Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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 a subterranean vault in the midst of them. The vault was closed on top by a cover. Jesus told the pagan priests to call forth their god. When by means of machinery, they had caused the idol to rise into sight, Jesus expressed to them His regret that they had a god that was unable to help himself.

Then turning to the priestess, He commanded her to rehearse the praises of her god, tell how she served him, and what reward he gave her. Like Balaam the Prophet, the woman began to repeat aloud before all the people the horrors of Moloch's worship and the wonders of the God of Israel. Jesus then directed the disciples to upset the idol and to shake it vio­lently. They did as commanded. Jesus said to the pagans: "Behold the god that ye serve! Behold the spirits that ye adore!" and in the sight of all pre­sent, there appeared all kinds of diabolical figures issuing from the idol. They trembled convulsively, crept around for awhile, and vanished into the earth among the tombs. The idolaters gazed at the scene in affright and confusion. Jesus said: "If we cast your god down again into his den, he will surely go to pieces." The priests implored Jesus not to destroy their idol, whereupon He allowed them to raise it as before and lower it into its place. Most of the idolaters were deeply touched and ashamed, espe­cially the priests, although some were very indig­nant. The people were, however, on Jesus' side. He gave them a beautiful instruction and many were converted. Moloch was seated like an ox on his hind legs, his forepaws stretched out like the arms of one who is going to receive something upon them, but by means of machinery he could be made to draw them in. His gaping mouth disclosed an enormous throat, and on his forehead was one crooked horn. He was seated in a large basin. Around the body were several projections like outside pockets. On fes­tival days long straps were hung around his neck. In the basin under him fire was made when sacri­fices


Life of Jesus Christ

 were to be offered. Around the rim of the basin numbers of lamps were kept constantly burning before the god. Once upon a time it was customary to sacrifice children to him, but now they dared no longer do so, and animals of all kinds were offered in their stead. They were consumed in the openings of his body or cast into his yawning jaws. The sac­rifice most agreeable to him was an Angora goat. There was also a machine by which the priests and others could descend to the idol in the subterranean vault among the tombs. The worship of Moloch was, however, no longer in great repute. He was invoked chiefly for purposes of sorcery and especially by the mothers of sick children. Each pocket around his person was consecrated to special sacrifices. Chil­dren used to be laid on his arms and consumed by the fire under him and in him, for he was hollow. He drew his arms in when the victim was deposited upon them, and pressed it tightly that its screams might not be heard. There was machinery in the hind legs by which he could be made to rise. He was surrounded with rays.

19. Jesus in Dion and Jogbeha

The heathens whose children Jesus had cured asked Him whither they should remove, for they were deter­mined to renounce idolatry. Jesus spoke to them of Baptism, exhorting them in the meantime to remain tranquil and persevere in their good resolutions. He spoke to them of God as of a father to whom we must sacrifice our evil inclinations, and who asks no other offering from us than that of our own heart. When addressing the pagans, Jesus always said to them more plainly than He did to the Jews, that God has no need of our offerings. He exhorted them to contrition and penance, to thanksgiving for benefits received, and to compassion toward the suffering. Returned to the Jewish quarter, He terminated the



 exercises of the Sabbath and took a repast, after which began a fast in atonement for the adoration of the golden calf. It was celebrated on the 8th of Tisri because the 7th, the fast day proper, fell this year on the Sabbath.

