CONCERNING THE STAR; SHOWING HOW AND THROUGH WHAT THE MAGI RECOGNIZED THE STAR, AND THAT JOSEPH DID NOT TAKE MARY AS HIS WIFE
This text is ascribed to Eusebius of Caesarea. It is entitled: Concerning the Star; Showing How and Through What the Magi Recognized the Star, and That Joseph Did Not Take Mary As His Wife. The Greek original appears to have perished; and the Syriac fragment De stella quae Magis apparuit (The Star That Appeared To the Magi), given by Mai in the Nova Patrum Bibl., t. iv., p. 281, is evidently extracted from a different work. This text is from a manuscript in the Nitrian collection, Add. 17,142, a small octavo volume of seventeen leaves, dating apparently from the sixth century. The text is very corrupt.
I will write and inform thee, our dear brother, concerning the righteous of old, and concerning the handing down of the histories of their deeds; and how, and through what, the Magi recognized the Star, and came and worshiped our Lord with their offerings; partly from the Holy Scriptures, and partly as we have found in the true chronicles, which were written and composed by men of old in various cities.
The ancient scribes testify, that everything which was written by the care of Jason in five large books, from the year 88 of the kingdom of the Greeks till the year 177, they themselves abridged hastily in two books, from the year 137, omitting also the things that were done within the space of fifty years. But as regards other things, with the care that they took, they entered into the repository of the archives of their fathers, where were written and deposited the acts of the remaining histories of the Prophets, which were not written in the books of the Prophets; and they found in the chronicles, that the Tabernacle of Witness which Moses made, and the Ark which he constructed, and the Altar of Propitiation which he consecrated,----these the Prophet Jeremiah took, and concealed them in a cave of the mountain on which Moses used to pray. And they also found in these chronicles, that the fire which Moses received from Heaven, and with which the priests used to minister, till the time they went down to Babylon, ---- it too was found to have been buried and concealed by Jeremiah the Prophet in a pit which was in watery ground;and after seventy years it was discovered; and with it the captive priests used to minister on the altar, until the appearance of our Lord. And many other things, which the scribe Aristobulus and his colleagues had written in the book of records, and in the epistles of the kings of the house of David and Hezekiah and Josiah and their companions, were written and deposited there. And when they had found them, they collected them, and wrote them out in the volumes of their books. And through the care of these ancient writers, when they saw that the Jews went to the city of Tyre to praise Herakles, a hero of the Greeks, ---- this too they put into writing; and that Andronicus used treachery towards Onias, the high priest and a famous man, and slew him at Daphne, which lies by Antioch, without any crime, ----not even this did they neglect.
And it was found in the true chronicles of the Persians, which were written and deposited there from ancient generations, that Jerusalem was a warlike city from its earliest days, and did not make much account of kings, and great fortresses were in the midst of it.
And when Sihon, the king of the Amorites, was slain, Moses said: "Now is fulfilled that which was spoken in the ancient proverbs: 'A fire shall go out of Heshbon, and a flame from the city of Sihou, and shall devour the city of Moab, and all the worshipers of the altars of Arnon.'" And when Moses heard that this was written in the books of the Amorites, he too added and put it into his book.
And when King Saul persecuted David, David recited to him some of the ancient proverbs, and said: '"From the wicked proceedeth wickedness, but verily my hand shall not be upon thee;' and because of this my hand is not upon thee, but the hand of the Lord hath power over thee."
And when the people went up from Babylon, and there was a great strife concerning their going up, king Darius commanded, and the books of the records and acts of the preceding kings were called for ; and there was found among their chronicles a roll, in which was written: "I truly, Cyrus, king of Persia, have commanded that the people of the Hebrews should go up from Babylon to Jerusalem, along with the vessels of the service of the house of the Lord." And when king Darius heard this, he too affixed his seal to this order, and commanded that, whosoever should disobey this order, a beam should be pulled down from his house, and they should make it into a cross, and hang him upon it, and that his house should be given up to plunder. And he added of his own goods expenses for the house of the Lord.
And Job, whose time was anterior to that of Moses, ---- before that Moses narrated the history of the creation of Adam, Job said unto his friends, as he had found in the tradition of the generations before him: "This we have found in the world, since Adam was created upon the earth. Who is he that made man upon the face of the earth?" And to his Lord he said: "What shall I do unto Thee, O Maker of man? in return for Thy hands, which have labored and made me, and fashioned me and framed me, when Thou didst curdle me like cheese of milk."
Moses himself too found many things, which were going down and coming by tradition from mouth to ear, from one generation to another; and he put them into his book, although he left out many things which could not be comprised in it. For that which is said of Abraham, that he was enjoining his children and his household to keep the commandments of the Lord, is older than the laws of Moses by four hundred and thirty years. For these commandments, which Abraham was enjoining his household to keep, were received by him, as it were by tradition, from Shem; and Shem too received them from his father Noah; and Noah received them from Enoch; and Enoch received them from Adam; and Adam received them from his Lord. For the barbarous races who keep the commandments 'Thou shalt not kill,' and 'Thou shalt not steal,' and 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' and destroy wizards, and so forth, ---- this is not done as it were by the law of Scripture, but by the law of the mind of ancient tradition, which is older than the law that Moses wrote. For it was not of the law of Scripture that Joseph was afraid, and did not come nigh unto his master's wife; nor was it of the law of Scripture that the king of Gedar was afraid; he and his nobles, and did not come nigh unto Rebecca; nor was it of the law of Scripture that Lot was afraid, and said to the people of Sodom, "Do not do this disgraceful and shameful thing to the men who have entered under the shadow of my roof; but of that law and mind which was born with the ancient generations, and went on, and came by tradition of their children down to the time of Moses, who put into writing those things which were written on the tablets of the heart; for "the law was added because of falling away."
And as many things, which Moses also neglected, are found in chronicles that were written and laid up, so too the history of the Star which the Magi saw, was found in a chronicle which was written and laid up in Arnon, the border of the Moabites and Ammonites. And this history was taken from the place in which it was written, and was conveyed away and deposited in the fortress of Achmethan, which is in Persia. Because that, in the time of Moses, and both before and after Moses, the Assyrians were lords over the land of the Moabites and of the Ammonites, where Balaam said, "A Star shall rise out of Jacob, and a Head shall arise in Israel." And it was not merely over the land of the children of Lot that the Assyrians were lords, but also over the land of Sihon and of Og, the kings of the Amorites, and over the whole land of Palestine, and over Phoenicia, and Syria, and all Mesopotamia; seeing that the nations sent up tribute to them, as if subdued under their hands, and gave them hostages, and offered them crowns of victory. And whenever one place rebelled against another, and they commenced war against one another, word was written and sent to the Assyrian kings, and as they commanded, so it was done, and those who rebelled received chastisement.
And along with these things, both the deeds which Moses did in inner Arabia, and in outer Arabia, and in Rekem of Gea, and in the regions which were round about the cities of Moab, and the history of the Star, which Balaam spoke, and so forth;----these things the princes and judges of those places wrote down, and sent and made them known; and they were read before ασκρτοσ, the king of the Assyrians, who was reigning at the time in which they were done. And he commanded, and the record of these matters was deposited in the fortress of Achmethan, where they were preserved among the books of the kings of Assyria, as was also the custom in other countries.
And after ασκρτσ, there reigned after him αμυντοσ there in Assyria, when Moses was between the Amorites and the Edomites, and had come to the city of Petra, which is called in the language of Mesopotamia Rekem of Gea.
