the Son of
God! The King of Israel!” “Nathanael, walk in the sun! Do you
believe that simply because I said to you that I could see you
underneath the fig tree?” Rabbi Jesus answered him. “You are going
to see things that are far more impressive than this! Of a truth, and
without a doubt,” he said, “I am here to tell you that you are going to
see the sky open up, and God’s angels rising and falling on the Son of
(Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-13;
GHb 4, Quote by Origen, Commentary on John 2)
Jordan River; The Wilderness (Mount Tabor)
Jesus, filled with the Divine Inspiration, returned from the Jordan
and was guided by the Spirit, which sent him out to a solitary place in
the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. “At that moment, my
mother, the Holy Spirit took me, whisked me away by one of my hairs,
and brought me to the great Mount Tabor.” He spent forty days in the
wilderness being tempted by Satan. He lived among the creatures of
the wild, where angels looked after him. He ate nothing that whole time, so after fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was very
hungry. Then the tempter showed up and enticed him, “If you really
are the Son of God, then say the word and this stone, (indeed all of)
these stones will be turned into bread.” Jesus replied, “It is written:
‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from
the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him and led him to Jerusalem, the holy city and
placed him on the pinnacle of the temple. He said, “If you really are
the Son of God, then jump down from here. You see, it is written: ‘He
will order his angels to watch over you, to guard you carefully, and
pick you up with their own hands, lest you should kick your foot
against a stone.’” Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Do not tempt the Lord
your God.’”
Again, the devil took him and led him up to a high place, to a lofty
mountain and showed him all the nations of the world, with all of their
trappings, in a moment of time. “All of this will I give to you,” he
baited him, “if you will bow and worship me. All of its power, and
every bit of its glory will I give to you, for it has been placed into my
hand, and I am free to offer it to whomever I choose. So it will all be
yours if you worship me.” And Jesus answered saying, “You get
behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You must worship only God,
serving Him and no one else.’” Then, after the devil had run through
every temptation, he left Jesus to await a better occasion. Angels then
came and ministered to him.
(Matt 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; AJn 88,89)
Beside the Sea of Galilee
As Jesus walked along the Sea of Galilee, he caught sight of two
brothers; Simon, whose nickname was Peter, along with his brother
Andrew. They, being fishermen, were casting a net into the sea. And
he called out to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!”
And just then they followed him, leaving their nets behind them.
Moving on from there he saw two other brothers, James, the son of
Zebedee, along with his brother John. And he called to them as they were preparing their nets in a boat with their father. For after Jesus
had selected the two brothers, Peter and Andrew, he came up to me,
and my brother James, saying, “Come to me for I have need of you.”
And my brother asked me, “John, what does this youth who called out
to us from the shore desire?” “What youth?” I asked. “The one who is
summoning us,” he answered. “Brother James,” I said to him, “we’ve
been out to sea for way too long--you are seeing things! Can you not
tell that the one standing there is a grown man, strikingly handsome
and joyful of face?” “My brother,” he answered, “that is not the one I
see. Let us go and see what this is about.” And they both got out of
the boat. Now as [they] were getting off, [they] realized that he was
helping [them] to guide [their] boat ashore. And right away they
followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the
And as we were leaving that place, again wishing to follow him, he
showed himself to me again; this time with a bald head and a long,
thick beard. To James, however, he revealed himself as an adolescent
boy whose beard was just growing in. We were both confused by this,
and marveled over what we had seen. Still, the longer we followed
after him, and the more that we thought about it, the more confused
we both became. And another, even more incredible sight was
revealed to me. Every time that I would try to see him as he truly was,
I never could see him with his eyes closed, but they were constantly
open. He would on occasion seem to me as somewhat small and
rather homely, but at other times he would appear as one whose
stature reached into the sky. There was yet another wonder in him:
when I would sit with him at the table, he would hold me to his heart
and I would hold him close to mine. Sometimes his chest seemed soft
and gentle, and sometimes it seemed as hard as a rock. Naturally I
was confused by this and asked, ‘What is this supposed to mean?’
(Matt 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16; Egtn 2:1,4)
And behold, it happened that while he was in one of those towns,
there was this man who was blanketed by leprosy. Now when he
caught sight of Jesus, he came up to him and fell to his knees (and)
face in worship. “Lord Jesus,” he said, “my teacher! As a result of
keeping company with lepers, and eating alongside them in the
poorhouse, I myself contracted leprosy. If you will, you can make me
clean.” And Jesus, moved with compassion, reached out his hand and
touched him, saying to him, “That is truly my desire; therefore be
cleansed.” And even as he said this, the leprosy went away, and the
man was cleansed. And immediately Jesus gave him a stern warning
and ushered him out, saying to him: “See to it that you say nothing to
anyone, but do go and allow the priest to examine you, and offer the
sacrifice that is called for by Moses, both for your cleansing and as a
sign to them--and no more sinning!” But he left that place and started
preaching blatantly, and speaking the matter so extensively that Jesus
could no longer enter into any town openly. And the stories about him
grew even more widespread, and great multitudes were gathering both
to hear him and to be healed by him of their illnesses. And he
withdrew into solitude to pray. And though he was way out in isolated places, they nonetheless came out to him from every region.
(Matt 9:9-10; Mark 2:13-14; Luke 5:29-28;
GHb 5, Quote by Didymus, Commentary on Psalm 184,
regarding Psalm 33)
Now as he was moving on, Jesus saw a tax-collector named
Matthew seated at the tax booth. “Follow me!” Jesus said, whereupon
Matthew got right up and followed him. Now as he was walking along
the lakeshore, he saw the son of Alphaeus, a tax-collector whose name
was Levi sitting at his spot at the tax-collector’s post. (Scripture, you
see, seems to equate Matthew with Levi, but they are actually two
different people. Matthias, the one who took the place of Judas, is in
fact Levi. He is the one who has two names; something that the
Gospel of the Hebrews makes clear.) “Follow me!” Jesus said. And
Levi stood, leaving everything behind, and following after him.
(John 5:1-47; GTh 52; Egtn 1:1-9:
Quote By Pseudo-Cyprian, On The Unbelief Of The Jews 4;
Clementine Homilies 3.53)
A short time later, there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up
to Jerusalem to attend. Now in Jerusalem there is this pool over by
the sheep gate, which in Aramaic is called “Bethesda.” It has five
colonnades surrounding it, and all manner of the ailing--the blind, the
lame, and the paralyzed--were lying in wait for the rousing of the
water. (Every once in a while, you see, an angel would come down to
the pool and stir the water up. The first one in after this upset would
be cured of whatever malady had afflicted them.) A man who had
been disabled for thirty-eight years was in that place. Jesus saw him
lying there, and knowing that he had been there a long time asked
him, “Would you like to be made whole?” “Lord,” the lame man
answered him, “I’ve got no one to help me in at the stirring thereof; for even as I am inching toward it, someone always beats me there.” “Get
up!” said Jesus, “Now pick up your bed and walk.” Right away the
man was healed, and he picked up his bed and walked away. Now it
was the Sabbath Day, so the Jews said to the restored man, “Today is
the Sabbath! The law prohibits you from carrying that bed.” But the
man replied, “The very one who healed me also said to me, ‘Pick up
your bed and walk.’” “Who is this ‘man’ who told you to pick up your
bed and walk?” they demanded. The one who had been healed had no
idea who it was that had healed him, for Jesus had slipped away into
the crowd. A short while later, Jesus met him at the temple and said,
“Behold, you are restored to your former state. See to it that you stop
sinning, or something far worse might befall you.” The man left that
place and informed the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
The Jews, therefore, were looking to deliver Jesus up to death, for
he had dared to perform these acts on the Sabbath. “My Father
ministers up to now,” Jesus explained, “and now I minister just like
Him.” Then the Jews were even more determined to put him to death,
for not only was he violating the Sabbath, but was also calling God his
Father, making himself out to be equal to God. “I say to you in all
truth,” Jesus therefore answered them, “the Son is unable to act on his
own. He is only able to do as he sees his own Father doing, for the Son
sees what the Father does and does things just like Him. For the
Father loves the Son, and fills him in on all He does. And He will,
moreover, make known things that are even more astounding than
this, that all of you might be amazed. For in the same way that the
Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also does the Son give
life to whomever he will. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has
relegated the judgment of all things to the Son. This is so that
everyone might respect the Son every bit as much as they respect the
Father. Whoever dishonors the Son also brings dishonor upon the
Father Who sent him. I say to you most assuredly, anyone who hears
my word and believes in Him Who sent me here, has transcendent life
and will not be judged, but has passed right through death and into
life. Assuredly I say to you, the time is approaching, and truly is upon
us, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and in hearing
they will come alive. Because in the same way that the Father has life
within Himself, so also has He decreed that the Son should have life
within himself. And He has given him complete authority, for he is the
Son of Man.
“Do not be surprised at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear His voice and resurrect; those who have acted righteously will arise to be enlivened, and those who have acted
wickedly will arise only to be sentenced. I cannot do whatever I
please. I judge according to the way I hear, and as such my judgment
is fair, seeing that I do not act by my own whims, but only as the One
Who sent me wishes me to. And if I should speak of myself alone,
then my testimony will not stand. There is another who will testify on
my behalf, and I am quite sure that His testimony regarding me is
true. You sent envoys out to John, and he has testified to the truth.
Not that I accept the testimony of men; but this I say for your
salvation. John was a lamp that was burning bright, and for a time you were eager to bask in his light. But I am backed up by a testimony
that is greater than John’s. What I am working on now, you see, is the
very task that was given to me by the Father, and it does of itself
confirm that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father Who sent
me has already borne me out. Never have you heard His voice, nor
ever have you seen His form, and neither is His word alive in you.
That much is certain, seeing that you do not trust in the one whom He
has sent.” <Jesus said> to the scribes, “<God will judge> all who
behave unfairly, <so look to yourselves> and not me. <You imagine
that you judge the same way that> He does, how does He?” And
turning to the leaders of the people, he said: “Pore over the writings
then. You study the Scriptures meticulously, supposing that through
them, you will have eternal life. Yet you reject me out of hand, in spite
of the fact that these very Scriptures point to me, that you might draw
near to me and thereby receive endless life.
“I do not accept the praises of men. Indeed I know how it is with
you. You do not have God’s love in your hearts. For even though I
come bearing the very stamp of my Father, you do not believe in me.
If, however, someone else should come along acting in line with his
own will, you will all be sure to embrace him. If you accept
commendation from each other, while not attempting in the least to
receive the glorification that comes from God alone, how ever will you
come to believe? “Now do not imagine that I will be the one to arraign you before my
Father. Moses, upon whom you’ve pinned your every hope, stands as
your accuser.” “We know that God spoke to Moses,” they said. “But as
for you, we have no idea <where you came from.>” “You are now
charged with not accepting those <whom Moses endorsed,”>
answered Jesus. “Had you believed Moses, you would have believed
me, for I am the one about whom he wrote to your forefathers, saying,
‘The Lord our God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, who will be to you even as I am. Hear him, therefore, in all
things. And whosoever will not hear that prophet will die.’ How will
you ever believe what I say if you do not accept the things that he
His followers said to him, “Twenty-four prophets have spoken in
Israel, and all of them were pointing to you!” Then Jesus said, “You
are speaking of the dead, and overlooking the Living One who is in
your midst. I, the one who speaks in the prophets, am here with you,
speaking to you.” <Some people in the crowd started to gather>
stones together <in order to pummel> him. <The leaders then> took
hold of him and tried to arrest him and deliver him over to the people,
but because the time for him to be handed up had not yet come, they
failed to apprehend him. The Lord therefore of his own eluded their
grasp and got away from them.
(Matt 12:1-9a; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5;
Luke 6:5 in Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis)
One Sabbath Day at about that time Jesus was cutting through
some wheat fields. As they walked along his hungry disciples started
picking some of the heads, rubbing them between their hands and
eating the grains. When some of the Pharisees saw what they were
doing, they prodded Jesus, “Look, your followers are breaking the
Sabbath! Why are you (and) your disciples doing what’s unlawful on
the Sabbath Day?”
“Have you never read what David did when he and his companions
were hungry and lacking?” Jesus explained. “He entered into the
house of God during the days of Abiathar the high priest, and they ate
of the consecrated bread. He also shared some with his companions.
He and his friends ate of that sacred bread, which was prohibited to
them, but authorized for the priests alone.
“Have you not also read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests
who serve in the temple profane that day and remain undefiled? I say
to you that someone greater than the temple is here. If only you had
known what was meant by the words, ‘I long for mercy and not
sacrifice,’ you would not have passed sentence against those who have
committed no crime.” “The Sabbath was designed for the sake of
mankind,” Jesus explained, “and not mankind for the sake of the
Sabbath. So the Son of Man is indeed Lord even over the Sabbath,”
and at that he went away. That same day he saw someone doing work on the Sabbath, and said to him, “Sir, if you understand what you are
doing, then you are to be commended, but if not, then curse you--you
are nothing but a lawbreaker!”
(Matt 12:9b-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11;
GNaz 4, Quote by Jerome, On Matthew 2,
Regarding Matthew 12:13)
At another time, on another Sabbath, he entered into their
synagogue and started to teach. Now a man was there whose right
hand had withered. (Some Pharisees and scribes among them were
looking for grounds upon which to bring charges against Jesus, so
they watched him carefully to see if he would heal the man on the
Sabbath Day.) This stonemason cried out for relief, “I was once a
worker of stone, and earned my way with these two hands. Jesus, I
implore you; please heal me, that I might not be reduced to begging
for my food in shame.” But Jesus was aware of their thoughts and said
to the man with the withered hand, “Get up! Stand right here before
the crowd.” He therefore rose and stood nearby. “Is it lawful to heal
on the Sabbath Day?” they asked him. “I will put the question to you
like this,” Jesus countered: “Which act done on the Sabbath Day is in
line with the law: to perform an act of kindness, or to commit an act of
wickedness; to save someone’s life or destroy it?” But they did not
answer him. “Should any of you have but a single sheep,” Jesus asked,
“and it should slip into a ditch on the Sabbath, would you not take
hold and pull it out? How much more precious is a human being than
a sheep! For this reason it is lawful to perform an act of mercy on the Sabbath Day.” He looked out indignantly over them all, thoroughly
pained at their unyielding hearts. “Reach out your hand,” he said to
the man. The man then did as he was told, and his hand was
completely restored, and was every bit as good as the other. But the
people seethed with rage and began discussing among themselves just
what they ought to do to him. The Pharisees and the Herodians then
went out and started devising a scheme to murder Jesus.
(Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; GEb 2:1,
Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.13)
Galilee, near Capernaum
In those days, Jesus went into the hills to pray, and to petition God
the whole night through. And even as the morning dawned, he called
his hand-picked disciples to himself and selected twelve from among
them and appointed them, designating them as his apostles, that they
might travel with him, possess the power to cast out demons, and be
sent out to speak, “This man named Jesus, who is about thirty years
old, has sent us.” The twelve he appointed were Simon, the one he
named Peter, and Andrew, his brother; James, the son of Zebedee, and
his brother John--upon whom he bestowed the name Boanerges,
which means the Sons of Thunder--also Philip, Bartholomew,
Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon, also known as the Zealot,
James’ son Judas (also called) Thaddeus, and Judas Iscariot, who
became a turncoat (and) betrayed him.
(Matt 5:1-8:1; Luke 6:17-7:1a; Acts 20.35b;
GPh 49; GNaz 3a, Quote by Jerome,
Commentary on Matthew 1, Regarding Matthew 6:11;
GNaz 3b, Quote by Jerome, Tractate on Psalm 135; Quote from Origen, On Prayer, 2:2;
Cursive Ms 1424 (Quote following Matt 7:5);
2Clement 4:5; Traditions of Matthias,
Quote by Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 2.9.45;
GTh 19,24,32,36,45,47:1,2;49,58,68,69,92,93,94/36 POxy 655;
Quote by Clement of Alexandria, Homilies 3.52;
GHb 6, Quote by Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 2.9.45;
Quote by Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 5.14.96)
On a Mountainside Near Capernaum
He went down with them and arrived at a level place and stood, and
many of his students were there. A sizable multitude from all parts of
Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon was there as
well. All had come to hear him speak and to be healed of their
diseases. Those who were afflicted by evil spirits were delivered from
them, and they were trying to touch him, for power was flowing from
him and healing each and every one of them. And seeing such
enormous masses, he went up the mountainside, seated himself, and
his disciples gathered around him. He looked out over his followers
and began to speak to them, teaching them:
“Blessed are the needy (and) the poor in spirit;
For the kingdom of God is comprised of them.
Blessed are you who are crying now For you are all about to laugh.
Blessed are those who lament,
For their consolation is drawing near.
Blessed are you who are hungry now,
For you are to be satisfied.
Blessed are the humble,
For they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
For they will be filled.
Blessed are the compassionate,
For they will be shown compassion.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
For they will see God.
Blessed are those who aid in reconciliation,
For they are to bear the name; ‘Children of God.’
Blessed are those who are hunted down on account of their virtue,
For they comprise the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they whose hearts have suffered greatly,
For these have come to know the Father. Blessed are they who go without food,
That the bellies of others might be filled.
Blessed is the one who has toiled and found life.
Blessed are the chosen ones who work alone,
For you will discover the kingdom.
Since it’s from that place that you came forth,
And to that place you will be restored!
Blessed are those who came into being prior to this existence.
For though they came down to this realm,
They will again exist eternally!
For if you become a student of mine
And examine my sayings closely,
The very stones will become your servants,
For there are five trees in Paradise that remain for you alone;
They do not change from summer to winter,
And their leaves are never shed.
Anyone who knows of these will not ever taste of death.
Truly you are blessed when they detest you, exclude you, insult you,
hunt you down and defame you; making yours an evil name; casting it
aside and hurling every malicious and lying word against you--and all
of it on my account--for the sake of the Son of Man! For whatever
form your persecution takes, no basis will be found for it; and
wherever persecution has befallen you, no standing is to be afforded.
Celebrate and jump for joy, for beyond measure is the reward that
awaits you in the heavens! This, you see, was the way their forefathers
treated those who were prophets before you. But woe to the rich,
For your comfortable days are behind you now!
Woe to you who are well-fed now,
For you are all about to starve!
Woe to you who are laughing now,
For you are about to howl and lament!
Woe to you who are acclaimed by men,
For that is exactly how their forefathers spoke of the false prophets.
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt should lose its taste,
what is there to season it? It is then no longer fit for anything but to
be thrown into the dirt and trampled by men. You are illumination to
this world; a well defended city, sitting high upon a mountain cannot
be hid, nor indeed can it be sacked. Also, no one lights a lamp and sets
it under a grain bucket. Instead they place it high on a stand, and it
enlightens all who are in that house. Let your light shine on all of mankind, that they might appreciate the goodness in the work that
you are doing and likewise bring honor to your Father in the heavens.
“Now do not suppose that my coming nullifies the law or the
prophets. My coming does not annul them, but rather completes
them. I am telling you the simple truth when I say that not so much as
a single jot, or the tiniest mark will be overlooked in the Law, but
every detail is to be worked out until heaven and earth pass out of
existence! So whoever voids the least of these commands, and teaches
others to do the same will be despised in the kingdom of heaven; but
whoever puts these teachings to work will be exalted in the kingdom of
heaven. Believe me when I tell you that you will never get into the
kingdom of the skies unless your virtue outshines that of the Pharisees
and scribes.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not kill, and every murderer
will be judged for it.’ But I am telling you now that anyone who
harbors anger against his brother without just cause will be judged for
it. Moreover, anyone who says to his brother, ‘You contemptible
person!’ will have to answer to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who calls
you a ‘fool’ is right on the brink of the fires of Gehenna!
“For this reason, even if you are at the altar presenting your
offering, and in the process recall that your brother has a grievance
against you, put it down before the altar and go work things out first
with your brother. Only then should you return and present your gift.
“You should try and settle things even as your enemy is dragging
you to court. Otherwise he might place you into the hands of the judge, and the judge, into the custody of the bailiff, who may, in turn,
throw you into prison! I say to you most assuredly, you will not be let
out until you have paid back the last cent.
“You have heard that people have said, ‘Do not cheat on your
spouse.’ I, however, am telling you now that anyone who looks a
woman over and wishes to have his way with her is an adulterer
already. If your right eye is a conduit of evil, then poke it out and
throw it away. If your right hand is an instrument for wrongdoing,
then cut it off and cast it aside. Better to lose a body part than to walk
fully intact right into Gehenna!
“People have said, ‘Anyone who puts away his wife has but to issue
her a certificate of divorce.’ I, however, am telling you now that
anyone who divorces his wife for anything but unfaithfulness forces
her into adultery, since anyone who marries this woman becomes
guilty of adultery.
“Moreover, in ages past you have heard that it was said, ‘Do not go back on your oaths, but follow through on your vows to the Lord.’ But
I am telling you to never swear. Do not swear by heaven, since it is the
throne of God; nor by this world, since that is His footrest; nor by
Jerusalem, since that place belongs to the Great King. Do not even
swear by your head, since you can neither whiten nor darken so much
as a single strand. Simply let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’
mean ‘No.’ Anything more is of the evil one.
“You have heard it said, ‘An eye in exchange for an eye, and a tooth
for a tooth.’ I am telling you otherwise. Do not oppose an evil man. If
anyone should strike your cheek, turn the other one his way as well.
Also, if someone wishes to sue you for the clothes on your back, let
him have your underclothes. If anyone obliges you to go a mile, then
go with him two. Should anyone ask you for something, then give it to
them, and do not ignore the one who asks you for a loan.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Show love for a friend, but hatred
for an enemy.’ But I am saying to those of you who hear my words,
show love to your enemies, blessing those who curse you, doing good
to those who hate you, and extending your prayers toward those who
wrong you. If someone should hit you on the cheek, turn the other
one to him as well. If anyone should take your clothes, do not keep
him from stealing your underclothes. Give to everyone who asks of
you, and if anyone should take what’s yours, do not insist on its
return. This is so that you may be sons to your heavenly Father. He
orders His sun to rise over the wicked and the righteous, and He sends rain upon both the virtuous and the sinful. How is it to your credit,
(and) what reward can you hope to receive for loving those who love
you back? Do not even the tax-collectors do that? Even ‘sinners’ show
love toward those who love them. And if you only acknowledge your
friends, what are you doing that these others are not? Do not even the
pagans do this? And if you are only kind to those who show you
benevolence, tell me how that makes you special? Even ‘sinners’ do as
much as that. What credit can you hope to receive by lending to those
from whom you fully expect to receive payment in kind? Even
‘sinners’ grant loans to ‘sinners’ in full expectation of repayment.
Rather, show your enemies what love is, and perform acts of kindness
even to them. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Should you
have any money, do not lend it at interest. Present it instead to those
from whom you will not receive it back. Grant loans to them without
any terms of recompense, that way your return will indeed be great,
and you will truly be the sons of the Most High, since He shows kindness toward the reprobate and the unappreciative alike. Embody
mercy (and) perfection even as your Father in heaven embodies
“Take pains to avoid doing kind works in public, for everyone to
see. If you should, your Father in heaven will not reward you. So
when you are helping out the impoverished do not proclaim it with
trumpet blasts, receiving praises from men as do the hypocrites in the
synagogues and in the streets. You can be sure that they have already
received their wages. You, however, when giving to the poor, do not
even inform your left hand of the doings of your right, that your giving
might remain unseen. Your Father, Who examines all that is hidden,
will pay you back.
“And do not pray on like the hypocrites do, for they all like to be
seen by men; they stand in prayer before synagogues and at street
corners. I am telling you the truth, they already have the payment
they crave. When you pray, enter into your room, shut the door
behind you, and pray to your Father, Who is hidden. Then your
Father will pay you back, for He sees what is done in secret. And do
not pray on like the pagans do, for they think that they will be heard
for all their blather. Your Father knows all about your needs way
before you even ask, so do not seek to be like them. Here is a pattern
for your prayers:
“Dearest Father in heaven,
Blessed be Your name!
May Your kingdom come,
And Your will be done on earth
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day
Our daily bread
(And that which is) for the next,
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptations,
But guard us against (the) evil (of) the wicked one.
For the kingdom, the dominion and the praises
Are Yours for never-ending ages.
You see, if you forgive what men do to you, then your Father in the
heavens will forgive you, too. But if you don’t forgive the sins of men,
then your Father won’t forgive your sins.
“Whenever you fast, do not go around looking dismal like the hypocrites do, because they make all kinds of faces so that men will be
sure to see that they are fasting. I tell you most assuredly, they have
the reward that they are after. But when you fast, rub anointing oil
over your head, and scrub your face, so that people might not mark
your observance. But your Father, who cannot be seen, will indeed
take note; and your Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will
reward you.
“Do not hoard up wealth on earth, where moth and rust decay, and
burglars break in and steal. Rather, stockpile riches in the sky, where
moth and rust do not break down, and thieves do not purloin. For
whatever the leaning of your heart, the things you value will be close at
“Reveal to us your place of life,” his disciples implored him, “since
we all must seek for it!” He responded, “Those of you with two good
ears, listen here! There is within a luminous being a light that shines
throughout all things. If it should remain unlit, then everything will
be obscured. The ‘eye’ is the ‘lamp of the body;’ if your eye is
undivided, then your body will beam with light. But if your eyes
should be divided, then your entire body will be eclipsed by darkness.
If the light within should remain obscured, then that darkness is
indeed profound!
“A person cannot ride two horses, nor yet can he draw two bows;
neither can he serve two masters. He will either hate the one and love
the other, or else be loyal to the one while disdaining the other. You
cannot serve both God and Mammon.
“And for this reason do I say, do not fret about your life, what you
are going to eat or drink; nor over your body, what you are going to
wear. Is not life a weightier matter than food, and the body for more
than mere clothing? Think about the birds of the sky; they neither
plant, nor harvest, nor stockpile in barns, yet their heavenly Father
nourishes them. Are you not more precious than these? Who among
you can add an hour to his life, (or) a cubit to his height?
“And why trouble yourselves when it comes to your clothes? Think
about the lilies in the field, which do not strive, nor do they weave. All
the same, I can assure you that even Solomon decked in his finest
apparel pales in comparison to even one of these. Fret not from
daybreak until sunset, nor from sunset until daybreak <about> your
<food>--the things that <you are going> to eat; <nor> <your
clothes>--the things that you <are going> to wear. If God arrays field
grass in such splendor, being here today and tossed into the flames
tomorrow, will He not clothe you even better, oh you stunted of faith? <You are far> superior to the lilies, which neither strive nor <weave.>
As for yourselves, when you have no clothes, what <ever will you put>
on? Who is the One that can lengthen your life? The very Same will
give you your clothes! So do not get all worked up, saying, ‘What are
we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ The
Pagans chase after all of these things, but your Father in heaven knows
that you need them. Therefore seek His kingdom first, together with
His righteousness, and every one of these things will be added on to
you. Seek for things that are superior, and the inferior things will be
given as well; seek after the things of heaven, and the things of the
earth will be thrown into the bargain. For this reason, do not dwell on
tomorrow, for tomorrow will dwell on itself. Each day, you see, has
distresses sufficient for the duration thereof.
“Do not pass judgment, that judgment might not be passed on you.
For to the extent that you judge, you will be judged, and to the degree
that you calculate, it will be computed against you. Do not judge, and
you will not face judgment. Do not criticize, and you will not be
criticized. Pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and you’ll receive
it back--a heaping measure, all pressed down and densely shaken until
it overflows generously into your lap. Whatever measure you use to
mete it out, you see, will be used in measuring it back out to you.”
And he spoke this parable to them: “Can one blind man be guide to
another? Won’t they both fall into a pit? An apprentice is not above
his master, yet anyone who takes these principles fully to heart will
equal his instructor.
“Why do you inspect your brother’s eye for a tiny wooden splinter
while ignoring the log that is in yours? How can you say to your fellow
man, ‘Brother, let me take that speck from your eye,’ when you fail to
see the plank in your own? You hypocrite! Remove the beam from
your own eye first; only then will you see well enough to dislodge the
bit from your brother’s.
“Do not give hallowed things to dogs, for they might fling them onto
a pile of dung. Neither cast your pearls before swine, for they might
trample them into the mud, then turn on you and tear you to bits.
“Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock and it will
open for you. Everyone who asks receives; and the one who seeks is
the one who finds; and to one who knocks, it is opened right up! Seek,
and you will find, for before I would not tell you the things about
which you were asking me then; I am anxious to explain them now,
but you no longer seek for them. Recognize that the truth does not lie
on the surface of things. Be in awe of the things that are before your eyes, and make this your starting point for further enlightenment!
The ones who strive should not stop striving until they find. When
they find, they will be shaken, and when they are shaken, they will be
amazed, and will possess complete authority. And when they rule,
then they will rest.
“Should any of your sons ask you for a loaf of bread, which of you
would give him a rock instead? Were he to ask you for a fish, which of
you would give him a snake? If, therefore, you know how to give good
things to your children--even though you are steeped in error--will not
your heavenly Father bestow even greater favors upon those who ask
of Him?
“Out of this principle flows the Law and the Prophets: What you
would have others do for you, that’s what you should do for them.
Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for the large gate and the wide
road through which so many enter leads to utter devastation. But how
very few are those who come across that tiny gate and narrow path
that leads to life!
“Be on the lookout for false prophets, for they come to you dressedup
like sheep, but beneath all that they are ravenous wolves. You can
spot them by the fruit they bear. Do people pluck grapes from thorny
bushes, or figs from prickly plants? Similarly, every tree that gives
good fruit is useful, but a tree that delivers up no edible fruit is useless.
No good tree puts forth bad fruit, (for) a good tree cannot yield bad
fruit. Neither does a bad tree put forth good fruit, (for) a bad tree
cannot yield good fruit. Every tree is recognized by what it bears.
People do not pluck figs from thorns, nor do they garner grapes from
brambles. Every tree that fails to yield fit fruit is chopped up and
relegated to the flames. And so it will be that you will know them by
their fruit. The virtuous man brings his goods up from his good
heart’s bounty, and the evil man brings up his own evil from his evil
heart’s inventory, and utters pure wickedness. Whatever fills his
heart, you see, will flow forth from his mouth. For these people bring
out abominations from what fills their hearts.
“And of those who say to me, ‘Master! Master!’ many will fail to
enter into the kingdom of heaven, only the one who does the will of my
Father in heaven. On that day, many people will say to me, ‘Lord!
Lord! Did we not use your name when we prophesied and cast out
demons, and performed so many miracles?’ I will therefore say to
them in no uncertain terms, ‘Go away you evil men--I never even knew
you!’ If you rest upon my breast, yet ignore the will of my Father in
heaven, I will shove you right off! Should each and every one of you be with me--even in my very bosom--and still not do as I say to you, I will
shove you all aside and say, ‘Get away from me! I have no idea where
you evil workers came from!’
“Why do you cry out to me, ‘Teacher! Teacher!’ when you do not do
as I instruct? For this reason, I will show you what he (and indeed)
everyone who comes to me to hear my words, and acts on them is like.
He is even as a wise house builder, who shoveled deep into the ground,
fixed the foundation on bedrock, and on that rock he built his home.
The rain beat down and the rivers rose up, and when a flood came, it
beat against that house but was powerless to budge it on account of it’s
strength. The gales blasted and pounded away at that house, but it
pulled through, for it was founded on the rock. But someone, (indeed)
everyone, who hears my words and does not act on them is even as a
senseless man who built his home upon the sand; upon ground
without a foundation. The rain came down and the streams rose up;
the winds blew hard and beat that house, and the instant that the flood
hit it, it came down with a deafening sound, (and) it was completely
And after he had said these things, the crowds were taken aback by
his teaching, for he taught them as an authority, and not at all like the
scribes. And a host of people followed him down the mountainside.
(GEb 2:2-5, Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.13;
Quote by Clement Of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6.6.48)
After entering into Capernaum, Jesus went into the house of
Simon, the one whom he nicknamed Peter. Then he said: “As I walked
along the lake of Tiberias, I summoned John and James, the sons of
Zebedee, then Simon and Andrew, then Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas the Iscariot. After that I called you, Matthew, even as you
sat at the tax-collector’s booth, and you followed me. To represent
Israel, therefore, I want you apostles to be twelve in number. Now I
chose the twelve of you, deeming you to be worthy of me. I am
sending you out into the world to make the gospel known to the world,
that they might be sure that God exists. Make known the future things
that will come about through faith in me, that those who hear and
believe might indeed be saved.”
(Luke 12:35-48; Justin Martyr--Dialogue with Trypho 47:6)
“Keep yourselves clothed in readiness, and your lamps burning. Be
like men who are awaiting their master when he comes back from the
wedding feast, that they might open up the door for him the moment
he comes and knocks thereat. And how joyful will those servants be
when the Lord comes and finds them watching. I tell you most
assuredly, the Lord will dress himself and have the watchmen all sit
down to eat--and he will come and wait on them. And if he should
come in the second or the third watch and find it so, those servants
will fare extremely well. But you can all be sure of this: had the
homeowner known when the thief would come, he would have kept
watch, and not allowed his house to get broken into. You, therefore,
must ready yourselves; for the Son of Man is coming at a time that you
don’t know.” Page | 152
“Sir,” Peter asked him, “are you referring to us only in this parable,
or also to these others?” “Tell me then,” the Lord replied, “who is the
wise and faithful steward whom the lord will set over his house to
measure out the wheat when the time has come? It will truly go well
for that servant, whom his lord should find so doing when he returns;
indeed I say to you that he will set him over all he owns. But if that
servant should say in his heart, ‘My lord is slow in coming home,’ and
therefore starts beating the male and female servants, and being
gluttonous and drinking to excess; that servant’s master will come on
a day he has not foreseen, and in an hour that he does not know, and
hack him to bits, appointing for him the inheritance of unbelievers. I
will judge you in line with the way that I find you. That servant who
knew the will of his lord, yet failed to get things ready for him, or did
not do according to his will, will be beaten with many lashes. He will
be beaten with few who, though having done things that are worthy of
lashes, did not know. Much will be required from all to whom much
has been entrusted; and much
(Matt 13:10-23; Mark 4:10-20;
Luke 8:9-15; GTh 5,9,7,41,56,62,80/5 POxy 654;
Quote by Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 5.10.63;
Quote By Macarius Of Egypt, Homily 12.17)
Beside the Sea of Galilee
And when Jesus was alone, those who were around him came up to
him, along with the twelve disciples, and asked him about the parable,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?” (and) “What is the meaning
of this parable?” And he answered them, “Whoever has come to see
the world has exhumed a cadaver, and of that one who has uncovered
the corpse, the world is not worthy. I clarify my mysteries to those
<who are worthy> of <my> mysteries. Do not let your left hand in on
the workings of your right. My mystery is for me to share with the
sons of my house. I am giving you such an inheritance that nothing in
this world can compare with it. To you it has been given to know the
secrets of the heavenly governance, (and) the mystery of God’s
rulership, but to these others it has been given only in parables. For to
these this knowledge has not been given. No, for outsiders, all things
are hidden away in parables, so that in seeing they may see and yet
never perceive, and in hearing they may hear and yet never
understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven their sins.’ For it
will be given to the one who has, and he will have it in abundance, and whoever has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away. This
is why I use parables when I speak to these, for though they see, they
don’t perceive, and though they hear they don’t discern, and neither
do they comprehend.’ And fulfilled in them is the prophecy of Isaiah,
which says, ‘In hearing you will hear, and will never understand, and
in seeing you will see, and never will perceive. For this people’s heart
has grown numb; they heard only wearily with their ears, and their eyes they have closed, lest with their eyes they should see, and with
their ears they should hear, and with their hearts understand, that
they might return to me to be restored.’ But joyful are your eyes that
see, and joyful are your ears that hear, for truly do I say to you, that
many prophets and righteous men wished to see what you now see,
and did not see it, and to hear what you now hear, and did not hear it.”
Then he asked them, “Is the meaning of this parable lost on you?
How then will you decipher the rest? I am going to give you what no
eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has handled, and
what has never risen in the hearts of men. Hear therefore the parable
of the sower. The seed stands for the word of God, so what the sower
sows is the word. Now those on the road where the word is sown are
those who hear. Whenever anyone hears the word of the kingdom and
does not understand it Satan, the Devil, the Evil One, comes along and
quickly captures and takes the word that was sown in their hearts, lest
through their belief therein they might be saved. This is that which
was sown on the road.
“As for those who were sown on rock, these are the ones who are
likewise sown on rocky ground. These, therefore, are the ones who
hear the word, and upon hearing it, immediately receive the word with
joy. They are, nonetheless, not firmly rooted in themselves. They,
being the ephemeral sort, believe only for a little while, and they
quickly lose their footing whenever, for the sake of the word, trial or
persecution comes, and they therefore fall away. “And what was cast onto thorns: these are the ones who have been
sown toward thorny places. And even though they hear the word, the
age and it’s worries, the deceitfulness of riches, and the cravings for
other things enter in and choke the word, rendering it unfruitful. And
those who have heard, and venture forth through troubles and wealth,
and the pleasures of this life, are strangled, and do not come to their
“And that which is sown on fertile ground: these are the ones who,
once they have been sown, hear the word, and upon hearing the word
with a true and righteous heart, understand it, accept it and hold on to
it, and bear their fruit continuously. Some of them a hundredfold,
some sixty, and some thirty; one (indeed) bears thirty fold, one sixty,
one a hundred fold, and another one a hundred and twenty fold.
And he asked them, “Does one bring out the lamp only to place it
under a jar (or) beneath the couch? Is it not meant to be put on a
stand? Nobody lights a lamp and covers it up with a vessel or puts it
under a couch. He puts it instead upon a stand, so that those who come in might see by its light. Know what is before your face, and
what is concealed from you will be revealed to you. You see, nothing is
so secret that it will not surface (and) be exposed, nor hidden so well,
that it will not become obvious and recognized, and (nothing is)
buried that will not be <exhumed.> For there is nothing that was
concealed that is not meant to be revealed, nor was anything kept
hidden but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears that hear,
let him hear.
“And for this reason,” Jesus advised them, “consider carefully the
way that you hear. It will be measured back out to you in line with the
way that you measure, and it will be added to those of you who are
able to hear. More will be given to him who has something in hand,
but it will be taken away from him who appears to have and yet does
not. Those who are holding nothing will be stripped of even the little
that they have.”
(Matt 13:51-53; Mark 4:33-34;
Clement of Alexandria, Homilies 8.7)
In a House With the Disciples
Jesus asked them, “Are all these things now clear to you?” “Yes
they are,” they answered him. “For this reason,” he explained, “every
scribe who has been initiated into the kingdom of heaven is like a
homeowner who brings out of his storehouse things that are both new
and old. Someone is counted rich in God when they recognize that the
ancient things of ages past are what is ‘new,’ and that what is ‘new’ is
really ‘old.’”
And as far as they were able to hear, he spoke the word to them
using many such parables; and he spoke nothing to them except
through parables, but when he was alone with his disciples, he would
work them all out for them. And so it happened that, after he had
finished speaking these parables, Jesus moved on.
(Matt 8:18, 23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25; AcA&M 8)
By and Upon the Sea of Galilee
My children, who have given your lives over to the Lord, have no
fear, because the Lord will never forsake us. At that time we were
alone with our Lord. Now on that day, when evening had come, it
happened that Jesus saw great masses gathered around him. He then
gave orders to travel on to the other side of the lake, saying to [us],
“Let us pass to the further shore.” And [we] took him into the boat as
he was, leaving the crowds behind [us] there. And after he had climbed aboard, we disciples followed after him, and then [we] shoved
off. (And there were also other small boats with him.)
And while he was on board, he quietly lied down in order to test us,
and fell into a deep sleep as [we] sailed along, though he was not truly
asleep. And behold, a great, tempestuous windstorm rose up in the
sea, and bore down upon it. And the sea became so rough that the
waves were pounding against the boat (and) towering over the sail of
the ship, such that it was being filled. And by that time it was almost
full and they were all in mortal danger, but he was sleeping on a pillow
down in the stern. And [we], his disciples, came up to him saying,
“Master, master, we are all about to die! Lord, save us! We are
perishing! Teacher, do you not care if we all die?”
And seeing that we were terrified, he woke right up and questioned
[us], “Oh you limited of faith, tell me why you’re so afraid?” Then he
stood to his feet, and reproved the winds and commanded the raging
waters of the sea, “Be silent and still!” The waves subsided and the
wind was lulled, and a great calm settled in. (All things are obedient
to him, you see, for they are all his handiwork.) “Why are you so full
of fear?” he demanded. “How have you come to such unbelief? Where
is your faith?” And the men, paralyzed with fear, said to each other in
utter astonishment, “Who can this be? From where is this man that he
even commands the winds and the waves and they obey him?” And
for this reason, my children, do not ever be afraid, for the Lord Jesus
will never forsake us.
(Matt 9:35-38; Mark 6:6b; GTh 73;
Quote By Clement of Alexandria, Homilies 3.64.1)
Throughout Galilee
And Jesus went from village to village throughout all of the cities
and townships, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good
news of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and disease among them. And he felt compassion for the multitudes when he saw them
all faint and cast aside, as sheep that were lacking a shepherd. “How
great is the harvest,” he said to his students, “yet how few are the
reapers. You should therefore beg the Lord of the Crop to send more
workers into His field. How blessed is the man whom the Lord will
assign to the service of his fellow workers.”
(Matt 10:1,5-11:1, 10:16 in Cursive Ms. 1424;
Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6; GTh 6,14,23,27,33/27,33 POxy 1;
GEb 6, Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.16;
GNaz 11, Quote by Eusebius, Theophany 4.12)
And he called his twelve disciples to himself and gave them power
and authority to cast out the unclean spirits, and to cure every sickness
and disease. The disciples asked Jesus, “Would you like us to fast?
How should we pray? Should we give alms? What diet should we
observe?” “If you fast,” Jesus said, “you will bring sin upon
yourselves, and if you pray, you will condemn yourselves, and if you
give alms, you will damage your spirits. I came to bring all sacrificing to an end, and if you continue to offer up sacrifices, you will never stop
experiencing wrath. If you do not fast from the world, you will never
find the kingdom of God; if you do not keep the Sabbath Day as a
Sabbath, you will never come to see the Father. Indeed you hear with
one of your ears, but the other you have closed. Never say anything
that is untrue, nor ever do what’s hateful to you, for all things lie open
in the sight of heaven. Nothing, therefore, is hidden that will not be
exposed, nor is anything concealed that will not be revealed. Now
when you enter into any land and travel throughout any region, if they
should receive you, eat whatever they might place before you, and heal
the sick who are with them. For what goes into your mouth cannot
defile you. It is instead the things that come from your mouth that
bring about your defilement.”