Jesus left the city the next afternoon. The pagans whose children He had cured thanked Him again outside their own quarter. He blessed them, and with twelve disciples went down through the valley to the south of Gadara. He crossed a mountain and reached a little stream flowing from the range below Betharamphtha-Julias where the mines were. It was three hours from Gadara to the inn near the stream at which Jesus and the disciples put up. The Jews dwelling around that part of the country were engaged in gathering in the fruits. Jesus instructed them. There was also a band of pagans near the stream busy gathering white flowers from a bloom­ing hedge, but it was not the flowers alone that they gathered, but also great, ugly beetles and other insects. When Jesus approached them, they drew back as if in fear. It was shown me that these insects were intended for the idol Beelzebub at Dion. I saw the idol outside the gate of the city, sitting under a large willow. It had a figure something like a mon­key with short arms and slender legs, and it was seated like a human being. Its head was pointed and furnished with two little horns bent like a cres­cent, and the face with its extremely long nose was horrible. The chin was short but projecting, the mouth large and like that of a beast, the body lank, the legs long and thin with clawed toes. It wore an apron. In one hand it grasped a vessel by the stem, and in the other held a butterfly just escaping the larva. The butterfly, which was something like a bird and something like a disgusting insect, shone with var­iegated colors. Around the head of the idol and just above the forehead was a wreath of loathsome bee­tles and flying vermin, forming as it were a com­pact


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 mass, one appearing to hold the other fast. Above the forehead and in the center of the pointed head between the horns sat one of those disgusting things larger and more hideous than the others. They were glittering, and they radiated all the col­ors, but they were horrible, venomous things with long bodies, horns, feelers, and stings. When Jesus drew near to the pagans that were seeking these insects for the idol, the whole crown flew asunder like a dark swarm and hid in the holes and corners around the country, while all kinds of frightful black spirits crept with them, frightened, into the holes. They were the wicked spirits that were honored in Beelzebub with those beetles.

On the following forenoon, Jesus reached Dion, that is the Jewish quarter, which was much smaller than that of the pagans. The latter was beautifully situated on the declivity of a mountain and had sev­eral temples. The Jewish quarter was entirely dis­tinct from it. Where Jesus arrived outside the city the arbors were, for the most part, finished. Under one of them He was ceremoniously received by the priests and magistrates of the place, His feet washed, and the customary refreshments offered. Immedi­ately after, He went out among the sick, numbers of whom were lying and standing under the arbors that had been erected from this spot to the city. The disciples assisted and kept order. There were sick of all kinds: lame, dumb, blind, dropsical, and par­alyzed. Jesus cured and exhorted many. There were some that stood upright on three-legged crutches, and there were other crutches upon which the invalid could rest without using the feet. These latter were almost like go-carts. At last Jesus came to the sick women. They were lying, leaning, and sitting nearer the city under a long arbor that had been erected over a terraced bank. This bank was covered with beautiful, fine grass that hung like soft, silky hair, and over it was spread a carpet. There were several

Jesus in Dion


 women afflicted by an issue of blood. They were closely veiled and remained at a distance. Others were hypochondriacal, their faces wan and sallow, their countenance sad and gloomy. Jesus addressed them graciously and cured them one after another. He gave each at the same time hints and admoni­tions suited to her case for correcting her several imperfections, for avoiding such and such sins, and He instructed all as to what penances to perform. He also blessed and cured several children presented to Him by their mothers. This work lasted until the afternoon and ended amid general rejoicings. The cured went away singing canticles of thanksgiving, joyously and merrily carrying their beds and crutches. They returned to the city processionally in beautiful order as they had been cured, accompa­nied by their rejoicing relatives, friends, and atten­dants. Jesus with the disciples and Levites walked in their midst. The humility and gravity of Jesus on such occasions are inexpressible. The women and children led the procession chanting the fortieth Psalm of David: “Blessed is He that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor.” They went to the synagogue and thanked God, after which they took a meal under an arbor. It consisted of fruit, birds, honeycomb, and toasted bread. When the Sab­bath began, all went in mourning garments to the synagogue, for the great Feast of Atonement then commenced for the Jews.

Jesus delivered in the synagogue a discourse on penance. He spoke against those that limit them­selves to corporal purification without restraining the evil desires of the soul. Some of the Jews disci­plined themselves under their wide mantles around the thighs and legs. The pagans of Dion also cele­brated a feast with an enormous quantity of incense. The very seats upon which they sat were placed over burning perfumes.

