He drew Joseph aside to where I stood, some distance from John, and spoke in a low, hurried tone: "Dear friends, be of good cheer, and let us go to work. Jesus is not dead. He seems so only because his strength is gone."

"While Joseph was with Pilate, I hurried over to our colony and fetched the herbs that are useful in such cases. But I admonish you that you tell not John that we hope to reanimate the body of Jesus, lest he could not conceal his great joy. And dangerous indeed would it be if the people should come to know it, for our enemies would then put us all to death with him."

Essene Brethren remove Jesus from the cross, alive.

After this they hurried to the cross, and, according to the prescriptions of the medical art, they slowly untied his bonds, drew the spikes out from his hands, and with great care laid him on the ground.

Thereupon, Nicodemus spread strong spices and healing salves on long pieces of "Byssus", which he had brought and whose use was known only in our Order.

These he wound about Jesus' body pretending that he did so to keep the body from decaying until after the feast, when he would then embalm it.

These spices and salves had great healing powers, and were used by our Essene Brethren who knew the rules of medical science for the restoration to consciousness of those in a state of death-like fainting. And even as Joseph and Nicodemus were bending over his face and their tears fell upon him, they blew into him their own breath, and warmed his temples.

Still Joseph was doubtful of his recovery to life, but Nicodemus encouraged him to increase their efforts. Nicodemus spread balsam in both the nail-pierced hands, but he believed that it was not best to close up the wound in Jesus' side, because he considered the flow of blood and water therefrom helpful to respiration and beneficial in the renewing of life.

In the midst of his grief and sorrow, John did not believe that life would return to the body of his friend, and he did not hope to see him again until they should meet in "Scheol."

The body was then laid in the sepulchre made in the rocks, which belonged to Joseph. They then smoked the grotto with aloe and other strengthening herbs, and while the body lay upon the bed of moss, still stiff and inanimate, they placed a large stone in front of the entrance, that the vapors might better fill the grotto.

This done, John with some others went to Bethania, to comfort his grief-stricken mother.

But Caiaphas, although it was the Sabbath Day, had sent out his secret spies. He was anxious to know who were the secret friends of Jesus. His suspicions had fallen upon Pilate because of his having given Joseph of Arimathea the body without any pay, he being rich, a Rabbi and a member of the high council, who never had appeared to take any interest in the case of Jesus previously, but who now had given his own place of burial for the crucified.

And so it was that Caiaphas anticipated secret plans between the rich Joseph and the Galileans, and knowing that they intended to embalm the body, he hoped there to catch them, as the idea had occurred to him that Joseph and Pilate were plotting against the Jews.

Fear of this caused him great anxiety, and for this reason he hoped to discover some secret means of accusing Joseph and having him thrown into prison. He betrayed this fact himself by sending late in the night a number of his armed servants to an obscure valley close by the grotto in which lay the body of Jesus. Some distance from them was stationed a detachment of the temple guard, to assist the servants of the high priests, if necessary.

But the rumor has told you that these guards were Roman soldiers, which was not the case. The high-priest even distrusted Pilate.

Meanwhile Nicodemus had hastened with me to our brethren, and the oldest and wisest came to confer as to the best means of restoring Jesus to life. And the brethren agreed immediately to send a guard to the grove. Joseph and Nicodemus hurried to the city, there to fulfill their further mission.

After midnight, and towards morning, the earth again commenced to shake, and the air became very oppressive. The rocks shook and cracked. Red flames burst forth from the crevices, illuminating the red mists of the morning.

This was, indeed, a dreadful night. Beasts, horrified by the earthquake, ran howling and crying in every direction. Through the narrow opening the little lamp in the grotto threw trembling shadows into the horrible night, and the servants of the high-priests were full of fear, listening to the hissing in the air and the roaring and rumbling in the earth.

One of our brethren went to the grave, in obedience to the order of the Brotherhood, dressed in the white robe of the fourth degree. He went by way of a secret path which ran through the mountain to the grave, and which was known only to the Order.

When the timid servants of the high-priest saw the white-robed Brother on the mountain slowly approaching, and partially obscured by the morning mist, they were seized with a great fear, and they thought that an angel was descending from the mountain.

When this Brother arrived at the grave, which he was to guard, he rested on the stone, which he had pulled from the entrance according to his orders; whereupon the soldiers fled and spread the report that an angel had driven them away.

When the Essene youth had set himself down upon the stone, there came a new earth-shock, and a draft of air passing down the grotto blew out the lamp and gave place for the morning light.

Thirty hours had now passed since the assumed death of Jesus. And when the Brother, having heard a slight noise within the grotto, went in to observe what had happened, he smelled a strange odor in the air, such as often occurs when the earth is about to vomit forth fire.

And the youth observed with inexpressible joy that the lips of the body moved, and that it breathed. He at once hastened to Jesus to assist him, and heard slight sounds rising from his breast. The face assumed a living appearance, and the eyes opened and in astonishment gazed at the novice of our Order.

This occurred just as I was leaving with the brethren of the first degree, from the council, with Joseph, who had come to consult how to bring help.

Nicodemus, who was an experienced physician, said, on the way, that the peculiar condition of the atmosphere caused by the revolution of the elements was beneficial to Jesus, and that he never had believed that Jesus was really dead. And he further said that the blood and water, which flowed from the wound, was a sure sign that life was not extinct.

Conversing thus, we arrived at the grotto, Joseph and Nicodemus going before. We were in all twenty-four brethren of the first degree.

Entering, we perceived the white-robed novice kneeling upon the moss-strewn floor of the grotto, supporting the head of Jesus on his breast.

And as Jesus recognized his Essene friends, his eyes sparkled with joy; his cheeks were tinted with a faint red, and he sat up, asking: "Where am I?"

Then Joseph embraced him, folded him in his arms, told him how it all had come to pass, and how he was saved from actual death by a profound fainting fit, which the soldiers on Calvary had thought was death.

And Jesus wondered, and felt on himself; and, praising God, he wept on the breast of Joseph. Then Nicodemus urged his friend to take some refreshments, and he ate some dates and some bread dipped in honey. And Nicodemus gave wine to drink, after which Jesus was greatly refreshed, so that he raised himself up.

Then it was that he became conscious of the wounds in his hands and in his side. But the balsam, which Nicodemus had spread upon them, had a soothing effect, and they had already commenced to heal.

After the "Byssus" wrappings had been taken off and the muckender was removed from his head, Joseph spoke and said: "This is not a place in which to remain longer, for here the enemies might easily discover our secret, and betray us."

But Jesus was not yet strong enough to walk far, wherefore he was conducted to the house belonging to our Order, that is close by Calgary, in the garden, which also belongs to our brethren.

Another young Brother of our Order was dispatched at once to assist the novice who had been watching by the grave of Jesus to annihilate every trace of the Byssus wrappings and the medicines and drugs used.



Crucifixion By An Eyewitness

Pages And Points To Ponder