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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Historical Court Records Concerning Jesus Christ

 

Chapter 7            

                                        

 Report of Caiaphas To The Sanhedrim Concerning The Resurrection of Jesus

 

       After having made the preceding record of Caiaphas, on unwinding the same  scroll we found another report from him.  It may be interesting to the reader to know  what  we  mean by a scroll.  It is similar to parchment.  The Hebrew word numet means a pulp  made from the bark of the reed into a paste, and dried in the sun until it is  hard;  when pressed and polished it shines beautifully, and its surface is as smooth as  our  paper.  It is of two kinds: one is called papyrus, the other hierotike.  The  latter  is  more costly, and is used by priests alone.  It is about sixteen inches wide,  and  is  cemented together by a gum that exudes from a tree resembling our elm.  It  is  written  upon with some kind of indelible ink or paint, with a common reed quill, which  is  fashioned like our pens.  The writing is done by the sopher, which is the Hebrew  word  for scribe.  He is called grammateus by the Greeks.  The report of  Caiaphas  is  written  in what is known as the square Hebrew.  The letters are from a half-inch to  an  inch  in size, so that one can imagine what a roll of parchment it would take to record  a  deed.  It is read only with difficulty by the best Hebrew scholars, and they  must  have  text-books to assist them.  But after one has gotten the thread of the subject  he  can  get along with it.  This is the reason I got Dr. McIntosh to go with me.  He  and  Dr. Twyman have been in the business for many years.  The windlass, as it might  be  called  (for it more resembles our common rope winders than anything I can think of), is a square piece of timber, about three inches in diameter, to which the scroll is  fastened at one end, around which it is rolled like a spool.  At the  proper  distance  are tied two transverse sticks to hold the parchment to its proper place.  The  windlass  with the scroll is placed at one end of a table, and an empty windlass at the  other end, so that as you unwind from the one to read, the scroll winds around the  other.  The letters are very distinct.  There are hundreds of these arranged in  rows.  They  are  all lettered and numbered with their dates on them.  This makes it easy to  find  any-  thing desired.  There is another class of books of fine sheep or goat  skin,  about  eight by twelve inches.  The writing on these is very fine and difficult  to  read.  They  are bound between cedar boards, with clasps, and contain from eight to forty sheets  to  the book.  These are the kind of books of which Josephus wrote seventy-two.

        But to return to Caiaphas's report.  After unwinding several feet,  as  before  stated, we came across another communication from Caiaphas; I hardly know whether  to  call it a resignation or a confession.  One thing I do know, it is one of the most  solemn things that I have ever read.  We thanked God that we had come  to  Constantinople, and that Mohammed had given orders to preserve these sacred scrolls in the  mosque of St. Sophia.  It is as follows: 

      "Sanhedrim, 89.  By Siphri II, 7.

       "To You, Masters of Israel: As I have made a former defense to you, and  you  have  approved the same, I feel in duty bound to communicate to you some facts that have  come  to my knowledge since that communication.  A few days after the execution of  Jesus  of Nazareth the report of his resurrection from the dead became so common that I found  it necessary to investigate it, because the excitement was more intense than before,  and  my own life as well as that of Pilate was in danger.  I sent for Malkus,  the  captain  of the royal city guard, who informed me he knew nothing personally, as he had  placed  Isham in command of the guard; but from what he could learn from the soldiers the  scene  was awe-inspiring, and the report was so generally believed that it was useless to  deny  it. He thought my only chance was to suppress it among the soldiers, and  have  John  and Peter banished to Crete, or arrested and imprisoned, and if they would not be quiet,  to treat them as I had treated Jesus.  He said that all the soldiers he  had  conversed  with were convinced that Jesus was resurrected by supernatural power and was still  living, and that he was no human being, for the light, and the angels, and the  dead  that came out of their graves all went to  prove  that  something  had  happened  that  never  occurred on earth before.  He said that  John  and  Peter  were  spreading  it  all  over  the  country, and that if Jesus would appear at the head of a host, and declare for the king  of the Jews, he believed all the Jews would  fight  for  him.  I  sent  for  the  lieutenant,  who gave a lengthy account of the occurrence  that  morning,  all  of  which  I  suppose  you  have learned, and will investigate.  From this I am convinced that something transcending the laws of nature took place that  morning,  that  cannot  be  accounted  for  upon  natural laws, and I find it useless to try to get  any  of  the  soldiers  to  deny  it,  for they are so excited that they cannot be reasoned with.  I regret that I had the soldiers  placed at the tomb, for the very things that  they  were  to  prevent  they  have  helped  to  establish.

