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In the early days of the Church, the Acts of Pilate were so authoritative that St. Justin, Tertullian, Eusebius and many other ecclesiastical writers relied on the testimony of the Acts. What these various authors report as being found in these Acts is also found in the composition known as the Gospel of Nicodemus. The Scripture is divided into two distinct parts: 

  1. The story of the Passion: which is an extension of the narrative compiled by the Evangelists from the Acts of Pilate, extends to the sixteenth chapter and gives the account of the condemnation, passion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  2. The Descent into Hell: contains the account of the sons of Simeon, Carinus and Leucius, resurrected to life and recounting the descent of Jesus Christ into hell and what happened between the powers of the abyss, the patriarchs and the Holy Savior.

There are, besides the Latin, three ancient versions of the first part of considerable importance, namely:

  • Coptic, preserved in an ancient papyrus at Turin, and in some fragments at Paris. Last edition by Revillout in Patrologia orientalis, ix. 2.

  • Syriac, edited by Rahmaui in Studia Syriaca, II

  • Armenian, edited by F. C. Conybeara in Studia Biblica, IV (Oxford, 1896): 

Part One 
Condemnation, Passion, Burial and Resurrection




I Ananias, the Protector, of praetorian rank, learned in the law, did from the divine scriptures recognize our Lord Jesus Christ and came near to him by faith and was accounted worthy of holy baptism: and I sought out the memorials that were made at that season in the time of our master Jesus Christ, which the Jews deposited with Pontius Pilate, and found the memorials in Hebrew letters, and by the good pleasure of God I translated them into Greek letters for the informing of all them that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: in the reign of our Lord Flavius Theodosius, in the seventeenth year, and of Flavius Valentinianus the sixth, in the ninth indiction. All ye therefore that read this and translate it into other books, remember me and pray for me that God will be gracious unto me and be merciful unto my sins which I have sinned against him. Peace be to them that read and that hear these things and to their servants. Amen.

In the fifteenth year of the governance of Tiberius Caesar, emperor of the Romans, and of Herod, king of Galilee, in the nineteenth year of his rule, on the eighth of the Calends of April, which is the 25th of March, in the consulate of Rufus and Rubellio, in the fourth year of the two hundred and second Olympiad, Joseph who is Caiaphas being high priest of the Jews: These be the things which after the cross and passion of the Lord Nicodemus recorded and delivered unto the high priest and the rest of the Jews: and the same Nicodemus set them forth in Hebrew letters.



For the chief priests and scribes assembled in council, even Annas and Caiaphas and Somne and Dothaim and Gamaliel, Judas, Levi and Nepthalim, Alexander and Jairus and the rest of the Jews, and came unto Pilate accusing Jesus for many deeds, saying: "We know this man, that he is the son of Joseph the carpenter, begotten of Mary, and he saith that he is the Son of God and a king; more-over he doth pollute the sabbaths and he would destroy the law of our fathers."


Pilate said: "And what things are they that he doeth, and would destroy the law?"


The Jews say: "We have a law that we should not heal any man on the sabbath: but this man of his evil deeds hath healed the lame and the bent, the withered and the blind and the paralytic, the dumb and them that were possessed, on the sabbath day!"

Pilate said unto them: "By what evil deeds?"

They say unto him: "He is a sorcerer, and by Beelzebub the prince of the devils he casteth out devils, and they are all subject unto him."

Pilate said unto them: "This is not to cast out devils by an unclean spirit, but by the god Asclepius."

The Jews say unto Pilate: "We beseech thy majesty that he appear before thy judgement-seat and be heard"

And Pilate called them unto him and said: "Tell me, how can I that am a governor examine a king?"

They say unto him: "We say not that he is a king, but he saith it of himself."

And Pilate called a messenger and said unto him: "Let Jesus be brought hither, but with gentleness."

And the messenger went forth, and when he perceived Jesus he worshipped him and took the kerchief that was on his hand and spread it upon the earth and said unto him: "Lord, walk hereon and enter in, for the governor calleth thee"

And when the Jews saw what the messenger had done, they cried out against Pilate saying: "Wherefore didst thou not summon him by an herald to enter in, but by a messenger? for the messenger when he saw him worshipped him and spread out his kerchief upon the ground and hath made him walk upon it like a king!"

Then Pilate called for the messenger and said unto him: "Wherefore hast thou done this, and hast spread thy kerchief upon the ground and made Jesus to walk upon it?" 

The messenger saith unto him: "Lord governor, when thou sentest me to Jerusalem unto Alexander, I saw Jesus sitting upon an ass, and the children of the Hebrews held branches in their hands and cried out, and others spread their garments beneath him, saying: Save now, thou that art in the highest: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

The Jews cried out and said unto the messenger: "The children of the Hebrews cried out in Hebrew: how then hast thou it in the Greek?"

The messenger said to them: "I did ask one of the Jews and said: What is it that they cry out in Hebrew? and he interpreted it unto me."


Pilate said unto them: "And how cried they in Hebrew?"

The Jews say unto him: "Hosanna membrome barouchamma adonai."


Pilate said unto them: "And the Hosanna and the rest, how is it interpreted?"


The Jews say unto him: Save now, thou that art in the highest: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."


Pilate saith unto them: "If you yourselves bear witness of the words which were said of the children, wherein hath the messenger sinned?"

And they held their peace.


The governor saith unto the messenger: "Go forth and bring him in after what manner thou wilt." 

And the messenger went forth and did after the former manner and said unto Jesus: "Lord, enter in: the governor calleth thee."


Now when Jesus entered in, and the ensigns were holding the standards, the images of the standards bowed and did reverence to Jesus. And when the Jews saw the carriage of the standards, how they bowed themselves and did reverence unto Jesus, they cried out above measure against the ensigns.


But Pilate said unto the Jews: "Marvel ye not that the images bowed themselves and did reverence unto Jesus."

The Jews say unto Pilate: "We saw how the ensigns made them to bow and did reverence to him."

And the governor called for the ensigns and saith unto them: "Wherefore did ye so?"

They say unto Pilate: "We are Greeks and servers of temples, and how could we do him reverence? for indeed, whilst we held the images they bowed of themselves and did reverence unto him."

Then saith Pilate unto the rulers of the synagogue and the elders of the people: "Choose you out able and strong men and let them hold the standards, and let us see if they bow of themselves."

And the elders of the Jews took twelve men strong and able and made them to hold the standards by sixes, and they were set before the judgement-seat of the governor.


And Pilate said to the messenger: "Take him out of the judgement hall and bring him in again after what manner thou wilt."

And Jesus went out of the judgement hall, he and the messenger. And Pilate called unto him them that before held the image and said unto them: "I have sworn by the safety of Caesar that if the standards bow not when Jesus entereth in, I will cut off your heads!"


And the governor commanded Jesus to enter in the second time. And the messenger did after the former manner and besought Jesus much that he would walk upon his kerchief; and he walked upon it and entered in. And when he had entered, the standards bowed themselves again and did reverence unto Jesus.




Now when Pilate saw it he was afraid, and sought to rise up from the judgement-seat. And while he yet thought to rise up, his wife sent unto him, saying: "Have thou nothing to do with this just man, for I have suffered many things because of him by night."


And Pilate called unto him all the Jews, and said unto them: "Ye know that my wife feareth God and favoureth rather the customs of the Jews, with you?"


They say unto him: "Yea, we know it."

Pilate said unto them: "Lo, my wife hath sent unto me, saying: Have thou nothing to do with this just man: for I have suffered many things because of him by night."

But the Jews answered and said unto Pilate: "Said we not unto thee that he is a sorcerer? behold, he hath sent a vision of a dream unto thy wife."

And Pilate called Jesus unto him and said to him: "What is it that these witness against thee? speakest thou nothing?"

But Jesus said: "If they had not had power they would have spoken nothing; for every man hath power over his own mouth, to speak good or evil: they shall see to it."

