Freethought Archives > G W Foote & J M Wheeler > The Jewish Life of Christ

CHAPTER IV.

AFTER these things the strife between the Nazarenes and Judeans grew so great that it caused a division between them, and a Nazarene meeting a Judean would kill him. [34:1]

2. The trouble increased more and more for thirty years, when the Nazarenes, having increased to thousands and myriads, prohibited the Israelites from coming to the greater festivals in Jerusalem. [34:2]

3. Then there was great distress among the Israelites, like what it was in the day when the [golden] calf was forged, so that no one knew what to do.

4. The pernicious faith increased and spread abroad, and there came forth twelve men [34:3] (bad offspring of foul ravens), who wandered through twelve kingdoms and spread false doctrines among mankind.

5. Some of the Israelites followed them, and these being of high authority, strengthened Jeshuitic faith; and because they gave themselves out to be Apostles of him who was hanged, the great body of the Israelites followed them.

6. The wise men seeing this desperate state of things were sorely distressed, for wickedness abounded among the Israelites.

7. Therefore everyone turning to his companion said, Woe unto us; what sins have we committed that in our time so shameful a thing should happen in Israel, such as neither we nor our ancestors ever before heard of?

8. Therefore with great sadness and weeping they sat down, and with their eyes turned towards heaven said:

9. We pray thee, O Lord, God of heaven, to give us counsel what to do, for we are entirely ignorant as to what ought to be done. We lift our eyes to thee.

10. In the midst of the people of Israel innocent blood is shed on account of this bastard and son of an adulteress.

11. Wherefore are we stretched on tenter-hooks while the hand of the Nazarene prevaileth against us and great numbers of us are killed? [35:4]

12. But few of us are left, and on account of sins in which the house of Israel is implicated these things have happened.

13. Do thou indeed for thy name's sake give us counsel what to do that we may be delivered from the wicked crowd of Nazarenes.

14. When they had thus prayed, a certain aged man from among the elders, whose name was Simeon Kepha [Simon Cephas] [35:5] who frequented the Holy of Holies, said to the rest,

15. My brethren and people, hear me: If ye approve my counsel I will root out these wicked men from the society of Israel, and they shall have no more any part or heritage with the Israelites.

16. But is it necessary that ye shall take upon you the guilt of an offence.

17. All responded saying, The sin be upon us; carry out thy purpose.

18. Therefore Simeon Ben Kepha went into the sanctuary and wrote out the Almighty name, and cut his flesh with a knife and placed it therein.

19. Then going from the Temple he drew forth the writing, and when he had learned the name he went away to the chief city of the Nazarenes.

20. And raising his voice he cried out, Whosoever believeth in Jeshu let him come unto me, for I am sent by him.

21. Soon a great multitude drew near to him, as many as the sands of the sea, and said to him, Show us something to confirm to us that thou art sent by him.

22. And when he asked what sign they required of him, they replied, The miracles which Jeshu when alive performed do thou also exhibit to us.

23. Therefore he commanded them to bring hither a leper; and when they had brought him, he laid his hand upon him and he was healed.

24. Again he asked them to bring to him a dead man, and when one was brought he laid his hand upon him and he revived and stood upon his feet.

25. The wicked men seeing this fell down to the ground, before him, saying, Without doubt thou art sent by Jeshu, for when he was alive he did these things for us.

26. Simeon Kepha then said, I am sent by Jeshu, and he hath commanded me to come to you. Give me an oath that ye will do all things that I command.

27. So at once they all exclaimed, We will do all that thou commandest.

28. Then Simeon Kepha said, Know ye that he who was hanged was the enemy of the Israelites and their law, because of the prophecy of Esaias, saying, Your new moons and appointed holidays my soul hateth.

29. Moreover, be it known to you, that he did not delight in the Israelites, even as Hosea prophesied, Ye are not my people,

30. And although it be in his power to sweep them from the earth in one moment, nevertheless he did not wish to utterly destroy them, but desired that there should ever be in your midst witnesses of his hanging and stoning.

31. Moreover, he underwent those great sufferings and sorrows that he might redeem us from hell.

32. And now he exhorteth and commandeth you no longer to ill-treat any of the Judeans; but if a Judean saith to a Nazarene, Go with me one mile, let him go with him two miles.

33. And if a Judean striketh a Nazarene on his left cheek, let him turn to him the right also; that in this world they may have their reward, but in the world to come may be punished in hell.

34. If ye do these things, ye shall be worthy to sit with in his seats. [36:6]

35. Lo this also he requireth of you, that ye do not celebrate the feast of the Passover, but that ye hold sacred the day on which he died.

36. And that instead of the feast of Pentecost ye keep holy the fortieth day after the stoning, in which he ascended to heaven.

37. Instead of the feast of tabernacles let the day of the nativity be made holy; and on the eighth day afterwards observe the memory of his circumcision. [36:7]

38. All responded to these words, Whatsoever thou sayest, we will do; remain with us now.

39. To which he said, I will abide with you if ye will allow me to abstain from all food according to his precept, and only eat the bread of misery and drink the water of sorrow.

40. But ye must build me a tower in the midst of the city on which I may sit even till the day of my death.

41. The people answered, We will do as thou sayest.

42. Therefore they built a tower and put him thereon; and every day they brought him his allowance of miserable bread and scanty water, even up to the hour of his death, he staying there all the time.

43. For truly he served the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and composed many beautiful hymns, which he published through all the region of Israel, that they might be a perpetual monument to him; and he repeated all the hymns to his masters.

44. This Simeon lived on that tower six years, and when he came to die he commanded that he should be buried within it; and that request they obeyed.

45. Afterwards they devised a most abominable fraud, and at this very time that tower is to be seen at Rome, and they call it Peter--that is, the name of a stone, because he sat on a stone even to the day of his death.

46. After the death of Rabbi Simeon Kepha there arose a man named Elias, [37:8] a wise man but of corrupt mind, who went to Rome and publicly said:

47. Know ye that Simeon Kepha hath deceived you, for your Jeshu gave to me his commands, saying, Go and tell them.

48. Let no one believe that I despise the law; for whoever wishes to be initiated by circumcision I will allow him.

49. But he who refuses to observe this, let him be plunged in foul water; nor indeed if he abstains from this shall he incur danger.

50. This also he requireth: that not on the seventh day but the first on which the heavens and the earth were created ye shall worship.

51. And he added many other bad instructions. 52. But the people said, Confirm to us by a miracle that Jeshu hath sent thee.

53. And he said, What miracle do ye expect?

54. Scarcely had he spoken when a stone fell from a huge wall and crushed his head.

55. So perish all thine enemies, O Lord; but let those who love thee be even as the sun when it shineth in its strength.

Selah, selah, selah.

 

 


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