Preface on Pilate. 

        Rulers should read these letters to be reminded of how fleeting the rule of men is, and how a fearsome judgment is awaiting them that are rulers, if per chance that might bring them to just action.  Here the reward to Herod shows how oppression will be rewarded in great pains, and on the other side how justice and repentance, as with Pilate, has its reward in salvation.

PILATE

The letters of Herod and Pilate. 

        Letter 1                              TO INDEX

      Herod to Pilate.

1.   Herod to Pontius Pilate the governor of Jerusalem, Peace.  I am in great anxiety; I write these things to you that having heard them you may be grieved for me.

2.   For my daughter Herodias who was dear to me, she as she was playing on a pool of water which had ice on it, the ice broke under her and her body went down but her head was cut off and remained on the ice.

3.   And her mother is holding her head on her knees in her lap, and my whole house is in great sorrow.  For when I heard of the man Jesus I wished to come to you that I might see Him alone to hear His word whether it was like that of the sons of men.

4.   And it is certain that because of the many evil things which were done by me to John the Baptist, and because I mocked the Christ, that I receive the reward of righteousness.

5.   For I have shed much blood of other children on the earth, therefore the judgment of God is righteous, for every man receives according to his thoughts, but since you were worthy to see that God-man therefore it becomes you to pray for me.

6.   My son Azbonius also is in the agony of the hour of his death.  And I too am in affliction and great trial because l have the dropsy and in great distress, for I persecuted the introducer of baptism with water namely, John.  Therefore my brother the judgments of God are righteous.

7.   And my wife in all her grief for her daughter has become blind in her left eye because we desired to blind the eye of righteousness.

8.   "There is no peace for the doers of evil," so said the Lord, for already great affliction comes on the priests and on the writers of the law because they delivered to you the Just One.

9.   For this is the consummation of the world that they consented that the Gentiles should become heirs, for the children of light shall be cast out, for they have not observed the things which were preached concerning the Lord and concerning His Son.

10.  Therefore gird up your loins and receive righteousness, you with your wife remembering Jesus night and day, and the kingdom shall belong to you Gentiles, for we the chosen people have mocked the righteous One.

11.  Now if there is a place for our request O Pilate for we were at one time in power, bury my household carefully.  For it is right that we should be buried by you rather than by the priests to whom after a little time, so the scripture says, at the coming of Jesus Christ, vengeance shall overtake them.

12.  Farewell with Procla your wife, I sent you the earrings of my daughter, and my own ring that they may be to you a memorial of my death.

13.  For already worms begin to issue from my body, I am receiving temporal judgment, and I am afraid of the judgment to come, for in both of these we stand before the living God.

14.  But this judgment which is temporal - is for a time, while that judgment to come is forever.

 

       Letter 2

       Pilate to Herod.

1.   Pilate to Herod the tetrarch, peace.  Know and see that in the day when you delivered Jesus to me I took pity on myself and testified by washing my hands that I was innocent concerning Him who after I had performed your pleasure on Him rose from the grave after three days.

2.   For you desired me to be associated with you in His crucifixion, but now I learn from the executioners and soldiers who watched His sepulcher that He rose from the dead.

3.   And I firmly confirmed what was told me that He bodily appeared in Galilee in the same form and with the same voice and with the same doctrine and disciples, not having changed in anything, but with boldness preaching His resurrection and everlasting kingdom.

4.   And behold, heaven and earth rejoice, and Procla my wife believes in the visions which appeared to her when you sent to me that I should deliver Jesus to the people of Israel because, of the ill will they had.

5.   When Procla my wife then heard that Jesus was risen and had appeared in Galilee, she went taking with her Longinus the Centurion and twelve soldiers.  These were the same that had watched at the sepulcher, to greet the face of Christ as if to a great spectacle.  And she saw Him with His disciples.

6.   And while they were standing and wondering and gazing at Him, He looked at them and said; "What is it, do you believe in Me?  Know Procla that in the covenant, which God gave to the fathers, it is said that every body that has perished should live by means of My death - which you have seen.

7.   And now you see that I whom you crucified live, and how I suffered many things until I was laid in the sepulcher.  But now hear Me and believe in My Father the Lord God who is in Me, for I loosened the cords of death and broke the gates of hell, and My coming shall be hereafter."

8.   And when Procla my wife and the Romans heard these things they came and informed me with tears.  For they also were against Him when they devised the evils which they had done to Him.  So that even I was on my couch in affliction, and put on a garment of mourning.  And I took with me fifty Romans with my wife and went to Galilee.