The elders of the Jews answered and said unto Jesus: "What shall we see? Firstly, that thou wast born of fornication; secondly, that thy birth in Bethlehem was the cause of the slaying of children; thirdly, that thy father Joseph and thy mother Mary fled into Egypt because they had no confidence before the people."

Then said certain of them that stood by, devout men of the Jews: "We say not that he came of fornication; but we know that Joseph was betrothed unto Mary, and he was not born of fornication."

Pilate saith unto those Jews which said that he came of fornication: "This your saying is not true for there were espousals, as these also say which are of your nation."

Annas and Caiaphas say unto Pilate: "The whole multitude of us cry out that he was born of fornication, and we are not believed: but these are proselytes and disciples of his."

And Pilate called Annas and Caiaphas unto him and said to them: "What be proselytes?"


They say unto him: "They were born children of Greeks, and now are they become Jews.."

Then said they which said l that he was not born of fornication, even Lazarus, Asterius, Antonius, Jacob, Amnes, Zenas, Samuel, Isaac, Phinees, Crispus, Agrippa and Judas: "We were not born proselytes, but we are children of Jews and we speak the truth; for verily we were present at the espousals of Joseph and Mary."

And Pilate called unto him those twelve men which said that he was not born of fornication, and said unto them: "I adjure you by the safety of Caesar, are these things true which ye have said, that he was not born of fornication?"

They say unto Pilate: "We have a law that we swear not, because it is sin: But let them swear by the safety of Caesar that it is not as we have said, and we will be guilty of death."

Pilate saith to Annas and Caiaphas: "Answer ye nothing to these things?"

Annas and Caiaphas say unto Pilate: "These twelve men are believed which say that he was not born of fornication, but the whole multitude of us cry out that he was born of fornication, and is a sorcerer, and saith that he is the Son of God and a king, and we are not believed?"

And Pilate commanded the whole multitude to go out, saving the twelve men which said that he was not born of fornication and he commanded Jesus to be set apart; and Pilate said unto them "For what cause do they desire to put him to death?"

They say unto Pilate: "They have jealousy, because he healeth on the sabbath day."

Pilate said: "For a good work do they desire to put him to death!"


They say unto him: "Yea."




And Pilate was filled with indignation and went forth without the judgement hall and saith unto them: "I call the Sun to witness that I find no fault in this man." 

The Jews answered and said to the governor: "If this man were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him unto thee."

And Pilate said: "Take ye him and judge him according to your law."

The Jews said unto Pilate: "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death."

Pilate said: "Hath God forbidden you to slay, and allowed me?"

And Pilate went in again into the judgement hall and called Jesus apart and said unto him: "Art thou the King of the Jews?"

Jesus answered and said to Pilate: "Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?"

Pilate answered Jesus: "Am I also a Jew? thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?"

Jesus answered: "My kingdom is not of this world; for if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have striven that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

Pilate said unto him: "Art thou a king, then?"

Jesus answered him: "Thou sayest that I am a king; for this cause was I born and am come, that every one that is of the truth should hear my voice."

Pilate said unto him: "What is truth? "

Jesus said unto him: "Truth is of heaven."


Pilate said: "Is there not truth upon earth?"

Jesus said unto Pilate: "Thou seest how that they which speak the truth are judged of them that have authority upon earth.."




And Pilate left Jesus in the judgement hall and went forth to the Jews and said unto them: "I find no fault in him."

The Jews say unto him: "This man said: I am able to destroy this temple and in three days to build it up."

Pilate said: "What temple?"

The Jews say: "That which Solomon built in forty and six years but which this man saith he will destroy and build it in three days."

Pilate saith unto them: I am guiltless of the blood of this just man: see ye to it"

The Jews say: "His blood be upon us and on our children."

And Pilate called the elders and the priests and Levites unto him and said to them secretly: '"Do not so: for there is nothing worthy of death whereof ye have accused him, for your accusation is concerning healing and profaning of the sabbath" 

The elders and the priests and Levites say: "If a man blaspheme against Caesar, is he worthy of death or no?"

Pilate said: "He is worthy of death."

The Jews say unto Pilate: "If a man be worthy of death if he blaspheme against Caesar, this man hath blasphemed against God."

Then the governor commanded all the Jews to go out from the judgement hall, and he called Jesus to him and saith unto him: "What shall I do with thee?" 

Jesus said unto Pilate: "Do as it hath been given thee." 

Pilate said: "How hath it been given?" 

Jesus said: "Moses and the prophets did foretell concerning my death and rising again."

Now the Jews inquired by stealth and heard, and they say unto Pilate: "What needest thou to hear further of this blasphemy?"


Pilate saith unto the Jews: "If this word be of blasphemy, take ye him for his blasphemy, and bring him into your synagogue and judge him according to your law"


The Jews say unto Pilate: "It is contained in our law, that if a man sin against a man, he is worthy to receive forty stripes save one: but he that blasphemeth against God, that he should be stoned with stoning."

Pilate said unto them: "Take ye him and avenge yourselves of him in what manner ye will." 

The Jews say unto Pilate: "We will that he be crucified."

Pilate said: "IHe deserveth not to be crucified."


Now as the governor looked round about upon the multitude of the Jews which stood by, he beheld many of the Jews weeping, and said: "Not all the multitude desire that he should be put to death." 

The elder of the Jews said: "To this end have the whole multitude of us come Hither, that he should be put to death."

Pilate saith to the Jews: "Wherefore should he die?"

The Jews said: Because he called himself the Son of God, and a king." 




But a certain man, Nicodemus, a Jew, came and stood before the governor and said: "I beseech thee, good lord, bid me speak a few words."

Pilate said:  "Say on."

Nicodemus said: "I said unto the elders and the priests and Levites and unto all the multitude of the Jews in the synagogue: Wherefore contend ye with this man? This man doeth many and wonderful signs, which no man hath done, neither will do: let him alone and contrive not any evil against him: if the signs which he doeth are of God, they will stand, but if they be of men, they will come to nought. For verily Moses, when he was sent of God into Egypt did many signs, which God commanded him to do before Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and there were there certain men servants of Pharaoh, Jannes and Jambres, and they also did signs not a few, of them which Moses did, and the Egyptians held them as gods, even Jannes and Jambres: and whereas the signs which they did were not of God, they perished and those also that believed on them. And now let this man go, for he is not worthy of death."

The Jews say unto Nicodemus: "Thou didst become his disciple and thou speakest on his behalf."


Nicodemus said unto them: "Is the governor also become his disciple, that he speaketh on his behalf? did not Caesar appoint him unto this dignity?"


And the Jews were raging and gnashing their teeth against Nicodemus.


Pilate saith unto them: "Wherefore gnash ye your teeth against him, wherens ye have heard the truth?"


The Jews say unto Nicodemus: "Mayest thou receive his truth and his portion." 


Nicodemus said:  "Amen, Amen, may I receive it as ye have said.."




Now one of the Jews came forward and besought the governor that he might speak a word.


The governor saith: "If thou wilt say aught, speak on."

And the Jew said:  "Thirty and eight years lay I on a bed in suffering of pains, and at the coming of Jesus many that were possessed and laid with divers diseases were healed by him, and certain faithful young men took pity on me and carried me with my bed and brought me unto him; and when Jesus saw me he had compassion, and spake a word unto me: Take up thy bed and walk. And I took up my bed and walked."

The Jews say unto Pilate: "Ask of him what day it was whereon he was healed?"

He that was healed saith: "On the Sabbath."

The Jews say: "Did we not inform thee so, that upon the sabbath he healeth and casteth out devils?"

And another Jew came forward and said: "I was born blind. I heard words but I saw no man's face: and as Jesus passed by I cried with a loud voice: Have mercy on me, O son of David. And he took pity on me and put his hands upon mine eyes and I received sight immediately."

And another Jew came forward and said: "I was bowed and he made me straight with a word."