And when the people encamped over against 'Ad'ira, which is 'Adu'ira, that lies in the valley of Arnon, which separates the Midianites, the children of Kentura, the concubine of Abraham, from the children of Lot, Abraham's brother's son, in the days of Balak the son of Zippor, the king of the Moabites; and when Balak saw the people that were with Moses, which had come near to his borders, he despised them, and neglected the wars which he had witnessed; how Sihon, king of the Amorites, who had taken possession by war of the land of the Moabites, carrying away hostages from the Moabites, was not able to stand before this people, who had slain him and destroyed him at Jahaz; nor was the king of Canaan, who dwelt in the south, able to stand before this people, and they called his place a devoted place. Of these things Balak, the king of Moab, was afraid, and he trembled, and was frightened to wage war with Moses, before whom neither the kings of Egypt had stood, nor the kings of other very mighty nations, nor had even the terrible sea itself dared to stand before Moses. And Balak called the elders of the Midianites and his nobles, and said to them: "This Moses, who, lo, has terrified the whole earth, and slain the kings that were around us,----and behold, the people that are with him are grazing on our land as the ox that grazeth in the field, ---- is he not that Moses, who was made the overseer and shepherd of Jethro, the priest of your gods, whom ye received as a guest, and who was protected among you as a stranger? And lo, today he is expelling us from our lands, and driving us out of our territories. But let us abstain from war, and let us send and call Balaam the soothsayer, to come and curse them; because they are the children of Jacob, who trembled and was afraid of the curses of his father Isaac, as we have all heard from our fathers." And they sent after Balaam the soothsayer. And the messengers went and found him at Urem,which is situated over against Turär, the eastern part of Mesopotamia; and they said to him: "The king of the Moabites, and the princes of the Midianites, have sent us after thee, that thou mayest go with us and curse the people that has come out of Egypt." But Balaam, through his craftiness, because he knew that the power of his word was not sufficient to enable him to do this, and to stand before six hundred thousand drawers of the sword, laid hold of a pretext, and said to those who had come after him : "Be ye witnesses unto me henceforth, that I fear lest perchance the Lord should not permit me to curse the people and destroy it by means of words and maledictions." And when he went unto Balak the king, instead of the curses which he was looking to hear from him, he heard blessings from him. And when Balaam saw that Balak began to be vexed with him, because, instead of curses, he heard from him something which he did not expect, Balaam said unto Balak: "The princes whom thou didst send after me, can testify that I said unto them, 'Whatever the Lord sayeth unto me, I will say, and not what Balak says unto me, who has sent you unto me.' And upon this condition I arose and came with them unto thee, to tell thee that the legions of the Chittites and the armies of the Greeks are about to issue forth from the whole land of the Macedonians, and to subdue the Assyrians in wrath and the land of Nimrod in anger. And after this happens, then shall rise the Star out of the children of Jacob, whom thou didst wish to keep in darkness ; and the Head shall arise in Israel, to come and destroy whom thou didst send after me; and He shall destroy their mighty men, and shall subdue the whole seed of Seth the son of Adam." But Balak the king and his nobles,----when they heard that the mighty Assyrians, who were rulers over them, were going to be subdued under the yoke of the king of the Greeks, and the whole earth was going to be subjected to Him on whose account the Star was going to rise, destroying their mighty men,----laid aside the fear of the people who were abiding over against them.
But that king Balak might not come to disgrace and incur the punishment of death from amunts king of the Assyrians, he wrote and informed him of the things that Balaam said. And he commanded, and the letter was laid up in his archives, as was written above; and they received this writing, this history being handed down and coming from people to people through the whole land of the Assyrians.
But the Assyrians, because they were born and brought up in the doctrine of the Chaldaeans of their country and of the soothsayers their countrymen, according to what they had received from their mother Babylon, from whom, began astrology and soothsaying and magic, just as from Egypt began incantation,----on this account they received the word of Balaam the soothsayer, the disciple of Babylon, and were not able to refuse credit to his word, lest the whole doctrine, on which they took their stand, should be proved false; for Balaam was called "the soothsayer," because of the doctrine of astrology in which he was brought up. And as to his being besides called a prophet, because his word turned out true in regard to the legions of the Chittites which issued forth, and about the Star which arose,----although in these things indeed he was true and trustworthy, yet because he was a false witness, and said: "I see no iniquity in Israel," the children of Jacob slew him" as a liar.
To be brief,----the tradition of the history of Balaam was handed down and came from king αμυντροσ to king βχοσ, in whose days Othniel the son of Kenaz was ruler over the Hebrews.
And from βχοσ to king βλπτωρ, in whose days Ehur killed Eglon the king of the Moabites.
And from βχροσ to king πραιρσ, in whose days the Philistines subdued the Hebrews.
And from πραιροσ to king σωροσ, in whose days the Hebrews were delivered from beneath the hand of their enemies.
And from σωροσ to king πλμροσ, in whose days Jael killed Sisera the general.
And from πλμροσ to king πισοσ, in whose days Gideon slew the children of Midian.
And from πισοσ to king σρσμοσσ; in whose days Abimelech slew his seventy brethren.
And from σρμοσσ to king μνθροσ, in whose days died Tola, the son of Abimelech's uncle.
And from μνθροσ to king τομοσ, in whose days Nephthah offered his daughter a sacrifice to God.
And from τομσοσ to king τυασσ, in whose days Samson died among the Philistines.
And from τυασσ to king θινοσ, in whose days died Eli the high priest.
And from θινοσ to king δρκλσ, in whose days Saul was slain on the hill of the Gibeonites, and David became king.
And from δκλσ to king ευπλσ, in whose days Solomon sat upon the regal throne.
And from ευπλσ to king αθνοσ, in whose days Jeroboam became king over Israel.
And from αθνοσ to king πτραιοσ; in whose days Azariah the son of Azur the prophet said unto king Asa: "Because this people listened not unto the voice of the Lord their God, there was no peace either to him that went out or to him that came in."
And from πραιοσ to king φτριοσ, in whose days the Lord smote Jehoram the son of Athaliah, the sister of Ahab, and his bowels came forth from his inside, and he died.
And from φρτισ to king ακρπζσ, in whose days Joash was slain by his servants.
And from βπρσ to king θισκων, in whose days Uzziah was smitten with leprosy.
And from θισκων to king αρβκσ, in whose days Menachem reigned over Israel.
And from αρβκσ to king σωσρμσ, in whose days Jotham built the gates of the house of the Lord.
And from σωσρμοσ to king μρκιοσ, in whose days Hezekiah opened the gates of the house of the Lord, which had been closed by Ahaz his father.
And from king μρκοσ, in whose days Manasseh made the image with four faces, to king αιρκσ, in whose days Manasseh returned and came up from Babylon, because he knew that the Lord was God.
And from αρικσ to king φρατροσ, in whose days Josiah burned the bones of the priests.
And from φρτροσ to king κυβσρσ, in whose days Daniel and Hananiah and their companions were led away captive to Babylon.
And from κυβσροσ to king αστβυγσ, in whose days the Babylonians laid waste Jerusalem.
And from αστιβγσ to Cyrus the king of the Persians, who proclaimed the return to the children of Israel, that they should go up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
All these kings of the Assyrians, from the days of Moses to Cyrus the Persian, were on their guard and watching to see when the word of Balaam would be fulfilled; and when the legions of the Chittites would issue forth from the land of the Macedonians; and how would be devastated the lands and regions of all Asia, and the city of Ephesus, and the districts of Pontus, and Galatia, and Cilicia, and all Syria, and the spacious country of Mesopotamia and of all the Parthians; and how they would pass on to Nineveh, the city of Nimrod, the first of all mighty men, and would wage war violently with the Assyrians, and conquer them and subdue them.
When then the Assyrians saw that their kingdom was taken away from them, and was given to the Persians, they thought that the great war of the Chittites too, of which they had been afraid, had passed away from them. For although at different times the Assyrians had had wars of and by themselves,----when the Babylonians waged war with them, and took away from them the kingdom; and again the Medes waged war with the Babylonians, and took away the kingdom from them also; and the Persians also waged war with the Medes, and the Persians conquered and won the kingdom;----yet they had had no fear in all these wars and struggles, because they knew that those who were overcome, were the brethren and associates of those who were victorious. For neither was it possible that Cyrus the Persian should succumb in war, because that in the days of Isaiah the prophet the gates of victory had been opened before Cyrus; nor was it possible that the gates should be shut in his face, because he was called the Anointed of the Lord. And after Cyrus the Persian reigned Cambyses, at whose word Syria was laid waste, and Phœnicia, and Palestine, and other countries.
And from Cambyses the tradition was handed down to the first Darius, in whose days Ezra the scribe rebuilt the desolate places of Jerusalem.
And from Darius to king Artachshasht, in whose days Sanballat and Shimshai the scribe were hindering the people from rebuilding the desolate places of Jerusalem.
And from Artachshasht to king ....., in whose days went up the remnant which had remained in Babylon, and some of the children of the captivity of the people.