Jesus, after giving them instruction, sent these twelve out in pairs
to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And these were the
guidelines that he gave: “Do not go among the Gentiles, nor into any
Samaritan town; but go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as you go, proclaim to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven has drawn
near to you!’ Restore the sick, cleanse the leprous, raise the dead, and
oust the demons: freely was it given you, so freely you should give it,
too. Carry nothing but a staff for your path. Do not take any silver, or
gold, or brass in your belts; nor bread or scrip for along the way. Wear sandals on your feet, but do not carry extra coats, or sandals, or staffs-
-for the worker is worthy of his hire.
“And into whatever town or village that you enter, seek out
someone who is worthy, and whenever you go into a house, no matter
whose it may be, remain there in his home until such time as you leave
that town. On entering into that place, welcome it; and if the house
should indeed be worthy, let your peace come over it; and should that
place be undeserving, let your peace return to you. And if anyone, (or)
the people of any place should refuse to take you in or hear your
words, then shake the dust from off your feet as you are leaving that
house or town as a testimony against them. I tell you most assuredly,
it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the
Day of Judgment than it will be for that town. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep amid wolves, so be as sly as
snakes, (indeed) be even slier than snakes; you should be as simple as
doves. And you must be wary of men, for they will turn you over to
councils, and beat you in their synagogues, and you will be brought for
my sake before governors and kings for a testimony both to these and
to the Gentiles. And when they deliver you up, do not think about
what you should say, or how you should say it, because at that very
moment what you should say will come to you. You are not yourselves
the speakers, you see, but the Spirit of the Father will be speaking in
you. A brother, moreover, will deliver his own brother over to death,
and a father, his own child. Children will turn against their parents,
and they will have them put to death. You will be hated by all for
bearing my name, but whoever bears it to the end will be saved. And
when they persecute you in this town, escape from there into another,
for I am telling you that you will not have passed through all the cities
of Israel before the coming of the Son of Man. A student is not above
his teacher, nor a servant greater than his lord; it is enough for a
disciple to be as his teacher, and a servant to be like his lord. If they
have called the ruler of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they
those of his own house!
“Therefore have no fear of them, for nothing has been covered that
will not be exposed; or made unclear that will not be seen through.
What I say to you in darkness, speak in illumination, and what you
hear in your ear, the other ear (I mean,) proclaim from your
housetops. No one lights a lamp and places it under a basket, nor does
anyone hide it away somewhere. One puts it on a stand instead, so
that everyone might see its light, whether coming in or going out. And
do not be shaken by those who destroy the body, but have no strength to slay the soul. Rather, fear Him Who has the power to destroy both
body and soul in Gehenna. Do not two sparrows sell for an assar? Yet
apart from your Father, not so much as one of these ever falls to the
ground. As for you--even the very hairs of your head have their
number. So do not be afraid of them--you are worth more than scores
of sparrows.
“Therefore all who will acknowledge me before mankind, I will likewise acknowledge them before my Father in heaven. But whoever
denies me before men--him also I will deny before my Father in
heaven. Do not think that I came to pacify the world; I did not come
bringing peace, but a sword. You see, I came to set a man against his
father, and a daughter against her mother; a daughter-in-law versus
her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own
household. I choose the worthiest for myself--and my heavenly Father
has given me the most worthy. Whoever loves his father or mother
above me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves his son or daughter
above me is not worthy of me. Furthermore, whoever does not accept
his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. The one who finds his life
will lose it, and the one who loses his life for my sake will find it.
Whoever accepts you is accepting me, and the one who accepts me is
accepting also Him Who sent me. Anyone accepting a wise man in the
name of a wise man will receive the reward of the wise. And the one
who accepts a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, will
receive the reward of the righteous. And whoever gives one of these
little ones so much as a single cup of cold water to drink in the name of
a disciple, I tell you most assuredly, he will not be denied his reward.
Out of a thousand, I will choose one, and out of ten thousand, I will
choose two--and they will stand in peace as one.” And it happened that, when Jesus had finished giving instruction to
his twelve disciples, he left that place to teach and preach in their
cities. So they traveled through the villages, warning the people to
change their ways. They drove out many demons, anointed many of
the sick with oil and healed people everywhere.
(Matt 14:23b-33; Mark 6:47-52;
John 6:17b-21; AcJn 12,13)
The Sea of Galilee
By the time evening had come and darkness had fallen, Jesus was
all alone upon the land. But he could see the disciples, wind against
them, straining at the oars in the boat, already many stadia away,
being hurled about by the waves in the midst of the lake. The wind was blowing strong and the waters were growing violent. Even so,
Jesus had not yet joined them. Then, in the fourth watch of the night,
by the time they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, Jesus
went walking out to them on the water. He was just about to pass
them by, but when they saw him drawing near to the boat, walking on
the surface of the sea, they imagined him to be a ghost. Since they all
saw him and were terrified, they cried out in fear, “It is a spirit!” But
Jesus immediately spoke up and said, “Be not fearful, but believing,
for indeed it is me!” “Master,” Simon answered, “if you are who you claim to be, order me to come out to you upon these waters.” Jesus
said, “Come to me.” So Simon got out of the boat and walked out to
him upon the water; but he grew anxious when his thoughts turned to
the powerful gale. Then Peter began to sink, so he cried out, “Master,
save me!” And immediately Jesus caught hold of him and said, “Oh,
you limited of faith, why ever did you doubt?” Then they were willing
to take him into the ship. He climbed into it with them, and the wind
died down just as soon as they had boarded. And right away the boat
reached the shore for which they had set out. They were all completely
taken aback, since their hearts had been made hard, and they had not
understood about the loaves. And the ones who had been in the boat
came to him in adoration, saying, “You’re assuredly the Son of God.”
(Matt 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56; AcJn 92,93)
And after they had passed across, they came to land at Gennesaret,
where they cast anchor. And as soon as they had disembarked, the
people there immediately recognized him, and raced throughout the
region, passing the word along to the surrounding countryside, and
the people started bringing their sick up to him on mats wherever they
heard that Jesus was.
And everywhere that he would go, be it in villages, townships, or the
countryside, they laid those who were in poor health in the markets,
and begged him to allow the ill to touch but the fringe of his robe; and
as many as touched it were instantly healed.
Again, one time when we disciples were all sleeping in a house in
Gennesaret, after I, (John,) had wrapped myself up, I kept a watchful
eye on him. At first I heard him say to me, “John, go to sleep.” And
when I heard this, I pretended to fall asleep; then I saw another who
was like him there, whom I also heard saying to my Master, “Jesus, the
ones you have chosen still do not believe in you.” And my Lord
replied, “Indeed they do not, for they are but mortal men.” I will relate another sublime matter to you, my brothers. There
were times when I wanted to touch him, and I felt a solid, physical
presence; but then there were times when his body seemed unreal to me, and without substance--as if it were not even there at all. Now, if
ever he was invited by Pharisee and indeed went to the place where he
had been bidden, we would all go with him there. And our host,
placing a loaf of bread before each of us, would give him one also.
Then he would bless his own and split it among us; and that tiny bit
would fill us all, while our own would remain unbroken. Those who
had invited him would always be amazed.
And whenever I would walk with him, from time to time I would try
to see if he left his prints upon the ground, but I could never make out
any. What I did notice, however, was him raising himself up off of the
ground. Dearest brothers, I am saying these things to you now that I
might stir your faith in him. At this time, however, we must remain
silent when it comes to his masterful and amazing works, inasmuch as
they are mysterious, and there can be no doubting that they are
neither to be expressed with words nor understood with reason.
(John 6:22-71; John 6:56 in Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis)
The next day it became clear to the people still standing across the
sea that there had been but one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten in
with his disciples, but that his followers had gone away all by
themselves. Boats from Tiberias, however, did land near the spot
where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
When, therefore, it dawned on the people that neither Jesus nor his
disciples were there, they boarded the boats and crossed over to the
town of Capernaum in search of him. And when they found him on
that side of the sea, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come to this
shore?” “I am telling you the truth,” Jesus replied, “you seek me not
on account of the signs that you saw, but because you had eaten your
fill of the loaves.
“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that leads
to endless life, which the Son of Man will give to you; because God the
Father has placed His seal on him.” They asked him, “What should we
do to bring to pass the works of God?” Jesus answered, “God’s ‘work’
is that you should place your faith in the one He sent.” “What sign will you show us then, that we might see it and thereby place our faith in
you?” they asked. “What kind of work will you perform? Our forefathers ate the heavenly food out in the wilderness; even as it is
written, ‘He provided them with bread to eat from on high.’ I am
telling you the truth,” Jesus explained, “it was not Moses who gave you
to eat of the heavenly bread; it is, rather, my Father Who gives you of
the true bread of heaven. The ‘bread’ of God is that which comes down
from heaven and causes the world to come alive.”
“Teacher,” they implored him, “give us to eat of this bread.” “I am
myself that bread of life,” Jesus informed them. “Whoever comes to
me will never hunger, and whoever trusts in me will never thirst. Even
so, all of you have seen me and yet have not believed in me, even as I
have spoken it to you. All that the Father gives to me are drawn to me;
and anyone who approaches me, I will by no means cast out. For I did
not come down from heaven to do my own will, but the will of the One
Who sent me; and this is the will of the Father Who sent me: that I
should not lose anything that He has given to me, but that I might
restore it on the final day. This, you see, is my Father’s will: that
everyone who looks upon the Son and accepts him should have
endless life; and I will lift them up on the final day.”
Then the Jews started complaining about him because he said, “I
am that bread that came down from heaven.” “Is this not Jesus,” they
marveled, “the son of Joseph; about whom we are certain of father and
mother? How is it that he now can say, ‘I have come down from
heaven?” “Quit grumbling to yourselves,” Jesus replied. “No one can approach me unless they are led by the Father Who sent me; and I will
lift him up on the final day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all
be led by God.’ Everyone who hears the Father and learns from Him
comes to me. No man has ever seen the Father except for the one who
came down from God; this one has truly seen the Father. I am telling
you the truth, whoever trusts has endless life; and I am that bread of
“Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they all
died. This, however, is the bread that comes down from heaven, of the
which a man might eat and never die. I am that living bread that comes from heaven; so anyone who eats of this bread will live forever.
And my flesh is the bread that I give to bring the world to life.”
Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, and asking one
another, “How can this man give us to eat of his flesh?” Then Jesus
revealed to them, “I am telling you the truth, unless you eat the flesh
of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have any life within.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has endless life, and I will
raise him on the final day. My flesh is food in truth, you see, and my blood is drink indeed. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives within me, and I live within him; even as the Father is within me
and I am within Him. I promise you, if you do not take the body of the
Son of Man as the bread of life, then you do not have life in him. Even
as the living Father has sent me, so also do I live through Him--
therefore whoever will partake of me will live through me. This is the
bread which came down from heaven, not like that which the fathers
ate before and died; whosoever eats this bread will live forever.”
He said these things as he was teaching in the Capernaum
synagogue. When they heard this, many of his disciples complained,
“This is difficult doctrine--who can accept it?” Jesus, however,
knowing inwardly that his followers were murmuring about it,
questioned them, “Does this offend you? What if you were to see the
Son of Man rising up to his former stature?
“The Spirit is what brings you life, but the flesh profits you nothing.
The words that I speak to you are spirit and life. Even so, some of you
refuse to believe.” (For even from the very start, Jesus knew all who
would doubt, as well as who would betray him.) “This,” he continued,
“was why I said to you that no one can approach me unless my Father
has empowered him.”
After this, many of his disciples went away, and traveled with him
no more. “Do you wish to abandon me too?” Jesus questioned the
twelve. “Master,” Simon Peter answered, “to whom are we supposed
to go? Your words lead to endless life. We are confident and do
believe that you are the Holy One, the Son of God.” “Did I not choose
the twelve of you?” Jesus replied. “Even so, one of you is a devil!” He
was referring to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, who, though he was among the twelve, was to betray him.
(Matt 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21;
GTh Prologue,1,2,13/1,2 POxy 654)
The Villages Near Caesarea Philippi
Jesus and his followers moved on to the villages around Caesarea
Philippi. And one day, along the way, when Jesus had entered into
[that] district, he was praying privately, and his disciples were all with
him. “Equate me with something,” Jesus bid his students, “and
explain to me what I am like.” Simon Peter answered him, “You are
even as a godly angel.” Matthew said, “You are like a wise
intellectual.” “Master,” said Thomas, “my mouth is completely at a
loss to put into words what you are like.” Jesus said, “I am not your
master, for you have grown drunk, having partaken of the living spring
that I myself have measured out.” And he took him aside and spoke
three sayings to him.
When Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, “What did
Jesus say to you?” Thomas answered, “If I were to tell you one of the
sayings that he spoke to me, you would pick up stones and throw them
at me--flames would then shoot out of them and burn you up.”
These are the mysterious things that the living Jesus spoke and
which Didymus Judas, <who is> also known as Thomas, wrote down.
He said, moreover, “Whoever finds what these words mean, will not ever taste of death. The seeker should keep on seeking until they find,
and when they find, they will be shaken, and when they are shaken,
they will be astonished, and will rule over everything, (and <when
they reign>, then they will <rest.>)”
Then he questioned his disciples, “Who do the people say that the
Son of Man is, (and) the multitudes, that I am?” And they answered
him, “Some say that you are John the Baptist, others say that you’re
Elijah, others say you’re Jeremiah, and still others, that you’re one of
the prophets--that one of the prophets from ages past has come alive.”
“Well then,” he asked, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter
answered him, “You are God’s Messiah; the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus answered, “How blessed are you, Simon, son of John!
Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but it was
my Father in heaven. And I am here to say to you that you are a rock,
and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not
prevail against it. I will hand the keys of heaven’s kingdom over to
you; and whatever you bind on earth will be, having been bound up in
the sky, and whatever you loose on earth will be, having been loosed
up in the sky.” He then forbad his servants from telling anyone about
him, that he was Jesus the Christ.
(Matt 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8;
Luke 9:28-36; AcJn 90; 2Pet 1:18)
Mount of Transfiguration
After six (whole) days had passed, about eight days after Jesus had
said all this, he took Peter and James and me, John, the brother of
James, and led [us] apart by [our]selves to his usual prayer spot high
up the mountain, in order to pray. And even as he was in the midst of
prayer, he was changed before [us] there. And we saw such light upon
him that it is impossible for a man to describe it in human terms. His
face transformed, and beamed like the sun, and his clothing began
shining white as snow; whiter, in fact, than any fuller on earth could
possibly whiten them; as white as light, and as bright as a lightning
bolt. Just then two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared to them in glorious
splendor, and they were discussing his imminent departure, which he
was soon to bring about in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were
all quite drowsy, but once they had awakened fully, they beheld his
glory and that of the two men who were standing there with him. As
the men were departing from Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, Sir, it
is good that we are here; if you would, let us set up three tabernacles,
one for you, one for Moses, and another for Elijah.” Now he did not
know what to say, (or even) what he was saying, for all of them were
terrified. And behold, even as he was speaking, a bright cloud
appeared and overtook them all, and as the cloud enveloped them
there, they were paralyzed with fear. And a voice came from the cloud,
saying, “This is my beloved Son, the Elect One; I am truly pleased with
him. You must hear him.” When the voice had spoken (and) the
disciples had heard it, they fell to their faces on the ground in fear.
But Jesus came and touched them. “Rise up, and fear not,” he said.
All of a sudden they looked up (and) around, and no longer saw
anyone there with him. Jesus was all alone and in their midst, and
they let no one know at the time about what they had seen. (And we
did ourselves hear this voice from the heavens, for we were with him
on the sacred mountain.)
(AcJn 90,91)
Mount of Transfiguration
He led the three of us up the mountain again in a similar way,
saying, “Come up with me.” Once again we went along, and we saw
him praying at a distance. Now because he loved me, (John,) I drew
near to him silently, just as if he would not see, and stood and watched
him from behind. Now I could tell that he was not wearing clothes,
but appeared to us as naked, yet not the least bit like a mortal. His
feet were so much whiter than snow that they lit up the very ground
beneath him, and his head reached into the sky, and the sight was such
that I shrieked in fright. Then he turned around and appeared as
small as any man! And he took hold of my beard, and pulling it he
said to me, “John, do not be doubtful, but believing; and stop being so
nosy.” “Lord,” I asked, “what did I do?” And let me tell you, my
brothers, for thirty days I suffered such agony where he grabbed me by
my beard, that I complained to him, “Lord, if your lighthearted tug has
caused me such pain, what would it have been like if you had drubbed
me but good?” And he answered me, “From this time forth, make it
your business never to provoke the One Who is not to be tempted.”
But Peter and James were angered by my discussion with the Lord
and gestured for me to come to them and leave the Lord alone. So I
went over to where they were, and they both prodded me, “Who was
the Lord talking to on the mountain top, for we heard two of them
speaking?” And when I thought about the extent of his compassion as
it relates to his all-encompassing nature and his wisdom, which has
never grown weary of watching over us, I replied, “If you were to ask
this of him, you would get your answer.”
(Matt 18:1-14; Mark 9:33b-50; Luke 9:46-50; GPh 31)
A dispute broke out among the disciples as to which of them would
become the more preeminent. Jesus, knowing their thoughts,
questioned them, “What were you talking about along the way?” They,
however, did not answer, for as they were walking along, they had
spoken together as to which of them was to become the most
illustrious. And he sat down, summoned the twelve and instructed
them, “If anyone would strive to be first, he must be the lowest--even a
servant to all people.”
Then the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who, therefore, is the
greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Calling a child to himself, Jesus
took hold of him and had him stand right next to him before them.
And drawing him into his arms, he informed them, “I am telling you
the truth, unless you transform yourselves and become like children,
you will never make it into the kingdom of heaven. For this reason,
whoever humbles himself and becomes like this child, will be greatest
in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives any of these children,
such as this one, in my name is, in fact, receiving me; and whoever
receives me is not receiving me alone, but also the One Who sent me.
You see, the most humble among you will be the most preeminent.”
Then John said to him, “Teacher, Sir, we saw this man casting out
evil spirits in your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not
from those of us who follow you.” But Jesus answered, “Do not
prevent him because there is not anyone who could work a miracle in
my name and turn around and malign me. See, whoever is not opposed to us is for us, (and) whoever is not against you is on your
side. For truly do I say to you, he will never forfeit his reward who,
because you are of the Anointed, gives you so much as a cup of water to drink in my name.
“Even so, it would be better for whoever saddens even one of these
little ones who trusts in me, to have a giant millstone hung around his
neck, (and with that) millstone ringing his neck, be tossed into the sea
to drown. Curse the world for its deceit! It is inevitable that
deceptions should come, but curse the man by whom these schemes
are set in place! Now if your hand leads you to your ruin, then chop it
off and cast it out. Better that you should go through life with but one
hand, than with two hands to enter into Gehenna, where their worm
does not die, and the fire is not quenched. And if your foot should lead
you into sin, then cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life with a
single foot, than with two feet to walk into the everlasting flames,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out. And if your
eye should draw you into error, pull it out and throw it away. Better that you should go through life with a single eye (and) enter into the
kingdom of God, than with two eyes to be sent into the fire of
Gehenna, where their worm never dies, and the fire is not put out.
Everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be salted with
salt. Salt is useful, but if the salt should lose its taste, how ever can
you salt it again? Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with
one another.” (The apostles taught their disciples, “May the fullness of
our offering be salted with salt.” Now when they said “salt,” what they
meant was “wisdom” in code, for without that, no offering is
acceptable. Wisdom as it stands today is barren and without a child.
She is therefore called a “<hint> of salt.” Wherever they <should
gather> in their special way, the Holy Spirit will <join with them,>
and many are her children!)
“Be careful not to scorn any of these little ones who trust in me, for
I am here to tell you that in heaven, their angels gaze endlessly upon
the face of my heavenly Father. The Son of Man came to restore what
had been lost.
“What do you suppose? If a man should have a hundred sheep and
one of them should wander off, does he not leave the ninety-nine
behind on the hills and go searching for the one that walked away?
And if he manages to find it, I tell you most assuredly that he takes
greater pleasure in that one than in the ninety-nine that never strayed.
Likewise, it is not the will of my heavenly Father that even one of these
little ones should perish.
(Matt 18:15-35; GTh 30,48/30 POxy 1;
GNaz 5, Quote by Jerome, Against Pelagians 3.2b)
“If your brother should sin against you, go and, just between the
two of you, explain to him where he is wrong. And if he should heed
your words, then you will have won him over. But if he should not,
then take one or two others along with you, so that ‘under the
testimony of two or three witnesses, every word might be upheld.’ If
he refuses to listen even to them, then let the congregation know. And
if he then does not give heed, then let him be in your sight as a pagan
or a tax-collector. I am telling you the truth, whatever you bind on
earth will be, having been bound up above; and whatever you loose on
earth will be, having been loosed up above. If, in a single house, two
should come to terms together, they will bid the mountain, ‘Move
away!’ and it will be moved. Once again I say to you, if two of you
should agree on earth about anything for which they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. You see, wherever two or three
are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. (And)
where there are three divine beings, they are gods <apart from> God.
And where there are two or even one, I say, ‘I live within that one.’
Pick up a rock, and you’ll find me there. Split apart a chunk of wood,
and there will I be.”
Then Peter went up to Jesus and asked, “Master, how often should I
forgive my brother when he sins against me?” Jesus answered him, “If
your brother or sister has slandered you and makes it right, accept him
or her seven times a day.” Simon, his disciple, questioned him, “Seven
times in just one day?” Jesus answered, “I am saying to you, more
than just those seven times, but seventy-seven, (even) seventy times
seven. For even the prophets themselves, after they had been
anointed with the Holy Spirit, were capable of sinful speech.
“Therefore, the heavenly dominion is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to reckon with them,
one of them who owe ten thousand talents was brought to him; and
seeing that he could not pay, his master commanded that he be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and everything that he owned as
payment. And so the servant fell to his knees and begged, ‘Lord, if
you’ll only have patience with me, I will pay you back one hundred
percent.’ And his master felt sorry for him, canceled his debt, and set
him free.
“That very servant went right out and tracked down one of his
fellows who owed him a hundred denarii. He latched onto him and
started to strangle him, insisting, ‘Pay me back everything you owe!’
And his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience
with me, and I will pay it all back.’ But he refused; going off instead
and having him cast into prison until he could fully repay his debt.
“When some other servants saw that, they became very upset and
went and related all that had happened to their master. Then his
master sent for him, and reproved him: ‘You wicked servant! I forgave
your entire debt because you begged me to. Would it not have been
fitting for you to have shown mercy to your fellow servant, even as I
showed mercy to you?’ And his master became angry and turned him
over to the jailers, until he could pay his debt in full. Even so will my
heavenly Father deal with you, if you refuse to pardon your brother
from your innermost beings.”
(John 7:11-8:1; GTh 38,53,59,108/38 POxy 655; OSol 30;
The Heavenly Dialogue, Quote by Origen, Against Celsus 8.15)
So the Jews were looking for him at the Feast, saying, “Where is
that man?” And the crowds were bustling with talk about him there;
some were saying, “He is a righteous man,” but others contended, “No,
he is leading the people astray.” Even so, no one spoke openly about
him for fear of the Jews. And it was about midway through the Feast
when Jesus went up into the temple and started to teach. And there
the Jews all marveled and asked, “How did this man acquire such
knowledge without the benefit of an education?” And Jesus answered,
“This is not my own doctrine, but that of the One Who sent me. If any
one should do His will, he will come to recognize whether this teaching
comes from God, or if I am speaking on my own. Whoever speaks on
his own authority, seeks his own glory, but anyone who seeks to glorify
the One Who sends him is authentic, and no falsity exists within him.
Did not Moses give you the law? All the same, not even one of you
keeps to the law, so why are you looking to murder me?” “You’re
demon-possessed,” the people replied. “Just who is it that is seeking
your death?” “I did one miracle and you’re all amazed?” Jesus replied.
“Still, you will circumcise a child on the Sabbath Day because Moses
passed circumcision down to you, though it did not actually stem from
him, but the patriarchs instead. So if you can circumcise a boy on the Sabbath to keep from breaking the Mosaic Law, then why are you
enraged at me for restoring a man to perfect health on the Sabbath
Day? Do not judge by appearances, but by righteousness instead.” “Is
circumcision beneficial or not?” his disciples asked him. He answered,
“If it were of any use, their Father would bring forth from their
mothers children who are circumcised already. It is, rather, the true
circumcision--that of the spirit--that has become beneficial in its every
aspect.” Then some of the people of Jerusalem started to ask, “Is this
not the man they are trying to kill? And there he goes speaking freely
among them. They are not saying a word to him. Have the leaders all
concluded that he is the Messiah? We know where this man came from, but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he came
And as Jesus was teaching in the temple, he cried out to them, “You
have known me, have you? And where I came from too? I did not
come of my own accord. The One Who sent me is genuine, and you
have certainly never known Him! I know Him because I came from His very presence, and He was the One Who sent me here.” So they
tried to apprehend him, but none could get their hands on him, since
his time had not yet come. And many who were in that crowd placed
their trust in him and proclaimed, “When the Messiah does come, will
he do more signs than this man has?”
The Pharisees heard the people speaking these things under their
breath about him, so along with the high-ranking priests, they sent
officers out to arrest him. Jesus therefore said to them, “I will only be
with you a little longer, and then be off to Him Who sent me. You
have often longed to hear the words that I am now passing on to you,
and you’ve got no one else to hear them from. Even so, the days are
coming when you will seek for me and find me not, and it will be
impossible for you to come over to where I am.” So the Jews then
started asking each other, “Where is he off to, then, that we will be
unable to find him? Will he go away and live among the Gentiles, and
teach among the Greeks? And what is this saying of his, ‘You will seek
me, but not ever find me,’ and, ‘You cannot come to where I am’?”
(And) Jesus said, “As long as you remain alive, you must look to the
One Who lives; otherwise you just might die, and when you seek for
the Living One, you will be unable to find Him.”
On the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood and
cried aloud, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Anyone who drinks from my mouth will become like me! I will, in
fact, become that man, and the hidden things will open up to him. Many are those who circle the well, yet no one ever draws from it.
Why fear now when you’ve come so far? Isn’t it clear to you that I lack
neither courage, nor a weapon. Whosoever trusts in me, as it says in
the Scripture, ‘Rivers of living waters will flow forth from him.’” And
in so saying, he spoke of the Spirit, which they who believed in him
would soon receive.
(Drink deeply from the fountain of the Living God,
For it is open to you now.
You who thirst, drink your fill,
And rest yourselves by the spring of the Lord,
For it is lovely and pure, and brings rest to your soul.
More pleasing than honey is the taste thereof,
And the honeycomb is as nothing beside it.
For it flows from the lips of the Lord,
And takes its name from his very heart.
For it approached unseen, and arrived without limit,
And until it came at last, and was set in their midst, No one knew anything about it.
How blessed are those who drink therefrom,
And come to find their rest thereby.)
Now Jesus had not yet been glorified, since the Holy Spirit had not
yet been given. Therefore many in the crowd, hearing his words
proclaimed, “This man must certainly be that Prophet.” Others said,
“This is the Messiah!” And others asked, “Why would the Messiah
come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Messiah
comes from the seed of David, and hails from his hometown of
Bethlehem?” There was thus a division among the people on his
account. And some there wanted to arrest him, but no one managed
to get their hands on him. So the officers approached the chief priests
and the Pharisees, who asked them, “How is it that you did not arrest
him?” “No one else has ever spoken the way that this man has,” the
officers replied. The Pharisees then questioned them, “Have you been
taken in as well? Has anyone from the rulers believed in him? How
about the Pharisees? It is only that this crowd is cursed, ignorant as
they are about the law!” Nicodemus, the one who had come to him by
night, being one of them, asked them, “Does our law pass sentence
against a man without first giving him a hearing to find out what it is
that he has done?” “Are you also from Galilee?” they rejoined. “Look
into it and recognize that the Prophet, (indeed) no prophet rises up
from Galilee.” And at that they all went home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
(John 10:1-21; Gospel of the Ebionites
in Clementine Homilies III.52)
“I am the door that leads to life. Whoever passes through me enters
into life. Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not enter the sheepfold
through the door, but climbs over from some other side is a thief and a
robber. The shepherd of the sheep enters in through the door. The
porter opens up for him and the sheep all hear his voice. And he calls
his own sheep by name and guides them out. And after drawing out
those that belong to him, he goes out ahead of them. And the sheep
follow after him because they recognize the sound of his voice. But
they will not follow a stranger. They all run away from him, for they
recognize not a stranger’s voice.” Jesus spoke this to them in a parable, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
So Jesus again affirmed to them, “Most assuredly I say to you, I am
the sheep gate. All who have gone before me were thieves and
robbers. The sheep, however, never listened to them. I am that door.
If any should go in through me, he will be kept safe, and will come in
and go out, and find pasture. The only reason that the thief comes is
in order to steal, to kill, and to destroy; but I have come to give them
life--that they might have it to a greater extent!
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays his life down for
the sheep. But the hired hand, who is not the shepherd to whom the
sheep belong, runs away when he sees the wolf approaching. The wolf
then catches them, and the sheep are all dispersed. And the hired
servant runs away, for he is but a wage earner, and is not worried
about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and they know me, even
as the Father knows me, and I know Him. And I lay down my life for
the sake of the sheep. What is more, I have other sheep which are not
of this fold which I must likewise bring along. These will also hear my
voice, and there will be a single flock, with a single shepherd. This is
why my Father loves me: because I lay my life down that I might take
it up again. No one deprives me of it. It is of my own will that I lay it down; and I have the power to take it up. This instruction was given
to me by my Father.”
And there arose yet another rift among the Jews over these words.
Many among them contended, “He has a demon!” and “He is
demented!” and “Why do you even listen to him?” But others insisted, “These are not the words of a demoniac. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
(Luke 10:1-24; DTry 35:3;
Acts of Paul, Gospel Fragment in Coptic)
Now after this, the Lord appointed another seventy(-two,) and sent
them out in pairs before him into every city and region where he was
soon to go. Then he informed them, “Truly it is a bountiful crop, but
there are scarcely any harvesters. So appeal to the Lord of the harvest
to send more gatherers into His field. Now move along.
Divisions and heresies are sure to come. I am sending you out as
sheep among wolves, (for) many will come outwardly draped in
sheepskins and bearing my name, but deep within they are ravenous
wolves. Do not carry a bag, or a wallet, or any sandals. Do not so much as say ‘hello’ to anyone along the way. And into whatever house
you go, even before you do anything else, say, ‘May peace come upon
this home.’ And if there should be a son of peace in that place, your
peace will come to rest on it. And if this is not the case, your peace will
then come back to you. Remain there with them in that house, and eat
or drink what they provide for you, because the laborer is worthy of his
hire. Do not move from house to house.
“And into whatever town you go and they receive you, eat whatever
they give to you. Heal the sick among them, and say to them, ‘God’s
kingdom has drawn near to you.’ And into whatever town you go and
they do not take you in, go out into its open places and proclaim, ‘Even
the dust of your town that sticks to us, we scrape off against you! Even
so, be sure of this: the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’ I can
assure you that when the day comes, it will be more tolerable for
Sodom than it will be for that place. “Curse you, Chorazin! Curse you, Bethsaida! For had the mighty
works that were done in you been carried out in Tyre and Sidon, they
would have sat long ago in sackcloth and ashes and repented. But the
judgment will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than it will be for
you. As for you, Capernaum, have your praises reached the skies?
Well, you will be brought down to Hell! Whoever hears you, also hears
me; and whoever dismisses you dismisses me; and anyone who rejects
me is also rejecting Him Who sent me.”
And the seventy(-two) returned in joy, saying, “Lord, even the
demons subject themselves to us under your authority!” And he
replied, “I have seen the Adversary fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you power to trample down snakes and
scorpions, and the Enemy’s every strength. There is nothing that can
harm you at all. But do not rejoice over the fact that the spirits submit
to you, but delight in the knowledge that your names have been
written up in the heavens. There is something above the raising of the
dead and the feeding of the multitudes--blessed indeed are those who
with their whole heart have believed.”
At that moment, Jesus grew joyful in spirit and said, “Father, I fully
agree with You, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have concealed
these things from the ‘learned’ and ‘wise,’ and have disclosed them
instead to mere ‘infants.’ Indeed, Father, because it was just so
pleasing to You! My Father has placed all things into my hands, and
no one knows who the Son is, except for the Father, and no one knows
who the Father is except for the Son, and those to whom the Son
wishes to disclose Him.” And he turned to the followers and spoke to them privately, “How privileged are the eyes that see what you do, for
indeed I am telling you that many prophets and kings have longed to
glimpse what you now see, and never did see it, and to hear what
you’re being told, but never heard it.”
(Luke 10:25-37; GTh 25;
Clement of Alexandria, Excerpts from Theodotus 2.2;
Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1.19)
Now behold, this lawyer stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher,
what must I do to inherit limitless life?” And Jesus replied, “What is
written in the Law? Tell me how it reads to you.” And he answered
Jesus, “You are to love your God with your whole heart and your
whole spirit; from the fullness of your strength and with a thorough
understanding; and your fellow man as you do yourself.” And Jesus
said, “You have given me the right answer. If you’ve seen your
brother, then you’ve seen your God. Love your friends as you do your
soul, defend them as the pupil of your eye. Do all this and you will
live. Save yourself and your soul as well!’”
But eager to excuse himself, the man put this question to him, “But
who qualifies as my neighbor?” And Jesus, taking it all in, answered
him, “This man was on his way down to Jericho from Jerusalem, when
he fell prey to bandits. They took his clothing off of him, pounded him
severely, and ran away, leaving him there half dead. And a certain
priest happened to be passing through. When he saw the man, he
passed him by on the opposite side. Likewise, when a Levite who
happened on that place got there and saw it, he passed him by on the
other side. A Samaritan, however, came to him on his travels. But
when this man saw him, he was moved with compassion for him. He walked over to him, bound up his wounds, poured olive oil and wine
over them, lifted him up onto his own mount, took him to an inn and
cared for him. And the next day as he was moving on, he took out two
denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Watch over him,
and if it should cost you anything more, I will pay you back when I
return.’ Of these three, which one of them do you suppose turned out
to be a ‘neighbor’ to the one who fell among the robbers?” And he
answered, “The one who showed him compassion.” Then Jesus
charged him, “Go and do things just like him.”
(John 10:40-42; Egtn 4)
The Jordan River
Then he returned to the place on the other side of the Jordan where
John had first baptized and stayed there. <Jesus said, “This withered
tree’s fruit has been> locked up <and its productivity> has been
subjected imperceptibly. <How much of> its weight <remains>
unweighed?” They were bewildered at such an unusual question, so
Jesus headed to the riverbank. And as he stood there, he stretched out
his right hand and <ground up a withered branch(?)> and scattered it
over the <coursing river.> Then <he sprinkled some> water <over>
the <dried-up tree> and it <filled out> before their eyes and put forth fruit <in such abundance that there was nothing> into <which it could
all fit before them.> And many people came up to him and said, “John
never performed any signs, but everything that John taught us about
this man turned out to be true.” And many placed their faith in him
(Luke 16:1-18; Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 1.28.177;
Quote by Clement of Alexandria, 11.51, 3.50, 18.20)
And he said to his disciples, “There was this rich man whose
steward was charged with squandering his assets. So he called for him
and demanded, ‘What is this I hear of you? Account for your
oversight, for you may no longer manage my affairs.’ And the steward
said within himself, ‘What am I going to do now that my boss is firing
me? I am too weak to dig and too proud to beg. I know just what I will do when I am relieved of my duties--get them to welcome me into
their houses!’ And he summoned all of his master’s debtors and
inquired of the first, ‘How much do you owe my Master?’ And he
replied, ‘A hundred baths of olive oil.’ ‘Now take your bill, sit down
and write fifty.’ Then he asked the second one, ‘Now as for you, how
much do you owe?’ He responded, ‘One hundred cors of wheat.’ So he
said to him, ‘Here is your invoice, write down eighty.’ Then the Lord
commended the unjust steward on the shrewdness of his tactics. For
the sons of this age are more clever in their strain than the sons of
light. And I am here to say to you, be competent money-changers.
Make plenty of friends for yourselves with this unholy mammon, so
that when you fail, they will receive you into their eternal abodes.
Whoever is faithful with what is least will be faithful with what is
great; and whoever is unfaithful with what is least will be unfaithful
with what is great. So if you can’t be trusted with filthy lucre, who will
entrust you with the true wealth? And if you cannot be trusted with
the things of others, who will give you anything for yourself? Become
faithful money-changers! Reject the counterfeit coins and accept only
the genuine. No servant can serve two masters, because he will
despise the one and love the other, or else he will serve the one and
ignore the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” When the money-loving Pharisees heard this, they all scoffed at
him. Jesus said to them, “You like to parade your righteousness
before mankind, but God knows what’s in your hearts, because what is
thought commendable in the eyes of men is reprehensible in the sight
of God. Until John came on the scene, there was the law and the
prophets. And ever since that time, the good news of the kingdom of
God has been proclaimed, and everyone forces their way in. Indeed, it
would be easier for heaven and earth to pass out of existence than it
would be for a tittle of the law to disappear. Whoever divorces his wife
and marries another, is committing adultery, and anyone who marries
that woman put away by her husband is also committing adultery.
(Luke 16:19-31; Recognitions of Clement 2.29)
Now there was this certain rich man who dressed in purple and
choicest linen, and feasted sumptuously on a daily basis. Then there
was this poor man named Lazarus, who had been placed at his gate, all
covered in sores. He longed to eat even the crumbs that fell from the
rich man’s table. Dogs even came up to him and licked his sores. So
the poor man died, and was whisked by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The wealthy man passed on as well, and he received a burial.
And amid his tortures in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham off in
the distance, and Lazarus was in his bosom. Then he cried out, ‘Father
Abraham, show me some compassion! Send Lazarus to dip his finger
into the water and cool my tongue with it, because this flame is
tormenting me so.’ ‘My son,’ Abraham replied, ‘call to mind all of the
good things that you received while you were still alive, as well as the
evils that Lazarus has known. He is receiving his consolation now,
whereas you are receiving your affliction. And besides all that, a great
chasm has been placed between ourselves and you, so that those who
would leave and cross over to you cannot, nor can any pass over from
that side to this.’ ‘Then I beg you father Abraham,’ the wealthy man
replied, ‘send him to my father’s house, that he might describe this
place of torment in detail to my five brothers, so that they don’t also
end up here.’ Abraham then answered him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets, let your brothers hear their words.’ And he responded, ‘But
no, father Abraham, if someone should rise up from the dead and go
to them, they will truly change their ways!’ ‘If they will not hear Moses
and the prophets,’ Abraham rejoined, ‘then neither will they be
persuaded by someone who rises from the dead.’ Curse those who live
in extravagance and wealth and yet give nothing to the poor! These
will have to give account, for they should have loved their neighbors as
themselves. For they showed the poor no compassion in their
(Luke 17:1-10; Oxy 840:1)
<Jesus said, “A criminal,> before committing a crime, thinks about
his every move. But you should guard against a fate like his, since
those who carry out crimes against their fellow men not only get
what’s coming to them in this life, but (in the next one,) he will have to
face punishment and eternal anguish. Stumbling blocks are sure to
come,” he cautioned his disciples, “but woe to the one who sets them
up. It would profit him more to have a giant millstone fitted around
his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little
ones to lose their footing. You must therefore watch yourselves. If
your brother should do you wrong, then reprove him, and if he should
change his ways, then forgive him. And if he should injure you seven
times in just one day, and seven times that day he should turn around
and apologize, then pardon him.” Then the apostles said to the Lord,
“Give us a more excellent faith.” The Lord then answered them, “If your faith were even as a mustard seed, you would have said to this
mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and planted in the sea,’ and it
would have obeyed you.
“Which of you, should he have a servant out plowing or feeding,
would have him come in from the field and say to him, ‘Come here. Sit
down and eat!’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘You must fix me
something to eat. Tie your robe and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You can eat when I am done.’ Does the servant get any thanks for
following orders? I think not! And so it goes for all of you, after doing what you were expected to, say, ‘We are all just miserable servants and
have only done as we were told.’”
(Matt 19:13-15:Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17;
GTh 4,22/4 POxy 654; Gospel of The Nassenes,
Quote by Hippolytus, Philosophumena 5.7.20)
At that time, the people were bringing infants (and) young children
over to him so that he might lay his hands on them and pray. But
when his disciples saw what the people were doing, they reproached
them. But when Jesus saw the disciples hindering the crowds, he
became angry, called the children to himself and said, “Let the little
ones draw near to me! Do not stand in the way of their coming, for the
heavenly kingdom of God is comprised of such as these. Most
assuredly I say to you, whoever fails to receive the kingdom of God as a
little child will never enter into it.” Jesus, spotting some suckling
newborns, said to his followers, “You see these infants nursing here?
Those who enter the kingdom are just like these.” His followers asked
him, “So are we to enter in as newborns?” Jesus answered, “Out of the
two you should form one, making what is inside like what is outside,
and what is outside like what is inside, and what is ‘higher’ should be
brought together with what is ‘lower,’ and in this way you will
transform the ‘man’ and the ‘woman’ into that singular union. Thus
the man will not be ‘male,’ nor will the woman be ‘female.’ And when
you should replace an ‘eye’ with an ‘eye,’ and a ‘hand’ with a ‘hand,’
and a ‘foot’ with a ‘foot,’ with one image replacing the other, you will enter into the <kingdom.> Anyone who looks for me will find me in
children, for it is in these that I will show myself. The aged man who is
full of days will not hesitate to ask a little child who is seven days old
about the place of life, and he will live. For there are many who are
first who will be last, and many who are last (who will be) first, and
they will become singular, one.” Then he took the children into his
arms and blessed them. And after laying his hands on them, he left
that place.