And another said: "I was a leper, and he healed me with a word."




And a certain woman named Bernice crying out from afar off said: "I had an issue of blood and touched the hem of his garment, and the flowing of my blood was stayed which I had twelve years."

The Jews say: "We have a law that a woman shall not come to give testimony."




And certain others, even a multitude both of men and women cried out, saying: "This man is a prophet and the devils are subject unto him!"

Pilate saith to them which said: "The devils are subject unto him: Wherefore were not your teachers also subject unto him?


They say unto Pilate: "We know not."

Others also said: "He raised up Lazarus which was dead out of his tomb after four days."

And the governor was afraid and said unto all the multitude of the Jews: "Wherefore will ye shed innocent blood?"



And he called unto him Nicodemus and those twelve men which said that he was not born of fornication, and said unto them: "What shall I do, for there riseth sedition among the people?"


They say unto him: "We know not, let them see to it."

gain Pilate called for all the multitude of the Jews and saith: "Ye know that ye have a custom that at the feast of unleavened bread I should release unto you a prisoner. Now I have a prisoner under condemnation in the prison, a murderer, Barabbas by name, and this Jesus also which standeth before you, in whom I find no fault: Whom will ye that I release unto you?"

But they cried out: "Barabbas!"

Pilate said: "What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?"

The Jews say: "Let him be crucified!"

But certain of the Jews answered: "Thou art not a friend of Caesar's if thou let this man go; for he called himself the Son of God and a king: thou wilt therefore have him for king, and not Caesar." 

And Pilate was wroth and said unto the Jews: "Your nation is always seditious and ye rebel against your benefactors."

The Jews say: "Against what benefactors?"

Pilate said: "According as I have heard, your God brought you out of Egypt out of hard bondage, and led you safe through the sea as by dry land, and in the wilderness he nourished you with manna and gave you quails, and gave you water to drink out of a rock, and gave unto you a law. And in all these things ye provoked your God to anger, and sought out a molten calf, and angered your God and he sought to slay you: and Moses made supplication for you and ye were not put to death. And now ye do accuse me that I hate the king."

And he rose up from the judgement-seat and sought to go forth. And the Jews cried out, saying: "We know our king, even Caesar and not Jesus. For indeed the wise men brought gifts from the east unto him as unto a king, and when Herod heard from the wise men that a king was born, he sought to slay him, and when his father Joseph knew that, he took him and his mother and they fled into Egypt. And when Herod heard it he destroyed the children of the Hebrews that were born in Bethlehem." 

And when Pilate heard these words he was afraid. And Pilate silenced the multitude, because they cried still, and said unto them: "So, then, this is he whom Herod sough?" 


The Jews say: "Yea, this is he."

And Pilate took water and washed his hands before the sun, saying: "I am innocent of the blood of this just man; see ye to it."

Again the Jews cried out: "His blood be upon us and upon our children!"

Then Pilate commanded the veil to be drawn before the judgement-seat whereon he sat, and saith unto Jesus: "Thy nation hath convicted thee as being a king: therefore have I decreed that thou shouldest first be scourged according to the law of the pious emperors, and thereafter hanged upon the cross in the garden wherein thou wast taken: and let Dysmas and Gestas the two malefactors be crucified with thee."





And Jesus went forth of the judgement hall and the two malefactors with him. And when they were come to the place they stripped him of his garments and girt him with a linen cloth and put a crown of thorns about his head; likewise also they hanged up the two malefactors.


But Jesus said: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

And the soldiers divided his garments among them. And the people stood looking upon him, and the chief priests and the rulers with them derided him, saying: "He saved others let him save himself; if he be the son of God, let him come down from the cross." 

And the soldiers also mocked him, coming and offering him vinegar with gall; and they said: "If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself."

And Pilate after the sentence commanded his accusation to be written for a title in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew according to the saying of the Jews: "that he was the King of the Jews." 

And one of the malefactors that were hanged by name Gestas spake unto him, saying: "If thou be the Christ, save thyself, and us."

But Dysmas answering rebuked him, saying: "Dost thou not at all fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? and we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss." 

And he said unto Jesus: "Remember me, Lord, in thy kingdom."

And Jesus said unto him: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, that today thou shalt be with me in paradise."




And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the land until the ninth hour, for the sun was darkened: and the veil of the temple was rent asunder in the midst.

And Jesus called with a loud voice and said: "Father, baddach ephkid rouel" which is interpreted "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." And having thus said he gave up the ghost.

And when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying: "This man was righteous." 

And all the multitudes that had come to the sight, when they beheld what was done smote their breasts and returned. But the centurion reported unto the governor the things that had come to pass: and when the governor and his wife heard, they were sore vexed, and neither ate nor drank that day.

And Pilate sent for the Jews and said unto them: "Did ye see that which came to pass?"

But they said: "There was an eclipse of the sun after the accustomed sort."

And his acquaintance had stood afar off, and the women which came with him from Galilee, beholding these things. But a certain man named Joseph, being a counsellor, of the city of Arimathaea, who also himself looked for the kingdom of God this man went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in a hewn sepulcher wherein was never man yet laid.


Now when the Jews heard that Joseph had begged the body of Jesus, they sought for him and for the twelve men which said that Jesus was not born of fornication, and for Nicodemus and many others which had come forth before Pilate and declared his good works. But all they hid themselves, and Nicodemus only was seen of them, for he was a ruler of the Jews. And Nicodemus said unto them: "How came ye into the synagogue?" 

The Jews say unto him: "How didst thou come into the synagogue? for thou art confederate with him, and his portion shall be with thee in the life to come." 

Nicodemus said: "Amen, Amen, Amen." 

Likewise Joseph also came forth and said unto them: "Why is it that ye are vexed against me, for that I begged the body of Jesus? behold I have laid it in my new tomb, having wrapped it in clean linen, and I rolled a stone over the door of the cave. And ye have not dealt well with the just one, for ye repented not when ye had crucified him, but ye also pierced him with a spear."

But the Jews took hold on Joseph and commanded him to be put in safeguard until the first day of the week; and they said unto him: "Know thou that the time alloweth us not to do anything against thee, because the sabbath dawneth: but knew that thou shalt not obtain burial, but we will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the heaven." 

Joseph saith unto them: "This is the word of Goliath the boastful which reproached the living God and the holy David. For God said by the prophet: Vengeance is mine, and I will recompense, saith the Lord. And now, lo, one that was uncircumcised, but circumcised in heart, took water and washed his hands before the sun, saying: I am Innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. And ye answered Pilate and said: His blood be upon us and upon our children. And now I fear lest the wrath of the Lord come upon you and upon your children, as ye have said."

But when the Jews heard these words they waxed bitter in soul, and caught hold on Joseph and took him and shut him up in an house wherein was no window, and guards were set at the door: and they sealed the door of the place where Joseph was shut up. And upon the sabbath day the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites made an ordinance that all men should appear in the synagogue on the first day of the week. And all the multitude rose up early and took council in the synagogue by what death they should kill him. And when the council was set they commanded him to be brought with great dishonour. And when they had opened the door they found him not. And all the people were beside themselves and amazed, because they found the seals closed, and Caiaphas had the key. And they durst not any more lay hands upon them that had spoken in the behalf of Jesus before Pilate.



And while they yet sat in the synagogue and marvelled because of Joseph, there came certain of the guard which the Jews had asked of Pilate to keep the sepulchre of Jesus lest peradventure his disciples should come and steal him away. And they spake and declared unto the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites that which had come to pass: "how that there was a great earthquake, and we saw an angel descend from heaven, and he rolled away the stone from the mouth of the cave, and sat upon it. And he did shine like snow and like lightning, and we were sore afraid and lay as dead men. And we heard the voice of the angel speaking with the women which waited at the sepulchre, saying: Fear ye not: for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here: he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay, and go quickly and say unto his disciples that he is risen from the dead, and is in Galilee"

The Jews say: "With what women spake he?"