I saw, too, the celebration of the Feast of Atone­ment


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 in Jerusalem, the numerous purifications of the High Priest, his arduous preparations and mor­tification, the sacrifices, the sprinkling of blood, the burning of incense, also the scapegoat, and the cast­ing of lots for the two goats. One was for sacrifice, the other was chased away into the desert with some­thing containing fire tied to its tail. It ran wildly through the wilderness, and at last plunged down a precipice. This desert, which was once traversed by David, commenced above the Mount of Olives. The High Priest was today violently agitated and trou­bled; he would have been glad if another could have performed the duties of his office instead of himself. He was full of dread at the moment of entering the Holy of Holies, and he earnestly begged the people to pray for him. The people thought he must have committed some sin, and felt very anxious lest some calamity might befall him in the Holy of Holies. The truth was, his conscience smote him for the share he had had in the murder of Zachary, the father of John. This sin was chastised with interest in the per­son of his son-in-law, who passed sentence of death on Jesus. I do not think this High Priest was Caiaphas, but his father-in-law.

The Holy Mystery was no longer in the Ark of the Covenant. There were in it only some little linen napkins and the various compartments. This Ark of the Covenant was new and quite different in form from the first. The angels were different. They were seated and surrounded by a triple scarf; one foot was raised, the other hung at the side of the Ark, and the crown was still between them. There were all kinds of sacred things in the Ark, such as oil and incense. I remember that the High Priest burned incense and sprinkled blood, that he took one of the little linen cloths from the Ark, that he mixed some blood (which he either drew from his finger or had on his finger) with water, and then presented it to a row of priests to drink. It was a kind of figure of

Elias and King Joram


 Holy Communion. I saw also that the High Priest, chastised by God, was become very miserable and was struck with leprosy. There was great consterna­tion in the Temple. I heard a most impressive les­son read in the Temple from Jeremias and at the same time I saw many scenes in the life of the Prophet and much of the horrors of idolatry in Israel.

I saw also during another reading in the Temple that Elias, after his death, wrote a letter to King Joram. The Jews would not believe it. They explained it in this way: They said that Eliseus, who brought the letter to Joram, had given it to him as a prophet­ical letter bequeathed to himself by Elias. I began myself to think it very strange, when suddenly I was transported to the East and, in my journey, passed the Mountain of the Prophets, which I saw covered with ice and snow. It was crowned with towers, pre­senting perhaps the appearance it wore in the time of Joram. I went on then eastwardly to Paradise, and saw therein the beautiful, wonderful animals walk­ing and gamboling around. There, too, were the glis­tening walls and, lying asleep on either side of the gate, Henoch and Elias. Elias was in spirit gazing upon all that was then going on in Palestine. An angel laid before him a roll of fine, white parchment and a reed pen. Elias sat up and wrote, resting the parchment on his knees. I saw a little chariot some­thing like a chair, or throne, coming over an emi­nence, or around by some steps from the inside of the garden. It was drawn by three marvelously beau­tiful white animals. I saw Elias mount it and, as if on a rainbow, journey quickly to Palestine. The char­iot stood still over a house of Samaria. I saw Eliseus inside praying, his eyes raised to Heaven. I saw Elias letting the letter fall before him, and Eliseus bear­ing the same to King Joram. The animals were har­nessed to Elias' chariot, one in front and two behind. They were indescribably lovely, delicately formed ani­mals of the size perhaps of a large roe, snow-white,


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 with long, white, silken hair. Their limbs were very slender, their head always in motion, and on their forehead was an elegant horn bent somewhat toward the front. On the day that Elias was taken up to Heaven, I saw his chariot drawn by the same kind of animals.

