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.
The letters of Herod and Pilate.
Herod to Pilate.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
judgment which is temporal - is for a time, while that judgment to come is
Pilate to Herod.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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;
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."
Pilate to Tiberias Caesar.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The report of Pilate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
cast the food of the unclean spirits that were destructive in them into the
depths of the sea.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
The trial and condemnation of Pilate.
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.
Caesar being filled with anger sent soldiers commanding that Pilate be brought
to him as prisoner.
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.
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."
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?"
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."
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
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.
the people that stood near Caesar were filled with trembling because of the
mentioning of the name, and of the fall of their gods.
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.
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
Caesar said; "For what cause then did you perpetrate such daring not being
ignorant of Him, or assuredly you designed some mischief against my
Pilate said; "I did it because of the transgression and sedition of the
lawless and ungodly Jews."
Caesar filled with anger held a counsel with his senate and officers and ordered
a decree to be written against the Jews as follows;
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.
compelled Pilate to crucify a certain God called Jesus through which great
transgression of theirs the world was darkened and drawn into ruin.
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
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.
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
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.
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
punish her too in my sin, but forgive us and number us in the portion of Thy
Pilate having finished his prayer, there came a voice from heaven saying:
generations and families of the Gentiles shall call you blessed because under
you was fulfilled all these things spoken by the prophets concerning Me.
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.