They of the guard say: "We know not who they were."


The Jews say: "At what hour was it?"

They of the guard say: "At midnight" 


The Jews say: "And wherefore did ye not take the women?" 

They of the guard sayt: "We were become as dead me through fear, and we looked not to see the light of the day; how then could we take them?"

The Jews say: "As the Lord liveth, we believe you not." 

They of the guard say unto the Jews: "So many signs saw ye in that man, and ye believed not, how then should ye believe us? verily ye sware rightly 'as the Lord liveth', for he liveth indeed. Again they of the guard say: We have heard that ye shut up him that begged the body of Jesus, and that ye scaled the door; and when ye had opened it ye found him not. Give ye therefore Joseph and we will give you Jesus."

The Jews say: "Joseph is departed unto his own city."

They of the guard say unto the Jews: "Jesus also is risen, as we have heard of the angel, and he is in Galilee."

And when the Jews heard these words they were sore afraid, saying: "Take heed lest this report be heard and all men incline unto Jesus"


And the Jews took counsel and laid down much money and gave it to the soldiers, saying: "Say ye: While we slept his disciples came by night and stole him away. And if this come to the governor's hearing we will persuade him and secure you" 


And they took the money and did as they were instructed.



Now a certain priest named Phinees and Addas a teacher and Aggaeus a Levite came down from Galilee unto Jerusalem and told the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites, saying: "We saw Jesus and his disciples sitting upon the mountain which is called Mamilch, and he said unto his disciples"

— Go into all the world, and declare to every creature the Gospel of the kingdom of God. He who believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he who believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them who believe: In my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak in new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they have drunk any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall be well. And as Jesus was thus speaking to his disciples, we saw him taken up into heaven.

The priests and the Levites and the elders say to them: "Give glory to the God of Israel, and give confession to Him, whether you have both heard and seen those things which you have related"

They that told them say: "As the Lord God of our fathers liveth, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, we have heard and seen."

The Jews say to them: "Have you come for this-to tell us? or have you come to give prayer to God?"


They said: "We have come to give prayer to God."

The elders and chief priests and Levites say to them: "And if you have come to give prayer to God, why have you murmured before all the people about that foolish tale?"


Finees the priest, and Addas the teacher, and Egias the Levite, say to the rulers of the synagogue, and the priests and the Levites: "If those words which we have spoken, which we have seen and heard, be sin, behold, we are in your presence; do unto us according to that which is good in your eyes."

And they, taking the law, adjured them to report the words to no one thereafter. And they gave them to eat and drink, and put them outside of the city, giving them silver and pieces, and three men with them, who should conduct them as far as Galilee.

Now when these men were departed into Galilee, the chief priests and the rulers of the synagogue and the elders gathered together in the synagogue, and shut the gate, and lamented with a great lamentation, saying: "What sign is this which hath come to pass in Israel?"

And Annas and Caiaphas say: "Wherefore are ye troubled? why weep ye? Know ye not that his disciples gave much gold unto them that kept the sepulchre and taught them to say that an angel came down and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?" 


But the priests and the elders said: "Be it so, that his disciples did steal away his body; but how is his soul entered into his body, and how abideth he in Galilee?"

But they could not answer these things, and hardly in the end said: "It is not lawful for us to believe the uncircumcised. Ought we to believe the soldiers, that an angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? but in truth his disciples gave [. . .] sepulchre. Know ye not that it is not lawful for Jews to believe any word of the uncircumcised, knowing that they who received much good from us have spoken according as we taught them.."



And Nicodemus rose up and stood before the council, saying: "Ye say well. Know ye not, O people of the Lord, the men that came down out of Galilee, that they fear God and are men of substance, hating covetousness, men of peace? And they have told you with an oath, saying: We saw Jesus upon the mount Mamilch with his disciples and that he taught them all things that ye heard of them, and, say they, we saw him taken up into heaven. And no man asked them in what manner he was taken up. For like as the book of the holy scriptures hath taught us that Elias also was taken up into heaven, and Eliseus cried out with a loud voice, and Elias cast his hairy cloak upon Eliseus, and Eliseus cast the cloak upon Jordan and passed over and went unto Jericho. And the sons of the prophets met him and said: Eliseus, where is thy lord Elias? and he said that he was taken up into heaven. And they said unto Eliseus: Hath not a spirit caught him up and cast him upon one of the mountains? but let us take our servants with us and seek after him. And they persuaded Eliseus and he went with them, and they sought him three days and found him not: and they knew that he had been taken up.

And now hearken unto me, and let us send into all the coasts of Israel and see whether the Christ were not taken up by a spirit and cast upon one of the mountains.

And this saying pleased them all: and they sent into all the coasts and sought Jesus and found him not. But they found Joseph in Arimathaea, and no man durst lay hands upon him. And they told the elders and the priests and the Levites, saying: "We went about throughout all the coasts of Israel, and we found not Jesus; but Joseph we found in Arimathaea."

And when they heard of Joseph they rejoiced and gave glory to the God of Israel. And the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites took counsel how they should meet with Joseph. 


And they took a volume of paper and wrote unto Joseph these words: "Peace be unto thee. We know that we have sinned against God and against thee, and we have prayed unto the God of Israel that thou shouldest vouchsafe to come unto thy fathers and unto thy children for we are all troubled, because when we opened the door we found thee not: and we know that we devised an evil counsel against thee, but the Lord helped thee. And the Lord himself made of none effect our counsel against thee, O father Joseph, thou that art honourable among all the people." 

And they chose out of all Israel seven men that were friends of Joseph, whom Joseph also himself accounted his friends, and the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites said unto them: "See: if he receive our epistle and read it, know that he will come with you unto us: but if he read it not, know that he is vexed with us, and salute ye him in peace and return unto us,"


And they blessed the men and let them go.

And the men came unto Joseph and did him reverence, and said unto him: "Peace be unto thee." 


And he said: "Peace be unto you and unto all the people of Israel." 

And they gave him the book of the epistle, and Joseph received it and read it and embraced the epistle and blessed God and said: "Blessed be the Lord God, which hath redeemed Israel from shedding innocent blood; and blessed be the Lord, which sent his angel and sheltered me under his wings". 


And he kissed them and set a table before them, and they did eat and drink and lay there. 

And they rose up early and prayed: and Joseph saddled his she-ass and went with the men, and they came unto the holy city, even Jerusalem. And all the people came to meet Joseph and cried: "Peace be to thine entering-in!"


And he said unto all the people: "Peace be unto you!" And all the people kissed him. 


And the people prayed with Joseph, and they were astonished at the sight of him..

And Nicodemus received him into his house and made a great feast, and called Annas and Caiaphas and the elders and the priests and the Levites unto his house. And they made merry eating and drinking with Joseph. And when they had sung an hymn every man went unto his house. But Joseph abode in the house of Nicodemus.


And on the morrow, which was the preparation, the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites rose up early and came to the house of Nicodemus, and Nicodemus met them and said: "Peace be unto you."


And they said: "Peace be unto thee and to Joseph and unto all thy house and to all the house of Joseph." 


And he brought them into his house. And the whole council was set, and Joseph sat between Annas and Caiaphas and no man durst speak unto him a word.

And Joseph said: "Why is it that ye have called me?". And they beckoned unto Nicodemus that he should speak unto Joseph.

And Nicodemus opened his mouth and said unto Joseph: "Father, thou knowest that the reverend doctors and the priests and the Levites seek to learn a matter of thee."

And Joseph said: "Inquire ye." 


And Annas and Caiaphas took the book of the law and adjured Joseph saying: "Give glory to the God of Israel and make confession unto him: for Achar, when he was adjured of the prophet Jesus, foresware not himself but declared unto him all things and hid not a word from him: thou therefore also hide not from us so much as a word."