And from ..... to another Darius, in whose days went up Ezra the scribe, he and the priests and the Lévites, and were walking upon the wall of Jerusalem, and repeating the psalms of David for the completion of the building.
And from Darius to the last Artachshasht, in whose days the furniture of Eliashib was thrown out into the street, because he had made for himself a house in the court of the house of God.
And from Artachshasht to the last Darius, who is the ram that Daniel foresaw, butting westward and northward and southward; and there came a he-goat, and the legions of the Chittites with him, as Balaam had said, and waged war with Darius, king of the Medes and Babylonians and Assyrians and Persians, and overcame him, and slew him, and ravaged the people who were with him, and cast him down, and subdued the Assyrians under his power, and made them tributary to the kingdom of the Greeks, which was of old subject to the power of the Assyrians. The kingdom of the Jews too, which had also been subject to the children of the East, passed under the power of the Greeks.
And when the Persians saw that the word of Balaam had turned out true and become a fact, they were also specially concerned to see when the Star would arise and become visible, about which he spoke, meditating what might perchance happen at its rising, and whence it would appear, and concerning whom it would testify.
And after this Darius, whom Alexander the king of the Greeks slew, there arose king ARSUN, in whose days cities were increased in their buildings in the land of Syria.
And from ARSUN the tradition was handed down to king ARTMRSUS, in whose days the Books of the Hebrews were translated into Greek.
And from ARTMRSUS to king ATISHCHU, in whose days lived Jesus the son of Simeon, the priest, who was called Bar-Sira the son of Sirach or Siracides.
And from TISHIS to king APTSHURS, in whose days the impure Jason received from the king of the Greeks the power over the children of his people; and he wrote the children of his people by the name of Antiochians through the praises of Herakles.
And from APTSHURS to king PRIDUS, in whose days the senators of the Romans wrote to the cities letters of greeting regarding the party of Jonathan and Simeon, the sons of Mattathias.
And from MPRUS to king ASTRUS, in whose days Arshak the Parthian waged war with the king of the Greeks and slew him.
And from MPIZRUS to king ANSCUS, in whose days the kingdom of the Greeks was cut off.
And from ISCUS to king PIRSHBUR, in whose days Augustus Caesar reigned over the Roman empire. And in his days was the glorious manifestation of our adored Saviour. And therefore in the days of this PIRSHBUR, who was called ZMRNS, there appeared the Star, both transformed in its aspect, and also conspicuous by its rays, and terrible and grand in the glorious extent of its light. And it overpowered by its aspect all the stars that were in the heavens, as it inclined to the depth, to teach that its Lord had come down to the depth, and ascended again to the height of its nature, to show that its Lord was God in His nature.
And when the Persians saw it, they were alarmed and afraid, and there fell upon them agitation and trembling, and fear got the mastery over them. And it was visible to the inner depths of the East alone; and the Persians, and the Huzites, and the other peoples that were around them, knew that this was what Balaam had foretold; and this apparition and news flew through the whole East: "The king of Persia is preparing splendid offerings and gifts and presents, and is sending them by the hands of the Magi, the worshipers of fire." And because the king did not know where the Messiah was born, he commanded the bearers of the offerings, saying: "Keep going towards the Star, and walking on the road along which it runs before you; and by day and night keep observing its light."
And when they set forth with the sun from their country, in which this sun of ours is born every day, the Star too with its rays was running on before them, accompanying them and going with them, and becoming as it were an attendant of theirs. And they halted in many places, passing by large fortified towns, and through various foreign tongues and different garbs, that were unlike to one another. And they halted outside of the cities, and not inside of the cities, until they reached the gates of Jerusalem, over which the Star stood still, entering and alarming Jerusalem and its inhabitants, and terrifying also the kings and priests.
And when they had entered within the gates of the city, it was concealed from them. And when the Magi saw that neither the kings, nor the priests, nor the chiefs of the people perceived the coming of the Messiah, and the Star was concealed, they knew that, because they were not worthy, they did not perceive the birth of the Son, nor were they worthy to behold the Star.
And when the Magi saw that the Star was hidden from them, they went forth by night from the city; and at that very moment the Star appeared unto them; and they went after the apparition of it, until it descended and stood still over the cave of Bethlehem, where was born the Messiah. And in that hour they opened their treasures, and offered unto Him many presents and gifts of offerings, bowing down in adoration before the Messiah, that their offerings might be accepted, and that they might be delivered from the hateful treachery which they had seen in Jerusalem, and might reach their own country without fear, and might carry back word to those who had sent them of what they had seen and heard.
And when they had made their offerings and passed the night there, the Star too stopped with them above the cave. And when they rose early in the morning to set out for their country, it was for the second time running on and going before them on the way, which was different from the former one; and until they had entered their city, it did not quit them, nor was it concealed as on the former occasion.
And when they had entered into the presence of the king who had sent them, they narrated to him all that they had heard and seen. These things too were written down there in inner Persia, and were stored up among the records of the deeds of their kings, where was written and stored up the history of the legions of the Chittites and the account of this Star, that they might be preserved where were preserved the histories of the ancients.
But Joseph and Mary, when they saw the treachery of king Herod and the envy of the Scribes and Pharisees, arose and took the Child, and went to a foreign country and of a barbarous tongue; and there they dwelt for the space of four years, during which Herod continued to reign after their flight. And at the commencement of the reign of Herod's son, they arose and went up from that land to the country of Galilee, Joseph and Mary, and our Lord along with them, and the five sons of Hannah, the first wife of Joseph. But Mary and our Lord were dwelling together in the house in which Mary received the Annunciation from the holy Angel.
(Here some sixteen or seventeen lines of the Syriac text have been purposely erased, probably on account of some statement which a later reader considered heretical).
and eleven, in the second year of the coming of our Saviour, in the consulship of Caesar and of Capito, in the month of the latter Kanun, these Magi came from the East and worshiped our Lord at Bethlehem of the kings. And in the year four hundred and thirty, in the reign of Hadrianus Caesar, in the consulship of Severus and of Fulgus, in the episcopate of Xystus, bishop of the city of Rome, this concern arose in the minds of men acquainted with the Holy Books; and through the pains of the great men in various places this history was sought for and found, and written in the tongue of those who took this care.
Here ends the Discourse on the Star, which was composed by Mar Eusebius of Caesarea.
THE REVELATION OF STEPHEN
The Apocalypse of Stephen is one of the New Testament apocryphal texts. The Stephen in question is one of the Seven Deacons to the Apostles. Many scholars think that Pilate was a later addition to the text, the involvement of Pilate in the story looking somewhat clumsy, and the text being primarily an attempt to explain Paul's motives for conversion, but also his prior villainy. The text also highlights Stephen as the first ever Christian martyr.
Two years after the Ascension there was a contest about Jesus. Many learned men had assembled at Jerusalem from Ethiopia, the Thebaid, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Asia, Mauretania and Babylon. There was a great clamor among them like thunder, lasting till the fourth hour.
Stephen, a learned man of the tribe of Benjamin, stood on a high place and addressed the assembly. Why this tumult? said he. Blessed is he who has not doubted concerning Jesus. Born of a pure virgin he filled the world with light. By Satan's contrivances Herod slew 144,000 children. He spoke of the miracles of Jesus. Woe to the unbelievers when he shall come as judge, with angels, a fiery chariot, a mighty wind: the stars shall fall, the heavens open, the books be brought forward. The twelve angels who are set over every soul shall unveil the deeds of men. The sea shall move and give up what is in it. The mountains fall, all the surface of the earth becomes smooth. Great winged thrones are set. The Lord, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit take their seats. The Father bids Jesus sit on his right hand.
At this point the crowd cried out: Blasphemy! and took Stephen before Pilate.
Pilate stood on the steps and reproached them: You compelled me to crucify the Innocent; why rage against this man? Why gnash your teeth? Are ye yet foolish?
They led Stephen away. Caiaphas ordered him to be beaten till the blood ran. And he prayed: Lay not this sin to their charge. We saw how angels ministered to him.
In the morning Pilate called his wife and two children: they baptized themselves and praised God.
Three thousand men now assembled and disputed with Stephen for three days and three nights. On the fourth day they took counsel and sent to Caesarea of Palestine for Saul of Tarsus, who had a commission to seize upon Christians. He took his place on the judgment seat and said: I wonder that thou, a wise man, and my kinsman, believest all this. None of the Sanhedrin have given up the Law. I have been through all Judaea, Galilee, Peraea, Damascus, and the city of the Jesitites to seek out believers.
