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Herod’s Letter to Caesar (John the Baptist)

Herod’s Letter to Caesar (John the Baptist)

To Tiberius Caesar and the Roman Senate; “My Noble Lords, Greetings: The facts in the case are about as follows: John the Baptist had set up a new mode of religion altogether different from the Jewish religion, teaching baptism instead of circumcision, which had been the belief and the custom of the Jews in all ages past. According to their theory, God appeared to Abraham hundreds of years before, and told him with his own lips how and what to do to be saved; and the Jews have lived according to this until it had become their nature, and all their forefathers had lived in this way. David, Solomon, Isaac, Jacob, and all the Holy prophets had gone to heaven in this way of God’s own appointment. Now, the question came to them, as they suggested it to me: Has God found that He is wrong? Has His wisdom failed Him? Or has the unchanged changed, and He is wavering in His purpose? Such would be the natural conclusion of a sensible man under the circumstances. Now, John the Baptist had no authority from God for what he was doing, as Abraham had. All he could say was, “He that sent me to baptize is true.” And he cannot tell who he was. Then his going into the wilderness; God had ordered Solomon to build the finest temple that was ever built in the world, and made promises that whosoever came to that house with his offerings his prayers should be heard and answered. This temple had been the place of their meeting for hundreds of years, for the Jews think this temple is the next place in heaven. Now see the difference; First John has no authorized authority. Second he changes God’s place of worship. Third he changes the doctrines. Fourth he changes the mode of application. Now, the idea of Gamaliel was that John wanted to be some great man; hence, he took this mode of eccentric life to establish it. And there is nothing better qualified than the course he took to make an impression upon the ignorant and unlearned–to go away out in the wilderness by himself, get a few friends from Jerusalem to go out and hear him, and come back and tell the great wonders which they had seen in the wilderness. Then John’s appearance–his long, uncombed hair and beard, his fantastic clothing, and his food, nothing but bugs and beans–such a course and such a character are well qualified to lead the illiterate astray. These troubles on the Jewish mind were very heavy, and gave such men as Hilderium, Shammai, Hillel and others great concern. And no wonder, for in their judgment it was vacating the temple of religious worship; it was blocking the road to heaven, and driving the poor and unsuspecting to ruin, as well as destroying the whole nation. So it was, by their request, as so ordered, that it was better to execute one to save the many for a worse fate. And this is the true reason for the deed, and not to please the whim of a dancing girl, as you have heard. Now, my lords, if this is not satisfactory, I would ask my accuser, Caius, to write any of the learned Jews, and learn if my statement is not correct. Herod Antipas

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