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Life Of Christ
A Harmony of the Gospels

Appendix IV

Who Do Men Say That I Am?
 

 

I TESTIFY UNTO EVERY MAN

Revelation 22:18

"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book"
(NKJV)

Mark 8:27

"Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?"
(NKJV)

In the course of  human history,  there have been many testimonies concerning the man Jesus who is called the Christ of God.  We have some testimonies recorded in our Scriptures and also recorded in other documents.
I wish to share with you some of  these testimonies that you may see and believe that Jesus was indeed the manifestation of  the Word of God.
(Paul the Learner)

Celsus

Rabbi Akiba, a reformed Jewish priest, quotes from Celsus,  an enemy of the Church.
‘There was a dreadful earthquake at the time Jesus was crucified and that the mist that arose from it covered the earth for three hours. 
On page 28 he says Jesus was the son of  Mary;  that he was the founder of the sect called Christians.
On page 48 he says Jesus was crucified on the eve of the Passover.
He gives extracts from the apostles and never denies in a single instance, but admits their genuineness.
He makes particular mention of his being worshipped by the Magi; of his flight into Egypt; of the massacre of the infants of Bethlehem. On page 52 he speaks of his baptism by John and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and of the voice that was heard out of heaven. He speaks of the miracles done by Jesus, and never doubts the facts in an instance.
(Vol. I., page 22)

Aretas

Aretas, one of  the kings of Arabia,  who was a philosopher as well as a king,  in speaking of  the laws of nature,  says that Jesus of  Judea was a philosopher above the laws of nature;
that he controlled all the elements of  nature with almighty power;
that the winds, thunders, and lightning’s obeyed him;
and speaks of  these facts as being so common that it would be folly to dispute them.
(Vol. 7, page 14)

Tiberius

Tertullian in his Apology for Christianity,  about the year 200 A.D.,  after speaking of  our Savior's Crucifixion and Resurrection,  and his appearance to the disciples,  and ascension into heaven in the sight of the same disciples,  who were ordained by him to spread the gospel over the world,  thus proceeds:
“Of all these things relating to Christ,  Pilate himself,  in his conscience already a Christian,  sent an account to Tiberius,  in whose time the Christian name (or religion) had its rise,  having received from Palestine,  in Syria,  an account of such things as confirmed the truth of  his (Christ’s) divinity,  proposed to the Senate that he (Jesus Christ) should be enrolled among the Romans gods,  and gave his own prerogative vote in favor of the motion;  but the Senate,  without whose consent no deification could take place,  rejected it because the Emperor himself  had declined the same honor.
Nevertheless,  the Emperor persisted in his opinion,  and threatened punishment to the accusers of  the Christians.”
Rabbi Akiba a Jewish priest  
Aretas a King of Arabia JESUS IS REAL AND A GOD
Tiberius an Emperor of  Rome  

John 5:39

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of  Me.
(NKJV)

Victor Constantine Maximus Augustus

To Eusebius:  It happens through the favoring of God our Savior that great numbers have united themselves to the most holy church in this city,  which is called by my name.  It seems,  therefore,  highly requisite,  since the city is rapidly advancing in prosperity in all other respects,  that the number of  churches should also be increased.   (Constantine’s ruler of  Rome’s letter about 300 A.D.)

Jonathan's Interview with the Shepherds

Jonathan, son of Heziel, questions the shepherds and others at Bethlehem in regard to the strange circumstances reported to have occurred there, and reports to this court:

“Jonathan to the Masters of Israel, Servants of the True God:  In obedience to your order,  I met with two men,  who said they were shepherds,  and were watching their flocks near Bethlehem.  They told me that while attending to their sheep,  the night being cold and chilly,  some of them had made fires to warm themselves,  and some of them had laid down and were asleep;  that they were awakened by those who were keeping watch with the questions:
What does all this mean?  Behold, how light it is; that when they were aroused it was light as day.  But they knew it was not daylight,  for it was only the third watch.

The Shepherds  ‘All at once the air seemed to be filled with human voices, saying, ‘Glory! Glory! Glory! To the most high God!’ and ‘Happy are thou, Bethlehem, for God hath fulfilled His promise to the fathers; for in thy chambers is born the King that shall rule in righteousness.’

Their shoutings would rise up in the heavens, and then would sink down in mellow strains, and roll along at the foot of the mountains, and die away in the most soft and musical manner they had ever heard; then it would begin again high up in the heavens, in the very vaults of the sky, and descend in sweet and melodious strains, so that they could not refrain from shouting and weeping at the same time.

The light would seem to burst forth high up in the heavens, and then descend in softer rays and light up the hills and valleys, making everything more visible than the light of the sun, though it was not so brilliant, but clearer, like the brightest moon.

I asked them how they felt – if they were not afraid; they said:
At first they were; but after awhile it seemed to calm their spirits, and so fill their hearts with love and tranquility that they felt more like giving thanks than anything else.

(Jonathan’s interview with the Bethlehem shepherds – Letter of Melker, Priest of the Synagogue at Bethlehem. Taken from Sanhedrim, 88 B. By R. Jose. Order No. 2.)

Jonathan's Interview with Melker the priest

Melker the priest came out shouting and clapping his hands, seeming to be frantic with joy. The people all came crowding around him, and he told them that it was the sign that God was coming to fulfill His promise made to their father Abraham. If they would be faithful, he would give them a Savior to redeem them from sin, and that he would give them eternal life, and that they should hunger no more.