And Joseph: "I will not hide one word from you." 


And they said unto him: "We were greatly vexed because thou didst beg the body of Jesus and wrappedst it in a clean linen cloth and didst lay him in a tomb. And for this cause we put thee in safeguard in an house wherein was no window, and we put keys and seals upon the doors, and guards did keep the place wherein thou wast shut up. And on the first day of the week we opened it and found thee not, and we were sore troubled, and amazement fell upon all the people of the Lord until yesterday. Now, therefore, declare unto us what befell thee." 

And Joseph said: "On the preparation day about the tenth hour ye did shut me up, and I continued there the whole sabbath. And at midnight as I stood and prayed the house wherein ye shut me up was taken up by the four corners, and I saw as it were a flashing of light in mine eyes, and being filled with fear I fell to the earth. And one took me by the hand and removed me from the place whereon I had fallen; and moisture of water was shed on me from my head unto my feet, and an odour of ointment came about my nostrils. And he wiped my face and kissed me and said unto me: Fear not, Joseph: open thine eyes and see who it is that speaketh with thee. And I looked up and saw Jesus and I trembled, and supposed that it was a spirit: and I said the commandments: and he said them with me. And as ye are not ignorant that a spirit, if it meet any man and hear the commandments, straightway fleeth. And when I perceived that he said them with me, I said unto him: Rabbi Elias?

And he said unto me: I am not Elias.

And I said unto him: Who art thou, Lord?

And he said unto me: I am Jesus, whose body thou didst beg of Pilate, and didst clothe me in clean linen and cover my face with a napkin, and lay me in thy new cave and roll a great stone upon the door of the cave.

And I said to him that spake with me: Show me the place where I laid thee.

And he brought me and showed me the place where I laid him, and the linen cloth lay therein, and the napkin that was upon his face. And I knew that it was Jesus. And he took me by the hand and set me in the midst of mine house, the doors being shut, and laid me upon my bed and said unto me: Peace be unto thee.

And he kissed me and said unto me: Until forty days be ended go not out of thine house: for behold I go unto my brethren into Galilee



And when the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites heard these words of Joseph the became as dead men and fell to the ground, and they fasted until the ninth hour


And Nicodemus with Joseph comforted Annas and Caiaphas and the priests and the Levites, saying: "Rise up and stand on your feet and taste bread and strengthen your souls, for tomorrow is the sabbath of the Lord." 


And they rose up and prayed unto God and did eat and drink, and departed every man to his house.

And on the sabbath the teachers and the priests and Levites sat and questioned one another and said: "What is this wrath that is come upon us? for we know his father and his mother."


Levi the teacher said: "I know that his parents feared God and kept not back their vows and paid tithes three times a year. And when Jesus was born, his parents brought him up unto this place and gave sacrifices and burnt-offerings to God. And when the great teacher Symeon took him into his arms and said: Now lettest thou thy servant, Lord, depart in peace for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel. And Symeon blessed them and said unto Mary his mother: I give thee good tidings concerning this child. And Mary said: Good, my lord? And Symeon said to her: Good. Behold, he is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against: and a sword shall pierce through thine own heart also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."


They say unto Levi the teacher: "How knowest thou these things?"


Levi saith unto them: "Know ye not that from him I did learn the law?"

The council say unto him: "We would see thy father." And they sent after his father.


And asked of him, and he said to them: "Why did you not believe my son? The blessed and just Simeon taught him the law."

The council says to Rabbi Levi: "The saying which thou hast spoken is true."

The chief priests and rulers of the synagogue, and Levites, said to each other: "Come, let us send into Galilee to the three men who came hither and gave an account of his teaching and his being taken up, and let them tell us how they saw him taken up into heaven.."


And that saying pleased all. Then they sent three men into Galilee; and they said: Go, say to Rabbi Addas and Rabbi Finees and Rabbi Egias, Peace to you and yours! Many investigations have been made in the council concerning Jesus; therefore have we been instructed to call you to the holy place, to Jerusalem.


The men went to Galilee, and found them sitting, and meditating on the law. And they saluted them in peace. And they said: "Why have you come?." 


The messengers said: "The council summon you to the holy city Jerusalem."

And when the men heard that they were bidden by the council, they prayed to God and sat down to meat with the men and did eat and drink, and rose up and came in peace unto Jerusalem.

And on the morrow the council was set in the synagogue, and they examined them, saying: "Did ye in very deed see Jesus sitting upon the mount Mamilch, as he taught his eleven disciples, and saw ye him taken up?"

And the men answered them and said: "Even as we saw him taken up, even so did we tell it unto you.


Annas said: "Set them apart from one another, and let us see if their word agreeth."  


And they set them apart one from another, and they call Addas first and say unto him: "How sawest thou Jesus taken up??"

Addas said"While he yet sat upon the Mount Mamilch and taught his disciples, we saw a cloud that overshadowed him and his disciples: and the cloud carried him up into heaven, and his disciples lay on their faces upon the earth."

And they called Phinees the priest, and questioned him also, saying: "How sawest thou Jesus taken up?." 

And he spake in like manner. And again they asked Aggaeus, and he also spake in like manner.


And the council said: "It is contained in the law of Moses: At the mouth of two or three shall every word be established.."


Abuthem the teacher saith: "It is written in the law: Enoch walked with God and is not, because God took him"

Jaeirus the teacher said: "Also we have heard of the death of the holy Moses and have not seen him; for it is written in the law of the Lord: And Moses died at the mouth of the Lord, and no man knew of his sepulchre unto this day."

And Rabbi Levi said: "Wherefore was it that Rabbi Symeon said when he saw Jesus: Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign spoken against."


And Rabbi Isaac said: "It is written in the law: Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall go before thee to keep thee in every good way, for my name is named thereon."

Then said Annas and Caiaphas: "Ye have well said those things which are written in the law of Moses, that no man saw the death of Enoch, and no man hath named the death of Moses. But Jesus spake before Pilate, and we know that we saw him receive buffets and spittings upon his face, and that the soldiers put on him a crown of thorns and that he was scourged and received condemnation from Pilate, and that he was crucified at the place of a skull and two thieves with him, and that they gave him vinegar to drink with gall, and that Longinus the soldier pierced his side with a spear, and that Joseph our honourable father begged his body, and that, as he saith, he rose again, and that the three teachers say: We saw him taken up into heaven, and that Rabbi Levi spake and testified to the things which were spoken by Rabbi Symeon, and that he said: Behold this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign spoken against.

And all the teachers said unto all the people of the Lord: "If this hath come to pass from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes, ye shall surely know, O house of Jacob, that it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth upon a tree. And another scripture teacheth: The gods which made not the heaven and the earth shall perish."

And the priests and the Levites said one to another: "If his memorial endure until the Sommos which is called Jobel, know ye that he will prevail for ever and raise up for himself a new people."


Then the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites admonished all Israel, saying: "Cursed is that man who shall worship that which man's hand hath made, and cursed is the man who shall worship creatures beside the Creator


And all the people said: "Amen, Amen." 


And all the people sang an hymn unto the Lord and said: "Blessed be the Lord who hath given rest unto the people of Israel according to all that he spake. There hath not one word fallen to the ground of all his good saying which he spake unto his servant Moses. The Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers: let him not forsake us. And let him not destroy us from turning our heart unto him, from walking in all his ways and keeping his statutes and his judgements which he commanded our fathers. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth in that day. And there shall be one Lord and his name one, even the Lord our King: he shall save us. There is none like unto thee, O Lord. Great art thou, O Lord, and great is thy name. Heal us, O Lord, by thy power, and we shall be healed: save us, Lord, and we shall be saved: for we are thy portion and thine inheritance. And the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake, for the Lord hath begun to make us to be his people"

And when they had all sung this hymn they departed every man to his house, glorifying God. For his is the glory, world without end. Amen.