I saw also the history of Eliseus and the Suna­mitess. Eliseus performed prodigies even more won­derful than those of Elias, and in his dress and manners there was something more elegant and refined. Elias was wholly a man of God with noth­ing in his manners modeled after other men. He was something like John the Baptist; they were men of the same stamp. I saw also how Giezi, the servant of Eliseus, ran after the man whom his master had cured of leprosy (Naaman), It was night and Eliseus was asleep. Giezi overtook Naaman at the Jordan and demanded presents from him in the name of his master.

On the next day Giezi was pursuing his work as if nothing had happened (he was making light wooden screens to be used as partitions between sleeping apartments) when Eliseus asked him: "Where hast thou been?" and exposed to him all that had taken place the previous night. The servant was punished with leprosy, which he transmitted to his posterity.

As the idolatry practiced by the human race, the adoration of animals and idols in the early times, the repeated lapsing of the Israelites into the same, and the great mercy of God in sending them the Prophets were shown me, and I was wondering how men could adore such abomination, I had a vision in which I saw that the same abomination still exists on the earth, though in a formless material, more spiritual. I saw innumerable visions throughout the whole world of idolatry infecting even Christianity, and I saw it indeed in almost all the forms in which it was formerly practiced. I saw priests adoring ser­pents in presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament,

Moloch and Baal


 their different passions assuming the various forms of those serpents. I saw all kinds of similar animals by the side of learned and distinguished men. They adored them while at the same time they thought themselves above all religion! I saw toads and all kinds of hateful creatures near poor, low, depraved people. I saw also entire churches in the practice of idolatry, namely, a dark, reformed church in the North with empty, horrible altars upon which stood ravens receiving the adoration of the congregation. The people saw not indeed such animals, but they were adoring them in their own conceits and haughty self sufficiency. I saw ecclesiastics for whom little dis­torted figures, little pugs, etc., were turning the leaves of their breviary while they recited the Holy Office. Yes, I saw with some even the idols of ancient times, such as Moloch and Baal. They were placed on the table among their books, and held sway over them. I have seen them even presenting morsels of food to those men who despised the holy simplicity of the children of God, and made a mockery of it.

I saw that such horrors are as rife in our own day as in the past, and that the visions of idolatry vouch­safed me were not accidental. If the ungodliness and idolatry of men of our own day could assume a cor­poreal form, if their thoughts and sentiments could be reduced to exterior acts, we should find the same idols existing now as in days gone by.

When Jesus again left Dion, several heathens from the pagan quarter approached Him very timidly. They had heard of the wonderful cures He had effected in Gadara, and they now brought their children to Him. Jesus cured them and induced the parents to deter­mine to receive Baptism. After that He went with twelve disciples five hours to the south and over the brook that flowed down from the vale of Ephron. One half-hour to the south of this brook lay Jogbeha, a little, unknown place, quite hidden away in a hollow behind a forest. It was founded by a Prophet, a spy


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 of Moses and Jethro, whose name sounds like Malachai. He is not, however, one and the same with the last Prophet, Malachias. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, employed him as a servant. He was ex­ceedingly faithful and prudent, on which account Moses sent him to explore this country. He had come two years before Moses arrived himself, had explored the country for miles around even as far as the bor­ders of the lake, and had given an account of all that he saw. Jethro at that time dwelt near the Red Sea, but upon Malachai's report, he went with the wife and sons of Moses to Arga. Malachai was at last pur­sued as a spy. They hunted him to kill him. There was no city here in those times, only a few people living in tents. Malachai took refuge in a morass, or cistern, and an angel appeared and helped him. He brought him upon a long strip of parchment the com­mand to continue three years longer reconnoitering the country. The inhabitants, that is those who lived in the tents, provided him with clothes such as they themselves wore, long, red tunics and jackets of the same color. Malachai also explored the country around Betharamphtha. He lived for some time among the tent-dwellers of Jogbeha, and by his superior intel­ligence rendered them great assistance.