Melker still speaking,  ‘the sign of his coming would be that light would shine from on high, and the angels would announce his coming, and their voices should be heard in the city, and the people should rejoice: and a virgin that was pure should travail in pain and bring forth her firstborn, and he should rule all flesh by sanctifying it and making it obedient.

“I went to see Melker,  who related to me much the same as the shepherds had reported.  All of this was reported to the Sanhedrim by Jonathan, son of Heziel.

‘He said that next day three strangers from a great distance called on him and they went in search of this young child; and:

The Magi said  ‘They found him and his mother in the mouth of the cave, where there was a shed projecting out for the sheltering of sheep; that his mother was married to a man named Joseph, and she related to them the history of her child, saying:

Mary said An angel had visited her, and told her that she should have a son, and she should call him Jesus [Jehovah has become our Salvation], for he should redeem his people from their sins; and he should call her blessed forever more.

‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeded from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.’ John 15:26, 27

Melker, Priest of the Synagogue of  Bethlehem, to the Higher Sanhedrim of the Jews at Jerusalem:

“Holy Masters of Israel:  I, your servant would call your attention to the words of the prophet in regard to the forerunner [John the Baptist], and the rise as well as the conductor of a great the mighty nation, wherein should dwell the true principles of righteousness and the conductor of the outward formation of a national domain of God upon earth.

As evidence of the fact, the vision and affliction that has befallen Zacharias of late is enough to satisfy all men of the coming of some great event; and this babe of Elizabeth is the beginning of better times.

‘If you will refer to the several sections of the divine word, you will not fail to see that all that has been spoken by the prophets in regard to the works of God upon earth has been fulfilled in the last few days in the two events, the birth of the child of Elizabeth and that of Mary of Bethlehem.

It seems to me those men [Prophets] saw the travailing of the virgin, they saw the helpless infant in the sheep trough; they heard the mighty chanting of the heavenly host; they saw the ambition of human nature in the Roman soldiery aiming to destroy the child’s life; and in that infant they saw human nature in its fallen and helpless condition; and it appears as if they saw the advance of that infant into perfect manhood. As he become the theme of the world, his advancing nature will triumph over all; as he does escape the Roman authority this day, so he will finally triumph over all the world, and even death itself shall be destroyed.

(Jonathan’s interview with the Bethlehem shepherds – Letter of Melker, Priest of the Synagogue at Bethlehem. Taken from Sanhedrim, 88 B. By R. Jose. Order No. 2.)

Jonathan's Interview with Joseph Ben Jacob Ben Matthew - Husband of Mary

Joseph Ben Jacob Ben Matthew. Husband of Mary said:
‘After he and Mary had agreed to marry, it seemed that something told him that Mary was with child; that he did not know whether he was asleep or awake, but it made such an impression on his mind that he concluded to have nothing more to do with her.

And while he was working one day under a shed, all at once a man in snowy white stood by his side, and told him not to doubt the virtue of  Mary, for she was holy before the Lord; that the child conceived in her was not by man, but by the Holy Ghost, and that the child would be free from human passions. In order to do this he must-that is, his humanity must be of  the extract of almah (that is the Hebrew word for virgin), that he might endure all things and not resist, and fill the demands of prophecy.

He said the angel told him that this child should be great and should rule all the kingdoms of this world. He said that this child should set up a new kingdom, wherein should dwell righteousness and peace, and that the kingdoms of this world which should oppose him God would utterly destroy.

I asked him, How could a virgin conceive of herself without the germination of the male?  He said: “This is the work of God. He has brought to life the womb of Elizabeth, so she had conceived and will bear a son in her old age who will go before and tell the people of the coming of this King.”

After telling me all these things, he disappeared like the melting down of a light.

Note: This information was given to the Sanhedrim by Gamaliel who interviewed both Joseph and Mary and others concerning Jesus. You can find this information in the Hagiographa or Holy writings found in St. Sophia Mosque at Constantinople, made by Gamaliel, in the Talmud’s of the Jews 27 B.

Jesus - His Boyhood

Jonathan's Interview with Mary

Mary’s description:  She seems to be about forty or forty-five year of age, [at that time] abounds with a cheerful and happy spirit and is full of happy fancies. She is fair to see, rather fleshy, has soft and innocent-looking eyes, and seems to be naturally a good woman.

I asked her who her parents were, and she said her father’s name was Eli, and her mother’s name was Anna; her grandmother’s name was Pennel, a widow of the tribe of Asher, of great renown. I asked her if Jesus was the son of Joseph. She said he was not.

‘I asked her if at the time this angel, as she called him, visited her, she was almah. She said she was; that she had never showed to man, nor was known by any man.

I asked her if she knew when conception took place. She said she did not. I asked her if she was in any pain in bearing, or in delivering the child. She said ‘None of any consequence.’ I asked her if he was healthy; to give me a description of his life.

She said he was perfectly healthy; that she never heard him complain of any pain or dissatisfaction; his food always agreed with him, and if anyone else complained he would often say he though it good enough, much better than we deserved. She said that Joseph was a little hard to please, but this boy had answered him so often, and his answers were so mild and yet so suitable, that he had almost broken him of finding fault.

‘She said he settled all the disputes of the family; that no odds what was the subject or who it was, one word from him closed all mouths, and what gave him such power was his words were always unpretending and spoken as though they were not intended as a rebuke, but merely as a decision. I asked her if she had ever seen him angry or out of humor. She said she had seen him apparently vexed and grieved at the disputes and follies of others, but had never seen him angry.