(Matt 19:16-28; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30;
GNaz 6, Quote by Origen, On Matthew, 15:14,
regarding Matt 19:16-30;
GTh 110,81)
Now as Jesus was moving on from there, a certain ruler ran up to
him. And when he had drawn near to him, he asked him, “Good
teacher, what is the good that I must do to receive [the] inherit[ance] (of) eternal life?” And Jesus asked him, “Why do you refer to me as
good, (and) ask it of me? God alone, and no one else, is the only One
Who is good. But if you’d like to enter into life, then you must abide
by the commandments.” And he asked Jesus, “Which ones?” And
Jesus said, “You know them: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery,
do not steal, do not witness falsely, do not commit fraud, honor your
father and your mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.’”
The young man answered him, “Teacher, I have lived by these from
my childhood. What do I yet lack?” When Jesus heard this, he looked
at him with love (and) said, “You only fall short in one thing. If you
wish to move on to perfection, go and sell the things you own and
distribute your substance among the poor, then you will have treasure
in the kingdom of heaven. Then come and follow after me.”
And when he heard this, the young man’s face fell, (and) his heart
sank. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to get
into God’s kingdom! Truly it is easier for a camel to pass through the
eye of a needle than it is for a wealthy man to enter into the kingdom
of God.” And he went away all dejected, seeing that he had many
possessions. And those who heard this asked him, “Then who
qualifies for salvation?” Jesus answered, “What is beyond the grasp of
men is within the reach of God.”
A second wealthy man asked him, “Teacher, what must I do to have life?” Jesus answered, “Sir, you must fulfill the law and the prophets.”
“I have done that already,” the man replied. “Go now,” he said, “sell
your things and give it all to the poor. Then come and follow me.” But
the rich man didn’t like hearing that, so he started scratching his head.
Then the Lord reproved him, saying, “How can you claim to be
fulfilling the law and the prophets, when the law demands of you,
‘Love your neighbor as you do yourself’? Take a look around you then.
Many of your brothers and sisters, Abraham’s own sons and
daughters, live in squalor and starve to death, while nothing of yours
ever makes it out to them.” And turning toward Simon, who was
sitting nearby, he said to him, “Simon, son of Jonah, it is easier for a
camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to
pass into the kingdom of heaven.” And Jesus turned and looked at his disciples and said, “The one who discovers the world and finds the
wealth, and the one who has authority, ought to renounce the world (and) to reign. In all truth I say to you, a wealthy man can hardly
enter into the heavenly kingdom of God.”
The disciples were all amazed by his words. But once again he said
to them, “Children, how difficult it is for those whose confidence is in
their wealth to get into God’s kingdom! Once again I say to you, it is
easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than it is for a
wealthy man to enter into the kingdom of God.” When his students
heard this, they were completely taken aback. “Who then can be
saved?” they asked one another. Jesus then looked at his disciples and
said, “This is impossible for men, but not for God. For God, all things
are possible.”
Then Peter asked him, “All of us have forsaken everything to follow
you. What, therefore, will we possess?” “Truly do I say to you,” Jesus
then said to them, “when all things have been made new, and the Son
of Man is sitting on his glorious throne, all of you who followed me
will likewise sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of
Israel. And everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father,
or mother, or wife, or children, or fields for my sake (and) the
kingdom of God, will receive (and) not fail to receive many times over,
(even) a hundred fold, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and
fields--and though they come with persecutions in this age, their end
is eternal life in the age to come. And many who are first will then be
last, and many of the last will then be first.
(Matt 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34;
SMk 1; Matt 20:28ff in certain mss.)
Perea, Bethany
Now Jesus led them out as they moved on to Jerusalem. The
disciples were amazed, and those who followed were troubled and
afraid. He took the twelve disciples aside privately and informed them
once again about what he was soon to undergo, “See, we are headed up
to Jerusalem, and all that the prophets have written about the Son of
Man are to be fulfilled. The Son of Man will be delivered up to the
chief priests and the scribes. They will then condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles so that they might mock him, insult
him, spit on him, beat him, crucify and kill him. And three days later, he will rise up, being raised to life on the third day.” The disciples did
not get this at all. Its meaning was lost on them, and they did not
realize what he was talking to them about.
Then they came to Bethany. There was a woman there whose
brother had recently died, so she knelt down before Jesus. “Son of
David,” she implored him, “show me compassion!” But the disciples
reproved her. Then Jesus became angry, and went with her into the
garden where his tomb was. At that moment, a voice was heard from
within the tomb. Then Jesus went to the entrance and rolled away the
stone. He went in to where the young man was, took him by his hand
and lifted him up. The man looked on Jesus with love, and begged him to remain with him. They then came out of the tomb and entered
into the young man’s home. (Who, by the way, was very wealthy.) Six
days later, Jesus gave him instruction: the man came to him that evening, clad only in a linen cloth. He stayed there with him
overnight, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God.
Then he left that place and crossed back over to the far side of the
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him, together
with her sons, knelt down before him and asked him to do her a favor.
Jesus asked her, “What would you like?” James and John said,
“Teacher, we would like you to grant us our request.” And he
responded, “What would you have me do for you?” They answered,
“Allow us to sit in your glory, one to your right, and the other to your
left.” “Please,” the mother asked Jesus, “order that one of these two
sons of mine might sit to your right in your kingdom, and the other to
your left.” But Jesus responded, “You don’t know what you’re asking
of me. Are you able to drink from the cup of which I must soon
partake, or of experiencing the same baptism which I am soon to
undergo?” “Yes we are,” they answered him. “Indeed you are to drink
of my cup,” he informed them, “and go through the same baptism with
which I will be baptized. Nevertheless, it is not for me to grant a seat,
either to my right or to my left. It belongs instead to those for whom
my Father has prepared it.”
When the ten heard about this, they were furious with the two brothers, James and John. So Jesus called them to himself and said,
“You know how those who are reckoned as governors over the Gentiles
lord it over them, and how their superiors subjugate them as well.
This is not how it will be with you. Rather, let anyone among you who
aspires to greatness become your servant, and whoever would be first
must be servant to you, (and indeed) to all; even as the Son of Man
has. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but in order to
render service, and to offer his life as a ransom for many. You ought
rather to try and outgrow smallness, foregoing greatness to become
small. Upon receiving a dinner invitation, for example, do not go in
and sit among the places of distinction, lest someone more illustrious
than you should come along, and the host be compelled to approach
you and say, ‘Move on down,’ and thus embarrass you. It would work
more to your advantage for you to seat yourself in a lesser spot. That
way if someone less distinguished should come, the host will therefore
say to you, ‘Move on up!’”
(Luke 18:35-37; 19:1-10; Mark 10:46a; SMk 2; Traditions of Matthias,
Quote by Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 4.6.35)
As Jesus was approaching Jericho, this blind man was sitting and
begging by the side of the road. When he heard all the people who
were headed that way, the blind man asked, “What is all of this
about?” The people replied, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
They then arrived in Jericho. Now the sister of the young man
whom Jesus loved was there, as were both his mother and Salome.
Jesus, however, would not visit them as he was only passing through.
There was this rich man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief
tax-collector. He was determined to get a glimpse of Jesus. He
wanted to see which one he was, but owing to the throngs and his
diminutive stature, he was not able. So he ran on ahead and climbed
up a sycamore tree in order to get a look at him, seeing how he was
soon to pass that way. Now when Jesus came to that place, he glanced
up and looked at him. “Zacchaeus,” Jesus beckoned him, “hurry on
down, for I must spend the day at your house!” And Zacchaeus clambered down and received him with delight. And when they saw
that, everyone started grumbling, “He has gone to stay with a ‘sinful’
man!” But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Sir! I am
giving half of all that I own to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone
out of anything, I will pay it back four times over.” And Jesus said to
him, “The Son of Man has come this day and restored what had been
lost; for it was in order to search out and save what was lost that the
Son of Man came. Today deliverance has come to this house, for this
man also is a son of Abraham.”
(Matt 21:1-11, 14-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44;
John 12:12-19; POxy 840 2:1-9, GTh 28/28 POxy 1)
Bethphage, Bethany, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
By the following day, the great multitude that showed up for the
feast had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. And they drew
near, approaching (and) arriving in Bethphage, then Bethany, as far as
the hill known as the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus sent out two of his
followers, saying to them, “Go on ahead to the village that lies before
you, and even as you are going in, you will see a donkey tethered there,
and a colt which no one has ever ridden before, tied alongside her.
Untie them both and bring them here. And if anyone says anything to
you, (or) asks you, ‘What are you up to?’ (or) ‘Why are you untying it?’
simply respond, ‘The Lord is in need of them.’ He will send [them]
back here shortly, (and) without hesitation.’” So the disciples went
and did as Jesus had said. Those he sent went out and found
everything precisely as Jesus had described it to them. They went and
found a colt tied to a door in the open street. As they were untying the
colt, the owners happened to be standing there. They then asked the disciples, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They replied as
Jesus had instructed them: “The Lord has need of [them],” they
answered. So the people let them leave with [them]. They brought
back the ass and its colt, draped their garments across them, and
seated him thereon. So Jesus found himself a young donkey and
mounted it. And all of this came to pass in order to fulfill what had
been spoken through the prophet who said,
‘Say to the Daughter of Zion,
“Fear not, Oh Daughter of Zion.
Behold, your King is coming to you,
Humbly mounted on a donkey,
Upon a colt--the foal of a beast of burden.”’
His students did not get this at first, but after Jesus had been
glorified, they recognized that all of these things were written about
him and had been fulfilled in him.
And as he moved on from there, the better portion of the crowd
continued to spread their clothing out along the road, while others cut
palm branches from trees that were out in the fields. They went out to
meet him shouting, (and) scattering the branches all over the road.
When he came to the crest of the road on the Mount of Olives, the host
of disciples--the great crowd that was leading the way, and also those
who were trailing behind--started praising God with joyful cries for all
the wonders they had seen. They were all clamoring,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the King of Israel!
Blessed is the coming of the kingdom of our father David!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!
Hosanna even in the highest!”
Then some of the Pharisees from among the people reproved Jesus:
“Teacher, admonish your disciples!” “I can assure you,” he answered
them, “if these were to silence themselves, the very stones would cry
And as he drew near to Jerusalem and caught sight of the city, he
mourned for it, saying, “If only you, yes you, had understood what
would have brought you peace this very day, which even now is hidden
from you. The days are coming when your adversaries will raise up an
embankment against you, surrounding you and shutting you in on
every side, and will throw you right down to the ground, along with
the children within your walls. They will not leave so much as a single
stone upon another--all because you did not recognize the time of your visitation!”
Now the people who were with Jesus when he called Lazarus out of
the tomb and raised him from the dead were there describing the
event to everyone. And because they heard that Jesus had worked this
wonder, many people went out to meet him. And as he entered into
Jerusalem, the entire city trembled, asking, “Who is this?” And the
crowds proclaimed, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of
Galilee!” And he went over to the temple, where blind and lame men
came up to him, and he healed them there. And when the highranking
priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he was
doing, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son
of David,” they became extremely angry. “Do you not hear what these
children are saying?” they questioned him. “Yes I do,” Jesus said,
“have you never read, ‘You have praises prepared from the mouths of
babes and children’?” So the Pharisees concluded among themselves,
“Face it, we are getting nowhere with this. Look at how the whole
world chases after him!”
And Jesus went up into the temple, taking <his students> along
with him. He led them all the way into the innermost sanctuary and
started wandering through the temple grounds, looking around at
A high-ranking Pharisee priest named Levi also went in and
confronted them, demanding of the Savior, “Who authorized you to walk around in this inner sanctum and look upon these hallowed
objects, seeing how you have not performed the ceremonial ablution,
nor have your followers so much as cleansed their feet? In a polluted
state have you encroached upon this ceremonially clean and holy place. No one walks around in here unless they have washed up first
and put on clean clothes, nor do they venture to look upon these holy
Now the Savior immediately got up with his disciples and said,
“And I suppose that you are clean, seeing that you are with us here?”
“I’m clean all right,” Levi said. “I went down into the Pool of David,
washed myself off, and came back up on the other side. I have,
moreover, put on ceremonially clean, white clothing. It was only after
doing so that I came here and looked upon these sacred things.”
“Accursed be the blind who refuse to see!” the Savior retorted. “You
wash in these lifeless waters, where swine and dogs wallow day and
night. You cleanse and scrub your skin superficially as any whore or
showgirl would. They all rinse and scour--putting on fragrances and
painting themselves for the seduction of men--but deep inside they are teeming with scorpions and every manner of filth. You say that my
students and I are unwashed, yet we have bathed in the dynamic water
of life which comes down from <my Father in heaven.> But curse
those <who are hypocritical and blind!> I took my place in the midst
of the world, and showed myself to them in the flesh. I found them all
to be intoxicated, and not one of them was thirsty. My soul has
suffered, (and continues to) suffer, on account of the sons of men, for
their hearts are blind and they do not see, for empty did they enter this
world, and empty do they seek to leave it--and the whole time that
they are here, they continue in their drunkenness. After they have
recovered from their wine, they will repent.” Now because it was
getting to be quite late, he and the twelve left them all behind and
withdrew from town to lodge in Bethany.
(Matt 22:15; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26; GTh 100; Egtn 3)
The Temple, Jerusalem
And the Pharisees went off and discussed how they might entangle
him in a remark. And keeping him under close surveillance, they sent
some of the followers of the Pharisees and Herodians, (as) spies
posing as righteous folk, in order to catch him by some statement (or)
to lay hold of something he might say, so as to deliver him up to the
governor’s control and jurisdiction. And they came and put this
question to him: “Master Jesus, we know that you come <from God>,
because the things that you do place you above all of the prophets. We
know that you are sincere, that you speak and teach what is right, and
that you are swayed by none, since you show neither respect of
persons, nor do you defer to any man. Quite to the contrary, you teach
God’s way in line with truth.” And they said, “Caesar’s people demand
that we pay taxes. So tell us what you think. Would it be right or
wrong for us to pay Caesar’s poll tax? Should we have to pay or not?” Jesus, however, sensing their spite, and marking their cunning, was
aware of their hypocrisy. “Why are you putting me to the test?” he
asked them. “You hypocrites! Let me see the coin for the tax. Bring
me a denarius, and let me have a look at it!” So the men brought one
up to Jesus (and) handed it over. Then he asked them, “Whose image
is this, and what is inscribed thereon?” The men answered him,
“Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said to them, “So give to Caesar what belongs
to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God, and to me, what is mine.” And when they heard that, they were amazed by him (and) his
response, (and) they kept silent. So right there in the sight of all, they
failed to take him in his words. So they went away and let him be.
(Matt 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38;
GEb Quote in Clementine Homilies 3.50)
The Temple, Jerusalem
And that same day some Sadducees, those who claim that there will
be no resurrection, approached him. And they asked him a question:
“Teacher, Moses wrote to us, saying that if someone’s brother should
die having a wife, but no child, (thereby) leaving his wife behind, and
leaving no children, his brother should thenceforth take his wife, (and)
through her he should marry in, causing seed for his brother to
proceed from her. Now there were seven brothers among us, and the
first one took a wife and passed away childless. He therefore left his
wife to his brother, neither having (nor) leaving any seed. Then the
second took her to himself, and he also passed away, leaving no seed
behind. And the third, all the way through the seventh, likewise took
her. And in like fashion, not even one of the seven left any children
(or) seed behind. So each of them passed on, and afterward, last of all,
the woman also passed away. Now when the resurrection comes and
these rise up, which of the seven will this woman become wife to?
Whose wife will she be, since all seven of them had her as his?” And
Jesus answered them, “Aren’t you being misled by this, having
understood neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? You
misjudge because you do not know the precision of the Scriptures. It is because of this that you don’t see the power of God. How is it that you do not understand that the Scriptures are based on soundness of
reason? It is only the children of this age who wed and are given in
marriage. But as for the ones deemed worthy to achieve that
resurrection age, upon rising in the revival from the dead, they will
neither marry nor be given in marriage. You see, it won’t even be
possible for them to die anymore, because they will be celestial--even
as the angels are in heaven--and as the sons of the resurrection, they
will therefore be the Sons of God. Now as for the resurrection of the
dead, did you never read the word that God spoke to you in the book of
Moses? Moses, referring to the Lord, pointed out at the burning bush,
that the dead are to be raised again, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham
and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ He is, therefore, not the
God of the dead, but of the living instead, because to Him all are alive.
You are being led astray in a serious way.” And the multitudes were moved by his teaching.
(Matt 23:1-39; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47;
GTh 39, 89,102,103/39 POxy 655;
Justin, Dialogue With Trypho 116:2;
Hippolytus, Philosophumena 5.3)
The Temple, Jerusalem
And even as he lectured them, the entire crowd listened with rapt
attention. Jesus began cautioning his disciples and the people:
“Watch out for (and) beware of the scribes and the Pharisees! They
have placed themselves on the seat of Moses, so keep to and carry out
whatever they should tell you to; but do not imitate their ways. For
they say one thing and do another. You see, they tie up heavy and
unmanageable loads, and place them on the backs of men. Even so
they will not so much as lift a finger to budge them. Every single one
of their deeds is designed to be seen by men; for they make their
phylacteries really wide, (and) they love to walk in flowing robes,
flaunting their elongated tassels, delighting in the salutations they
receive in the marketplaces, and cherishing the foremost seats in the
synagogues. They love the places of distinction at feasts, and to be
referred to as ‘Rabbi’ by men. They consume the homes of widows and
then go on to pray at length. When these are sentenced, they will be
severely punished.
“But you must not be called ‘Rabbi,’ since you have but one Master,
and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not refer to anyone upon
this earth as your ‘father,’ for only One is your Father--the One in
heaven. Neither let yourselves be called ‘Teachers,’ for Christ will be your only guide. And the greatest among you is to be your servant,
since whoever honors himself is abased, and whoever abases himself is
“Curse the scribes and Pharisees! For they are even as a dog that
lies atop a cattle trough; he neither eats, nor does he let the cattle eat.
The Pharisees and the scribes have taken and hidden the keys of
knowledge. These have failed to make it in, and have stood in the way
of those who were trying. You, on the other hand, become as slippery
as snakes, and as simple as doves. If you keep my word, you will
recognize the eternal kingdom in advance. How lucky is the man who
knows where the thieves are going to enter, since he will be able to
arise and prepare from the very start that which pertains to the
kingdom before they manage to break into it.
“Curse you, scribes and Pharisees, you phonies! You shut the
empire of the skies in the face of all mankind. You do not go in
yourselves, and you block off those who are trying to get in. Curse you, scribes and Pharisees, you phonies! You devour the homes of
widows and then pray long and pretentious prayers to conceal it. You
will therefore receive a stiffer sentence. Curse you scribes and
Pharisees! You travel across sea and land to gain a single proselyte;
and when you’ve turned him into one, you cause him to be twice the
child of Gehenna that you are. Curse you, you blind leaders! You say,
‘Should anyone declare an oath upon this sanctuary, it means nothing;
but should anyone swear by the gold of the temple, his debt remains.’
You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that sanctifies it? What is more, you declare, ‘If anyone should swear by
the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone should swear by the offering
on it, his oath is binding. You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or
the altar that sanctifies it? So then, whoever swears by the altar
swears by both it and what’s on it. And whoever swears by the temple
swears by it and the One Who dwells therein. And anyone swearing by
heaven is swearing by the throne of God--(even) the One Who is
seated thereon. Curse you, scribes and Pharisees, you phonies! You
have tithed of your mint, dill and cumin, but have neglected the
weightier matters of the law; justice, mercy and faith. You ought to
have kept to the latter, without being negligent of the former. You
blind guides! You strain out the gnat, but swallow the camel. Curse
you, scribes and Pharisees, you phonies! You clean the outer portion
of the dish and cup, but on the inside you are filled with greed and
self-indulgence. Why is it that you wash the outside? Is it because you fail to recognize that the One Who created the inside is also the One
Who created the outside? You blind Pharisee! Start by scrubbing the
inside of the dish and cup. That way their outsides will also be
cleansed. Curse you scribes and Pharisees, you phonies! You are like
whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the surface, but in
your core you are filled with skeletons of dead men and all manner of
filth, for the enlivened man is not in you. That is how it goes with you.
On the surface, you appear as righteous before the people, but deep
inside, you are full of hypocrisy and vice.
“Curse you, scribes and Pharisees, you phonies! You build
sepulchers for the prophets and adorn the graves of the upright. Then
you profess, ‘Had we been around in the days of our fathers, we would
never have had a part in the shedding of their blood.’ You are in effect
commending yourselves for being the seed of those who slew the
prophets. So then, bring to completion the sins of your fathers. You
serpents! You brood of vipers! How ever will you escape the
judgment of Gehenna? For this reason I am going to send prophets to you; wise men and teachers, too. Some you will kill and crucify, others
you will beat in your synagogues, hounding them from town to town.
That way every drop of righteous blood that has been shed upon this earth will find its way straight back to you, from the blood of the
righteous Abel all the way down to that of Zechariah, son of Berechiah,
whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I say to you
most assuredly, every bit of this will fall upon this generation.
“Oh Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Slayer of the prophets and stoner of
those who are sent to her! How many times have I longed to gather
your children together as a hen gathers her nestlings under her wings-
-but you would not have it. Look, your house is being left to you in
desolation. For I am here to say to you, from this very day until such
time as you proclaim, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the
Lord,’ you will never see me again.”
(Matt 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36;
Clementine Recognitions, 4.4; Barnabas 12:1b;
2Bar 25:1b-4; SbOr 2:6-38; ApEl 3:1-18;
2Esd 2:13, 5:1-12, 13:29-31, 15:12-19;
Papias, Quote from Irenaeus, Against Heresies 33.3,4)
The Temple, Mount of Olives
Then Jesus left the temple. And as he was on his way out, his
disciples came up to him and called his attention to the buildings
thereof. Now some of them talked about how it was adorned with
beautiful stones and gifts. “Master,” one of his followers said, “behold
what manner of stones and structures these are!” But Jesus answered
him, “See all of these magnificent buildings (and) objects? As for all
that you see here, I am telling you truly that the days are coming when
there will not be so much as a single stone left on another that will not
be thrown down. And this generation will not pass until the
destruction begins. For they will come and sit in this very place and
lay siege to it, and in this place they will slay your children.”
As he sat upon the Mount of Olives across from the temple, the
disciples, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,
“Master, tell us when all of this will come to pass. What will be the
sign that all these things will be fulfilled, and what will be the sign of
your coming and the end of the age?” And Jesus replied, “Take care
that no man deceives you, because many people will come in my name
and claim, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and ‘The time is upon us!’ and they will deceive many. So do not go chasing after them. The Son of
Lawlessness will show himself and say to you, ‘I am the Christ,’
although he is not. Don’t you believe him! You will start to hear of
wars and reports of wars and agitations, but when you do, see to it that
you are neither frightened nor disturbed thereby. These, you see, are
but the foreshadowings, so do not be afraid, for the end has not yet
come. The consummation will not take place all at once.” Then he
informed them, “Behold, the days are coming when the Most High will arrive to rescue those who live on earth. Confusion of mind will
overtake those who dwell thereon, causing them to plot wars one
against the other, city against city, region against region. Nation will
move against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and major
earthquakes will break forth in this place and that, as will famines,
pestilences, and horrifying spectacles--and momentous omens will
appear from out of heaven. When, however upon the earth come
violent shakings, thunders and lightnings, mildews upon the land,
frenzies of jackals and wolves, the slaughtering and devastation of
men, the bellowing of oxen, four-footed cattle, domestic mules and
goats and sheep, then great expanses of farmland will become barren
and through neglect not render their fruit. The selling of free men into
slavery will become commonplace as will the robbing of temples.
When all of these things come to pass, the tenth generation of men
will appear at last, when He Who shakes the earth and brings forth the
lightnings will destroy the glory of the idols, and shake down those of
the seven-hilled Rome. Vast amounts of wealth will perish, burning in
the great fire of the flame of Hephaestus. Then blood will rain down
out of heaven; but the earth with its countless men will slay each other
in their madness. During this time of unrest, God will impose famines
and diseases and thunderbolts upon those who do not judge according to justice. There will be such a dearth of men on the face of the earth,
that one would marvel to see the footprints of another on the ground.
These are but the onset of labor pains. But before these trials take
place, they will take you into custody and hand you over to councils to
be tortured, so look to yourselves. They will persecute you, turn you
over to synagogues and imprisonment, and you will be beaten there.
And all the nations will despise you on account of me; and you will be
brought as witnesses before governors and kings for the sake of my
name. This will be your occasion to testify. The gospel, however, must
first be preached before the nations. Now when they lead you up and
turn you in, do not rehearse what you will speak. Simply resolve in
your hearts not to plan out your rebuttal in advance, for I will provide
you with a mouth and a wisdom which none who oppose you will be
able to deny or withstand. Instead, speak whatever is given to you at
that time, because the words will not be coming from you, but rather,
the Holy Spirit.
“Many will be displeased at this, and will turn each other over and
despise one another. At that point many false prophets will rise up
and seduce many, and unrighteousness will increase to a level beyond
that which you now see, nor have you ever heard of before. And owing to the proliferation of lawlessness, the love of the many will grow cold.
You will even be turned over by parents and siblings; friends and
relatives. So a brother will hand his own brother over to be killed, and
a father, his son. Children will rise against their parents, and they will
see to it that some of you are executed. And they will be hateful
toward you and put you to death for bearing my name. Even so, not a
single hair that is on your head will be lost. The one who perseveres to
the very end will be saved. And through your persistence you will save
your souls. This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed at that time
as a sign to the world. That is when the moment will come. Then
when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, recognize that its
destruction is at hand. So when you see the abomination that causes
devastation, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy
place where it does not belong, (let whoever reads this understand it,)
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are inside get out, and let not those in the surrounding areas go in.
Let not the one who is on top of his house go back down to take
anything from it. Let not the one who is in the field go back to retrieve
his clothing. You see, these are days of retribution, for the fulfillment
of all that has been written.
“Let Egypt mourn from its foundations for the plague of
chastisement and punishment being brought upon it by the Lord. Let
those weep who till the soil, for indeed their seed will fail, and their
trees all wither from blight and hail and terrible tempest. Woe to the
world and to those who dwell therein, for misery and sword draw near
to them, and nation will rise up, sword in hand, to battle against
nation. For unrest will there be among mankind, and stronger and
stronger will they grow against one another: showing respect for
neither king nor commander. A man will wish to enter a town, but
will be turned back. Cities will remain in confusion on account of their
pride, houses will then be destroyed, and the people there will live in
fear. A man will show no mercy to his neighbor, but for his hunger’s
sake and the extent of his suffering will he use his sword to plunder his
neighbor for his household goods. But curse any who are pregnant
and nursing in those days! For there will be a great travail in the land,
and a wrath against this people. They will all fall by the sword and be
taken captive into every nation. And Jerusalem will be trampled down
by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“Pray that your flight does not come in the winter or on the
Sabbath, because there will come a time of trouble unrivaled since the
time when God first brought the world into being until now, nor ever could it happen again. And someone will reign over the world, whom
none on earth will anticipate; and the birds will fly away, and the Sea
of Sodom will cast up fish. Then will the one whom the multitudes
know not cause his voice to be heard by night, and his voice will be
heard by all. Chaos, also, will reign in many places, fires will break
out, wild animals will wander beyond their usual places, and
menstruous women will bring forth monsters. Salty water will be
found in the sweet, and friend will overpower friend. Then reason will
go into hiding, and wisdom withdraw into its abode, and many will
seek after it, but no one will find it. Then unrighteousness and lack of
restraint will increase upon the earth. A nation will then ask its
neighbor, ‘Has righteousness or anyone who does what is right passed
through you?’ And the answer will be, ‘Not at all.’ And in those days
men will hope, but not receive; labor, but their efforts will be for
nought. Had the Lord not shortened those days, no flesh would at all
be saved. But those days will indeed be cut short by the Lord, who has
shortened them for the sake of the elect. Ask and you will receive;
pray that your days might be few in number, that your days might be
cut short. Then if anyone should say to you, ‘Look, the Messiah is
here,’ or, ‘Look, over there!’ don’t you believe it, because false Christs
and false prophets will come along and do signs and wonders to
deceive, if it were possible, even the elect. But that Son of Lawlessness
will once again take his stand in hallowed places, (even) in the holy place. To the sun he will command, ‘Descend,’ and it will go down.
‘Shine,’ he will say, and it will blaze forth; ‘Darken,’ he will declare,
and it will grow dark. To the moon he will demand, ‘Become bloody,’
and so it will be. Like them he will sweep across the sky. With a word
he will decree: ‘Walk upon the rivers and seas,’ and on river and sea
will he tread as if he were on dry land. The lame he will cause to walk,
the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, and the blind to see. The lepers he
will cleanse, and the ill he will heal. He will cast out demons and
multiply his signs and wonders before all men. All the works that the
Christ performed he will likewise replicate, except for the raising of the
dead alone. This is how you will know that he’s the Son of
Lawlessness, for he has no power to give life.
“But the kingdom is even now prepared for you, so look to
yourselves! See, I have told you all things in advance. So if they
should say to you, ‘Look, he is out in the desert!’ do not go forth,
‘Look, in the innermost rooms!’ do not believe it. You know how
lightning strikes in the east and lights up the west, the coming of the
Son of Man will be just like that! And the land which you see ruling now will be laid waste and untrodden, and all of mankind will see its
desolation. (Wherever there is a carcass, the vultures will be sure to
gather!) But if the Most High grants that you should live, after the
third day you will see it thrown into confusion.
“But in the days immediately following the distress of those times,
there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. Now with
regard to the signs: the sun will be dimmed, and the moon will not
furnish her light. Then the sun will suddenly shine at night, and the
moon during the day. A tree will bend down and stand upright, blood
will drip from out of wood, and stone will speak, and the people will be
distressed, and the stars will fall from the sky. And in this world,
nations will be tormented and perplexed by the roaring and billowing
of the sea. Behold, the days are coming when fear will seize all of
those who live on earth, and the land will be devoid of faith. Men will
grow cold with fear and dread because of what is taking place, for the
powers of heaven will all be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man
will appear in the sky, and the nations of the world will beat their
breasts. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming on the
clouds of heaven with tremendous power and magnificent glory. On
the day that the Messiah comes, it will be even as a flock of doves
surrounding him as a crown. He will tread upon the vault the heaven,
led forth by the sign of the cross. The whole world will see him even as
the sun shining from the eastern to the western horizons. All of his
angels will surround him at his coming.
“And he will send them forth at the great trumpet call, and they will
gather all his chosen ones from the four winds--from one end of
heaven to the other, (and) from the farthest reaches of the earth to the
uttermost regions of heaven. And when all of these things begin to
take place, it will be time to rise and lift your heads, for your
deliverance has finally come!” Then he spoke a parable to them: “Take
the fig tree, and every other tree as well. Now work out the mystery of
the fig tree: when its tender limbs grow out and sprout leaves, at that
moment you can see for yourselves and know that summer is coming.
And so it will be that when you see all of these things begin to unfold,
understand that God’s kingdom is at hand; even at the very doors! I am telling you the truth, this generation will not have passed before all
these things are fulfilled at last. Heaven and earth will pass away, but
never my words. Therefore at the end of days, this will be the sign that the Most High will show in the sight of all who dwell on earth; when
terror overtakes those who are living in the world and they fall into terrible torments and tribulations. It will then come about that
because of their many troubles, they will say in their hearts, ‘The
Mighty One no longer takes thought for the earth.’ It will be even as
they are losing all hope that the time will awaken. Furthermore, the
great God Who dwells in the skies will become in every way a savior to
all men of virtue. At that time a profound peace and understanding
will begin, and the bountiful land will once again bring forth fruit in
profusion, and will no longer remain divided or in servitude. Those
who enter into God’s kingdom will see the days come when vines will
grow with ten thousand runners apiece, and ten thousand branches
will grow on each runner, and ten thousand shoots will grow on each
branch, and ten thousand sprouts will grow on each shoot, and ten
thousand bunches will grow on each sprout. And these bunches will
each produce ten thousand grapes; and when they are pressed, each of
these grapes will yield twenty-five measures of wine. And if one of the
saints should grab one cluster, another one will then proclaim, ‘I am
better, take me instead! Glorify the Lord through me!’ A grain of
wheat will likewise produce ten thousand ears, and these ears will each
have ten thousand grains thereon, and each grain will yield five
pounds of pure, fine wheat flour twice over. And it will be the same for
every other fruit, seed, and plant. And every animal will feed solely on
what the earth provides. They will become peaceable and live together
in harmony, and will subject themselves obediently to men. Every
harbor and port will once again be open to all mankind and
shamelessness will exist no more. Then God will again perform a great sign: a star will shine forth like a radiant crown, glorious, and
gleaming from the resplendent sky for a great many days. (For at that
time, He will show from heaven the crown that is given to men who
strive in the war.) But as for the day and the hour, no man knows it,
neither do the angels in heaven, nor even does the Son, but only the
“But at the coming of the Son of Man, things will be even as they
were in Noah’s day. For just as it was in the days before the flood, when they were eating and drinking, getting married and marrying off
right up to the day that Noah entered the ark; none gave heed until the
flood arrived and did away with all of them. Even so will the coming
of the Son of Man be. Two will then be out in the field; one will be
taken and the other will be left. Two will be grinding at the mill; one
will be taken and the other will be left. So stay alert, for you do not
know when your Lord will return.
“Even so, recognize this much, if the homeowner had known before the hour that the thief would come, he would have kept watch, and not
allowed his house to get broken into. So also must you be vigilant, for
the Son of Man is coming at a time that you do not know. Also, look to
yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcome by excess and
drunkenness and the concerns of this life, and that day sneak up on
you without your being aware. For like a trap it will ensnare all of
those who live on earth. Who then is that trusty and sagacious servant
whom his lord will set over his household servants, that he might give
them their food when the season arrives? How lucky will that servant
be when his lord comes and finds him so doing. I tell you most
assuredly, he will put him over all that He has. But should that wicked
servant say in his heart, ‘My master will be gone a long time,’ and
starts beating his fellow servants, and eating and drinking with the
drunkards, that servant’s master will come on a day that he’s not
expecting, and at a time that he’s not aware, and hack him to bits,
assigning him his part with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing
and grinding of teeth.
“So be alert, praying at all times that you might be deemed worthy
to escape all that will soon come to pass, and stand in the presence of
the Son of Man. Do not let down your guard; watch and pray, since
you do not know when that time will be. It is like a man who was
going on a distant journey, who, at the time he left his house, charged
each of his servants with certain tasks, and commanded the porter to
keep watch. So remain vigilant, for you never know when the lord of
the house might come; at dusk, midnight, cock’s crow, or daybreak.
Should he happen to come back on a sudden, do not let him catch you
sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!
(Matt 25:1-13; AcAn in P. Utrecht I p.14)
Mount of Olives
“At that time, the kingdom of heaven will be likened unto ten
virgins who each took their lanterns and went to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish, and five of them were wise. Now the foolish
ones, even though they took their lamps, failed to take any olive oil
with them; whereas the prudent ones carried flasks along with their
lamps. And as the bridegroom lingered, they nodded off, and lay there
sleeping. Then at midnight there came a shout, ‘Behold, the
bridegroom is coming! Go and meet him.’ Then those virgins all got
up, and they each trimmed their own lanterns. ‘Give us of your olive
oil,’ said the foolish to the wise, ‘for our lamps are burning out!’ But
the wise ones said to them, ‘We fear that there will not be enough for you and us both. You ought rather to go to those who sell and buy
some oil for yourselves.’ Now after they had gone away to purchase
some, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went in with him
to the wedding feast, and the door was then secured. After a while, the
other virgins came around pleading, ‘Lord, Lord, open up the door for
us!’ But the bridegroom answered, ‘I tell you most assuredly that I
never even knew you.’ So keep watch, because you do not know the
day or the hour. Oh virgins, it is not without reason that you have
guarded your chastity, nor was it in vain that you persisted in prayer
with your lamps burning until the voice came to you at midnight,
saying, ‘Get up! Go forth and meet the bridegroom.’
(AcThad; EpAb)
Edessa, Jerusalem
{This is a copy of a letter which Abgar the Toparch wrote to Jesus, and
sent to him in Jerusalem by the hand of the courier, Hananiah, (and
also) the copy of the things that Jesus wrote to Abgar the Toparch by
the hand of Hananiah the courier:}
In those days there was this governor of a city called Edessa, whose
name was Abgar, who had heard of the wonders that the Christ had
worked, and of what he taught as well, for his fame had spread both
far and wide. He was amazed by him and wished to meet him, but was
unable to leave the supervision of his city. Now Abgar was overtaken
by a chronic illness right about the time of the Passion of Jesus and
the plotting of the Jews, so he sent a letter to Christ by way of
Hananiah the courier. It went something like this: “Abgar Ouchama,
the Toparch, governor of the land of the Edessenes, to Jesus, who is
called Christ, the good Savior who has appeared in the region of
Jerusalem, greetings to you. I have heard many things about you; of
the many wonders that you have worked, and the healings that you
have brought about with neither medicine nor herb. It is reported that
you cause the blind to see and the lame to walk; that you cleanse the leprous, heal the paralyzed, exorcise filthy spirits and demons, restore
those who suffer from chronic illnesses, and raise the dead back up to
life. When I learned these things about you, I figured that you must be
one or the other of these two: either you are a god who came down
from heaven to bring these things to pass, or you are a son of God.
And this is why I have written you; by everything that’s good in you, I
implore you now to come to us; both to cure me of my illness and to
escape the scheming of the Jews. I have heard that the Jews are
spreading malicious rumors about you, and that they wish to do you
harm. Come and escape the stratagems of the wicked--all that they
have set in place against you on account of their own jealousy. And
though my city is rather small, it is holy, and large enough for the both
of us.”
Now Abgar had ordered Hananiah to obtain an accurate description
of Christ; what he looked like, how tall he was, about his hair, and, in
short, all that there was to know of him. Then Hananiah went and
handed him the letter and looked him over carefully, but could not fix
his appearance in his mind. And Jesus, as one who understood the
heart, requested something with which to wash, and a towel was given
him. And after he had washed himself, he patted his face with it, and
it left its form in the linen cloth. Then he handed it to Hananiah and
said, “Take this back to the one who sent you, with this message: Peace
to you and to your town! This is the reason that I came; to suffer on
behalf of this world, and to rise again and raise the fathers. How
blessed you are for believing in me, for concerning me it has been
written, ‘Those who have seen me will not believe in me,’ and, ‘Those
who never saw me will believe and live.’ Now concerning that part of your letter requesting that I come to you. I need to make it clear that I
must complete my mission in this land, and afterward be taken up to
Him Who sent me. But after I have passed into the heavens, I will
send Thaddeus, a disciple of mine, to be with you. He will heal your
illness, open up your eyes, guide you into all truth, and bring you life--
along with the people of your town.” And after receiving Hananiah,
Abgar fell down and worshiped the image, and his disease vanished
before Thaddeus arrived.
(Matt 26:17-20; Mark 14:12-17; Luke 22:7-16, 24-30;
GEb 7, Quote by Epiphanius, Heresies 30.22)
Large Upper Room, Jerusalem
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, upon which, the custom is
that the Passover lamb must be sacrificed. The disciples drew near to Jesus, and he said, “Clearly I’ve not looked forward to eating this
Passover meat with you in its every aspect, have I?” And he sent out
two of his disciples, Peter and John, saying, “Go and ready the
Passover meal for us, that we might eat.” And they asked him, “Where
would you have us make it for you?” Go to a certain man in town.
And behold, even as you are entering the city, a man carrying a pitcher
of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. Then you
will say to the one in charge of the house that he goes into, ‘The Master
says to you, “My time is at hand. My disciples and I will keep the
Passover at your house. Where is the room where my followers and I
will eat the Passover meal?”’ Then he will show you a large upper
room which has been spread out and prepared. Arrange it for us in
that place.” So the disciples went into the city and found things even
as he had described it to them, so they readied the Passover there.
That evening, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. And when the time
had come, he sat at table with the twelve apostles. Then he explained,
“I have longed to eat this Passover with you before my suffering,
inasmuch as I say to you that I will in no way eat of it until the time
comes when it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.”
And a dispute broke out among them as to which of them would be
the greatest. At that point he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the ones who are over these are called
‘benefactors.’ Yet that is not how it will be with you. Let the one who
is greater among you be even as the lesser, and the one who rules as
the one who serves. For which is the greater, the one seated or the one
serving? Is it not the one who sits? Even so, I am here with you as one who serves. You are the ones who have stayed with me through my
ordeals, and I am passing a kingdom on to you, even as the Father has
passed a kingdom on to me, that you might eat and drink at my table
in the kingdom. Then you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes
of Israel.”
(John 13:31-35; GHb 7 Quote by Jerome,
Commentary on Ephesians 3, regarding Ephesians 5:4;
Quote by Jerome, On Isaiah 11.2)
The Upper Room, Jerusalem
So after Judas had left that place, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man
is prepared for glorification, and through him will God be glorified.
And if God is set to be glorified through the Son of Man, then God
Himself will glorify him; and how suddenly will He do so! Dearest
children, I will only be with you a little while longer. And even as I
have said to the Jews, so now do I say to you; you will go looking for
me, but not be able to follow me to where I go. I am passing a new
commandment on to you: that you should love one another, even as I
have loved you. Never think of yourself as truly fulfilled until you can
look upon your brother with love. It is among the greatest of sins to
sadden the spirit of a brother. If you should show love for one
another, then everyone will recognize you as my disciples.”
(John 17:1-26; vss. following John 17:26 in codex evangelii
Johannei Parisii in sacro Templariorum tabulario asservatus;
Pseudo-Cyprian, Against Dice-Throwers 3;
Fragment From The Strasbourg Coptic Papyrus)
And when Jesus had spoken these things, he lifted his eyes toward
heaven and said, “Father, the time has come to glorify Your Son, that
he might also bring You glory. For You have given him power over all
flesh, to grant limitless life to all that You have given him. And neverending
life is this: that they might come to know You, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, the one You have sent. I have brought You
glory here on earth by finishing all that You gave me to do. And now,
Father, glorify me with the majesty that I shared with You before the
world was made. I have revealed Your name to those that You gave to
me from out of the world. All of them belonged to You, and You have given them to me, and they have truly kept Your word. Now they have
received assurances that what You have given me is indeed from You.