Stephen lifted up his hands and said: Silence, persecutor! Recognize the Son of God. Thou makest me doubt of my own descent. But I see that thou shalt ere long drink of the same cup as I. What thou doest, do quickly. Saul rent his clothes and beat Stephen. Gamaliel, Saul's teacher, sprang forth and gave Saul a buffet, saying: Did I teach thee such conduct? know that what this man saith is acceptable and good.
Saul was yet more enraged, and looked fiercely on him, saying: I spare thine old age, but thou shalt reap a due reward for this. Gamaliel answered: I ask nothing better than to suffer with Christ. The elders rent their clothes, cast dust on their heads, and cried: Crucify the blasphemers.
Saul said: Guard them until the morrow. Next day he sat on the judgment seat and had them brought before him, and they were led away to be crucified. An angel came and cast away the cross, and Stephen's wounds were healed. Seven men came and poured molten lead into his mouth and pitch into his ears. They drove nails into his breast and feet, and he prayed for their forgiveness. Again an angel came down and healed him, and a great multitude believed.
Next day all assembled and took him out of the city to judge him. He mounted upon a stone and addressed them: How long will ye harden your hearts? The Law and the Prophets spake of Christ. In the first Law, and the second, and the other books it is written: When the year of the covenant cometh I will send my beloved angel, the good spirit of sonship, from a pure maiden, the fruit of truth, without ploughshare and without seed, and an image of sowing, and the fruit shall grow after the . . . of planting for ever from the word of my covenant, and signs shall come to pass. And Isaiah saith: Unto us a child is born. And again: Behold, a virgin shall conceive. And the prophet Nathan said: I saw one, a maiden and without touch of man, and a man child in her arms, and that was the Lord of the earth unto the end of the earth. And again the prophet Baruch saith: Christ the eternal appeareth as a stone from the mountain and breaketh in pieces the idol temples of the . . . David also said: Arise, O Lord, unto thy resting place. Understand then, O foolish ones, what the prophet saith: In this word shalt thou judge.
And he looked up to heaven and said: I see the heaven opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.
Then they laid hands on him, saying: He blasphemeth! Gamaliel said: Wherein? This righteous man hath seen the Son saying to the Father: Lo, the Jews rage against me and cease not to ill-treat them that confess my name. And the Father said: Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Then they bound Stephen and took him away to Alexander, the reader, who was a chief of the people, and of the troop in Tiberias.
In the fourth watch of the night, a light as of lightning shone round about him, and a voice said: Be strong. Thou art my first martyr, and thine hour is nigh. I will write the record of thee in the book of everlasting life.
The Jews took counsel and decreed that he should be stoned. There were with him Abibas, Nicodemus, Gamaliel, Pilate, his wife and two children, and a multitude of believers. Saul stood forth and beckoned, and said: It would have been better that this man should not be slain, because of his great wisdom: but forasmuch as he is an apostate, I condemn Stephen to be stoned. The people said: He shall be stoned: but those who stood in the front rank with staves looked on each other and durst not lay hands on him: for he was renowned among the people.
Saul was wroth, and stripped those servants of their garments and laid them on the table; and commanded the men to stone Stephen.
Stephen looked round and said: Saul, Saul, that which thou doest unto me to-day, that same will the Jews do unto thee to-morrow. And when thou sufferest, thou shalt think on me.
The people cast stones upon him so thickly that the light of the sun was darkened. Nicodemus and Gamaliel put their arms about him and shielded him, and were slain, and gave up their souls to Christ.
Stephen prayed, saying: Forgive them that stone us, for by their means we trust to enter into thy kingdom. And at the tenth hour he gave up the ghost. Then beautiful youths appeared, and fell upon the bodies and wept aloud: and the people beheld the souls borne up by angels into heaven, and saw the heavens open and the hosts coming to meet the souls. And the people mourned for three days and three nights.
Pilate took the bodies and put each one into a silver coffin with his name upon it: but Stephen's coffin was gilt: and he laid them in his secret sepulcher. But Stephen prayed: Let my body be buried in my land of Serasima in Kapogemala until the revealing, when the martyrs that follow me shall be gathered together. And an angel came and removed the bodies thither.
But Pilate rose early to burn incense before the bodies, and found them not; and rent his clothes, saying: Was I then not worthy to be thy servant? On the night following, Stephen appeared and said to him: Weep not. I prayed God to hide our bodies. In the time of our revealing one of thy seed shall find us after a vision, and thy desire shall be fulfilled. But build a house of prayer and celebrate our feast in the month of April. After seven months thou also shalt rest. And Pilate did so: and he died, and was buried at Kapartasala: and his wife also died in peace. But the holy martyrs appeared thrice to venerable and believing men, speaking to them, and revealing divine words: for after their death many believed.
KNOWN AS THE SECRET SUPPER OR THE BOOK OF JOHN THE EVANGELIST
The Interrogatio Iohannis (The Questions of John) is one of the most important extant Cathar Scriptures and a major addition to the known Johannine literature. It is titled from the first words of its text -- the complete Latin title is: "Interrogatio Iohannis apostoli et evangelistae in cena secreta regni coelorum de ordinatione mundi istius et de principe et de Adam." It has been variably titled in translations as "The Book of John the Evangelist" and "The Secret Supper" (Cena Secreta). This scripture preserves a work from the Johannine tradition (the tradition of John the Beloved), a work with possible first source in an early period of Classical Gnosticism -- though the surviving versions certainly suggest an evolution during the centuries of transmission. It should not be dismissed as simply a "Cathar or Bogomil production" of medieval times (as M. R. James suggested in introduction to his 1924 translation). There are many core elements in the text that witness relationship with other surviving writings from the classical Christian Gnostic tradition -- for example, compare it with the Acts of John.
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The questions of John, the apostle and evangelist, at a secret supper in the kingdom of heaven, about the governance of this world, about its ruler, and about Adam:
I, John, partner in tribulation so that I might be a partner in the kingdom of God, leaning on the breast of Jesus Christ our Lord at the supper, said to Him; "Lord, who shall betray Thee?" And the Lord said unto me: "He that shall have dipped his hand in the dish, into him shall Satan enter. He shall betray me."
I said, "Lord, before Satan fell, in what splendor did he attend the Father?" He said: "Among the virtues of heaven and at the throne of the Father invisible; he was regulator of all things and sat with my Father.' He it was who presided over the virtues of the heavens and those who attended on the Father. His power descended from the heavens even unto hell, and arose even unto the throne of the Father invisible. He had wardship of those splendors which were above all the heavens. And he pondered, wishing to place his throne upon the clouds and to 'be like the Most High.'" When he had come down to lower air, he descried an angel seated upon the air, to whom he said, 'Open to me the portals of the air'; these the angels opened for him. And passing down, he descried an angel who guarded the waters, to whom he said, `Open to me the portals of the waters'; the angel opened them to him. And descending further, he found the whole earth covered with water; walking beneath this, he came upon two fish, lying upon the waters. These, indeed, were yoked together, and they bore up the whole earth at the bidding of the Father invisible. And passing down further still, he found great clouds holding the massed waters of the sea. And descending lower, he found his hell, which is the Gehenna of fire; but thereafter he was unable to go further down, because of the flame of the fire which was raging.
"Then Satan retraced his path, filling himself with evil plots. He ascended to the angel who was over the air and to the angel who was over the waters, and unto them said: 'All things are mine. If you hearken to me, I will place my throne over the clouds and I will be like the Most High." I will bear the waters up above this firmament and I will gather the other waters into wide seas." After that there shall not be water upon the face of the whole earth, and I shall reign with you forever and ever.' Thus he spoke to the angels. He ascended to the very heavens, even unto the third heaven, subverting the angels of the Father invisible, and saying to each of them, 'How much dost thou owe thy lord?' The first answered, 'A hundred barrels of oil.' He said to him, 'Take the bill and sit down and write fifty.' And he said to another, Now you, how much dost thou owe thy lord?' Who said, 'A hundred quarters of wheat.' To him he said, 'Take thy bill and sit down quickly and write eighty.' To the other heavens he ascended with like speech; he ascended even unto the fifth heaven, seducing the angels of the Father invisible.
