The men who rule are troubled – The fame of John the Baptizer – Herodians test John
– “Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted?” – The Anointed One shall
purge his house – John speaks of the temple which Herod built – John speaks to a
Zealot concerning the Anointed One – Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince
of Peace – “Mark well the goodly man” – John dreams a dream, waits by the river Jordan
for three days and nights – “Behold, O Israel, he comes”
1 In the third year of Pilate’s rule did all Galilee and Judea become troubled because
of John, for he sent forth his disciples to all the regions round about, preaching
always that the kingdom of Heaven was near at hand and baptizing many unto repentance.
2 Hearing, therefore, that John baptized in the waters of Jordan, by the lands of
Perea, Pilate inquired of Herod Antipas concerning him; for the Jews were ever disputing
among themselves the coming of the Anointed One, seeking always to throw off the
yoke and power of Rome.
3 For there had arisen aforetime, Judas of Gamala, the Galilean who refused the
census of Quirinius, and in great wrath he caused that many should lift the sword
against Caesar, and there was crucified of his followers some two thousand souls.
4 Now Herod, hearing from Pilate concerning this John, called forth from among his
ministries certain men and commanded that they should see for themselves this man
who, by word and deed, caused all Israel to wonder.
5 And having received their authority from the king, they left the city of Tiberius
by way of the sea, and they traveled throughout the cities of Decapolis and crossing
Jordan into Judea they made inquiry concerning John.
6 Now there came from distant lands, Jews from Tyre and Sidon, from Damascus and
Edessa, and from Alexandria and Pelusium seeking to hear for themselves the words
of the Essene.
7 And many marveled concerning him, and unto whatever person who would take to their
soul the words of the prophet, believing with all their heart the coming of the one
promised, even they would be filled with dreams and visions, which thing troubled
the rulers of the temple.
8 And they exclaimed aloud in their secret chambers, saying: “Is this thing not
prophesied among us: ‘Behold, in that day I will pour out my spirit upon flesh; and
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and
in the night shall your young men see mighty visions.
9 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in that day shall I pour forth
all my Spirit, that unto many might be revealed the coming of my Anointed.’
10 What then shall we do with this man who by the power of his word has troubled
the Jews of every nation? For except we act wisely, we shall lose our place, and
none will have regard for us.”
11 Thus did the rulers of the land take thought concerning that prophet who proclaimed
in the wilderness the coming of the Lord; from Caesarea to Tiberius by the sea, even
unto Jerusalem did many conspire against the man night and day, hoping that by some
means they might be rid of him.
12 Now in the month of Nisan there came out unto the river Jordan a company of scribes
and Pharisees seeking John, and there was with them certain men of the Herodians,
and one of them asked, saying: “If you are truly a prophet of God as these many believe,
then tell us truly: By what sign shall we know the coming forth of the Anointed One?
13 For the scriptures say that even so great a one as he shall come to his temple.
Tell us, therefore, by what means shall we know him, for many have come who would
take to themselves the throne of David, who by their pretenses deceived many, which
thing caused that all Israel should suffer.”
14 And John rising from his place spoke unto them, saying: “Would the sons of darkness
follow the Father of light? Behold how stiff-necked and over-proud you are become;
for you stand before the people as teachers of the law, yet in your private councils
you break in pieces the word of God; that having received both the law and the prophets
through the dispensation of angels, you are filled with all manner of corruption
15 Come and answer truly, even before all these people, which of the prophets have
your fathers not persecuted? For even those prophets who would show forth the coming
of the Anointed One, even these have your fathers murdered.
16 Yet you say that you are Abraham’s seed, having received in your flesh the sign
of the covenant. But in Abraham was faith magnified unto good works and he was called
the friend of God, while yet you are strangers still, being disobedient and uncircumcised
17 Therefore, if you would receive to yourself the coming of the Anointed One, circumcise
yourselves unto the Lord; let your hearts be circumcised you men of Judah; let the
inhabitants of Jerusalem adorn themselves even as a bride, for the Lord shall come
to the holy city; and there shall spring from his mouth fountains of deep wisdom
and hidden things, and from his hand shall flow a multitude of blessing and healing.
18 Say not, O Zion: Behold, the Lord has forsaken me, even the Father has forgotten
Israel, for we are left to despair continually; in sorrow and servitude are we all
19 Can a mother forget the child at her breast, or have no compassion on the child
of her womb? And even though she forget, yet will I remember you, saith the Lord.
20 For I have engraved you on the tablets of my heart; I have established you in
the palms of my hands; for Israel have I made as the apple of my eye, and Zion as
a seal upon my heart.
21 Gather you round about, O Israel, and to the words which I speak give heed. Let
the busy hand cease its labor; let the nations be silent, for I bring you tidings
of great joy, for there shall come unto you the very anointed of God.
22 Let the wicked forsake his ways and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and turn
you again unto God for he is filled with mercy, and his hand is outstretched still,
and whosoever shall turn again unto God, even that one shall find an abundance of
23 Therefore, you teachers of the law give heed, for your conspirings shall become
as a snare about your feet, for in that day when the Anointed shall enter the courtyard
of the temple, he shall come not to bless but to scourge.