Second part
The Descent of Jesus into Hell

  • Ephesians 4:8-9 ​”This is why it says: “When He ascended on high, He led captives away, and gave gifts to men. What does “He ascended” mean, except that He also descended to the lower parts of the earth?”

  • 1 Peter 3:18-19 “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit,in whom He also went and preached to the spirits in prison”



Joseph says: "And why do you wonder that Jesus has risen? But it is wonderful that He has not risen alone, but that He has also raised many others of the dead who have appeared in Jerusalem to many. And if you do not know the others, Symeon at least, who received Jesus, and his two sons whom He has raised up-them at least you know. For we buried them not long ago; but now their tombs are seen open and empty, and they are alive, and dwelling in Arimathaea. They therefore sent men, and they found their tombs open and empty. Joseph says: Let us go to Arimathaea and find them."

Then rose up the chief priests Annas and Caiaphas, and Joseph, and Nicodemus, and Gamaliel, and others with them, and went away to Arimathaea, and found those whom Joseph spoke of. They made prayer, therefore, and saluted each other.


Then they came with them to Jerusalem, and brought them into the synagogue, and secured the doors, and placed in the midst the old covenant of the Jews; and the chief priests said to them: "We wish you to swear by the God of Israel and Adonai, and so that you tell the truth, how you have risen, and who has raised you from the dead."


The men who had risen having heard this, made upon their faces the sign of the cross, and said to the chief priests: "Give us paper and ink and pen."


These therefore they brought. And sitting down, they wrote thus: 


"O Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life of the world, grant us grace that we may give an account of Thy resurrection, and Thy miracles which Thou didst in Hades. We then were in Hades, with all who had fallen asleep since the beginning of the world. And at the hour of midnight there rose a light as if of the sun, and shone into these dark regions; and we were all lighted up, and saw each other. And straightway our father Abraham was united with the patriarchs and the prophets, and at the same time they were filled with joy, and said to each other: This light is from a great source of light."


The prophet Hesaias, who was there present, said: "This light is from the Father, and from the Son, and from the Holy Spirit; about whom I prophesied when yet alive, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, the people that sat in darkness, have seen a great light.."

  • Matthew 4:14-16 "to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned."


Then there came into the midst another, an ascetic from the desert; and the patriarchs said to him: "Who art thou?"


And he said: "I am John, the last of the prophets, who made the paths of the Son of God straight, and proclaimed to the people repentance for the remission of sins. And the Son of God came to me; and I, seeing Him a long way off, said to the people: Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. And with my hand I baptized Him in the river Jordan, and I saw like a dove also the Holy Spirit coming upon Him; and I heard also the voice of God, even the Father, thus saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And on this account He sent me also to you, to proclaim how the only begotten Son of God is coming here, that whosoever shall believe in Him shall be saved, and whosoever shall not believe in Him shall be condemned. On this account I say to you all, in order that when you see Him you all may adore Him, that now only is for you the time of repentance for having adored idols in the vain upper world, and for the sins you have committed, and that this is impossible at any other time.."


While John, therefore, was thus teaching those in Hades, the first created and forefather Adam heard, and said to his son Seth: "My son, I wish thee to tell the forefathers of the race of men and the prophets where I sent thee, when it fell to my lot to die."


And Seth* said: "Prophets and patriarchs, hear. When my father Adam, the first created, was about to fall once upon a time into death, he sent me to make entreaty to God very close by the gate of paradise, that He would guide me by an angel to the tree of compassion and that I might take oil and anoint my father, and that he might rise up from his sickness: which thing, therefore, I also did. And after the prayer an angel of the Lord came, and said to me: What, Seth, dost thou ask? Dost thou ask oil which raiseth up the sick, or the tree from which this oil flows, on account of the sickness of thy father? This is not to be found now. Go, therefore, and tell thy father, that after the accomplishing of five thousand five hundred years from the creation of the world, thou shall come into the earth the only begotten Son of God, being made man; and He shall anoint him with this oil, and shall raise him up; and shall wash clean, with water and with the Holy Spirit, both him and those out of him, and then shall he be healed of every disease; but now this is impossible.."


When the patriarchs and the prophets heard these words, they rejoiced greatly.


*To read more about the words of Seth you can read The Revelation of Moses - The Greek Story of the Life of Adam and Eve and The Conflict of Adam and Eve 



And when all were in such joy, came Satan the heir of darkness, and said to Hades: "O all-devouring and insatiable, hear my words. There is of the race of the Jews one named Jesus, calling himself the Son of God; and being a man, by our working with them the Jews have crucified him: and now when he is dead, be ready that we may secure him here. For I know that he is a man, and I heard him also saying, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. He has also done me many evils when living with mortals in the upper world. For wherever he found my servants, he persecuted them; and whatever men I made crooked, blind, lame, lepers, or any such thing, by a single word he healed them; and many whom I had got ready to be buried, even these through a single word he brought to life again."


Hades said: "And is this man so powerful as to do such things by a single word? or if he be so, canst thou withstand him? It seems to me that, if he be so, no one will be able to withstand him. And if thou sayest that thou didst hear him dreading death, he said this mocking thee, and laughing, wishing to seize thee with the strong hand; and woe, woe to thee, to all eternity!"


Satan said: "O all-devouring and insatiable Hades, art thou so afraid at hearing of our common enemy? I was not afraid of him, but worked in the Jews, and they crucified him, and gave him also to drink gall with vinegar. Make ready, then, in order that you may lay fast hold of him when he comes.."


Hades answered: "Heir of darkness, son of destruction, devil, thou hast just now told me that many whom thou hadst made ready to be buried, be brought to life again by a single word. And if he has delivered others from the tomb, how and with what power shall he be laid hold of by us? For I not long ago swallowed down one dead, Lazarus by name; and not long after, one of the living by a single word dragged him up by force out of my bowels: and I think that it was he of whom thou speakest. If, therefore, we receive him here, I am afraid lest perchance we be in danger even about the rest. For, lo, all those that I have swallowed from eternity I perceive to be in commotion, and I am pained in my belly. And the snatching away of Lazarus beforehand seems to me to be no good sign: for not like a dead body, but like an eagle, he flew out of me; for so suddenly did the earth throw him out. Wherefore also I adjure even thee, for thy benefit and for mine, not to bring him here; for I think that he is coming here to raise all the dead. And this I tell thee: by the darkness in which we live, if thou bring him here, not one of the dead will be left behind in it to me."


While Satan and Hades were thus speaking to each other, there was a great voice like thunder, saying: "Lift up your gates, O ye rulers; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall come in."

  • Psalms 24:7-10 "Lift up your heads, O gates! Be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of Glory may enter! Who is this King of Glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates! Be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of Glory may enter! 


When Hades heard, he said to Satan: "Go forth, if thou art able, and withstand him."


Satan therefore went forth to the outside. Then Hades said to his demons: "Secure well and strongly the gates of brass and the bars of iron, and attend to my bolts, and stand in order, and see to everything; for if he come in here, woe will seize us.."


The forefathers having heard this, began all to revile him, saying: "O all-devouring and insatiable! open, that the King of glory may come in".


David the prophet said: "Dost thou not know, O blind, that I when living in the world prophesied this saying: Lift up your gates, O ye rulers?"


Hesaias said: "I, foreseeing this by the Holy Spirit, wrote: The dead shall rise up, and those in their tombs shall be raised, and those in the earth shall rejoice. And where, O death, is thy sting? where, O Hades, is thy victory??"

  • 1 Corinthiens 15:55 ““Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?””


There came, then, again a voice saying: "Lift up the gates!"


Hades, hearing the voice the second time, answered as if forsooth he did not know, and says: "Who is this King of glory?"


The angels of the Lord say: "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle."


And immediately with these words the brazen gates were shattered, and the iron bars broken, and all the dead who had been bound came out of the prisons, and we with the n And the King of glory came in in the form of a man, and all the dark places of Hades were lighted up..