"And a voice came from the throne of the Father, saying: 'What dost thou, O thou devoid of hope, subverting the angels of the Father? Contriver of sin, do quickly what thou hast planned.' Then the Father bade his angels, 'Take from all the angels who hearkened to him the garments, the thrones, and the crowns';" and these angels took the vestments, the thrones, and the crowns from all the angels who hearkened to him."
And once again I, John, questioned the Lord, saying, "When Satan fell, in what place did he dwell?" In answer He said to me: "Because of his self-exaltation, my Father decreed his transformation," withdrawing from him the light of His glory. The face of Satan was like an iron glowing from the fire, and the whole aspect of his countenance was like that of a man. . . . And he had seven tails with which he drew away the third part of the angels of God." He was cast out from before the throne of God and from the stewardship of heaven. Falling down from heaven, Satan could find no peace in this firmament, nor could those who were with him. And he besought the Father, saying: 'I have sinned. Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' The Lord was moved with pity for him and gave him peace to do what he would until the seventh day."
"Then Satan took his seat above the firmament and gave command to the angel who was over the air and the angel who was over the waters, so that they raised two thirds of the waters high into the air. Of the remaining third they formed wide seas. The division of the waters was by command of the Father invisible. Again Satan bade the angel who was over the waters, 'Take a stand upon the two fish.' And the angel raised the earth upward with his head, and dry land appeared and was. . . . When he took a crown from the angel who was over the air, from half of it he made himself a throne; and when he took a crown from the angel who was over the waters, from half he made the light of the moon and from half the light of day. From precious stones he made fire, and from fire he made all the host of heaven and the stars, and from them he made angels, his ministering spirits, according to the plan of the Governor Most High. He also made thunder, rain, hail, and snow, and over these he set his ministering angels.
"He commanded the earth to bring forth all living things —animals, trees, and herbs. The sea he commanded to bring forth fish; and the air, birds of the heavens. And he pondered on making man to serve him; he took clay of the earth and made man like unto himself. And he then bade an angel of the second heaven to enter the body of clay. Of this body he took a part and made another body in the form of a woman" and bade an angel of the first heaven to enter into it. And the angels grieved deeply that they thus had a mortal form imposed upon them and that they now existed in different forms. And Satan bade them to perform the works of the flesh in their bodies of clay, but they did not know how to commit sin. The originator of sin accomplished his purpose by his seduction, in this way: He planted a paradise and set men therein and bade them not to eat of its fruits. The devil entered Paradise and planted a bed of reeds in the midst of Paradise; of his spittle he made a serpent and bade him remain in the reeds. Thus the devil concealed the knowledge of his deceit so that they would not perceive his treachery. He went in to them saying, 'Eat of all the fruit in Paradise, but of the fruit of good and evi1 eat not.' Thereafter the wicked devil, entering into the evil serpent, deceived the angel who was in the form of a woman and poured out upon her head a longing for sin," and Eve's desire was like a glowing oven. Forthwith, the devil in the form of the serpent came out of the reeds and sated his lust on her with the serpent's tail. That is why the offspring are called not sons of God but sons of the devil and sons of the serpent, fulfilling the diabolic desires of their father even unto the end of the world. After this, the devil poured out his longing upon the head of the angel who was in Adam; and both angels were affected by a lust for debauchery, together begetting children of the devil and of the serpent, until the consummation of the world."
After that I, John, questioned the Lord, saying, "Why do men say that Adam and Eve were made by God and placed in Paradise to keep His commandments, and that for transgression of the Father's commandment they were delivered up unto death?" The Lord said unto me: "Hear, John, most beloved. Men are foolish who speak thus, for my Father did not, in transgression of His own law, shape bodies of clay, but by the Holy Spirit made only all the virtues of heaven. These, however, for their sins and by their fall are found possessing bodies of clay and are delivered up to death."
And still I, John, questioned the Lord, saying, "Lord, how did man have spiritual origin in a carnal body?" And the Lord said to me: "By their fall spirits of heaven entered the female body of clay and took on flesh from the lusts of the flesh and took on spirit at the same time. . . . Spirit is born of spirit and flesh of flesh; and thus the reign of Satan ceases not in this world."
And I questioned the Lord, saying, "For how long will Satan have dominion in this world over the essences of men?" And the Lord replied, "My Father will permit him to reign seven days, that is, seven ages."
Again I, John, questioned the Lord in this wise, "What will be the nature of this period of seven ages?" And He said to me: "From the time when the devil fell from the glory of the Father and desired his own glory, he took his seat among the clouds and sent forth his ministers, a searing fire, and ... in the land from Adam to Enoch. And he sent his minister to Enoch and translated him above the firmament and displayed to him his divine nature. He then commanded that he be given quill and ink. Seating himself, Enoch wrote seventy-six" books; these the devil bade him to take to earth. Enoch took the books and turned them over to his sons, and he taught them how to observe the form and place of sacrificial rites. This they did in such wise as to 'shut the kingdom of heaven against men.' And he said to them, 'See you that I am god and there is no other god beside me.' Wherefore my Father sent me to this world to make manifest His name to men, that they might recognize the devil and his wickedness. But when Satan learned that I had come down to this world, he sent his angel to take Three pieces of wood These he gave to the prophet Moses for my crucifixion. This wood they have kept for me until the present. And he revealed to Moses his divinity and bade him give laws to the children of Israel and lead them, on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
"When my Father thought to send me to this earth, He sent before me His angel, she who is called Mary, my mother, that she might receive me through the Holy Spirit. And when I descended, I entered and came forth through her ear. Now Satan, the prince of this world, knew that I was come to seek and 'to save that which was lost'; and he sent his angel, the prophet Elijah, who baptized in water and was called John the Baptist." Now, Elijah asked the prince of this world how he might recognize me. And the devil said to him, 'Upon Whom thou shalt see the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, and remaining upon Him, He it is that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit and with fire.' John asked this because he did not know me, but the one who sent him to baptize in water, he revealed me. John himself gave testimony: 'I baptize in water unto penance, but He baptizes you with the Holy Spirit unto the remission of sins. He it is who is able to destroy and to save.' "
And again I, John, questioned the Lord, "Can man be saved through the baptism of John?" He replied: "Without my baptism, with which I baptize unto the remission of sins, I affirm that no one can receive salvation in God. For I am the bread of life that came down from the seventh heaven, wherefore whoso eats my flesh and drinks my blood, these shall be called the children of God."
I inquired of the Lord, "What is the meaning of your 'flesh' and your 'blood'?" To me the Lord answered: "Before the devil had fallen with all the angelic host of the Father, the angels in their prayers glorified my Father by repeating this prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven.' This chant ascended to the throne of the Father; but the angels from the time of their fall could no longer glorify God in this prayer."
And again I asked the Lord, "How is it that the whole world received the baptism of John, but Thine is not accepted by all?" The Lord replied to me: "That is because their works are evil and they come not to the light. The followers of John marry and are given in marriage, whereas my disciples marry not at all but remain as the angels of God in the heavenly kingdom."
Then I said to Him, "If it is a sin to have knowledge of women, is it then unwise to marry?" And the Lord replied: "All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven."
Afterward, I questioned the Lord about the Day of Judgment, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming?" In reply He said: "When the number of the just shall equal the number of those crowned angels who fell. Then shall Satan, raging mightily, be 'loosed out of his prison.' He shall war upon. the just, who shall cry out to the Lord their God; forthwith the Lord God shall command the archangel to sound his trumpet, and the voice of the archangel shall go forth from the heavens and be heard even unto the nether regions. Then 'the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from' heaven.' And there shall be loosed from their foundations the four great winds; the earth, the sea, the mountains, and the hills shall tremble together. Then shall be revealed the sign of the Son, and all tribes of earth shall mourn. Immediately the heaven shall tremble and be darkened, the sun shall shine until the ninth hour. Then shall the Son of man be shown forth in his glory, and all the saints and angels with Him; they shall place their seats above the clouds. And He shall sit upon the seat of His glory, with the twelve apostles upon their twelve seats of glory. The books shall be opened, and all the peoples of the earth shall be judged." 'Then shall the faith be proclaimed. Then shall the Son of man send forth His angels. They shall gather His elect from the heights even to the uttermost limits of the heavens and shall bring them, gathered into their fold, to me above the clouds, into the air." Then shall the Son of God send forth the evil demons and expel them in His wrath, together with all peoples who believed in him . . . who said, 'Let us eat, drink, and lay hold on the things of this world'; and let us see what manner of aid they shall have from those things. Forthwith all peoples shall stand in fear before the judgment throne. The two books shall be opened and they shall lay bare all peoples with their teaching; they shall glorify the just for their sufferings joined with good works. Glory and boundless honor shall be the reward of those who have cherished the angelic life; while the portion of the servants of iniquity shall be wrath, fury, distress, and displeasure. And the Son of man shall separate His just from the company of sinners and shall say to them, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'; while to the sinful He shall say, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.' Others shall witness the final division and 'the wicked shall be turned into hell.' By the indulgence of my Father the unbelieving spirits shall at length withdraw from prison; 'they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.'