In the hollow in which Jogbeha was hidden was a ditch filled with water and quite covered with reeds, and on the spot in which Malachai lay con­cealed was a well that had been filled up. It began later on to bubble and cast out quantities of sand with occasional columns of vapor and sometimes peb­bles. By degrees was formed around the well a hill, which was soon clothed with verdure. The morass was filled up by earth brought from a neighboring mountain, and buildings were erected upon it. Thus arose around the well, which was covered by a beau­tiful spring house, the city of Jogbeha, which name signifies: "It will be elevated." The marshy cistern must have been built around in far earlier times,

Jesus in Jogbeha


 for lying near were the moss-covered ruins of walls in which were still discernible the holes destined probably for fish. There were other ruins in this locality like the foundation of an ancient tent cas­tle. Malachias taught the inhabitants to use black mineral pitch in building.

Jesus was very graciously received in the isolated city of Jogbeha. Living apart from the other inhab­itants was a sect called Karaites. They wore long, yellow scapulars, white garments, and aprons of rough skin. The youths wore shorter clothes and had their limbs wound with strips of stuff. There were about four hundred of these men. Once upon a time they were of far more importance, but suffered much from the oppression of enemies. They were of the race of Esra and a descendant of Jethro. One of their teachers had a great dispute once with a distin­guished pharisaical Doctor. They clung strictly to the letter of the Law and rejected oral additions, led a life very simple and plain, and had all their goods in common. If a member withdrew from the community, he had to abandon whatever goods or property he had brought to it. There were no poor among them, for they mutually assisted one another; even strangers were supported by them. They rev­erenced old age, and among them were many aged persons, whom the young treated with the greatest deference. They called those holding a distinguished position "ancients." The Karaites were sworn ene­mies of the Pharisees, who added all sorts of oral traditions to the Law, though in some points they were somewhat similar to the Sadducees. In their manners and customs, however, they were different, being far stricter. One of them belonging to this place had married a woman of the tribe of Benjamin and on that account had been driven from the com­munity. It was at the time of the great strife with that tribe. They suffered nothing in the least resem­bling an image, and they believed that the souls of


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 the deceased passed into other bodies, even into those of the lower animals. They delighted in the thought of the beautiful animals in Paradise. They were in expectation of the Messiah, after whom they earnestly prayed, but they looked for Him to come as a worldly monarch, They regarded Jesus as a Prophet. They observed great cleanliness, but did not adhere to the numerous purifications, the throw­ing away of dishes, and similar annoying observances not in the Law. They followed the Law religiously, though interpreting it much more freely than did the Pharisees.

They lived here quietly, having little communica­tion with other people, permitting neither luxury nor vanity, and supporting themselves by their modest labor. A great many willow trees grew in these parts, from which they wove baskets and beehives, for there were many bees around here. They also made coarse covers, and light wooden vessels, all working together under long tents. Their arbors for the Feast of Taber­nacles now at hand stood already prepared outside the city. They entertained Jesus with honey and bread baked in the ashes. Jesus taught here. He instructed them in all things, and they listened to Him very reverently. He expressed to them the wish that they should live in Judea, and praised the reverence of their children toward their parents, of the scholars for their teachers, and the regard they entertained for age. He also commended their attention to the poor and the sick, for whom they provided in well arranged hospitals.


1. Jesus in Ennon and Socoth. Mary of Suphan. Conversion of an Adulteress

From Jogbeha, Jesus went through Socoth to Ennon, a distance of about an hour along a pleas­ant road, enlivened by the camps of the caravans and the pilgrims going to Baptism. It was already lined with long rows of tents covered with foliage, and the people were still busied with preparations, because with the close of the coming Sabbath, the Feast of Tabernacles began. Jesus taught at inter­vals on the way. Just outside Ennon they had erected a beautiful tent, and a solemn reception was pre­pared for Jesus by Mary the Suphanite. The most distinguished personages of the city were present, also the priests, and Mary with her children. The men washed the feet of Jesus and His disciples, and costly refreshments were offered them, according to custom. Mary's children and others of their age pre­sented the viands. The women, closely veiled, pros­trated before Jesus, their faces on the ground. He saluted and blessed them graciously. Mary, with tears of joy and gratitude, invited Jesus to repair to her house. When He entered the city, Mary's children, two girls and a boy, and others of their age with long garlands of flowers and scarves of woolen stuff walked before Him and at His side.