When this was seen by Hades and Death, and their impious officers, along with their cruel servants, they trembled at perceiving in their own dominions the clearness of so great a light, when they saw Christ suddenly in their abodes.


Immediately Hades cried out: "We have been overcome by thee. Who art thou, that to the Lord directest our confusion? Who art thou, that, undestroyed by corruption, the uncorrupted proof of thy majesty, with fury condemnest our power? Who art thou, so great and little, lowly and exalted, soldier and commander, wonderful warrior in the form of a slave, and the king of glory dead and alive, whom slain the cross has carried? Thou, who didst lie dead in the sepulchre, hast come down to us alive; and in thy death every creature trembled, and the stars in a body were moved; and now thou hast been made free among the dead, and disturbest our legions. Who art thou, that settest free those who art held captive, bound by original sin, and recallest them to their former liberty? Who art thou, who sheddest a divine, and splendid, and illuminating light upon those who have been blinded by the darkness of their sins?"

In like manner, also, all the legions of the demons, terror-stricken with like fear from their fearful overthrow, cried out, saying: "Whence art thou, O Jesus, a man so powerful and splendid in majesty, so excellent, without spot, and free from guilt? For that world of earth which has been subject to us always until now, which used to pay tribute for our uses, has never sent us such a dead man, has never destined such gifts for the powers below. Who therefore art thou, that hast so intrepidly entered our bounds, and who hast not only no fear of our punishments, but, moreover, attemptest to take all away from our chains? Perhaps thou art that Jesus of whom our prince Satan said, that by thy death of the cross thou wast destined to receive the dominion of the whole world."


Then the King of glory seized the chief satrap Satan by the head, and delivered him to His angels, and said: "With iron chains bind his hands and his feet, and his neck, and his mouth."


Then He delivered him to Hades, and said: "Take him, and keep him secure till my second appearing."


Then Hades, receiving Prince Satan, said to him, with vehement revilings: "O prince of perdition, and leader of extermination, Beelzebub, derision of angels, to be spit upon by the just, why didst thou wish to do this? Didst thou wish to crucify the King of glory, in whose death thou didst promise us so great spoils? Like a fool, thou didst not know what thou wast doing. For, behold, that Jesus by the splendour of His divinity is putting to flight all the darkness of death, and He has broken into the strong lowest depths of our dungeons, and has brought out the captives, and released those who were bound. And all who used to groan under our torments insult us, and by their prayers our dominions are taken by stem, and our realms conquered, and no race of men has now any respect for us. Moreover, also, we are grievously threatened by the dead, who have never been haughty to us, and who have not at any time been joyful as captives. O Prince Satan, father of all impious wretches and renegades, why didst thou wish to do this? Of those who from the beginning, even until now, have despaired of salvation and life, no bellowing after the usual fashion is now heard here; and no groaning of theirs resounds, nor in any of their faces is a trace of tears found. O Prince Satan, possessor of the keys of the lower regions, all thy riches which thou hadst acquired by the tree of transgression and the loss of paradise, thou hast now lost by the tree of the cross, and all thy joy has perished. When thou didst hang up that Christ Jesus the King of glory, thou wast acting against thyself and against me. Henceforth thou shall know what eternal torments and infinite punishments thou art to endure in my everlasting keeping. O Prince Satan, author of death, and source of all pride, thou oughtest first to have inquired into the bad cause of that Jesus. Him in whom thou perceivedst no fault, why, without reason, didst thou dare unjustly to crucify? and why hast thou brought to our regions one innocent and just, and lost the guilty, the impious, and the unjust of the whole world?." 

And when Hades had thus spoken to Prince Satan, then the King of glory said to Hades: "Satan the prince will be in thy power for ever, in place of Adam and his sons, my just ones."



And the Lord stretched out His hand, and said: "Come to me, all my saints, who have my image and likeness. Do you, who have been condemned through the tree and the devil and death, now see the devil and death condemned through the tree"


Immediately all the saints were brought together under the hand of the Lord. And the Lord, holding Adam by the right hand, said to him: "Peace be to thee, with all thy children, my righteous ones!"

And Adam fell down at the knees of the Lord, and with tearful entreaty praying, said with a loud voice: "I will extol Thee, O Lord; for Thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me. O Lord, Thou hast brought out my soul from the powers below; Thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, all His saints, and confess to the memory of His holiness; since there is anger in His indignation, and life in His goodwill."


In like manner also all the saints of God, falling on their knees at the feet of the Lord, said with one voice: "Thou hast come, O Redeemer of the world: as Thou hast foretold by the law and Thy prophets, so hast Thou fulfilled by Thy deeds. Thou hast redeemed the living by Thy cross; and by the death of the cross Thou hast come down to us, to rescue us from the powers below, and from death, by Thy majesty. O Lord, as Thou hast set the title of Thy glory in heaven, and hast erected as the title of redemption Thy cross upon earth, so, O Lord, set in Hades the sign of the victory of Thy cross, that death may no more have dominion."


And the Lord, stretching forth His hand, made the sign of the cross upon Adam and upon all His saints; and holding Adam by the right hand, went up from the powers below: and all the saints followed Him..

  • Matthew 27:52-53 “The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After Jesus’ resurrection, when they had come out of the tombs, they entered the holy city and appeared to many people."

  • Ephesians 4:8-10 “This is why it says: “When He ascended on high, He led captives away, and gave gifts to men.” What does “He ascended” mean, except that He also descended to the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the very One who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things.”


Then holy David cried out aloud, saying: "Sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done wonderful things; His right hand and His holy arm have brought salvation to Himself. The Lord hath made known His salvation; His righteousness hath He revealed in the sight of the heathen"

And all the multitude of the saints answered, saying: "This is glory to all His saints. Amen, alleluia."

And after this the prophet Habacuc cried out, saying: "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, to deliver Thine elect."

And all the saints answered, saying: "Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord; God is the Lord, and He hath shone upon us. Amen, alleluia."


In like manner after this the prophet Michae as also cried out, saying: "Who is a God like unto thee, O Lord, taking away iniquities and passing by sins? And now Thou dost withhold Thine anger for a testimony against us, because Thou delightest in mercy. And Thou turnest again, and hast compassion upon us, and pardonest all our iniquities; and all our sins hast Thou sunk in the multitude of death, as Thou hast sworn unto our fathers in the days of old."

And all the saints answered, saying: "This is our God to eternity, and for ever and ever; and He will direct us for evermore. Amen, alleluia."

So also all the prophets, quoting the sacred writings concerning His praises, and all the saints crying, Amen, Alleluia, followed the Lord.



And the Lord, holding the hand of Adam, delivered him to Michael the archangel. And all the saints followed Michael the archangel, and he led them all into the glorious grace of paradise. And there met them two men, ancient of days.


The saints asked them: "Who are you, that have not yet been dead, along with us in the regions below, and have been placed in paradise in the body?" 

One of them answered, and said: "I am Enoch, who by the word of the Lord have been translated hither; and he who is with me is Elias the Thesbite, who was taken up by a fiery chariot. Here also even until now we have not tasted death, but have been reserved to the coming of Antichrist, by divine signs and wonders to do battle with him, and, being killed by him in Jerusalem, after three days and half a day to be taken up alive again in the clouds."



And while the saints Enoch and Elias were thus speaking, behold, there came up another man, most wretched, carrying on his shoulders the sign of the cross.

And seeing him, all the saints said to him: "Who art thou? because thy appearance is that of a robber. And what is the sign which thou carriest on thy shoulders?" 