       "After questioning the soldiers and officers  to  my  satisfaction,  my  mind  being  so disturbed that I could neither eat nor sleep,  I  sent  for  John  and  Peter.  They  came, and brought Mary and Joanna, who are the women  that  went  to  embalm  Jesus'  body  the  morning of the resurrection, as it  is  called.  They  were  very  interesting  as  they  related the circumstances.  Mary says  that  when  they  went  day  was  just  breaking,  They  met the soldiers returning from the sepulcher,  and  saw  nothing  strange  until  they  came  to the tomb, and found it was  empty.  The  stone  that  covered  the  sepulcher  was  rolled  to one side, and two men dressed in flowing white  were  sitting,  one  at  each  end  of  the sepulcher.  Mary asked them where was her  Lord;  they  said,  'He  is  risen  from  the  dead; did he not tell you he would rise the  third  day  and  show  himself  to  the  people,  o prove that he was the Lord  of  life?'  Go  tell  his  disciples,  said  they.  Joanna  said she saw but one man; but this discrepancy  must  have  been  due  to  their  excitement,  because they say they were much alarmed.  They  both  say  that  as  they  returned  they  met  the Master, who told them that he was the  resurrection  and  the  life;  all  that  will  accept shall be resurrected from the second  death.  'We  fell  at  his  feet,  all  bathedin tears, and when we rose up he was  gone.'  Both these  women  wept  for  joy  while  relating these circumstances, and John shouted aloud, which made me tremble in every limb, for I could not help thinking that something that  was  the  exclusive  work  of  God  had occurred, but what it all meant was a great  mystery  to  me.  It  might  be,  I  said,  that God had sent this message by the mouth of this stranger;  it  might  be  that  he  was  the seed of the woman, and we his people had executed him.  

     "I asked John and Peter if they could give  me  any  further  evidence  in  regard  to this man; that I wished to informed  of  his  private  history.  Peter  said  that  Jesus passed by where he was, and bade him follow him,  and  he  felt  attracted  to  him,  but  at first it was more through curiosity than anything  in  the  man;  that  he  soon  became acquainted with Mary, who told him that he was her  son,  and  related  to  him  the  strange circumstances of his birth, and that she was convinced that  he  was  to  be  the  king  of the Jews.  She spoke of many strange  things  concerning  his  life,  which  made  Peter  feel more interested in him than he would have  been  otherwise.  He  said  that  Jesus  was  a man so pleasant in his character, and so like  a  child  in  innocence,  that  no  one  could help liking him after he got acquainted with him;  that  though  he  seemed  to  be  stern and cold, he was not so in reality; that  he  was  exceedingly  kind,  especially  to  the poor; that he would make any sacrifice for the  sick  and  needy,  and  would  spare  no effort to impart knowledge to anyone that would  call  on  him,  and  that  his  knowledge was so profound that he had seen him interrogated  by  the  most  learned  doctors  of  the law, and he always gave the most perfect  satisfaction,  and  that  the  sopher  or  scribes, and the Hillelites, and Shammaites were afraid  to  open  their  mouths  in  his  presence. They had attacked him so often and been repelled  that  they  shunned  him  as  they  would a wolf; but when he had repelled them he did not  enjoy  the  triumph  as  they  did  over others of whom they had gotten the  ascendancy.  As  to  his  private  life,  he  seemed  not to be a man of pleasure, nor of sorrow.  He  mingled  with  society  to  benefit  it,  and yet took no part at all in what was going on.  'I  had  heard  many  tell  of  what occurred when he was baptized, and from what his mother told  me  I  was  watching  for  a  display of his divine power, if he had any, for I knew he  could  never  be  king  of  the  Jews unless he did have help from on  high.  Once  when  we  were  attending  a  marriage-feast the wine gave out, and his mother told him of it,  and  he  said  to  the  men  to  fill  up  some water-pots that were sitting near, and they put in nothing but water, for I watched them, but when they poured it out it was wine, for  it  was  tasted  by  all  at  the  feast,  and  when the master found it out he  called  for  Jesus  to  honor  him,  but  he  had  disappeared.  It seemed that he did not want to  be  popular,  and  this  spirit  displeased  us,  for  we  knew if he was to be king  of  the  Jews  he  must  become  popular  with  the  Jews.  His  behavior angered his mother, for she was  doing  all  she  could  to  bring  him  into  notice,  and  to make him popular among the people,  and  the  people  could  not  help  liking  him  when  they saw him,  Another  peculiarity  was  that  in  his  presence  everyone  felt  safe.  There  seemed to be an almighty power pervading  the  air  wherever  he  went  so  that  everyone  felt  secure, and believed that no harm could  befall  them  if  Jesus  were  present.  As  we  were  in  our fishing-boat I saw Jesus coming out  toward  us,  walking  on  the  water.  I  knew  that  if  he could make the waves support him, he could  me  also,  I  asked  him  if  I  might  come  to  him; he said to me to come, but when I saw the  waves  gathering  around  me  I  began  to  sink,  and asked him to help me,  He lifted me up, and told me to have faith in God. On   another occasion we were sailing on the sea,  and  there  was  a  great  storm.  It  blew  at  a  fearful rate, and all on board thought they would be lost; we awakened the master, and  when  he saw the raging of the storm he stretched out his hand and said, "Peace, be still  and the wind ceased to blow, the thunder stopped, the lightning's withdrew, and the billowing sea seemed as quiet as a babe in its  mother's  arms  -  all  done  in  one  moment  of  time, This I saw with my own eyes, and from that time I was convinced that he was not a common man.  Neither  did  he  work  by  enchantment  like  the  Egyptian  thaumaturgists,  for in all their tricks they never  attack  the  laws  of  nature.  In  vain  might  they  order  the thunder to hush, or the winds  to  abate,  or  the  lightning's  to  cease  their  flashing. Again, I saw this man while  we  were  passing  from  Jericho.  There  was  a  blind  man,  who cried out to him for mercy, and Jesus said  to  me,  "Go,  bring  him  near,"  and  when  I brought him near Jesus asked  him  what  he  wanted.  He  said  he  wanted  to  see  again.  Jesus said "Receive thy sight," when he  was  not  near  enough  for  Jesus  to  lay  his  hands  upon him or use any art,  Thus were all his miracles performed. He did not act as the Egyptian necromancers, They  use  vessels,  such  as  cups,  bags,  and  jugs,  and  many  other things to deceive.  Jesus used nothing but his simple speech in such a way that all could understand him, and it seemed as if the laws of nature were his main instruments of action, and that nature was as obedient  to  him  as  a  slave  to  his  master. I  recall another occasion when a young  man  was  dead,  and  Jesus  loved  his  sisters.  One  of  them went with Jesus to the tomb,  He commanded it to be uncovered.  The sister said, "Master, by this time he is offensive;  he  has  been  dead  four  days."  Jesus  said,  "Only  have faith" and he called the young man by name,  and  he  came  forth  out  of  the  tomb,  and  is living today,' and Peter proposed that I should see him for myself.  

