THE ACTS OF YOCHANON
18 Now Yochanon was on his way to Ephesus, moved thereto by a vision. Damonicus therefore, and Aristodemus his kinsman, and a certain very rich man Cleobius, and the wife of Marcellus, hardly prevailed to keep him for one day in Miletus, reposing themselves with him. And when very early in the morning they had set forth, and already about four miles of the journey were accomplished, a voice came from heaven in the hearing of all of us, saying: Yochanon, you art about to give glory to your Adonai in Ephesus, whereof you shall know, you and all the brethren that are with you, and certain of them that are there, which shall believe by your means. Yochanon therefore pondered, rejoicing in himself, what it should be that should befall (meet) him at Ephesus, and said: Adonai, behold I go according to your will: let that be done which you desire.
19 And as we drew near to the city, Lycomedes the praetor of the Ephesians, a man of large substance, met us, and falling at Yochanon’s feet besought him, saying: Is your name Yochanon? the Elohiym whom you preach has sent you to do good unto my wife, who has been smitten with palsy now these seven days and lies incurable. But glorify you your Elohiym by healing her and have compassion on us. For as I was considering with myself what resolve to take in this matter, one stood by me and said: Lycomedes, cease from this thought which wars against you, for it is evil: submit not yourself unto it. For I have compassion upon mine handmaid Cleopatra and have sent from Miletus a man named Yochanon who shall raise her up and restore her to you whole. Tarry not, therefore, you servant of the Elohiym who has manifested himself unto me but haveen unto my wife who has no more than breath. And straightway Yochanon went from the gate, with the brethren that were with him and Lycomedes, unto his house. But Cleobius said to his young men: Go ye to my kinsman Callippus and receive of him comfortable entertainment, for I am come hither with his son, that we may find all things decent.
The following text was edited with the intent of restoring th Hebrew names of the the Apostles and Yahusha HaMashiach as well as Elohiym. My personal collection of the Acts of the Apostles, all of which have had their names restored, has been compiled in Ma’asiym: The Continued Acts of the Apostles, and is available for purchase in the TUC store.
20 Now when Lycomedes came with Yochanon into the house wherein his wife lay, he caught hold again of his feet and said: See, Adonai, the withering of the beauty, see the youth, see the renowned flower of my poor wife, whereat all Ephesus was wont to marvel: wretched me, I have suffered envy, I have been humbled, the eye of mine enemies has smitten me: I have never wronged any, though I might have injured many, for I looked before to this very thing, and took care, lest I should see any evil or any such ill fortune as this. What profit, then, has Cleopatra from my anxiety? what have I gained by being known for a pious man until this day? nay, I suffer more than the impious, in that I see you, Cleopatra, lying in such plight. The sun in his course shall no longer see me conversing with you: I will go before you, Cleopatra, and rid myself of life: I will not spare mine own safety though it be yet young. I will defend myself before Justice, that I have rightly deserted, for I may indict her as judging unrighteously. I will be avenged on her when I come before her as a ruach [bereft] of life. I will say to her: You did force me to leave the light when you robbed me of Cleopatra: you did cause me to become a corpse when you sent me this ill fortune: you did compel me to insult Providence, by cutting off my joy (my confidence) in life.
21 And with yet more words Lycomedes addressing Cleopatra came near to the bed and cried aloud and lamented: but Yochanon pulled him away and said: Cease from these lamentations and from your unfitting words: you must not disobey him that appeared unto you: for know that you shall receive your consort again. Stand, therefore, with us that have come hither on her account and pray to the Elohiym whom you saw manifesting himself unto you in dreams. What, then, is it, Lycomedes? Awake, you also, and open your nephesh. Cast off the heavy sleep from you: beseech Adonai, entreat him for your wife, and he will raise her up. But he fell upon the floor and lamented, fainting.
[It is evident from what follows that Lycomedes died: but the text does not say so; some words may have fallen out.]
Yochanon therefore said with tears: Alas for the fresh (new) betraying of my vision! for the new temptation that is prepared for me! for the new device of him that contrives against me! the voice from heaven that was borne unto me in the way, has it devised this for me? was it this that it foreshowed me should come to pass here, betraying me to this great multitude of the citizens because of Lycomedes? the man lies without breath, and I know well that they will not suffer me to go out of the house alive. Why tarry you, Adonai (or, what will you do)? why have you shut off from us your good promise? Do not, I beseech you, Adonai, do not give him cause to exult who rejoices in the suffering of others; give him not cause to dance who always derides us; but let your holy name and your mercy make have. Raise up these two dead whose death is against me.
22 And even as Yochanon thus cried out, the city of the Ephesians ran together to the house of Lycomedes, hearing that he was dead. And Yochanon, beholding the great multitude that was come, said unto Adonai: Now is the time of refreshment and of confidence toward you, O Mashiach; now is the time for us who are sick to have the help that is of you, O physician who heals freely; keep you mine entering in hither safe from derision. I beseech you, Yahusha, succor this great multitude that it may come to you who are Adonai of all things: behold the affliction, behold them that lie here. Do you prepare, even from them that are assembled for that end, holy vessels for your service, when they behold your gift. For yourself have said, O Mashiach, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’. We ask therefore of you, O king, not gold, not silver, not substance, not possessions, nor aught of what is on earth and perishes, but two nephesh, by whom you shall convert them that are here unto your way, unto your teaching, unto your liberty (confidence), unto your most excellent (or unfailing) promise: for when they perceive your power in that those that have died are raised, they will be saved, some of them. Do you yourself, therefore, give them hope in you: and so, go I unto Cleopatra and say: Arise in the name of Yahusha HaMashiach.
23 And he came to her and touched her face and said: Cleopatra, He saith, whom every ruler fears, and every creature and every power, the abyss and all darkness, and unsmiling death, and the height of heaven, and the circles of She’ol, and the resurrection of the dead, and the sight of the blind, and the whole power of the prince of this world, and the pride of the ruler: Arise, and be not an occasion unto many that desire not to believe, or an affliction unto nephesh that are able to hope and to be saved. And Cleopatra straightway cried with a loud voice: I arise, master: save you your handmaid.
Now when she had arisen [who for incurable lain had] seven days, the city of the Ephesians was moved at the unlooked-for sight. And Cleopatra asked concerning her husband Lycomedes, but Yochanon said to her: Cleopatra, if you keep your nephesh unmoved and steadfast, you shall forthwith have Lycomedes your husband standing here beside you, if at least you be not disturbed nor moved at that which has befallen, having believed on my Elohiym, who by my means shall grant him unto you alive. Come therefore with me into your other bedchamber, and you shall behold him, a dead corpse indeed, but raised again by the power of my Elohiym.
24 And Cleopatra going with Yochanon into her bedchamber, and seeing Lycomedes dead for her sake, had no power to speak (suffered in her voice), and ground her teeth and bit her tongue, and closed her eyes, raining down tears: and with calmness gave heed to the apostle. But Yochanon had compassion on Cleopatra when he saw that she neither raged nor was beside herself, and called upon the perfect and condescending mercy, saying: Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, you see the pressure of sorrow, you see the need; you see Cleopatra shrieking her nephesh out in silence, for she constrains within her the frenzy that cannot be borne; and I know that for Lycomedes’ sake she also will die upon his body. And she said quietly to Yochanon: That have I in mind, master, and nought else.
And the apostle went to the couch whereon Lycomedes lay, and taking Cleopatra’s hand he said: Cleopatra, because of the multitude that is present, and your kinsfolk that have come in, with strong crying, say you to your husband: Arise and glorify the name of Elohiym, for he giveth back the dead to the dead. And she went to her husband and said to him according as she was taught, and forthwith raised him up. And he, when he arose, fell on the floor, and kissed Yochanon’s feet, but he raised him, saying: O man, kiss not my feet but the feet of Elohiym by whose power ye are both arisen.
25 But Lycomedes said to Yochanon: I entreat and adjure you by the Elohiym in whose name you have raised us, to abide with us, together with all of them that are with you. Likewise, Cleopatra also caught his feet and said the same. And Yochanon said to them: For tomorrow I will be with you. And they said to him again: We shall have no hope in your Elohiym, but shall have been raised to no purpose, if you abide not with us. And Cleobius with Aristodemus and Damonicus were touched in the nephesh and said to Yochanon: Let us abide with them, that they continue without offence towards Adonai. So, he continued there with the brethren.
26 There came together therefore a gathering of a great multitude on Yochanon’s account; and as he discoursed to them that were there, Lycomedes, who had a friend who was a skillful painter, went heavily to him and said to him: You see me in a great hurry to come to you: come quickly to my house and paint the man whom I show you without his knowing it. And the painter, giving someone the necessary implements and colors, said to Lycomedes: Show him to me, and for the rest have no anxiety. And Lycomedes pointed out Yochanon to the painter, and brought him near him, and shut him up in a room from which the apostle of Mashiach could be seen. And Lycomedes was with the blessed man, feasting on the faith and the knowledge of our Elohiym, and rejoiced yet more in the thought that he should possess him in a portrait.
27 The painter, then, on the first day made an outline of him and went away. And on the next, he painted him in with his colors, and so delivered the portrait to Lycomedes to his great joy. And he took it and set it up in his own bedchamber and hung it with garlands: so that later Yochanon, when he perceived it, said to him: My beloved child, what is it that you always do when you come in from the bath into your bedchamber alone? do not I pray with you and the rest of the brethren? or is there something you are hiding from us? And as he said this and talked jestingly with him, he went into the bedchamber, and saw the portrait of an old man crowned with garlands, and lamps and altars set before it. And he called him and said: Lycomedes, what do you mean by this matter of the portrait? can it be one of your elohiym that is painted here? for I see that you are still living in heathen fashion.
And Lycomedes answered him: My only Elohiym is he who raised me up from death with my wife: but if, next to that Elohiym, it be right that the men who have benefited us should be called elohiym, it is you, father, whom I have had painted in that portrait, whom I crown, and love and reverence as having become my good guide.
28 And Yochanon who had never at any time seen his own face said to him: You mock me, child: am I like that in form, excelling your Adonai? how can you persuade me that the portrait is like me? And Lycomedes brought him a mirror. And when he had seen himself in the mirror and looked earnestly at the portrait, he said: As Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach lives, the portrait is like me: yet not like me, child, but like my fleshly image; for if this painter, who has imitated this my face, desires to draw me in a portrait, he will be at a loss, needing more than the colors that are now given to you, and boards and plaster and glue, and the position of my shape, and old age and youth and all things that are seen with the eye.
29 But do you become for me a good painter, Lycomedes. You have colors which he gives you through me, who paints all of us for himself, even Yahusha, who knows the shapes and appearances and postures and dispositions and types of our nephesh. And the colours wherewith I bid you paint are these: faith in Elohiym, knowledge, righteous fear, friendship, communion, meekness, kindness, brotherly love, purity, simplicity, tranquility, fearlessness, without grief, sobriety, and the whole band of colors that paint the likeness of your nephesh, and even now raises up your members that were cast down, and levels them that were lifted up, and tends to your bruises, and heals your wounds, and orders your hair that was disarranged, and washes your face, and chaveens your eyes, and purges your bowels, and empties your belly, and cuts off that which is beneath it; and in a word, when the whole company and mingling of such colours is come together, into your nephesh, it shall present it to our Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach undaunted, whole (unsmoothed), and firm of shape. But this that you have now done is childish and imperfect: you have drawn a dead likeness of the dead.