I asked her if he had any worldly aspiration after money or wealth, or a great name, or did he delight in fine dress, like the most of youth. She said that was one thing that vexed her, he seemed to take no care of his person; he did not care whether he was dressed or not or whether the family got along well or ill; it was all alike to him.

She said she talked to him about it, and he would look at her a little grieved and say, ‘Woman (for such he always called me), you do not know who I am.’ Indeed, she said he takes so little interest in the things of the world and the great questions of the day, they were beginning to despair of his ever amounting to much - much less be a king, as the angel said he would be; if so, he would have to act very differently from what he was acting at that time.

I told her that the Jewish doctors contended that the amorous disposition is peculiar to the male. I asked her if she had ever seen in the private life of Jesus any signs of such disposition. She said she had not. I asked if she saw in him any particular fondness for female society. She said she had not; if anything, rather the contrary; that the young bethaul (the word in the Hebrew for young women) were all very fond of him, and were always seeking his society, and yet he seemed to care nothing for them; and if they appeared too fond of him, he treated them almost with scorn.

He will often get up and leave them, and wonder away and spend his time in meditation and prayer. He is a perfect ascetic in his life. ‘When I see how the people like to be with him, and ask him questions, and seem to take such delight with his answers-both men and women-it almost vexes me.

Note: This information was given to the Sanhedrim by Gamaliel who interviewed both Joseph and Mary and others concerning Jesus. You can find this information in the Hagiographa or Holy writings found in St. Sophia Mosque at Constantinople, made by Gamaliel, in the Talmud’s of the Jews 27 B.

Jesus - His Education

Jonathan's Interview with Massalian, a priest

‘His parents told me of an old man who lived on the road to Bethany who had once been a priest, a man of great learning, and well skilled in the laws and prophets, and that Jesus was often there with him reading the law and prophets together; that his name was Massalian.

Massalian a priest said: He [Jesus] was a young man of the finest thought and feeling he ever saw in his life; that he was the most apt in his answers and solutions of difficult problems of any man of his age he had ever seen; that his answers seem to give more universal satisfaction-so much so that the oldest philosopher would not dispute with him, or in any manner join issue with him, or ask the second time.

I asked Massalian who taught him to read and interpret the law and the prophets. He said that his mother said that he had always know how to read the law; that his mind seemed to master it from the beginning; and into the laws of nature and the relation of man to his fellow in his teachings or talks, he gives a deeper insight, inspiring mutual love and strengthening the common trust of society.

Another plan he has of setting men right with the laws of nature: he turns nature into a great law book of illustrations, showing that every bush is a flame, every rock a fountain of water, every star a pillar of fire, and every cloud the one that leads to God. He makes all nature preach the doctrine of trust in the divine Fatherhood. He speaks of the lilies as pledges of God’s care, and points to the fowls as evidence of his watchfulness over human affairs.

Who can measure the distance between God and the flower of the field? What connection is there between man and the lily? By such illustrations he creates solicitude in man that seems to awe him into reverence, and he becomes attracted toward heavenly thought, and feels that he is in the presence of one that is superior. In this talk he brings one to feel he is very near the presence of God.

He says how much more you’re Father. The plane is one, though the intermediate points are immeasurably distant. Thus by beginning with a flower he reasons upward to the absolute, and then descends and teaches lessons of trust in a loving Father.

The lessons of trust in God reassure the anxious listener and create an appetite that makes him long for more; and if often seems when he has brought his hearers to the highest point of anxiety, he suddenly breaks off and leaves his company as though he cared nothing for them.

Through Jesus, in his teachings or talks (his words sound so much like the teaching of Hillel or Shammai that I must call it teaching, though he has no special scholars), we learn that God is Spirit, and God is Father; and he says these are the only two things that are essential for man to know.

“Massalian says he is tempted at times to become impatient with Jesus, as he devotes so much time to details. It seems almost a waste of time for a man who came to save the world to be lingering over a special case of disease. I asked him if Jesus had healed anyone. He said not as yet; but if he is to be King of the Jews, he was to heal all nations, and why not do it at once?

Jesus said ‘the people must learn to love and obey the Father before they would reverence the Son.’ Yes, he said the God that Jesus represented was one that the people might love and venerate; that he was a God of love, and had no bloody designs to execute on even a bad man, provided he ceased his evil ways.’

“It is to be noted that in all Jesus’ talk there are manifest references to the future. Many of his statements were like a sealed letter-not to be opened but by time. A grain of mustard was to result in a large tree. All his ideas refer to the future; like the parent helping the child with his burden of today, by telling of the blessings of tomorrow.

Jesus was a young man who was the best judge of human nature he had ever seen; that he though at times he could tell men their thoughts and expose their bad principles; and while he had all these advantages of life, he seemed neither to care for them nor to use them abusively. He seems to like all men - one as well as another - so much so that his own parents have become disgusted with him, and have almost cast him off. But Jesus has such a peculiar temperament that he seems not to care, and is as well satisfied with one as another.

He said that Jesus seemed fond of Mary and Martha, who lived at Bethany, and probably I might find him there. “Massalian is a man of very deep thought and most profound judgment. All his life he has made the Scriptures his study. He, too, is a good judge of human nature, and he is satisfied that Jesus is the Christ.

