Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

Second Journey of the Lord: Nazareth - Cave at Bethabara (First Feeding of the People) - Mountain of Prayer - Walking on the Sea of Galilee (Peter's test of faith) - By ship to Genneseret in the bay with the same name

- Chapter 98 -
John and Bartholomew clear up Judas and about the Essenes" false wonders.

ays John: "What you have now told us about the Essenes I and quite a few of us have known for a long time. But we also know more than you, which consists in knowing that your highly praised Essenes are more superb deceivers and scoundrels than the notorious and now nearly universally discredited seers of the Oracle of Delphi.
For these people - a remnant of the old Egyptian priesthood case furnished with great treasures of gold, silver and the most precious stones and pearls - have on the border between our Promised land and Egypt erected themselves a veritable wonder mill, and now already possess a second one in the vicinity of Jerusalem with which they make big business as well. Behold, this we know, and we are amazed that you, who are normally no fool, should not know this!"
Says Judas: "Have not I always had all my five senses about me?"
Says John: "And yet have neither seen nor head or felt or understood anything! Do you think that the dead you saw awakened were real dead?"
Says Judas: "What else?"
Says John: "Can you see how you saw nothing in the deliberately darkened chamber? The dead shown you were as live as yourself and the awakening call no more than a signal for same to arise from the apparent deathbeds. Ask our good brother Bartholomew who did two years good service for the Essenes as a dead, but after two years at last found an opportunity to get away from the dreadful cloister of these deceivers. He shall of a truth tell you in what way the Essenes awaken their dead.
He was as he told me, each week four times dead! First in the Chamber of the most recently deceased, and afterwards straightaway in the chamber of skeletons where the black racks are mounted, upon whose lids the skeletons are mostly just painted or carved from wood and attached, and that only on the first ones, because of the touching by the strangers escorted in. These racks are benches with semi-circular lids, fitted to the benches with bands for opening and closing, The live people are mostly just painted with the skeletons are put over them. If then a stranger or two come and that into the chamber kept in full darkness, the awakening is contrived. The awakening call is then merely a signal for the twelve servants, situated outside the crypt, to respond to the call by blowing pulverised resin, strewn inside a pipe over small, flaming pans of pitch which causes immense flare-ups.
When these flames then spring forth from the walls in response to the call, the strangers take fright, and during this well-calculated moment of confusion, those lying on the bench have to quickly force the lids apart, then slowly rise from their benches, and for sake of appearance thank and praise the awakener in all humility. Behold, therein consists the awakening of the dead in the skeleton chamber! Here nevertheless stands Brother Bartholomew as a witness."
Says Judas, quite taken aback by the buffoonery: "Not bad! The deception is quite well thought out and must bring in much money for these scoundrels. But how did they in that case make a palace out of the cliff?"
Says Bartholomew: "The palace has already been built a long time. Did you not however notice a cupola upon a tall pillar above the palace?"
Says Judas: "Oh yes, this I have indeed seen and admired!"
Says Bartholomew: "Behold, the secret of how the Essenes can convert this palace into a seeming Mountain and in a half hour back into the real palace lies in this canvas cupola! Are you with me, or need I speak more plainly?"
Says Judas: "Oh, I understand you only too well! But who would think that these fellows, acting so piously and wisely, should be anointed with such scoundrel-grease? In that case, what is there to the writing upon the moon, and the total eclipse of the sun?"
Says Bartholomew: "This goes into the hilarious, and I together with fifty other strong men quite often has to hold this artificial moon upon an immensely long pole projecting into the air in an oblique direction from the battlement of the castle. The moon however consists of a sieve-ring of two spans thickness covered on both sides with white parchment. The ring itself has a diameter of a good ten hand spans, and within the two parchment covers at the centre, is provided with four oil lamps which spread a strong shine inside the white parchment lids. The side facing the castle is written over with fairly large lettering in three tongues. When a stranger is then briefly taken near a certain window, he appears to see the written-over full moon in the sky, which as said is held obliquely into the air by fifty strong people, on a pole of about twelve Klafters [about 24 metres] length, which is not noticed by the stranger from that particular window. Now, how do you like that full moon?"
Says Judas: "Oh stop it, this goes into the abomination of all deception! In that case what is there to the eclipse of the obviously real sun?"
Says Bartholomew: "This is effected by a certain artful calculation by which, as I was once told, a future eclipse of the Sun can be predicted, when the moon passes over the sun during the day. The calculation is the only substantial thing because it really reaches into the sphere of pure science, and the Essenes learnt it from the Egyptians. Concerning the empty table suddenly set with food, this also stems from a simple mechanism similar to the skeleton benches in the dark chamber!
Behold, that is the substance of the Essene miracles, of which you have not seen the hundredth part, but which are quite fit for thoroughly confounding the uninitiated even were they are otherwise ever so sensible and tried.
Thus in a remote corner of the big garden enclosed by high walls there is a wood where the strangers can hear the trees speak; in another part of the garden the rocks speak whilst in a third section you can even hear a spring, bubbling out of the earth, speak! In a rock-pool about two metres deep, there are tame snakes fed with milk every day. These too speak every now and then! At another spot in the garden even the grass speaks! There would be a lot of talk if one were to describe everything, but it will suffice if I tell you that between thirty and forty strangers are sent up the garden path there every day with so much gold and silver."