"Then, by permission of my Father, gloomy darkness shall spread over the lower regions of the earth and a hell of fire shall burn all the land from its lowest depths even unto the air of the firmament." And the Lord shall be supreme in the firmament even unto the nether regions of the earth. Should a man of thirty years pick up a stone and let it drop, it would scarcely strike the bottom within the space of three years, so great is the depth of the pool of fire wherein dwell the sinners. Then Satan shall be bound and all his host, and he shall be cast into the pool of fire. The Son of God, with his elect, shall walk above the firmament; and He shall shut up the devil, binding him with unbreakable bonds, with sinners weeping, wailing, and crying out 'Swallow us up, land, hide us within thyself.' Then shall the just shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. And Jesus shall lead them before the throne of the Father invisible and shall say to the Father, 'Behold, I and my children, whom God hath given me. Just Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee in truth because Thou hast sent me.' And then the Father will reply to His Son, saying, 'My beloved Son, sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool -- thy enemies, who have denied me and said, "We are gods, and there is no other god beside us"; who killed your prophets and persecuted your just. You shall persecute them in the exterior darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"And then the Son of God shall sit on the right hand of his Father, and the Father shall command His angels that they minister unto them the just; and He shall place them in the choir of angels and clothe them in imperishable raiment; and He shall give them crowns never fading and seats unmoving. And God shall be in their midst. 'They shall no more hunger nor thirst; neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.' And the Son shall reign with his Holy Father, and his reign shall endure forevermore."
Endnote added to manuscript:
This is the Secret of the heretics of Concorrezzo, brought from Bulgaria by Nazarials, their bishop. It is full of errors.
THE BOOK OF THE ORDER OF ELIJAH THE PROPHET
This origin of this text is unknown. It was supposedly translated from an ancient source which cannot be verified. It appears to be another example of Neo-Apocryphal literature. We present it here for the sake of history and because the main Old Testament figure is Elijah the Prophet. We had to render some of the verses into a more understandable context. It contains several Gnostic elements and may share some similar views expressed in certain Dead Sea manuscripts.
1. The record of Elijah the Tishbite which he wrote for his disciple Elisha whom he called from his field in Abelmaholah unto the holy order of God.
2. Behold, I, Elijah, write this record with mine own hand and no man shall see it until I have ascended into heaven.
3. Then shall mine authority and the keys of my Priesthood which is the Priesthood of the fathers pass to my son Elisha by right of lineage and obedience.
4. This Priesthood came down to me from the fathers by lineage, for I am a descendant of Joshua the son of Nun who was descended from Ephraim the son of Joseph through whom the rights of the Firstborn descended in Israel.
5. These rights I received when I was but a lad from my Father before he was martyred for the testimony of Jehovah and, according to the word of the Lord, I have appointed Elisha, who is mine adopted son, to be my successor in bearing off this work.
6. Nevertheless, not all of my rights shall rest upon him, for the Lord hath said, behold, my servant Elijah shall not die but shall bear with him the keys of his ministry unto the heavenly city until the last days when I shall send him unto one of his seed whom I shall raise up to bear the fullness of this ministry again among the sons of men.
7. But he shall leave with Elisha those keys necessary to continue his work in organizing the Schools of the Prophets and the Order of Enoch that the sons of the prophets may continue to live after the holy order of God.
1. Therefore, my son Elisha, I leave for thee this Book of the Order by which thou mayest govern the Order of Enoch, for I have organized and governed this Order according to the revelations of the Lord to me and under the direction of his Holy Spirit I give thee these instructions.
2. Everyone who desireth to enter the Order of Enoch must be one who loveth the Lord his God with all his heart, might, mind and strength and one who loveth his fellowman as himself, according to the word of the Lord through Moses.
3. He must covenant to live the law of consecration and to hold all things common with his brethren according to the pattern set by our First Parents, for when they came forth from the garden they divided not up the land but held it in common until their posterity through wickedness began to lay claim to it for themselves.
4. Behold, this private ownership of the property came to pass through the teachings of that evil combination which was organized by Cain that men might get gain for themselves because the love of God and man is not in them.
5. He who entereth the Order must be one who is dedicated to seeing the face of God and receiving from him the promise of eternal lives.
6. He must keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord his God, to do what is good and upright in the sight of God according to that which he commanded through Moses the lawgiver and through his servants the prophets.
7. He who seeketh to enter the holy order of God must be one who loveth that which the Lord loveth and hateth that which the Lord hateth.
8. He must keep all the evil far from him and love to do good, that his works may bear testimony of his righteousness before God and man; he must be governed by the principles of truth, righteousness, and justice in all he doeth while in this tabernacle of clay, having repented of his inclination to follow after the dictates of the flesh, no longer doing evil according to the selfishness and jealousy and contentious spirit which dwelleth in the natural man.
9. Every member of the Order must be dedicated to bringing into a bond of mutual love all those who are striving to live after the holy order of God.
10. To live after the order of the ancients means that they must live in the community of God's elect, holding all things common and loving one another as themselves.
11. Yea, they must unite in one heart and one mind, for only thus can Zion be built up in its perfect order and the name of our God be glorified.
12. Those entering the holy order must have shown by their works their desires to live according to all that God has revealed, to keep all his commandments, to perfect their lives according to God's holy order that they may be sanctified by the blood of the covenant unto the renewal of their spirits and their bodies.
13. They must love all the children of Light, each according to his position in the House of God, for those who live the highest law are most able to be loved, and so forth, even unto the lowest law of God.
14. They must hate the works of darkness and avoid intercourse with the sons of Belial, each according to the measure of his guilt, for God will bring every work into judgment and those who associate with the wicked will be condemned with them.
1. He who loveth the truth and truly desireth to live after the order of heaven must declare his willingness to be united to the congregation of the Lord's elect and must consecrate by covenant all of his mind, all of his strength and all of his wealth to the community of God so that his mind may be purified by the truth of the Lord's precepts, his strength controlled by the Lord's perfect ways, and his wealth disposed of in accordance with the Lord's just design.
2. He must order his life according to the pattern which the Lord hath given, observing the hours of worship, the Sabbaths and the Holy Days to do them, neither omitting the feasts nor neglecting the fasts of the Lord.
3. He must be one whose heart is knit unto the ordinances of God's law, who will strive diligently to preserve them in purity, neither breaking the laws, changing the ordinances nor neglecting the everlasting covenants of our God.
1. When such a man cometh forward to present himself as a candidate for admission into the Order, he should be examined carefully by the elders of the community, and having been proven worthy, he must enter into a covenant in the presence of God, the holy angels, and his brethren of the Order by entering into the waters of immersion that he will do according to all that God hath commanded and not turn away from the service of the Lord through fear of wicked men or evil spirits nor through discouragement because of the trials which Belial shall send against him, for the Lord God of our Father hath appointed that all who seek to live after his holy order shall be tried and purified until their gold is pure and their dross consumed.
2. When a man hath entered into this covenant in the waters of immersion, the elders of the community are to lay their hands upon his head and bless him with the Holy Spirit of God.
1. At the end of each year, every member of the community is to be interviewed, from first to last, that the spiritual standing of each in the community may be determined.
2. This is needful so long as Belial continues to hold sway as the god of this world.
3. The object of this interview is that every man in Israel may be made aware of his status in the community of God's elect, that he may measure himself against the perfect, eternal society of heaven.