I asked him where Jesus was taught to read the prophecy. He said that his mother told him that Jesus could read from the beginning; that no one had ever taught him to read. He said that he, in making quotations from the prophets, was sometimes mistaken or his memory failed him; but Jesus could correct him every time without the scroll; and that sometimes he thought Jesus was certainly mistaken, but never in a single instance was he wrong.

Jesus - What He Looked Like

I asked him to describe his person to me, so that I might know him if I should meet him. He said: ‘If you ever meet him you will know him. While he is nothing but a man, there is something about him that distinguishes him from every other man.

‘He is the picture of his mother, only he has not her smooth, round face. His hair is a little more golden than hers, though it is as much from sunburn as anything else. He is tall, and his shoulders are a little drooped; his visage is thin and of a swarthy complexion, though this is from exposure. His eyes are large and a soft blue, and rather dull and heavy. The lashes are long, and his eyebrows very large. His nose is that of a Jew. In fact, he reminds me of an old-fashioned Jew in every sense of the word.

He is not a great talker, unless there is something brought up about heaven and divine things, when his tongue moves glibly and his eyes light up with a peculiar brilliancy; though there is this peculiarity about Jesus, he never argues a question; he never disputes. He will commence and state facts and they are on such a solid basis that nobody will have the boldness to dispute with him.

Though he has such mastership of judgment, he takes no pride in confuting his opponents, but always seems to be sorry for them. I have seen him attacked by the scribes and doctors of the law, and they seemed like little children learning their lessons under a master. His strongest points are in the spiritual power of the law and the intentions of the prophets.

Note: This information was given to the Sanhedrim by Gamaliel who interviewed both Joseph and Mary and others concerning Jesus. You can find this information in the Hagiographa or Holy writings found in St. Sophia Mosque at Constantinople, made by Gamaliel, in the Talmud’s of the Jews 27 B.

Jonathan's Interview with Lazarus

Lazarus says: When they were out in the mountains, as they are most all the time, Jesus can tell him all about the flowers, trees, and rocks, can tell him everything in the world, and that none of the wild animals are afraid of him. He says often the stag and the wolf will come and stand for Jesus to stroke their mane, and seem almost loath to go away from him. He says that no poisonous serpent will offer to hiss at him.

“Now, Master of Israel, after having investigated this matter [Jesus]; after tracing Jesus from his conception to the present time; after obtaining all the information that is to be had on this important subject, getting it from those who are more likely to tell the truth from the fact they are disinterested persons; and then taking a prophetical as well as a historical view of the subject.

I have come to the conclusion that this is the Christ that we are looking for.

Note: This information was given to the Sanhedrim by Gamaliel who interviewed both Joseph and Mary and others concerning Jesus. You can find this information in the Hagiographa or Holy writings found in St. Sophia Mosque at Constantinople, made by Gamaliel, in the Talmud’s of the Jews 27 B.

John 1:1, 14

The creative force of God called the Word made flesh see John 1:1, 14.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.     (NKJV)

Nicodemus

‘There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.’ John 3:1, 2

How did he know?
Answer: From reading of Jonathan’s interview with the Bethlehem shepherds and the letter from Melker, Priest of the Synagogue at Bethlehem also the letter from Gamaliel who the Sanhedrim sent to investigate Jesus, was he the Messiah (Christ) or not. These letters of the Sanhedrim are located in the Talmud of the Jews at St. Sophia Mosque at Constantinople. That’s why he could say ‘we know’.

Acts 10:38-43

...how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.  And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.  Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,  not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.  To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered,  "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.      (NKJV)

1 John 4:13-15

By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.      (NKJV)

Caiaphas the High Priest - On the Resurrection of Jesus

‘All the soldiers he had conversed with were convinced that Jesus was resurrected by supernatural power and was still living, and that he was no human being, for the light and the angels and the dead that came out of their graves all went to prove that something had happened that never occurred on earth before.

From this I am convinced that something transcending the laws of nature took place that morning, that cannot be accounted for upon natural laws, and I find it is useless to try to get any of the soldiers to deny it, for they are so excited that they cannot be reasoned with. I regret that I had the soldiers placed at the tomb, for the very things that they were to prevent they have helped to establish.

1.  Mary says: The stone that covered the sepulcher was rolled to one side, and two men dressed in flowing white were sitting, one at each end of the sepulcher. Mary asked them where was her Lord; they said, ‘He is risen from the dead; did he not tell you he would rise the third day and show himself to the people, to prove that he was the Lord of life?’ Go tell his disciples, said they.

2.  Mary and Joanna said: As they returned they met the Master, who told them that he was the resurrection and the life; all that will accept shall be resurrected from the second death. ‘We fell at his feet, all bathed in tears, and when we rose up he was gone,’

‘Both these women wept for joy while relating these circumstances, and John shouted aloud, which made me [Caiaphas] tremble in every limb, for I could not help thinking that something that was the exclusive work of God had occurred, but what it all meant was a great mystery to me. It might be, I said, that God had sent this message by the mouth of this stranger; it might be that he was the seed of the woman, and we his people had executed him.’

‘ I asked John and Peter if they could give me any further evidence in regard to this man; that I wished to be informed of his private history.

3.  Peter says: Jesus was a man so pleasant in his character, and so like a child in innocence, that no one could help liking him after he got acquainted with him; that though he seemed to be stern and cold, he was not so in reality; that he was exceedingly kind, especially to the poor; that he would make any sacrifice for the sick and needy, and would spare no effort to impart knowledge to anyone that would call on him.

