The Dispute of the Child Jesus with the Doctors in the Temple.
I see Jesus. He is an adolescent. He is dressed in a tunic which I think is made of white linen, and it reaches down to His feet. Over it, He is wearing a pale red rectangular piece of cloth. He is bare headed, His long hair reaches down to half His ears and it is somewhat darker in hue than when I saw Him as a child. He is a strong boy and very tall for His age, which is still relatively young, as is obvious from His countenance.
He looks at me smiling and stretches His hands towards me. But His smile is already like the one I see in Him when He is a Man: mild but rather serious. He is by Himself. I do not see anything else for the time being. He is leaning against a low wall on a minor road which is all uphill and downhill, littered with stones and has a ditch in the middle which in bad weather must turn into a rivulet. But at present it is dry because the day is lovely.
I also seem to be going near the low wall and I look around and down, as Jesus is doing. I see a group of houses irregular in formation.
Some of the houses are tall, others are low, and they are scattered in all directions. They look like a handful of little white stones thrown down on dark soil: the comparison is a poor but good one. The streets and the lanes are like veins in all that whiteness. Here and there I see some plants protruding from the walls. Many are in bloom while others are already covered with new leaves. It must be springtime.
On my left, there is the massive structure of the Temple, on three sets of terraces covered with buildings and towers and yards and porches. In the centre, the highest most solemn and rich building rises with its, round domes, which shine in the sun as if they were covered with copper or gold. It is all enclosed by an embattled wall, the merlons of which are like those of a stronghold. A tower higher than the others, built over a rather narrow climbing road, commands a clear view of the huge building. It looks like a stern sentry.
Jesus stares at the place. He then turns round, leans back once again against the wall, as He had done before and looks at a hillock which is in front of the building, a hillock crowded with houses at its base, while the rest of it is bare. I see that a street ends over there in an arch, beyond which there is nothing but a road paved with square stones, which are loose and uneven. They are not too large, not like the stones of the Roman consular roads: they rather resemble the classic stones of the old pavements in Viareggio (I do not know whether there are any still left) but they are not joined together. A really rough road. Jesus' face becomes so serious that I look at the hillock endeavouring to find the cause of His sadness. But I do not see anything special. It is a bare hillock and nothing else. Instead I lose Jesus because when I turn round, He is no longer there. And I fall asleep with that vision.
… When I awake with its memory in my heart, after I have recovered some of my strength and my mind is at peace, because they are all asleep, I find myself in a place which I have never seen before. There are yards and fountains and porches and houses, or rather pavilions, because they look more like pavilions than houses. There is a large crowd of people dressed in the ancient style of the Jews, and there is a lot of bawling. When I look round I realise I am inside the large building which Jesus was looking at, because I see -the embattled wall surrounding it, the tower watching over it and the imposing building that rises in the centre, and round which there are beautiful and large porches, where many people are intent on activities.
I understand that I am in the enclosure of the Temple in Jerusalem. I see Pharisees in long flowing dresses, priests dressed in linen and wearing precious plates at the top of their chests and on their foreheads and with other sparkling points here and there on their varied robes, which are very wide and white, tied to their waists by precious belts. There are also others with fewer decorations, but they must still belong to the sacerdotal caste and are surrounded by younger disciples. I realise that they are the doctors of the Law.
Among all these people I am lost, because I do not know why or what I am doing there. I go near a group of doctors where they have just started a theological dispute. Many people do the same.
Amongst the « doctors » there is a group headed by one whose name is Gamaliel and by another old and almost blind man who is supporting Gamaliel in the dispute. This man, whose name I hear is Hillel (I am writing it with an 'h' because I hear an aspiration at the beginning of the name) seems to be a teacher or relative of Gamaliel, because the latter treats him with familiarity and respect at the same time. Gamaliel's group is more broad-minded, whereas another group, and it is more numerous, is led by one whose name in Shammai, and is noticeable for its conservative, resentful intolerance which the Gospel has clarified so well.
