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Chapter 212 - Agricola interprets prophecies from Isaiah.
212,1. The Roman came now to the second question and said: “Pay attention! This is the second question: How do you understand the following text from the same prophet which reads:
212,2. ‘The people who walk in darkness, see a great light, and over those who live in the dark country, it shines brightly.’
212,3. Where are the people who walk in the dark? Where is the dark land and where is the light? Answer me this surely very easy question!”
212,4. The mischievous Pharisee noticed it quite well what the Roman wanted to fetch out of his mouth and once again remained mute.
212,5. When the Roman again requested him to talk, the Pharisee said: “This is again a question which can only be answered in the temple, and there also under four eyes only and with locked doors. Therefore I cannot answer you here.”
212,6. Said the Roman: “I can see that you here quite openly is telling a lie. See, even in Rome in an open field I heard from one of your apostles, reciting and explaining all your prophets, and it was not bad at all! But the apostle held his talks for nearly a year quite openly, and who wanted to be initiated even deeper and clearer in your case, he came to their house and taught them for an arbitrary fee. I myself was taught by him privately for three years. According to the apostle’s testimony, he was a priest out of your temple. Why could and was he allowed to explain the prophets to us Romans so far away from the temple, and why not you? See, I again will tell you the real reason why you don’t want to explain this text to me! Listen! You are fearing the people here, - although God, in whom you do not believe, you don’t fear at all! For the people know it, that it is actually the people who through scribes are walking in darkness, and that it is this very country, which has been made dark by you for a long time already.
212,7. However, over there at this table sits the great light, which indeed is seen now by the people; since it shines brightly in this dark country. When however the people see this light out of God and is very glad about it, why not you? You don’t want to look at it because you are full of haughtiness, full selfishness and full of the most boundless lust for power and want that the sun, moon and all the stars and the whole earth should bend under your sceptre. Therefore however, soon will happen to you what the referred great prophet has prophesied about you, where he in the tenth chapter from verse 16 onwards says:
212,8. ‘Therefore the Lord Zebaoth will send among His fat (you are) the drought (your stubbornness), and His glory (His biggest power and wisdom) He will light before you (as it is the case right now), that it will burn like a mighty fire.’
212,9. This light which sits there among us, is the fire in Israel, and His holiness is the flame and will kindle you as His thorns and hedges and consume in one day. The old glory of His forest and His fields will perish. Who is His forest and His field, I really do not need to describe any further! From your souls up to the last fibre of your flesh, which is now your true God, you will perish and melt like butter in the sun and disappear like a morning fog in the sun’s rays. You as the left-over trees of His forest will be easily counted and recorded by a boy.
212,10. See, I as a Roman understand your scriptures better than you one of the first Jews in the centre of your country and in the centre of your God-city! However, it doesn’t matter now. The bet is made, and a Roman does not withdraw from a bet which he made before witnesses. The second question is thus also lost and therefore lets move to the third!”
212,11. Said the Pharisee: “Have we already lost because we could not answer the first two questions?”
212,12. Said the Roman: “O, you are not dealing with a scrooge! If you only can answer one of my ten questions correctly, you have won the bet! But I asked you what I want. If thereupon you want to ask me - as it was decided -, I also will not prescribe to you what you should ask me. And therefore lets start with the third question!
212,13. See, I read in Isaiah the twelfth chapter and it says:
212,14. ‘At the same time (which is there now) will you (Israel) say: I thank You, o Lord, that You were angry about me and that Your anger has turned and comforts me. See, God is my salvation, I am safe and do not fear; since God the Lord is my strength, my psalm and my salvation. With joy water (wisdom and life) I will scoop from the well of salvation (the Lord’s love), and you people will at the same time say: Thanks the Lord, preach His name (word of life), reveal His deeds among the other nations, announce, why His name (the word of God) is so great! Praise-sing to the Lord; since He proved Himself glorious! Such should be made known in all countries! Rejoice and boast, you resident of Zion (the orphaned recognition of the Jews); since the Holy of Israel is with you!’
212,15. Now, my blind friend, what are you saying to this extraordinary exclamation of the great prophet? To whom is this directed? Is it not according to all most undeceiveable signs, the Holy of Israel among us?”
212,16. Here the Pharisee looked at the Roman quite baffled and said after a while: “Friend, tell me, where and when did you study our scriptures so well! All the prophets are so familiar to you, as if you were a scribe of the temple! I know this chapter quite well; but it has a pure spiritual meaning and according to my opinion does not refer at all to our present times. These are quite normal spiritual praise exclamations of a prophet, which are of no use to any general person. This is a kind of psalm for God the Lord.”
212,17. Said the Roman: “Friend, there you are enormously ill-advised! I as a heathen say to you now what already hundred thousands would tell you: The Holy of Israel sits there at the table among those who very well and much better know what I just have told you! You know now how I have clearly proved to you, that since your youth days you never have believed in a God. What is stopping you now to believe in this true Holy One of Israel, from whom alone you can have the everlasting life?”
212,18. Said the Pharisee: “I’m not the highest in the temple, and my sworn duty it is to keep what the temple’s highest has imposed on me; since my existence depends on it and the salvation of my skin. If my state seems not right to any God, with His wisdom and power He easily could have prevented, that I not have become what I am now; but because He did not prevent it, I am what I am, and speak and act according to what the temple instructs me to do. If I act wrongly, God Himself - if He is one - is responsible, that He made me become like that. And since I am what I am and thereby has found my worldly provision, I remain what I have become without my fault.
212,19. I only know it too well, that our whole Moses including all other great and small prophets, is nothing else than the fantasy image of many old priests, and that in any kind of divinity - if heathen or Jewish - is no syllable of truth; but the star-addicted people have, in their lazy fantasy, invented a God and left us for the gullible people masses an inheritance, and we fools cultivate and maintain the case of old-human nonsense, for as long as possible. Once our case has become a bump, it will apparently go under, - what is already now most clear to me.
212,20. Thereupon most probably this apparent miraculous person’s teaching will for some time continue to sprawl; but finally also it will have to expect the very same lot. Since everything which mortal man has established, passes like himself; only what an to us unknown God has created, will stay forever, like for example sun, moon, stars and this earth. And now you know from me, that I for myself believe in nothing, but maintain the old things and cases for the sake of the poor people, because otherwise the biggest anarchy will break loose among the people, through which everything would go under, since even now, despite all our watchfulness, several things take place which put a shame on mankind.
212,21. From this you can defer, that I believe in nothing, and in the least in such a God, who at some stage has given laws to the people of this earth. If there was a God who has created everything out of Himself, He also would through the power of His will, have placed great laws into nature; but that such a being ever gave any moral laws to man, I cannot believe for the reason, that He, from early times onward, has given to only one man the laws for all mankind, while according to my view all people are equal. Since I have shown myself to you, who I am and how I think, thus spare me any further questions from our scriptures; since I do not believe in its authenticity!”
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