4.  Peter continues: And that his knowledge was so profound that he had seen him interrogated by the most learned doctors of the law, and he always gave the most perfect satisfaction, and that the sopher or scribes, and the Hillelites [from the school of Hillel], and Shammaites [from the school of Shammai] were afraid to open their mouths in his presence. They had attacked him so often and been repelled that they shunned him as they would a wolf; but when he had repelled them he did not enjoy the triumph as they did over others of whom they had gotten the ascendancy.

5.  Peter continues: As to his private life, he seemed not to be a man of pleasure, nor of sorrow. He mingled with society to benefit it, and yet took no part at all in what was going on. Once when we were attending a marriage-feast the wine gave out, and his mother told him of it, and he said to the men to fill up some water-pots that were sitting near, and they put in nothing but water, for I watched them, but when they poured it out it was wine, for it was tasted by all at the feast, and when the master found it out he called for Jesus to honor him, but he had disappeared. It seemed that he did not want to be popular, and this spirit displeased us, for we knew if he was to be king of the Jews he must become popular with the Jews.

6.  Peter continues: Another peculiarity was that in his presence everyone felt safe. There seemed to be an almighty power pervading the air wherever he went so that everyone felt secure, and believed that no harm could befall them if Jesus were present.

7.  Peter continues: As we were in our fishing-boat I saw Jesus coming out toward us, walking on the water. I knew that if he could make the waves support him, he could me also. I asked him if I might come to him; he said to me to come, but when I saw the waves gathering around me I began to sink, and asked him to help me. He lifted me up, and told me to have faith in God.

8.  Peter continues: On another occasion we were sailing on the sea, and there was a great storm. It blew at a fearful rate, and all on board thought they would be lost; we awakened the master, and when he saw the raging of the storm he stretched out his hand and said, “Peace, be still!” and the wind ceased to blow, the thunder stopped, the lightning’s withdrew, and the billowing sea seemed as quiet as a babe in its mother’s arms-all done in one moment of time. This I saw with my own eyes, and from that time I was convinced that he was not a common man.

9.  Peter continues: There was a blind man, who cried out to him for mercy, and Jesus said to me, “Go, bring him near,” and when I brought him near Jesus asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to see him. Jesus said, “Receive thy sight,” when he was not near enough for Jesus to lay his hands upon him or use art. Thus were all his miracles performed.

10.  Peter continues: Jesus did not act as the Egyptian necromancers (conjurer of spirits), he used nothing but his simple speech in such a way that all could understand him and it seemed as if the laws of nature were his main instruments of action, and that nature was as obedient to him as a slave to his master.

11.  Peter continues: I recall another occasion when a young man was dead; [Lazarus] and Jesus loved his sisters. One of them went with Jesus to the tomb. He commanded it to be uncovered. The sister said, “Master, by this time he is offensive; he had been dead four days.” Jesus said, “Only have faith,” and he called the young man by name, and he came forth out of the tomb, and is living to-day,’ and Peter proposed that I should see him for myself.

“Thus argue Peter and John. If Jesus had such power over nature and nature’s laws, and power over death in others, he would have such power over death that he could lay down his life and take it up again, as he said he would do. As he proposes to bring hundreds of witnesses to prove all he says, and much more-witnesses whose veracity cannot be doubted-it throws me into great agitation. I feel sure that if I should meet Jesus I would fall dead at his feet; and it seemed to me if I went out I should be sure to meet him.

I locked my door and gave the guards orders to let no one in without first giving me notice. While thus engaged, with no one in the room but my wife and Annas, her father, when I lifted up my eyes, behold Jesus of Nazareth stood before me. My breath stopped, my blood ran cold, and I was in the act of falling, when he spoke and said, ‘Be not afraid, it is I. You condemned me that you might go free. This is the work of my Father. Your only wrong is, you have a wicked heart; this you must repent of. This last lamb you have slain is the one that was appointed before the foundation; this sacrifice is made for all men. Your other lambs were for those who offered them; this is for all, this is the last; it is for you if you will accept it. I died that you and all mankind might be saved.’

At this he looked at me with such melting tenderness that it seemed to me I was nothing but tears, and my strength was all gone. I fell on my face at his feet as one that was dead. When Annas lifted me up Jesus was gone, and the door still locked. No one could tell when or where he went.
Caiaphas High Priest

Now from our information about Jesus from the Talmud we go to Rome and the letters written to the rulers. These were found in the Vatican of Rome.

Valleus Paterculus - a Roman historian

Valleus Paterculus, a Roman historian, his work is called Historia Romania.
He held the office of praeter when Augustus died, and while Vinceus was consul.

Valleus says:  That in Judea he met a man called Jesus of Nazareth, who was one of the most remarkable characters he had ever seen; that he was more afraid of Jesus than of a whole army, for he cured all manner of diseases and raised the dead, and when he cursed the orchards or fruit-trees for their barrenness, they instantly withered to their roots. After referring to the wonderful works of Jesus, he says that, although Jesus had such power, he did not use it to injure any one, but seemed always inclined to help the poor.’
Valleus Paterculus, B. 72, found in the Vatican at Rome.

(Valleus’s Notes.-Acta Pilati, or Pilate’s report to Caesar of the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of Jesus)

Pilate's Report to Tiberius

“To Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of Rome.”

‘A young man, it was said, had appeared in Galilee preaching with a noble unction a new law in the name of the God that had sent him. At first I was apprehensive that his design was to stir up the people against the Romans, but my fears were soon dispelled. Jesus of Nazareth spoke rather as friend of the Romans than of the Jews.’