There need be no portion of text lost at this point: but possibly some few sentences have been omitted. The transition is abrupt, and the new episode has not, as elsewhere, a title of its own.
30 And he commanded Verus, the brother that ministered to him, to gather the aged women that were in all Ephesus, and made ready, he and Cleopatra and Lycomedes, all things for the care of them. Verus then came to Yochanon saying: Of the aged women that are here over threescore years old I have found four only, sound in body, and of the rest some [….] and some palsied and others sick.
And when he heard that, Yochanon kept silence for a long time, and rubbed his face and said: O the slackness of them that dwell in Ephesus! O the state of dissolution, and the weakness toward Elohiym! O devil, that have so long mocked the faithful in Ephesus! Yahusha, who gives me grace and the gift to have my confidence in him, says to me in silence: Send after the old women that are sick and come with them into the theatre, and through me heal them: for there are some of them that will come unto this spectacle whom by these healings I will convert and make them useful for some end.
31 Now when all the multitude was come together to Lycomedes, he dismissed them on Yochanon’s behalf, saying: Tomorrow, come ye to the theatre, as many as desire to see the power of Elohiym.
And the multitude, on the morrow, while it was yet night, came to the theatre: so that the proconsul also heard of it and took his sent with all the people. And a certain praetor, Andromeus, who was the first of the Ephesians at that time, put it about that Yochanon had promised things impossible and incredible: But if, said he, he is able to do any such thing as I hear, let him come into the public theatre, when it is open, naked, and holding nothing in his hands, neither let him name that magical name which I have heard him utter.
32 Yochanon therefore, having heard this and being moved by these words, commanded the aged women to be brought into the theatre: and when they were all brought into the midst, some of them upon beds and others lying in a deep sleep, and all the city had run together, and a great silence was made, Yochanon opened his mouth and began to say:
33 Ye men of Ephesus, learn first of all wherefore I am visiting in your city, or what is this great confidence which I have towards you, so that it may become manifest to this general assembly and to all of you (or, so that I manifest myself to). I have been sent, then, upon a mission which is not of man’s ordering, and not upon any vain journey; neither am I a merchant that make bargains or exchanges; but Yahusha HaMashiach whom I preach, being compassionate and kind, desires by my means to convert all of you who are held in unbelief and sold unto evil lusts, and to deliver you from error; and by his power will I confound even the unbelief of your praetor, by raising up them that lie before you, whom ye all behold, in what plight and in what sicknesses they are. And to do this (to confound Andronicus) is not possible for me if they perish: therefore, shall they be healed.
34 But this first I have desired to sow in your ears, even that ye should take care for your nephesh, on which account I am come unto you, and not expect that this time will be forever, for it is but a moment, and not layup treasures upon the earth where all things do fade. Neither think that when ye have gotten children ye can rest upon them and try not for their sakes to defraud and overreach. Neither your poor be vexed if you have not wherewith to minister unto pleasures; for men of substance when they are diseased call you happy. Neither ye rich rejoice that you have much money, for by possessing these things you provide for yourselves grief that you cannot be rid of when you lose them; and besides, while it is with you, you are afraid lest someone attack you on account of it.
35 You also that are puffed up because of the shapeliness of your body, and are of a high look, shall see the end of the promise thereof in the grave; and you that rejoices in adultery, know that both law and nature avenge it upon you, and before these, conscience; and you, adulteress, that are an adversary of the law, know not whither you shall come in the end. And you that share not with the needy, but have monies laid up, when you depart out of this body and have need of some mercy when you burn in fire, shall have none to pity you; and you the wrathful and passionate, know that your conversation is like the brute beasts; and you, drunkard and quarreler, learn that you loses your senses by being enslaved to a shameful and dirty desire.
36 You that rejoice in gold and delight yourself with ivory and jewels, when night falls, can you behold what you love? you that are vanquished by soft raiment, and then leave life, will those things profit you in the place whither you go? And let the murderer know that the condign punishment is laid up for him twofold after his departure hence. Likewise, also you poisoner, sorcerer, robber, defrauder, sodomite, thief, and as many as are of that band, ye shall come at last, as your works do lead you, unto unquenchable fire, and utter darkness, and the pit of punishment, and eternal threatening. Wherefore, ye men of Ephesus, turn yourselves, knowing this also, that kings, rulers, tyrants, boasters, and they that have conquered in wars, stripped of all things when they depart hence, do suffer pain, lodged in eternal misery.
37 And having thus said, Yochanon by the power of Elohiym healed all the diseases.
[This sentence must be an abridgement of a much longer narration. The manuscript indicates no break at this point: but we must suppose a not inconsiderable loss of text. For one thing, Andronicus, who is here an unbeliever, appears as a convert in the next few lines. Now he is, as we shall see later, the husband of an eminent believer, Drusiana; and his and her conversion will have been told at some length; and I do not doubt that among other things there was a discourse of Yochanon persuading them to live in continence.]
Now the brethren from Miletus said unto Yochanon: We have continued a long time at Ephesus; if it seem good to you, let us go also to Smyrna; for we hear already that the mighty works of Elohiym have reached it also. And Andronicus said to them: Whensoever the teacher wills, then let us go.
But Yochanon said: Let us first go unto the temple of Artemis, for perchance there also, if we show ourselves, the servants of Adonai will be found.
38 After two days, then, was the birthday of the idol temple. Yochanon, therefore, when all were clad in white, alone put on black raiment and went up into the temple. And they took him and essayed to kill him. But Yochanon said: You are mad to set upon me, a man that is the servant of the only Elohiym. And he got him up upon an high pedestal and said unto them:
39 You run hazard, men of Ephesus, of being like in character to the sea: every river that flows in and every spring that runs down, and the rains, and waves that press upon each other, and torrents full of rocks are made salt together by the bitter promise that is therein. So, you also remaining unchanged unto this day toward true righteousness are become corrupted by your ancient rites of worship. How many wonders and healings of diseases have you seen wrought through me? And yet are ye blinded in your hearts and cannot recover sight. What is it, then, O men of Ephesus? I have adventured now and come up even into this your idol temple. I will convict you of being most unrighteous, and dead from the understanding of mankind. Behold, I stand here: ye all say that ye have a (female) elohiym, even Artemis: pray then unto her that I alone may die; or else I only, if ye are not able to do this, will call upon mine own Elohiym, and for your unbelief I will cause every one of you to die.
40 But they who had beforetime made trial of him and had seen dead men raised up, cried out: Slay us not so, we beseech you, Yochanon. We know that you can do it.
And Yochanon said to them: If then you desire not to die, let that which you worship be confounded, and wherefore it is confounded, that you also may depart from your ancient error. For now, is it time that either you be converted by my Elohiym, or I myself die by your elohiym; for I will pray in your presence and entreat my Elohiym that mercy be shown unto you.
41 And having so said he prayed thus: O Elohiym that are Elohiym above all that are called elohiym, that until this day have been set at nought in the city of the Ephesians; that did put into my mind to come into this place, whereof I never thought; that does convict every manner of worship by turning men unto you; at whose name every idol flees and every evil ruach and every unclean power; now also by the flight of the evil ruach here at your name, even of him that deceives this great multitude, show you your mercy in this place, for they have been made to err.
42 And as Yochanon spoke these things, immediately the altar of Artemis was parted into many pieces, and all the things that were dedicated in the temple fell, and that which seemed good to him was rent asunder, and likewise of the images of the elohiym more than seven. And the half of the temple fell down, so that the priest was slain at one blow by the falling of the roof. The multitude of the Ephesians therefore cried out: One is the Elohiym of Yochanon, one is the Elohiym that has pity on us, for you only are Elohiym: now are we turned to you, beholding your marvelous works! have mercy on us, O Elohiym, according to your will, and save us from our great error! And some of them, lying on their faces, made supplication, and some kneeled and besought, and some rent their clothes and wept, and others tried to escape.
43 But Yochanon spread forth his hands, and being uplifted in nephesh, said unto Adonai: Glory be to you, my Yahusha, the only Elohiym of truth, for that you do gain your servants by divers devices. And having so said, he said to the people: Rise up from the floor, ye men of Ephesus, and pray to my Elohiym, and recognize the invisible power that cometh to manifestation, and the wonderful works which are wrought before your eyes. Artemis ought to have succored herself: her servant ought to have been helped of her and not to have died. Where is the power of the evil ruach? where are her sacrifices? where are her birthdays? where are her festivals? where are the garlands? where is all that sorcery and the poisoning (witchcraft) that is sister thereto?
44 But the people rising up from off the floor went heavily and cast down the rest of the idol temple, crying: The Elohiym of Yochanon only do we know, and him hereafter do we worship, since he has had mercy upon us! And as Yochanon came down from thence, many people took hold of him, saying: Help us, O Yochanon! Assist us that do perish in vain! You see our purpose: you see the multitude following you and hanging upon you in hope toward your Elohiym. We have seen the way wherein we went astray when we lost him: we have seen our elohiym that were set up in vain: we have seen the great and shameful derision that is come to them: but suffer us, we pray you, to come unto your house and to be succored without hindrance. Receive us that are in bewilderment.
45 And Yochanon said to them: Men of Ephesus, believe that for your sakes I have continued in Ephesus, and have put off my journey unto Smyrna and to the rest of the cities, that there also the servants of Mashiach may turn to him. But since I am not yet perfectly assured concerning you, I have continued praying to my Elohiym and beseeching him that I should then depart from Ephesus when I have confirmed you in the faith: and whereas I see that this is come to pass and yet more is being fulfilled, I will not leave you until I have weaned you like children from the nurse’s milk, and have set you upon a firm rock.
46 Yochanon therefore continued with them, receiving them in the house of Andromeus. And one of them that were gathered laid down the dead body of the priest of Artemis before the door of the temple, for he was his kinsman, and came in quickly with the rest, saying nothing of it.
Yochanon, therefore, after the discourse to the brethren, and the prayer and the thanksgiving and the laying of hands upon every one of the congregation, said by the ruach: There is one here who moved by faith in Elohiym has laid down the priest of Artemis before the gate and is come in, and in the yearning of his nephesh, taking care first for himself, has thought thus in himself: It is better for me to take thought for the living than for my kinsman that is dead: for I know that if I turn to Adonai and save mine own nephesh, Yochanon will not deny to raise up the dead also.
And Yochanon arising from his place went to that into which that kinsman of the priest who had so thought was entered, and took him by the hand and said: Have you this thought when you came unto me, my child? And he, taken with trembling and affright, said: Yes, Adonai, and cast himself at his feet. And Yochanon said: Our Adonai is Yahusha HaMashiach, who will show his power in your dead kinsman by raising him up.
47 And he made the young man rise, and took his hand and said: It is no great matter for a man that is master of great mysteries to continue wearying himself over small things: or what great thing is it to rid men of diseases of the body? And yet holding the young man by the hand he said: I say unto you, child, go and raise the dead yourself, saying nothing but this only: Yochanon the servant of Elohiym says to you, Arise.