For I have passed the words that You gave me on to them, and they
have accepted them, knowing for sure that I came from Your side, and
believing that You have sent me. I am praying for the sake of these. I
am not praying on behalf of this world, but for the sake of the ones
that You have given me, for all of them belong to You. And all that I
have belongs to You, and what is Yours is mine as well. And I have
been glorified through them. I am no longer in this realm, but these
are to remain behind as I come to You. Holy Father, watch over those
You have given to me in Your name, that they might become One, even
as we are One. While I was with them in this world, I kept them in
Your name. I watched over those that You gave to me, and not one of
them was lost except for that son of devastation, that the Scripture
might be fulfilled. And now I’m coming back to You, having spoken
these things in the world, that my joy might be fulfilled in them. I
have passed Your word on to them, and the world has despised them,
since they are not of this world, even as I am not of this world. I am
not asking You to release them from this realm, but that You might
guard them against all evil. They are no more of this world than I am.
Sanctify them in Your truth. Your Word is truth. I have sent them out
into the world even as You have sent me into the world. And I sanctify
myself for them, that they might be sanctified through the truth. Not that I pray for these alone, but also for those who will come to believe in me through their testimony, that they might all become One, even
as You, Father are within me, and I am within You. This is so that
they might be within us, that the world may come to know that You
have sent me. And I have given them the same glory that You gave to
me, that they may be One, even as We are One--‘I AM’ in them, and
‘YOU ARE’ in me, that they might all be made perfect in the ‘One’--and
that they might recognize while in this world that You have sent me,
and that You have loved them in the same way that You have loved
me. Father, I truly wish for those that You have given me to come over
to where I AM, that they might experience my glory, which You gave to
me, because You loved me before the world ever was. Holy Father,
truly the world never did know You, but I do know You, and these all
know that You have sent me. I have made Your name known to them,
and I will again make it known, so that in these might dwell the same
love with which You have loved me, and that I might remain in them.
Strengthen me now with Your power, so that with me they might endure the world. Amen. I have been given the scepter of the
kingdom. All of these have been despised--and since they were lowly,
they were never recognized. Through You, oh Father, have I taken my
place as king. You will place all things into my hands. And now I will
reveal myself to you in the fullness of my glory, and make known to
you the scope of your authority, together with the secret of your
Then, with uplifted hands, Jesus said to his followers, “Behold, the
time for me to drink the cup from which my Father has given me to
drink has come. I am off to my Father Who sent me here, so I will
remind you one last time: I am sending you out, so do as I’ve
instructed you. Pass what I have taught you on to others, so that the
whole world might come to receive it, and so receive the Holy Spirit.
The sins of those that you forgive will be forgiven, and the sins of those
you do not forgive will remain unforgiven. Hear what I have said to
you: I do not come from this world. The Comforter is with you now, so
teach through the authority of the Advocate. I am sending you out as
the Father has sent me. Do not sadden the Holy Spirit that is living
within you. Do not quench the light that is shining within you. This in
truth I swear to you, that I am not of this world. John will act as your
father until he comes to me in paradise.” Then he sanctified them
with the Holy Spirit.
(AcJn 94-97a)
Now prior to being arrested by the ungovernable Jews who received
their law through the lawless serpent, he gathered us all together and
said, “Before I am handed up to them, let us sing a hymn to the Father,
and venture forth to what lies ahead.” So he had us form a circle
together and hold hands with one another. And he stood at the center
and said, “Answer me, ‘Amen.’” And he sang a hymn, which went like
“Glory to You, Father!”
And those of us encircling him answered, “Amen!”
“Glory to you Word! Glory to you, Grace!” “Amen!”
“Glory to you, Grace! Glory to you, Holy One! Glory even unto
Glory!” “Amen!”
“Oh Father, how we give You praise!
We thank You, Light, wherein no darkness dwells.” “Amen!”
“Now I will explain to you why we are giving thanks:
I will be delivered, and I will deliver.” “Amen!”
“I will be freed, and I will set free.” “Amen!”
“I will be wounded, and I will wound.” “Amen!”
“I will be born, and I will bring forth.” “Amen!”
“I will consume, and I will be consumed.” “Amen!”
“I will hear, and I will be heard.” “Amen!”
“I will be understood, being understanding itself.” “Amen!”
“I will be cleansed, and I will cleanse.” “Amen!”
The Dance of Grace:
“I will pipe. All of you dance!” “Amen!”
“I will grieve. All of you mourn!” “Amen!”
“The Eightfold Power has joined us in song!” “Amen!”
“The Twelfth in number is dancing on high!” “Amen!”
“It is for the All to dance up in the heights!” “Amen!”
“All of those who do not dance, do not know what is taking place!”
“I will flee, and I will stay!” “Amen!”
“I will beautify, and I will be beautified!” “Amen!”
“I will be united, and I will unify!” “Amen!”
“I have no house, yet I have many houses!” “Amen!”
“I have no place, yet I have many places!” “Amen!”
“I have no temple, yet I have many temples!” “Amen!”
“I am a lamp to all who look on me!” “Amen!”
“I am a mirror to all who know me!” “Amen!”
“I am a door for all who knock on me!” “Amen!”
“I am a path for all who travel.” “Amen!”
“Now if you respond to my dance, see yourself as within me who speaks. And when you see the things I do, keep my mysteries to
yourselves. Those of you who dance with me, consider my actions
carefully, for it is for you to suffer the passion of mankind, which
corresponds to my own suffering. You see, you could never have
understood your own affliction without realizing that the Father has
sent me to you as the Word. Those of you who have seen my actions
as suffering have not stood firm, but you have instead been moved.
You have me to rest upon as you move toward wisdom; rest upon me!
After I depart from you, you will come to see me as I am! I am not as I
now seem to you. At the time that you come forth, you will see me as I
truly am. Had you known what your passion would entail, you could
have avoided it altogether. Learn therefore the way to suffer, and you
will gain power over your suffering. I will teach you what you do not
know. I am your God, and not that of the betrayer. It is my will that
holy souls should join with mine. Listen to the Word of Wisdom! Say again with me.
‘Glory to You, Father!
Glory to You, Word!
Glory to You, Holy Spirit!’
As for myself, if you would like to see me as I truly was, I made all
things a laughingstock by means of the Word. By no means was I put
to shame, but instead I jumped for joy! But you must come to see the
greater vision, and once you have grasped it, then you must go on to
proclaim, ‘Glory to You, Father!’” “Amen!”
{I am Ananias, an officer of the Praetorian guard. And as one who
is well-versed in the Law, I learned of Jesus Christ through the holy
writings, which I read with an unwavering trust, and was deemed
worthy to receive holy baptism. And I looked high and low for reports
that had been made by the Jews, who during and after the time of our
Lord Jesus Christ, had written them under orders from Pontius Pilate
himself. I found these accounts written in the original Hebrew during
the seventeenth year of our Emperor Flavius Theodosius, the sixth
year of the ninth indiction of the Nobility of Flavius Valentinianus,
and have translated them into Greek both to please God and to
enlighten all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For this very reason, all of you who read this account and copy it
into other books, think of me and pray on my behalf, that God might
be kindly disposed toward me and forgive all of the sins that I have
committed against Him. Peace to all who read this book and come to
hear what it has to say, and to those who serve them as well. Amen.
Now these are the things that Nicodemus recorded with regard to the deeds of the chief priests and the rest of the Jews after the Lord
had suffered on the cross. He handed them over on the twenty-fifth of
March, four years into the two hundred and second Olympiad, eight
days prior to the month of April. This same Nicodemus, during the
nineteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius of Rome, translated
these accounts into the Hebrew tongue. This coincides with the
nineteenth year of the reign of Herod, king of Galilee, which was
during the consulate of Rufus and Rubellio, when the Jewish high
priest was Joseph Caiaphas.}
(John 18:12-14, 19-24; Matt 26:57-68;
Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:63-71; POxy 1224:4)
Together, the soldiers, the Captain of the Thousand, and the officers
seized Jesus, tied him up, and led him away to Annas first, since he
was father-in-law to Caiaphas, that year’s high priest. Caiaphas, you
see, was the one who had counseled the Jews, “Better that one man
should die than the entire nation.” The high priest then examined
Jesus with regard to his students and his teaching. “I spoke plainly
and openly before the world,” Jesus replied. “I was forever in the
synagogue and the temple, speaking where the Jews perpetually
convene. I never spoke anything in secret, so why are you
interrogating me? Why not ask the ones who heard me teach what I
said?” And when he heard this, one of the officers standing nearby
struck Jesus and shouted, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
“If I spoke amiss,” Jesus replied, “kindly tell me where I misspoke, but
if I spoke the truth, how can you justify hitting me?”
So Annas forwarded him to Caiaphas, the high priest. Those
arresting Jesus seized him and led him away still bound into the house
of the high priest Caiaphas, where all of the chief priests, teachers of
the law, and elders had gathered together. The high-ranking priests
and the entire Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony to use
against Jesus in order to bring about his execution. But even though
many pretenders stepped up and put forth false statements about him,
they were unable to produce any. Their stories, you see, did not agree with one another. Then at last two rose to their feet, came forward
and hurled this false accusation against him: “Both of us heard him
say, ‘I can (and) will destroy this temple that was built through manual
labor, and in three days raise up in its place one not made with the
hands of men.’” But even the testimonies of these two were not in
perfect accord. Then the high priest stood up in the sight of all and examined
Jesus: “Are you not going to respond? What can all of the things that
these men have testified against you possibly mean? <What are you
trying to prove by> not answering? What are you repudiating,
anyway? What is this new doctrine they claim that you teach? What is
this brand new message that you are preaching? Explain <it to us>
and <we will listen.>” But Jesus held his peace and gave no response.
Once again the high priest examined him: “I order you to swear by the
Living God: Tell us plainly, are you the Messiah, the Son of the Holy
God?” “Indeed I am,” answered Jesus. “This is what you say
yourselves! And to all of you I say that one day you are going to see
the Son of Man coming from the sky on clouds, seated to the right
hand of Power.” Then the high priest ripped his clothing. “His words
are blasphemous!” he argued. Then he said, “What need have we of
further witnesses? Listen up, now that you have heard his blasphemy,
are you ready to render your verdict?” “He ought to be put to death!”
they all replied. So each of them passed sentence against him as one
deserving the death penalty. Then some of the men guarding Jesus
started taunting him: they blindfolded him, spit into his face, beat
him, and punched him with their fists. Still others slapped him and
demanded: “Hey, Christ, why not prophesy to us! Which of us
punched you?” Then the officers took him and drubbed him.
(Matt 27:2b; Mark 15:1b; Luke 1b,2;
John 18:28-32; GNc 1:1-3:1)
Palace of Pontius Pilate, Jerusalem
Then, while it was still early in the morning, the Jews led Jesus
away from Caiaphas and over to the Praetorium, and delivered him up
to Pilate the governor. Now they all wanted to eat the Passover meal,
so to avoid ceremonial defilement, they did not go in. And Annas,
Caiaphas, Semes, Dathaes, Gamaliel, Judas, Levi, Naphthali,
Alexander, Jairus, and all of the other Jews started charging Jesus
with a whole range of offenses, so Pilate went out to them and
requested, “What is the precise charge that you are bringing against
him?” “We would not have brought him here to you,” they responded,
“if he were not a criminal.” Then they started accusing him, saying,
“We found this man to be undermining our nation; forbidding that
taxes be paid to Caesar. We know for a fact,” they insisted, “that this
man is the son of Joseph the Carpenter and that he was born of Mary;
but he claims to be the Messiah, the Son of God, and a King as well!
And as if that were not enough, he desecrates the Sabbath Day and
seeks to do away with the law of our fathers.” Then Pilate questioned
them, “And what things does he do that show he wants it done away
with?” “In our law,” the Jews replied, “it says that no healing should
be done on the Sabbath. But this man, by his evil ways, has healed the lame, the crippled, the withered, the blind, the paralyzed, the deaf, and
the demon-possessed--all upon the Sabbath Day!” “And in what way
are these actions evil?” Pilate asked. “He is a sorcerer!” they retorted.
“It is through none other than Beelzebub that he casts the evil spirits
out. All of them are at his command.” “What you say cannot be true!”
Pilate replied. “No filthy spirit can cast out another; only the gods can
do that.”
“Your excellency,” the Jews bid Pilate, “we implore you; please take
him and try him yourself before your court.” And Pilate called them
near and asked, “Since I am but a governor, kindly explain to me how I
am supposed to interrogate a king?” “Now hold on right there!” they
said. “We never said that he was a king. Only that he claims to be
one!” Then Pilate called his messenger over and directed him, “Give
Jesus a proper escort into this place.” So the messenger went right
out. And as soon as he saw that he was the Christ, the messenger
worshiped him. Then he took his cloak in hand and spread it out on
the ground below. Then the man addressed him thus, “Lord, the
governor is summoning you, so please pass across this as you enter.”
But when the Jews saw how the messenger had acted, they denounced
Pilate, demanding, “Why did you send this herald out to call him in,
and not a bailiff instead? For as soon as this messenger laid eyes on
him, he worshiped him, spreading his cloak upon the ground and
asking him to walk across it as though he were some kind of king!”
Then Pilate called for the messenger and questioned him, “Why did
you spread your cape on the ground and have Jesus pass over?” “Lord
Governor,” replied the messenger, “when you sent me over to
Alexander in Jerusalem, I saw this man seated on a donkey, and the
children of the Hebrews were carrying branches in their hands and
making a commotion. And other people were spreading their own
clothes out before him and proclaiming, ‘You, who rest in the highest,
rescue us now! Praises to the one who comes bearing the Lord’s
“The children of the Hebrews were crying out in Hebrew,” the Jews
called out to the messenger, “so how could you, who speak Greek,
possibly have understood what they said?” “I simply asked one of the
Jews,” the messenger replied, “‘What is this that they are shouting in
Hebrew?’ and he interpreted it for me.” Then Pilate demanded, “And
just what were they crying out in Hebrew?” “Hosanna membrome
baruchamma Adonai,” the Jews answered. “And just how do
‘Hosanna’ and all of those other words translate?” Pilate asked. “You
who rest in the highest, rescue us now,” conceded the Jews. “Praises to the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Then Pilate asked
them, “If you admit that these are the words that the children spoke,
then why are you faulting this messenger?” And none of them could
say a thing. Then the governor bid the messenger, “Go out and bring
him back in any way that you see fit!” At this, the messenger went
right out and did as he had done before, saying to Jesus, “Lord, the
governor is summoning you, please come inside.”
And as he was going in, Jesus passed by the ensigns who were
holding the standards up. Then the images at the tops of the
standards started of themselves to bow down and worship him. And
when the Jews saw what those images had done, bowing themselves in
worship to Jesus, they clamored against the standard bearers. But
Pilate asked them, “Are you not amazed that the images bowed down
and worshiped Jesus?” “We saw the standard bearers lowering them
in reverence to him!” the Jews answered Pilate. Then the governor
called the ensigns over and demanded, “Why have you done this?”
“We are all Greek,” they said, “and servants of the temples. Why
would we worship him? We were trying to hold the images up, but
they bowed down and worshiped him on their own.”
Then Pilate ordered the synagogue rulers and the elders: “Pick out
some strong men to support the standards, and let us all see if the
images lower themselves then.” So the Jewish elders chose the twelve
strongest men and had them hold the standards up, and they stood, in
groups of six, before the bar of the governor. And Pilate instructed the messenger, “Walk him out of the Praetorium, and come back in with
him any way that you like.” Jesus and the messenger then left the hall.
Then Pilate summoned the ensigns who had held the standards with
the images up the first time, and informed them, “I have sworn by
Caesar’s life that if the standards do not bow down when Jesus comes
in, I will have your heads chopped off!” And the governor ordered
Jesus to enter in a second time. So the messenger did as he had
before, inviting Jesus to walk across his cape. He stepped across and
went inside, and as he was going in, the standards fell down in
reverence to him, even as they had before.
And when Pilate saw this, he was stunned, and nearly got up out of
his seat. And even as he was coming to terms with this, his wife, who
was some distance away, sent him this message: “Do not get mixed up
with this honorable man, because last night I agonized much over a
dream I had about him!” And Pilate, calling the Jews before him said,
“You know that my wife is devout, and that she is every bit the
practicing Jew that you are.” Then they replied, “We are all aware of that.” “Look,” said Pilate, “my wife just now sent this message to me:
‘Do not get mixed up with this honorable man, because last night I
agonized much over a dream I had about him.’” “Did we not say that
he was a sorcerer?” the Jews replied. “You see, he was the one who
sent your wife that dream!” Then Pilate called for Jesus and asked,
“What are these men testifying against you? Will you not have your
say?” “They would not be saying anything at all had they not been
given the power to do so,” Jesus replied. “Everyone has the ability to
bring about either good or evil with the power of the tongue. They will
therefore see to it.”
Then the Jewish elders challenged Jesus, “And just what ought we
to see, anyway? All of us know, first of all, that you were born through
fornication; second, that your birth brought about the slaughter of the
children of Bethlehem; and third, the reason that your father and
mother, Joseph and Mary, had to run away into Egypt was because the
people all hated them.” But some of the more fair-minded among the
Jews who were standing nearby spoke up, “We do not agree that his
was an illegitimate birth because we know for sure that Joseph was
betrothed to Mary, and it therefore did not constitute fornication.”
Then Pilate said to the Jews who had alleged that Jesus was born out
of wedlock, “Your charge is baseless, because there had been a
betrothal by then. Even your fellow countrymen say that!” Annas and
Caiaphas then answered Pilate, “All of us here maintain that his birth
was through fornication, and you still do not believe us? These are
disciples and proselytes of his.” Then Pilate called Annas and
Caiaphas to himself and said, “Tell me, what are proselytes?”
“Proselytes,” they explained, “are people who are born to Gentile parents and convert to Judaism.” Then Lazarus, Asterius, Antonius,
James, Amnes, Caras, Samuel, Isaac, Phinees, Crispus, Agrippa, and
Judas, the ones who had vouched for his legitimacy, contended, “None
of us are proselytes. We are all of Jewish heritage, and are telling you
the truth, for we were there at the betrothal of Joseph and Mary.”
Pilate then called these twelve who denied that he was born of
fornication over to himself and said, “I order you to swear by Caesar’s
life that your claim--that his birth was not of fornication--is true.” But they all answered Pilate, “We are forbidden by our law ever to swear,
because for us to do so would be a sin. You ought to have them swear
on Caesar’s life that it is not as we have said, and we will accept the
penalty of death.” Pilate then questioned Annas and Caiaphas, “Will
you not respond to these things?” Annas and Caiaphas answered Pilate, “You are crediting these twelve men who hold that he is
legitimate, even though we and the crowd assembled here are
clamoring that he was born through fornication, that he practices
sorcery, and that he not only claims a kingship for himself, but then
goes on to say that he is God’s Son, and we are given no credence?”
Pilate then ordered the entire crowd to leave except for the twelve men
who denied that he had come through fornication. And after ordering
that Jesus be taken out of earshot, he asked them, “Why are they so
anxious to have him executed?” “They cannot accept the way he
performs his healings on the Sabbath Day,” they replied. Pilate then
asked, “Do you mean that these men want to kill him for doing a
kindness?” “That is indeed the case,” they answered him.
And Pilate, growing indignant, left the Praetorium and announced
to all who were assembled there, “As the sun is my witness, I do not
find any guilt in this man.” “We would never have handed him over to
you if he were not a criminal,” the Jews replied to the governor. At
that point Pilate declared, “Take him to yourselves, therefore, and
judge him as your law directs!” Now in order to bring to pass the word
that was spoken by Jesus prefiguring the kind of death that he would
suffer, the Jews responded, “It is unlawful for us to put a man to
death.” And Pilate asked them, “Did your God intend for that
command to apply to you alone and not to me?”
(Matt 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:1-6;
John 18:33-38; GNc 3:2-9:1a)
Then Pilate went back into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus.
And when Jesus was standing before the governor, Pilate asked him in
confidence, “Are you indeed the King of the Jews?” But Jesus asked
him, “Are you asking because you were moved to ask, or did other
people tell you that?” “Am I a Jew?” asked Pilate. “Your own people,
and their chief priests, have placed you into my hands. Now what did
you do to deserve this?” “It is that my kingdom is not of this world,”
Jesus answered. “You see, if mine were an earthly kingdom, my
servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
The source of my kingship lies not in this realm.” “Then indeed you
are a king!” Pilate declared. “It is you, therefore, who are calling me
king!” Jesus replied. “This was why I was born and sent--that
everyone who is of the truth might hear my voice.” Then Pilate asked
him, “What is truth?” Jesus said, “Truth comes from heaven.” So
Pilate asked him, “Is there not any truth on earth?” “You have seen for yourself,” Jesus answered Pilate, “that those who speak the truth on
earth are condemned by those in authority.”
Then Pilate, leaving Jesus in the Praetorium, went out to the Jews
and proclaimed, “I do not find any guilt in him.” “This man said,” the
Jews rejoined, “‘I am able to destroy this temple and to build it again
in just three days.’” “Which temple?” Pilate asked them. “The one
that took Solomon forty-six years to construct,” the Jews answered.
“He says that not only will he destroy it, but that in three days he will
restore it!” Pilate then declared, “I am free of this righteous man’s
blood; you see to it yourselves!” “May the bloodguilt fall on us and our
children as well!” answered the Jews.
And Pilate called the elders, the priests and the Levites over to
himself and charged them privately, “Do not conduct yourselves this
way. Your allegations involve healing and Sabbath breaking. None of
the things you have accused him of warrants the death penalty.” The
elders, chief priests, and Levites replied, “Should a man be put to
death for speaking blasphemy against Caesar?” “He does deserve to
die for that,” responded Pilate. “A man qualifies for the death penalty
if he curses Caesar,” the Jews answered Pilate, “but this man has
blasphemed God Himself.”
The chief priests and the elders started denouncing Jesus, but he
never responded to any of it. Then Pilate asked him, “Do you not hear
how many charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus did not
answer him, which astonished the governor to no end. The chief priests went on charging him with a whole range of offenses, so Pilate
asked him once again, “Are you not going to defend yourself? Look at
how many crimes they are charging you with!” But Jesus still did not
respond, and Pilate was amazed.
Then the governor ordered the Jews to leave the Praetorium. And
he called Jesus over to himself and asked, “What am I to do with you?”
“Even as it was given to you,” answered Jesus. Then Pilate requested,
“And just how was it given to me?” Jesus replied, “Moses and the
prophets forespoke of both my death and my resurrection.”
Now the Jews were trying to hear what they were saying, and as
soon as they heard that, they asked Pilate, “What do you need to hear
over and above that man’s blasphemy?” And Pilate answered the
Jews, “If this qualifies as blasphemy, then take him into your
synagogue, charge him with it, and judge him as your law directs!”
Then the Jews informed Pilate, “Our law stipulates that if one man
should wrong another, he should receive thirty-nine lashes, but it calls
for the stoning of anyone who blasphemes God.” “Then take him,” Pilate answered them, “and punish him as you see fit!” The Jews then
said to Pilate, “We would like to see him crucified.” “He does not
deserve to be crucified,” Pilate responded. Then the governor studied
the great number of Jews who were standing there closely. And when
he saw that many of them were shedding tears, he observed, “Not all of
them wish to see him killed.” But the Jewish elders then retorted,
“Each of us has come in order to bring about his execution.” Then
Pilate asked the Jews, “Why ought he to be put to death?” “Because he
claims to be the Son of God,” the Jews replied, “and a king as well.”
Nicodemus, who was there among the Jews, stood before the
governor and pleaded, “Your Honor, I implore you, allow me to speak
a few words.” “You may speak,” Pilate said. And Nicodemus
explained, “I inquired of the elders, priests, Levites, and all who were
in the synagogue, ‘What are you planning to do with this man? He
performs signs and wonders which are far too numerous to count, and
which no one else has ever done or ever will do. Set him free, and do
not long for evil to befall him. The signs that he presents will endure if
indeed they come from God; but if not, they will never amount to anything. You see, when God sent Moses into Egypt, He ordered him
to perform many signs before Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Now Pharaoh
had these two magicians, Jannes and Jambres, who also pulled off
numerous signs like those that Moses did, and the Egyptians were
convinced that they were gods. But because the signs that they
showed did not really come from God, they perished along with those
who believed in them, as you Pharisees and teachers of the law are
well aware. Now set this man free, for he has done nothing that is worthy of death.’”
At that point the Jews replied, “You are a convert and a disciple of
his.” “Has the governor also converted, and become his disciple?”
Nicodemus asked. “Did not Caesar himself appoint him to this high
office?” And when the Jews heard this, they became enraged and
started to grind their teeth against Nicodemus. Then Pilate asked
them, “Why are you gnashing your teeth against him when you know
that he’s telling the truth?” The Jews then said to Nicodemus, “May
you receive his inheritance along with his teaching.” “Yes indeed,”
Nicodemus affirmed, “may it be to me as you have said.”
Then one from among the Jews got up and asked if he might say
something. “If you’ve got something to say,” the governor replied,
“then you may speak.” And he testified, “I laid in agony on a mat for
thirty-eight years, but then Jesus came healing many of the demonpossessed, as well as those crippled by various diseases. Now a few
young men felt for me and carried me over to him on my stretcher.
And when he saw me, this Jesus pitied me, and said to me, ‘Pick up
your bed and walk.’ So I picked up my bed and started walking!” “Ask
him the day on which he received his healing,” the Jews bid Pilate. “It
was on the Sabbath Day,” admitted the man who had been healed.
Then another of the Jews rose up and asked the governor if he might
say a few things. And the governor replied, “Say what you will.” This
man therefore testified, “I lay in horrible pain over by the sheep pool
in Jerusalem for thirty-eight years waiting to be healed. Now at a
certain time, one of God’s angels would come along and rouse the
water, and that is when the remedy would come. The first one in, you
see, would be the one to receive healing for whatever the affliction.
And when Jesus saw me suffering there, he asked me, ‘Would you like
to be made whole?’ ‘Sir,’ I replied, ‘I’ve got no one to help me in at the
stirring thereof.’ ‘Stand up!’ he ordered me, ‘Now pick up your bed
and walk.’ And I was immediately healed, so I picked up my bed and
started walking.” The Jews then asked Pilate, “Please, Governor, ask
him the day on which he was healed.” The man who had been ill said,
“It was on the Sabbath.” The Jews then said to Pilate, “Did we not say
to you that he does his healing on the Sabbath Day? And it is by the
Prince of Demons that he exorcises demons!” And another from the
Jews stepped up and affirmed, “I was born blind. I could hear things
just fine, but I could not see anything. One day, as Jesus was walking by, I heard this passing multitude, so I asked what it was all about, and
I was told that it was Jesus. So I screamed as loud as I could, ‘Son of
David, have mercy on me!’ All of a sudden he stopped and had me
brought before him. Then he asked me, ‘What would you have me do
for you?’ And I answered him, ‘I would like to have my sight.’ And out
of compassion for me he touched my eyes and said to me, ‘Receive
your sight!’ and just like that I was able to see! Then I followed after
him, rejoicing and giving thanks.” Then another of the Jews stood up
and declared, “I was hunched over, and with only a word he caused me
to stand up straight!” “I had a skin disease,” affirmed another, “and he
cleansed me with just a word!” Then a woman named Veronica
testified, “I was plagued for twelve years by a continual flow of blood.
Then I touched the hem of his robe, and right away my bleeding
stopped.” At that point the Jews replied, “Our law does not admit the
testimony of a woman.”
And after many others had put forward their accounts, another one
of the Jews added, “I saw when Jesus was invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. After the wine had run out, he ordered the servants to fill
six jugs brimful with water, and so they did. Then he blessed them,
changing the water into wine. Everybody drank of it, and this miracle
amazed us all!” Then another from among the Jews stepped forward
and declared, “I saw Jesus when he was teaching in the synagogue in
Capernaum. Now in that place there was this demon-possessed man.
‘Leave me alone!’ the demon screamed. ‘What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? I know that you’re God’s Holy One.’ But Jesus
reproved him, saying, ‘Be silent, you filthy spirit, and leave this man at
once!’ And right away he left that man, not harming him at all.” Then
a Pharisee testified: “I saw an enormous crowd from all parts of
Galilee gather together around Jesus; from Judea, the seaside, and the
many regions around the Jordan. And even though so many sick came
up to him, he healed each and every one of them. I heard the filthy
spirits screaming, ‘You are the Son of God!’ but Jesus ordered them
most emphatically, ‘Don’t you tell a soul!’”
And after this, another one, who was known as Centurio, testified,
“I saw Jesus in Capernaum. ‘Master,’ I begged him, ‘my servant back
home is wracked with paralysis.’ And Jesus said, ‘Then I will go and
heal him.’ ‘But Lord,’ I said, ‘I am not even worthy that you should
enter my house. Just say the word and my servant will be restored.’
‘Go on then,’ he said to me, ‘may it be to you as you believed.’ And it
was from that time that my servant was healed.” Then a certain
prominent man chimed in, “I had a son who was laying at death’s door
back in Capernaum. And when I heard that Jesus had come into
Galilee, I went and begged him to come down to my house and restore
my son, for he was at the point of death. He said to me, ‘Your son is
alive!’ and it was from that very moment that my son was made well!”
And a host of others shouted, “Surely he’s the Son of God and a
prophet too, seeing how with his word alone he cures every manner of
illness, and subjugates every demon.” Then Pilate asked those who
were claiming that the demons were under his authority, “Why, then,
are your Teachers not also subject to him?” “We have no idea,” they
replied. But other people then affirmed, “Only God can give this kind
of power.” “Why then are your Teachers unable to control them?”
Pilate asked the Jews. Some claimed, “The power to command
demons comes from God alone,” but others said, “Jesus raised Lazarus
from the dead after he had been entombed for four days!” Then the
governor shuddered, and questioned the entire assembly of Jews,
“Why are you so eager to shed innocent blood?”
Pilate then summoned Nicodemus and the twelve who held that Jesus was not born of fornication, and asked them, “What am I
supposed to do? The people are divided.” “We do not know,” they
answered him, “those who incite the crowds will see to it.”
Then he went out to the Jews again and proclaimed to the chief
priests and the assembled multitude, “I do not find any guilt in this
man.” But they grew all the more insistent, saying, “He’s been
teaching all over Judea, getting the people all worked up! He started
out in Galilee and has continued to this very place!” But when Pilate
heard these words from them, he asked if Jesus were a Galilean. And
when he realized that Jesus fell under the jurisdiction of Herod, he
forwarded Jesus to him, who at the time was also in Jerusalem.
(Matt 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25;
John 18:39-19:1-16a; GNc 9:1b-9:5; GPt 6-9,1,2;
GNaz 9 Quote by Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 4)
Now it was the governor’s practice at this feast to free any prisoner
that the crowd desired. At the time there was this rather infamous
inmate named Jesus Barabbas, the meaning of which is “the son of
their teacher, who during the rebellion had committed murder and
been locked away with the other insurgents.” Then Pilate again
rounded up the Jews: the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. And
when the crowd had assembled there, they approached Pilate and
asked him to do what he would customarily do for them. “You
brought this man before me,” Pilate declared, “as someone who
corrupts the nation. Now behold, I have tried him here before you all
and have found him to be not guilty of the charges you have brought
against him, as has Herod. Just look, he has even sent him back to us. Nothing that this man has done qualifies him for the penalty of death.
Now it is your custom that I should release to you a prisoner at
Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I have this inmate named
Barabbas who has been condemned for murder, and this King of the
Jews, Jesus, who is standing here before you all, and in whom I have
found no guilt. I will punish him and set him free.” (He was now
under obligation to release one man among them during the feast.)
“So which one would you like to have let loose among you?” Pilate
asked, “Would you rather have me free Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who
is known as the Messiah, the King of the Jews?” (He knew full well,
you see, that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had turned
Jesus over to him. And as Pilate sat at his bar, his wife sent him this
word: “Do not get mixed up with this honorable man because I have
agonized much today over a dream I had about him.”) But the chief
priests and the elders worked the crowd into a frenzy, and convinced
them to have Jesus put to death, and to have Barabbas released in his
stead. And they all cried out as one, “Not him; take this man away
from us! Set Barabbas free instead; give us this man in his place.” (It
was in that very city, you see, that Barabbas had taken part in an
uprising and had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder.)
And out of his desire to free Jesus, Governor Pilate once again
pleaded with them, asking, “Which of the two should I release to you?”
“Barabbas!” they answered him. “What then,” Pilate asked, “would
you have me do with Jesus the Christ--the one you call the King of the
Jews?” “Crucify him!” the crowd responded with a shout. And they
kept on screaming, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate appealed to them yet a third time, asking, “Why should I?
What is his crime? I have found no basis whatsoever for putting him
to death, so I will see to it that he is beaten and then have him
released.” But they just screamed the louder, “Crucify him!”
Then Pilate took Jesus and ordered him beaten. The soldiers
twisted a crown of thorns, then they put it on his head and dressed
him in a purple robe. They approached him repeatedly and mocked,
“Hail to you, oh King of the Jews!” then they slapped him in the face.
Then Pilate went out to them again and said, “Look, I am bringing
him back to let you know that I have found no guilt in him.” Then
Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
“Just look at this man!” Pilate bid them. When the chief priests and
the officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Then
Pilate said to them, “You take and crucify him, because I have found
no guilt in him!” “We have a law,” the Jews replied, “and according to that law he should be put to death for calling himself the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard them saying this, he grew even more disturbed.
And he went back into the Praetorium and questioned Jesus, “Where
did you come from?” but Jesus did not answer him. “So you’re not
going to answer me,” Pilate said to him. “Do you not realize that I
have both the authority to free you, as well as to have you crucified?”
“You would never have had such power,” Jesus said, “had it not been
given to you from above, so the one who handed me over to you is
committing the more serious offense.” Now Pilate was all the more
anxious to let him go after he heard him say this, but the Jews kept on
clamoring, “If you free this man, you cannot be Caesar’s friend,
because he has made himself out to be the Son of God, and a King as
well. Would you have him take Caesar’s place as king? Anyone who
declares himself king does so in opposition to Caesar!” And when
Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat on the judgment seat at
a spot known as “the pavement,” but in Aramaic it is called
“Gabbatha.” This took place at about the sixth hour on the day of
Preparation, during the week of Passover. And Pilate said to the Jews,
“Behold your king!” But they just roared, “Away with him! Take him
away and crucify him!” “Is it my role to crucify your king?” asked
Pilate. The chief priests responded, “We recognize no king but
Now the Jews had Pilate really upset. “Yours has always been a
seditious people,” he retorted, “forever in opposition to those who
wish to do you good!” “And who might they be?” the Jews demanded. “The way I heard it,” Pilate answered, “your God rescued you from
unbearable slavery under the Egyptians, and guided you across the
Red Sea as if by dry land. He supplied you with manna and quails in
the desert, quenched your thirst with water from a rock, and entrusted
you with His own law. Yet in spite of all this, you infuriated your God.
A molten calf was all you wanted, and this so enraged your God that
He would have wiped you out completely had Moses not intervened on
your behalf. And even though you were spared, you have the nerve to
implicate me as one who despises the emperor!” Then he got up out of
his judgment seat and started to leave. And the Jews all shouted, “We
recognize only Caesar, not Jesus. Magi from the east brought him
gifts that were fit for a king, and when Herod heard the Magi say that a
king had been born, he tried to have him put to death. But as soon as
his father Joseph learned of it, he took him and his mother and fled
into Egypt. When Herod found out about this, he had all of the
Hebrew infants of Bethlehem killed.” And when Pilate heard these words, his blood ran cold, and he had
the boisterous crowd pipe down. Then he asked them, “Do you mean
that this is the one that Herod sought?” “Yes,” the Jews replied, “the
very same.”
And they stubbornly persisted with deafening shouts that Jesus be
crucified, and their shouts prevailed. When Pilate sensed that he was
getting nowhere with this, but was only stirring up a greater
commotion, he took water in the sight of all, washed his hands before
the sun and said, “I am free of this man’s blood. You will have to bear
the blame.” And everyone responded, “Let his blood fall on us and our
children as well!” But none of the Jews there washed their hands, and
neither did Herod or any of his magistrates. Then Pilate got up, since
none of them would wash. And King Herod commanded that the Lord
be taken away, saying, “Do as I’ve instructed you!” And Pilate, wishing
to pacify the multitudes, ordered that the people’s will be carried out.
Pilate set Barabbas, the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion
and murder, free among them, for he was their chosen one.
Then Pilate gave the command, and the curtain across from his
judgment seat was pulled back. Then he said, “Jesus, your own people have convicted you for being their king. I have ordered that you be
beaten as the law of the righteous emperors directs, and hung upon a
cross in the very garden where you were taken. And the two evildoers,
Gestas and Dysmas are to be crucified alongside you.”
Now Joseph, a mutual friend to both Pilate and Jesus, was standing
there. And when he realized that they were about to crucify him,
Joseph approached Pilate and requested the Lord’s body, so that he
might bury it himself. Then Pilate sent a message to Herod,
requesting his remains. “Pilate, my good friend,” Herod answered,
“we would have buried him whether or not anyone had asked, seeing
that the Sabbath Day is almost here. You see, it stands written in the
Law, ‘The sun must not be allowed to set on anyone who has been put
to death.’” And Herod handed him over to the crowds on the eve of
the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
So they grabbed the Lord, shoving him as they drove him on,
saying, “Let us drag God’s Son along now that he is subject to us.”
They placed a purple robe on him and set him on the judgment seat.
“Judge fairly, oh King of Israel!” they sneered. Then one of them
brought a crown of thorns and placed it on the head of the Lord. Now
some of those who were standing there spat into his eyes, while others
slapped him in the face, and still others poked him with a stick. Some
pounded him and jeered, “Let us pay respect to the Son of God!” But Pilate (had) ordered that Jesus be beaten, so the governor’s
soldiers seized the Lord Jesus, led him away and ushered him into the
palace, which is called the Praetorium, where the entire company of
soldiers marshaled around him. They stripped his clothing off of him,
placed a bright red (and) a purple robe on him. Then they twisted
thorns into a crown and placed it upon his head. And after putting a
staff into his right hand, they dropped to their knees before him and
taunted him. Over and again they approached him in pretended
worship and gibed, “Oh, King of the Jews, how we glorify you!” Time
and again they took that staff and beat him over the head with it,
spitting all over him, and dropping to their knees in feigned worship to
him. Then at last Pilate turned him over to them to be crucified.
(Matt 27:31-45; Mark 15:20-33; Luke 23:26-44;
John 19:17-24; GNc 10:1-11:1a; GPt 4-5a; AnaPlt 7a)
Golgotha (Gethsemane), Outside Jerusalem
Now after they had finished mocking him, they took the purple robe
away from him and put his clothing back on him. Jesus then left the
Praetorium, along with the two lawbreakers. Then Jesus was handed
over to the soldiers, who conducted him out (and) led him away to be
He pushed on toward the Skull Place, which in Aramaic is called
Golgotha, carrying his own cross. And as they were heading out, (the
soldiers) leading him along the way, they ran into Simon of Cyrene,
father to Rufus and Alexander, who was on his way in from the
countryside. They laid the cross upon his back and forced him to carry
it behind Jesus. A great crowd followed after him, and some women
were weeping and wailing over him. And Jesus turned and said to
them, “Do not weep on my account, oh Daughters of Jerusalem, but
for yourselves and for your children! You see, the time is approaching
when you will say, ‘How blessed are the barren women; the wombs
that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will beg
the mountains, ‘Collapse on us!’ and the hills, ‘Shelter us!’ For if men
act this way while the tree is still green, what will they do after it has
And they brought Jesus to a spot known as Golgotha, which means
the Place of the Skull. And these two lawbreakers were also being taken out to be put to death with him. Then (and) there they gave him
wine blended with myrrh (and) gall to drink, and after he had tasted it,
he refused to drink of it. They undressed him, wrapped him in a linen
cloth, and placed a crown of thorns upon his head. Then they brought (the) two criminals and crucified the Lord Jesus along with [the]
others; one to either side of him. But he held his peace and hid his
pain. “Forgive them, Father,” said Jesus, “for they do not know what
they are doing.”
Now it was about the third hour when they crucified him, and they
seated themselves there and kept watch over him. Now after Pilate
had passed sentence against him and the cross had been raised up, he
had a proclamation of the crime he was charged with readied and
affixed above his head upon the cross stating, as the Jews themselves
had laid to his charge, that he was the King of the Jews. The judgment
they wrote against him as his title on the notice read: THIS IS JESUS
there from among the Jews read this sign. (The place where Jesus was
crucified was near to the city, you see, and the notice was written in
Aramaic, Latin and Greek.) “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’” the
chief priests objected to Pilate. “Instead write, ‘This man claimed to
be the king of the Jews.’” “I have written what I have written,” Pilate
Two robbers were also being crucified along with Jesus--one to his
right, and another to his left--fulfilling the Scripture that says, “He was
reckoned among the lawbreakers.” Passers-by fired put-downs at him,
shaking their heads at him and heckling, “Oh! You who are to destroy
the temple and build it again in just three days. If you are the Son of
God, then deliver yourself--come down from the cross!” As the people
stood around and gawked, the leaders--the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders--derided him among themselves in like fashion,
ridiculing him relentlessly. “This man has delivered others,” they
taunted, “but he cannot even save himself. Let this man rescue himself if he is the Elect One, the Anointed of God. He is Israel’s King!
This Messiah, this King of Israel, ought to prove to us that he can
come down from the cross right now, for then we would believe in
him. He trusts in God, so if God likes him so well, then let God deliver
him now. He did boast, ‘I am God’s Son,’ you know.” The soldiers
also went up to Jesus and mocked him. They presented him with sour
wine and scoffed, “If you really are the Jewish King, then why not just
deliver yourself.” (Over him a written proclamation read: THIS IS
THE KING OF THE JEWS.) Even the robbers being crucified there
alongside him showered him with abuse.
Now after the soldiers had put Jesus on the cross, they piled his
garments up before him, and then they all laid claim to his clothes.