     "Thus argue Peter and  John,  If  Jesus  had  such  power  over  nature  and  nature's  law,and power over death in others, he  would  have  such  power  over  death  that  he  could  lay down his life and take it up  again,  as  he  said  he  would  do.  As  he  proposes  to  bring hundreds of witnesses to  prove  all  he  says,  and  much  more  -  witnesses  whose  veracity cannot be doubted - and as I  had  heard  many  of  these  things  before  from  different  men, both friends and foes (and although  these  things  are  related  by  his  friends  -  that  is, the friends of Jesus - yet these  men  talk  like  men  of  truth,  and  their  testimony  corroborates other evidence that  I  have  from  other  sources,  that  convinces  me  that  his  is something that should not be  rashly  dealt  with),  and  seeing  the  humble  trust  and  confidence of these men  and  women,  besides,  as  John  says,  thousands  of  others  equally strong in their belief,  it  throws me  into  great  agitation,  I  feel  some  dreadful foreboding - a weight upon my heart.  I  cannot  feel  as  a  criminal  from  the  fact  that  I was acting according to  my  best  judgment  with  the  evidence  before  me.  I  feel  that  I was acting in defense of God and my  country,  which  I  love  better  than  my  life,  and  if I was mistaken, I was honest in my mistake.  As we teach that honesty of purpose gives character to the action, on this basis I shall try to clear myself of any charge, yet there is a conscious fear about my heart, so that I have no rest day or night.  I feel sure that if I should  meet  Jesus  I  would  fall  dead  at  his  feet;  and  it seems to me if I went out I should be sure to meet him.

     "In this state of conscious dread I remained investigating the Scriptures to know more about the prophecies concerning this man, but found nothing to  satisfy  my  mind. I locked my door and gave the guards orders to let no one in without  first  giving  me notice,  While thus engaged, with no one in the room but my wife and Annas, her father, when I lifted up my eyes, behold Jesus of Nazareth stood before me.  My breath stopped, my blood ran cold, and I was in the act of falling, when he spoke and  said,  'Be  not afraid, it is I,' You condemned me that you might go free.  This  is  the  work  of  my Father.  Your only wrong is, you have a wicked heart.  This  you  must  repent  of.  This last lamb you have slain is the one that was appointed before the foundation; this sacrifice is made for all men.  Your other lambs were for those who offered them; this is for all, this is the last; it is for you if you will accept it.  I  died  that  you and all mankind might be saved.'  At this he looked at me with such melting tenderness that it seemed to me I was nothing but tears, and my strength was  all  gone.  I  fell on my fact at his feet as one that was dead.  When Annas lifted me  up  Jesus  was  gone, and the door still locked.  No one could tell when or where he went.       

      "So noble Masters, I do not feel that I can officiate as priest any more.  If this strange personage is from God, and should prove to be the Saviour  we  have  looked for so long, and I have been the means of crucifying him, I have  no  further  offerings to make for sin; but I will wait and see how these things will develop.  And if he proves to be the ruler that we are looking for, they will soon  develop  into  something more grand in the future.  His glory will increase; his  influence  will  spread  wider and wider, until the whole earth shall be full of his glory, and all  the  kingdoms  of the world shall be his dominion.  Such are the teachings of the prophets on this subject, Therefore you will appoint Jonathan, or some one, to  fill  the  holy  place."  

     [We found that, soon after, Jonathan became high  priest, though history  teaches us differently.]