In answer to them, he said: "Truly have you said that I was a robber, doing all sorts of evil upon the earth. And the Jews crucified me along with Jesus; and I saw the miracles in created things which were done through the cross of Jesus crucified, and I believed Him to be the Creator of all created things, and the King omnipotent; and I entreated Him, saying, Be mindful of me, Lord, when Thou shall have come into Thy kingdom. Immediately He accepted my entreaty, and said to me, Amen; I say to thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. And He gave me this sign of the cross, saying, Walk into paradise carrying this; and if the guardian angel of paradise will not let thee go in, show him the sign of the cross, and thou shall say to him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has now been crucified, has sent me. Having done so, I said all this to the guardian angel of paradise. And when he heard this, he immediately opened, and led me in, and placed me at the right of paradise, saying, Lo, hold a little, and there will come in the father of the whole human race, Adam, with all his children, holy and just, after the triumph and glory of the ascension of Christ the crucified Lord."

Hearing all these words of the robber, all the holy patriarchs and prophets with one voice said: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord Almighty, Father of everlasting benefits, and Father of mercies, who hast given such grace to Thy sinners, and hast brought them back into the grace of paradise, and into Thy rich pastures; for this is spiritual life most sure. Amen, amen." 



"These are the divine and sacred mysteries which we saw and heard, I Karinus, and Leucius. More we are not allowed to tell of the other mysteries of God, as Michael the archangel adjured us, and said: You shall go into Jerusalem with your brethren, and continue in prayers, and you shall cry out, and glorify the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has raised you up again from the dead with Himself. And with none of men shall you speak; and you shall sit as if dumb, until the hour shall come when the Lord Himself shall permit you to relate the mysteries of His divinity. And Michael the archangel ordered us to walk across Jordan into a place rich and fertile, where there are many who rose again along with us for an evidence of the resurrection of Christ the Lord; because only three days were allowed to us who have risen from the dead to celebrate in Jerusalem the passover of the Lord, with our living relations, for an evidence of the resurrection of Christ the Lord: and we have been baptized in the holy river of Jordan, receiving each of us white robes. And after three days, when we had celebrated the passover of the Lord, all who rose again along with us were snatched up into the clouds. and taken across the Jordan, and were no longer seen by any one. But we were told to remain in the city of Arimathaea in prayers. These are the things which the Lord commanded us to relate to you. Give Him praise and confession, and be penitent, that He may have mercy upon you. Peace be to you from the same Lord Jesus Christ, and the Saviour of all of us! Amen.! "

And after they had finished all, writing on separate sheets of paper, they arose. And Karinus gave what he wrote into the hands of Annas and Caiaphas and Gamaliel; in like manner also Leucius gave what he wrote into the hands of Nicodemus and Joseph. And being suddenly transfigured, they became exceedingly white, and were seen no more. And their writings were found exactly the same, not one letter more or less.

All the synagogue of the Jews, hearing all these wonderful sayings of Karinus and Leucius, said to each other: "Truly all these things have been done by the Lord, and blessed be the Lord for ever and ever. Amen."

And they all went out with great anxiety, beating their breasts with fear and trembling; and they went away, each to his own house. All these things which were said by the Jews in their synagogue Joseph and Nicodemus immediately reported to the proconsul. And Pilate himself wrote all which had been done and said concerning Jesus by the Jews, and he placed all the words in the public records of his praetorium.


After this, Pilate going into the temple of the Jews, assembled all the chief priests, and learned men, and scribes, and teachers of the law, and went in with them into the sanctuary of the temple, and ordered that all the gates should be shut, and said to them: "We have heard that you have a certain great collection of books in this temple: therefore I ask you that it be presented before us." 

And when four officers brought in that collection of books, adorned with gold and precious gems, Pilate said to all: I adjure you by the God of your fathers, who ordered you to build this temple in the place of his sanctuary, not to conceal the truth from me. You all know what is written in that collection of books; but now say whether you have found in the writings that Jesus, whom you have crucified, to be the Son of God that was to come for the salvation of the human race, and in how many revolutions of the seasons he ought to come. Declare to me whether you crucified him in ignorance of this, or knowing it." 

Being thus adjured, Annas and Caiaphas ordered all the others who were with them to go out of the sanctuary; and themselves shut all the gates of the temple and the sanctuary, and said to Pilate: "We have been adjured by thee, O good judge, by the building of this temple, to give thee the truth, and a clear account of this matter. After we had crucified Jesus, not knowing Him to be the Son of God, thinking that He did miracles by means of some charm, we made a great synagogue in this temple. And conferring with each other of the signs of the miracles which Jesus had done, we found many witnesses of our nation who said that they had seen Jesus alive after suffering death, and that He had penetrated into the height of heaven. And we have seen two witnesses, whom Jesus raised up again from the dead, who told us many wonderful things that Jesus did among the dead, which we have in our hands, written out. And our custom is, every year before our synagogue, to open that holy collection of books, and seek out the testimony of God. And we have found in the first book of the LXX., where the archangel Michael spoke to the third son of Adam, the first man, of five thousand and five hundred years, in which the Christ, the most beloved Son of God, was to come from the heavens; and upon this we have considered that perhaps He was the God of Israel who said to Moses, Make to thee the ark of the covenant, two cubits and a half in length, one cubit and a half in breadth, one cubit and a half in height. In these five and a half cubits we have understood and recognised, from the structure of the ark of the old covenant, that in five and a half thousands of years, Jesus Christ was to come in the ark of the body; and we have found Him to be the God of Israel, the Son of God. Because after His passion, we, the chief priests, wondering at the signs which happened on account of Him, opened this collection of books, searching out all the generations, even to the generation of Joseph, and reckoning that Mary the mother of Christ was of the seed of David; and we have found that from the time that God made the heaven and the earth and the first man, to the deluge, are two thousand two hundred and twelve years; and from the deluge to the building of the tower, five hundred and thirty-one years; and from the building of the tower to Abraham, six hundred and six years; and from Abraham to the arrival of the children of Israel from Egypt, four hundred and seventy years; from the coming of the children of Israel out of Egypt to the building of the temple, five hundred and eleven years; and from the building of the temple to the destruction of the same temple, four hundred and sixty-four years. Thus far have we found in the book of Esdras. After searching, we find that from the burning of the temple to the advent of Christ, and His birth, there are six hundred and thirty-six years, which together were five thousand five hundred years, as we have found written in the book that Michael the archangel foretold to Seth the third son of Adam, that in five and a half thousands of years Christ the Son of God would come. Even until now we have told no one, that there might be no dissension in our synagogues. And now thou hast adjured us, O good judge, by this holy book of the testimonies of God, and we make it manifest to thee. And now we adjure thee, by thy life and safety, to make manifest these words to no one in Jerusalem.   


Pilate, hearing these words of Annas and Caiaphas, laid them all up in the acts of our Lord and Saviour, in the public records of his praetorium, and wrote a letter to Claudius, king of the city of Rome, saying: Pontius Pilate to Claudius his king, greeting. It has lately happened, as I myself have also proved, that the Jews, through envy, have punished themselves and their posterity by a cruel condemnation. In short, when their fathers had a promise that their God would send them from heaven his holy one, who should deservedly be called their king, and promised that he would send him by a virgin upon the earth: when, therefore, while I was procurator, he had come into Judaea, and when they saw him enlightening the blind, cleansing the lepers, curing the paralytics, making demons flee from men, even raising the dead, commanding the winds, walking dryshod upon the waves of the sea, and doing many other signs of miracles; and when all the people of the Jews said that he was the Son of God, the chief priests felt envy against him, and seized him, and delivered him to me; and, telling me one lie after another, they said that he was a sorcerer, and was acting contrary to their law. And I believed that it was so, and delivered him to be scourged, according to their will. And they crucified him, and set guards over him when buried. And he rose again on the third day, while my soldiers were keeping guard. But so flagrant was the iniquity of the Jews, that they gave money to my soldiers, saying, Say that his disciples have stolen his body. But after receiving the money they could not keep secret what had been done; for they bore witness both that he had risen again, that they had seen him, and that they had received money from the Jews. This accordingly I have done, lest any one should give a different and a false account of it, and lost thou shouldst think that the lies of the Jews are to be believed.​

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