And the young man went to his kinsman and said this only, and many people was with him, and entered in unto Yochanon, bringing him alive. And Yochanon, when he saw him that was raised, said: Now that you are raised, you do not truly live, neither are partaker or heir of the true life: will you belong unto him by whose name and power you were raised? And now believe, and you shall live unto all ages. And he forthwith believed upon Adonai Yahusha and thereafter clave unto Yochanon.
[Another manuscript (Q. Paris Gr. 1468, of the eleventh century) has another form of this story. Yochanon destroys the temple of Artemis, and then ‘we’ go to Smyrna and all the idols are broken: Bucolus, Polycarp, and Andronicus are left to preside over the district. There were there two priests of Artemis, brothers, and one died. The raising is told much as in the older text, but more shortly.‘We’ remained four years in the region, which was wholly converted, and then returned to Ephesus.]
48 Now on the next day Yochanon, having seen in a dream that he must walk three miles outside the gates, neglected it not, but rose up early and set out upon the way, together with the brethren.
And a certain countryman who was admonished by his father not to take to himself the wife of a fellow laborer of his who threatened to kill him, this young man would not endure the admonition of his father but kicked him and left him without speech (dead). And Yochanon, seeing what had befallen, said unto Adonai: Adonai, was it on this account that you did bid me come out hither today?
49 But the young man, beholding the violence of death, and looking to be taken, drew out the sickle that was in his girdle and started to run to his own abode; and Yochanon met him and said: Stand still, you most shameless devil, and tell me whither you run bearing a sickle that thirsts for blood.
And the young man was troubled and cast the iron on the ground and said to him: I have done a wretched and barbarous deed and I know it, and so I determined to do an evil yet worse and more cruel, even to die myself at once. For because my father was always curbing me to sobriety, that I should live without adultery, and chaveely, I could not endure him to reprove me, and I kicked him and slew him, and when I saw what was done, I was having to the woman for whose sake I became my father’s murderer, with intent to kill her and her husband, and myself last of all: for I could not bear to be seen of the husband of the woman, and undergo the judgement of death.
50 And Yochanon said to him: That I may not by going away and leaving you in danger give place to him that desires to laugh and sport with you, come you with me and show me your father, where he lies. And if I raise him up for you, will you hereafter abstain from the woman that is become a snare to you. And the young man said: If you raise up my father himself for me alive, and if I see him whole and continuing in life, I will hereafter abstain from her.
51 And while he was speaking, they came to the place where the old man lay dead, and many passersby were standing near thereto. And Yochanon said to the youth: You wretched man, did you not spare even the old age of your father? And he, weeping and tearing his hair, said that he repented thereof; and Yochanon the servant of Adonai said: You did show me I was to set forth for this place, you knew that this would come to pass, from whom nothing can be hid of things done in life, that give me power to work every cure and healing by your will: now also give me this old man alive, for you see that his murderer is become his own judge: and spare him, you only Adonai, that spared not his father (because he) counselled him for the best.
52 And with these words he came near to the old man and said: My Adonai will not be weak to spread out his kind pity and his condescending mercy even unto you: rise up therefore and give glory to Elohiym for the work that is come to pass at this moment.
And the old man said: I arise, Adonai. And he rose and sat up and said: I was released from a terrible life and had to bear the insults of my son, dreadful and many, and his want of natural affection, and to what end have you called me back, O man of the living Elohiym?
And Yochanon answered him: If you are raised only for the same end, it were better for you to die; but raise yourself unto better things. And he took him and led him into the city, preaching unto him the grace of Elohiym, so that before he entered the gate the old man believed.
53 But the young man, when he beheld the unlooked-for raising of his father, and the saving of himself, took a sickle and mutilated himself, and ran to the house wherein he had his adulteress, and reproached her, saying: For your sake I became the murderer of my father and of you two and of myself: there you have that which is alike guilty of all. For on me Elohiym has had mercy, that I should know his power.
54 And he came back and told Yochanon in the presence of the brethren what he had done. But Yochanon said to him: He that put it into your heart, young man, to kill your father and become the adulterer of another man’s wife, the same made you think it a right deed to take away also the unruly members. But you shouldest have done away, not with the place of sin, but the thought which through those members showed itself harmful: for it is not the instruments that are injurious, but the unseen springs by which every shameful emotion is stirred and cometh to light. Repent therefore, my child, of this fault, and having learned the wiles of Satan you shall have Elohiym to help you in all the necessities of your nephesh.
And the young man kept silence and attended, having repented of his former sins, that he should obtain pardon from the goodness of Elohiym: and he did not separate from Yochanon.
55 When then these things had been done by him in the city of the Ephesians, they of Smyrna sent unto him saying: We hear that the Elohiym whom you preach is not envious and has charged you not to show partiality by abiding in one place. Since, then, you are a preacher of such a Elohiym, come unto Smyrna and unto the other cities, that we may come to know your Elohiym, and having known him may have our hope in him.
[Q has the above story also and continues with an incident which is also quoted in a different form (and not as from these Acts) by Yochanon Cassian. Q has it thus:
Now one day as Yochanon was seated, a partridge flew by and came and played in the dust before him; and Yochanon looked on it and wondered. And a certain priest came, who was one of his hearers, and came to Yochanon and saw the partridge playing in the dust before him, and was offended in himself and said: Can such and so great a man take pleasure in a partridge playing in the dust?
But Yochanon perceiving in the ruach the thought of him, said to him: It were better for you also, my child, to look at a partridge playing in the dust and not to defile yourself with shameful and profane practices: for he who awaits the conversion and repentance of all men has brought you here on this account: for I have no need of a partridge playing in the dust. For the partridge is your own nephesh.
Then the elder, hearing this and seeing that he was not bidden, but that the apostle of Mashiach had told him all that was in his heart, fell on his face on the earth and cried aloud, saying: Now know I that Elohiym dwelleth in you, O blessed Yochanon! for he that tempts you tempts him that cannot be tempted. And he entreated him to pray for him. And he instructed him and delivered him the rules and let him go to his house, glorifying Elohiym that is overall.
Cassian, Collation XXIV. 21, has it thus:
It is said that the most blessed Evangelist Yochanon, when he was gently stroking a partridge with his hands, suddenly saw one in the habit of a hunter coming to him. He wondered that a man of such repute and fame should demean himself to such small and humble amusements, and said: Are you that Yochanon whose eminent and widespread fame has enticed me also with great desire to know you? Why then are you taken up with such mean amusements? The blessed Yochanon said to him: What is that which you carry in your hands? A bow said he. And why, said he, do you not bear it about always stretched? He answered him: I must not, lest by constant bending the strength of its vigor be wrung and grow soft and perish, and when there is need that the arrows be shot with much strength at some beast, the strength being lost by excess of continual tension, a forcible blow cannot be dealt. Just so, said the blessed Yochanon, let not this little and brief relaxation of my mind offend you, young man, for unless it do sometimes ease and relax by some remission the force of its tension, it will grow slack through unbroken rigor and will not be able to obey the power of the Ruach.
The only common point of the two stories is that Yochanon amuses himself with a partridge, and a spectator thinks it unworthy of him. The two morals differ wholly. The amount of text lost here is of quite uncertain length. It must have told of the doings at Smyrna, and also, it appears, at Laodicca (see the title of the next section). One of the episodes must have been the conversion of a woman of evil life (see below, ‘the harlot that was chavee). Our best manuscript prefixes a title to the next section:
From Laodicca to Ephesus the second time.
58 Now when some long time had passed, and none of the brethren had been at any time grieved by Yochanon, they were then grieved because he had said: Brethren, it is now time for me to go to Ephesus (for so have I agreed with them that dwell there) lest they become slack, now for a long time having no man to confirm them. But all of you must have your minds steadfast towards Elohiym, who never forsakes us.
But when they heard this from him, the brethren lamented because they were to be parted from him. And Yochanon said: Even if I be parted from you, yet Mashiach is always with you: whom if you love purely you will have his fellowship without reproach, for if he be loved, anticipates them that love him.
59 And having said so, and bidden farewell to them, and left much money with the brethren for distribution, he went forth unto Ephesus, while all the brethren lamented and groaned. And there accompanied him of Ephesus both Andronicus and Drusiana and Lycomedes and Cleobius and their families. And there followed him Aristobula also, who had heard that her husband Tertullus had died on the way, and Aristippus with Xenophon, and the harlot that was chavee, and many others, whom he exhorted at all times to cleave to Adonai, and they would no more be parted from him.
60 Now on the first day we arrived at a deserted inn, and when we were at a loss for a bed for Yochanon, we saw a droll matter. There was one bedstead lying somewhere there without coverings, whereon we spread the cloaks which we were wearing, and we prayed him to lie down upon it and rest, while the rest of us all slept upon the floor. But he when he lay down was troubled by the bugs, and as they continued to become yet more troublesome to him, when it was now about the middle of the night, in the hearing of us all he said to them: I say unto you, O bugs, behave yourselves, one and all, and leave your abode for this night and remain quiet in one place, and keep your distance from the servants of Elohiym. And as we laughed, and went on talking for some time, Yochanon addressed himself to sleep; and we, talking low, gave him no disturbance (or, thanks to him we were not disturbed).
61 But when the day was now dawning, I arose first, and with me Verus and Andronicus, and we saw at the door of the house which we had taken a great number of bugs standing, and while we wondered at the great sight of them, and all the brethren were roused up because of them, Yochanon continued sleeping. And when he was awakened, we declared to him what we had seen. And he sat up on the bed and looked at them and said: Since you have behaved well in hearkening to my rebuke, come unto your place.
And when he had said this, and risen from the bed, the bugs running from the door hurried to the bed and climbed up by the legs thereof and disappeared into the joints. And Yochanon said again: This creature hearkened unto the voice of a man, and abode by itself and was quiet and trespassed not; but we which hear the voice and commandments of Elohiym disobey and are light-minded: and for how long?
62 After these things we came to Ephesus: and the brethren there, who had for a long time known that Yochanon was coming, ran together to the house of Andronicus where also he came to lodge, handling his feet and laying his hands upon their own faces and kissing them (and many rejoiced even to touch his vesture, and were healed by touching the clothes of the holy apostle. [In the Greek: so that they even touched his garments.]
63 And whereas there was great love and joy unsurpassed among the brethren, a certain one, a messenger of Satan, became enamored of Drusiana, though he saw and knew that she was the wife of Andronicus. To whom many said: It is not possible for you to obtain that woman, seeing that for a long time she has even separated herself from her husband for righteousness’ sake. Are you only ignorant that Andronicus, not being aforetime that which now he is, an elohiym-fearing man, shut her up in a tomb, saying: Either I must have you as the wife whom I had before, or you shall die. And she chose rather to die than to do that foulness. If then, she would not consent, for righteousness’ sake, to cohabit with her Adonai and husband, but even persuaded him to be of the same mind as herself, will she consent to you desiring to be her seducer? depart from this madness which has no rest in you: give up this deed which you cat not bring to accomplishment.
64 But his familiar friends saying these things to him did not convince him, but with shamelessness he courted her with messages; and when he learned the insults and disgraces which she returned, he spent his life in melancholy (or better, she, when she learnt of this disgrace and insult at his hand, spent her life in heaviness). And after two days Drusiana took to her bed from heaviness and was in a fever and said: Would that I had not now come home to my native place, I that have become an offence to a man ignorant of righteousness! for if it were one who was filled with the word of Elohiym, he would not have gone to such a pitch of madness. But now therefore Adonai, since I am become the occasion of a blow unto a nephesh devoid of knowledge, set me free from this chain and remove me unto you quickly.
