Our Brother, the "Essene", has acknowledged to us his part in these things, and has persuaded the Brotherhood secretly to search for and protect the child.
And Joseph, who was a man of great experience in life, and deep devotion to the immortal truth, though a messenger of our Order was influenced not to leave the woman nor to disturb her faith in the sacredness of her experience, and to be a father to the child until our Brotherhood should admit him as a novice.
Thus, during their flight to Egypt, Joseph was secretly protected and guided by our Order and conducted as a guest to the congregated Brotherhood by the Mount "Cassius" at the slope of the mount, on which the Romans have built a temple dedicated to Jupiter. The "Essenes" who lived there were commissioned to introduce Joseph, his wife and the child into their congregation, that they might see our way of worshiping and praising God, "The Creator of all", and learn the ceremony of eating the consecrated bread and drinking of the holy wine.
At our request, they informed our Brotherhood in Jerusalem how it all had been done. Joseph was placed among the half-circle of men on the right hand, and Mary, his wife, among the women on the left hand. There they, with our Brethren, ate the bread and drank the wine, and all together sang the holy hymns.
Further Joseph here vowed before the elder of our Brotherhood that he renounced forever any claim on the child who was thenceforth to belong to the Order. He was then made acquainted with the salutation and the sign of the holy Brotherhood, which would enable him during his travels to make himself known to these. They also directed him which route to take to arrive in safety.
This route was through a part of the country where there lived many enlightened and learned Jews who were well versed in the scriptures and devoted to study. Among these our Order has many members. These were ordered to protect Joseph and be hospitable to him, even before he arrived among them. This was in the beautiful country of Heliopolis with its splendid forest and near unto the temple of Jehovah, erected by Onias.
When the peril in Galilee was over and the Roman "Warus" was pillaging in Judea, making that country unsafe, Joseph went to Nazareth, which is situated near by the steep mount of Tabor.
But soon Archelaus brought new terror over Galilee and Joseph was persuaded by our Brethren to go to Jerusalem, on his way passing "Luhen" - and there seek protection by our Brotherhood. This was duly accomplished, and at Passover they arrived at "Nisan".
Here I myself spoke with them. I was then in the lower degree of the Order, and in obedience to the command of the elder carried a message to Joseph. I found him to be a man of candor, and wide experience who spoke with great judgement and wisdom. Indeed, he exhorted Mary to describe distinctly the differences between reality and dreamy imagination, things as different as the day is from the night, and instructed her how to quiet her mind through prayer and devotion.
Her mind was filled with fiery imaginings that often lifted her thoughts to heavenly things and made her indifferent to the things of the earth. In consequence, she strongly influenced the mind of her son to the study and contemplation of immortal truths.
Joseph commended her for her good influence over the child. He also instructed Jesus in knowledge and wisdom and protected his pure mind against the power of overstrained imagination.
And when the child Jesus spoke with the scribes concerning holy things his doctrines gave deep offense to the Pharisees in Jerusalem, in that they considered them dangerous and incredible.
In-as-much as the Pharisees held rigidly to the traditions and details of the law of Moses, they were deeply aggrieved against every one who did not believe with them, and who did not keep in outward form to the ceremonials of their temple service.
They gave alms in the sight of the multitudes. They taught of the "kingdom of the dead" of the influence of good angels and evil spirits, and of the future grand eternal destiny of the Jewish people. Although they had many friends among the common people, and exercised great power and influence with them; nevertheless, the Spirit of God dwelt neither in their houses nor on their tongues.
But Joseph had come to be of our doctrines, and without figures or mysteries he fixed them in the mind of the growing child. Indeed, the child thus early was touched by the miseries of the people, and they were enraptured to hear him teach the word of God. The Scribes knew him to be from Galilee, and they despised him as they despised the whole people from Galilee.
But some of our brethren went to the Temple, and without betraying themselves through our holy salutation, kept him in their midst, that they might thus protect him.
When the divine child had spoken publicly in the temple, them were our brothers apprehensive of the dangers that threatened him; for they knew that the Pharisees and the Rabbis were in private council fully determined to banish him from Galilee because of his doctrines. They therefore lured him to the synagogue of Sopherim by manifesting to him an assumed interest in the law, for they perceived that in all his ardor and enthusiasm he was influenced by nothing else.
Thus it came to pass that he was lost from his father and mother in the large city which then contained many people from the whole country, because of the Passover.
Our friends, the Essenes, were informed of these things, and they saw that it was not safe or wise for the child to remain longer among the Pharisees, as much more as a Rabbi who had become a true friend and teacher to the child, no more could be present to moderate his zeal and ardor, contending as he was with the immoral hypocrites, as the Rabbi had gone on a journey to Jericho.
