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Chapter 196 - The Lord's question about the Messiah.
196,1. (The Lord) “What do you think then about the promised Messiah, who according to the prophecy of all prophets should come right at this time to free the Jews? Do you, as intelligent people, seriously think something of it, or do you, like many others, think nothing of these too mystical prophecies for the human understanding?”
196,2. The representative says, “My eminent friend! That is an extremely prickly issue! To think nothing of it would be too presumptuous for a genuine Jew, but to consider it seriously is also a very daring move; for one can thereby open the door wide to the most dubious superstition and prepare for its freest entry!
196,3. Whether it is preferable to have no faith at all before the most dubious superstition, or vice versa, I leave that gladly up to a wiser man than I. But so much says my ever sober reason: that zero faith at all in a dubious superstition seems to be significantly preferable.
196,4. For no belief at all, in my opinion, equals a new-born child or an empty, barren field, in which nothing has yet been sown. The child can become a fully wise man through a good up-bringing, and in the barren field every type of noble fruit can be sown; but if the field has become overgrown with all sorts of weeds and a grown-up child has been taught all sorts of foolish things, then the wise education is either impossible or certainly extremely difficult. And how difficult it is to clear a field of weeds, every honest farmer knows that who has ever had to clear his land of weeds and then keep it clear! Well, eminent friend that is more or less our sober opinion.
196,5. We say neither yes nor no as far as the promised Messiah is concerned; but if some correct wise man, knowledgeable in the Scriptures, wants to enlighten things for us, he will oblige himself to us as Jews and people. If you know something solid about this, then tell us; there will be no end to our gratefulness for it!”
196,6. “Quite correctly judged!”, I say to the representative. “No belief is better by far than a dubious superstition; but it nonetheless still has some bad growths which in the end, once they have been completely hardened, are just as difficult to heal as a field full of weeds is hard to clear.
196,7. But the field full of weeds at least shows that its ground is a good one, otherwise no weeds would grow there; this is not shown by a completely barren field however.
196,8. You know, if the so-called mathematically determined world reason has seized a rock-solid position in a person, then to accept a sublime faith in something purely spiritual – no matter how eminent – is very difficult! Such a person of reason wants to have proven everything in the end mathematically. He will not take any notice of things that he cannot see and measure.
196,9. Now judge yourselves whether things are easy with such a person as far as the adoption of purely spiritual things are concerned!”
196,10. The representative says, “Certainly, eminent and most wise friend! But then one can claim with significant confidence that there are few such people, and one shouldn’t count one’s chickens before they are hatched! Such educated people are nonetheless much more accessible for the truth in the end than all the black heroes of dark superstition, particularly where this has become a lucrative belief! As such nothing can be done with it, and it seeks to persecute with fire and sword everything that could compromise it in any way. We are experiencing such a thing from our priesthood, for whom no means are too bad to protect their black deceptions from persecution!
196,11. But I do not want to make the claim as if the priests had any faith in what they force others to believe on pain of death and burning; for their motive is bread, the best bread, and much gold, silver and jewels. But the extremely dim humanity nevertheless believes it, and often with the greatest and cruelest fanaticism!
196,12. Well, even the firmest person of reason is enormously further and further advanced towards holiness than such a crazy man of superstition! He is at least a friend of a truth, even if it is a highly stereotypical one, while the very superstitious humanity fends off any sort of truth and prefers to think that a tree trunk is a monkey, rather than see what it really is.
196,13. But a friend of the truth is in some reasonable way always accessible, while it is very difficult to think of even apparently approaching with reason the deeply superstitious people with any sort of truth.
196,14. It is well-known that it is difficult to bring determined mathematical people to the true belief; but once such a person has accepted something, even if only as a hypothesis, he will hold onto it with iron grip and sacrifice everything in order to prove it as the solid truth even in a mathematical way.
196,15. Would a dark superstitious person do that?! For him feces and genuine gold is the same thing; and I still maintain firmly that no belief at all is much better than a belief such as us, for example, have at home!
196,16. But as we have heard, even the temple priesthood in Jerusalem is not much better than our Persian. The wonderful Ark of the Covenant should have had its proven way a long time ago; for we know only too well when and where a new one has been created for the old one – of course not in Jerusalem, but instead with us nicely deep in Persian lands, so that it would not be betrayed. But that was not much good to them; for they had to pay the Persian artists in the end ten times more for their silence than the whole Ark was worth, and the artists still told the locals and the Jews afterwards. Therefore, eminent friend, we remain true to Moses’ teaching, although there are some things that in the natural course of things are sheer nonsense; however no-one knows how to give a healthy interpretation, and so no-one complains further about it. But as far as the Law and morals are concerned, it is unsurpassable good and wise, and no-one can dream up something wiser or better even in the brightest daydream!
196,17. We call this part of the Scriptures the only divine part; as far as everything else is concerned, it does not affect us at all, namely the prophetic part which no man can understand.
196,18. The image of Elijah that you explained is truly very appropriate and lovely in relation to the promised Messiah, who most probably can only be accepted spiritually – but what the other prophets foretell about it is highly mystical, and needs a strong explanation and an even stronger faith, which is fortunately no longer to be found with us!
196,19. It is positively praise-worthy for us that we have little or no faith at all in such extravagant things; but in its place we believe all the more intensively in one true God, who spoke most truthfully to the children of this Earth through Moses!
196,20. But we owe much of our convincingly firm belief in God to Plato, whose writings we read and follow. Moses is practical and shows the way of life with sharply marked lines; but Plato is thoroughly spirit, soul and shows the soul to the soul and the spirit to the spirit. And taking all that together: Moses, Plato, Socrates and several prophets, understood in the right light, that is what we call the actual Messiah who will come from above, from where all light comes, to the Earth and to the people who are of a good will.
196,21. Well, eminent and wise friend, I have now revealed to you who we are, what we think and what we feel; it is now up to you, if you know something better, to make us familiar with it too, if you will! What do think for example about the opinion of prophets and the promised Messiah?”
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