Jesus descended from the summit of the mountain, where the fog assumed a reddish color from the sun. And because he wore the white robe of the Essene order, the people believed him to be a supernatural being, and they threw themselves down, with their faces to the ground. And many of the people were terrified, and drew aside out of his way.
And Jesus spoke with a loud voice saying that he had not come to found a school, but the kingdom of God on earth, through wisdom and virtue.
And he instituted baptism, and disclosed to his disciples the knowledge he had learned from the elders, how to heal the sick, determine the virtues of minerals and herbs and medicines, make harmless the savage beasts, counteract the destroying effects of poison, and many other things.
And the disciples and the people that had come with them, remained many days in the valley and Jesus taught them how they should live and preach the doctrine in his name.
But the Essene brethren were informed by the elder of the Brotherhood in Jerusalem that the secret messengers of the priests and the grand council had been told of the excitement in Galilee, and that many people had repaired to the valley of Mount Carmel.
And the brethren warned Jesus of his danger, that he might avoid his enemies and thus fulfill his mission. For they had been secretly informed that Caiaphas intended quietly to arrest and assassinate Jesus, in that he believed him to be a deceiver.
Jesus thereupon sent away his hearers and told them that if they would speak with him thereafter they must go thence to Bethabara, where he would await them.
Having spoken much to the people and taught them, he was weary and in need of rest.
And the time came when the Essenes partake of their feast of love. And all the brethren in the valley assembled in the house where Jesus dwelt. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and we the elders of the Brotherhood in Jerusalem departed to be together with him.
But Jesus was yet weak from his suffering, and his great joy at seeing again his beloved friends, Joseph and Nicodemus, caused him great excitement. And he spoke much concerning his death.
"Do not misapprehend me if I have not in everything lived according to the rules of our Brotherhood. For if I had labored in secret, as you have done, the truth would not now be known to the multitudes.
"Even in public can the wise practice wisdom, the chosen virtue."
And Jesus exhorted the brethren to lay aside their secrecy and go forth among the people and unite with his disciples to teach together with them.
And the works he spoke took root in the hearts of many of the brethren, and therefore I now find many of them witness for Jesus, and have left their solitude.
And Joseph spoke to Jesus saying:
"Knowest thou that the people who do not altogether understand your doctrine, are meditating to proclaim you a worldly king, to overthrow the Romans? But thou must not disturb the kingdom of God through war and revolution. Therefore choose the solitude. Live with the Essene friends and be in safety, that your doctrine may be proclaimed by your disciples."
But the elders of the Brotherhood were reflecting that it would cause great excitement among the people if Jesus were thus to disappear like the sun in the evening, and not reappear.
But Jesus feared that the works of Joseph might prove true, and he would not suffer that blood should flow for his sake, or that revolution should cause destruction.
Therefore, he consented that he would go into solitude, his body being very weak. And with Joseph and Nicodemus he went to Bethania. On the way the conversed to gather concerning the secrets of the Brotherhood; and Jesus desired to take leave of his friends in Bethania, and return to the lonely country near the Dead Sea.
In Bethania he comforted his mother, also the other friends of Lazarus, and explained to them that according to his doctrine he always was with them and remained with them.
But the knowledge that Jesus was in the vicinity of Jerusalem soon came to all his followers and many came together and were directed to repair to a secret place at a fixed time. Thither now went Jesus.
And here many hundred people had come together, and as they made manifest their belief that Jesus would establish a worldly kingdom and liberate the land of his people from the yoke of the Romans, he instructed them and taught them that this would not come to pass.
But Jesus perceived that it was expedient that he should go away again into the solitude that the people should no more believe that his kingdom was of this world, but that they should believe in his words and his doctrines as the word of God.
That day it came to pass that Jesus went to Jerusalem, and his trusted disciples went with him.
But the high council already had sent out many secret messengers to circulate false rumors and make Jesus a captive. But Jesus was warned and protected by the Essene brethren. He was both faint and weak. His wounds again began to pain him and his face was pale.
When Jesus entered the city with Peter and John, his friends conducted him into a solitary house. Here he called to him the elders of the Essene Order.
He said to them, that his time for rest was near at hand, and instructed them to wait for him at the "Olive Mount" and thence accompany him to the place of solitude.
Thereupon he gathered together his disciples, and went through the city and out of the gate that leads to the valley of Josaphat.
And his soul was greatly moved, and his heart was filled with sadness, for he knew that this would be his last walk.
Arriving at Kedron, he tarried for a little while and wept over Jerusalem. Thence he went forward in silence, and his disciples followed him.
And Jesus led them to the place most dear to him, near the summit of Mount Olive where can be seen almost the whole of the land of Palestine, for Jesus longed once more to look upon the country where he had lived and worked.
To the east were seen Jordan, the Dead Sea and the Arabian Mountains; and to the west shone the fires from the Temple Rock; but on the other side of the mountain was Bethania.
And the chosen disciples believed that Jesus would lead them to Bethania. But the elders of the Brotherhood had silently come together on the other side of the mountain ready to travel, waiting with Jesus, as had been agreed upon.