4. If any man finds that he is being governed by a law which is beyond his desires, then let him be placed among those who live after his own heart.
5. If any man will qualify himself to live a law higher than he is living, let the opportunity be given him to live that law.
6. Thus no man in Israel need be abased below his ability to qualify nor exalted above his desires to live after the heavenly pattern.
7. Thus all members of the community will stand, each in his proper place, according to a true evaluation of his standing before God.
8. Let those who judge in these matters, judge according to correct principle, in profound humility, being full of charity and equity toward their brethren and sisters that the society of heaven may flourish among you, being sanctified by love and unity in the Lord our God.
1. Anyone who refuses to live after the pattern of God's holy order, the perfect society of heaven, but persists in walking after stubbornness of his own heart and the vain traditions of his fathers, shall not be admitted into the community of God's elect.
2. For inasmuch as he has rebelled against the discipline required of those who are called to set their lives in order according to the precepts of the heavenly law, he cannot be counted among the saints of the Most High.
3. The spiritual, mental, physical and material resources of such a man are of no value to the community of God's elect; therefore he shall not be permitted to enter into the Order of Enoch to live after the pattern of heaven.
4. If he were honest in acknowledging his weaknesses before God, then would the Lord make his weaknesses to become strengths unto him, but inasmuch as his heart remaineth stubborn and he repenteth not, he shall remain in his sins.
5. Such an one looketh upon the light of God's truth but seeth only darkness.
6. He can never be sanctified because the light is not in him that he should be born again, a new creature in the Lord.
7. Although he should offer numerous sacrifices in the similitude of the Lamb of God and be immersed in water any number of times and be washed and anointed after the order of the Messiah, yet he can never be cleansed from his sins except through contrition and repentance, wherein he rejecteth his former works and walketh in the path which our Father walked, which is the holy order of God.
8. Unclean, unclean he remaineth so long as he will not be governed by the laws of God, neither submit himself to the ordinances; he shall never enter into communion with the heavenly hosts.
9. It is only when the spirit of man hath been awakened to the light of God's truth that he can begin to direct his life according to those holy principles by which he can ascend into the presence of God and make his calling and election sure.
10. Only through obedience to those laws and that holy order which have been handed down from our fathers who entered into the presence of the Lord and held communion with the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn can a man sanctify his life to commune with the fathers who have gone on before.
11. Thus can the blessings and rights and the priesthood of the fathers descend upon their heads and they shall dwell in the courts of the sanctified in time and eternity.
12. For only through obedience to the laws and ordinances of God, walking faithfully after his holy order and enduring unto the end therein can a man be redeemed from the Fall and gain a remission of all his sins so that his mind can be opened to gaze upon the true light of life.
13. It is through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Lord that a man receiveth the Holy Ghost which will lead him unto true and complete union with God and all holy men as his iniquities are lifted from him and his mind is expanded to receive God's truth that he may walk therein as one of the children of light.
14. For the atonement of the Lamb of God cometh upon all those who are upright and humble and submissive to all the ordinances of God that their sins should be washed away in the waters of immersion and they be sanctified through the blood of the covenant and immersion in fire and in the Holy Ghost.
15. Thus are they purified from all stain that they should be pure and holy, without spot.
16. Only such an one can perfectly direct his steps to walk blamelessly through all the vicissitudes of life, never deviating from the ways of God, but keeping all the commandments without turning either to the right or to the left and without overstepping any of the bounds imposed by the word of God.
17. Then indeed is he perfectly acceptable before God and a pleasure unto our Lord.
18. Then will his joy increase and he will enter by covenant into the community of the faithful to dwell with the Father who has inherited His throne forever and ever.
1. Those who enter into covenant to hold all things common according to the Order of Enoch and faithfully adhere to the Order of the Ancients should be instructed that their minds may be opened to the vision of eternity and how the order of heaven can be established and perpetuated here on the earth.
2. He who is called to instruct the children of Light in these matters must understand and teach the disciples the true nature of man, the different influences which form his character, the meaning of his history and the reason that God at one time blesseth him bounteously and at another time afflicteth him dreadfully.
3. This is the hidden knowledge, the application of which redeemeth man from his natural state and ushereth him into the holy order of God where he can be prepared to enter into the presence of God himself and partake of the fruits of eternal lives.
1. The Lord is a God of knowledge.
2. By his word was everything made which was made and he governeth all things according to his infinite foreknowledge.
3. Even before he created the heavens and the earth, he counseled with the hosts of heaven and planned a plan wherein the spirit of every man should have his appointed role, for the spirit of every man appeared before the Lord of spirits in the beginning and received a place appointed in the family of heaven and earth.
4. When a man filleth his appointed role, it is according to the glorious design of the Lord of spirits and thus, as each one functions according to the divine plan, the work of God is pushed toward its consummation.
5. The designs of God cannot be frustrated; in his hand lieth the government of all things and he sustaineth all the children of men in their needs, wherefore it becometh all men to worship the Lord God of Israel and be obedient to the divine plan which he hath ordained in their behalf.
1. Now, the God of the spirits of all men created man to rule the world and set before him the ways of life and death, truth and falsehood.
2. Thus was man made free, even from the beginning to choose for himself the good or the evil until the final judgment when the works of every man shall be made manifest and each shall receive a just reward according to his works requisite with the mercy of our God.
1. The origin of truth lieth in the Fountain of Light, the Holy One of Israel, while the origin of falsehood or evil lieth in the Wellspring of Darkness.
2. All who practice righteousness are under the domination of the Prince of Lights and walk in the path of Light while those who practice evil are under the domination of the Angel of Darkness and walk in the path of darkness.
3. Yea, the Angel of Darkness is the Devil, that evil spirit who lieth in wait to entrap the souls of men and drag them down to misery and woe.
4. He lieth in wait at any opportunity to lead the unwary soul into sin and error so that through his evil influence, even the children of light are led to commit those things which are grievous in the eyes of God.
5. When men of their own free will choose to follow the influence of this enemy of all righteousness, they fall from the grace of the God of heaven and must repent of their iniquities that the Lord can visit them in his mercy and redeem them from their sins, that they may know to sing the song of redeeming love.
6. All the afflictions which befall the children of men, all their trials, all their sorrows result from the acts of this Prince of Evil.
7. He and all his hosts are dedicated to causing the children of light to fall from grace and become enmeshed in their snares.
8. Nevertheless, the God of Israel with all his holy angels is always nearby to assist the sons of Light and save all those who will call upon his name from the power of the evil ones.
9. The Lord God hath given unto man his agency to choose the good or the evil.
10. The Lord loveth righteousness and will for ever and ever and is always pleased with those who walk in paths of righteousness, but he hateth the evil and those who walk in the paths of evil will be cast out of the presence of the Lord at the last day, for the Lord cannot look upon evil with any degree of acceptance nor can those who love evil dwell in his presence.
1. These are the fruits of the Spirit of God: enlightenment whereby a man can perceive the ways of God to walk therein, discernment to know the good from the evil, reverence for the name of Deity and consciousness of the approaching judgments of God, humility, patience, abundant charity, love of righteousness, vision, wisdom, trust, faith, confidence in the power of the Almighty God, knowledge, self-mastery, sanctity, pure thoughts, abounding love for all who follow the truth, purity, modesty and the ability to hide within oneself the secrets of God which one has received.
2. All these things come unto men in this world through communion with the Spirit of truth.
3. All those who walk in that path which is set before them by the Spirit of truth shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones and shall find wisdom and hidden treasures of knowledge.
4. These shall inherit eternal lives, even the continuation of the seeds forever and ever, worlds without end.
5. Eternal shall be their blessings and everlasting their joy in the realms of glory, for they shall be crowned with light and robed in glory and shall dwell in everlasting burnings in the presence of our God.
1. With the wicked it is not so, for the fruits of wickedness are greed, malice, falsehood, pride, presumption, deception, guile, insolence, unrighteous anger, folly, arrogance, lewdness, unchastity, blasphemies, selfishness, blindness of the eyes, deafness of the ears, stiffness of neck and hardness of heart.