‘One day in passing by the place of Siloe, where there was a great concourse of people, I observed in the midst of the group a young man who was leaning against a tree, calmly addressing the multitude. I was told it was Jesus. This I could easily have suspected, so great was the difference between him and those listening to him.’

Pilate's Description of Jesus
‘His golden-colored hair and beard gave to his appearance a celestial aspect. He appeared to be about thirty years of age. Never have I seen a sweeter or more serene countenance. What a contrast between him and his hearers, with their black beards and tawny complexions!

‘My secretary’s name is Manlius, he had been for a long time an inhabitant of Judea, and is well acquainted with the Hebrew language. He was devoted to me, and worthy of my confidence. On entering the praetorium I found Manlius, who related to me the words Jesus had pronounced at Siloe.’

‘Never have I read in the works of the philosophers anything that can compare to the maxims of Jesus. One of the rebellious Jews, so numerous in Jerusalem, having asked Jesus if it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar, he replied: ‘Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar and unto God the things that are Gods.’

‘It was on account of the wisdom of his sayings that I granted so much liberty to the Nazarene; for it was in my power to have had him arrested, and exiled to Pontus; but that would have been contrary to the justice which has always characterized the Roman government in all its dealings with men; this man was neither seditious nor rebellious; I extended to him my protection unknown perhaps to himself. He was at liberty to act, to speak, to assemble and address the people, and to choose disciples, unrestrained by any praetorian mandate.’

‘This unlimited freedom granted to Jesus provoked the Jews-not the poor, but the rich and powerful. It is true, Jesus was severe on the latter, and this was a political reason, in my opinion, for not restraining the liberty of the Nazarene.’

‘Scribes and Pharisees,’ he would say to them, ‘you are a race of vipers; you resemble painted sepulchers; you appear well unto men, but you have death within you.’ At other times he would sneer at the alms of the rich and proud, telling them that ‘the mite of the poor was more precious in the sight of God.’ Complaints were daily made at the praetorium against the insolence of Jesus.’

Pilate describes his first meeting with Jesus
‘I wrote to Jesus requesting an interview with him at the Praetorium. He came. You know that in my veins flows the Spanish mixed with Roman blood - as incapable of fear as it is of weak emotion. When the Nazarene made his appearance, I was walking in my basilica, and my feet seemed fastened with an iron hand to the marble pavement, and I trembled in every limb as does a guilty culprit, though the Nazarene was as calm as innocence itself.’

‘When he came up to me he stopped, and by a signal sign he seemed to say to me, ‘I am here,’ though he spoke not a word.’ “Jesus said I unto him at last - and my tongue faltered - Jesus of Nazareth, for the last three years I have granted you ample freedom of speech; nor do I regret it. You words are those of a sage. I know not whether you have read Socrates or Plato, but this I know, there is in your discourses a majestic simplicity that elevates you far above those philosophers.’

‘The Emperor is informed of it, and I, his humble representative in this country, am glad of having allowed you that liberty of which you are so worthy. However, I must not conceal from you that your discourses have raised up against you powerful and inveterate enemies. My request - I do not say my order - is, that you be more circumspect and moderate in your discourse in the future, and more considerate of them, lest you arouse the pride of your enemies, and they raise against you the stupid populace, and compel me to employ the instrument of law.’

‘The Nazarene calmly replied: ‘Prince of the earth, your words proceed not from true wisdom. Say to the torrent to stop in the midst of the mountain-gorge: it will uproot the trees of the valley. The torrent will answer you that it obeys the laws of nature and the creator. God alone knows whither flow the waters of the torrent. Verily I say unto you, before the rose of Sharon blossoms the blood of the just shall be spilt.’

“Your blood shall not be spilt,’ said I, with deep emotion.”

‘Jesus carelessly shook his head, and said with a grave and divine smile: ‘When the day shall have come there will be no asylums for the son of man neither in the earth nor under the earth. The asylum of the just is there,’ pointing to the heavens. That which is written in the books of the prophets must be accomplished.’

‘You must observe more moderation in your discourses. Do not infringe my order. You know the consequences. May happiness attend you; farewell.’

‘Prince of the earth,’ replied Jesus, ‘I come not to bring war into the world, but peace, love, and charity. I was born the same day on which Augustus Caesar gave peace to the Roman world. Persecutions proceed not from me. I expect it from others, and will meet it in obedience to the will of my Father, who has shown me the way. Restrain, therefore, your worldly prudence. It is not in your power to arrest the victim at the foot of the tabernacle of expiation.’

‘So saying, he disappeared like a bright shadow behind the curtains of the basilica - to my great relief, for I felt a heavy burden on me, of which I could not relieve myself while in his presence.’

Pilate meets with Herod
‘Herod called on me at the praetorium, and, on rising to take leave, after some trifling conversation, asked me what was my opinion concerning the Nazarene. I replied that Jesus appeared to me to be one of those great philosophers that great nations sometimes produced; that his doctrines were by no means sacrilegious, and that the intentions of Rome were to leave him to that freedom of speech which was justified by his actions. Herod smiled maliciously, and, saluting me with ironical respect, departed.’

The Passover
‘The great feast of the Jews was approaching, and the intention was to avail themselves of the popular exultation which always manifests itself at the solemnities of a Passover. The city was overflowing with a tumultuous populace, clamoring for the death of the Nazarene. My emissaries informed me that the treasure of the temple had been employed in bribing the people. The danger was pressing.