9.   And as I was going into the way I testified that Herod did these things by me, that he took counsel with me and constrained my hand against Him, to judge Him that judges all, the scourge, the just One, Lord of the just.

10.  And when we came near to Him O Herod, a great voice was heard from heaven, and dreadful thunder, and the earth trembled and gave forth a sweet smell such as was never perceived in the temple of Jerusalem.

11.  And while I stood so in the way, the Lord saw me as He stood and talked with His disciples, but I prayed in my heart for I knew that it was He whom you delivered to me, that He was Lord of all created things, Creator of all.

12.  We then when we saw Him we fell on our faces before His feet, and I said with a loud voice, I have sinned O Lord in that I sat and judged Thee who avenges all in truth.

13.  And behold, I know that Thou art God, the Son of God, and I beheld Thy humanity and not Thy divinity, but Herod with the children of Israel constrained me to do evil to Thee, have pity therefore on me O God of Israel.

14.  And my wife in great anguish said.  "God of heaven and earth, God of Israel, reward me not according to the deeds of Pontius Pilate, nor according to the will of the children of Israel, nor according to the thoughts of the sons of the priests, but remember my husband in Thy glory."

15.  Our Lord then drew near and raising my wife and me with the Romans looking on, I saw on Him the scars of the cross.  And He said.  "That which all the righteous fathers hoped to receive but did not see, but which came in your time, namely the Lord of time, the Son of man and of the Most High who is forever.  Beholding how He arose from the dead and is glorified on high by all that He created and established forever and ever.

        Various remarks.

16.  Justinus, one of the writers in the days of Augustines and Tiberias and Galus, wrote in his third discourse; Mary the Galileans who bore the Christ that was crucified in Jerusalem had not been with a husband.

17.  And Joseph did not abandon her but continued in sanctity without a wife, he and his five sons by a former wife, and Mary continued without a husband.

18.  Theodorus wrote to Pilate the governor asking; who was the man against whom there was a complaint before you that He was crucified by the men of Palestine?

19.  If these many demanded this righteously, why did you not consent to their righteous-ness?  And if they demanded this unrighteously, how did you transgress the law and commanded so far from righteousness?

20.  Pilate then sent to him; "I did not wish to crucify Him because He wrought many signs, but since His accusers said, He called himself a King, I crucified Him."

21.  Josephus said; "Agrippa the king was clothed in a rope woven with silver viewing the spectacle in the theater of Cesarean when the people saw that his raiment flashed, and said to him;

22.  Until now we have feared a man, but from henceforth you are exalted above the nature of mortals.  And he saw an angel standing over him that smote him to death."

 

      Letter 3

      Pilate to Tiberias Caesar.

1.   Pontius Pilate to Tiberias Caesar the emperor greetings. On Jesus the Christ, whom I made know to you in my last communication, a bitter punishment has at length been inflicted by the will of the people even though I was unwilling and apprehensive.

2.   In good truth no age ever had or will have a man so good and strict, but the people made a marvelous effort and all their scribes their chiefs and elders agreed to crucify this Ambassador of truth.

3.   Their prophets, like the sibyls with us, however advised the contrary, and when He was hanged - super-natural signs appeared, and in the judgment of philosophers, menaced the whole world with ruin.

4.   His disciple however flourished not denying their Master by their behavior and way of life, nay, in His name they are most beneficent, and had I not feared that a sedition might arise among the people who were almost furious, perhaps this man would yet been living with us.

5.   Although being rather compelled by fidelity to your dignity than led by my own indignation.  I did not strive with all my might to prevent the sale and suffering of this righteous blood, guiltless of every accusation, unjustly indeed through the maliciousness of men, and as the scriptures interpret to their own destruction.

Farewell  

       Letter 4

      The report of Pilate.

1.   In those days when our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate the governor of Palestine and Phoenicia, the things here recorded came to pass in Jerusalem, and were done by the Jews against the Lord.  Pilate therefore sent the same to Caesar in Rome along with the private report writing thus;

2.   To the most potent August divine and awful Augustus Caesar, Pilate the administrator of the eastern province.

3.   I have received information most excellent one in the consequence of which I am seized with fear and trembling.

4.   For in this province which I administer, one of those cities is called Jerusalem, in which the whole multitude of the Jews delivered to me a certain man called Jesus, and they brought many accusations against Him which they were unable to establish by consistent evidence.

5.   But they charged Him with one particular heresy namely; that Jesus had said that the Sabbath was not a rest, nor to be observed by them, for He performed many cures on that day causing the blind to see and the lame to walk.