24 Against you shall he make strong accusation before all the people; by his zeal
shall he fan the flames of his indignation; he shall purge his house every whit.
Surely he shall go forth to harvest and to gather, and the wheat shall he take unto
himself, but even all the chaff shall he scatter upon the winds, being unprofitable
and good for nothing.
25 And think not to yourselves, you sons of darkness, that in the temple you shall
be made clean before the Lord at his coming; neither think you that God shall be
pleased with that house which Herod built, for God has rejected even all his offering
for Rachel’s sake.
26 For I tell you truly that David desired with all his heart to build a house unto
the name of the Lord, but God forbid him, saying:
27 ‘Surely you shall not build a temple unto my name, for you are a man of war,
having shed much blood upon the land in the sight of the Lord. For this cause shall
I give unto you a son, and he shall be a man of peace, and I will give him rest from
all his enemies.
28 He it is that will build a house unto the Lord, and he shall be my son, and I
shall be unto him as a father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom in
peace and plenty, and I shall send forth my glory that it might dwell upon that house
which he shall build unto me.’
29 If God, therefore, would not that David should build for him a temple, having
made red his hands by blood, how much more shall God reject that temple which Herod
built, seeing that in his madness he murdered his wife and sons for the sake of his
30 For which of you have not heard for yourselves this saying among the house of
Israel: It is better to be Herod’s hog than to be his son.
31 For Herod, in the midst of his power, did build a house made all beautiful on
the outside, having adorned it with great riches, yet inwardly is it filled with
hypocrisy and deceit; having spilled upon the altar the innocent blood of Zacharias.”
32 Now when the scribes and Pharisees heard these things, they were pricked to the
heart, and the Herodians also did rage at the condemnation of the king before all
the people; yet for all their anger they would not lay hold of John for all Israel
thought him a prophet of God.
33 Now there came unto John certain of his disciples and one of them, being a Zealot,
spoke, saying: “Rabboni, we know that you are sent by God unto the people, tell us,
therefore, by what power shall the Anointed One throw off the power of Rome. For
at his coming we would lift the sword against the oppressor, that we might establish
again in Jerusalem the throne of David.”
34 And John, hearing this, was filled with compassion and he answered, saying: “Are
you also without understanding? Would you secure the promises of God with the sword?
35 For there have come many who would claim themselves the very Promised One; yet
for all their many strivings they were left desolate, and all Israel filled with
36 Of them was it written: The way of peace they do not know; in all their ways
is mercy fled away. They have turned unto crooked paths all who follow after, and
their way is multiplied in sorrow.
37 How long shall you suffer your sons to perish because you are without understanding?
How long, O Israel, shall your mothers lament and your daughters weep aloud? For
you are without understanding; you are left desolate because of God you have no knowledge.
38 Consider, therefore, how the Anointed One shall make himself known unto the children
of men. For of him did the prophet speak, saying: ‘And he will be called Wonderful
Counselor, even the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And of the
increase of his kingdom and glory there shall be no end.’
39 Thus shall the coming forth of the Righteous One be: for in him have love and
mercy embraced together, and in his countenance are peace and righteousness become
as one upon the earth.
40 Therefore, let your heart be filled with peace towards all men, and thus shall
you add life unto the body. For whosoever shall sow in peace, shall harvest to their
joy an abundance of righteousness. For this cause has God called us to live in peace,
and to refrain our hand from war.
41 Mark well the goodly man. Behold always the paths of the righteous, for the end
of all their ways is peace and joy. For God shall keep in perfect peace the one whose
mind is stayed on him. These shall he bear safely over deep troubles; perplexities
shall surely flee away, for in God have they placed all their trust.
42 Who shall move the godly from their place seeing that God himself has established
all their ways? Keep your eye, therefore, upon the Holy One, and turn you neither
to the left nor the right; then shall his peace enfold you round about, and with
much assurance shall you dwell beside the Lord your God.
43 Therefore, if you would be a follower of the Anointed One, live in peace with
all men, being filled continually with love and mercy, seeking ever the righteous
44 And give to no man evil for evil, insult for insult, injury for injury; but in
blessing only lift high the hand of peace. By such means shall you secure to your
soul the glory of God, and you shall become as the children of the Most High, and
the Holy Spirit shall make rich her abode with you, to dress you round about with
peace and holiness.
45 Of you shall the nations exclaim aloud, saying: ‘How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of those who bring forth glad tidings of good things, who proclaims
unto the people the peaceful way of the Lord.’”
46 Thus spoke John unto those gathered round about, and in the night while yet he
slept, he dreamed a dream filled with wonder. And when it was day again, he arose
and did wash and anoint himself according to his custom, and putting on white garments
he sat himself upon the ground and waited.
47 And for three days and nights John sat beside the river Jordan, and all his disciples
marveled greatly. And one of them, taking a cruse of water, approached unto him and
48 “Rabboni, why will you not come and teach the people, for they have waited for
you these many days? And when we would send them again to their own place, they would
not except that you should first bless them.
49 Come, good master, and arise; for all Israel is troubled because of you. Speak
to us a word, and we shall be satisfied. Why have you tarried so?”
50 And John looking upon his disciples loved them, and turning his face northward,
beyond Jordan, spoke unto all who drew near, saying: “Behold, O Israel, he comes.”