They divided them into four portions among themselves, one for each, and cast lots to see who would get what. Only his undershirt
remained, but from top to bottom it was seamless and of a single
woven fabric. So instead of ripping it apart, the soldiers agreed, “Let
the lot decide who gets to keep it.” This took place in order to fulfill
the word (of) Scripture as spoken through the prophet, “My clothing
they split among themselves and for my garments they cast their lots.”
At that point one of the criminals started reproaching them, “It is
for our own evil deeds that we are suffering, but what crime has this
man, who has become Savior to us all, committed against you?” And
he so infuriated them that they ordered that his legs not be broken, so
that he might die in agony. These were the things that the soldiers did.
Even so, one of the crucified outlaws who was hanging there kept
raining insults down on him, “Are you not supposed to be the
Messiah? Deliver yourself and us as well!” But Dysmas, the other
thief, reproved him, saying, “Do you have no fear of God, seeing as
[we] are both suffering the same penalty? We are suffering justly, for
ours is an appropriate sentence, seeing that our punishment is in line
with our crimes. But this man has not sinned at all.” “Jesus,” he
pleaded, “When you come in your kingdom and the fullness of your
splendor, please remember me!” “Truly and most assuredly I say to
you,” Jesus answered him, “you will this very day see me in paradise!”
By now it was about the sixth hour, and from the sixth hour to the
ninth, darkness fell over the land of Judea, (and indeed) the entire
world, for the sun went dark and the stars appeared, but they had no
glint in them, and the light of the moon gave out, as though it had
been turned to blood. And all of them grew anxious and fearful, lest the sun had gone down already, knowing that he was still alive, for
against them it stands written, “The sun had better not set on the one who has been put to death.”
(AcJn 97-102)
Mount of Olives
Now after the dance, dear ones, and the departure of the Lord, we
apostles were all like men gone astray, and we fled in all directions.
But even I, (John,) as I was watching him suffer, did not stay to
witness his passion. Instead I ran to the Mount of Olives, weeping
over what had happened. Now that Friday at about the sixth hour,
after he had been hung upon the cross, darkness overtook the earth.
Just then my Lord stood in the heart of the cave, filling the entire place
with light. Then my Lord expressed to me, “John, as far as those who are down in Jerusalem are concerned, I am being crucified. They are
lancing me with spears and sticks, and giving me gall and vinegar to
drink. Even so, I am right here speaking with you, so listen close to
what I say. I was the one who put it into your head to climb up this
mountain, so that you might hear some teachings that a student can
only receive from his master, and which a man can only learn from his
After saying this, he revealed to me a cross of light which had been
set up. Now there was an enormous crowd around this cross which
was not of a single stamp; but within this cross there was both a
unified form and a singular likeness. And I saw the Lord above this
cross, shapeless and consisting of nothing but a voice. Now this voice
was not like the one we were used to hearing, but heavenly,
captivating and kindhearted. “John,” the voice conveyed to me, “it is
essential that someone hear these things from me, because I am in
need of someone who will hear. It is for your benefit that I sometimes
call this shining cross the Word. Now at other times I refer to it as
Mind, or Jesus, or Christ, or the Door, or the Way, or the Bread, or the
Seed, or the Resurrection, or the Son, or the Father, or the Spirit, or
Life, or Truth, or Faith--and there are times when I call it Grace. It is,
in fact, for the sake of mankind that I couch it in such terms. Now as it
is understood in itself and as it is spoken to us, it is truly the
demarcation of all things, the raising up of, and the basis for those
things which have been set in place, but have hitherto remained
unsettled; namely the harmony in the wisdom and the wisdom in the
harmony. But to the right and to the left there exist powers,
principalities, authorities, demons, implementations, intimidations, fury, devils, Satan and the secondary basis, from which proceed the
essence of ephemeral things.
“So you see, this is the cross which through the Word has brought
all things together, severing off the transitory and lower things, and
consolidating all things into one. But this is not the wooden cross,
which you are going to see when you go down there, and neither am I
the one thereon, who you do not see now, but whose utterance you
now hear. I was taken to be something that I am not, for I never
revealed my true self to those many others. They will think of me as
something else instead; something that is base and utterly beneath
me. As a result, even as the place of rest is neither perceived nor even
discussed, I, the Lord over this place will be perceived and discussed
all that much less.
“Now the people you see crowded around the cross, which represents the baser essence, are not of a singular form, and the ones
that you see within the cross do not maintain a unified aspect. This is
because not every member of the one who has descended has been
assembled together with them. But after human nature has been lifted
up, when the kind who obey my voice approach me, then whoever is
able to hear me will unite with it. It is to remain above them, and will
no longer appear as it does now. No, it will be elevated above them,
even as I am right now. You see, I will never be as I once was as long
as you do not speak of yourself as belonging to me. But if you should
hear the things I have to say and take these words of mine to heart,
then you will become as I am now. But once I have taken you to
myself, you will become as I once was, for herein lies your source.
Therefore pay no mind to the multitudes, but steer clear of them
instead, for they are far removed from the mystery! Recognize that I
exist entirely within the Father, and that the Father exists within me.
“Accordingly, I never did suffer the things that these people will
claim that I suffered. You know that suffering that I showed you and
the others in that dance, well I want it to be spoken of as a mystery.
For you see, what I have shown you is in fact yourself as you truly are.
Even so, only I know myself as I truly am, and these other ones do not.
Do therefore allow me to hold on to what is mine. And it is through
me that you must perceive what belongs to you. As I have said to you
already, it is impossible to see me as I truly am unless you can see me
as one who is akin to me. “You have heard of my suffering, but that I was not the one who
suffered; that I felt no pain, yet my agony was real; that I was pierced,
yet I was not injured; hanged, and yet I was not hanged; that my blood
poured out, yet it did not flow and, in brief, in no way did I suffer the
things that they will claim that I suffered. Not at all. Even so, I have
endured things that they never mention. But even now I will reveal to
you the true nature of my sufferings, since I know that you will
understand. Recognize me as the Word--and that the Word was what
was put to death; that the Word was pierced, that the Word dripped
blood, that the Word was maimed, the Word was hung, the Word was
what endured the passion, the Word was nailed, and that the Word
was what died. This is how I have expressed it, making a place for the
man. Your reasoning, therefore, ought to begin with the Word. Then
you will come to perceive the Lord, and in the third place, the man,
and the sufferings that he has endured.”
After he finished telling me all of these things, as well as others that
I could not express to you as he would have me, he was raised up, and no one in that crowd there noticed it. But later on, after I had gone
back down, I laughed them all to scorn, because he had revealed to me
beforehand all that they were saying about him. Nevertheless, I held
this one thing very firmly in my mind: that the Lord put every single
detail into symbolic language, as a gift to be given to mankind, that
their hearts might be transformed thereby and thus receive
(Dec 2:1, 4:1-5:1; DecLtA 2:1-5:3a; DecLtB 2:1-6:2)
The Underworld
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, life and resurrection of the world, and the
Son of the Living God, give us grace to speak of your resurrection, of
the miraculous deeds that you have performed in Hades, and of the
wonders that you have worked in the underworld. Grant us leave to
utter mysteries through your death upon the cross, for you have
adjured us all and strictly forbidden your servants to reveal to any man
the secrets of your divine majesty which you have wrought in Hades.
Now after being placed alongside our fathers in the abyss, the
shadow of death, that deep darkness wherein lie all who have died
since the creation of the world, something like the sun shone suddenly
upon us and illumined us all. And how great was that light--the
golden radiance of the sun and the hue of royal purple. And we could
see each other in that midnight hour.
And the father of the whole human race rejoiced together with
Abraham, the patriarchs and the prophets. And they all cried out to
one another, “This light is shining from a great illumination! This
light can be none other than the author of everlasting life, who has
promised to give us the light of eternity.” Then Isaiah, one of those
who was standing there, cried aloud, “Father Adam and all of those
who are gathered around, listen to the words I speak. In the days that I walked the earth, I prophesied the coming of this light by the
teaching of the Holy Spirit through whom I sang,
‘Land of Zebulun and Napthali beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles, the people sitting in the midst of darkness
have seen a great light;
And among those who dwell beneath the shadow of death,
A shining light has broken forth.’
Now it has finally come and illumined us who sit in death.” And when
they heard his words, they turned his way. “Who are you?” father
Adam asked him, “For you have spoken the truth.” “I am Isaiah,” he And even as we were celebrating in the light that had dawned in our
midst, our father Simeon came to us rejoicing and saying, “Give glory
to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; for when he was an infant in
the temple, I took him into my arms. And the Holy Spirit prompted
me to declare, ‘Now my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have laid it
out before us all--a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and for the
glorification of your people Israel.’” And after hearing this, the host of
saints rejoiced the more, even as Hades and the gates of death all
Then we heard the rumbling voice of the Son of the Most High
Father as he thundered, “Oh Princes, raise the portal; hoist the
everlasting gates, and the King of Glory, Christ the Lord will come up and enter therein.” And behold, Satan, the luminary of death, rose up
even as the saints exulted, fled in terror to his officials and infernal
authorities and said, “My officers and nether powers, hurry up and
shut the gates! Secure them now with iron bars! Resist them all and
bravely fight, lest they should capture us and keep us bound in
chains.” Then all of his unholy minions were disturbed, and went off
with all diligence to shut the gates and to carefully fasten all the locks
and iron bars; and they brandished their weapons as they howled in a
most frightful and gruesome voice.
Then Satan, the Prince and Heir of Darkness, and Ringleader of
Death, approached Hades and gloated, “Most insatiable devourer,
hearken to my speech. Brace yourself to receive the one that I am
bringing down to you. For there is this one from among the Jewish
race named Jesus who calls himself the Son of God.” And to this voice
Hades replied, “That voice that cried out indeed belonged to none
other than the Son of the Most High Father. The entire earth, you see,
even down to the regions below, shook so hard at the sound of it that I
think that now both myself and my dungeons lie exposed.” And Satan,
that Leader of Death replied, “What has gotten you so teary-eyed? My
most ancient and vile friend, have no fear; I have turned the whole
race of Jews against him! They struck him with blows to the face just
as I commanded them. I even managed to turn one of his own
disciples against him! He’s the same as any man; so afraid to die. Just
look, it was out of fear that he cried aloud, ‘My soul is almost dead from sorrow.’ And I was the one who brought him down. For he is
nothing but a man, and he has just now been lifted up and hung upon
a cross, so get ready to secure him here. He caused me a great deal of
trouble when he walked up there among the living. He has wronged
me and taken his stand against me at every turn. He has cast out as many of my servants as he has come across. He has cured all whom I
had disabled through his word alone--the blind, the lame, the leprous,
and the like. He has even reclaimed the dead that I have delivered
over to you.”
“Is he really so powerful,” Hades challenged Prince Satan, “that he
does all this with his word alone? If he fears death so much, then who must he be to have such authority? Will you indeed be able to hold
your own against him, if he has this kind of clout? Look, through your
might you have brought down and subjected great people to my rule.
So if you have this kind of authority, and he manages to frustrate your
command, what kind of power must lie behind this man Jesus who is
so ‘afraid of death’? I am telling you the truth, if he shows this kind of
ability as a human being, then he must truly be all-powerful and
divine. None can stand against such strength! And if it is, as you
allege, that he said he feared death, he only said it to deride and to
ridicule you, with an eye toward seizing you with the hand of strength.
And woe, woe to you forevermore.”
“Oh Hades, most insatiable devourer,” answered Satan, Prince of
Tartarus, “tell me why you have such doubts? Why are you so afraid to
receive Jesus, our mutual nemesis? I am not afraid of him. I have
tempted him, stirred up the religious fervor and righteous indignation
of my ancient people, the Jews, against him, sharpened a spear to
pierce him with, mixed gall and vinegar for him to drink, readied a
tree to crucify him on, and gathered thorns to prick him with. Soon he
will be dead and I will be able to bring him here to you, subject both to
you and me! Therefore when he does get here, be prepared to hold him fast.”
“Oh Heir of Darkness,” Hades retorted, “Son of Damnation and
devil, you have just now told me that through his word alone he has
brought many back to life whom you had readied for burial. You have
informed me that he has himself drawn the dead from me. I have held
a great many here who managed to take the dead from me when they
lived upon the earth. It was not through their own power that they did
this, but through their prayers to God, and it was their Almighty God
Who drew them from me. Who then is this Jesus, who takes the dead
from me without such prayers? If, then, he has released other people
from the grave, by what means or strength are we to detain him here?
A short time ago I swallowed up this dead man named Lazarus, and
not long thereafter he was forcibly removed from my entrails by the
word of one from among the living, and I think it was the one of whom
you speak.” Then Satan, the Prince of Death said, “It was Jesus all right.” And after hearing this, Hades remarked, “If it is that same one
who by order of his word alone caused Lazarus to fly like an eagle from
my bosom after four days of death, then he is not a man from the
human race, but God in all His majesty. Were we to let this man in
here, then I fear that we could lose everyone else as well. Just look, I
can sense the unrest of all whom I have devoured since the world was
made. Oh, how my belly aches! The Taking of Lazarus from me seems
to me an ill omen, for he was not taken from me like an ordinary dead
man. No, the earth cast him forth as swift as an eagle. Now Satan,
Master of all Evils, I implore you, by your strength as well as mine, do
not bring him here to me! For I fear that even as we are expecting to
capture him, he will take us captive instead. Just look, if all it took
was his voice alone to destroy every bit of my power, what do you
suppose that he will do when he shows up here in person? For as soon
as I heard the word of his command I shook with horror and dread,
and all who serve me were likewise mortified. So I am now quite sure
that any man who could do all this must indeed be God Himself,
powerful in dominion, mighty in humanity, and Savior to all mankind.
Behold, I fear that his entire purpose for coming down here is to raise
the dead. And I am telling you, by the darkness that surrounds us all,
if you should bring him here to me, he will free all those who are
locked away in the cruelty of prison, shackled by the unbreakable
chains of their sins. He will bring them into the eternal life of his
divinity, and not so much as one from the dead will be left for me!”
“Do not be such a coward!” Satan retorted. “You had better ready
yourself, because he is hanging on the cross already and there is
nothing else that I can do.” “If there is nothing you can do,” Hades replied, “then recognize that your destruction is at hand. Now I will
no doubt remain cast down and in disgrace, but you will be placed to
suffer torments in my embrace.”
And all of a sudden, even as Satan and Hades were arguing it all
out, a voice thundered and spirits cried forth, “Raise your gates, you
rulers, and be lifted up, you everlasting gates; the King of Glory is on
his way!” Now when Hades heard this, he cast Satan out of his
kingdom, saying to him: “Go and fight him if you can! Go on then, get out of my house! If you are such a mighty warrior, then go and battle
against the King of Glory,” Satan therefore left his presence. Then
Hades ordered his most wicked and demonic servants, “Now secure
the cruel gates of brass, and firmly fasten the iron bars. Tighten and
secure them all, and hold fast my bolts. Stand tall and keep your eyes open for anything. Take courage and resist, that we who hold captivity
might not ourselves be taken captive, for if he should get in here,
calamities will befall us all.”
Now the saints could hear the conflict between Satan and Hades,
for they did possess knowledge, though they did not yet recognize one
another. “Ruler of Death,” our holy father Adam answered Satan, “tell
me why you shake with fright? Behold, the Lord is coming to
demolish all that you have contrived. He will lay hold of you and bind
you up forevermore.” And when the saints heard the voice of our
father Adam, and the boldness with which he had answered Satan,
they were strengthened in their joy, and they all came running up to
father Adam and crowded around him. Then our father Adam stared
out over the great multitude and wondered in astonishment if all in
the world were a descendant of his.
(Dec 2:2; DecLtA 2:3; DecLtB 5:2)
The Underworld
After this another man, an anchorite from the wilderness, stepped
into their midst. “And who might you be who clothe yourself in such
raiment?” the patriarchs asked him. “I am John,” he replied, “the last
of the prophets. I made straight the ways of God’s Son, and ventured
out ahead of that very Lord to clear the rugged and barren places into
tidy paths. Mine was the finger that pointed him out to the people of
Jerusalem, revealing that he was the Lamb of the Lord and the Son of
God. I am the voice of the Most High, the prophet, and I am going out
before his face to prepare his ways before he comes, to deliver the
knowledge of salvation to his people, that their sins might be forgiven
“And when I saw him drawing near, the Holy Spirit prompted me to
declare, ‘Behold, it is the Lamb of God, the one who takes away the
sins of the world!’ I baptized him in the Jordan river with my own
hand, and I saw the Holy Spirit alighting upon him as a dove. Then I
heard a voice from the sky, ‘This is truly the Son of My love, the one in
whom I take delight.’ And he let me know that he would go down into
the nether realms. And now I have indeed come down to this place,
and gone before him to let you know that the risen Son of God is about
to arrive from on high to visit us who sit in darkness, underneath the
shadow of death. He has sent me here to say to you that the only
begotten Son of God is coming down; to advise you that all who put
their faith in him will be saved, and to caution you that all who refuse
to believe will be condemned. So now I’m here to let you know: as soon as you see him, worship him, for this will be your only chance for
repentance, because in the vain world above, you sinned through all
your idol worshipping, and it will not be possible for you to repent at
any other time.”
(Dec 3:1; DecLtA 3:1; DecLtB 4:2b-3)
The Underworld
And when Father Adam heard these words, he cried out in a loud
voice, “Hallelujah!” which is to say, “Truly the Lord is on his way.”
And hearing that Jesus had been baptized in the River Jordan, Father
Adam, the first man formed, embraced those who were standing
around him. And through his bitter tears he sobbed to his son Seth,
“Let your sons the patriarchs and prophets know all that you heard
from Michael the archangel; with regard to what took place when I
was ill and sent you to the gates of paradise to beseech God to send
His angel to give you oil from the Tree of Mercy with which to anoint
my body.” Then Seth, going before the righteous patriarchs and
prophets proclaimed, “Patriarchs and prophets, hearken to my speech.
When my father Adam, the first man formed, grew terminally ill, he
sent me out to the gate of paradise to pray to God, hoping that He
would send an angel out to lead me to the Tree of Mercy, that I might
take some of the oil therefrom and anoint him therewith, so that he
might recover thereby. So I prayed to the Lord, and in tears did I call
upon the Guardian of Paradise to give me some. Then Michael the archangel came out and questioned me, ‘Seth, why are you weeping?
Tell me, then, what you are seeking? For the Lord has sent me here to
you, seeing that I have been set over the human race. Is it because
your father is ill and you want some of that oil that raises up the sick,
or else access to the tree that produces it? It is impossible for you to
receive it just yet. But Seth, let me tell you, do not toil through tearful
prayer and supplication for the oil of that Tree of Mercy with which to
anoint the body of your father, which is stricken by such pain. Realize
in advance that the body of your father Adam will not at this time be
given this oil of mercy, but only after the passing of many ages. You
see, you will only be able to receive it in the final days and times, after
the fulfillment of the five thousand five hundred years. For the dearly
beloved Son of God will come down out of heaven and enter this
world, that he might raise up not only the body of Adam, but indeed
those of all the departed. And when he comes, he will be baptized by
John in the River Jordan. Then, when he rises up and out of the
water, he will anoint the bodies of all who believe in him with the oil of his mercy. That oil of mercy will be for those who are to be delivered
unto eternal life, those who are born of water and Divine Inspiration.
And when he goes down into the heart of the earth, Jesus Christ, the
beloved Son of God, will then rise up, carry our father Adam into
paradise, and deliver him at last to that Tree of Mercy. And he will
purify himself and his children with water and the Holy Spirit. Then
he will be free of every disease, and then will begin the eternal reign of
those who have trusted in him. But none of this can happen yet, so go
back and say to your father, ‘Five thousand and five hundred years
from the time that the world was brought into being, God’s only
begotten Son is going to come down to this realm and take on a
human form, and he will be the one to anoint him with the oil of His
And when Seth was heard to say these things, the patriarchs, the
prophets and all of the assembled saints, filled with joy and exultation,
started to mock and reprove Hades, chiding, “Oh, Hades, who devours
all things but is never filled, open wide your gates that the King of
Glory might come inside.”
(Dec 5:2; DecLtA 5:2a; DecLtB 6:1a)
The Underworld
Then another came forward who was set apart by a regal
appearance. His name was David, and he cried out, “You who are
blind, do you not know that when I lived in the world above, I was the
one who spoke that word, ‘Lift up your gates, you rulers?’ I made
known the mercy of God even as I walked the earth, foretelling of the
future joy, and also of his coming here, saying, ‘Let them throughout
all the ages, confess to the Lord of his tender mercies and wonderful
works on behalf of the sons of men, for he has shattered the gates of
brass, destroyed the bars of iron, and raised them from their wicked
(DecLtB 6:1b)
The Underworld
Then each of the righteous forefathers started to recognize one
another and to recite their respective prophecies. The holy Jeremiah,
going over what he had said, then addressed the other patriarchs and
prophets, saying, “When I lived in the world above, I forespoke of the
Son of God, of his coming to this earth, and of the way that he would
speak to men.”
(DecLtA 5:2b; DecLtB 5:1)
The Underworld
Following him, Isaiah likewise said to them, “When I lived upon the
earth, I spoke of this through the Divine Inspiration, for did I not say
to you, ‘The dead will arise, and all who are entombed will again rise
up; and the peoples of the earth, (and) those beneath will rejoice as
one, for the dew of the Lord will heal them all’? And again I said, ‘Oh
Death, where is your sting? Oh Hades, where is your victory?’”
(DecLtA 5:3a; DecLtB 6:2)
The Underworld
And when the saints heard what Isaiah had said, they all started
prodding Hades, “Open up your gates, for now you are vanquished.
From now on, you are to be weak and defenseless.” Then all of the
saints, basking in the light of the Lord before the eyes of our father
Adam, responding to all that the patriarchs and prophets had said,
cried out, “Hallelujah! Blessings on the one who comes bearing the
Lord’s name.” Now their shouts started Satan trembling and seeking
some means of escape, but because Hades and his minions had him all
bound up and kept in the underworld--surrounded and guarded on
every side--all his efforts were for nought. “What has got you
shaking?” they taunted. “We are not about to let you out. Take what
you’ve got coming to you from the one you attacked each and every
day. And of this you can be sure: he will bind you up and deliver you
into my hands.”
(Matt 27:46-50; Mark 15:34-37; Luke 23:45b-46; John 19:25-30;
John 19:26-30 in Codex Evangelii Johannei Templariorum;
GPt 5:2-5; GNc 11:1a)
And right about the ninth hour Jesus shouted with a thundering
voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani!”--which means “My God, my
God, why have you forsaken me?” Now when some of those who were
standing nearby heard this, they said, “Listen up, he is calling Elijah!”
And one of them said, “Give him gall and vinegar to drink.” And right
away one of the men raced to get a sponge. Then, after stirring up the
mixture, he saturated the sponge with sour wine, poked a stick
through it, and gave it to Jesus to drink. But he (and some) others
said, “Leave this man alone for now. Let us see if Elijah comes to take
him down (and) rescue him.”
Now Jesus’ mother was standing by the cross, as was his mother’s sister Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and also Mary Magdalene. And
when Jesus saw his mother there, and his beloved disciple close at
hand, he said to her, “Precious woman, do not weep, for I am on my
way back to my Father, where there is eternal life. Your son is right
here at your side! He is going to take my place.” And to the disciple
he said, “Here is your mother!” And this follower took her into his
home from that time forward.
After that, knowing that all was now fulfilled so as to satisfy the
Scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jug of vinegared wine was
sitting there, so they steeped a sponge in it, attached it to the stalk of a
hyssop plant, and raised it up to Jesus’ lips, bringing all things to a
close, and piling their sins upon their heads. And many, thinking it
nighttime, went around carrying lanterns, and they lay down. And
after he had taken a drink, Jesus cried with a deafening shout, “My
Power! My Power! You have forsaken me! It is finished now!” And
when Jesus had again cried in a loud voice, “Father, baddach ephkid
rouel” which translates as, “Father, I place my spirit into your hands!”
he breathed his last, lowered his head, surrendered his spirit and was
taken up.
(Matt 27:51-56; Mark 15:38-41; Luke 23:45b, 47-49; John 19:31-37;
GNc 11:1b; GPt 5:6; GNaz 10, Quote by Jerome, Epistle to Hedibia
GNaz 10, Quote by Jerome, On Matthew 4, Regarding Matthew 27:51,
AnaPlt 7b; Dec 5:3a; DecLtA 5:3b; DecLtB 7:1)
Golgotha (Gethsemane), Jerusalem
And just then the curtain of the temple ripped in two from top to
bottom. The ground then shook and the temple’s enormous lintel
fractured and collapsed, shattering into pieces. And the entire earth
was swallowed up by the underworld, such that the very sanctuary of
the temple, as they refer to it, could not be seen by the Jews as they
fell. The rocks cracked open and they saw an abyss in the earth below;
and they heard the rumbling of thunders that came upon it.
And once again, the voice of the Son of the Most High Father came
thundering (in Hades,) “Oh you Princes, hoist your gates, and you
everlasting gates, be lifted up; the King of Glory is coming in.” And
seeing that the voice had twice cried out, Satan and Hades then
inquired, “Who is this King of Glory?” just as if they did not know.
And the voice of the Lord answered them, “It is the great and powerful
Lord, the Lord who is almighty in battle.” “I recognize those words
that were shouted,” David answered Hades, “for I spoke those same words through his Spirit. And now I will say to you as I said before, ‘It
is the strong and mighty Lord, the Lord who is great in battle, he is
indeed the King of Glory.’”
And during that horrific event, the bodies of many of the righteous
who had died already were seen raised back up to life. They came out
of their graves and, following the resurrection of Jesus, entered into
the Holy City and appeared to many of its citizens, as the Jews have
themselves admitted. They reported that they had seen Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob; the Twelve Patriarchs, Moses, and even Job, who
they say died some thirty-five hundred years before. I, (Pilate,) saw
great numbers appearing bodily, and they were grieving for the Jews,
both for the great iniquity that had happened on their account, as well
as the subsequent devastation of their nation and their law.
And after the centurion who was standing before Jesus, and those
who were keeping guard with him, had witnessed the earthquake and
all of the other signs that had taken place, hearing his shout and
seeing how he had died, they grew fearful and gave glory to God,
shouting out and confessing, “This righteous man must have been the
Son of God!” And when all who had gathered to see this event saw
what had happened, they beat their breasts and left for home. But
those who knew him were watching him from a distance, (and) among
them were some women, Mary of Magdala, Mary, mother of the lesser
James, and of Joses and Salome. These women had traveled with him
all over Galilee, attending to his every need. There were also many
other women who were watching these things from afar who had
followed him and made the journey from Galilee all the way up to
Now it was the day of Preparation for the following day’s high
Sabbath, and the Jews, not wanting any bodies left hanging on the
crosses on the Sabbath Day, asked Pilate to order that their legs be
broken and their corpses removed. So the soldiers came and broke the
legs of the first man crucified alongside Jesus, then those of the second
one. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was dead
already, they left his legs unbroken. One of the soldiers, however, did
pierce Jesus through his side with a spear, and out of him flowed
blood and water. Now all of these things came to pass to bring to
fulfillment the Scripture that says, “Not even one of his bones will be
broken.” And, as it says in another place, “They will look on the one
whom they have pierced.” And the man who has given this account
actually saw it happen, and his is a faithful witness. He knows that he is telling the truth, such that you might also believe.
(Matt 27:57-58; Mark 15:42-45; Luke 23:50-52;
John 19:38-39; GPt 6a; GNc 11:2a)
Now it was the day before the Sabbath, the Day of Preparation. And
there was in that place a wealthy man whose name was Joseph, a
blameless, virtuous (and) distinguished member of the council. He
had dissented to both their verdict and their deed. Now, he was from a
Judean town called Arimathea, and was waiting for the coming of
God. (He was a follower of Jesus, though secretly, for fear of the
Jews.) So later on, as the dusk was settling in, he went boldly up to
Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus.
But when Pilate heard that Jesus was already dead, he was
astonished, so he called the centurion over to himself and asked if he
had indeed passed on; and the centurion filled the governor in on
what had happened. And when the governor and his wife heard that
the report was true, both of them were deeply moved, and neither of
them ate or drank anything that day. And Pilate sent for the Jews and
asked: “Did you see all that came to pass?” But they simply replied, “It
was only an ordinary solar eclipse.” And at that, Pilate entrusted the
body to Joseph. So with the permission of Pilate, he came and took possession of
the corpse, and Nicodemus, the man who had earlier visited Jesus
under cover of darkness was with him. Joseph purchased some clean
linen cloth, (and) Nicodemus brought with him a mixture of aloes and
myrrh, in all about a hundred litrai. Together they took down the
cross, pulled the spikes from the Lord’s hands and placed him there
upon the ground. And at this, the whole world shook--and they were
seized with fear and dread.
(Matt 27:59-61; Mark 15:46-47; Luke 23:53-56;
John 19:40-42; GPt 6b; GNc 11:2b,3)
Near Jerusalem
At that point the sun appeared, and it turned out to be the ninth
hour. But the Jews rejoiced and turned his body over to Joseph, since
he had been a witness to all of the wonderful things that Jesus had
done. So the two of them took the Lord, washed him off, and wrapped
him up in the linen cloth along with the spices, in accordance with
Jewish burial customs. Now there was this garden known as the
garden of Joseph near to the spot where Jesus had been crucified, and in that garden there was this new tomb which belonged to Joseph,
who had carved it out of the rock himself, and no one had as yet been
placed therein. Now they laid him there both because it was nearby,
and because it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the Sabbath Day
was drawing near. He then rolled a giant stone against the opening
and went away. Now his friends, Mary of Magdala, and Mary, mother
of Joses--women who had traveled with Jesus from Galilee--were
witnesses to all these things, (including) where (and) how he had been
placed, for they were standing in the distance. They then went home,
readied spices and ointments, and rested on the Sabbath Day, even as
the law directs.
(DecLtA 5:3b; DecLtB 7:2)
The Underworld
Then the Lord himself looked down on earth from out of heaven to
hear the groaning of the fettered and to liberate the sons of the slain.
Now after the voice had sounded (in Hades,) a man appeared bearing
a cross upon his shoulders, and the look of a thief. He stood outside
and cried to them, “Open up and let me in!” So Satan cracked the
door a bit and pulled him into his abode, shutting the door behind him
there. Then all of the saints, seeing him clearly, immediately
questioned him, “We all can see that you are a thief, so explain to us
what you are carrying upon your back.” “Indeed I really was a thief,”
he replied in all humility, “and the Jews hung me on a cross alongside my Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High Father. I have come to
herald his arrival; to let you know that he is following after me.”
(DecLtA 5:3c; DecLtB 7:3a)
The Underworld
Then David raged against Hades, crying out as loud as he could,
“Oh Hades, you most evil and disgusting fiend, open up your gates
right now, that the King of Glory might come in!” And all of God’s
saints likewise rose up against Satan, trying to get their hands on him
and tear him limb from limb.
(GNc 12:1)
A Windowless House, Jerusalem?
Now when the Jews heard that Joseph had asked for the body of
Jesus, they went all over looking for him, as well as the twelve who had
held that Jesus was not born out of wedlock; Nicodemus, and the
many others who had come before Pilate and borne witness to his wonderful works. They, however, were all in hiding, and the Jews only
managed to track down Nicodemus, who was himself a ruler of the
Jews. “Why are you in the synagogue?” Nicodemus asked them.
“Why indeed are you in here?” the Jews replied. “You are in league
with him, and will receive his portion in the life to come!” “Amen,
amen,” Nicodemus replied. Then Joseph came forward and asked
them, “Why are you so put out with me for requesting the body of
Jesus? Behold, I have wrapped it up in spotless linen and placed it in
my very own freshly hewn tomb, and I rolled a stone against the
mouth of the cave. You have dealt very poorly with the Righteous One,
for you never once repented the whole time that you were crucifying
him. And to top it all off, you went so far as to pierce him with a
But the Jews seized Joseph and had him taken into custody until
the first day of the week. “Now realize that it is only because the
Sabbath is dawning, and the hour prevents us from harming you that
we are restraining ourselves. But you can be quite sure of this: you
will not even receive a burial. No, we are going to toss your carcass out for the birds of the sky to peck.” “This is how the boastful Goliath
once reproached the Living God and the righteous David,” Joseph
replied. “For through the prophet God has said, ‘Vengeance is mine,’
says the Lord, ‘I will repay!’ Now behold, someone who was
circumcised, though not in the flesh, but the heart instead, took water,
washed his hands before the sun, and proclaimed before you all, ‘I am
free of this righteous man’s blood. You will therefore see to it.’ At that
point you said to Pilate, ‘May his blood fall on us, and our children
too.’ Now I fear that the Lord’s anger may indeed come upon both you
and your children, even as you have said.” Now when the Jews heard
these words, they all grew bitter in their hearts, and they snatched
Joseph away and shut him up in a windowless house. They stationed
guards to watch the door and sealed up the entrance to where he was
(GPt 7-8a; GHb 9:2, Quote by Jerome, On Famous Men 2)
Then the Jews, the elders, and the priests, recognizing the evil they
had brought upon themselves, started beating their breasts and crying
out loud, “Oh, for the calamity of our sins, for our judgment is at hand,
and Jerusalem is doomed.” Now I, (Peter,) was in mourning with my
friends, and we hid ourselves in our hearts’ distress. They were, you
see, hunting us down as evildoers seeking to set the temple ablaze. Now James had vowed to eat nothing from the moment that he drank
of the Lord’s cup until such time as he saw Jesus raised up from
among those who sleep. And we (also) were fasting as we sat
mourning and weeping night and day until the Sabbath. And after the
scribes, Pharisees, and elders had convened, they learned that all of
the people were groaning, beating their breasts and lamenting, “If his
death has caused these amazing signs, this man must have been
righteous indeed!” THE SEALING OF THE TOMB
(Matt 27:62-66; GPt 8b; GNc 12:2)
This so frightened the chief priests and the Pharisees that the
following day, after the Preparation, they went up to Pilate and bid
him, “Sir, we recall that while that charlatan was still alive, he claimed
that he would rise again after three days. So give us soldiers (and)
order the tomb secured until the third day, or else his followers might
come and take his body away and then go around telling everyone that
he has risen up from the dead! This last lie would be even worse than
the first because the people might actually believe that he has been
raised from death and do us harm.”
“You have your guard,” Pilate replied. “Go and make it as safe as
you can.” And he gave them Petronius the centurion and some
soldiers to guard the sepulcher, and elders and scribes went with them
there. And all who were there helped the centurion and the soldiers to
secure the tomb, rolling the enormous stone against the opening.
They then placed seven seals thereon, pitched a tent and kept guard
(Dec 5:3b; DecLtA 5:3d; DecLtB 7:3b-8:1a)
The Underworld
And again the voice went forth (in Hades) and the cry was heard,
“Hoist your gates, you princes, and be raised up, you everlasting gates,
the King of Glory is on his way.” And once again, at this clear voice,
Hades and Satan started asking, “Who is this King of Glory?” just as if
they did not know. “The Lord of Hosts is that King of Glory,” the
angels of the Lord proclaimed, “the great and powerful Lord, even the
Lord who is mighty in battle!”
And behold, even as the answer came, Hades started trembling, as
the gates of brass (and) bolts of death all shattered into pieces and the
iron bars fell broken to the ground. Everything was left lying there
completely exposed. And we were set free from [our] chains, as were the rest of the dead who had been bound up in it. And Satan was left
standing there confounded, spiritless and shackled of foot in [our]
(Dec 5:3b-6:1; DecLtA 5:3e-6:1; DecLtB 8:1b)
The Underworld
And even as David was speaking, the Lord of Majesty came down
into Hades in the form of a man, bathed in heavenly light from above.
As one who was lowly, yet great, and full of compassion did he who
rescues with invincible power descend, chain in hand, illuminating the
eternal darkness and breaking the unbreakable chains; visiting us who
were sitting in this deepest darkness, underneath the shadow of the
death of sins.
And seeing Christ so suddenly in their abode, alarmed over the
horrible way that they had been brought down, Hades, Death, their
evil minions and their vicious helpers were all aghast that such a light
would dawn in their kingdom. And the legions of demons all shouted
as one, “Woe to us, for now we are vanquished! You have defeated us!
Oh Jesus, so mighty and glorious a man, so wonderful and great, so
spotless and so free of sin, where ever did you come from? Just look,
the earthly realm so long dominated by ourselves, and which until now
has paid us tribute, has never sent us such a dead man nor delivered
such gifts into this nether land. Who are you who have brought our
master to confusion? Who is the one who passes unscathed through
corruption; who in wrath condemns our power with proof of his
undefiled majesty? Who are you, so great and yet so small; so lowly
and so grand; commander and combatant; mighty in battle yet in the
form of a servant--the King of Glory--who died and yet lived; who
though he was slain has carried the cross? Who are you, that has
invaded our kingdom with such pluck? You not only show no fear of
our torments, but as if that were not enough, you are looking to free
everyone here from our bonds. You who once lay lifeless in the tomb
have now come down as the Living One. All of creation shook at your
death, and even the stars themselves trembled. You have been set free
among the deceased, and now you have come at last and disturbed our
legions. Who are you that you are able to liberate the prisoners who
had once been bound by original sin, restoring them to the freedom
that they once possessed? Who could you possibly be who radiate
such a divine and splendid light, illuminating those who are blinded
by the darkness of their sins? Might you be that same Jesus whom our high commander Satan warned us would lay claim to the whole world through his death and his cross?”
(Dec 6:2a; DecLtA 6:2b; DecLtB 8:1c)
The Underworld
Just then the King of Glory seized their leader, Satan, by his head,
handed him to the angels, and said, “Bind him hand and foot, neck
and mouth in irons!”
(Dec 8:1b; DecLtA 6:2c,8:1b; DecLtB 9:1a)
The Underworld
Then the kind and gentle Lord Jesus, King of Glory and Savior to
all, stretched out his right hand and grabbed Adam by his, lifting him
up and drawing him into his brilliance, greeting him and saying to
him, “Peace to you, Adam, and your children too, through numberless
ages of ages! Amen.” And with joy upon his face, our father Adam fell
at the Lord’s knees and prayed loudly through his tears, “I will praise
you, oh Lord, for you have raised me up, and given my enemies no
cause to gloat. Oh my Lord, my God, I cried out to you, and you, oh
Lord, have restored me! To your majesty, oh Lord, I offer up my
gratitude, for you have lifted me from deepest Hades. You have freed
my soul from hell, saving me from those who sink into the pit.”
(DecLtA 8:1c; DecLtB 9:1b)
The Underworld
Then our forefather Adam fell at the feet of the Lord. And as he was
rising up, he started kissing his hands and shedding many tears. And
he spoke these things before them all: “Look and see the hands that
fashioned me.” And to the Lord he said, “Oh King of Glory, you have
come to free mankind and deliver them into your eternal reign!” Our
mother Eve likewise fell at the feet of the Lord. And lifting herself up,
she kissed his hands and poured forth many tears. And she testified
before them all, “Behold the hands that fashioned me!”
(Dec 8:1c; DecLtA 8:1a,d; DecLtB 9:2a)
The Underworld
(And Adam said,) “Oh you, his saints, sing to the Lord and offer
thanks to the memorial of his holiness. For in his anger there is wrath,
but in the mercy of his will, there is life.” Then the saints all
worshiped him, crying out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of
the Lord! The Lord God has shined his light upon us all throughout the ages. Amen. Hallelujah for ages of ages! Praise, honor, power,
and glory to you, for you have come down to visit us from on high!”
Jesus turned to the others; and stretching forth his hand to them, he
said, “You who are sanctified, who belong to me and share in my
image and my likeness, approach me now (and) come with me. All of
you who have perished through the tree that was touched by this man,
who on account of the tree the devil and death have been condemned,
see now just how the devil and death have perished on account of the
tree. Just look, I have raised you all back up to life through the tree of
the cross!” Together they sang Hallelujah, rejoicing as one in his
glory. Then the saints all ran suddenly beneath the hands of the Lord
and assembled together, and all of the saints and the prophets of God
likewise fell at the feet of the Lord. They all cried out with one accord,
“We thank you, oh Christ, Savior of the world, for you have brought
our life back up from destruction. Oh you who ransom all the world--
you have come to us at last! Most assuredly you have fulfilled all that
you have foretold through the law and the prophets. You have
redeemed the living ones through your cross, and through your death
thereon you have come down to us, that through your greatness you
might save us all from death and the nether realm.”
(Mark 16:1; GPt 9a; GNc 12:2a)
The Tomb, Outside Jerusalem
The following morning, when the Sabbath Day had dawned, a
crowd came from Jerusalem and the countryside to visit the sealed
tomb. On the Sabbath Day, the synagogue rulers, priests, and Levites
called for everyone to meet in the synagogue on the first day of the
week. (And) when the Sabbath Day had come and gone, when the
week was nearly at an end, Mary of Magdala, Mary, the mother of
James, and Salome bought aromatic spices with which they wished to
go and anoint the body of Jesus.
(DecLtA 8:1e; DecLtB 10:1a)
The Underworld
Then everyone whom God had sanctified besought the Lord to leave
the sign of his holy cross as a symbol of triumph in the underworld,
that its evil officials might not keep as an offender anyone whom the
Lord had forgiven. “Oh Lord,” they said, “even as you have fixed your glorious name in the heavens and raised your cross upon the earth as a
gesture of your redemption, so also, oh Lord, set as a sign in Hades the
cross of victory, that death may no longer hold sway.” And then it was
done: the Lord planted his cross in the heart of Hades; and this, the
mark of his conquest, will truly stand forevermore.
(Dec 6:2b,7,8:1a,2a; DecLtA 6:2a,7:1-8:2a; DecLtB 8:1d,9:2b,10:1b)
The Underworld
And after he had spoken this, the Savior reached out his hand and
blessed Adam, placing the sign of the cross upon his forehead. And he
did the same to all of the patriarchs and prophets, martyrs and
forebears. And through his majesty alone, the King of Glory trampled
Death. Then he fixed his holy foot upon his throat and said, “You have
performed countless evils through endless ages, and never once have
you let up. But today I am giving you over to the everlasting flames.”
And right away he summoned Hades and commanded him, “Take this
wicked and most loathsome creature into your keeping until I say;
until the time of my second coming.”