6.   He raised the dead, cleansed lepers, and healed the paralytic who were wholly unable to move their body or brace their nerves but could only speak a discourse, and He gave them power to walk and run removing their infirmity by His word alone.

7.   And there is another very mighty deed that is strange to the gods that we have.  He raised up a man who had been four days dead, summoning him by His word alone when the dead man had already begun to decay and his body was corrupted by the worms which had been bred, and had the stench of a dog.

8.   But seeing him lying in the tomb, He commanded him to run, nor did the man at all delay, but as a bridegroom out of his chamber so he went forth from his tomb filled with abundant perfume.

9.   Moreover, such as were strangers and clearly demonic, who had their dwelling in deserts and devoured their own flesh, and wandered about like cattle and creeping things, these He turned into citizens of cities by a word rendering them rational making them to become wise and powerful and illustrious.

10.  And He cast the food of the unclean spirits that were destructive in them into the depths of the sea.

11.  And again, there was another who had a withered hand, and not only the hand, but half the body of the man was like a stone.  And he had neither the shape of a man, nor the design of a body, even him He healed with a word rendering him whole.

12.  And a woman that had an issue of blood for a long time, whose reins and arteries were exhausted.  Her body was like the dead and speechless so that the physicians of the district were unable to cure her leaving her no hope of life.

13.  But as Jesus passed by she mysteriously received strength by His shadow falling on her.  From behind she touched the hem of His garment and immediately in that hour strength filled her exhausted limbs.  And as if she had never suffered anything she began to run along towards Capernaum her own city, so that she reached it in six days journey.

14.  I have made known to you the things of which I recently have been informed and which Jesus did on the Sabbath, and He did other miracles greater than these so that I have observed greater works of wonder done by Him than by the gods we worship.

15.  But Herod with Archelaus, Philip, Anna’s, and Caiaphas together with the people delivered Him to me making a great tumult against me in order that I should try Him.  I therefore commanded Him to be crucified when I had first scourged Him though I found no cause in Him for evil accusations or dealings.

16.  And when He was crucified there was darkness over all the world, the sun being obscured for half a day and the stars appearing, but no luster was seen in them, and the moon lost its brightness as though tinged with blood.

17.  And the world of the departed was swallowed up so that the very sanctuary of the temple, as they called it, to the Jews did not appear to fall, but they saw a chasm in the earth, and there was the rolling of successive thunders.

18.  And amidst this terror appeared those rising from the dead to which the Jews themselves bore witness, and said that it was Abraham Isaac and Jacob and the twelve patriarchs and Moses and Job who had died before, as they say some 2500 years ago.

19.  And they were many whom myself I saw appearing in the body, and they lamented over the Jews because of the transgression which was committed by them, and because of the destruction of the Jews and of their law.

20.  And the terror of the earthquake continued from the 6th hour of the preparation until the 9th hour, and when it was evening on the first day of the week, there came a sound from heaven, the heavens becoming seven times more luminous than on all other days.

21.  And at the third hour of the night the sun appeared more luminous than had ever shone lighting up the whole hemisphere, and lightning flashed suddenly coming forth in a storm.

22.  And men were seen lofty in stature and surpassing in glory, a countless host crying out, and their voice was heard as exceedingly loud thunder saying; Jesus that was crucified is risen again, come up from Hades you that were enslaved in the subterranean recesses of Hades.

23.  And the chasm in the earth was as if it had no bottom but as if the very foundations of the earth appeared with those that shouted in heaven and with those that were raised in the body from the dead.

24.  And He that raised up all the dead and bound Hades said; "Say to My disciples; He goes before you into Galilee, there you shall see Him."

25.  And all that night the light ceased not shining, and many of the Jews in the chasm of the earth being swallowed up, so that on the morning most of those who had been against Jesus were not to be found.

26.  Others saw the apparitions of men rising again whom none of us had ever seen and but one synagogue of the Jews was left in Jerusalem for they had all disappeared in the ruin.

27.  Being astounded by that terror therefore, and with most dreadful trembling I have written what I saw at the time, and am sending it to your Excellency, and I have inserted what was done against Jesus by the Jews, and sent it to your divinity my lord.

 

      Chapter 5

      The trial and condemnation of Pilate.

1.   When now the letters came to the city of the Romans and were read to Caesar with no few standing by, they were all terrified because through the transgression of Pilate the darkness and the earthquake had happened to all the world.

