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Chapter 83 - The discussion of the Pharisees.
83,1. I said: “Dear friend, you have very well related the events that took place in the temple and you have shown in your story that you watched with the greatest alertness everything that happened and that was especially referring to Me. But I am adding, that in this, My will was very helpful to you, for without Me, everything is weak in man, but with Me, everything is strong, powerful and mighty.
83,2. Now a lot of things happened in the temple for our good, true cause. The people, the old rabbi and Nicodemus have made Me known as the One who I am. Now one would think that the temple will now be completely converted. But this is in no way the case. Now the rabbi and Nicodemus will be in trouble with the other Pharisees and with the high priest because they have announced to the people that I am the promised One and the only true Messiah. But I gave them both the right words in their mouth, and Nicodemus has now thrown such fiery words in his face that he as well as the Pharisees could not think what to reply.
83,3. Since the high priest was blaming the old rabbi and Nicodemus bitterly that they were even openly confessing My name in the temple before the people and put all the guilt on the temple, while on this occasion they had to make Me as suspicious as possible before the whole people. They had to tell the people with great earnest that God is now angry with them, because they were running after such erring teachers and agitators and let themselves be seduced, and that they were therefore cursed.
83,4. But Nicodemus answered the high priest, whose name is Caiphas: ‘Oh, if you are so intelligent and wise, then go now you yourself into the temple which is still full of people – although after my speech a great part has left the temple and went home – and speak to the people after your way, then you will notice soon enough how they will receive you. Were we both perhaps the first to speak to the people? Many of you have spoken to the people after your way, and what was the result of each of your speeches? The result was that the speaker had to run away if he did not want to be terribly mistreated.
83,5. If we both did not pacify the people in an intelligent way, what would you have done if the people had entered by force and probably would have mistreated you in an unprecedented manner? Is it therefore not more intelligent in times of distress to howl together with the wolves in the forest, and in this way escape without injury, rather than blaming the people about something that it absolutely does not want to hear?
83,6. It was really not the moment during this night to lecture the desperate people, but rather to comfort them and to calm them down. And this, both of us have done, and we certainly did not make a mistake on this. However, whether you did not make a mistake before the people, is a totally different question. Just go to the large hall of the temple and try to teach the people something different. Then I can guarantee that you will fare badly, worse than formerly the chief Pharisee and scribe when he went in against the statement of the people that said that the voice of the people was equal to the voice of God.
83,7. Besides, you yourself, Caiphas, have asked me and the old rabbi, as men who have a good reputation, to go among the people and to try in every possible way to pacify it. Well, this is what we did. Then why are you blaming us, now that the people have been pacified? Anyway, you are still free to teach something different to the people that will stay in the temple until after midday.’
83,8. The high priest said: ‘When we have to fear the people, then we also are no longer priests. We may not give in to the people by a hair’s breadth, no matter what. Let come what may come. This is my firm resolution and the basis of my actions.’
83,9. Then Nicodemus answered him: ‘You are now high priest and in many aspects you can do what you want, but when, like it looks now, the whole people will apostate from us and will put themselves under the protection of the Romans, then what will you do? Even if you continue to curse the people day and night, then they will listen to you in the same measure as now the gentiles, Samaritans and Sadducees are listening to you. Then by what means will you bring the dissidents back on our side?
83,10. What did you achieve with your stubbornness with the rich Lazarus and what did you gain with it? With his many possessions he is now Roman citizen, and you have no more power over him. Before, he paid every year at least 100 pounds of gold and 500 pounds of silver to the temple, and now he pays considerably less to the Romans, and he pays not 1 penny to the temple. He still gave tithes, but in the future he probably will also give that no more, because, as far as I know, he also has arranged that with the Romans. Yes, if, because of your priestly stubbornness many will follow the example of Lazarus, then soon we will be alone in the temple.
83,11. Look, this is how I think, and I am firmly convinced about it, and in the future it will be evident that I have spoken the full truth here, and this could well mean the beginning of the fulfillment of the second sad and terrible sign, which they saw last night and which will not take too long. Just continue like that, then we all will soon be finished. I have spoken now.’
83,12. The fact that these words were not particularly pleasant to the high priest is easy to understand, but he could little or nothing at all object to that, because also the other elders of the temple and of Jerusalem agreed with Nicodemus.
83,13. But after a while the high priest said again somewhat irritated: ‘But nevertheless, I know what has to be done in order to gain again firm ground under our feet. Also the false prophet from Galilee must fall, just like John has fallen. Then the people will come back again to us. Did I speak right or not?’
83,14. Then many of the Pharisees and scribes agreed with Caiphas, but Nicodemus, the old rabbi and still a few elders were shaking their head. And the old rabbi said: ‘I think that I am the eldest of you all and I know what happened during the last 80 years in the temple and in the whole Jewish land. Already many times, pious men and who are filled with the Spirit of God have arisen, who learned wisely and also acted wisely. However, that part of the temple that was very much lusting for power has persecuted them with all possible means, and if possible also killed. But ask yourself, ask all elders of the whole Jewish land and check our yearly diaries, then you will find that the old honor of the temple has never won anything by it, but after each of those deeds has lost a great deal, and in such a manner that it has never regained what has been lost.
83,15. Where are all those Samaritans, where the Sadducees, where will all too soon the whole of Galilee be? How many of our people have become Essenes, how many a complete Greek or Roman? Who from Tyre and Sidon are still visiting us, except a few Greek merchants? Who from the great land of Capadocia, from Syria and from the many cities along the Euphrates? Look, in my youth all these were still part of the strict followers of the temple, which was overloaded with all kinds of offerings and treasures. And because of this, they became very proud and merciless. The priests transgressed the commandment of God ‘You shall not kill’, and the obvious consequence of that was the total desertion of the many countries and cities.
83,16. However, if you will continue in this horrible manner of your predecessors, you will soon lose that which until now was hanging loose to the temple anyway and which was clearly shown by the second sign. This is what I think about it. But you can do what you want.’
83,17. This excellent speech of the rabbi was greeted with approval by many, and the younger ones could not object much.
83,18. Then Caiphas turned again to Nicodemus and asked him if he was also sharing the idea of the old rabbi and if he was approving it.
83,19. But Nicodemus said: ‘I have already spoken, and I am saying once more that I will not say anything in favor nor against it in your counsel. Like my old friend has said it now, so it also is. I do not have to render an account to anybody concerning my inner conviction, and from now on I will openly say only little.
83,20. I am the chief of the whole city of Jerusalem and accredited by the emperor as chief over all citizens, and I have, in case of necessity also the Jus gladii in my hand. You can do what you want. I and my friend are leaving you now until the Sabbath. However, the one who wants to talk with me and this old, true friend of mine in a sensible way, can find me on my properties in Emmaus. And now, may God the Lord commend everything.’
83,21. With these serious words they both left the big counsel, although the high priest still wanted to hold him back.”
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