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Chapter 84 - The rupture in the high counsel.
84,1. Only from then on, the most strict followers of the temple put their heads together, but they did not know what to do. Caiphas suggested that someone else should still try, by means of a good speech, to bring the people to the point of changing their mind, but nobody dared to carry it out.
84,2. But since it was already just before the midday hour, an assignment was given to a temple servant to go to the halls to make it clear to the people that they quickly had to withdraw, because the day before the Sabbath the temple would be closed for the necessary cleansing. The servant came and brought this message to the still numerous people in the temple. But this was not so welcome.
84,3. The gigantic man from Bethlehem was still present, and he shouted with a truly thundering voice to the servant: ‘We know this ourselves when we have to leave the temple! Therefore, we will leave it completely, so that we most probably will never visit it again! For only the temple and those who are living in it are guilty of all the disasters that soon will break out over our promised land! Go to your masters and tell them that the people are speaking now in this way, and whoever does not agree with that, must come outside and dispute it with us!’
84,4. When the servant heard this statement, he wisely said no more word and transmitted everything word for word to the counsel.
84,5. And Caiphas said: ‘As I have already told you a long time ago, so it is: we have all been betrayed by the Nazarene. By means of His magic He is making the Romans His friends. They are taking Him for a half god, and if it will continue a little longer, they also will make Him viceroy of the Jews, and then for sure, we better get out of here. Therefore, we also have to use every possible means to get rid of this Man, who is very dangerous for us, for if ever he will outgrow us then we are all lost.’
84,6. Then an elder said: ‘I am telling you only this: doing one thing or the other is a very dangerous game. For if He is a friend of the mighty Romans, then they all too soon will come to know from one of their many followers what we have done to Him, and then we always will have to atone for it. However, if we let Him go His way and do not join Him, then also, in maximum 3 years we will have become needless in the whole of the Jewish country. Now what is best?’
84,7. Another elder said: ‘If I were high priest, I would know very well what can be done now.’
84,8. Then Caiphas asked: ‘Then what?’
84,9. The elder said: ‘We are all among ourselves now, and so I can speak freely, and you can listen to me if ever you think it is worth it. Look, we truly have turned our back on our Moses, as well as Jehovah and all prophets, and because of the people and for the sake of our income we continue out of formality. Because among all of us, who are now together, there is not one who believes in a God, a Moses or in one or the other prophet. But now, if we see that all the people believe in the Nazarene and are following Him, then let us do that also. In any case out of formality. Then we will gain a lot with the people and with the Romans.’
84,10. With these words, Caiphas literally jumped up and said: ‘Do you want to betray all of us?! The one who speaks in all seriousness in this way as you have spoken now, will be cursed by me!’
84,11. The elder said: ‘Tell this in front of the people, for here in the counsel you do not have the right to say this so easily to us. Think about this well. Or else we will see each other even today before the governor.’
84,12. Another elder added to this: ‘If we are here together in the big counsel, everyone has the right to speak freely, otherwise the counsel has no meaning. But in front of the people we know best what we have to say. If you, as the present-day high priest want only to force your own will, then our counsel meeting is completely needless, and then it is more intelligent to have no more counsel meeting at all in the future. Consider all the things that the temple has undertaken to catch the Nazarene in one way or another. But still, we could not seize Him anywhere. During the feast days He was in the temple and taught the people openly. Then why did you not let Him be seized?’
84,13. Caiphas said: ‘Who dares to go into all this crowd?”
84,14. The elder said: ‘Good, in that case, why do you curse an elder who says that we, with our strongly diminished power, can achieve little or nothing against this Man from Galilee? If we will – if ever this would still be possible – undertake something seriously against Him, which would be successful for a couple of days, then we have already dug our own grave. This is completely clear to me. However, if we will do nothing and let Him go His way, then we still can go on, especially if we ourselves will make some changes in the service of the temple. But with your plan, we soon will be forced to flee. I have spoken.’
84,15. Then there was a total discord in the high counsel. One part agreed with the elder, the other part with the high priest, and there was a big quarrel. Then the elders stood up and went home, for they themselves had houses and great possessions. Only the Pharisees still stayed with Caiphas, but also they left soon because the midday hour had already come.
84,16. Look, this is how things are in the temple, and I have told you this now in great detail to show you how little influence the night-signs had on this brood of vipers down there. They are and remain incorrigible, just like they always have been. That is why the light will be taken away from them and given to the gentiles. But there comes now also our Lazarus with Raphael to invite us for the midday meal, and so we all will go inside again for lunch.”
84,17. Then Agricola said: “Lord and Master, I am so much filled with indignation by Your account of the high counsel and also by the preceding story of the innkeeper, how certain priests have expressed themselves about You, that I now very much would like to inform the governor about this whole story and to send a messenger to Cyrenius, the principal of the city, so that this will soon open up the eyes of the high priest and that he will come to a deeper understanding to know how things are now.”
84,18. I said: “Friend, you know what power I possess. If ever I would like to judge them down there with force, then it still would not be profitable for them in any way, because My omnipotence – as I have already shown you – cannot change the free will of any human being. With man, it has to be accomplished by the teaching, which he has to keep, and by this he has to determine how he must behave. However, if man does not want to see what is good and true in a teaching and even less want to act upon it, then he already is going the wrong way, and then one day he himself will find what will judge him. So let us not talk about it anymore and go into the house.”
84,19. Then we got up and went to the large dining-hall where a good meal was already waiting for us.
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