Therefore, we informed Joseph and his wife, whom we found in double grief inasmuch as they at the time also had been informed that the husband of Elizabeth, Mary's friend, had died. Thus, for three days Mary had been searching for her son in deep sorrow, and at same time she felt a strong desire to go and see her friend. At last, on the fourth day, she found her son at Sopherim, according to the information given her by our Brethren.
And Nabbin, the Rabbi who had taken such deep interest in the child, was a secret member of our Order and had received instructions to protect him.
Thus it came to pass that Mary, her husband and her son returned to Jutha.
Here she found her friend Elizabeth in great grief, with her son, whose name was John.
Here the two youths were much together and together they talked much about the sacred and the divine. Oft they wandered into the wildest parts of the mountain regions. They grew to be devoted friends, and their attachment ripened into intimate acquaintance with each other in their search for truth.
John, who was the son of Zacharias, had already received the doctrines of the Nazarenes as regards reservedness, and he knew perfectly the Scriptures and traditions but comprehended not the beautiful and the exalted in this world, or the laws of nature, as well as Jesus. He felt great dislike for the customs of the heathens, and despised and hated all tyrants.
And the time had come when Jesus should be admitted into the first degree of our Order. And in the valley our Order had a Brotherhood, situated near the mountains where the castle Masseda stands, and the elder of our Brotherhood met them there, and listened to their conversation.
He taught them that wisdom and virtue are strengthened by fraternity whereupon Jesus, in a transport of great joy, asked that he might be prepared at once for admittance into our holy Order. The example set by Jesus was followed by John, and the elder offered up a prayer which made Jesus a devotee of God.
According to the rules of our Order, the elder now said:"You shall be my brethren as soon as you, by the next new moon, shall see the glare of the fire on the mountain where the temple is built, and where you then will appear. He that is initiated into our Order must at the same time dedicate his life to the service of others. Tell your father Joseph that the time is now come for him to fulfil the vow he made at Mount Cassius."
Essene then departed. But when the child had returned to him
home, Joseph was already remembered of his vow and of his duties
to our brethren.
Together, they kept secret the admission of Jesus into Our Brotherhood, for fear of the Gualanities.
At the appointed time, they saw, in the evening, the fire signal ascend from the mountain, whereupon they immediately set forth to journey thither. When they were arrived at the temple they were met by the white-robed messengers sent by the Brotherhood.
According to our rules, Jesus was initiated into our holy Order, after the following manner:
Both were instructed and shown the way to enter into the assemblage, where the brethren were seated in four separated groups, according to the four degrees. Over the scene the crescent shed its lurid glare. The two were placed before the brethren. There they made their vow, the brethren in their white robes placing their right hands upon their breasts, with the left hanging down at the side. And this was done as a token that none but the pure in heart shall see that which is sacred and holy!
And the two vowed indifference to the treasures of earth, to worldly power or name, and by the brotherly kiss they vowed obedience and secrecy.
And, in obedience to our custom, when these two had made their vow they were conducted into the lonely cavern where, for three days and nights, they were subject to self-examination and trial.
In the evening of the third day, they were again brought before the assembled brethren to answer the questions put to them, and then to pray.
Having received the brotherly kiss, they were clothed in white robes, emblems of sacred purity, and the trowel, emblematic of the labors of our Brotherhood, was put into their hands.
Having sung the sacred hymns, and partaken of the feast of love by themselves, according to the custom of our Order none of the brethren participating, they were dismissed. After this they were instructed concerning the trials and the disciplines through which they must pass - living in the loneliness of solitude, separate from the world of mankind, for the period of one year, at a point near the elder of the Order from whom they should receive instructions fitting them for advancement in the higher degrees of our Order.
grew rapidly in divine knowledge. Jesus was frank and hearty
of disposition, but John shrouded himself in stern seriousness
When they had given full account of their conduct during the preceding year and acted in obedience to all the rules of the Order, and performed the ceremonies of singing and prayer and partaking of the feast of love, they were conducted to the secret chamber of worship, and there they were instructed and admonished to search the Scriptures.
Inasmuch as the rules of our Order permit, the admitted member either to remain with the Brotherhood, in secret labor and fellowship or to go out into the world to teach or heal, according to his election, so Jesus chose to go forth teaching, while John chose to become a "Terapeut", or leader.
Jesus felt himself called by the spirit of God, and longed to preach the doctrines of our Order to the People.
Thus it came to pass that John returned to Jutha, to live in solitude in the wilderness and Jesus returned to Nazareth.
Here he proved gloriously his virtue, and fulfilled his vow to the Order. His friend Lazarus had a sister Mary, who loved Jesus; and he in his heart, returned her love.