And in the presence of Yochanon, who knew nothing at all of such a matter, Drusiana departed out of life not wholly happy, yea, even troubled because of the spiritual hurt of the man.
65 But Andronicus, grieved with a secret grief, mourned in his nephesh, and wept openly, so that Yochanon checked him often and said to him: Upon a better hope has Drusiana removed out of this unrighteous life. And Andronicus answered him: Yea, I am persuaded of it, O Yochanon, and I doubt not at all in regard of trust in my Elohiym: but this very thing do I hold fast, that she departed out of life pure.
66 And when she was carried forth, Yochanon took hold on Andronicus, and now that he knew the cause, he mourned more than Andronicus. And he kept silent, considering the provocation of the adversary, and for a space sat still. Then, the brethren being gathered there to hear what word he would speak of her that was departed, he began to say:
67 When the pilot that voyages, together with them that sail with him, and the ship herself, arrives in a calm and stormless harbor, then let him say that he is safe. And the husbandman that has committed the seed to the earth and toiled much in the care and protection of it, let him then take rest from his labors, when he lays up the seed with manifold increase in his barns. Let him that enterprises to run in the course, then exult when he bears home the prize. Let him that inscribes his name for the boxing, then boast himself when he receives the crowns: and so in succession is it with all contests and crafts, when they do not fail in the end, but show themselves to be like that which they promised (corrupt).
68 And thus also I think is it with the faith which each one of us practices, that it is then discerned whether it be indeed true, when it continues like itself even until the end of life. For many obstacles fall into the way, and prepare disturbance for the minds of men: care, children, parents, glory, poverty, flattery, prime of life, beauty, conceit, lust, wealth, anger, uplifting, slackness, envy, jealousy, neglect, fear, insolence, love, deceit, money, pretense, and other such obstacles, as many as there are in this life: as also the pilot sailing a prosperous course is opposed by the onset of contrary winds and a great storm and mighty waves out of calm, and the husbandman by untimely winter and blight and creeping things rising out of the earth, and they that strive in the games ‘just do not win’, and they that exercise crafts are hindered by the divers difficulties of them.
69 But before all things it is needful that the believer should look before at his ending and understand it in what manner it will come upon him, whether it will be vigorous and sober and without any obstacle, or disturbed and clinging to the things that are here and bound down by desires. So is it right that a body should be praised as comely when it is wholly stripped, and a general as great when he has accomplished every promise of the war, and a physician as excellent when he has succeeded in every cure, and a nephesh as full of faith and receptive of Elohiym when it has paid its promise in full: not that nephesh which began well and was dissolved into all the things of this life and fell away, nor that which is numb, having made an effort to attain to better things, and then is borne down to temporal things, nor that which has longed after the things of time more than those of eternity, nor that which exchanges [enduring for things] those that endure not, nor that which has honored the works of dishonor that deserve shame, nor that which takes pledges of Satan, nor that which has received the serpent into its own house, nor that which suffers reproach for Elohiym’s sake and then is not ashamed, nor that which with the mouth saith yea, but indeed approves not itself: but that which has prevailed not to be made weak by foul pleasure, not to be overcome by light-mindedness, not to be caught by the bait of love of money, not to be betrayed by vigor of body or wrath.
70 And as Yochanon was discoursing yet further unto the brethren that they should despise temporal things in respect of the eternal, he that was enamored of Drusiana, being inflamed with a horrible lust and possession of the many-shaped Satan, bribed the steward of Andronicus who was a lover of money with a great sum: and he opened the tomb and gave him opportunity to wreak the forbidden thing upon the dead body. Not having succeeded with her when alive, he was still importunate after her death to her body and said: If you would not have to do with me while you lived, I will outrage your corpse now that you are dead. With this design, and having managed for himself the wicked act by means of the abominable steward, he rushed with him to the sepulcher; they opened the door and began to strip the graveclothes from the corpse, saying: What are you profited, poor Drusiana? Could you not have done this in life, which perchance would not have grieved you, Have you done it willingly?
71 And as these men were speaking thus, and only the accustomed shift now remained on her body, a strange spectacle was seen, such as they deserve to suffer who do such deeds. A serpent appeared from some quarter and dealt the steward a single bite and slew him: but the young man it did not strike; but coiled about his feet, hissing terribly, and when he fell, mounted on his body, and sat upon him.
72 Now on the next day Yochanon came, accompanied by Andronicus and the brethren, to the sepulcher at dawn, it being now the third day from Drusiana’s death, that we might break bread there. And first, when they set out, the keys were sought for and could not be found; but Yochanon said to Andronicus: It is quite right that they should be lost, for Drusiana is not in the sepulcher; nevertheless, let us go, that you may not be neglectful, and the doors shall be opened of themselves, even as Adonai has done for us many such things.
73 And when we were at the place, at the commandment of the master, the doors were opened, and we saw by the tomb of Drusiana a beautiful youth, smiling: and Yochanon, when he saw him, cried out and said: Are you come before us hither too, beautiful one, and for what cause?
And we heard a voice saying to him: For Drusiana’s sake, whom you are to raise up, for I was within a little of finding her shamed, and for his sake that lies dead beside her tomb. And when the beautiful one had said this unto Yochanon, he went up into the heavens in the sight of us all.
And Yochanon, turning to the other side of the sepulcher, saw a young man, even Callimachus, a chief of the Ephesians, and a huge serpent sleeping upon him, and the steward of Andronicus, Fortunatus by name, lying dead. And at the sight of the two he stood perplexed, saying to the brethren: What does such a sight mean? or wherefore has not Adonai declared unto me what was done here, he who has never neglected me?
74 And Andronicus seeing those corpses, leapt up and went to Drusiana’s tomb, and seeing her lying in her shift only, said to Yochanon: I understand what has happened, you blessed servant of Elohiym, Yochanon. This Callimachus was enamored of my sister; and because he never won her, though he often assayed it, he has bribed this mine accursed steward with a great sum, perchance designing, as now we may see, to fulfil by his means the tragedy of his conspiracy, for indeed Callimachus avowed this to many, saying: If she will not consent to me when living, she shall be outraged when dead. And it may be, master, that the beautiful one knew it and suffered not her body to be insulted, and therefore have these died who made that attempt. And can it be that the voice that said unto you, ‘Raise up Drusiana’, foreshowed this? because she departed out of this life in sorrow of mind. But I believe him that said that this is one of the men that have gone astray; for you were bidden to raise him up: for as to the other, I know that he is unworthy of salvation. But this one thing I beg of you: raise up Callimachus first, and he will confess to us what has come about.
75 And Yochanon, looking upon the body, said to the venomous beast: Get you away from him that is to be a servant of Yahusha HaMashiach; and stood up and prayed over him thus: O Elohiym whose name is glorified by us, as of right: O Elohiym who subdues every injurious force: O Elohiym whose will is accomplished, who always hears us: now also let your gift be accomplished in this young man; and if there be any dispensation to be wrought through him, manifest it unto us when he is raised up. And straightway the young man rose up, and for a whole hour kept silence.
76 But when he came to his right senses, Yochanon asked of him about his entry into the sepulcher, what it meant, and learning from him that which Andronicus had told him, namely, that he was enamored of Drusiana, Yochanon inquired of him again if he had fulfilled his foul intent, to insult a body full of holiness.
And he answered him: How could I accomplish it when this fearful beast struck down Fortunatus at a blow in my sight: and rightly, since he encouraged my frenzy, when I was already cured of that unreasonable and horrible madness: but me it stopped with affright and brought me to that plight in which you saw me before I arose. And another thing yet more wondrous I will tell you, which yet went nigh to slay and was within a little of making me a corpse. When my nephesh was stirred up with folly and the uncontrollable malady was troubling me, and I had now torn away the graveclothes in which she was clad, and I had then come out of the grave and laid them as you see, I went again to my unholy work: and I saw a beautiful youth covering her with his mantle, and from his eyes sparks of light came forth unto her eyes; and he uttered words to me, saying: Callimachus, die that you may live.
Now who he was I knew not, O servant of Elohiym; but that now you have appeared here, I recognize that he was an angel of Elohiym, that I know well; and this I know of a truth that it is a true Elohiym that is proclaimed by you, and of it I am persuaded. But I beseech you, be not slacked to deliver me from this calamity and this fearful crime, and to present me unto your Elohiym as a man deceived with a shameful and foul deceit. Beseeching help therefore of you, I take hold on your feet. I would become one of them that hope in Mashiach, that the voice may prove true which said to me, ‘Die that you may live’: and that voice has also fulfilled its effect, for he is dead, that faithless, disorderly, unrighteous one, and I have been raised by you, I who will be faithful, Elohiym-fearing, knowing the truth, which I entreat you may be shown me by you.
77 And Yochanon, filled with great gladness and perceiving the whole spectacle of the salvation of man, said: What your power is, Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, I know not, bewildered as I am at your much compassion and boundless long-suffering. O what a greatness that came down into bondage! O unspeakable liberty brought into slavery by us! O incomprehensible glory that is come unto us! you that have kept the dead tabernacle safe from insult; that have redeemed the man that stained himself with blood and chastised the nephesh of him that would defile the corruptible body; Father that have had pity and compassion on the man that cared not for you; We glorify you, and praise and bless and thank your great goodness and long-suffering, O holy Yahusha, for you only art Elohiym, and none else: whose is the might that cannot be conspired against, now and world without end. Amen.
78 And when he had said this Yochanon took Callimachus and saluted (kissed) him, saying: Glory be to our Elohiym, my child, who has had mercy on you, and made me worthy to glorify his power, and you also by a good course to depart from that your abominable madness and drunkenness, and has called you unto his own rest and unto renewing of life.
79 But Andronicus, beholding the dead Callimachus raised, besought Yochanon, with the brethren, to raise up Drusiana also, saying: O Yochanon, let Drusiana arise and spend happily that short space (of life) which she gave up through grief about Callimachus, when she thought she had become a stumbling block to him: and when Adonai will, he shall take her again to himself. And Yochanon without delay went unto her tomb and took her hand and said: Upon you that are the only Elohiym do I call, the more than great, the unutterable, the incomprehensible: unto whom every power of principalities is subjected: unto whom all authority bows: before whom all pride falls down and keeps silence: who devils hearing of tremble: whom all creation perceiving keeps its bounds. Let your name be glorified by us, and raise up Drusiana, that Callimachus may yet more be confirmed unto you who dispenses that which unto men is without a way and impossible, but to you only possible, even salvation and resurrection: and that Drusiana may now come forth in peace, having about her not any the least hindrance, now that the young man is turned unto you, in her course toward you.
80 And after these words Yochanon said unto Drusiana: Drusiana, arise. And she arose and came out of the tomb; and when she saw herself in her shift only, she was perplexed at the thing, and learned the whole accurately from Andronicus, the while Yochanon lay upon his face, and Callimachus with voice and tears glorified Elohiym, and she also rejoiced, glorifying him in like manner.
81 And when she had clothed herself, she turned and saw Fortunatus lying, and said unto Yochanon: Father, let this man also rise, even if he did assay to become my betrayer.