2. Such men walk entirely in the ways of darkness and all their works are evil and abominable in the eyes of God.
3. Those who walk in the paths of evil shall receive a multitude of afflictions at the hands of the holy angels.
4. These are the sons of Perdition who are subject to the wrath of God through all eternity.
5. Eternal horror is their end and perpetual reproach, even the disgrace of final annihilation in the fire, for they shall dwell in outer darkness until their end which is extinction without remnant or survival and after this, their lot no man knoweth nor is it revealed to any man save those who are made partakers thereof.
1. Thus, O Elisha, are the ways placed before every man that he may choose the good or the evil.
2. Thus is man free to choose for himself, for the Lord will force no man to choose the right and the devil cannot force him to choose evil.
3. Between good and evil there is an eternal enmity; they cannot exist together in peace.
4. But the Lord God hath appointed a time of judgment when he shall destroy evil forever.
5. Then will truth emerge triumphant and shall cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.
6. Then shall the sanctified, those who have been refined and purified from all evil and all the effects of wickedness through the immersion of fire and of the Holy Spirit, reign with the Lord upon the sanctified earth.
7. These have been washed clean in the waters of immersion and received of the Holy Spirit unto the cleansing of their souls from all the abominations and filth of wickedness, that having been made pure and holy they might understand the hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God, those secrets which remain among the sons of Light, being endowed with the vision of the heavenly order.
8. These hath God chosen to be joint heirs in his eternal covenant that they should inherit his glory.
9. Then will the earth be redeemed; death and hell shall be no more and men shall dwell in the presence of God, those who have been sanctified, forever and ever, worlds without end.
1. Now, my son Elisha, having explained the influences which lead men to do good or evil, I shall give unto thee the rules of the Order which all the members of the community of God's elect are bound to obey.
2. All such as shall have declared their desire to turn away from all evil and walk in obedience to every word of God according to the commandments which he hath given shall observe these rules.
3. They are to keep apart from the company of the froward, having not intercourse with the inhabitants of the world except such as is required in the exercise of their stewardships and the preaching to them of the gospel of repentance.
4. They are to be one with their brethren in the community of God's elect holding all their goods common according to the holy order of God and holding one faith and one doctrine.
5. They are to abide by the decisions of the Presidency of the Order and the Family Council in all matters and be subject to the word of God as it is delivered through his prophets the Patriarchs in all matters doctrinal, economic and judicial.
6. They are to be united in all their efforts and always practice veracity, humility, righteousness, justice, charity and decency with no one walking in the stubbornness of his own heart or going astray according to the ideas of his fallible human mind.
7. They are to unite their efforts in overcoming their carnal natures, that the flesh may be subjected to the spirit, putting off the carnal man, becoming spiritual in their natures.
8. They are to establish truth in Israel that falsehood should be banished from among them forever.
9. They are to unite with an everlasting covenant forming a bond of union which can never be broken.
10. They are to freely extend forgiveness to all who have enlisted in the cause of holiness and truth.
11. Thus shall they become united as one man before the Lord our God that they may be found acceptable in his sight.
1. Obedience to these rules can only be maintained through cultivation of the Holy Spirit which is received in the ordinances of God's House.
2. Every one who seeketh admittance to the community of the Order must first be approved by the Presidency of the Order.
3. He must then enter into a covenant of God in the presence of his brethren of the Order, binding himself by a solemn oath to consecrate all of his mind, all of his strength and all of his wealth to the community of God's elect.
4. He who maketh this covenant is to keep himself apart from those who have not received the ordinances of God's House, except when acting in the strength of his Priesthood in the service of our God.
5. Those who reject the ordinances of God's House cannot perfect their lives that they may be sanctified by the power of the Holy Ghost; therefore, they remain in their sins and their pride, being subject to the judgment of God, for surely he shall come forth in vengeance upon all those who have the Covenant revealed unto them but receive it not, until they shall be finally destroyed without remnant if they repent not.
6. No man can be purified except by the power of the Holy Ghost which is received in the ordinances of God.
7. Only thereby can men become holy if they repent of their evils, for without repentance, the reception of the ordinances is a mockery before God and shall result in a cursing and not a blessing.
1. When a man desireth to enter the Covenant and take upon himself the ordinances of God's House, thereby allying himself with the congregation of the saints, he is to be interviewed to determine his conduct in life, his relations with his fellowmen, and his adherence to correct principle and the true doctrines of heaven.
2. He who is found acceptable shall then enter the Order of Enoch after the Aaronic order where, through obedience to the word of God and the instructions of those who preside over him in the Priesthood, he may progress from one degree to another until he entereth into the Order of the Father, the holiest of all.
3. Moreover, every member of the Order is to be interviewed at the end of each year to evaluate his spiritual attitude and the performance of his duties.
4. Thus by annual and other interviews, the standing of each man in the community may be made evident, that the righteous may be promoted by virtue of their increased understanding and the integrity of their conduct, while the froward shall be demoted for their waywardness.
1. When any member of the community hath been offended by another or observeth another in wrongdoing, he is not to come against that erring one with a railing accusation, but is to approach him truthfully, humbly and humanely.
2. A saint of God must not bear hatred in his heart toward his brother.
3. If the offender will not hear his complaint, then he is to take with him two of the teachers to reason with him.
4. If the offender will not hear them, then he is to be called before the High Priest and his brethren who are set as judges in Israel.
5. Thus will all disputations be settled in order, without anger or emotion, that peace and harmony and unity may be preserved in Israel.
6. Furthermore, no man is to bring a charge publicly against his brother except he prove it by witnesses, for in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every charge be established.
1. These rules should govern the affairs of the community.
2. All those who have entered the holy order of God should be obedient to those who have been placed over them in the Priesthood in all matters, as especially those relating to the Order of Enoch.
3. All the elect are to eat at a common table, assemble at every appointed time to worship the Lord their God and attend all councils to which they are invited.
4. They are to attend the schools of the Priesthood where they can be instructed in the order of heaven.
5. They are to neither eat nor drink that which hath not been blessed and sanctified.
6. They shall assemble at sunrise, high noon and sundown to praise the Lord their God and worship before his throne.
7. They shall meet together often to study the word of God and share the word of life.
1. The council of the Order is to be conducted according to the laws of God.
2. Every member is to have an equal opportunity to give his opinion in the council.
3. No one, however, is to interrupt while his brother is speaking not to speak until he is finished.
4. Everyone is to speak in turn, as he is called upon.
5. No one is to speak on any subject which is not the concern of that council.
6. Thus by reasoning together will the council determine the will of God that all things in the Order may be done to the glory of the God of Israel.
1. Regarding the teaching of this order, O Elisha, no one is to engage in discussion or disputation with another concerning the Law of God nor is it to be discussed with those who are not sincerely seeking the truth.
2. With those, however, that have chosen the right path, everyone is to discuss matters pertaining to the knowledge of God's truth and of his righteous judgments.
3. The purpose of such discussions is to guide the minds of the members of the community, to give them insight into God's hidden wonders and truths, and to bring them to walk blamelessly each with his neighbor in harmony with all that has been revealed to them.
4. For this life is a time of preparation for meeting the Lord and a time when the elect must be careful not to mingle with the wicked lest they be led to turn aside from the way through the cunning craftiness of the evil ones.
1. Thus must the elect be careful to live by every word of God.
2. Say unto those who are seeking the inner vision in these dark days, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let mine elect keep no fellowship with the world for all their ways are evil before me.
3. Leave them to pursue their wealth and profit, for they are slaves to their desires.
4. Be ye zealous to carry out every covenant and commandment which ye have received in the ordinances of mine house or ye shall be in the power of the devil, and surely it shall be hard for you at the judgment bar.
5. Faithfully exercise your stewardships according to the holy order of God which I have revealed unto you.
6. Accept willingly whatever may befall you, for I, the Lord, have all things in mine hands and take your pleasure in nothing but according to the will of God.
7. Speak only that which is acceptable before your God and lust not after anything which I have not commanded.
8. Then shall your reward be sure and ye shall stand at the judgment bar without fear. Amen.
1. Now, Elisha, my son, I shall soon leave to join my Father Enoch whose city I have sought all my days, but I shall leave with thee the keys which are necessary for thee to do the work which the Lord hath appointed thee.
2. My mantle also shall fall upon thee and the pure in heart will know thy voice and will follow thee.
3. Farewell, my son.
4. May the grace of God attend thee all thy days and may the peace of God be in thine heart. Amen.