2.   And Caesar being filled with anger sent soldiers commanding that Pilate be brought to him as prisoner.

3.   And when he was brought, and Caesar heard that he had come, he sat in temple of the gods above all the senate and with all the army, the multitude of his power, and commanded that Pilate should stand in the entrance.

4.   And Caesar said to him; "Most impious one, when you saw such great signs done by that man why did you dare do thus?  By daring to do an evil deed you have ruined the whole world."

5.   And Pilate said; "King and autocrat, I am not guilty of these things, but it was the multitude of the Jews that are guilty".  And Caesar said, "And who are they?"

6.   Pilate replied "Herod, Archelaus, Phillip, Anna’s, and Caiaphas, and all the multitude of the Jews."  Caesar then said; "And for what cause did you execute their purpose?"  Pilate again, "Their nation is seditious and insubordinate and not submissive to my power."

7.   And Caesar said; "When they delivered Him to you should have secured Him and sent Him to me, and not consented to crucify such a man who was just and wrought such great and good miracles as you said in your report.

8.   For by such miracles Jesus was manifested to be the Christ, the king of the Jews."

9.   And when Caesar said this, himself naming the name of Christ, all the multitude of the gods where Caesar sat with the senate fell down together becoming like dust.

10.  And all the people that stood near Caesar were filled with trembling because of the mentioning of the name, and of the fall of their gods.

11.  And being seized with fear they all went away every man to his house wondering at what had happened, and Caesar commanded Pilate to be safely kept that he might know the truth about Jesus.

12.  And on the morning when Caesar sat in the capital with all the senate, he undertook to question Pilate again.  And Caesar said.  "Tell the truth you most impious one, for through your impious deed which you committed against Jesus - even here the result of your evil was manifested in that the gods are brought to ruin.

13.  Tell me then, who is He that was crucified, for His name has destroyed the gods?"  Pilate said; "Verily His record is true, for even I myself was convinced by His works that He was greater than all the gods whom we honor."

14.  And Caesar said; "For what cause then did you perpetrate such daring not being ignorant of Him, or assuredly you designed some mischief against my government?"

15.  And Pilate said; "I did it because of the transgression and sedition of the lawless and ungodly Jews."

16.  And Caesar filled with anger held a counsel with his senate and officers and ordered a decree to be written against the Jews as follows;

 

       Chapter 6 

       Caesar's decree.

1.   To Lucianus who holds the first place in the east country, greetings.  I have been informed of the audacity perpetrated very recently by the Jews inhabiting Jerusalem and the cities round about, of their lawless doings.

2.   How they compelled Pilate to crucify a certain God called Jesus through which great transgression of theirs the world was darkened and drawn into ruin.

3.   Determine therefore with a body of soldiers to go to them there at once.  And proclaim their subjection to bondage by this decree, by obeying and proceeding against them, and scattering them abroad to all nations.  And by enslaving them and by driving their nation from all Judea as soon as possible showing to all where it has not been manifested that they are full of evil.

4.   And when this decree came into the east country, Lucianus out of fear obeyed the decree, and wasted the nation of the Jews causing those that were left in Judea to go into slavery as those that were scattered among the Gentiles.  So that Caesar might know that these things had been done by Lucianus against the Jews in the east country, to please him.

5.   And again Caesar resolved to have Pilate questioned, and he commanded a captain Albius by name, to cut off the head of Pilate saying; "As he laid hands on the just man called Christ, he also shall fall in like manner finding no deliverance".

6.   And when Pilate came to the place he prayed in silence saying; "O Lord destroy me not with the wicked Hebrews, for I would not have laid hands on Thee had it not been for the nation of the lawless Jews, for they provoked sedition against me.

7.   But Thou know that I did it in ignorance, destroy me not therefore for this my sin, nor be mindful of the evil that is in me O Lord.  And also in Thy servant Procla who stands with me in this hour of my death, whom Thou taught to prophesy that, Thou had to be nailed to the cross.

8.   Do not punish her too in my sin, but forgive us and number us in the portion of Thy just one's."

9.   And Pilate having finished his prayer, there came a voice from heaven saying:

10.  "All generations and families of the Gentiles shall call you blessed because under you was fulfilled all these things spoken by the prophets concerning Me.

11.  And you yourself must appear as My witness at My second coming when I shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and them that have not confessed My name."

12.  And the prefect cut off the head of Pilate, and behold, an angel of the Lord received it, and when his wife Procla saw the angel coming and receiving his head, she also being filled with joy, she forthwith gave up the spirit, and was buried with her husband.