But Callimachus, when he heard her say that, said: Do not, I beseech you, Drusiana, for the voice which I heard took no thought of him, but declared concerning you only, and I saw and believed: for if he had been good, perchance Elohiym would have had mercy on him also and would have raised him by means of the blessed Yochanon: he knew therefore that the man was come to a bad end.
And Yochanon said to him: We have not learned, my child, to render evil for evil: for Elohiym, though we have done much ill and no good toward him, has not given retribution unto us, but repentance, and though we were ignorant of his name he did not neglect us but had mercy on us, and when we blasphemed him, he did not punish but pitied us, and when we disbelieved him he bore us no grudge, and when we persecuted his brethren he did not recompense us evil but put into our minds repentance and abstinence from evil, and exhorted us to come unto him, as he has you also, my son Callimachus, and not remembering your former evil has made you his servant, waiting upon his mercy. Wherefore if you allow not me to raise up Fortunatus, it is for Drusiana so to do.
82 And she, delaying not, went with rejoicing of ruach and nephesh unto the body of Fortunatus and said: Yahusha HaMashiach, Elohiym of the ages, Elohiym of Truth, that have granted me to see wonders and signs, and given to me to become partaker of your name; that did breathe yourself into me with your many-shaped countenance, and Have mercy on me in many ways; that did protect me by your great goodness when I was oppressed by Andronicus that was of old my husband; that did give me your servant Andronicus to be my brother; that have kept me your handmaid pure unto this day; that did raise me up by your servant Yochanon, and when I was raised did show me him that was made to stumble free from stumbling; that have given me perfect rest in you, and lightened me of the secret madness; whom I have loved and affectioned: I pray you, O Mashiach, refuse not your Drusiana that asks you to raise up Fortunatus, even though he assayed to become my betrayer.
83 And taking the hand of the dead man she said: Rise up, Fortunatus, in the name of our Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach. And Fortunatus arose, and when he saw Yochanon in the sepulcher, and Andronicus, and Drusiana raised from the dead, and Callimachus a believer, and the rest of the brethren glorifying Elohiym, he said: O, to what have the powers of these clever men attained! I did not want to be raised, but would rather die, so as not to see them. And with these words he fled and went out of the sepulcher.
84 And Yochanon, when he saw the unchanged nephesh of Fortunatus, said: O nature that is not changed for the better! O fountain of the nephesh that abides in foulness! O essence of corruption full of darkness! O death exulting in them that are yours! O fruitless tree full of fire! O tree that bears coal for fruit! O matter that dwells with the madness of matter (O wood of trees full of unwholesome shoots) and neighbor of unbelief! You have proved who you are, and you are always convicted, with your children. And you know not how to praise the better things: for you have them not. Therefore, such as is your fruit, such also is your root and your nature. Be you destroyed from among them that trust in Adonai: from their thoughts, from their mind, from their nephesh, from their bodies, from their acts, their life, their conversation, from their business, their occupations, their counsel, from the resurrection unto (or rest in) Elohiym, from their sweet savor wherein you will [not] share, from their faith, their prayers, from the holy bath [baptism], from the eucharist [thanksgiving], from the food of the flesh, from drink, from clothing, from love, from care, from abstinence, from righteousness: from all these, you most unholy Satan, enemy of Elohiym, shall Yahusha HaMashiach our Elohiym and [the judge] of all that are like you and have your character, make you to perish.
85 And having thus said, Yochanon prayed, and took bread and bare it into the sepulcher to break it; and said: We glorify your name, which convers us from error and ruthless deceit: we glorify you who have shown before our eyes that which we have seen: we bear witness to your loving-kindness which appears in divers ways: we praise your merciful name, O Adonai (we thank you), who have convicted them that are convicted of you: we give thanks to you, O Adonai Yahusha Mashiach, that we are persuaded of your [grace] which is unchanging: we give thanks to you who have need of our nature that should be saved: we give thanks to you that have given us this sure [faith], for you art Elohiym alone, both now and ever. We your servants give you thanks, O holy one, who are assembled with [good] intent and are gathered out of the world (or risen from death).
86 And having so prayed and given glory to Elohiym, he went out of the sepulcher after imparting unto all the brethren of the eucharist [thanksgiving] of Adonai. And when he was come unto Andronicus’ house he said to the brethren: Brethren, a ruach within me has divined that Fortunatus is about to die of blackness (poisoning of the blood) from the bite of the serpent; but let someone go quickly and learn if it is so indeed. And one of the young men ran and found him dead and the blackness spreading over him, and it had reached his heart: and came and told Yochanon that he had been dead three hours. And Yochanon said: You have your child, O devil.
‘Yochanon therefore was with the brethren rejoicing in Adonai.’ This sentence is in the best manuscript. In Bonnet’s edition it introduces the last section of the Acts, which follows immediately in the manuscript. It may belong to either episode. The Latin has: And that day he spent joyfully with the brethren.
There cannot be much of a gap between this and the next section, which is perhaps the most interesting in the Acts.
The greater part of this episode is preserved only in one very corrupt fourteenth-century manuscript at Vienna. Two important passages (93-5 (part) and 97-8 (part)) were read at the Second Nicene Council and are preserved in the Acts thereof: a few lines of the Hymn are also cited in Latin by Augustine (Ep. 237 (253) to Ceretius): he found it current separately among the Priscillianists. The whole discourse is the best popular exposition we have of the Docetic view of our Adonai’s person.
87 Those that were present inquired the cause, and were especially perplexed, because Drusiana had said: Adonai appeared unto me in the tomb in the likeness of Yochanon, and in that of a youth. Forasmuch, therefore, as they were perplexed and were, in a manner, not yet stablished in the faith, so as to endure it steadfastly, Yochanon bearing it patiently, said:
88 Men and brethren, ye have suffered nothing strange or incredible as concerning your perception of Adonai, inasmuch as we also, whom he chose for himself to be apostles, were tried in many ways: I, indeed, am neither able to set forth unto you nor to write the things which I both saw and heard: and now is it needful that I should fit them for your hearing; and according as each of you is able to contain it I will impart unto you those things whereof ye are able to become hearers, that ye may see the glory that is about him, which was and is, both now and forever.
For when he had chosen Kepha and Andrei, which were brethren, he cometh unto me and Ya’aqov my brother, saying: I have need of you, come unto me. And my brother hearing that, said: Yochanon, what would this child have that is upon the seashore and called us? And I said: What child? And he said to me again: That which beckons to us. And I answered: Because of our long watch we have kept at sea, you see not aright, my brother Ya’aqov; but see you not the man that stands there, comely, and fair and of a cheerful countenance? But he said to me: Him I see not, brother; but let us go forth and we shall see what he would have.
89 And so when we had brought the ship to land, we saw him also helping along with us to settle the ship: and when we departed from that place, being minded to follow him, again he was seen of me as having rather bald, but the beard thick and flowing, but of Ya’aqov as a youth whose beard was newly come. We were therefore perplexed, both of us, as to what that which we had seen should mean. And after that, as we followed him, both of us were by little and little [yet more] perplexed as we considered the matter. Yet unto me there then appeared this yet more wonderful thing: for I would try to see him privily, and I never at any time saw his eyes closing (winking), but only open. And oft-times he would appear to me as a small man and uncomely, and then again as one reaching unto heaven. Also, there was in him another marvel: when I sat at meat he would take me upon his own breast; and sometimes his breast was felt of me to be smooth and tender, and sometimes hard like unto stones, so that I was perplexed in myself and said: Wherefore is this so unto me? And as I considered this, he …
90 And at another time he took with him me and Ya’aqov and Kepha unto the mountain where he desired to pray, and we saw in him a light such as it is not possible for a man that uses corruptible (mortal) speech to describe what it was like. Again, in like manner he brought us three up into the mountain, saying: Come with me. And we went again: and we saw him at a distance praying. I, therefore, because he loved me, drew nigh unto him softly, as though he could not see me, and stood looking upon his hinder parts: and I saw that he was not in any wise clad with garments, but was seen of us naked, and not in any wise as a man, and that his feet were whiter than any snow, so that the earth there was lighted up by his feet, and that his head touched the heaven: so that I was afraid and cried out, and he, turning about, appeared as a man of small stature, and caught hold on my beard and pulled it and said to me: Yochanon, be not faithless but believing, and not curious. And I said unto him: But what have I done, Adonai? And I say unto you, brethren, I suffered so great pain in that place where he took hold on my beard for thirty days, that I said to him: Adonai, if your twitch when you were in sport has given me so great pain, what were it if you have given me a buffet? And he said unto me: Let it be your henceforth not to tempt him that cannot be tempted.
91 But Kepha and Ya’aqov were wroth because I spoke with Adonai, and beckoned unto me that I should come unto them and leave Adonai alone. And I went, and they both said unto me: He (the old man) that was speaking with Adonai upon the top of the mount, who was he? for we heard both of them speaking. And I, having in mind his great grace, and his unity which has many faces, and his wisdom which without ceasing looks upon us, said: That shall you learn if you inquire of him.
92 Again, once when all we his Talmidiyms were at Gennesaret sleeping in one house, I alone having wrapped myself in my mantle, watched (or watched from beneath my mantle) what he should do: and first I heard him say: Yochanon, go you to sleep. And I thereon feigning to sleep saw another like unto him [sleeping], whom also I heard say unto my Adonai: Yahusha, they whom you have chosen to believe not yet on you (or do they not yet?). And my Adonai said unto him: You sayest well: for they are men.
93 Another glory also will I tell you, brethren: Sometimes when I would lay hold on him, I met with a material and solid body, and at other times, again, when I felt him, the substance was immaterial and as if it existed not at all. And if at any time he were bidden by some one of the Parashiym and went to the bidding, we went with him, and there was set before each one of us a loaf by them that had bidden us, and with us he also received one; and his own he would bless and part it among us: and of that little everyone was filled, and our own loaves were saved whole, so that they which bade him were amazed. And oftentimes when I walked with him, I desired to see the print of his foot, whether it appeared on the earth; for I saw him as it was lifting himself up from the earth: and I never saw it. And these things I speak unto you, brethren, for the encouragement of your faith toward him; for we must at the present keep silence concerning his mighty and wonderful works, inasmuch as they are unspeakable and, it may be, cannot at all be either uttered or heard.
94 Now before he was taken by the lawless Yahudiym, who also were governed by (had their law from) the lawless serpent, he gathered all of us together and said: Before I am delivered up unto them let us sing a hymn to the Father, and so go forth to that which lieth before us. He bade us therefore make as it were a ring, holding one another’s hands, and himself standing in the midst he said: Answer Amen unto me. He began, then, to sing a hymn and to say:
Glory be to you, Father.
And we, going about in a ring, answered him: Amen.
Glory be to you, Word: Glory be to you, Grace. Amen.
Glory be to you, Ruach: Glory be to you, Holy One:
Glory be to your glory. Amen.
We praise you, O Father; we give thanks to you, O Light, wherein darkness dwelleth not. Amen.
95 Now whereas (or wherefore) we give thanks, I say:
I would be saved, and I would save. Amen.
I would be loosed, and I would loose. Amen.
I would be wounded, and I would wound. Amen.
I would be born, and I would bear. Amen.