And when Hades had taken hold of Satan, he said to him, “Oh
Beelzebub, Prince of Damnation and Head of Destruction, heir to fire
and torment, enemy of the saints, whom the angels deride and the
righteous contemn, why did you seek to do such things? Why did you
need to arrange for the crucifixion of the King of Glory? Was it so that
he might come down here and strip us bare? Was it just that you were
wholly bent on crucifying the King of Glory, through whose death you
promised us all such vastness of plunder? Were you really too foolish
to see what you were doing? Now behold, this Jesus is dispelling this
darkness with the glory of his divinity. He has fractured the firm
foundations of our prisons, sending all the captives forth and freeing
those who had once been bound. All who used to groan under our
torments now deride us. Their prayers have caused the storming of
our dominion and the conquering of our kingdom. The race of men
now fears us not! And as if that were not enough, the dead, who never
before could gloat over us, nor as prisoners could they ever be joyful,
torment us now without any fear. Oh Prince Satan, father of all
impious scoundrels and renegades, tell me why you did this thing?
The howls of those who had given up all hope of ever being saved and
living again can no longer be heard. Not a single groan or solitary tear
is to be found on any of their faces. Oh Prince Satan, keeper of the
keys to the underworld, look around and recognize that no man now
lies dead in me! The loss of paradise and all the spoils that you had gained through the tree of transgression you have now lost through
the tree of the cross. All of your joy has come to an end. When you
hung up that Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, you were not acting
against yourself alone, but me as well. You had hoped to kill the King
of Glory, but have destroyed yourself in his stead. So now that I’ve
taken you to myself, you will come to know firsthand of the evils that I
will inflict on you from this time forth! You will meet with the
everlasting torments and endless punishments that await you in my 
eternal custody. Oh Prince Satan, Founder of all Death and Fount of
all Pride, you should have thought the wicked case of that Jesus
through. Oh Head of all Devils, Beginning of Death and End of all
Evil, where did you find any iniquity in this Jesus to win his
destruction? Why did you presume to carry out such a sin? Why did
you, for no reason at all and contrary to justice, crucify the one you
knew to be sinless? You brought an innocent and righteous man down
here to our sphere, thereby releasing all of the guilty, wicked and
unrighteous of the world! What were you thinking when you brought
this man down into this darkness? Through him you have been
stripped of all who have died since the world began. Now all of your
joy has been turned into sorrow.” And when Hades had thus finished
speaking to Prince Satan, the King of Glory said, “Prince Satan is to
remain under your authority for ages without end in the place of Adam
and his children, my holy ones.”
Now Jesus placed Satan into his hands even as he was saying all of
this to him. And seizing Hades, the Savior smote him, demanding an
account for all things. And right away he took hold of Satan, its
prince, shoving him backwards, throwing him and some others down with Hades into Tartarus, dispensing with them--one and all. (And)
they fell with him beneath the feet of the Lord into the yawning chasm
below, but others he led into the world above. And grasping the hand
of Adam, he rose up out of the underworld with all whom he had
sanctified streaming behind. And he ordered us, and many others, to
rise up bodily and offer to the world our testimony of the resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of all the things that had been done in
the regions below.
(Matt 28:1a; GPt 9-10; 1Pet 3:18,19)
The Tomb, The Palace of Pilate
Now later on that night, after the Sabbath had passed and the
Lord’s Day was drawing near, the soldiers were keeping watch in pairs.
And a great noise came from the sky, and they could see the heavens opening. Then they saw two men coming down in a beam of light.
And as they were approaching the tomb, the stone that had been
pushed against the door started of itself to roll aside. And when the
tomb was opened up, the two young men went into it. And when the
soldiers saw this, they roused the centurion from his slumber, as well
as the elders, for they were also keeping watch. And even as they were
describing all that they had seen to them, they once again saw: Three
men came out of the tomb, two of them were supporting the third, and
a cross came following after! Now the heads of the two reached all the
way into the skies, but that of the one they were leading by the hand,
extended even beyond them. And they all heard a voice from heaven
inquire, “Have you preached to those who sleep?” And from the cross
the answer came: “Indeed I have!” Christ, you see, died once for the
sins of all mankind--the righteous and unrighteous alike--that he
might deliver us to God. His body was put to death, but he was made
alive in spirit, in the which he went and preached to the spirits in
(Dec 8:2b; DecLtA 8:2b)
Between Paradise And Earth
And as he sailed into the sky, the righteous forefathers trailed
behind him singing praises and proclaiming, “Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord! Hallelujah! Give him the glory, oh you
saints!” Then the righteous David in a loud voice sang, “Sing a new
song to the Lord, for he has performed glorious works! His right hand
and his holy arm have wrought salvation for us all. The Lord has
made known his salvation and has shown forth his righteousness for
the nations to behold.” Then the host of saints chimed in, “This
indeed is the glory of the saints. Amen and hallelujah!”
(DecLtA 8:3a)
Between Paradise And Earth
Then Habakkuk the prophet cried out, “You went forth to rescue
your people and to free your chosen ones.” And the saints all shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! The Lord himself
indeed is God, and he has caused his light to shine on us. Amen and
(DecLtA 8:3b)
Between Paradise And Earth
Then the prophet Micah likewise cried, “What other ‘god’ is like
you, oh Lord? Who else can blot out transgressions and forgive sins?
But now you have bridled your anger and confirmed that your desire is
for mercy. And even as you have sworn to our fathers in days of old,
you have looked away and shown us your forbearance, forgiving us of
our misdeeds and causing all of our sins to sink down in the mass of
death.” “This is our God forever and ever,” echoed the saints, “and he
will rule us all forevermore. Amen and hallelujah!” So they followed
after the Lord, the prophets reciting their holy words and praises, and
the saints all responding, “Amen and hallelujah!”
(Dec 9; DecLtA 9)
The Lord then took Adam by the hand and delivered him over to the
archangel Michael. And the saints all followed after him, who carried
them into the wondrous grace of paradise. And two most ancient
ones, men who were full of days, approached them as they were
passing through the gates. The holy fathers questioned them, “Who
are you, for you have neither seen death nor gone down into hell, but
have dwelled, body and soul, right here in paradise.” And one of them
replied, “I am Enoch, who was pleasing to God, and by the word of the
Lord was translated here. And the one that you see with me is Elijah
the Tishbite, who was taken up in a chariot of fire. Never to this day
have we tasted of death, (for) we are to remain alive until the end of
the age. But we have been awaiting the arrival of the Antichrist, when
God will send us forth to withstand him, that we might do battle
against him with heavenly signs and wonders. He will then have us
put to death, but three and a half days after killing us in Jerusalem, we
will then be raised again. And after the three days, we will again be
taken up alive in clouds to meet the Lord.”
(Dec 10; DecLtA 10)
And even as Enoch and Elijah were addressing the saints, behold,
this other most wretched man approached, bearing his cross upon his
shoulder. And when the saints caught sight of him, they asked him,
“Who might you be, who have the look of a thief? And what is that
sign that you are carrying?” And he answered them, “What you say is
indeed the truth. You are right to call me a thief, for I did all kinds of
terrible things in that world. The Jews crucified me alongside Jesus,
and I was a witness to all of the miraculous events that came about as a result of the cross of Jesus the crucified. And I came to accept that
he was the creator of the natural order, the all-powerful King! So I
called to him in prayer and said, ‘Oh Lord, remember me when you
come into your kingdom!’ And receiving my plea, he immediately
answered me, ‘In all truth do I say to you, this very day you will be
with me in paradise.’ And he gave me this sign of the cross, and said
to me, ‘Walk right into paradise carrying this sign, and should the
angel who is guarding it not let you in, simply show him the sign of the
cross and say to him, “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has just now
been crucified has sent me to you.”’
“And I came carrying my cross into paradise, and was met by the
archangel Michael, so I said to him, ‘Jesus Christ our Lord, who has
been crucified, has sent me here, so please lead me to Eden’s gate.’
And after hearing me say this, he let me pass through. (The flaming
sword, when it saw the sign of the cross, opened right up for me.) But
he placed me off to the right and said, ‘Behold, wait a while and Adam,
the father of the human race, will enter in with all of his children, the
holy and the righteous. And after the glorious and most victorious
ascension of the crucified Lord Christ, they will also be allowed inside.’
And now that I have seen you, I have come to welcome you!” And
when the saints heard these words, they all proclaimed, “How great is
the Lord, and powerful his might! We bless you, oh Almighty Lord,
Father of eternal blessings and of all mercies. You have shown
yourself merciful to your own, who have sinned, and have brought them all into the delight of paradise and into your fertile pastures, for
surely this is the life of the spirit. Amen and amen!”
(Matt 28:2-4; GPt 11)
The Tomb
Now those who were at the tomb were advising one another as to
how to approach Pilate and break these things to him. And even as
they were working it out, a man came down from the sky and entered
into the tomb. And when the centurions saw all this, they abandoned
the tomb that they had been guarding and hurried over to Pilate under
cover of darkness.
Those who saw it were deeply unsettled as they related all that they
had seen to him. “This man really was the Son of God!” they
confessed. Pilate answered them, “My hands are clean of the blood of
God’s Son--this was all your own doing!” Then they all closed in on
him and pleaded with him to tell the centurion and his soldiers to
speak nothing of what they had seen to anyone. “For it is better for us to bear the guilt of the greatest sin before God, than to be stoned to
death at the hands of the Jews.” So Pilate ordered the soldiers to keep
silent about it.
And behold, there was this terrible shaking of the earth, and an angel
of the Lord came down from the sky. He went over to the tomb, rolled
away the stone and sat down on it. His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was as white as snow. Those who were keeping watch
were so afraid that they all shook and lay as dead.
(GNc 12:2b)
And the entire multitude--the synagogue rulers, the priests, and the
Levites--got up early and took council in the synagogue as to how they
should put Joseph to death. And even as the council sat, they ordered
that he be brought before them in disgrace. But after they had opened
the door, they found that he was not inside. They all were taken with
surprise and dread, since none of the seals had been broken, and
Caiaphas still held the key. So they no longer dared to lay their hands on the ones who had stood up for Jesus in the presence of Pilate.
(Matt 28:1b,5-10; Mark 16:2-9; Luke 24:2-8; John 20:1-17;
GPt 12,13; EpAp 9b-10a)
The Tomb
And when Jesus rose up early on the first day, (which is) the Lord’s,
his first appearance was to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast
forth seven demons. In the early morning darkness of the first day of
the week, even as the Lord’s Day was dawning, Mary of Magdala, one
of the Lord’s female disciples went with the other Mary to have a look
at the tomb. And Mary Magdalene, for fear of the Jews--all of whom
were burning with rage--had not done what women customarily do for
their loved ones who have died. So she, with the spices they had
prepared, took some of her lady friends, (among whom was) the other
Mary, and went to visit the sepulcher where the Lord had been placed.
Now these three women visited that spot: Mary, Mary Magdalene, and
her daughter Sarah. Now they were all afraid that the Jews would see
them, so they agreed, “Even though we were not able to weep and
mourn for him on the day of his crucifixion, let’s all go and do so now.”
They wept and wailed over what had happened, and they took
ointment with them to pour over his body. And as they neared the burial site, they asked each other, “Now who will roll the stone from
the mouth of the tomb, so that we might go in, sit at his side and
perform what is due?” (The stone, you see, was very large.) “And if
someone should see us, as we all fear they might, and we find
ourselves unable to do so, let us at least place what we have brought
before the door as a memorial to him, and we will weep and beat our
breasts all the way home.”
But as they were approaching the tomb they looked up, and on their
arrival they saw where the giant stone had been rolled away from the
opening, and they found the burial spot uncovered. So Mary
Magdalene ran over to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom
Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord away from the tomb, and we do not know where they have placed him!”
Peter and the other disciple therefore hurried out and raced to the
tomb. The two of them ran there together, but the other disciple
outran Peter, arriving first at the burial place. He bent down and saw
the linen cloth lying there, but did not enter into it. Then Simon Peter
came following after him and did go in. And Simon, bending over, saw
the burial linens lying there, and the cloth from his head rolled up and
in another spot. And he went away marveling over all that had
happened. So the other disciple who got to the tomb first went in and
saw, and he believed. (You see, at the time they had not understood
from the Scriptures that it was needful for Jesus to rise up from death.)
The women, (however,) went up to the tomb, bent over, opened the
door and had a look inside. And right there in the midst of the tomb,
they saw a handsome young man sitting, all dressed in dazzlingly
bright attire. The angel asked the women, “Why have you come here?
Who are you looking for? Him that was crucified? He has risen up
and gone away. But if you should doubt my words, just bend down
and look inside.” And when they went into the tomb, they did not find
the body of the Lord Jesus there. Instead they saw a young man
dressed in a white robe sitting off to the right hand side, and they were
frightened. “Have no fear,” he said to them. “I know that you are
seeking Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here, but has
risen like he said he would. Come and see where he was put; see that
he is not there! Realize that he has risen up and gone back to the place
from which he was sent.”
And all of a sudden, even as they were marveling at this, two men
stood beside them in garments that gleamed like lightning, and the
women were so frightened that they fell to their faces on the ground before them. But then those men questioned them, “Why are you
looking for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!
Call to mind what he said to you while he was yet in Galilee: ‘The Son
of Man must be handed up to wicked men, undergo crucifixion and on
the third day, be raised again.’”
And they then recalled the things he said. “Now go quickly to Peter
and the disciples and let them know that he has risen from the dead.
And behold, he is going on ahead of you into Galilee. Listen, I am
telling you as he has told you; you are all to meet him there.” Then,
frightened and bewildered, they quickly left the tomb and fled in fear
and tremendous joy. And without saying anything, they ran to inform
his disciples--for they were too afraid to tell anyone about what had
Now Mary stood weeping just outside the tomb. And even as she
wept, she stooped down into it and saw two angels sitting there all
dressed in white, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of
Jesus had been placed. And the angels said to Mary, “Woman, why
are you weeping?” “Because they have taken my Lord away,” she said,
“and I do not know where they have put him.” Now after Mary had
spoken these words, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
though she did not yet recognize him. Jesus asked her, “Woman, why
are you crying? Who are you looking for?” And supposing him to be
the groundskeeper, she said to him, “Sir, if you have taken him away
somewhere, then please tell me where you have placed him and I will
go and get him.” Then Jesus said, “Mary!” And she turned around
and cried, “Rabboni!” which means ‘Teacher.’ Jesus said, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my
brothers and let them know that I am going up to my Father, Who is
also your Father, and to my God, Who is also your God.”
Now behold, even as the women were mourning and weeping there
along the way, the Lord Jesus met them, and appeared to them saying,
“Hello there! For whom are you weeping? Stop your crying this
instant; I am the one that you are seeking.” And they went up to him,
took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. “Have no fear,” he said to
them, “but let one of you go to your brothers, the disciples, and tell
them that they should travel on to Galilee and meet me there. Say to
them, ‘Let’s go. The Master has risen from the dead!’”
(Matt 28:11-15; GNc 13)
In the Synagogue
Now as they were on their way, even as those who were in the synagogue continued to sit and marvel over what had happened to
Joseph, some members of the guard went into the city. The Jews, out
of fear that the disciples would come and steal his body and take the
Lord away somewhere, had requested them of Pilate to keep the tomb
of Jesus safe. These passed along all that had happened to the
synagogue rulers, the chief priests, and the Levites. “There was this
powerful earthquake,” they explained, “and we saw an angel come
down out of heaven, who rolled the stone from the mouth of the cave
and sat on it. He was as white as snow and like lightning in
appearance, and we were all terrified and fell as dead men to the
ground. We also heard the voice of the angel speaking with the
women who were waiting at the tomb, saying, ‘Have no fear. See, I
know that you are looking for Jesus, who has been crucified. He is not
here, but has risen as he said he would. Come and see the spot where
the Lord once lay. Go right now to his disciples and let them know
that he has risen from the dead, and is even now in Galilee.’”
“Who were these women that he spoke with?” the Jews inquired.
And the members of the guard said, “We have no idea who they were.”
So the Jews then asked, “And just when did all these things take
place?” “In the middle of the night,” responded the guard. “Why,
then, did you fail to arrest them?” the Jews demanded. “We were so
terrified that we became as dead men,” the guard explained. “We
didn’t even hope to see the light of day, so how could we have possibly
detained them?” “As the Lord lives,” the Jews rejoined, “we do not
believe you.” “You saw that man perform so many signs,” the guard
reproved the Jews, “and you still did not believe in him, so why should
you take our word for it? You are right when you say that the Lord
lives; for he is indeed alive. We have come to learn,” added the guard,
“that you locked up that man who asked for the body of Jesus. For
even though you sealed the door, when you opened it back up, you did
not find him there. So why not hand Joseph over to us, and we will
hand Jesus over to you.” “Joseph is back in his own home town,” the
Jews affirmed. “And Jesus has risen up, and is in Galilee, as we heard
the angel say,” replied the members of the guard.
Now these words struck fear in their hearts, so they cautioned them, “Be careful that people don’t hear this telling; or else everyone
will come to believe in Jesus.” And the elders of the Jews took counsel
together. They laid out a sufficient quantity of silver, and gave it to the
soldiers with these words: “Say, ‘His followers all came late at night,
even as we slept, and made away with his remains.’ Now do not worry, if the Governor should hear of this; we will convince him and keep you
out of harm’s way.” So they took the money and did as they were told.
And the Jews put forth this story of theirs, which is spread abroad
among all men to this day.
(Mark 16:10,11; Luke 24:9-12; John 20:18; GPt 12; EpAp 10b)
Outside the Tomb, Jerusalem
When Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James, and the
others got back from the tomb, they reported all of these things to the
eleven, and to all the other disciples. Then Mary Magdalene brought
the news that she had seen the Lord, and related all that he had said to
her to those followers who had been with him.
Now the disciples were mourning and weeping, for they had not
believed the women. After hearing that Jesus was alive, and that Mary
had seen him, they did not accept it, for their words seemed ridiculous
to them. Now Mary came and reported it to us (apostles,) but we just
asked her, “Woman, what have we to do with you? Can the one who is
dead and in the grave possibly be alive again?” (For when she told us
that our Savior had risen from the dead, we did not believe her.) She
then went back to our Lord and said, “None of them believed me when
I told them of your resurrection.” “Let another one of you go and tell them again” he said. And Martha came and let us know, but we
replied, “Tell us what you want with us? Is it possible for the one who
has died and is entombed to be alive again?” (For when she said, “The
Savior has risen up from the dead,” we did not take her at her word.)
She then went back to the Lord and said, “No one believed me when I
told them that you were alive.” And he said to her, “Let another of you
go and tell this to them again.” So Sarah came to us and gave us the
same report, and we called her a liar. So she went back to our Lord
and gave him the same word as Mary had. Then Mary came back and
told us again, but we did not believe her, so she went back to the Lord
and reported it to him.
Now it was the final day of Unleavened Bread, and since the feast by
then was at an end, many people left the city and returned to their
homes. And we, the twelve disciples of the Lord, wept and grieved,
and each of us went back home mourning over what had happened.
But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew took our nets and headed
out for the sea, and Levi, whom the Lord <had called at the tax booth>
was with us.
(GHb 9, Quote by Jerome, On Famous Men 2)
Jesus then appeared to James. (According to the Gospel of the
Hebrews, after the resurrection of the Savior, the Lord handed his
robe to the servant of the priest. Then he went and showed himself to
James. A little while later, the Lord said, “Bring me a table and some
bread.” And right away he took the bread and blessed it. And after he
had broken it, he gave the bread to James the Just and said to him,
“Brother, eat this your bread, for the Son of Man has risen up from
those who sleep!”)
(Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-32)
On the Road to Emmaus
Now behold, later on that day Jesus showed himself to two of them
in a different form as they were walking in the countryside, on their
way out to Emmaus, a village about sixty stadia from Jerusalem. And
together they were going over all the things that had come to pass.
And even as they were discussing these issues, Jesus drew near and
traveled alongside them. Now their eyes were being held so as not to
recognize him; and he asked them, “What are these things that you are
saying to one another as you walk all dejectedly along?” And one of
them, whose name was Cleophas, answered him, “Are you but a
stranger in Jerusalem, unaware of the things that have happened there
over the past few days.” “What things?” asked Jesus. “With regard to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered him, “this man, this prophet who
was mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; how our
chief priests and rulers handed him up to the judgment of death, and
crucified him. But we were counting on him for the redemption of
Israel, and it has been three days now since these things have
happened. Now there were these women who went early to his tomb,
but were unable to locate his remains. They came and surprised us
with news of an angelic vision that they had experienced, and they all
claimed that he was alive. Now some of those who were with us went
over to the tomb and found things even as the women had described it
to them, but they did not see him.” “You fools!” he chided them, “and
slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had foretold. Ought not
the Messiah to have suffered and entered into his glory?” And from all
of the prophets, beginning with Moses, he expounded the Scriptures
with reference to himself.
And as they drew near to the village for which they had set out,
Jesus acted as if he were traveling further. “Stay with us,” they said to him, “for evening is approaching and the day has nearly passed.” And
he turned aside to stay with them. And as they were reclining
together, he took the loaf, blessed it, broke it, and divided it among
them. Then their eyes were opened up, and they recognized him, and
he vanished from their sight. “Did our hearts not burn within us as he
spoke with us along the road and clarified the Scriptures to us?” they
marveled to each other.
(Mark 16:13; Luke 24:33-35)
These men rose up that very hour and went back to Jerusalem and
reported it to the others. They found the eleven gathered together in
the company of some others. “The Lord has assuredly been raised to
life,” they affirmed, “and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they
explained to them all that had happened as they walked along the
road, and about the way that he had made himself known in the
breaking of the bread, but the disciples did not believe them either.
(Mark 16:14, Freer Logion-Codex Washingtonianus;
Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-20; EpAp 11a)
Late in the evening, on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared to
the eleven. At that time the Lord said to Mary and her sisters, “Let’s
all go and visit them now.” He came to us veiled and found us inside
eating. Now for fear of the Jews the doors had been locked in the
place where [we] disciples had gathered, and we were full of doubt and
lacking faith. But Jesus came and stood in [our] midst even as [we]
were discussing these things. “Peace to you!” he said to us. But all [of
us] were terrified, and thought that [we] had seen a ghost. So he
questioned [us], “Why are you so full of fear, and why do doubts arise
in your hearts? Just look at my hands and my feet, it is me all right. A
ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you can see that I have.” And
he showed them his hands, his feet, and his side.
Now as soon as they recognized that it was the Lord, his disciples
rejoiced. And in spite of all their joy and amazement, they still could
not believe it was him. Then he asked them, “Have you got anything
to eat around here?” So they gave him a piece of broiled fish, which he
took and ate before them all. Then he rebuked them for repeatedly
refusing to believe the ones who had seen him after his resurrection.
Now they all apologized and said, “Satan holds sway over this lawless
and faithless age. He uses unclean spirits to keep the true power of God from being understood. Let your justice become apparent,
therefore,” they all besought the Christ. “Satan’s time in power is
through,” the Christ replied. “Even so, other terrible things are about
to take place. I was put to death for the sake of those who sinned, that
they might have the truth restored to them. And this is how they are
to inherit the imperishable glory of the spirit that exists in heaven.”
(DSav; John 20:21-23; GEgp, Quotes by Clement of Alexandria,
Stromateis 3.6.45, 3.9.63, 3.9.64, 3.9.66,
3.9.67, 3.13.91, 3.13.92, 3.15.97;
Epiphanius, Excerpts of Theodotus 67;
Epiphanius, Heresies; 2Clem 12:2-5;
Quote by Jerome, Commentary on Ezekiel 16.52)
“Now the time has come, my followers,” said the Savior to his
disciples, “for us to abandon our labors and to rest, for the one who
rests will rest forever. Now I say to you, be always above <matter
and> time. <Yet I> caution you, <do not be> fearful <of anger, for>
to you <it has been given to escape it.> Anger, you see, is fearsome,
<and to> stir up anger is <indeed unwise.> However, because you
have <understood that anger> comes from <fear, you have become
wise.> They spoke these words against anger with fear and trembling,
and that placed them under the power of the archons, for nothing had
the strength to resist it. But when I came, I made a way for them and
disclosed it to the chosen and the solitary, for they, knowing the
Father, have had faith in what is true.
“Now when you offer praise, do it like this:
Hear us, Oh Father,
Even as You heard Your only begotten Son,
Receiving him and giving him rest from his many labors.
You are He Whose power <is
Unlimited.> Your armor
Is <impenetrable and Your word is> light.
<You are indeed the God of the> living;
<The One> whom they touch not.
<You are> the Word of <life,
Opening the door to> repentance <and to> life.
<Everything proceeds> from You. You are
The entire thought and serenity
Of the solitary. Again, hear
Us as You heard Your elect. By means of Your sacrifice
Will these enter in; and by means of their
Good works have they reclaimed
Their souls from these
Blind limbs, that they might live
Forevermore. Amen.
“I will instruct you. When the time of dissolution comes, the first
power of darkness will approach you. Have no fear, and do not say,
‘Behold! The hour has come!’ Rather, when you come to see a single
staff, which <indicates that> this <time indeed has come,> you <who
have been chosen to receive this instruction,> understand that <which
is to come> from the work <you are to bring forth.> And <in anger
will> the archons approach you <that they might frighten you.> How
truly is fear the power of darkness, so if you are going to be fearful of
what will soon come upon you, it will consume you. For there is not so
much as one among them who will spare you or show you any mercy.
But look at the <great power that lies> within it, for you see, you have
prevailed against every statement on this earth. This <will> raise you
to the place beyond the authorities, <where there is no> tyrant. When
you <get there> you will see all of those who <came before> and <all
who will come after you. And so> I tell you that which <you must do
with regard to> the design. <For to understand the> design <which
exists in the> place of truth <is to find life.> They, however, <are the
sons of falsehood.> whereas you <are children> of the truth. This,
<the path to the> living mind, <will be opened up, so> that you might
brim with joy. So then <fear not,> that <you might find rest for> your souls, <and doubt not,> lest the word <should become obscured. For
> what they have lifted up <is the word, but> they were not able to
<overpower it. Make> your inside <the same as your outside, for your
inside and> your outside <are one and the same.> Formidable, you
see, is that place of crossing that lies before you. Even so, pass it by in
singleness of mind! For great is its depth and lofty is its height.
<But> in singleness of mind, <you must pass it by!> And the fire that
<burns> is <apart from> the waters <in that place, and> all the
powers <will subject themselves to> you. They will <all submit,> and
the powers <over which> they <rule will likewise succumb.> I am
telling you <the truth,> this <soul will> become a <light, which will
shine> within everyone <who is of the truth.> You are the <ones who
know this truth,> and that <which you bring forth will provide the
remedy for the> forgetfulness <that now dominates the> children of <light.> And what you <produce when> you <bring it forth will make
them free.>”
Matthew asked, “How <are we to bring out what is inside of us?”>
The Savior replied, <“You do not yet understand> what is within
you. <But if you> will abide <in me,> you <will come to know of it.”>
Judas asked, “Lord, <what will be> the works <done by> these
souls, these <elect,> these little ones? When <will they come, and>
where will they be? <In what way will> the spirit <show itself?”>
The Lord answered, <“The Spirit will assign them their places and
their labors, and the truth will itself receive them.> These do not
perish <in that day,> nor do they come to destruction, for they have
known their consorts, and He Who would accept them. The truth, you
see, goes searching for the wise and the righteous.
“The mind is the lamp of the body,” the Savior affirmed. “As long as
all things are ordered properly within you, that is to say, <in line with
the truth,> your bodies will all be luminous. But as long as your
hearts remain darkened, the radiance which you await <will not
come.> I have called <you here to let you know> that I will travel <on
ahead of you. Those who are to reveal> my word with <truth will> I
send to <those who seek after it.>”
His followers then inquired of him, “Lord, who is the seeker, and
<who is the> revealer?”
“The one who seeks <the truth> reveals <the mysteries of God.>”
the Lord replied.
“Lord,” asked Matthew, “when I hear <something,> and when I
speak it, who is it that <is speaking, and who is it that is> hearing?”
“The one who speaks,” the Lord explained, “is also the one who
hears, and the one who sees is also the one who reveals.”
Mary asked him, “Lord, behold! From where do I carry the body
when I am weeping, and from where do I carry it when I am
laughing?” The Lord answered, “The body weeps on account of its
works, as also for that which remains, and the mind laughs because <it
recognizes the> spirit. There is a confusion that leads you to death
and a confusion that leads you to life. Should one not stand in the
darkness he will not be able to see the light. And so I am telling you
<that ignorance> of the light is itself the darkness. And if you do not
stand in the darkness, you will never come to see the light. <Flee from
that which comes from> the lie, <for> they brought them out <from
the place of darkness.> You will give <off a brilliant> light, and <you
will> exist for all time in the <blessedness> of one <who will live in
peace> forever. Then the powers that are above, as well as those that are below, will <flee from> you. In that place there will be weeping
and grinding of teeth with regard to the end of all these things.”
Judas said, “Tell us, Lord, what was there before the heavens and
the earth came into being?”
The Lord answered him, “There was darkness, and there was water,
and there was spirit on the water. And I am here to tell you that what
you are searching for and asking about, behold, it lies within you, and
<within you lies both> the power and the mystery <of> the spirit, for
out of <darkness, light beams forth.> Evil comes <in order to
conceal> the real mind and <to alienate you from your true self.>
Behold, <it will be unveiled, and you will come to possess it.>”
<One of them> said, “Lord, tell us where the soul is established and
where the real mind exists.”
The Lord answered, “The fire of the spirit came to be within them
both. And for this reason, the <spirit> came to be, and the true mind
came into being inside them <both.> If one should place his soul on
high, he will be lifted up thereby.”
And Matthew said, “<Tell us,> who took it, that is to say <the mind
of truth? Surely> it was those who are powerful.”
The Lord said, “<You are> more powerful than he <who rules at
present. And> you are <more powerful than> he who follows; you
and all of the works <that are brought forth from> your hearts. For
even as your hearts <have overcome,> so is this the means to
overwhelm the powers that are above and also those that are below, <who reign at this time.> I am telling you, let whoever has power
renounce it and repent. And let him who knows seek and find and
take delight.”
“Behold!” said Judas, “I see that everything exists <according to
providence,> like the signs that are above the earth. This was why
things happened this way.”
The Lord said, “When the Father set up the world, He collected
water from it and His Word issued forth from it and it came to live in
many <places.> It was higher than the path of the stars, which
surround the whole earth. They <were all in want of it,> for the water
that was collected existed beyond them. <All of them were deprived>
of it, a massive fire surrounding them all, even as it were a wall. And
<there came a> time when many things became separated from what
was within. When the Word was established, He looked upon <the
earth> and said, ‘Go and cast forth from yourself, that <nothing
might> be lacking from generation to generation, and from age to age.’
Afterward it spewed forth from itself gushers of milk and wellsprings of honey and oil and wine and fine fruits, along with sweetness of
flavor and edible roots, that it might lack nothing from generation to
generation, and from age to age.
“And the Word exists above <all things, and there it has been> set,
namely <above the firmament.> Its beauty <was great,> and beyond
it was a powerful light, luminous and even more dazzling than the one
that resembles it, for this is the one that rules over the host of eternal
ones, those that are above along with those that are below. The light
was taken out of the fire and dispersed over the fullness that exists
above and below all of the works that depend on them. They are <set>
over the heavens above and the earth below. And all the works depend
on them.”
And Judas, when he heard these things, bowed down in worship to
the Lord and offered him praise.
“These things which you seek of the Son of Man,” Mary asked the
brothers, “where ever will you keep them?”
“Sister,” the Lord answered her, “no one will be able to look into
these things except for someone who has a place for them in his heart
and is capable of coming forth from this realm and entering into the
place of life, that he might not be detained here in this world of
Matthew said, “Lord, I would like to see that place of life, that place
where there is no evil, but only pure light exists!” The Lord answered
him, “Brother Matthew, you will never be able to see it as long as you
are wearing this flesh.” Matthew said, “Lord, even if I will not be able
to see it, allow me to discern it!” The Lord said, “All who have come to
know themselves have recognized within themselves all that has been given to themselves alone to do, and they have come to resemble it in
their virtue.”
“Lord,” said Judas, “tell me, what causes the shaking that moves the
earth?” And picking up a stone, the Lord held it in his hand and
asked, “What am I holding in my hand?”
“It is a rock,” answered Judas. “What supports the earth,” Jesus
informed them, “is also what supports the heavens. When a word
issues forth from the Greatness, it moves along that which supports
the heaven and the earth. You see, it is not in fact the earth that
moves, for if it were the thing that moved, it would fall. This, however,
does not happen, lest the First Word should fail, for that was what
established the universe. Now the universe came into being within it
and received its fragrance from it. For whatever things remain
unmoved, I <will move> them on behalf of you, the sons of man.
That, you see, is your place of origin. You exist within the hearts of
those who speak from joy and truth. And even though it goes forth
among mankind from the very body of the Father, they are not
receptive to it. Even so, it goes back upward to its place.
“He who recognizes not the work of perfection knows nothing at all,
and one who does not stand in the darkness will never come to see the
light. Whoever understands not how fire was brought into being will
burn therein, for they do not know the root thereof. Whoever does not
first understand water understands nothing, so what good does it do
to baptize him? Whoever does not understand how the wind that
blows came into being will blow away with it. Whoever fails to
understand how the body that they carry around came into being will perish along with it. And how will he who knows not the Son ever
come to know the Father? As for anyone who will not know the root of
evil, he is not a stranger to it. Whoever will not know how he came
into being, will never know how he is to depart. He is no stranger to
this world, which will <perish, and> be humiliated.”
Then he took Judas, Matthew, and Mary <out to> the end of
heaven and earth. And after placing his hand upon them, they hoped
that they might come to see. Judas lifted up his eyes, and there he saw
a lofty place, and down below, a great abyss. Judas asked Matthew,
“Brother, who can hope to scale this height, or to go down into this
depth? For there is a great fire in that place, as well as a great terror.”
That very moment a Word came from it. And even as it stood there he
observed the way in which the Word came down. Then he asked it,
“Why have you come down to this place?” And greeting them, the Son of Man said, “A seed from a power was lacking, and it sank down into
the abyss of the earth. Then the Greatness remembered it and sent the
Word down to it. That Word brought it up into His presence, that the
First Word might not fail.” His disciples were amazed by all that he
had said and they received it all on faith. And they all came to see that
it was not necessary to look upon evil. Then he explained to his
disciples, “Did I not say to you that like a visible thunder, or the
flashing of lightning would the good be taken up to the light?”
Then all of his followers praised him and said, “Lord, who was there
to offer you praise before you came here to this place--for all praises
exist on your account? Or who is it that will offer you blessings--for all
good things proceed from you?” And even as they were standing
there, he saw two spirits carrying a single soul with them in a dazzling
bolt of lightning. And a word came from the Son of Man, saying,
“Present them with their garment!” The small became just like the great; these and the ones receiving them were just alike. <Then he
returned with the> disciples whom he had <taken up.>
“<Did you> see evil <among> them from the first <time they saw>
one another?” asked Mary. <“Yes I did,”> the Lord replied, <“and>
when you see them <unite and> become enormous, they will <all feign
their own importance.> But when you come to see the One Who lives forever, that is indeed the great vision.”
“Explain it to us!” they all implored. “How would you rather see it,”
he asked, “in a fleeting vision, or an eternal one?” He said, moreover,
“Try to save what can follow after you. Look for it and speak from
within it, so all that you seek for may be in harmony with you.
Because I am here to tell you, the Living God lives within you, <and
you live> within Him.”
“How truly I wish <to dwell in that place,”> said Judas. “The Living
God lives <within the one who is> whole,” the Lord answered,
<“whereas> the deficiency <resides within the empty.”>
Judas asked, “Who <will come to dwell therein?”> The Lord
answered him, <“Those who complete> the works that <remain to be
done. As for> that which remains, it is they who you <are to prepare
for victory over the angelic rulers.”>
“Behold,” said Judas, “the archons are above us, so they will be the
ones to rule over us!”
“You will be the ones to govern them,” Jesus countered, “but only
after you have rid yourselves of covetousness. Then you will don the
garments of light and enter into the bridal chamber.”
“How will our garments be brought to us?” asked Judas. “There are
some who will bring them to you,” the Lord answered, “and there are
others who will receive you. You see, they are the ones who will
provide you with your clothes. For who will be able to pass through
that place of retribution? Even so, the clothing of life has been given
to men since they see the path by which they must go. It is even a
challenge for me to pass through.” “Hence,” said Mary, “‘The Trouble
Of Each Day,’ and ‘The Worker Deserves His Wage,’ and ‘The Disciple
Is Like His Teacher.’” (She put forth these expressions as a woman
who understood them fully.)
The disciples then asked him, “What is this ‘fullness’ and what is
this ‘deficiency’?” “The ‘fullness,’” he said, “is where you came from,
whereas the ‘deficiency’ is the place where you currently dwell. But
look and see, how His light has poured down on me!”
“Lord,” asked Matthew, “tell me how the dead pass on, and the
living come alive!” The Lord answered him, “You have asked me about the saying; <‘You have shown me> what no eye has seen, nor
have I heard it from anyone but you.’ Nonetheless I say to you, a man
is referred to as ‘dead’ when what animates him is taken away. Now
when what is alive escapes from what is dead, it will then be called
‘alive’ again.”
Judas asked: “Why do these die and live again for the sake of
truth?” “What the truth brings forth is not what dies,” the Lord
replied. “That which is born of woman is the thing that dies.”
“Lord,” Mary asked him, “tell me, was I brought to this place to gain
a profit or to suffer a loss?” “You are here,” the Lord explained, “to
show forth the abundance of the Revealer!” “Is there any place, then,
that is unproductive, or in want of truth?” Mary inquired. “In the
place that I am not!” the Lord replied. “Lord,” said Mary, “you are
wonderful and fearsome; an all-consuming fire to those who do not
know you.”
Matthew asked, “Why can’t we all just rest right now?” The Lord
answered him, “Once you’ve laid these burdens down, your rest will
come.” Matthew asked, “How does the small become one with the
great?” The Lord replied, “You will indeed find rest once you have
abandoned the works that cannot follow after you.”
Mary said, “I would like to see all things as they truly are.” “Life is
the fortune for him that seeks it,” the Lord declared. “The pleasure
that this world provides is counterfeit; its gold and its silver are but a delusion.” His followers asked him, “What ought we to do to ensure that our
work comes to perfection?” “Be prepared in the face of all things,” the
Lord replied. “How blessed is the man who has recognized the war,
and has seen the battle with his own two eyes, for he has emerged
triumphantly, having neither killed nor suffered death.”
“Lord,” Judas inquired, “tell me where the path begins.” “With love
and with righteousness,” he answered us. “Had even one of these been
among the archons, evil never would have come into existence.”
“Lord,” said Matthew, “you have spoken openly about the end of all
things.” The Lord said, “You have understood and accepted on faith
all that I have said to you. They are yours as far as you can understand. If, however, you cannot comprehend them, they are not
for you to have.”
“What is this place that we are headed for?” they prodded him.
“Whatever place lies within your grasp, there you must stand,” said the
Lord. Mary asked, “Is it possible to see everything that is established in
this manner?” The Lord replied, “The one who sees is the one who
reveals, even as I have told you before.”
His twelve disciples questioned him, “Teacher, <where is the path
to the> peaceful <heart?> Teach us <how we are to attain it.>”
The Lord said, “If you have understood all that I have explained to
you, you will achieve immortality. You <are,> after all, <the path that
leads to> everything.”
Mary said, “There is but one word that I will speak to the Lord with
regard to the mystery of the truth in which we have come to stand: We
have been revealed to the cosmic beings.”
Judas said to Matthew, “We would like to understand the type of
garment with which we are to be clothed when we depart from this
corrupted flesh.” The Lord answered, “The archons and
administrators possess garments which have been given to them only
for a certain time, and which do not endure. You, however, as children
of truth, are not to array yourselves in these temporal vestments. You
will instead receive your blessing when you come to undress
yourselves! You see, it is no great thing <to strip yourselves and to
step> outside.”
<One of them> said, <“Lord,> speak <to us about ‘The Mustard
Seed.’”> The Lord replied, <“It has been sown by> your Father <and
it is He that brings it forth.”> “What is the nature of that mustard
seed?” Mary asked him. “Does it come from heaven, or from the
earth?” The Lord answered, “When the Father established the world
for Himself, He retained some things from the Mother of all, and this
inspires both His speaking and His actions.”
“This you have spoken from the mind of truth,” Judas remarked.
“When we pray, how should we do it?” “Pray in the place where there
is no woman,” the Lord replied. (“Now by telling us to pray in a place
where there is no woman,” said Matthew, “he means that we should
destroy the works of the female. This does not mean that there is
some other way of bringing forth, only that someday women will no
longer give birth.”) “They will never cease to exist!” Mary protested.
“Who is so sure that they won’t all dissolve,” the Lord replied, “their
works being undone in this place too?” (Now when Salome asked,
“How long will death continue to reign?” the Lord answered her, “As
long as you women continue to bear.” You see, the Savior has himself
affirmed, “I have come to undo the works of the female.” He does not
mean that procreation is bad, for such is necessary for the redemption
of those who believe. Furthermore, the Lord has said, “Whoever has taken a wife should never forsake her, but whoever has not done so
would be better off not getting married.” For in the Gospel of the
Egyptians many mysterious matters of this nature are passed down as
esoteric wisdom given secretly by the Savior, teaching his disciples
that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are a single One. The
Naassenes maintain that the soul is difficult to find and to become
familiar with. This is because it remains neither in a singular form,
nor does it conform to a particular aspect, and as such does not
possess a definite appearance such that any pattern or perception of it
could possibly describe it. Now since the Word had spoken of the end,
Salome was right to ask, “How long are men to suffer death?”