Jesus, accompanied by His disciples, entered the



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 courtyard of Mary's house, passing under a flowery arch erected for the occasion. Mary again cast her­self at His feet, weeping and thanking, her children following her example. Jesus caressed the little ones. Mary told Him that Dina the Samaritan had been there, and that the man with whom she had been living up to that time had received Baptism. Mary knew Dina, since her own husband and three legit­imate children lived in Damascus. She and the Samaritan had together sounded Jesus' praises. She was radiant with joy, and showed Jesus many costly robes for the use of the priests, and a high miter which she herself had made for the Temple, for she was incredibly skillful at such work, and rich in money and property. Jesus was very gracious toward her. He spoke to her of her husband, advising her to go back to him, to be reconciled with him, for her pres­ence near him would prove of use, and her illegiti­mate children could be provided for elsewhere. He directed her also to send a messenger to her hus­band to request him to come to her. On leaving her house Jesus went to the place of Baptism, where He mounted the pulpit and taught the people.

Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Veronica, Simeon's sons, and some disciples from Jerusalem had come hither for the Sabbath. Andrew, John, and some of the Baptist's disciples were still here, but James the Less had gone back. The Baptist had again sent mes­sengers to Jesus urging Him to go to Jerusalem and to say openly before the whole world who He was. John was now so impatient, so anxious, because though so powerfully impelled to announce Jesus, he was unable to do so.

When the Sabbath began, Jesus taught in the syn­agogue, taking for His subjects the creation of the world, the waters, and the Fall of man. He alluded very significantly to the Messiah, commenting in the most striking manner upon Isaias 42:5-43, and apply­ing the same to Himself and the Jewish people. After

Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles


 the Sabbath, there was an entertainment given to Jesus at the public banqueting hall. It had been pre­pared by Mary of Suphan. The tables, as well as the hall, were beautifully decorated with foliage and flow­ers and lamps. The guests were numerous and among them were many whom Jesus had cured. The women sat on one side behind a screen. During the meal Mary went forward with her children and placed costly perfumes on the table. She then poured a flask of odoriferous balm over Jesus' head, and cast her­self down before Him. Jesus received these atten­tions graciously, and related parables. No one found fault with Mary, for all loved her on account of her munificence.

Next morning Jesus cured several sick persons, and taught in the synagogue. He also taught in a place to which those pagans that had received Bap­tism and those still in expectation of the same were admitted. In His latter instruction He spoke so feel­ingly, so naturally, of the lost son, that one would have thought Him the father who had found his son. He stretched out His arms, exclaiming: "See! See! He returns! Let us make ready a feast for him!" It was so natural that the people looked around, as if all that Jesus was saying were a reality. When He men­tioned the calf that the father had slaughtered for the newly found son, His words were full of myste­rious significance. It was as if He said: "But what would not be that love which would lead the Heav­enly Father to give His own Son as a sacrifice, to save His lost children." The instruction was addressed principally to penitents, to the baptized, and to the pagans present, who were depicted as the lost son returning to his home. All were excited to joy and mutual charity. The fruit of Jesus' teaching was soon apparent at the celebration of the Feast of Taberna­cles, in the good will and hospitality shown by the Jews to their pagan brethren. In the afternoon Jesus with His disciples and a crowd of the inhabitants


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 took a walk outside the city and along by the Jor­dan, through the beautiful meadows and flowery fields in which the tents of the heathens stood. The para­ble they had just heard, that of the Prodigal Son, formed the subject of conversation, and all were cheer­ful and happy, full of love toward one another.