And he exhorted his disciples to be of good cheer and firm in their faith. As he spoke his voice grew more and more melancholy, and his mind was absorbed in solemn transport.
He prayed for the friends he was about to leave, and lifting his arms, he blessed them. And the mist rose around the mountain, tinted by descending sun.
Then the elders of the Essene Brotherhood sent word to Jesus that they were waiting, and that it was already late.
As the disciples knelt down, their faces bent toward the ground, Jesus rose and hastily went away through the gathering mist. When the disciples rose there stood before them two of our brethren in the white garb of the Brotherhood, and they instructed them not to wait for Jesus, as he was gone, whereupon they hastened away down the mountain.
But the disappearance of Jesus filled his disciples with new hope and confidence, for now they knew what they themselves were to proclaim the word of Jesus, as he, their beloved, would return no more.
Therefore faithfully, they kept together and daily went to the temple and to the places where he had taught them and the enemies dared not molest them.
But in the city there arose a rumor that Jesus was taken up in a cloud and had gone to heaven. This was invented by the people who had not been present when Jesus departed. The disciples did not contradict this rumor, inasmuch as it served to strengthen their doctrine, and influence the people who wanted a miracle in order to believe in him.
John, who was present, knew all of these things, but he had not spoken nor written anything about it. Likewise Matthew. There are others who have gathered the rumors thereof into an illustration, which they believed themselves, as they were moved by the spirit to glorify Jesus.
Thus, one of them named Marcus wrote to a congregation in Rome and gave an account of this event, but inasmuch as he had not been present, his source of information was only the rumors among the people.
Even thus it is with Lucas, who tried to do the same.
But the disciples were advised by the Essene brethren to assume the customs and manners of the Essenes for the sake of unanimity. Therefore they formed a society wherein even the women took an officious part, especially Mary and her friends from Galilee.
But Jesus was accompanied on his way by the elders of the Brotherhood, likewise by Joseph and Nicodemus, and in the nighttime they procured a beast of burden for Jesus, who grew more faint. His mind was greatly moved at leaving his friends, and he felt that his death would soon come.
When at the end of their journey, they had come to the Essene brethren by the Dead Sea; Jesus was in deep suffering, so that only the physicians could care for him. Joseph and Nicodemus remained with him, and having heard his wishes in lengthy conversations, they took leave of him, promising to inform him minutely concerning the affairs of the congregation in Jerusalem.
But in Jerusalem none save John and Matthew knew that Jesus had returned to the solitude of the Order, that the people might not proclaim him their worldly king.
But Joseph and Nicodemus had three times been with him in his place of concealment. And on their return they informed us of him. But his body was not vigorous enough to overcome the sufferings he had endured for want of rest.
His soul longed for his disciples, and he was anxious that nothing should be neglected. His restless mind found no consolation in the solitude, and anxiety consumed his vital powers.
But Joseph and Nicodemus had been with him the last time when the sixth full moon was waning, and they came to our Brotherhood as we were preparing to take of the feast of love, and revealed the secret to the elder of the Order.
And their hearts were sorely grieved, for the chosen one was taken up into the heavenly dwelling of the Father.
The Eternal Spirit had gently burst the clay, and as tranquil as his life was so was his death.
And he was buried by the Physician close by the Dead Sea, as bids the regulations of our brotherhood.
But Nicodemus enjoined silence concerning the death of his friend, to all who did not belong to the highest degree.
Here, my dear brethren, you have the only true account of our friend, whom God had called to teach wisdom and virtue to the people through parables and noble deeds.
It is now a long time since then and the Jews have seven times eaten the Passover when now I write this for your information. And thus you may judge of the truth of the tradition as it is told by the people.
For I know that many of his new disciples tell of miracles, even as they themselves have wished it might be. And the thoughtful do not contradict them, for the people are not yet wise enough to receive the truth without adding to it, that which is supernatural.
As you yourself have conceived, there are many rumors come from Rome that I need not contradict, for you know yourself what a Brother of our Order has to do and not to do.
But not only the Jews tell of superhuman things concerning him that they believe, but also the Romans, for the pagans believe in gods, and these are identified with the miracles told by the Jews.
And I give you the authority to inform the elders of our Brotherhood in your country what I have written to you, but not the novices nor those of other degrees. For his is the glory, the Son of God, whom we all worship more than the others who are removed to heaven.
And what Jesus has taught while he lived, we ought to promote with good will. For he has explained the doctrine minutely to everyone. He has revealed the secret, therefore receive everyone friendly who is called by his name; for his disciples will go to all countries and you will know them by their greeting, which is the same as that of our Order. And you ought to help them as our Brotherhood in Jerusalem and the whole country has served the Son of the heavenly Father.
This is what I have to say. And as it is written, thus it has passed. For the elders of our Brotherhood have witnessed these things themselves, and my own eyes have seen him, and my ears have heard him, and I am a friend of Joseph who sits in the grand council.
And forward to the brethren the greeting: "Peace be with you."
Pages To Ponder
Crucifixion By An Eyewitness