I would eat, and I would be eaten. Amen.
I would hear, and I would be heard. Amen.
I would be thought, being wholly thought. Amen.
I would be washed, and I would wash. Amen.
Grace dances. I would pipe; dance ye all. Amen.
I would mourn: lament ye all. Amen.
The number Eight (lit. one ogdoad) sings praise with us. Amen.
The number Twelve dances on high. Amen.
The Whole on high has part in our dancing. Amen.
Whoso dances not, knows not what cometh to pass. Amen.
I would flee, and I would stay. Amen.
I would adorn, and I would be adorned. Amen.
I would be united, and I would unite. Amen.
A house I have not, and I have houses. Amen.
A place I have not, and I have places. Amen.
A temple I have not, and I have temples. Amen.
A lamp am I to you that behold me. Amen.
A mirror am I to you that perceive me. Amen.
A door am I to you that knock at me. Amen.
A way am I to you a wayfarer. [amen].
96 Now answer you (or as you respond) unto my dancing. Behold yourself in me who speak, and seeing what I do, keep silence about my mysteries.
You that dance, perceive what I do, for yours is this passion of the manhood, which I am about to suffer. For you could not at all have understood what you suffer if I had not been sent unto you, as the word of the Father. You that saw what I suffer saw me as suffering and seeing it you did not abide but were wholly moved, moved to make wise. You have me as a bed, rest upon me. Who I am, you shall know when I depart. What now I am seen to be, that I am not. You shall see when you come. If you had known how to suffer, you would have been able not to suffer. Learn you to suffer, and you shall be able not to suffer. What you know not, I myself will teach you. Your Elohiym am I, not the elohiym of the traitor. I would keep tune with holy nephesh. In me know you the word of Wisdom. Again, with me say you: Glory be to you, Father; glory to you, Word; glory to you, Ruach HaQodesh. And if you wouldst know concerning me, what I was, know that with a word did I deceive all things and I was no whit deceived. I have leaped: but do you understand the whole, and having understood it, say: Glory be to you, Father. Amen.
97 Thus, my beloved, having danced with us, Adonai went forth. And we as men gone astray or dazed with sleep fled this way and that. I, then, when I saw him suffer, did not even abide by his suffering, but fled unto the Mount of Olives, weeping at that which had befallen. And when he was crucified on the Friday, at the sixth hour of the day, darkness came upon all the earth. And my Adonai standing in the midst of the cave and enlightening it, said: Yochanon, unto the multitude below in Yerushalayim I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds, and gall and vinegar is given me to drink. But unto you I speak, and what I speak, hear. I put it into your mind to come up into this mountain, that you might hear those things which it behooves a Talmidiym to learn from his teacher and a man from his Elohiym.
98 And having thus spoken, he showed me a cross of light fixed (set up), and about the cross a great multitude, not having one form: and in it (the cross) was one form and one likeness [MS.; I would read: and therein was one form and one likeness: and in the cross another multitude, not having one form]. And Adonai himself I beheld above the cross, not having any shape, but only a voice: and a voice not such as was familiar to us, but one sweet and kind and truly of Elohiym, saying unto me: Yochanon, it is needful that one should hear these things from me, for I have need of one that will hear. This cross of light is sometimes called the word by me for your sakes, sometimes mind, sometimes Yahusha, sometimes Mashiach, sometimes door, sometimes a way, sometimes bread, sometimes seed, sometimes resurrection, sometimes Son, sometimes Father, sometimes Ruach, sometimes life, sometimes truth, sometimes faith, sometimes grace. And by these names it is called as toward men: but that which it is in truth, as conceived of in itself and as spoken of unto you (MS. us), it is the marking-off of all things, and the firm uplifting of things fixed out of things unstable, and the harmony of wisdom, and indeed wisdom in harmony [this last clause in the MS. is joined to the next: ‘and being wisdom in harmony’]. There are [places] of the right hand and the left, powers also, authorities, lordships and evil ruachoth, workings, threatening, wraths, devils, Satan, and the lower root whence the nature of the things that come into being proceeded.
99 This cross, then, is that which fixed all things apart (alternative: joined all things unto itself) by the word and separate off the things that are from those that are below (literally: the things from birth and below it), and then also, being one, streamed forth into all things (alternatively: made all flow forth, compacted all into one). But this is not the cross of wood which you will see when you go down hence: neither am I he that is on the cross, whom now you see not, but only heard his (or a) voice. I was reckoned to be that which I am not, not being what I was unto many others: but they will say of me something else which is vile and not worthy of me. As, then, the place of rest is neither seen nor spoken of, much more shall I, Adonai thereof, be neither seen nor of spoken.
100 Now the multitude of one aspect (or quite contrarily: not of one aspect) that is about the cross is the lower nature: and they whom you see in the cross, if they have not one form, it is because not yet has every member of him that came down been comprehended. But when the human nature (or the upper nature) is taken up, and the race which draws near unto me and obeys my voice, he that now heareth me shall be united therewith, and shall no more be that which now he is, but above them, as I also now am. For so long as you call not yourself mine, I am not that which I am (or was): but if you hear me, you, hearing, shall be as I am, and I shall be that which I was when I have you as I am with myself. For from me you are that which I am. Care not therefore for the many, and them that are outside the mystery despise; know you that I am wholly with the Father, and the Father with me.
101 Nothing, therefore, of the things which they will say of me have I suffered: nay, that suffering also which I showed unto you and the rest in the dance, I will that it be called a mystery. For what you are, you see, for I showed it you; but what I am I alone know and no man else. Suffer me then to keep that which is mine, and that which is you behold you through me, and behold me in truth, that I am, not what I said, but what you are able to know, because you are akin thereto. You hear that I suffered, yet did I not suffer; that I suffered not, yet did I suffer; that I was pierced, yet I was not smitten; hanged, and I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me, and it flowed not; and, in a word, what they say of me, that befell me not, but what they say not, that did I suffer. Now what those things are I signify unto you, for I know that you will understand. Perceive you therefore in me the praising (alternative: rest) of the Word (Logos), the piercing of the Word, the blood of the Word, the wound of the Word, the hanging up of the Word, the suffering of the Word, the nailing of the Word, the death of the Word. And so, speak I, separating off the manhood. Perceive you therefore in the first place of the Word; then shall you perceive Adonai, and in the third place the man, and what he has suffered.
102 When he had spoken unto me these things, and others which I know not how to say as he would have me, he was taken up, no one of the multitudes having beheld him. And when I went down, I laughed them all to scorn, inasmuch as he had told me the things which they have said concerning him; holding fast this one thing in myself, that Adonai contrived all things symbolically and by a dispensation toward men, for their conversion and salvation.
103 Having therefore beheld, brethren, the grace of Adonai and his kindly affection toward us, let us worship him as those unto whom he has shown mercy, not with our fingers, nor our mouth, nor our tongue, nor with any part whatsoever of our body, but with the disposition of our nephesh, even him who became a man apart from this body: and let us watch because we shall find that now also he keeps ward over prisons for our sake, and over tombs, in bonds and dungeons, in reproaches and insults, by sea and on dry land, in scourging, condemnations, conspiracies, frauds, punishments, and in a word, he is with all of us, and himself suffers with us when we suffer, brethren. When he is called upon by each one of us, he endures not to shut his ears to us, but as being everywhere he hearkens to all of us; and now both to me and to Drusiana, forasmuch as he is the Elohiym of them that are shut, upbringing us help by his own compassion.
104 Be ye also persuaded, therefore, beloved, that it is not a man whom I preach unto you to worship, but Elohiym unchangeable, Elohiym invincible, Elohiym higher than all authority and all power, and elder and mightier than all angels and creatures that are named, and all aeons. If then ye abide in him, and are built up in him, ye shall possess your nephesh indestructible.
105 And when he had delivered these things unto the brethren, Yochanon departed, with Andronicus, to walk. And Drusiana also followed afar off with all the brethren, that they might behold the acts that were done by him and hear his speech at all times in Adonai.
The Death or Assumption of Yochanon
The remaining episode which is extant in the Greek is the conclusion of the book, the Death or Assumption of Yochanon. Before it must be placed the stories which we have only in the Latin (of ‘Abdias’ and another text by ‘Mellitus’, i.e. Melito), and the two or three isolated fragments.
XIV Now on the next (or another) day Craton, a philosopher, had proclaimed in the marketplace that he would give an example of the contempt of riches: and the spectacle was after this manner. He had persuaded two young men, the richest of the city, who were brothers, to spend their whole inheritance and buy each of them a jewel, and these they broke in pieces publicly in the sight of the people. And while they were doing this, it happened by chance that the apostle passed by. And calling Craton the philosopher to him, he said: That is a foolish despising of the world, which is praised by the mouths of men, but long ago condemned by the judgement of Elohiym. For as that is a vain medicine whereby the disease is not extirpated, so is it a vain teaching by which the faults of nephesh and of conduct are not cured. But indeed, my master taught a youth who desired to attain to eternal life, in these words; saying that if he would be perfect, he should sell all his goods and give to the poor, and so doing he would gain treasure in heaven and find the life that has no ending.
And Craton said to him: Here the fruit of covetousness is set forth in the midst of men and has been broken to pieces. But if Elohiym is indeed your master and wills this to be, that the sum of the price of these jewels should be given to the poor, cause you the gems to be restored whole, that what I have done for the praise of men, you may do for the glory of him whom you calls your master. Then the blessed Yochanon gathered together the fragments of the gems, and holding them in his hands, lifted up his eyes to heaven and said: Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, unto whom nothing is impossible: who when the world was broken by the tree of concupiscence, did restore it again in your faithfulness by the tree of the cross: who did give to one born blind the eyes which nature had denied him, who did recall Lazarus, dead and buried, after the fourth day unto the light; and has subjected all diseases and all sicknesses unto the word of your power: so also now do with these precious stones which these, not knowing the fruits of almsgiving, have broken in pieces for the praise of men: recover you them, Adonai, now by the hands of your angels, that by their value the work of mercy may be fulfilled, and make these men believe in you the unbegotten Father through your only-begotten Son Yahusha HaMashiach our Adonai, with the Ruach HaQodesh the illuminator and sanctifier of the whole Church, world without end.
And when the faithful who were with the apostle had answered and said Amen, the fragments of the gems were forthwith so joined in one that no mark at all that they had been broken remained in them. And Craton the philosopher, with his Talmidiym, seeing this, fell at the feet of the apostle and believed thenceforth and was baptized, with them all, and began himself publicly to preach the faith of our Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach.
XV Those two brothers, therefore, of whom we spoke, sold the gems which they had bought by the sale of their inheritance and gave the price to the poor; and thereafter a very great multitude of believers began to be joined to the apostle.
And when all this was done, it happened that after the same example, two honorable men of the city of the Ephesian sold all their goods and distributed them to the needy, and followed the apostle as he went through the cities preaching the word of Elohiym. But it came to pass, when they entered the city of Pergamum, that they saw their servants walking abroad arrayed in silken raiment and shining with the glory of this world: whence it happened that they were pierced with the arrow of the devil and became sad, seeing themselves poor and clad with a single cloak while their own servants were powerful and prosperous.