‘Jesus was dragged before the High Priest and condemned to death. It was then that the High Priest, Caiaphas, performed a divisory act of submission. He sent his prisoner to me to confirm his condemnation and secure his execution. I answered him that, as Jesus was a Galilean; the affair came under Herod’s jurisdiction, and ordered him to be sent thither.’

Pilate's Wife
‘I had taken a wife from among the Gauls, who pretended to see into futurity. Weeping and throwing herself at my feet she said to me: ‘Beware, beware, and touch not that man; for he is holy. Last night I saw him in a vision. He was walking on the waters; he was flying on the wings of the wind. He spoke to the tempest and to the fishes of the lake; all were obedient to him.’

‘Behold, the torrent in Mount Kedron flows with blood, the statues of Caesar are filled with gemonide; the columns of the interium have given away, and the sun is veiled in mourning like a vestal in the tomb. Ah! Pilate, evil waits thee. If thou wilt not listen to the vows of thy wife, dread the curse of a Roman Senate; dread the frowns of Caesar.’

The day of the Crucifixion
‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ cried the relentless rabble. The vociferations of the infuriated mob shook the palace to it foundations.’

‘There was but one who appeared to be calm in the midst of the vast multitude; it was the Nazarene. After many fruitless attempts to protect him from the fury of his merciless persecutors, I adopted a measure which at the moment appeared to me to be the only one that could save his life. I proposed, as it was their custom to deliver a prisoner on such occasions, to release Jesus and let him go free, that he might be the scapegoat, as they called it; but they said Jesus must be crucified.’

‘I then spoke to them of the inconsistency of their course as being incompatible with their laws, showing that no criminal judge could pass sentence on a criminal unless he had fasted one whole day; and that the sentence must have the consent of the Sanhedrim, and the signature of the president of that court; that no criminal could be executed on the same day his sentence was fixed, and the next day, on the day of his execution, the Sanhedrim was required to review the whole proceeding;’

‘Also, according to their law, a man was stationed at the door of the court with a flag, and another a short way off on horseback to cry the name of the criminal and his crime, and the names of his witnesses, and to know if any one could testify in his favor; and the prisoner on his way to execution had the right to turn back three times, and to plead any new thing in his favor.’

‘I urged all these pleas, hoping they might awe them into subjection; but they still cried, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Often in our civil commotions have I witnessed the furious anger of the multitude, but nothing could be compared to what I witnessed on this occasion. It might have been truly said that all the phantoms of the infernal regions had assembled at Jerusalem.’

‘By degrees the day darkened like a winter’s twilight, such as had been at the death of the great Julius Caesar. It was likewise the Ides of March. I, the continued governor of a rebellious province, was leaning against a column of my basilica, contemplating athwart the dreary gloom these fiends of Tartarus dragging to execution the innocent Nazarene.’

‘A loud clamor was heard proceeding from Golgotha, which, borne on the winds, seemed to announce an agony such as was never heard by mortal ears. Dark clouds lowered over the pinnacle of the temple, and setting over the city covered it as with a veil. So dreadful were the signs that men saw both in the heavens and on the earth that Dionysius the Aeropagite is reported to have exclaimed, ‘Either the author of nature is suffering or the universe is falling apart.’

‘Whilst these appalling scenes of nature were transpiring, there was a dreadful earthquake in lower Egypt, which filled everybody with fear, and scared the superstitious Jews almost to death. Near the first hour of the night I threw my mantle around me, and went down into the city toward the gates of Golgotha. The sacrifice was consummated.

Pilate recounts the Resurrection
‘A few days after the sepulcher was found empty. His disciples proclaimed all over the country that Jesus had risen from the dead, as he had foretold. This created more excitement even than the crucifixion. As to its truth I cannot say for certain, but I have made some investigation of the matter; so you can examine for yourself, and see if I am in fault, as Herod represents.’

‘The day after he was buried one of the priests came to the praetorium and said they were apprehensive that his disciples intended to steal the body of Jesus and hide it, and then make it appear that he had risen from the dead, as he had foretold, and of which they were perfectly convinced. I sent him to the captain of the royal guard (Malcus) to tell him to take the Jewish soldiers, place as many around the sepulcher as were needed; then if anything should happen they could blame themselves, and not the Romans.’

‘When the great excitement arose about the sepulcher being found empty, I felt a deeper solicitude than ever. I sent for Malcus, who told me he had placed his lieutenant, Ben Isham, with one hundred soldiers, around the sepulcher. He told me that Isham and the soldiers were very much alarmed at what had occurred there that morning.’

‘Isham said that at about the beginning of the fourth watch they saw a soft and beautiful light over the sepulcher. He at first thought that the women had come to embalm the body of Jesus, as was their custom, but he could not see how they had gotten through the guards. While these thoughts were passing through his mind, behold, the whole place was lighted up, and there seemed to be crowds of the dead in their grave clothes.’

‘All seemed to be shouting and filled with ecstasy, while all around and above was the most beautiful music he had ever heard; and the whole air seemed to be full of voices praising God. At this time there seemed to be a reeling and swimming of the earth, so that he turned so sick and faint that he could not stand on his feet.’

‘I asked him how long the scene lasted. He said he did not know, but he thought nearly an hour. He said it was hid by the light of day. I asked him if he went to the sepulcher after he had come to himself. He said no, because he was afraid; that just as soon as relief came they all went to the quarters.’