Scripture utilizes the word ‘man’ here in two ways; both as that of the
outward, visible form along with the soul, and also with reference to
the redeemed and the unredeemed alike. The impulse of the ‘male’ is
used to represent aggression, and the term ‘female’ is used to indicate
lusting. ‘Works’ signifies both birth and decay. This does not mean
that life is a bad thing or that the creation is evil, only that such is the
course of nature. You see, when Salome asked, “Then have I done well
by not having children?” The Lord replied, “You may eat of every
herb, but of the bitter one do not partake.” Let us all wait in constant
expectation of the arrival of the kingdom of God in love and
righteousness, for we do not know the day of God’s coming. For you
see, when Salome inquired of him, “Tell us when your kingdom will
come.” the Lord replied, “When you tread underfoot this covering of shame, and when the two should unite, the inner becoming one with
the outer, and when the male becomes neither male nor female with
regard to the female.” Whenever we speak the truth to one another,
you see, the two become one, for a single soul, free of all that is false,
occupies the two persons. As for the ‘outside’ being even as the
‘inside,’ here is the interpretation: With reference to what is within, he
means the soul, and with reference to what is without, he means the
physical body. So even as your body can be clearly seen, so also ought
you to make the character of your soul apparent through your good
works. Now when he says, ‘the male with regard to the female, neither
male nor female,’ he is saying, ‘when a brother looks upon a sister, he
ought not to think of her as female, and she likewise ought not to think
of him as male.’ Thus he assures us: “If you do these things, my
kingdom will appear.”)
Judas said to Matthew, “The works of the female will all dissolve.
<And when they see it,> the archons will call upon <their every
strength.> Is this how we are to become prepared for them?”
The Lord asked, “Can they honestly see you? Can they see the ones
receiving you? Behold! A Word is issuing from the Father silently
into the abyss, bringing forth like a lightning flash. Are they able to
see or overpower it? Not at all, for even now it remains to you! You
have known the way which no angel or power has ever seen. But it
belongs to the Father and the Son, for they are both a single <One.>
You will travel along the path that all of you have come to know, and
no matter how great the archons become, they will never be able to
attain to it. Even so, listen here--it is a burden even for me to do it.”
“When the works dissolve <into nothingness,”> Mary asked the
Lord, <“will it be your works> that dissolve a work?” The Lord
answered her, “Without question, for <the way> is known to each of
you. <Now> if I should dissolve <the works, they> will <each> go
back to their place.”
“How does the spirit appear?” asked Judas. “How does the sword
appear?” answered Jesus. “How does the light appear?” Judas probed.
The Lord said, <“You already exist> eternally within it.”
Judas asked, “Who forgives the works of whom? Those works which <will condemn> the world. <When the time of judgment comes
about,> who is it that forgives the works.” The Lord answered him,
“Who is it <that condemns?> It is fitting for one who has understood
the works to carry out the Father’s will. As for all of you, strive to rid
yourselves of anger and of envy. Also, strip yourselves of your
<worldliness,> and do not <seek after that which is not your own.(?)>
<...> <And do not waver when the time comes for you to> reproach
<the world.> For I say to you, <the archons will fall on you to strike
fear into your hearts.(?)> <...> <When> you take the <word of God
to yourselves(?)> you <will rest upon it, and the person> who has
sought, and has <come to understand> this, will rest <upon it also.>
He will live forevermore. And I say this to you <now, so that> your
spirits and your souls might not be led astray.” Then Jesus again said
to them, “Peace to you! I am sending you forth even as the Father has
sent me.” And after saying this, he breathed on them and said,
“Receive the Holy Spirit! The sins of those you have forgiven will
indeed be forgiven, and the sins of those you have not forgiven will
remain unforgiven.”
(EpAp 11b,12; John 20:24-29)
But Thomas, one of the twelve apostles--who is also known as
Didymus--was not there at the time that Jesus came. And when the other disciples informed him, “All of us have seen the Lord!” he
answered them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hand, and place my
finger into them, and my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now after eight days had passed, all of the disciples were again
gathered together inside, and the doors were locked, and Thomas was
with them. Then Jesus came and stood in their midst, saying, “Peace
to you!” Now he presented himself to us in an ethereal form; and we,
imagining him to be a ghost, were startled and frightened, still not
believing that it could be him. But indeed it was the Lord, so he
questioned us, “Why are you so unsettled, and why do doubts arise in
your hearts? Come now, and have no fear. I am your master, your
teacher; the one you, Peter, denied three times before the crowing of the cock. Are you denying me yet again?”
And we approached him, doubting in our hearts whether it could
possibly be him. Then he asked us, “Why this stubborn refusal to
believe? Why are you so skeptical? Believe that I am the one who
spoke to you about my flesh, my death, and my resurrection. Now just
so that you might know it’s me, touch me, Peter, and you will see.
Place your hand on the nail prints in my hands, and your finger within
them.” And to Thomas he said, “As for you, Thomas, bring your finger
over and inspect my hands. Now bring your hand over and touch the
spear wound that was made in my side. Place your finger (and) your
hand therein, and be not doubtful, but believing!” And at this Thomas
confessed, “You are my Lord and my God!” “Thomas,” Jesus
questioned him, “does your faith rely on your having seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed. As for you, Andrew, look at my feet and see whether or not they touch the ground,
or leave a footprint. You see, in the prophet it stands written, ‘The foot
of a ghost or a demon neither touches the ground, (nor) leaves any
kind of print behind.’”
But now we touched him to know for sure whether he had truly
risen in the flesh, and when we had felt him and found that he had
indeed risen up bodily, we fell to our faces before him. And confessing
our sin, we asked that he forgive us for our faithlessness, for we had
not believed him. Then our Redeemer, the Lord and Savior said to us,
“Rise up now, and I will reveal to you all that is on the earth, and what
is in heaven, and even that which is above the heavens, including your
resurrection, the rest that exists in the kingdom of God, and just why it
is that my Father has sent me. My Father, you see, has given me
power to take you up, along with all who trust in me.”
(EpAp 13-30)
Now this is what he revealed to us: “It so happened that when I had
nearly reached this place, even as I was passing through the heavens,
on my way down from the Father of all, I put on the wisdom of the
Father and clothed myself in His power and might; and when I was in
the heavens, I was like the heavens. I passed by the angels and
archangels, and being like them in appearance, I passed by the Orders
and Dominions, Princes and Powers, possessing in full measure the
wisdom of the Father Who sent me. But Michael, who ranks highest
among the angels, followed after me. And archangels Gabriel, Uriel,
and Raphael, followed me secretly as well, until we arrived at the fifth
heavenly plane, in their hearts believing me to be among their ranks,
my appearance being like theirs. The Father Himself had given me
this power. Then I graced the archangels with the voice of wonder,
distracting them all and summoning them to ascend before the altar of
the Father to complete the service of their work until such time as I
should return to Him. And it was as the image of His wisdom that I
did this. I became the all within the all among them, you see, that I
might return to the glory of the Father of Majesty, having brought
about the merciful will of the One Who sent me. Are you aware that
the angel Gabriel came down bringing the Word to Mary?” “Yes,
Lord,” we answered him. So he continued, “Now do you recall me
saying to you that I became like an angel among the angels?” And we answered him, “Yes, Lord.” “Back then,” he revealed to us, “it was I
who appeared to the Virgin Mary, and it was I who spoke with her,
transforming myself into the image of the archangel Gabriel. With
faith and laughter did she accept me into her heart. And I, the Word,
transformed myself and entered her womb and became flesh. And
with regard to Mary, I became a servant to myself, appearing in the
semblance of an angel. Even so will I do after I rise again to my
“Now you must observe my passing. If, at the time of Passover, you
should commemorate the memorial of my death, then one of you
standing here with me will be thrown into prison for the sake of my
name. And he will be in great distress and sorrow, lamenting in
distant isolation from you even as you are observing it. For the one
who is confined will regret that he cannot keep it with you. Now I will
send my own power in the form of the angel Gabriel, and the prison
doors will be opened up. He will slip away and come to keep the all
night vigil with you, and remain with you until the crowing of the cock. But at the cock’s crow, the completion of my Agape and of my
remembrance, he will once again be taken away and thrown into
prison for a testimony until the time comes for him to leave that place
and begin to preach what I have given you in the way that I have
instructed you.” And we asked him, “Lord, have you not yet finished
the drinking of the Passover? Do we, perchance, have to take the cup
and drink once more?” And he answered us, “As a matter of fact, it is
essential to do so until such time as I return with those who have
suffered martyrdom for my sake.” And we said, “Oh Lord, what you
are now saying to us is great, as is what you have said before. So in
what form or power are you about to come?” “How truly do I say to
you,” he answered us, “that on the wings of clouds will I come, bearing
me in glory and bursting forth with a sevenfold brightness--even as
the sun--and my cross going before me. I will come down upon the
earth to pass judgment on the living and the dead.”
And we asked him, “Lord, how many years remain until this
happens?” He answered us, “The coming of the Father will take place
at the completion of the one hundred and fiftieth year, between
Pentecost and Passover, after the hundredth and the twentieth part
have passed.” (The fulfillment of [these] number[s], you see,
corresponds to his crucifixion and his resurrection.) “Now Lord,” we
said, “up to now you have only told us that you were coming, but just
now you said that He Who sent you would come. So how can you say,
‘It will be the One Who sent me who will come’?” “I am entirely within
my Father,” he explained to us, “and my Father is entirely within me.”
Then we asked him, “Are you really going to leave us until the time
of your return? Where ever will we find a teacher?” “Do you not understand,” he answered us, “that even up to now I exist both here
and there with the One Who sent me?” “Lord,” we asked him, “is it
really possible for you to exist both here and there at the same time?”
And he said, “I am entirely within the Father, and the Father is within
me. I exist after His image and His likeness, after His power, His
perfection, and His light.” (Now when he said, “I am His perfect Word
in its fullest sense,” this indicates the work that he did by means of the
flesh, even as he said after his crucifixion, when he had died and risen up.) “To Him,” (he continued,) “I have become something like this: I
am the perfect thought in the form of a type. Now I came into being
on the eighth day, (which is the Lord’s.) But through my own
redemption you will come to perceive the wonders, and His image,
and every thing in its perfection--the completion of all things and their conclusion as well. Then you will see me rise again to my heavenly
Father, Who is in the sky. Now behold, I am giving you a new
command; love one another and defer to one another so that peace
might always be with you. Show love to your adversaries, and do to no
one else what you would not have done to you. Preach this and teach
it among those whose faith is in me. Proclaim the celestial kingdom of
my Father; and even as my Father has empowered me, so also do I
empower you, that you might bring near the children of the heavenly
“If you preach this, they will believe you! It is your duty to lead His
children into heaven!” But we asked him, “Lord, certainly you can do
all that you have bidden us to; but just how are we supposed to do it?”
“I am telling you the truth,” he said, “preach it and teach it, for I will
be there at your side. You see, I am more than pleased to remain with
you, helping you to become my fellow heirs in the kingdom of heaven,
which belongs to Him Who sent me. I am telling you the truth, you
will be my friends and brothers, for my Father has delighted in both
you and those who will come to believe in me through you. I say to
you most emphatically, such a great and wondrous joy has my Father
prepared for you that the angels and authorities have long desired,
(and still) desire to look upon it and perceive! But they will not be
given the vision of my Father’s glory.” “Oh Lord,” we asked him,
“what is the meaning of all you are saying?” “You are going to see a
light that is brighter than any other light that shines,” he replied, “and
even more perfect than perfection itself; and the Father of light will perfect the Son. You see, the Father is Perfection itself; and it is
through death and resurrection that the Son is made perfect. So the
one feat, in fact, outshines the other, and I am in all regards the right
hand of the Father, for I exist within the One Who accomplishes; the
fullness of the Father <who sent> me.” “But Lord,” the twelve of us responded, “you have become our life and our salvation, even as you
speak such hopeful words to us!” “Believe in it, and take courage in
it,” he advised us, “and may peace dwell within your hearts, for truly
do I say to you that there exists such a rest in store for you in heaven,
that place where there is no eating or drinking, no mourning or
merrymaking, no worldly concerns, no garment of flesh and no
perishing of those who dwell therein. You will not exist as part of the
creation below, but you imperishable ones are to receive a share in,
and to dwell within the incorruptibility of my Father. And even as I
remain continually within the Father, so also does your place of rest lie
within me.” “Will we appear in the form of an angel,” we asked him, “or that of the flesh?” “Behold,” he said, “I have put on that flesh of
yours. I was born with it, crucified with it, buried with it, and through
my heavenly Father, rose again with it. This happened to fulfill the
oracle that the prophet David spoke of me, foretelling of both my
death and my resurrection:
‘Oh Lord, how those who strive
With me have multiplied,
And how many are those
Who rise against me.
Many are those who say to my soul,
“God will never come to your aid.”
But You, Oh Lord, are my protection and my glory;
Even the One Who lifts up my head.
Then my voice cried out to God,
And from the mount of His sanctuary
He heard me.
I lay down and slept, and I arose,
For God Himself had raised me up.
You, Oh Lord, are my refuge.
I had no fear of the multitudes
Who rose up against me and hedged me about.
Rise up and deliver me now,
Oh, my Lord and my God!
For You have smitten and cast to the ground All who have hated me for no good cause.
You have trampled them beneath Your feet,
And You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation comes from God alone.
May You sanctify Your own.’
“All that the prophets have spoken has thus been completed, taking
place and having its fulfillment in me. I was within them, you see,
(and) I myself spoke through them, so with how much more certainty
will what I have disclosed to you truly happen, so that you and all who
believe in me might bring glory to the One Who sent me!”
But after saying all of this to us, we said, “Lord, you have shown us
mercy and it is on your account that we are saved. You have shown us
all these things; but if it should seem good to you, we would like to ask
you a question.” And Jesus answered us, “I realize that you are
listening closely and that you long to hear, for truly you will all endure,
and even as you listen to me your hearts all fill with joy. Look, ask me
anything you’d like to know. As long as you listen close to what I say, it will be my pleasure to speak well with you. How truly do I say to
you, even as the Father has awakened me from out of death, so also
will you rise up in the flesh. He will transport you to that place that is
above the heavens about which I have spoken to you from the first,
prepared for you by the One Who sent me here. And this is how I will
bring to pass all that has been arranged for your salvation--and it is
with this in mind that I have brought mercy to its perfection. For
being unbegotten, I was born of mankind, and as one who was without
flesh have I worn the flesh and grown up in it. You see, I came to
regenerate you who were begotten in the flesh, that through your
regeneration you might gain in your fleshly resurrection an
imperishable garment. For my Father has delighted in you, and in all
of those who hope and place their faith in Him. And I will awaken the
hope of the kingdom in whomever I please.” At that point we all
remarked, “How great is the hope that you inspire, and the way in
which you speak!” And he responded, “Do you believe that everything
I am telling you will truly happen?” And we answered him, “Yes Lord,
we do.” “I am telling you the truth,” he said, “my Father has given me complete authority to draw all of those who are in darkness into the
light and all of those who are in corruptibility into incorruptibility, and
those who are in falsehood into righteousness, and those who are in
death into life, and those who are in captivity into freedom. You see, it
is possible for God to do what mankind cannot. I am hope for the
hopeless, a helper for the needy, a treasure for the impoverished, a
physician for the ill, and the resurrection for the dead.”
And after saying this to us, we asked him, “Lord, will the flesh
indeed be judged with the soul and the spirit? Will the one indeed rest
in heaven while the other suffers a life of everlasting punishment?”
Then he asked us, “How long will you continue to prompt me for
answers?” “But Lord,” we again prodded him, “it is important that we
ask these things of you, since you have commanded us to preach,
prophesy and teach, that we might therefore become competent
preachers, able to teach them in such a way that they come to believe
in you, having learned the certainty of all things through you. This is
why we are asking you so many questions.” And he answered us,
“Truly do I say to you, the flesh of every man will rise up with his soul
and spirit still within.” And we asked him, “Lord, is it possible for
what has passed away and disappeared to live again (and) be made
whole? Now we are not asking this because we doubt, for such is not
impossible with you, for we believe all that you are saying either has
already happened or will someday happen.” “Oh you limited of faith,” he responded in wrath, “how long will you yet ask of me? Even so, do
not be afraid to ask me about what you would like to know;
ungrudgingly will I disclose it to you. Simply keep my commandments
and do as I say to you without hesitation. Hold nothing back, and do
not show respect of persons nor avert your eyes from anyone, that I
might not turn my face from you. Rather, serve in a straight, direct,
and narrow way. If you should do this, my Father will take great
pleasure in you all.” Again we said, “Lord, behold, we are taken with
distress. We know that we are annoying you with so many questions.”
At that point he answered us, “I know that in faith, with (and) from
your entire being do you inquire of me, and so I am delighted by you.
For truly do I say to you, that both myself and my Father within me are pleased that you prod and question me. I rejoice that you have the
boldness to do it, for it truly leads you into life.” But we were happy to
hear him answer this way, for he had spoken meekly to us. We
therefore urged him: “Lord, you have shown yourself gracious to us in
all things; giving us life by answering all that we have put to you. Will
you again reveal to us whatever we might ask of you?” Then he asked
us, “Is it the spirit or the flesh that passes away?” “What perishes is
the flesh,” we answered him. Then he said, “What has fallen will rise
again, what is lost will be found, and what languishes will bounce
back, that in so doing my Father’s glory might be revealed. And even
as He has done for me, so also will I do for you who believe in me. For
indeed I say to you, the soul will not rise up without the flesh so that
on that day an accounting might take place. This is so that they might
own up to their works, be they either good or bad, and face their
judgment accordingly, that a selection and presentation of those who
have been faithful and kept the command of the Father Who sent me
might thus be made. Then the judgment of bitterness will take place
in accordance with my Father’s will, Who said to me, ‘My Son, on
Judgment Day, you are not to fear the rich, nor out of pity are you to
spare the poor. No, you are to deliver each of them over to eternal
punishment according to their actions.’ But to my beloved, those who
have loved me back and have done as the Father Who sent me has
commanded, will I grant rest and life in my Father’s heavenly
kingdom. Look and see what authority He has given me. These will
also see the kind of power that the Father has given to me, that I might
achieve what I wish in the way that I desire, that I might give it to
those in whom I have awakened this hope, those to whom it is my will
to give and to provide it. And it was for this reason that I went down to the place of Lazarus and spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, preaching the good news to the righteous and the prophets, that they
might rise up out of the kind of repose that exists below to that which
lies above in heaven, as with you, extending to them the right hand of
the baptism of life, together with the remission of sins and the
deliverance from all that is wrong. And thus will I offer from this time
on to all who place their faith in me. Nevertheless, should someone
believe in me and not heed my commands, it will profit them nothing,
whatever their view of me might be. Such have run the course in vain,
and their lot will be error and destruction and a great and painful
punishment, since through their willful disregard they have sinned
against my command. But to you, and to all of those who place their
trust in me have I granted to become the children of the light, (and) of
life in God, free from all evil, and the burden of the judgment, (and)
the power of the archons. And everything I have promised you, I will
give to all these others too, that they might escape from the prison, the
fetters (and) the spears of the archons--and also from their blazing
fire!” And at that we said to him, “Lord, you have caused us to rejoice
and have given us rest, (and) life, (and) <have bolstered> our faith
with amazing works. For in all truth have you preached to our fathers
and the prophets, and even so do you preach to us and to all of
mankind. Will you now teach us as you taught them?” Then he
informed us, “Indeed I say to you and to all who have trusted in me,
and to all who will come to believe in the One Who sent me, that I will
lead you up and into heaven, to the place which my Father has
prepared for the chosen and the most chosen, and the kingdom of the
elect in the promised rest, and I will give you endless life. As for those
who have sinned against my commandments, teaching something else
instead, adding to and taking from them, to inflate their own
greatness, who if as a result should estrange and destroy those who
believe in me in truth, will I give over to eternal destruction.”
But we asked him, “Lord, will others <put forth a> grievance and
bring about another teaching besides that which you have given us?”
“Just as there are those who do what is appropriate and beautiful,” he
answered us, “so also must the wicked come, that both good and evil
might be made known. Then a just trial will take place in which these
will be given over to destruction (and) death, in accordance with their
works and deeds.” And again we said to him, “Lord, how joyful we are
to look on you and hear you speak such words to us, for our eyes have
seen all the wonders that you have worked.” And he answered us,
“How much more joyful are they who have not seen and have yet
believed, for they will be called the Children of the Kingdom. They are to be made perfect within the Perfect One, and in my Father’s
kingdom I will be their life forevermore.” Once again we questioned
him, “Lord, <seeing> that you are going to leave us, how will anyone
ever come to believe us, in light of the fact that you have informed us,
‘A day and an hour is coming when I will rise up to my Father’?” He
answered us, “Go and preach to the twelve tribes of Israel, and to the
Israelites among the Gentiles, from north to south (and) from south to
north; from the sunrise in the east to the sunset in the west. Many will
believe in me, the Son of God.” But we asked him, “Lord, who will
believe the things we say? Who will even give us a hearing? How are
we to perform or teach or recount the signs, wonders, and powerful
works that you have done?” He answered, “Simply go and preach to
them, and teach everyone about my return, in the light of my Father’s
mercy. I will work through you even as the Father has worked through
me, since I will be there at your side. I will send my peace to you; my
spirit and my power, too. From my very power and spirit will I enable
you to prophesy to them unto eternal life. That is how it will be with
you--and they will believe you! Indeed, to these also will this power be
given and passed along, that they might teach it to the Gentiles in
(GMary, GPh 28, 48b)
{Six pages are missing from the manuscript.}
<One of the disciples asked the Savior,> “Will matter be destroyed
or not?”
“Every nature,” replied the Savior, “every formation, and every
creature exists within and among one another. Each will, in turn, be
resolved again into its own root, for into its original root does the
essence of all matter return. Whoever has ears to hear, had better
Peter said, “Since you have been revealing all things to us, describe
to us also the sin of the world.”
“The ‘sin’ does not lie in this world,” the Savior replied. “It is you
who bring sin about through your pursuit of the adulterous nature,
and this creates the perception of sin. It was to restore every essence
of every nature to its proper root that the Good came down to be with
you.” “This is why sickness and death remain with you,” he continued,
“for you give yourselves over to the thing that misleads you. Whoever
has a mind that can grasp this, let him understand. Matter brought
passion into existence, and this passion had no counterpart since it
came into being against nature. Then a disturbance arose in the entire
body, which was why I told you to be of good cheer, and not to
conform yourselves to this flesh, but to that other image of nature
instead. Whoever has ears that hear, let him hear.” After saying all these things, the Blessed One said to them all,
“Peace to you! Make a place within you for my peace. Be on the
lookout for anyone who leads you astray by saying, ‘Look, over here!’
or, ‘Look, over there!’ For the Son of Man lies within yourselves, so
you must seek after him. Those who search for him will discover him.
Now go out and preach the gospel of the kingdom! And do not be like
the lawgiver, laying down rules beyond those that I have given you, or
else they will come to dominate you.” And after speaking these words,
he left their presence.
But all of them were deeply saddened, and through their tears they
asked, “How are we supposed to go out to the Gentiles and preach the kingdom of the Son of Man? How ever will we escape when they did
not even spare him?” Then Mary, standing up and addressing them
all, said to her brothers, “Weep not! Do not be sad or lose resolve, for
his grace will always be with you, protecting you at all times. Let us
instead give praise to his greatness, for he has readied us all and put us
in touch with our true humanity.” And after she had spoken this, she
turned their thoughts toward the good, and they started discussing the
words of the Savior.
(Now there were three Marys who walked with Jesus: his mother,
his sister, and Mary Magdalene, who was called his companion. His
sister, his mother, and his companion were all called “Mary.” But
Mary Magdalene <was his> companion, and <he loved> her more
than any of the disciples, and he would often kiss her <on the mouth.>
<This would offend> the other disciples, <and they used to openly
disapprove.> “Why,” they would ask, “do you love her more than the
rest of us?” The Savior answered them, “Why is my love for you not
like my love for her?” If a blind man should stand in darkness
alongside someone who can see, what difference is there between the
two. But when at last the light breaks forth, the one with sight will see
the light, but the blind one will remain in darkness.”)
“Sister,” Peter questioned Mary, “we know how the Savior favored
you above all other women. Tell us what you know and recall of the
words that the Savior spoke to you; things that we have not yet known,
nor have we so much as heard before.” “I will reveal to you all that is hidden from you,” answered Mary. And she thus began to speak to
them: “I was given a vision of the Lord. And I said to him, ‘Lord, this
very day have I seen you in a vision!’ ‘How blessed you are for not
wavering at the sight of me,’ he answered her, ‘for the treasure is in the
same place as is the mind.’ ‘Lord,’ I asked, ‘is it through the soul or the
spirit that the one who sees a vision experiences it?’ ‘It is through
neither the soul nor the spirit that he comes to see,’ the Lord replied.
‘It is through the mind instead, which exists between these two that
the vision is experienced. And it is <through the mind that the soul
and the spirit come together.’” (And Mary continued to relate the
hidden things of the Lord to them.)>
{Four pages are missing from the manuscript.}
<(Then she related a vision of the soul’s passage to them.) “After
meeting up with and overcoming the first power, which is called
Darkness, the soul approached the second power, which is called
Desire, and spoke with> it. And Desire said, ‘I never saw you going
down, yet now I see you going up. Why are you lying to me? You therefore belong to me!’ But the soul responded, ‘You neither saw, nor
recognized me, but I saw you! You have confused my true self with the
clothing that I wore. You never saw me for who I was.’ The soul, after
saying these things, went away rejoicing.
“Then it came to the third power, which is called Ignorance. After
closely examining the soul, it demanded, ‘Where do you think that you
are going? You are caught up in fornication! You dare not pass
judgment, therefore, because you are bound up in it!’ And the soul
responded, ‘How can you judge me when I have not myself passed
judgment? I have indeed been bound up, but I have not bound up
other people. No one ever recognized me. Even so, I have recognized
the dissolution of all things, both of heaven and of earth.’
“After overcoming the third power, it went on up to and beheld the
fourth, which was sevenfold in its appearance. The first form being
Darkness, the second, Desire, the third, Ignorance, the fourth, the
Impulse toward Death, the fifth, the Empire of the Flesh, the sixth,
Foolish Fleshly Logic, and the seventh is the Wisdom of Wrath. These
are the seven Wrathful Powers. They posed these questions to the soul: ‘Where have you come from, you slayer of men?’ and ‘Where are
you headed, you conqueror of space?’ ‘What had me bound up has
been vanquished,’ the soul replied, ‘and what had me hedged about
has been undone. Desire has lost its grip on me, and my ignorance has
died. I was released from this world as an eternal one, and as a type
from the type have I been freed from the fleeting fetters of oblivion.
From this time and forevermore, throughout the season and the
fullness of the age, I will rest in silence.’”
And after saying all this, Mary fell silent, for it was up to this point
that the Savior had spoken to her. But Andrew complained to the
brothers, saying, “You can say what you like about the things she just
said, but I for one do not believe that the Savior said all that. Come
on, what do you suppose? For these things seem vastly different from
his thinking, (and) these teachings certainly contain some strange
ideas!” And Peter seconded, speaking out against these things. He
asked them all with regard to the Savior, “Has he really disclosed all of
these things secretly to a woman without speaking them openly to us?
Are we supposed to turn around and start listening to the likes of her?
Does he honestly prefer her to us?”
And through her tears, Mary questioned Peter, “What are you
thinking, brother Peter? Do you imagine that I have conjured all of
this up out of my own heart, or that I am telling lies about the Savior?”
Levi cut in, saying to Peter, “Peter, you have always been hottempered; ever inclining toward anger and constantly giving way to it.
And even now that is exactly what you are doing, questioning her as
though you were her enemy. Are you now going to attack this woman
as if she were one of the adversaries? If the Savior thought her to be
worthy, then who are you to dismiss her? For he knew her fully and
loved her devotedly, and it is because the Savior knows her so well that
he loves her more than he does us. Let us therefore be ashamed and
clothe ourselves in our ideal humanity. Let us all be on our way and
preach the gospel as the Savior has commanded, not laying down any
rules or laws beyond those which he laid down for us.” And after
hearing this, they went and started to publish and to preach.
(EpAp 31-33)
Jerusalem? Mount of Olives?
“Now behold, you will meet up with a man named Saul, which will
afterward be changed to ‘Paul.’ He is a Jew, circumcised as the law
directs. With fear and trembling will he hear my voice from out of
heaven, and his eyes will be made dark. Now do for him as I did for
you; make a cross of spittle upon him with your hands. And as soon as
you deliver him over to others, this man’s eyes will be opened up.
Then he will be for the praise of God, my heavenly Father. He will
become mighty among the Gentiles; and many, when they hear the
way that he preaches and instructs, will delight and be saved. Then he
will be despised and delivered into the hand of his enemy. He will
testify before mortal and perishable rulers. And on him will come the
completion of my testimony, for because he started out by persecuting
and despising me, he will be converted to me and thereby will he
preach and teach. He is to be among my elect, a chosen vessel and a
wall that does not fail. The last of the last will then go out and preach
to the gentiles according to the perfect will of my Father.”
And he spoke this to them in no uncertain terms: “Even as you have
come to learn from the Scriptures that your ancestors the prophets
spoke of me, and which are fulfilled in me, so also will you be their
leaders. And even as it befits you, every word that I have spoken to
you and all that you have written of me--how I am the Father’s Word
and how the Father is within me--that you must also be to that man.
Teach him, having him call to mind what the Scriptures have said, and
how they are fulfilled in me. Then he will be for the deliverance of the Gentiles.”
And we asked him, “Master, do we share the same hope of
inheritance with them?” And he responded, “Are the fingers on the
hand alike? Are the ears of corn in the field alike? Do the fruit trees
all bring forth the same fruit? Do they not all produce according to
their natures?” And we asked him, “Lord, are you speaking to us again
in parables?” “Do not feel bad,” he answered us. “For truly do I say to
you that you are my friends and brothers in the heavenly kingdom of
my Father, and He is pleased with this arrangement. Most assuredly I
say to you that I will also offer this hope to all who will come to believe
through your teaching.”
And once again we questioned him, “Lord, when will we come to meet that man, and when will we go to your Father, our Lord and
God?” And he answered us, “That man will go forth from the land of
Cilicia to Damascus in Syria in order to tear apart the Church, which
you must yourselves establish. At that time I will speak through you,
and he will quickly come around. This man’s faith will indeed be
strong, that he might fulfill the word of the prophet that says, ‘Behold,
out of the land of Syria I will begin the call of a New Jerusalem, and I
will subdue and capture Zion,’ and ‘The one who is without children
and barren will bear fruit and be called “daughter” by my Father. I,
however, will call her my bride.’ Then I will turn that man aside, that
he might never reach that place and carry out his evil plans, and
through him will my Father’s glory be completed. Behold, I will speak
to him from out of heaven after I have gone to be with my Father, and
it will be to him as I have spoken it to you.”
(ApPt 1a)
Mount of Olives, Bethany, Outside of Jerusalem
{The Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection of the Dead,
which Christ revealed to Peter. (It was for not keeping the
commandment of God their creator that they all perished in their
sins.) And Peter pondered it carefully, that he might unlock the
mystery bound up in the Son of the Merciful God, who delights in
(Luke 24:50a; Acts 1:6-8; ApPt 1b; EpAp 34a)
Mount of Olives
Then he took them out as far as Bethany, and as he sat upon the
Mount of Olives his disciples all came up to him. So when they were
once again together there, they asked him, “Lord, are you going to
restore the kingdom of Israel at this time?” And he responded, “To
you it has not been granted to know the times or the seasons, which
the Father has fixed according to His own authority. But you will be
given power after the Holy Spirit has come to you, and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea, and from Samaria to the farthest
reaches of the earth.” And once again we said to him, “Lord, how
profound are the things you have disclosed and preached. You have
made things known to us that have never yet been spoken, and you
have comforted us and shown yourself gracious to us in all regards.
For you have shown us all these things after your resurrection so that
we might receive salvation. Even so, you only revealed to us that signs
and wonders would take place in the heavens and on the earth. Teach us enough about them to recognize them.” And each of us begged and
pleaded with him, saying, “Reveal to us the signs of your return, along
with those of the end of the world, so that we might know when it will
come and thereby make a record of it, for we must teach it to those
who are coming after us--those to whom we are to preach the word of
your gospel, and whom we are to install in your Church. That way,
when they come to hear, they will pay special attention to it and
thereby mark the time of your coming.” And our Lord affirmed to us,
“I will teach you not only all that will befall you, but also what will
come of those who will accept your instruction. See that no man leads
you astray, causing you to become doubters, thereby serving other
‘gods.’ Many will come bearing my name and claiming, ‘I am the
Christ!’ Don’t you believe them. Do not even draw near to them, for
the coming of God’s Son will not in any way be seen except as the
lightning that flashes from the east and lights up the west.
In all my glory will I come,
On the clouds of heaven
And with a great multitude.
In all my glory will I come,
With my cross passing before my face.
In all my glory will I come,
Shining seven times brighter than the sun,
With all of my saints, all of my angels.
At that time, my Father will place a crown upon my head, that I might
pass judgment on the living and the dead, and reward them all for
what they have done.”
(ApPt 2a; SbOr 2:154-186)
Mount of Olives
“Now take the fig tree as a sign: as soon as its branches grow out
and its shoots burst forth, the end of the world will be near at hand.”
And I, Peter, said to him, “Explain the parable of the fig tree to me.
How can we make sense of this, since the fig tree is forever putting
forth its shoots, and each year yields its owner fruits. What then is this
parable of the fig tree supposed to mean. None of us understands it.”
And the Lord answered me, “Do you not see that the fig tree
represents the house of Israel? It is just like the man who planted a fig
tree in his garden that bore him no fruit. Now for several years he
went out to see if it ever brought any fruit forth. Now when he saw
that it did not, he said to his gardener: ‘Dig this fig tree out by the
roots, that it might not make useless our ground.’ And to God he
replied, ‘We, your servants, would like to clear it, dig into the
surrounding earth and water it. If at that time it bears you no fruit, we
will not hesitate to pull it up out of the orchard, even by its roots, and
plant another in its stead.’ Now, have you understood how this fig tree
represents the house of Israel? For truly do I say to you, in the last
days, after its twigs have sprouted, false prophets will come along and
raise the hopes of everyone, saying: ‘I am the Christ, and now I am in
the world!’ When, however, this sign appears throughout the earth:
children are delivered with gray temples from their birth, calamities
befall all men, mass starvation breaks out, epidemics and warfare
arise, at the changing of times, with expressions of grief, and an excess of tears, a great many children among the nations will sadly, and with
piteous wails, devour their parents. They will lay cloaks over their
corpses and bury them beneath the earth, the mother of all nations, which will have been polluted by blood and dust. What miserable and
frightful sinners are those of the final generation, who understand not
that when women no longer give birth, the harvest of persuasive men
has come. When deceivers come to speak on earth--even in the place
of prophets--the gathering will be close at hand. And when Israel
comes to see the evil they’ve done, they who sinned greatly by
crucifying the true Christ will turn away and follow them instead,
repudiating the one whom our ancestors praised. Beliar will likewise
come and perform many signs before mankind, but this charlatan is
not the Christ. And with his dagger will he murder the many martyrs
who are to reject him. Then will burst forth the branches of the fig
tree, which is to say, the house of Israel. Many will be slain by him,
and they will therefore become martyrs. Truly in those days there will
be confusion of holy, chosen and faithful men. These will be
plundered, along with the Jews. Upon these will fall a terrible wrath
when a people from among the ten tribes, which the offshoot of the
Assyrians had destroyed, will come from the east to seek out the Jews.
After these things will the Gentiles perish. From this day forward, the
faithful and elect among the Hebrews will rule over very powerful
men, subjecting them as in times of old, for their strength has not been
lost. The Most High, Who dwells in the heavens and rules over all will
then send sleep over mankind, causing all of their eyes to close. How
blessed are the servants that the master will find awake at the time of
his coming, for they have remained awake throughout the age,
watching with sleepless eyes in expectation. For though he should
come at dawn, or dusk, or at midday, he will most assuredly come, and
you will find it all as I have said. It will come about with the passage of
time, for the coming generation, when at midday all of the stars will appear from the heaven of stars, in the presence of the two great
(ApPt 2b, SbOr 2:187-195)
Mount of Olives
“Enoch and Elijah will then be sent in order to instruct them that
this is the deceiver coming into the world, that he might mislead it
through signs and wonders. At that time the Tishbite, advancing a
heavenly chariot at full speed from heaven, will arrive upon the earth
and show forth three signs for the entire world, even as life is fading
away. Woe to as many as are found to be with child on that day, and
as many as are nursing babes, and as many as dwell upon the sea.
Woe indeed to as many as will see that day, for a cloud of darkness will envelop the earth, from east to west and south to north. And so it will
happen that those who are slain by his hand, will be numbered among
the good and faithful martyrs who in their lifetimes have pleased God.
(EpAp 34b)
Mount of Olives
“Now there will be some who will hear this man, (Paul,) and come
to believe in me through him. And all of this will come to pass in those
coming years and days.” And again we asked him, “Tell us what will
happen then?” And he answered, “The faithful and the unbelieving
will together see a trumpet in the sky, the showing forth of mighty
stars in broad daylight, a dragon, and wondrous things spanning
heaven and earth; stars going down in flames, great hailstones
burning in a fantastic fire, the heated battle between the sun and
moon, the ceaseless and fearful thunder and lightning, the clapping of
thunder and the shaking of earth. Cities will be laid to waste and men
will perish in their ruin. The rains will fail and a great drought will
follow. There will be a terrible plague accompanied by widespread and
often sudden death to such a degree that those who die will lack a
grave. Children and family members alike will be carried out on a
single bed. And a parent will not turn to face his child, nor will a child
look upon his parent, nor will a man turn toward his neighbor. But
those who are forsaken and left behind will rise up and see the ones
who abandoned them, in that they hauled them out on account of the
plague. All things reflect hatred, affliction and jealousy. They will
take from one and give to another. Now mourn for those who have
ignored this command, for what follows will be even worse!
(EpAp 35-39)
Mount of Olives
“At that time my Father’s anger will be kindled over the depravity of
mankind. Many are their crimes, you see, and their lives are corrupt--
the horror of their impurity stands against them in so many ways.”
“Oh Lord,” we asked, “what lies in store for those who hope in you?”
And he responded, “How much longer will your hearts be dull? How
truly do I say to you, even as it has been spoken of me and my people
through David the prophet, so will it be for those who come to believe
in me. But deceivers and opponents will there be in the world, those
who slander what is right. And they will live up to the prophecy of
David, who said, ‘How quick are their feet to shed blood and their
tongues to weave deceit; the venom of serpents is under their lips. And I see you as you travel with a thief, and claim your portion with a
fornicator. And to top it all off, you sit there slandering your brother
and setting a trap for the son of your mother. What? Do you think
that I should be like you?’ Notice how God’s prophet has
encompassed all things by his words. And even as I have told you
before, this was so that everything might be fulfilled.”
And again we questioned him, “Lord, will the Gentiles not then ask,
‘Where is this God of theirs?’” And he responded, “This is how the
elect are to be revealed: they will come forth after suffering such an
ordeal.” And we asked him, “Are they to leave this world through the
torment of an affliction?” “They will not,” he said to us, “but if they
should face this trial, it will be as a test of their faith; whether or not
they keep these words of mine in their hearts and obey my commands.
They will rise up and wait but a few days, that He Who sent me might
be glorified, and myself along with Him. All of this I say to you, for He
has sent me here to you. But you must pass it on to Israel, and also to
the Gentiles, that they might likewise hear of it. They will come to
believe in me and have a part in your salvation; and they will escape
the torment of this plague. Now such as despise the pains of death will
be taken away and kept in prison. There they will be tortured like
thieves.” “Lord,” we asked him, “will they be like the unbelievers, and will you punish those who have fled from this plague in a similar
way?” And he said to us, “They have carried out the work of sinners.
And even though they have believed in my name, they have
nonetheless acted like those who do not.” And again we asked him,
“Lord, have those who have escaped thus in store for them no portion
in life?” And he replied, “Whoever has glorified my Father is the very
home of my Father.”
And we bid him, “Lord, show us what will happen after this.” “In
those coming years and days,” said Jesus, “there will be wars upon
wars. The four corners of the world will be shaken, and they will
declare war against one another. Then the clouds will all be stirred,
and will bring about darkness, drought, and the persecution of those
who believe in me, and also the elect. Then contentions, hostilities,
and evil deeds will rise up between them. Some of them will believe in
my name, but will follow after evil--and all they teach will be in vain.
Now men will follow after them and bow to their riches, their
corruption, their drunken debaucheries, and their bribes; and among
them the rule will be to show respect of persons.
“But those who would look upon the face of God, showing no such
regard for the sinful rich, nor fear for those who lead them astray, but who would reprove them instead, are to be crowned in the very
presence of the Father. Those who reproach their neighbors will be
saved as well, for such is the child of wisdom and faith. If, however, he
should not become the child of wisdom, he will hate and persecute his
brother. He will not turn toward his brother (or) his neighbor, but will
despise him and turn against him and cast him out.
“But those who walk in the way of truth and the knowledge of faith
in me, loving me and possessing the knowledge of wisdom and
perseverance for the sake of righteousness ought to exult, for they
have borne up under cruelty, and have walked in poverty, putting up
with those who hate and abuse them. For men despise those who
strive to make themselves poor, and for all that continue to endure.
Great indeed will be their reward. They have been afflicted and made
destitute, for even as they have walked in hunger and thirst, men have
despised them. But they have borne it all for the blessedness of
heaven, so they will spend forever at my side. But curse those who
loathe and despise them; those who walk in haughtiness and boasting,
for these are destined for perdition.”
But we asked him, “Lord, will all of these things truly happen?
Surely it does not become you that we should come upon them
ourselves!” “How then,” asked Jesus, “will the judgment of
righteousness be pronounced on either the upright or the wicked?”
“But Lord,” we said, “on that day, will they not then say to you, ‘When
it came to righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness,
good and evil, you never saw to it <before, but> now you have led
<everyone> into righteousness, having shown them all both light and darkness, good and evil, (and) separated them.’” Then he said, “At
that time I will say to them, ‘Adam was given the chance to decide
which of the two that he preferred. And he placed his hand upon the
light, choosing it and forsaking the darkness, casting it away from him
(and) rejecting it. And everyone else has this ability to believe in the
light and the life, which is my Father Who sent me. And so everyone
who has faith and carries out the labors of life will live, existing within
both (the light and the life.) But if he refuses to acknowledge the
light’s existence and performs the works of darkness instead, then he
can say nothing in his own defense. He will not even be able to lift his
eyes to look on me, the Son of God.’ And I will say to him, ‘You found
just what you were looking for, and have received that for which you
have asked. Oh, man, upon what grounds do you seek to convict me?