The exercises of the Sabbath were today brought to a close at an earlier hour than usual. Jesus again taught and cured some sick before its close. Then all went out of the city, or rather to a quarter some­what remote, for it was built very irregularly, the streets broken up by open squares and gardens. And now was celebrated a great feast. The tabernacles were arranged in three rows and adorned with flow­ers, green branches, all kinds of devices formed of fruit, streamers, and innumerable lamps. The mid­dle row was occupied by Jesus, the disciples, the priests, and the chief men of the city disposed in numerous groups. In one of the side rows were the women, and in the other the school children, the youths, and the maidens forming three distinct bands. The teachers sat with their pupils, and every class had its own chanters. Soon the children, crowned with flowers, surrounded the tables with flutes and chimes and harps, playing and singing. I saw also that the men held in one hand palm branches on which were little tinkling balls, and branches of wil­low with fine, narrow leaves, also the branches of a kind of bush such as we cultivate in pots. It was myrtle. In the other they held the beautiful yellow Esrog apple. They waved their branches as they sang. This was done three times: at the commencement, in the middle, and at the end of the feast. That kind of apple is not indigenous to Palestine; it comes from a warmer clime. It may indeed be found here and there in the sunny regions, but it is not so vigorous nor does it ripen to maturity. It was transported hither by caravans from warm countries. The fruit is yellow and like a small melon; it has a little crown

Jesus Returns from Ennon to Socoth


 on top, is ribbed and somewhat flat. The pulp in the center of the fruit is streaked with red, and in it closely packed together are five little kernels, but no seed vessel. The stalk is rather curved, and the blos­soms form a large, white cluster like our elderberry. The branches below the large leaves strike root again in the earth, whence new ones spring up and thus an arbor is formed. The fruit rises from the axel of the leaves.

The pagans also took part in this feast. They, too, had their tabernacles of green branches, and those that had received Baptism took their places next to the Jews, by whom they were cordially and hospitably entertained. All were still influenced by the impres­sions received at the instruction upon the Prodigal Son. The meal lasted until late into the night. Jesus went up and down along the tables instructing the guests, and wherever anything was needed supply­ing the want through one of the disciples. Joyous sounds of conversation and merriment arose from all sides, occasionally interrupted by prayer and canti­cles. The whole place was ablaze with lights. The roofs of Ennon were covered with tents and taber­nacles, and there the occupants of the houses slept at night. In the tabernacles outside the city many poor people and servants, after the feast was over and all had gone to rest, passed the night as guards.

Jesus, accompanied by the disciples and many oth­ers, returned from Ennon to Socoth, which was at no great distance. The greater part of the way was covered with tabernacles and tents, for many from the surrounding districts celebrated the feast here, and the caravans, which were constantly coming and going, were now resting for the feast. The whole length of the road was like one triumphal march. Behind the tabernacles were stands covered with awnings at which provisions could be purchased. It took Jesus several hours to traverse this road, for He was every­where saluted and from time to time He stood still


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 to instruct. He did not reach the synagogue of Socoth till toward evening. Socoth on the north bank of the Jabok was a beautiful city, and had a very magnif­icent synagogue. Besides the Feast of Tabernacles, there was another celebrated today in Socoth, that of the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau. The whole day was devoted to it, and there were visitors from all the country around. Among the school children at Ennon were some of the orphans from the school of Abelmahula, who were now in Socoth, having come for the feast of today. It was the real anniversary of Jacob and Esau's reconciliation, which, according to the Jewish tradition, had taken place on this day.