But the apostle of Mashiach, perceiving these wiles of the devil, said: I see that ye have changed your minds and your countenances on this account, that, obeying the teaching of my Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, ye have given all ye had to the poor. Now, if ye desire to recover that which ye formerly possessed of gold, silver, and precious stones, bring me some straight rods, each of you a bundle.
And when they had done so, he called upon the name of Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, and they were turned into gold. And the apostle said to them: Bring me small stones from the seashore. And when they had done this also, he called upon the majesty of Adonai, and all the pebbles were turned into gems. Then the blessed Yochanon turned to those men and said to them: Go about to the goldsmiths and jewelers for seven days, and when ye have proved that these are true gold and true jewels, tell me.
And they went, both of them, and after seven days returned to the apostle, saying: Adonai, we have gone about the shops of all the goldsmiths, and they have all said that they never saw such pure gold. Likewise, the jewelers have said the same, that they never saw such excellent and precious gems.
XVI Then the holy Yochanon said unto them: Go and redeem to you the lands which ye have sold, for ye have lost the estates of heaven. Buy yourselves silken raiment, that for a time ye may shine like the rose which shows its fragrance and redness and suddenly fades away. For ye sighed at beholding your servants and groaned that you were become poor. Flourish, therefore, that ye may fade. Be rich for the time, that ye may be beggars forever. Is not Adonai’s hand able to make riches overflowing and unsurpassably glorious? but he has appointed a conflict for nephesh, that they may believe that they shall have eternal riches, who for his name’s sake have refused temporal wealth. Indeed, our master told us concerning a certain rich man who feasted every day and shone with gold and purple, at whose door lay a beggar, Eliezer, who desired to receive even the crumbs that fell from his table, and no man gave unto him. And it came to pass that on one day they died, both of them, and that beggar was taken into the rest, which is in Avraham’s bosom, but the rich man was cast into flaming fire: out of which he lifted up his eyes and saw Eliezer and prayed him to dip his finger in water and cool his mouth for he was tormented in the flames. And Avraham answered him and said: Remember, son, that you received good things in your life, but this Eliezer likewise evil things. Wherefore, rightly he is now comforted while you are tormented, and besides all this, a great gulf is fixed between you and us, so that neither can they come thence hither, nor hither thence. But he answered: I have five brethren: I pray that someone may go to warn them, that they come not into this flame. And Avraham said to him: They have Moshe and the prophets, let them hear them. To that he answered: Adonai, unless one rise up again, they will not believe. Avraham said to him: If they believe not Moshe and the prophets, neither will they believe if one rise again.
And these words our Adonai and Master confirmed by examples of mighty works: for when they said to him: Who has come hither from thence, that we may believe him? he answered: Bring hither the dead whom you have. And when they had brought unto him a young man which was dead, he was waked up by him as one that sleeps and confirmed all his words.
But wherefore should I speak of my Adonai, when at this present there are those whom in his name and in your presence and sight I have raised from the dead: in whose name ye have seen palsied men healed, lepers cleansed, blind men enlightened, and many delivered from evil ruachoth? But the riches of these mighty works they cannot have who have desired to have earthly wealth. Finally, when you yourselves went unto the sick and called upon the name of Yahusha HaMashiach, they were healed: you did drive out devils and restore light to the blind. Behold, this grace is taken from you, and you are become wretched, who were mighty and great. And whereas there was such fear of you upon the devils that at your bidding they left the men whom they possessed, now you will be in fear of the devils. For he that loves money is the servant of Mammon: and Mammon is the name of a devil who is set over carnal gains and is the master of them that love the world. But even the lovers of the world do not possess riches but are possessed of them. For it is out of reason that for one belly there should be laid up so much food as would suffice a thousand, and for one body so many garments as would furnish clothing for a thousand men. In vain, therefore, is that stored up which comes not into use, and for whom it is kept, no man knows, as the Ruach HaQodesh said by the prophet: In vain is every man troubled who heaps up riches and knows not for whom he gathers them. Naked did our birth from women bring us into this light, destitute of food and drink: naked will the earth receive us which brought us forth. We possess in common the riches of the heaven, the brightness of the sun is equal for the rich and the poor, and likewise the light of the moon and the stars, the softness of the air and the drops of rain, and the gate of the church and the fount of sanctification and the forgiveness of sins, and the sharing in the altar, and the eating of the body and drinking of the blood of Mashiach, and the anointing of the chrism, and the grace of the giver, and the visitation of Adonai, and the pardon of sin: in all these the dispensing of the Creator is equal, without respect of persons. Neither doth the rich man use these gifts after one manner and the poor after another.
But wretched and unhappy is the man who would have something more than suffices him: for of this come heats of fevers, rigors of cold, divers pains in all the members of the body, and he can neither be fed with food nor sated with drink, that covetousness may learn that money will not profit it, which being laid up brings to the keepers thereof anxiety by day and night, and suffers them not even for an hour to be quiet and secure. For while they guard their houses against thieves, till their estate, ply the plough, pay taxes, build storehouses, strive for gain, try to baffle the attacks of the strong, and to strip the weak, exercise their wrath on whom they can, and hardly bear it from others, shrink not from playing at tables and from public shows, fear not to defile or to be defiled, suddenly do they depart out of this world, naked, bearing only their own sins with them, for which they shall suffer eternal punishment.
XVII While the apostle was thus speaking, behold there was brought to him by his mother, who was a widow, a young man who thirty days before had first married a wife. And the people which were waiting upon the burial came with the widowed mother and cast themselves at the apostle’s feet all together with groans, weeping, and mourning, and besought him that in the name of his Elohiym, as he had done with Drusiana, so he would raise up this young man also.
And there was so great weeping of them all that the apostle himself could hardly refrain from crying and tears. He cast himself down, therefore, in prayer, and wept a long time: and rising from prayer spread out his hands to heaven, and for a long space prayed within himself. And when he had so done thrice, he commanded the body which was swathed to be loosed, and said: You youth Stacteus, who for love of your flesh have quickly lost your nephesh: you youth which knew not your creator nor perceived the Savior of men, and were ignorant of your true friend, and therefore did fall into the snare of the worst enemy: behold, I have poured out tears and prayers unto my Adonai for your ignorance, that you may rise from the dead, the bands of death being loosed, and declare unto these two, to Atticus and Eugenius, how great glory they have lost, and how great punishment they have incurred.
Then Stacteus arose and worshipped the apostle, and began to reproach his Talmidiym, saying: I beheld your angels weeping, and the angels of Satan rejoicing at your overthrow. For now, in a little time ye have lost the kingdom that was prepared for you, and the dwelling places built of shining stones, full of joy, of feasting and delights, full of everlasting life and eternal light: and have gotten yourselves places of darkness, full of dragons, of roaring flames, of torments, and punishments unsurpassable, of pains and anguish, fear and horrible trembling. Ye have lost the places full of unfading flowers, shining, full of the sounds of instruments of music (organs), and have gotten on the other hand places wherein roaring and howling and mourning ceases not day nor night. Nothing else remains for you save to ask the apostle of Adonai that like as he has raised me to life, he would raise you also from death unto salvation and bring back your nephesh which now are blotted out of the book of life.
XVIII Then both he that had been raised and all the people together with Atticus and Eugenius, cast themselves at the apostle’s feet and besought him to intercede for them with Adonai. Unto whom the holy apostle gave this answer: that for thirty days they should offer penitence to Elohiym, and in that space pray especially that the rods of gold might return to their nature and likewise the stones return to the meanness wherein they were made. And it came to pass that after thirty days were accomplished, and neither the rods were turned into wood nor the gems into pebbles, Atticus and Eugenius came and said to the apostle: You have always taught mercy, and preached forgiveness, and bidden that one man should spare another. And if Elohiym wills that a man should forgive a man, how much more shall he, as he is Elohiym, both forgive and spare men? We are confounded for our sin: and whereas we have cried with our eyes which lusted after the world, we do now repent with eyes that weep. We pray you, Adonai, we pray you, apostle of Elohiym, show in deed that mercy which in word you have always promised.
Then the holy Yochanon said unto them as they wept and repented, and all interceded for them likewise: Our Adonai Elohiym used these words when he spoke concerning sinners: I will not take pleasure in the death of a sinner, but I will rather that he be converted and live. For when Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach taught us concerning the penitent, he said: Verily I say unto you, there is great joy in heaven over one sinner that repents and turns himself from his sins: and there is more joy over him than over ninety and nine which have not sinned. Wherefore I would have you know that Adonai accepts the repentance of these men.
And he turned unto Atticus and Eugenius and said: Go, carry back the rods unto the wood whence ye took them, for now are they returned to their own nature, and the stones unto the seashore, for they are become common stones as they were before. And when this was accomplished, they received again the grace which they had lost, so that again they cast out devils as before time and healed the sick and enlightened the blind, and daily Adonai did many mighty works by their means.
XIX tells shortly the destruction oi the temple of Ephesus and the conversion of 12,000 people.Then follows the episode of the poison-cup in a form which probably represents the story in the Leucian Acts. (We have seen that the late Greek texts place it at the beginning, in the presence of Domitian.)
XX Now when Aristodemus, who was chief priest of all those idols, saw this, filled with a wicked ruach, he stirred up sedition among the people, so that one people prepared themselves to fight against the other. And Yochanon turned to him and said: Tell me, Aristodemus, what can I do to take away the anger from your nephesh?
And Aristodemus said: If you will have me believe in your Elohiym, I will give you poison to drink, and if you drink it, and die not, it will appear that your Elohiym is true.
The apostle answered: If you give me poison to drink, when I call on the name of my Adonai, it will not be able to harm me.
Aristodemus said again: I will that you first see others drink it and die straightway that so your heart may recoil from that cup.
And the blessed Yochanon said: I have told you already that I am prepared to drink it that you may believe on Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach when you see me whole after the cup of poison.
Aristodemus therefore went to the proconsul and asked of him two men who were to undergo the sentence of death. And when he had set them in the midst of the marketplace before all the people, in the sight of the apostle he made them drink the poison: and as soon as they had drunk it, they gave up the ruach.
Then Aristodemus turned to Yochanon and said: Hearken to me and depart from your teaching wherewith you call away the people from the worship of the elohiym; or take and drink this, that you may show that your Elohiym is almighty, if after you have drunk, you can remain whole.
Then the blessed Yochanon, as they lay dead which had drunk the poison, like a fearless and brave man took the cup, and making the sign of the cross (Tav), spoke thus: My Elohiym, and the Father of our Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, by whose word the heavens were established, unto whom all things are subject, whom all creation serves, whom all power obeys, fears, and trembles, when we call on you for succor: whose name the serpent hearing is still, the dragon flees, the viper is quiet, the toad is still and strengthless, the scorpion is quenched, the basilisk vanquished, and the spider does no hurt, in a word, all venomous things, and the fiercest reptiles and noisome beasts, are pierced (covered with darkness). Do you, I say, quench the venom of this poison, put out the deadly workings thereof, and void it of the strength which it has in it: and grant in your sight unto all these whom you have created, eyes that they may see, and ears that they may hear and a heart that they may understand your greatness.
And when he had thus said, he armed his mouth and all his body with the sign of the cross (Tav) and drank all that was in the cup. And after he had drunk, he said: I ask that they for whose sake I have drunk, be turned unto you, O Adonai, and by your enlightening receive the salvation which is in you. And when for the space of three hours the people saw that Yochanon was of a cheerful countenance, and that there was no sign at all of paleness or fear in him, they began to cry out with a loud voice: He is the one true Elohiym whom Yochanon worships.