‘I asked him if he had been questioned by the priests. He said he had. They wanted him to say it was an earthquake, and that they were asleep, and offered him money to say that the disciples came and stole Jesus; but he saw no disciples; he did not know that the body was gone until he was told.’

‘I asked him what was the private opinion of those priests he had conversed with. He said that some of them thought the Jesus was no man; that he was not a human being; and that the same person had been on the earth before with Abraham and Lot, and at many times and places.;

‘I am almost ready to say, as did Manlius at the cross, ‘Truly this was the Son of God.’

“I am your most obedient servant, Pontius Pilate.”

The Letters of Hillel the Third

‘Now, I wish my Jewish brethren to understand that I am not a follower of this Nazarene that had created so much strife among the people, neither do I endorse his new doctrines; yet I think it would be well for us not to be too hasty in forming our conclusions on this or any other subject. I heard Peter preach the other day, and as he and John came out of the temple there was a man that had been lying around at the gates and public crossings for years. He was unable to walk, having no soundness in his feet and ankle-bones.’

‘As they were passing him he asked them for help. Peter said he had nothing to give, said he, ‘In the name of Jesus the Son of God, I say unto thee, rise up and walk;’ and the man sprang to his feet, seemingly perfectly sound, and commenced praising God at the top of his voice, which caused a great commotion among the people, and the police came and took Peter and John to prison as peace-breakers. I thought I never saw such an outrage. It is right to arrest men for doing evil, but to arrest and imprison men for doing good is something I cannot comprehend. This has been the fault of us Jews in all time.’

‘There is the power of Moses; there is the power of Jehovah manifest in human flesh; this was the peculiar power of Jesus of Nazareth; and because he did not work according to Jewish rule they condemned him to die. It was not because his works were not good works, but because he did not do them according to Jewish custom.’

Hillel gives an Example of Peter’s preaching
‘I was forcibly struck with Peter’s sermon. He said: ‘There was a rich man who had one son. This son had been trying for a long time to build him a house. He was homeless and exposed too many dangers and trouble for the want of a house, until he was almost exhausted and was ready to perish.’

‘And his father had compassion on his son and built him a house, with everything needful for the necessities and comforts of his child. And when it was finished he went and brought his son to see it. And his son was delighted, and said it was much better than he could have built himself.’

‘And his father said, ‘Son, I love you. I give you this house. Will you accept it?’ ‘With all my heart, dear father with grateful acknowledgements.’

‘Now,’ Peter said, ‘here is the picture of the world which has been working, struggling, and striving for ages to build them a home for the soul of man. They have worked by the laws of men, by building fine temples, by offering sacrifices, by paying tithes to the Lord, by walking hundreds of miles to the temple barefooted and bareheaded, by keeping holy days and festivals, and all to no purpose.’

‘The soul has become wearied out of patience, and still, no rest, until man had become dissatisfied not only with himself, but with his God and his service. And while in this despairing condition God our Father comes in the person of Jesus, whom the Jews crucified and in his death he prepared a house of rest, and now proposes to his children to accept what he has done for them, and stop working and worrying to try to fit themselves for a higher station and a happier life.’ And Peter asked, ‘Who will accept?’

Tacitus - the historian
Tacitus, a historian who wrote in Italy, records the fact that among many ‘there was a persuasion that in the ancient books of the priesthood it was written that at this precise time [speaking about the prophecy of the seventy weeks in Daniel and its fulfillment in the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ] the East should become mighty, and that those issuing from Judea should rule the world.’

Suetonius - a Latin historian
Suetonius, another Latin historian, writes ‘that in the East an ancient and constant opinion prevailed that it was fated there should issue at this time from Judea those who should obtain rule the world.’

“There is no subject which literature approaches with such diffidence as the personal character and history of Jesus Christ. There is no theme on which language is found so inadequate and imperfect. A person in human form, with every attribute of humanity, except sin, exhibiting perfect goodness in combination with infallible wisdom, clothed with extensive power over physical nature, and knowledge of futurity at once extensive and circumstantial; the interpositions running back to the very foundation of the world.

Himself the beginning and cause of a new order of things, embracing the whole world and all succeeding times; his doctrines destined to sway the minds of the millions of the human race, to form their opinions, to mould their characters, to shape their expectations, to reign in their minds, and judge their actions, to convict and purify their consciences, to cleanse them from sin, and prepare them for his own society and the presence of God in the spiritual world.

Worthily to speak of such a being is a task before which I confess that my speech falters and my vocabulary seems meager and inadequate.

Hillel on the Teachings of Jesus
‘Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth whither it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.’
‘Spiritual birth, true religion, is not confined, as you Jews suppose, to one tribe or family. It is as free as air, and the kingdom of God, which you expect to be a national thing, will spread over the earth as that does, without any regard to the boundaries of nations and kindred’s. Its empire is the soul, every where free, everyone capable of receiving it, not more in those material bodies have descended from Abraham than those who have never heard of his name. If you really desire, then, to enter into the kingdom of God, to be my disciple, come not here by night, go openly and be baptized. Be a Christian, not outwardly alone, but inwardly; hear my doctrines, receive my spirit, and trust no more to your descent from Abraham.’

Such was the transcendent wisdom of the Savior, from the very commencement of his mission.
Hillel

Matthew 22:41-42

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,  saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?".      (NKJV)


What do you think of Christ? Whose son is He?

 


 



From the Scriptures
and The Archko Volume (The Archko Press 231 Jefferson, S.E. Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 1964)
 

Bibliography

 

 


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