The synagogue, one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen, was rendered still more gorgeous today by its festal decorations of countless crowns, flowery garlands, and lovely, sparkling lamps. It was lofty and supported by eight columns. On both sides of the edifice ran corridors communicating with the buildings that comprised the dwellings of the Levites and the schools. One end of the synagogue was more elevated than the rest, and here toward the center rose an ornamented pillar with little cases and pro­jections running up around it, in which were kept the rolls of the Law. Behind the pillar was a table, and near it a curtain that could be drawn to cut off the neighboring space from the rest of the synagogue. A couple of steps farther back was a row of seats for the priests, with one more elevated in the middle for the preacher. Back of these seats stood an altar of incense above which, in the roof of the synagogue, was an opening; and behind this altar, at the far end of the edifice, were tables upon which the offerings were deposited. The men, ranged according to their classes, stood in the center of the synagogue. To the left, on a slight elevation and separated by a grat­ing, was the place for the women; and on the right was that of the school children grouped in classes, the boys and girls separate.

Feast of Reconciliation


The feast of today celebrated the reconciliation be­tween God and man. There was a general confession of sin made either in public or private, according to individual desire. All gathered round the altar of incense, offered gifts of expiation, received a penance from the priests, and made voluntary vows. This cer­emony bore a striking resemblance to our Sacrament of Penance. The priest from the teacher's chair spoke of Jacob and Esau, who had today been reconciled with God and each other, also of Laban and Jacob who had again become friends and offered a sacri­fice to the Lord, and he earnestly exhorted his hear­ers to penance. Many of those present had by John's teaching and that of Jesus during the past days been very much touched, and were waiting only for this great festival to do penance. Some men, whose con­sciences reproached them with grave faults, went through the door in the grating near the teacher's chair around behind the altar, and laid on the tables their offerings, which a priest received. Then, return­ing to the priests in front of the pillar containing the Law, they confessed their sins either publicly to the assembled priests, or privately to one of their own choice. In the latter case, both priest and pen­itent retired behind the curtain, the confession was made in a low voice, a penance imposed, and at the same time incense was cast upon the altar. If the smoke arose in a certain way, the people took it as a sign of the genuineness of the penitent's contrition and of the pardon accorded his sins. The rest of the Jews chanted and prayed during the confessions. The penitents made a kind of profession of faith, promis­ing fidelity to the Law, to Israel, and to the Holy of Holies. Then they prostrated and confessed their sins, often with abundant tears. The female penitents fol­lowed after the men, and their offerings were received by the priests. Then retiring behind a grating, they called for a priest and confessed.

The Jews accused themselves of sins against the


Life of Jesus Christ

 Ten Commandments and of all violations of estab­lished usages. There was something singular in their confession, which I hardly know how to repeat. They bemoaned the sins of their forefathers. They spoke of a soul prone to sin received from their progeni­tors, and of another, a holy one, received from God. They appeared indeed to speak of two distinct souls. The priests in their exhortation likewise said some­thing to the same effect, namely, "May their" (the ancestors') "sinful soul remain not in us, but may our holy soul remain in us!" I cannot now recall what was said of the influence mutually exerted by these two souls upon, and by, and in, each other. Jesus next spoke. He touched upon this same point, but treated it differently from the Doctors. He said that it should indeed be so no longer. The sinful soul received from their forefathers should not remain in them. It was a touching instruction, clearly signify­ing that Jesus Himself was about to make satisfac­tion for all souls. They also lamented the sins of their parents, as if knowing that all kinds of evils had descended to them through their progenitors, as if through them they were still in possession of the sad heritage of sin.

The penitential exercises had already begun when Jesus arrived. He was received at the entrance of the synagogue, and for awhile He remained stand­ing at one side on the platform among the Doctors, one of whom was preaching. It was about five o'clock when He arrived. The offerings of the penitents con­sisted of all sorts of fruits, money, articles of cloth­ing for the priests, pieces of stuff, silken tassels and knots, girdles, etc., and principally of frankincense, some of which was burned at once.

And now I witnessed a touching spectacle. While the confessions were going on and the offerings were being made by the penitents, I noticed a distin­guished-looking lady in a private seat near the secluded place of penance. Her seat was cut off from

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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