XXI But Aristodemus even so believed not, though the people reproached him: but turned unto Yochanon and said: This one thing I lack, if you in the name of your Elohiym raise up these that have died by this poison, my mind will be cleansed of all doubt.
When he said that, the people rose against Aristodemus saying: We will burn you and your house if you go on to trouble the apostle further with your words.
Yochanon, therefore, seeing that there was a fierce sedition, asked for silence, and said in the hearing of all: The first of the virtues of Elohiym which we ought to imitate is patience, by which we are able to bear with the foolishness of unbelievers. Wherefore if Aristodemus is still held by unbelief, let us loose the knots of his unbelief. He shall be compelled, even though late, to acknowledge his creator, for I will not cease from this work until a remedy shall bring help to his wounds, and like physicians which have in their hands a sick man needing medicine, so also, if Aristodemus be not yet cured by that which has now been done, he shall be cured by that which I will now do.
And he called Aristodemus to him, and gave him his coat, and he himself stood clad only in his mantle.
And Aristodemus said to him: Wherefore have you given me your coat?
Yochanon said to him: That you mayest even so be put to shame and depart from your unbelief.
And Aristodemus said: And how shall your coat make me to depart from unbelief?
The apostle answered: Go and cast it upon the bodies of the dead, and you shall say thus: The apostle of our Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach has sent me that in his name ye may rise again, that all may know that life and death are servants of my Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach.
Which when Aristodemus had done, and had seen them rise, he worshipped Yochanon, and ran quickly to the proconsul and began to say with a loud voice: Hear me, hear me, you proconsul; I think you remember that I have often stirred up your wrath against Yochanon and devised many things against him daily, wherefore I fear lest I feel his wrath: for he is elohiym hidden in the form of a man and has drunk poison, and not only continues whole, but them also which had died by the poison he has recalled to life by my means, by the touch of his coat, and they have no mark of death upon them.
Which when the proconsul heard he said: And what will you have me to do?
Aristodemus answered: Let us go and fall at his feet and ask pardon, and whatever he commands us let us do.
Then they came together and cast themselves down and besought forgiveness: and he received them and offered prayer and thanksgiving to Elohiym, and he ordained them a fast of a week, and when it was fulfilled, he baptized them in the name of Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach and his Almighty Father and the Ruach HaQodesh the illuminator.
This bracketed sentence, of late complexion, serves to introduce the last episode of the book.
[And when they were baptized, with all their house and their servants and their kindred, they broke all their idols and built a church in the name of Yochanon: wherein he himself was taken up, in manner following:]
The last episode of these Acts (as is the case with several others of the Apocryphal Acts) was preserved separately for reading in church on the Saint’s day. We have it in at least nine Greek manuscripts, and in many versions: Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Slavonic.
106 Yochanon therefore continued with the brethren, rejoicing in Adonai. And on the morrow, being Adonai’s day, and all the brethren being gathered together, he began to say unto them: Brethren and fellow-servants and coheirs and partakers with me in the kingdom of Adonai, you know Adonai, how many mighty works he has granted you by my means, how many wonders, healings, signs, how great spiritual gifts, teachings, governances, refreshments, ministries, knowledges, glories, graces, gifts, beliefs, communions, all which ye have seen given you by him in your sight, yet not seen by these eyes nor heard by these ears. Be ye therefore stablished in him, remembering him in your every deed, knowing the mystery of the dispensation which has come to pass towards men, for what cause Adonai has accomplished it. He beseeches you by me, brethren, and entreaties you, desiring to remain without grief, without insult, not conspired against, not chastised: for he knows even the insult that comes of you, he knows even dishonor, he knows even conspiracy, he knows even chastisement, from them that hearken not to his commandments.
107 Let not then our good Elohiym be grieved, the compassionate, the merciful, the holy, the pure, the undefiled, the immaterial, the only, the one, the unchangeable, the simple, the guileless, the unwrathful, even our Elohiym Yahusha HaMashiach, who is above every name that we can utter or conceive, and more exalted. Let him rejoice with us because we walk aright, let him be glad because we live purely, let him be refreshed because our conversation is sober. Let him be without care because we live content, let him be pleased because we communicate one with another, let him smile because we are chastised, let him be merry because we love him. These things I now speak unto you, brethren, because I am having unto the work set before me, and already being perfected by Adonai. For what else could I have to say unto you? You have the pledge of our Elohiym, you have the earnest of his goodness, ye have his presence that cannot be shunned. If then, you sin no more, he forgives you that you did in ignorance: but if after that you have known him and he has had mercy on you, you walk again in the like deeds, both the former will be laid to your charge, and also you will not have a part nor mercy before him.
108 And when he had spoken this unto them, he prayed thus: O Yahusha who have woven this crown with your weaving, who have joined together these many blossoms into the unfading flower of your countenance, who have sown in them these words: you only tender of your servants, and physician who heals freely: only doer of good and despiser of none, only merciful and lover of men, only savior and righteous, only seer of all, who are in all and everywhere present and containing all things and filling all things: Mashiach Yahusha, Elohiym, Adonai, that with your gifts and your mercy shelter them that trust in you, that knows clearly the wiles and the assaults of him that is everywhere our adversary, which he devises against us: do you only, O Adonai, succor your servants by your visitation. Even so, Adonai.
109 And he asked for bread, and gave thanks thus: What praise or what offering or what thanksgiving shall we, breaking this bread, name save you only, O Adonai Yahusha? We glorify your name that was said by the Father: we glorify your name that was said through the Son: we glorify your entering of the Door. We glorify the resurrection shown unto us by you. We glorify your way, we glorify of you the seed, the word, the grace, the faith, the salt, the unspeakable pearl, the treasure, the plough, the net, the greatness, the diadem, him that for us was called Son of man, that gave unto us truth, rest, knowledge, power, the commandment, the confidence, hope, love, liberty, refuge in you. For you, Adonai, art alone the root of immortality, and the fount of incorruption, and the seat of the ages: called by all these names for us, now that calling on you by them, we may make known your greatness which at the present is invisible unto us, but visible only unto the pure, being portrayed in your manhood only.
110 And he broke the bread and gave unto all of us, praying over each of the brethren that he might be worthy of the grace of Adonai and of the most holy eucharist [thanksgiving]. And he also partook himself likewise and said: Unto me also be there a part with you, and: Peace be with you, my beloved.
111 After that he said unto Verus: Take with you some two men, with baskets and shovels, and follow me. And Verus without delay did as he was bidden by Yochanon the servant of Elohiym. The blessed Yochanon therefore went out of the house and walked forth of the gates, having told the more part to depart from him. And when he was come to the tomb of a certain brother of ours, he said to the young men: Dig, my children. And they dug and he was instant with them yet more, saying: Let the trench be deeper. And as they dug, he spoke unto them the word of Elohiym and exhorted them that were come with him out of the house, edifying and perfecting them unto the greatness of Elohiym, and praying over each one of us. And when the young men had finished the trench as he desired, we knowing nothing of it, he took off his garments wherein he was clad and laid them as it were for a pallet in the bottom of the trench: and standing in his shift only he stretched his hands upward and prayed thus:
112 O you that did choose us out for the apostleship of the goyim: O Elohiym that sent us into the world: that did reveal yourself by the Torah and the prophets: that did never rest, but always from the foundation of the world saved them that were able to be saved: that made yourself known through all nature: that proclaimed yourself even among beasts: that did make the desolate and savage nephesh tame and quiet: that gave yourself to it when it was a-thirst for your words: that did appear to it in havee when it was dying: that did show yourself to it as a law when it was sinking into lawlessness: that did manifest yourself to it when it had been vanquished by Satan: that did overcome its adversary when it fled unto you: that have it your hand and did raise it up from the things of She’ol: that did not leave it to walk after a bodily sort in the body: that did show to it its own enemy: that have made for it a clear knowledge toward you: O Elohiym, Yahusha, the Father of them that are above the heavens, Adonai of them that are in the heavens, the law of them that are in the other, the course of them that are in the air, the keeper of them that are on the earth, the fear of them that are under the earth, the grace of them that are your own: receive also the nephesh of your Yochanon, which it may be is accounted worthy by you.
113 O you who have kept me until this hour for yourself and untouched by union with a woman: who when in my youth I desired to marry did appear unto me and say to me: Yochanon I have need of you: who did prepare for me also a sickness of the body: who when for the third time I would marry did forthwith prevent me, and then at the third hour of the day said unto me on the sea: Yochanon, if you have not been mine, I would have suffered you to marry: who for two years did blind me (or afflict mine eyes), and grant me to mourn and entreat you: who in the third year did open the eyes of my mind and also grant me my visible eyes: who when I saw clearly did ordain that it should be grievous to me to look upon a woman: who did save me from the temporal fantasy and lead me unto that which endures always: who did rid me of the foul madness that is in the flesh: who did take me from the bitter death and establish me on you alone: who did muzzle the secret disease of my nephesh and cut off the open deed: who did afflict and banish him that raised tumult in me: who did make my love of you spotless: who did make my joining unto you perfect and unbroken: who did give me undoubting faith in you, who did order and make clear my inclination toward you: you who gives unto every man the due reward of his works, who did put into my nephesh that I should have no possession save you only: for what is more precious than you? Now therefore Adonai, whereas I have accomplished the dispensation wherewith I was entrusted, account you me worthy of your rest, and grant me that end in you which is salvation unspeakable and unutterable.
114 And as I come unto you, let the fire go backward, let the darkness be overcome, let the gulf be without strength, let the furnace die out, let Gehenna be quenched. Let angels follow, let devils fear, let rulers be broken, let powers fall; let the places of the right hand standfast, let them of the left hand not remain. Let the devil be muzzled, let Satan be derided, let his wrath be burned out, let his madness be stilled, let his vengeance be ashamed, let his assault be in pain, let his children be smitten and all his roots plucked up. And grant me to accomplish the journey unto you without suffering insolence or provocation, and to receive that which you have promised unto them that live purely and have loved you only.
115 And having sealed himself in every part, he stood and said: You are with me, O Adonai Yahusha Mashiach: and laid himself down in the trench where he had strown his garments: and having said unto us: Peace be with you, brethren, he gave up his ruach rejoicing.
The less good Greek manuscripts and some versions are not content with this simple ending. The Latin says that after the prayer a great light appeared over the apostle for the space of an hour, so bright that no one could look at it.
Then he laid himself down and gave up the ruach. We who were there rejoiced, some of us, and some mourned. And forthwith manna issuing from the tomb was seen of all, which manna that place produces even unto this day.
But perhaps the best conclusion is that of one Greek manuscript:
We brought a linen cloth and spread it upon him and went into the city. And on the day following we went forth and found not his body, for it was translated by the power of our Adonai Yahusha HaMashiach, unto whom be glory.
On the morrow we dug in the place, and him we found not, but only his sandals, and the earth moving (lit. springing up like a well), and after that we remembered that which was spoken by Adonai unto Kepha.
Augustine (on Yochanon xxi) reports the belief that in his time the earth over the grave was seen to move as if stirred by Yochanon’s breathing.