But, according to the rules of our Order, an Essene is not allowed to take unto himself a wife, after his own desire, lest the sacred work be thereby retarded.
And so it was that Jesus overcame his love for this woman by his dutiful devotion to unselfish service of the Brotherhood. But the struggle was hard, and at the hour of their parting both Jesus and Mary wept bitterly.
I have informed you of all these things, by brethren, that you shall indeed know that Jesus was our Brother and belonged to our Holy Order.
Thus all doubts and uncertainties on this matter must be ended. Jesus, our Brother, willingly suffered death that he might thereby glorify the doctrines of our Order; and the greatest reward of our virtue is that we may, in like manner, be allowed to sacrifice ourselves for it.
You have heard the accounts which the Jews and his disciples have given concerning him; that they have seen him in the mountains and on the road after they believed him to be dead.
The divine providence has given us a minute knowledge of these events that is hidden from the people, and it is our duty to inform you of the facts in reply to your questions relative thereto.
Even as I write this, my eyes overflow with tears, and I seem to see our Brother in the midst of his torture and in the anguish of death; and my afflicted mind is anew wounded by the recollection of his majestic courage and self-sacrifice.
He was sent of God, chosen by the Almighty, beloved of us all, and inspired both in teaching and in the knowledge of nature and its elements.
Here then, my brethren, is what occurred in Jerusalem seven Passovers ago. I have seen it all with my own eyes, and with my lips I have kept it a secret, that the world should not know it, for the Jews and the heathen believe only in the things they have seen with their own eyes. And so they have no faith in God beyond that which they can conceive with their senses.
Therefore, my dear Brethren, you should give praise to God that it has thus come to pass. We have kept these things a secret from the people, lest their belief in providence should be diminished. For you know there are many pious and excellent men who have recorded and remembered the life and death of Jesus, but have them only from rumors, augmented and corrupted by superstition; and from reverence and piety they believe what they hear of a beloved Master.
It was even so with those, chosen from among the people, who were called disciples of Jesus. Most of them have heard the story of his life and death only through tradition, and it has been told from man to man; although there were others who were present; but these have given no information concerning these important events.
In secrecy, I will now inform you of what I and our Brotherhood in Jerusalem have seen and witnessed; and you know that an Essene never permits ought to pass his lips save the strictest truth. Every man who has the gift of speech should magnify God, and give manifestation of him, even as God has given unto him a tongue in his mouth.
We might indeed have saved our beloved Brother from the vengeance of his enemies, if everything had not come to pass so quickly, and if our laws had not prohibited us from interfering in public matters.
Nevertheless, we have saved him in secret, as he fulfilled his divine mission in the sight of all the universe. Indeed, that a man die for his faith does not increase the glory of God; but that he, full of devotion and divine confidence, suffer himself to be subjected to martyrdom for his faith; and this resolution, firmly fixed in mind, constitutes the fulfillment of our work in the sight of the world.
Therefore, pay good heed to what I now tell you, that you may judge for yourselves of the rumors that have reached you hence and from Rome.
(Here, there is a large vacant place in the document, caused by the destroying influence of time, the deciphering of which is not possible from the still existing remains.)
The procession in which the doomed Jesus and the two thieves, wound its way out of the entrance to the valley that leads from Jerusalem to Golgotha, the place of execution.
The women cried loudly when they beheld Jesus almost sinking down under the weight of the cross and his wounds, from the scourging he had undergone, bleeding profusely.
Having arrived at the barren mountain ridge "Gileon", where nothing grows, and which lay on the north side, through which the lonely valley of death winds its way, they halted, and Jesus fell to the ground, his tortured body losing all its strength.
Meanwhile, the Roman soldiers were selecting places for erecting the crosses. This done, they desired to prove their sympathy with the sufferers by giving to them a drink that made them unconscious, according to the custom before crucifixion. This drink was made from sour wine mixed with wormwood, and was called "Toska".
But Jesus did not wish to die for his faith and the truth as a drunkard, wherefore, he refused to drink of it, having knowledge, from our Order, of the qualities of the mixture, which he knew by testing it.
And the crosses being erected, the time was now come when the punishment was to be inflicted on Jesus. The first ceremony was to tear his clothes from his body. But in order that this might be done, it was necessary to divest him of the soldier's mantle that he wore after the scourging, and put on him his own clothes, which later were then torn off his body as the law requires.
At the request of the servants of Sanhedrim, the cross designed for Jesus was placed in the middle, between those for the two thieves, thereby denoting that his was the greatest crime. They had even distinguished his cross from the others, for although they commonly were constructed in such a manner that the perpendicular beams did not reach above the crossbeam, his was of different form, the perpendicular beam reaching far above the crossbeam.
Pages To Ponder
Crucifixion By An Eyewitness