Why do you condemn us? Why do you fail to understand us? Why did
you abandon and disown both myself and my kingdom? You were denying me even as you were acknowledging me. Why do you even
now continue to proclaim and yet deny me? Now look and see; does
not every man have the power to choose either to believe (and) live or
else to die? Whoever has kept my commands and held to them will
henceforth be a Son of Light, even a Son of the heavenly Father. I
came down from heaven for the sake of those who keep and do my
commandments; (but) on account of those who twist my words. I am
that Word. I put on the flesh and I labored and I died. I taught that
certain people would be chosen and saved, but that others, who were lost, would be lost forever. They will have to suffer eternal torment
and devastation, being scourged alive by fire, in their spirit, in their
flesh, and in their soul.”
(ApPt 3)
Mount of Olives
And in his right hand he showed me, (Peter,) the souls of men, and
in the palm thereof, the figure of what will come to pass on the last day
concerning the upright and how they are to be severed from among
the wicked; how the righteous of heart are going to fare, and how the
workers of evil will be rooted out forevermore. We saw the sinners
weeping and mourning in bitter anguish to such an extent that all who
looked were moved to tears, the righteous, the angels, as well as all the
sinners. And I asked him, “Lord, allow me to say something about
these sinners: They would have been better off had they not been
born.” And the Savior responded, “Oh, Peter, why would you suppose that it would have been better for them had they never been born?
Truly you are resisting God. You could never have more compassion
for His image than He does. You see, He made them all and brought
them forth, when they did not even exist before. And my heart is
heavy because you have seen what will befall the sinners in the final
days; but I will show you by what works they have sinned against the
Most High.
(ApPt 4a; SbOr 2:214-220)
Mount of Olives
“Now have a look at what these will suffer in the closing days, when
the day of God begins. On the day that God renders His judgment, the
sons of men will all be assembled from east to west before my Father
Who lives forever. Then He will issue the command, and hell will
open up its bars of steel and surrender those who are detained within.
Then the undying angels of the immortal God, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, who know the evil deeds of all mankind, will lead
the souls of all out of the gloomy darkness over to their judgment, to
the bar of the great and immortal God. And since it is His will that all men should appear, all of the animals and birds will receive orders to
give back all of the flesh that they have consumed. Because all things
belong to God, nothing ever perishes for Him, nor is anything
impossible to Him. (For at the behest of God, all things come to pass
on the day of decision, the day of judgment, as took place when He
made the world and gave orders to everything that is therein.) There
is but One Who is everlasting, the Universal Ruler Himself, who will
judge all of mankind. Even so will it come about in the final days, for
all things are possible with God. (Also, in Scripture He says: “Son of
Man, prophesy to all these bones, ‘Bones, join together with bones,
then on with your joints, tendons, nerves, flesh, skin and hair.’”)
Then, when God issues the command, Uriel will supply them with
their soul and spirit. (God, you see, has put him over the resurrection
of the dead when the day of decision comes.)
(ApPt 4b; Macarius Magnes, Apocritica 4.6.16)
Mount of Olives
“Now consider the grains of wheat which are cast to the ground and
reflect thereon. Men cast them to the earth as something dried-up and
without a soul, yet they live again and bear their fruit. The earth gives
them back as received by pledge. Now this that dies and is sown in the
earth in the form of a seed represents mankind. And it will stir again
and have its life restored--(even) those who will be judged. So with
how much greater certainty will God raise up on the day of decision all
of those who trust in Him, and who are chosen by Him, and are those
for whom He has made the world. And the earth will truly give this
back to God on the day of decision, for both it and the heaven which
encompasses it are to face judgment alongside them.
(SbOr 2:221-251)
Mount of Olives
At that time, the Heavenly One will give the dead both breath and
voice, and bones will be fastened together with all manner of
connections; flesh and sinews, veins and skin upon the flesh, as well as
each and every hair that was formerly thereon. On a single day will
human bodies reconnect and resurrect in a heavenly way, and breathing will commence. Then that mighty angel, Uriel, will
demolish the massive bolts of rigid steel. He will throw open wide the
gates of hell--which are not forged of metal--and lead all the sorrowful
beings away to their judgment, most particularly those of the
primordial phantoms, the Titans, and the Giants which were destroyed
by the deluge. Those also whom the waves overtook in the sea, along
with as many animals and reptiles and birds as were ever devoured,
even these will He call before His judgment seat. Moreover, He will
also gather and set before it all of those who were destroyed in the
flames of the flesh-consuming fire, when Sabaoth Adonai, who
thunders from on high, puts an end to fate, raises up the dead, and
takes His seat on His heavenly throne, and establishes a mighty pillar.
Christ, who is himself imperishable, will come in glory upon a cloud to
the One Who lives eternally, in the presence of his holy angels. He will
take his seat to the right hand of the Great One, to preside over the
trial of life, both of the pious and the impious. And Moses, that great
friend of the Most High will come as well, himself having donned the
flesh. The righteous Abraham will likewise return in the flesh,
together with Isaac and Jacob, as will Joshua, Daniel, Elijah,
Habakkuk, Jonah, and all who were ever slain by the Jews. All of the
Hebrews after Jeremiah will He devastate in judgment before Him
there, that they might receive and render whatever retribution is
appropriate for whatever anyone ever did during their earthly
(ApPt 5-6a, cf. Macarius Magnes, Apocritica 4.7;
SbOr 2:196-213; 2Pet 3:10b-12)
Mount of Olives
“Now these are the things that will come to pass on Judgment Day
to those who have fallen away from their faith in God and have instead
carried out wickedness. A great torrent of scorching fire will proceed
from heaven. Flaming rivers will be let loose, darkness and obscurity
will arise and envelop the earth, the waters will then transform,
changing into fiery embers. All that lies within them will blaze and the
sea itself will turn to flame. Under the heaven an unquenchable fire
will rage, flowing on account of the judgment of wrath, which will
consume every place in every land, the fathomless ocean and
shimmering sea, all of the lakes, rivers, and springs, and all of
merciless Hades as well, together with the vault of heaven. The flames
of fire will burn the stars and the heavenly powers. The heavenly
lights will likewise collide with one another into a desolate form, and the stars will fall from heaven and into the sea. All of mankind will
gnash their teeth in a blazing stream; fire and brimstone will flash
across a flaming plain, and ashes will come to blanket all things. The
earthly elements will all be left bare, be they either land, or sea, or air,
or light, or the heavenly vault; even all of the days and nights. The
countless birds that filled the sky will no longer be, and aquatic
creatures no longer swim in the deep; ships filled with cargo will
voyage no more on the seas, nor will the plough be pulled by the
beasts, and the breeze no longer blow through the trees. All things will
at once fuse into one, then diffuse into thin air. The heaven will be
rolled up like a scroll and the stars will melt and fall like leaves from a
vine, or those of the fig tree, and be as though they never were. The
strongholds of heaven, for their lack of water, will cease to exist and be
as though they never were. The lightning bolts of heaven, who by their
charms will panic the world, will exist no more. And the spirits of the
corpses will grow to resemble them; being set ablaze at God’s
command. On that day the skies will pass away with a whoosh, the
elements will flame out of existence, and the earth and everything in it
will be brought to judgment. Then, when the entire created order has
come undone, those in the east will flee to the west, (and those in the
west) will flee to the east; those in the south will flee to the north,
while those in the north will flee to the south. But the wrath of the
fearsome flames will overtake them everywhere. It will drive them on
and deliver them up to the judgment of wrath in streams of
unquenchable fire. For it flows and flames with fire, and after its
seething waves have broken forth, there will be much grinding of teeth
among the children of men. Now since creation itself comes apart like this, think about how you ought to act, what godly and focused lives
you should be living! Look forward to the coming of the Day of God.
Work diligently to hasten its arrival, for in that day the heavens will be
set ablaze until they all disintegrate, and the elements will melt away
in the flames.
Then everyone will see my coming as I arrive on an everlasting
shining cloud, in the presence of the angels of God who will sit with
me on my glorious throne, to the right hand of my Heavenly Father.
He will place a crown upon my head. Every nation will weep for itself-
-even as they watch it unfold. And He will order them to enter into the
river of fire even as they are confronted with their wicked deeds. Each
one will be paid back in line with his own works. The elect ones, on
the other hand, who have done well will draw near to me and not
witness the spectacle of death by the all-consuming fire.
(ApPt 6b-7a; SbOr 2:252-282)
Mount of Olives
“But as for the evil creatures, the sinners and the hypocrites, they
will come to stand in the dark abyss that never ends. The fire is their
punishment. The angels will then bring forward their sins and
prepare a place for them where they will each be punished forever in
accordance with their crime. Uriel, the angel of God, will then bring
forward the souls of those who sinned prior to the flood, who live in all
manner of idols--in molten images, objects of desire, and paintings,
together with those who live on the tops of hills, within the stones and
beside the road--all the things that men call ‘gods.’ Then they all will
pass through the fiery river of undying flame. These will then be
burned in everlasting fire together with their idols. The righteous ones
will all be saved, but the wicked will be destroyed for good, including
those who have carried out atrocities or murders, as will their
accomplices. Liars, too, will likewise perish, as will crafty thieves and
destroyers of homes; the parasites, the adulterers, the slanderers, the
violent, the lawless, and the idolatrous, who have abandoned the great
and abiding God and become blasphemers, plundering the devout,
breaking the faith, and slaughtering the righteous. Also, as many elders and respected deacons as craftily, shamelessly, and
hypocritically judged with respect and, trusting in deceitful
statements, have dealt unjustly with other people. More destructive
than any leopard or wolf, these are assuredly the most depraved. Also,
as many as are extremely arrogant, or employ usury, gathering interest
upon interest for their own households, who by so doing harm
orphans or widows. Even those who give to orphans or widows from
what derives from such evils, as also those who reproach others when
they give to them of their own labors. Also, as many as neglected their
parents in their old age, not giving them anything back at all, refusing
to care for them in turn. Moreover, as many as disobeyed or spoke
back to their parents, and all who went back on their solemn pledges,
and such servants as turned against their masters. Also, those who
polluted the flesh through lewdness, and all who secretly engaged in
intercourse, undoing the girdle of virginity, and as many as smote
what they had in the womb, casting forth their children contrary to the
law. And after they have been destroyed, together with their homes,
they will afterward be punished forever. Men and women will then
come to whatever place befits them best.”
(ApPt 7b/21,22 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And I, (Peter,) saw a dismal place, even the place of punishment.
Now those who were being punished there were clad in a manner
befitting the place. They all wore dark clothing, as did their angels of
punishment. Now there were some there who were hanging by their
tongues. These were the ones who blasphemed the way of
righteousness. Beneath them lie spread out an unquenchable flaming
fire that tormented them.
(ApPt 7c/23 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And behold, there was this other place with a giant pit (and) a lake
that was filled with burning mire. Certain men who had forsaken
righteousness were bound up there, and tormenting angels were
stationed over them, visiting them and stoking the fire of their
(ApPt 7d/24 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“Again, there were these two women hanging over the seething mire
from their necks and hair who were being thrown into the pit. These
were the ones who adorned themselves (and) braided their hair, not
for the sake of comeliness, but in order to invite fornication, that they
might lead the souls of men down to destruction. The men who had
slept with them and defiled themselves through adultery, were
hanging by their feet (and) loins in that flaming place. Their heads were all stuck in the mire, and they cried aloud to one another, ‘We did
not know, (nor did we) believe that we would end up in this place of
eternal anguish!’
(ApPt 7e/25a Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And I, (Peter,) saw the murderers and their accomplices thrown
into a fiery crevasse--a place that was crawling with reptiles (and)
venomous creatures--where myriad worms, like inky clouds,
oppressed them all. And in that torment they writhed without rest.
(ApPt 7f/25b Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“Then the angel Ezrael will bring forward the souls of their victims. And after that, these all stood by and witnessed the suffering of those
who had murdered them. And the murderers confessed, ‘Oh God, how
truly righteous is Your judgment. For truly we have heard that we
would come to this place of everlasting judgment, but we did not
believe it.’
(ApPt 8a/26 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And near to this flaming place I saw another gorge. Here flowed in
judgment all kinds of horrifying filth from all manner of sources--the
excrement and bodily discharge of the tormented--and there it pooled
into a lake. And there were women sitting there engulfed by it up to
their throats, suffering a most painful punishment. These were the
ones who conceived children out of wedlock and then went on to have
abortions, destroying the work that God had made.
(ApPt 8b)
Mount of Olives
“And across from them there was this place where great numbers of
the aborted sat weeping. Both sides live and cry to God. Lightnings
flash from these children and pierce the eyes of those who fornicated
and brought about their destruction.
“Above these other men and women stand naked, and their children stand across from them in a heavenly place. There they groan, and
confidently summon their parents before the judgment seat of Christ
and cry aloud to God for what these have done, ‘These were the ones
who disregarded, set at nought, and did not keep to Your word. They
murdered us, cursing the angel who fashioned us and hung us up.
They kept from us the light that You have appointed for all.’” (So it
has been passed down and received in the Scriptures that are inspired
by God.)
“Milk flowed from the breasts of the mother, which then congealed
and gave a stench. From it issued tiny flesh-eating monsters, which
scurried all over them, turning against them and tormenting them
forevermore along with their husbands, since they overthrew the
command of God and murdered their children.” (This teaches that
punishment comes as a result of sinning.) “These children, who have
been exposed by their parents, are then assigned to the angel
Temelouchos, who rears them there and nurtures them, causing them
to be like one who has been faithful for a hundred years.” (Peter in his
Apocalypse says that these will receive the better lot, for after receiving this knowledge, they hope to attain to a better existence, as if
they had already gone through the suffering they would have
undergone had they been allowed to live out a physical existence. The others, by contrast, will be offered salvation as those who have been
wronged and who have experienced mercy. They will receive as a
reward an existence that is without anguish.) “But those who killed
them are to endure an everlasting torment, for even thus is the will of God.
(ApPt 9a/27 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And other men and women stood there in flames stretching
halfway up their bodies. Then Ezrael, the angel of wrath, brought
forward their half-blazing bodies, and tossed them into the hell of
mankind, a black place where there exist all manner of punishments.
There they were afflicted by evil (and) wrathful spirits, while neversleeping
worms gnawed tirelessly at their guts. These were those who
persecuted and betrayed my righteous ones.
(ApPt 9b/28 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“Not far from those who lived like this were other men and women
who gnawed at their tongues (and) bit through their lips. There they
were being tortured and poked in the eyes with red hot irons. These
were the ones who questioned and insulted my way of righteousness.
(ApPt 9c/29 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And across the way from these there were yet other men and women
whose actions were carried out through deception. These all had their
lips sliced off, and were biting through their tongues. Fire passed into
their mouths and entered their guts. These were the false witnesses
who through their lies caused the martyrs to be slain.
(ApPt 9d/30 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And near to that spot there was a place where a pillar of fire stood
situated over glowing stones that were sharper than any sword or spit.
And men and women dressed in rags and filthy clothes are tossed on them, where they writhe in agony, that they might endure the eternal
torture of judgment. And in that place there were the rich, who
trusted in their wealth. They showed the widows, the orphans and
their mothers no mercy, but have instead despised (both) these (and)
the commandment of God, in whose sight <they are precious.>
(ApPt 10a/31 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And not far from there was this giant lake that was choked with
filth; discharge, blood, and simmering mire. And they were standing
there up to their knees in the place where they toss down men and
women who lent money and demanded a high rate of interest.
(ApPt 10b/32 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And other men and women flung themselves from the heights
down a steep slope. And when they reached the bottom their
torturers, the demons, would drive these idol worshippers to their
wit’s end. They forced them back to the precipice, where they are
again pushed off, and once again fall down from there. And they do
this endlessly, (and are) tormented forever like this without respite.
These are the ones who out of devotion to some ‘apostle’ have allowed
themselves to be cut, and have defiled their bodies by acting as a
woman with a man, and the women with them there are they who
have behaved toward one another as a man with a woman.
(ApPt 10c/33 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And beyond these people, over by the precipice, <there were yet
others.> And beneath them Ezrael readies a great fire; a place
consumed by a blazing inferno, full of all manner of gold and silver
idols, things that looked like cats and lions, reptiles and beasts; works that were fashioned by the hands of men. And the men and women who had formed images in the place of God are to remain there in their fiery chains. And because of this, their error, these will stand scourging themselves in eternal punishment before the deceitful images, and such is their judgment. Now beside these stood men and women who were holding glowing rods, and they were beating each other without rest.
(ApPt 10d/34 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And close at hand were still other men and women who were being
roasted and turned in the fire, baking away in the flame of judgment
and its perpetual torment. These are the ones who have utterly
renounced the way of God and taken instead to following devils.
(ApPt 11a)
Mount of Olives
“And there was this other very high position. In that place there is a
furnace and a brazier, where a great fire blazes. And from one end
comes a fiery flame. The men and women who take a false step go
tumbling down to that place of fear. And once again, as the fire that is
readied for them flows, they climb back up only to fall back down and
resume their tumbling. And they will be punished this way
forevermore. These are the ones who have failed to honor their father
and mother, but have intentionally withdrawn from them. And in this
way they are punished forever.
(ApPt 11b)
Mount of Olives
“Ezrael the angel then brings children and young women over to
show them the ones being punished there. Their painful punishment
will be to be hung up for flesh-eating birds to peck. These are the ones
who trust in their sins, disobey their parents’ commands, do not follow
the teachings of their forebears, nor do they respect their elders.
(ApPt 11c)
Mount of Olives
“Next to these were young women who were clothed only in
darkness. Their punishment will be intense and their flesh will be
ripped to shreds. These were those who kept not their virginity until
they were given in marriage, and they will feel these torments the
whole time they are suffering them.
(ApPt 11d)
Mount of Olives
“Again, there were these other men who constantly gnawed at their
tongues and were being tortured in eternal flames. These were the
servants who disobeyed their masters. And this will be their judgment forever.
(ApPt 12a)
Mount of Olives
“Now not far from this place of anguish, there were men and
women who were dressed in white who could neither see nor speak.
These were tightly packed together and dropped on coals of
inextinguishable fire. These are the ones who make charitable
donations and boast, ‘We are righteous in the eyes of God,’ though
they have never yet labored for righteousness.
(ApPt 12b; SbOr 2:283-312)
Mount of Olives
“Then Ezrael, the angel of God, allows them to come forth from this
fire only to pronounce their final judgment against them. This then
becomes their final sentence. And a fiery stream is unleashed on the
condemned and they are carried to the midst thereof, and Uriel places
them down there.” (Now this river of fire symbolizes that closed door
by which the ungodly are to be kept out of the kingdom, as Daniel has
written, as has Peter in his Apocalypse. “That party of foolish ones will
rise up and find the door shut,” refers to the blazing river that lies
before them.) “Also there exist fiery wheels which, through their
revolutions hold these men and women in suspension. These people
will be brought by God’s wrath near to the pillar around which an
unquenchable fiery river swirls, as will the sorcerers and the
sorceresses who are there with them. Now the ones who blaze in the
pit are the sorcerers and the sorceresses. And concerning their
judgments, these flaming wheels are numberless. Now these are to be suddenly and severely beaten with fiery whips from above by the
angels of the eternal God, and bound below with chains of fire and
unbreakable bonds. Then, in that darkness of night, they will be
hurled before dread beasts of the underworld, where the darkness is
indeed profound. But when the angels have inflicted numerous
punishments on all of those who were wicked of heart, a flaming
maelstrom from the mighty river will afterward close in on them. (For
they were wholly consumed by evil deeds.) To and fro will these all
howl, off in the distance, suffering a most lamentable fate. Fathers
and newborn children, mothers and infants weeping at their breast.
They will never want for tears, nor will their lengthy cries be heard as
they wail most wretchedly here and there, but in obscurity will they
shout below in dark and dank Tartarus. In ungodly places and blazing
fire will they pay thrice over for the evil they have done. All of these
will clench their teeth and wither away from thirst and endless cruelty.
They will all cry out for death, but it will elude them, for neither death
nor dark of night will afford them any respite. They will forever cry
out in vain to God, the Ruler of Heaven, but He will conspicuously
turn His face from them, for He gave seven age-days to an everstraying
mankind, that they might repent through the intercession of
the Holy Virgin.
(ApPt 13)
Mount of Olives
“The angels then brought forward in their arms my chosen and my
righteous ones, who have been made perfect in all righteousness,
wearing eternal life as their garment. They will see vengeance carried
out on those who despised them even as they undergo His punishment. All of them will receive an everlasting torment that is in
line with their own actions. And those who suffer will cry as one,
‘Show us some compassion, for now we know what God’s judgment is,
even though He warned us all before and we never listened.’ And
Tartarouchos the angel will come and inflict even greater torments on
them, saying, ‘Are you repenting now, when there is no time to
repent? Nothing more is left of your lives!’ But at that time they will
all confess, ‘Righteous is the judgment of God! All of us have heard it
now, and can perceive that His judgment is just, being that our
punishment is in line with our crimes.’”
(EpAp 40-42)
Mount of Olives
“Oh Lord,” we said, “how tormented we are on their account!”
“That is good,” the lord replied, “for the righteous also show concern
for the sinners--praying and appealing to God my Father, and
pleading with Him.” And once again we said to him, “Oh Lord, does
no one supplicate you? How is it that no one fears you?” But he
answered us, “Indeed I will hearken to the prayers that the righteous
make on their behalf.” And when he revealed this to us, we answered
him, “Oh Lord, through all that you have said to us, you have truly
inspired us, and in showing us mercy have delivered us, that we might
preach it to whom it is right, to those who are worthy, and indeed we
will. But will we have our reward with you?” But he simply said to us,
“Go out and start preaching, and you will become good ministers and
servants.” “But Lord,” we said, “you are even as a father to us. You
will be the one to preach through us!” At that point he questioned us,
“Is everyone a father, then? Is everyone a servant? Is everyone a teacher? Do not all of you become fathers or teachers.” And at that we
said to him, “Lord, did you not say to us, ‘Do not speak of anyone on
this earth as your “father” or your “master,” for your Heavenly Father
is your Father and your Master.’ Now why are you telling us, ‘Like me,
you are to become fathers to many children, and bring forth teachers
and servants.’” And he answered us, “What you have said is indeed
the truth. For I say to you that everyone who has come to believe in
me by listening to you; through you will he receive from me baptism
and the light of the seal that is in my hand. It is through me that you
will become fathers and teachers as well as servants.”
But we asked him, “Lord, how can we be each of these three? How
can it be that the three should be one?” “How truly do I say to you,” he
expounded, “you will be called fathers first of all, because from your
heart and out of your compassion, you have revealed to them the
teachings of the kingdom of heaven. Secondly, you will be called
servants because it is through you that these will receive the baptism
of life and by my hand the forgiveness of sins. And you will be referred
to as teachers because ungrudgingly have you disclosed my word to
them. Without distress have you cautioned them and your rebuke has
caused them to repent. You have not feared their riches nor respected
their persons, but instead have kept my Father’s command and
brought it to completion. And great is your reward with my Heavenly
Father, for they will have their sins forgiven them and they will live an
eternal life, receiving a share in the kingdom of heaven.” “Oh Lord,”
we said, “if all of us (and) each of them had ten thousand tongues with
which to speak, we could not adequately thank you for promising such things to us!” And he responded, “Now what I have done for you, I
say, go and do for others too.”
(EpAp 43-45)
Mount of Olives
“Then you will be even as the wise virgins who lit the flame and
then kept watch; who did not sleep, but went with their lamps to meet
their Lord, the bridegroom, and have entered into the bridal chamber
with him. But the foolish ones who spoke with them all fell asleep and
proved themselves unable to.” And we asked him, “Lord, who are the
wise and who are the foolish?” And he answered us, “With regard to
what the prophet has said, the five wise and the five foolish are
children--for they are the daughters of God. Now allow mankind to
hear their names.” But we were downcast and anxious, weeping for
the sake of those who had fallen asleep (and) been shut out. And he revealed to us, “The five who are wise are Faith, Love, Grace, Peace
and Hope. Whenever those who believe in me come into possession of
these, they will become guides to others who believe in me and in Him
Who sent me. I am both the Lord and the bridegroom, whom they
have accepted. They have gone with me into the bridegroom’s house
and have laid down with me in my bridal chamber and rejoiced. But
the five foolish ones slept, and when they woke up they came to the
bridegroom’s house and knocked at the door, for by then it had been
shut tight. Then all of them wept and mourned because the doors had
been secured and they were not being opened to them.” But we
questioned him, “Lord, what about their wise sisters who are there in
the bridegroom’s home? Did they simply sit inside and not open it for
them? Did they not feel sorry for them or beg the bridegroom to open
up to them?” “Of course they are sad and anxious for them,” he said.
“Even so, no matter how they plead with the groom, it avails them
nothing, for they cannot afford any grace to these others.” “Oh Lord,”
we asked, “When will the day come for them to be let in for their
sister’s sake?” And he responded, “Whoever is shut out remains shut
out.” And we said to him, “We have understood this word of yours, oh
Lord, (but) is this truly binding? Who then are these foolish ones?”
“Listen up,” he said to them, “these are their names; Wisdom,
Knowledge, Obedience, Perseverance and Mercy. These have lied
dormant in those who have believed in me and acknowledged me. But
since those who slept failed to keep my commandments, they are to
remain outside of the kingdom and fold of the shepherd and his sheep-
-and whoever remains outside the sheepfold gets eaten by wolves.
And even though he hears, he will nonetheless be judged--and for this reason suffer death. He will undergo much suffering, misery, and
hardship. Rest will elude him and he will be unable to persevere. And
though his suffering is acute and he is cut to shreds, torn (and)
tortured by his prolonged and painful punishment, his will truly be a
slow (and) agonizing death.” And we said to him, “Lord, how well you
have revealed all things to us.” And he responded, “Do you
understand these words of mine?” “Yes, Lord,” we all affirmed. “It is
through these (first) five that they hope to gain access to your
kingdom, and through the five who are shut out that they are to
remain outside. Even so, oh Lord and bridegroom, because of those
who fell asleep, those who kept watch and got to be with you will never
rejoice.” And at that he said to us, “They will rejoice in that they have
gone in with the Lord and bridegroom, but those who slept are their sisters, so they will indeed be grieved on their account. Now God the
Father does have ten daughters.” “Oh Lord,” we said, “how truly it
befits your greatness that you should shower grace on these, their
sisters.” And he responded, “This was not your own idea, but that of
Him Who sent me here, and I agree with Him!”
(ApPt 14a; SbOr 2:313-338; Jude 22,23)
Mount of Olives
“But as for their counterparts, those who are interested in justice
and righteous deeds, holiness and truly upright thinking, angels will
raise them from the burning stream and deliver them unto the light--
even to the carefree realm, wherein lies the path of immortality of the
Almighty God and the three springs: of wine, of honey, and of milk.
Then the world will belong the same to all, with no walls or fences to
divide them. It will then, of its own, bring forth fruit in a much greater
abundance. People will live their lives as one, and wealth will be
distributed evenly. In that place there will be no ‘rich’ or ‘poor,’
neither despot, nor any slave. There will, moreover, exist at that time
neither the common nor the eminent; neither sovereign nor head of
state, for all will be on the same level with one another. It will no
longer be said that ‘night has fallen’ or that ‘something will happen
tomorrow’ or that ‘something happened yesterday,’ nor will there be
days at all to think about. Neither will there be any spring or summer,
buying or selling, dusk or dawn, for He will make it all as one long day.
To all of these, His righteous ones, the eternal God Who governs all,
will grant them something further still: When they ask Him to rescue
mankind from the unquenchable fire and perpetual grinding of teeth,
He will give them what they long for, and this is definite. I will then
deliver out of torment whomsoever my righteous and elect ones
should ask of me.” (Be compassionate to those who doubt, but others
you must drag from the fire, despising even the garment that is tainted by the flesh.) “(And) if anyone should cry to me in their affliction, I
will grant them to God. Behold, He will Himself pluck them from the
undying fire and set them in another place, even into another eternal
realm where they will live forever with the immortal ones. Then I will
give my righteous and elect ones the precious baptism and the
salvation for which they have pleaded with me, there in that deep and
abiding Acherusian lake, where He has the broad waves, (and) which
is referred to by men as the Elysian field; and all of this for the sake of
His own. And their portion will be with my righteous ones, who will
be adorned with flowers; and I will go <to them> and rejoice with them. Then I will travel on to my eternal realm exulting with the
patriarchs and my elect. I will fulfill the promises that my Heavenly
Father and I have made to them. The Gentiles also will I cause to
enter my eternal realm. My Father and I will reveal all that I have
promised to give to them in all of its eternity.”
(EpAp 46-50; Traditions of Matthias,
Quote by Clement of Alexandria,
Stromateis 3.4.26, 7.13.82)
Mount of Olives
“All of you, venture forth! Teach and preach in a clear and truthful
manner. Stand your ground before all men and don’t defer to anyone.
Show neither any fear of, nor respect for anyone, but most especially
the rich, for they will be found not to have followed my commands, but
to have reveled in their wealth instead.” “Lord,” we asked him, “does
this apply to the rich alone?” And he replied, “If someone should have
but a little substance, and not be wealthy, should he give to the needy
and not deny the poor soul who has nothing, I am telling you that men
will call him a humanitarian. But if that one should stumble under the
burden of the sins he has committed, and should do his neighbor
wrong, then for the sake of the kindness that this person has shown
his neighbor, his neighbor ought to admonish him. Now after his
neighbor has rebuked him and he has repented, he will be saved, and
the one who reproved him will have endless life as his reward. But if a
needy person should see someone who has done some good for him sinning away, and he does not rebuke him (but) encourages him
(instead,) such a one will be severely judged, for one blind man who
leads another will cause them both to fall into a ditch. You see, both
the respected and the one who respects, encouraged and encourager
alike are to be punished with the same punishment.” (For they say
that in the Traditions of Matthias the Apostle it always says, ‘Should
the neighbor of one who is chosen sin, the chosen one has sinned as
well. You see, had he conformed himself to the teaching of the word,
then his neighbor would have been too ashamed of his lifestyle to live
out any life of sin.’ Matthias also taught that we ought not to give
ourselves license to indulge in sensual delights, but that we ought
rather to clash with the flesh and allow the soul to mature through a
faith that is mingled with knowledge.) “And even as the prophet has
spoken, ‘Those whose belly is their god, who encourage a person to
sin, who hold a sinner in regard, justifying the ungodly for some kind
of reward, are accursed--one and all.’ Now do you see how the judgment will be. Recognize that a judgment awaits them. You can be
sure that on that day, I will neither fear the rich, nor will I go easy on
the poor.
“If you are a witness to another’s sin, then just between the two of
you, make plain to him where he is wrong, because if he should listen
to you, then you will have won him over! Nevertheless, if he should
not heed your rebuke, then bring along another one, or even two if it
should come to that. Correct your brother (and) offer him guidance!
But if after all that he still will not listen, then mark him as, and treat
him like a Gentile or a tax-collector.
“Should you hear something about your brother, do not give it any
credit. Do not slander anyone and do not long to hear it from others,
because it stands written: ‘Let not your ear ever hearken to slander.’ If
you have seen something, then denounce it; correct and convert him.”
“Oh Lord,” we said, “you have given us instruction and exhortations in
all things. Even so, Lord, ought there to be dissensions and disputes,
covetousness and turmoil, hatred and anger among the faithful who
believe in the preaching of your name? For you have said, ‘They will
fault a person without taking their character into account.’ Are these not sinning by despising the one who has corrected them?” And he
answered us, “Tell me again why the judgment is coming? Is it not so
that the wheat might make it into the barn and the chaff, into the fire?
<That is how it goes with those> who have this kind of hate. As for the
one who loves me and reproves those who do not carry out my
commandments, he will be despised for it, and will therefore suffer
persecution. Men will despise and ridicule them. And as if that were
not enough, they will also deliberately say what is untrue. A
conspiracy will arise against those who love me. But these will reprove
them, with an eye toward gaining their salvation. But anyone who
points out any of their misdeeds and seeks to correct them and exhort
them will first be hated, then avoided, and ultimately set at nought.
Also anyone seeking to render them any assistance will be kept from
doing so. But with the Father, those who have suffered this are to rank
as martyrs. You see, they were eager to see righteousness carried out,
and were not motivated by some kind of corruptible zeal.” And we
asked him, “Will such a thing take place even in our midst?” And he
answered us, “Do not fear the greater part, but watch for what a few
will do.” “Tell us what you mean,” we asked. And he said, “Another
teaching will arise; a controversy. Now seeking only to glorify
themselves, they will come to put forth worthless doctrine. Now this
will give rise to a fatal error, which will teach even those who believe in me to turn away from my command, and lead them from eternal life.
Damn all those who twist my words and forsake my command for
their own ends, and damn them all who give them a hearing, and all
who reject the life-giving commandment, for they are to share in their
eternal punishment.
(ApPt 14b/1-3 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And Peter, I have spoken all of this to you, and expounded it,
causing you to understand it. Go west therefore, out to that city that
rules over the west, and to that vineyard to which I will direct you.
<‘Show them> by the hand of my sinless Son that even now his work
<is done, that the children> of destruction might be made holy.’ But
you are the one who has been chosen in the hope that I have given
you. Go in peace and spread my gospel throughout the world. Drink
the cup which I have foretold you must drink at the hand of the son of
him who is in Hades, that his destruction might come, and that you
might be made worthy of the promise. When people come to see the
source of my word, which is in fact the hope of life, the whole world
will suddenly be carried off.
“But there will be many false prophets among them. These people
will put forth divergent teachings and doctrines of perdition, and will
thus become the children thereof. After that, God will come to my
faithful ones who hunger and thirst, suffering affliction and the trial of
their souls in this life.”
(Luke 24:50b-51a; Acts 1:9;
ApPt 15-17a,18/4-20 Akhmim)
Mount of Olives
“And my Lord and King Jesus Christ said to me, ‘Let us climb this
holy mount.’ And we, his twelve disciples went up, begging and
pleading with him to reveal to us even one of our righteous brethren
who had departed from this world, that we might have a look at them
and see their form for ourselves, that we through our boldness might
encourage those who should hear us. And at his transfiguration, the
Lord showed (me,) Peter, and also James and John, the sons of
Zebedee, the clothing of the final days, the day of the resurrection.
Now behold, even as we were praying, these two men appeared to us,
standing there before the Lord, but we were not able to look their way
and see their faces, for they beamed forth even more light than the
sun. Their garments were luminous beyond words, and beyond compare, such as has never been seen by any man in this world. The
gentleness thereof no mouth can express, nor can any heart conceive
of the glory of their adornment or the beauty of their faces.
Astonishing and wonderful was their appearance. The greater one, I
would venture to say, shone more in his brilliance than a crystal. And
we were all amazed at the sight of them. Their bodies were even
whiter than snow, and had a redness surpassing any rose. That redness, moreover, was mingled with the whiteness thereof. It is
simply not possible for me to put their beauty into words. They had
curly hair that framed their faces and shoulders in a delightful
manner. And around their foreheads there was a crown of nard--like a
garland woven out of nard blossoms--and beautiful blooms of
different hues, like a rainbow on the water, (or) in the air was [their]
hair; so finely fashioned was their form, and [they] were decked out in
all manner of ornamentation. And when we looked on them in all of
their splendor we marveled in their presence, and we were startled by
their sudden appearance.
“And I went up to our Lord God Jesus Christ and asked, ‘Who are
these, my Lord?’ And he answered me, ‘These are your righteous
brethren, Moses and Elijah, the ones whose form you wished to see.’
Then I asked him, ‘Where then are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the
other holy patriarchs? And what is the nature of that world in which
these who have such glory dwell?’ The Lord then revealed to us this
expansive, otherworldly kind of setting, where all things emanated
light--a paradise in the east chosen for Adam by God. The air in that
place was charged with shimmering sunlight and plants of exquisite
beauty, and was accompanied by the fragrance of perfume--and I saw
there many fruits. This garden, the earth, was bursting with unfading
flowers--redolent of spices and plants that blossom gloriously; never
fading, and bringing forth blessed fruits. The flowers in that land gave
off such a wonderful fragrance that when released from there, it
carried over to where we were. Those who were living in that realm
wore the shining clothes of angels, and their clothing matched the
atmosphere of this, their home. In that region, angels walked among
them. All who lived in that place were as glorious as the others there. And in the blessedness of that expanse, they praised the Lord God with
a common voice. And my Lord and God Jesus Christ asked me, ‘Do
you recognize the congregation of the patriarchs? This is where your
brothers, the high priests and the righteous ones dwell. Those who are
to suffer persecution for the sake of my righteousness are to receive
both honor and glory, and come to enjoy this very repose.’ “And I rejoiced and believed and came to recognize what was written in the book of my Lord Jesus Christ. And I asked him, ‘Lord,
would you have me build three tabernacles here; one for you, one for
Moses, and another for Elijah?’ And in anger he replied, ‘Satan battles
against you and has veiled your understanding, for you are
overwhelmed by the things of this world. Your eyes must be opened,
and your ears unstopped that <you might come to see> a tent that has
not been fashioned by the hands of men, but one which my Father has
made especially for myself and my chosen ones.
[At my] coming, (Jesus said,) [I] will raise up the dead…and cause
my righteous ones to shine even seven times brighter than the sun.
Their crowns I will cause to gleam like crystal, like a rainbow in the
time of rain. Perfumed with nard and beyond all words will be <their
crowns,> fully bejeweled with rubies and the gleaming of shining
emeralds, topazes, precious stones and yellow pearls that shine forth
like the stars of heaven and the rays of the sun--all of them completely
dazzling, and impossible to look upon.’ And we were overjoyed at the
And when he had spoken these things to us and ended his discourse
with us, once again he said to us, “Now behold, (recall that I said,)
‘After three days and three hours, He Who sent me will come and take
me with Him.’ The Father has committed the judgment of all things to
the Son. Have you understood my words to you, (Peter)? It is for you,
to know this mystery, but you must not let the sinners know what you
have heard me say, for if you do, they will only sin the more and fall
into even greater transgression. My Father will grant life to all men, giving all this glory to them, as well as the kingdom that never passes.
I come for the sake of those who believe in me. And it is also because
of these who believed in me that upon their request, I will show mercy
to all of mankind.” And even as they looked on, he raised his hands
and blessed them. Just then there was thunder and lightning and
shaking of the earth, (and) a voice from heaven was heard to declare,
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I rejoice, and my commandments:
hear him.” (And growing fearful, we completely lost sight of the things
of this life, and all of the things of the flesh as well. And we had no
way of understanding the things about which we had been speaking, both because of the wonders that we had seen on that day, as well as
the way in which he had revealed his second coming to us on that
mountain, together with the kingdom that endures forever.) And even
as he was blessing them, he was taken up from among them and carried into heaven. A bright and enormous white cloud formed
overhead and bore away our Lord, with Moses and Elijah. And [we]
stood there trembling with fright, but we all looked upward and saw
the sky spreading apart. We could see flesh-bearing men approaching
and welcoming our Lord, along with Moses and Elijah. And we heard
the voices of many angels as they rejoiced and proclaimed, “Oh priest,
gather us in your glorious light.” And as they were approaching the
heavenly firmament, we heard him say, “Go in peace!”
And the faces of the angels there surpass even the shining of the
sun, and their crowns are even as the rainbow in the time of rain.
(They are all) perfumed with nard, and their eyes gleam like the
morning star. There are no words to express a beauty like theirs.
Their clothes are not woven, but are white like the fuller’s, even as the
ones that I, (Peter,) saw on the mountain where Moses and Elijah
(Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:51b-53; Acts 1:10-11;
Rev 1:7; ApPt 17b; AsIs 11:3b-33)
Mount of Olives, The Seven Heavens
The Lord sent forth his twelve apostles as he rose into the sky, but
he was not changed into the form of the angels there. Satan himself,
and the angels of that firmament saw him there and worshiped him.
And great was the anguish in that place, as they cried out, “How did
our Lord come down here to our sphere and we not notice his
greatness, seeing in him that he was the King of Glory? Only now do
we recognize that this was the majesty that was on him even from the
sixth heaven.” Then they entered into the second heaven, and he was
not transformed there, but all of the angels, those to the right, those to the left, as well as the throne that was in the midst, worshiped him and
offered him praise, saying, “How did our Lord conceal himself on his
way down and we not see it?” And in like fashion did he rise up into
the third heaven, and after this same pattern did they praise him and
speak. And through the fourth and the fifth heavens, the angels all
spoke in precisely the same manner. There was but one glory, and he
was not changed. And I, (Isaiah,) beheld his entry into the sixth
heaven, that they worshiped him there and offered him praise. Even
so, the praises grew louder in each of the heavens. Then I witnessed
his ascent into the seventh heaven, where all of the righteous and all of
the angels sang his praises. Then I watched him as he took his seat to
the right hand of the Great and Glorious God, Whose glory I told you I
could not so much as look upon. And I saw the angel of the Holy Spirit seated there and to the left. This fulfilled the word of Scripture
that says, “This generation seeks the face of the God of Jacob.” And in
heaven there was great alarm and amazement. The angels all flocked
together to fulfill the Scripture that says, “Oh you princes, open the
gates!” (Then he) vanished from their sight. And even as they were
gazing intently upward, two men in white clothes stood by them and
questioned them, “Oh men of Galilee, why are you standing here
staring up into the heavens? This Jesus, who was taken up from
among you and received again into heaven, will return in the same
manner as you saw him rise up into the sky.” (Behold, he is coming
with clouds, and every eye will look on him, even those who pierced
him; and all the nations of the earth will mourn on his account. Even
so, amen!) Then the heavens, which had been opened, were shut back
up. They worshiped him (and) said a prayer and went back down the
mountainside praising God, Who has the names of the righteous ones
written in the book of life, which is in heaven. And they went joyfully
back into Jerusalem, remaining in the temple, and praising God
And after receiving their instructions, they reported to Peter and his
companions. Afterward, Jesus himself put them to work as
ambassadors in charge of spreading the holy and imperishable word of
eternal salvation from one end of the earth to the other. So they went
and preached it everywhere, and the Lord worked with them,
confirming the word with the signs that followed.

אין תגובות:

הוסף רשומת תגובה