Gamaliel, surrounded by a compact group of disciples, is speaking of the coming of the Messiah, and founding his observations on Daniel's prophecy, he states that the Messiah must have already been born, because the seventy prophesied weeks, from the time the decree of the reconstruction of the Temple was issued, expired some ten years before. Shammai opposes him stating that, if it is true that the Temple has been rebuilt, it is also true that the slavery of Israel has increased and the peace, which He Whom the prophets called « Prince of Peace » was to bring, is quite far from being in the world and in particular is far from Jerusalem. The town is in fact oppressed by an enemy who is so bold as to exert his domination inside the enclosure of the Temple, dominated by the Antonia Tower, full of Roman legionaries, ready to put down with their swords any riot which may break out for the independence of the country.
The dispute, full of captious objections, is dragged on endlessly. All the doctors show off their learning, not so much to beat their opponents as to display themselves to the admiration of the listeners. Their aims are quite obvious. From the close group of the believers the clear voice of a boy is heard: « Gamaliel is right. »
There is a stir in the crowd and in the group of doctors. They look for the interrupter. But it is not necessary to search for him, because he does not hide. He makes his way through the crowd and goes near the group of the « rabbis ». I recognise my Jesus adolescent. He is sure of Himself and open-hearted, His eyes are sparkling with intelligence.
« Who are You? », they ask Him.
« I am a son of Israel, who has come to fulfill what the Law prescribes. »
His bold and frank reply is appreciated, and it gains Him smiles of approval and favour. They take an interest in the young Israelite.
« What is Your name? »
« Jesus of Nazareth. »
The feeling of benevolence fades away in Shammai's group. But Gamaliel, more benignly, continues his conversation with Hillel. It is indeed Gamaliel who with respect suggests to the old man: « Ask the boy something. »
« On what do You base Your certainty? » asks Hillel. (I will now put the names in front of the replies for the sake of brevity and clarity.)
Jesus: « On the prophecy which cannot be wrong about the time and the signs which took place at the time it came true. It is true that Caesar dominates us, but the world and Palestine were in such peace when the seventy weeks expired, that it was possible for Caesar to order the census in his dominions. Had there been wars in the Empire and riots in Palestine, he would not have been able to do so. As that time was completed, so the other period of sixty-two weeks plus one from the completion of the Temple is also being completed, so that the Messiah may be anointed and the remainder of the prophecy may come true for the people who did not want Him. Can you doubt that? Do you not remember the star that was seen by the Wise Men from the East and stopped over the sky in Bethlehem of Judah and that the prophecies and the visions, from Jacob onwards, indicate that place as the one destined as the birthplace of the Messiah, son of the son of Jacob's son, through David who was from Bethlehem? Do you not remember Balaam? "A Star will be born of Jacob". The Wise Men from the East, whose purity and faith opened their eyes and ears, saw the Star and understood its Name: "Messiah", and they came to worship the Light which had descended into the world. »
Shammai, glaring at Him: « Do you mean that the Messiah was born in Bethlehem-Ephrathah at the time of the Star? »
Jesus: « I do. »
Shammai: « Then he no longer is. Don't you know, Child, that Herod had all the born of woman, from one day up to the age of two years, slaughtered in Bethlehem and surroundings? You, Who are so wise in the Scriptures, must know also this: "A voice is heard in Ramah… it is Rachel weeping for her children". The valleys and the hills in Bethlehem, which gathered the tears of the dying Rachel, were left full of tears, and the mothers have wept again on their slaughtered children. Amongst them, there certainly was the Mother of the Messiah. »
Jesus: « You are wrong, old man. The weeping of Rachel turned into a hosanna, because there, where she gave birth to "the son of her sorrow", the new Rachel has given the world the Benjamin of the Heavenly Father, the Son of His right hand, Him Who is destined to gather the people of God under His sceptre and free it from the most dreadful slavery. »
Shammai: « How can that be, if He was killed? »
Jesus: « Have you not read about Elijah? He was carried off by the chariot of fire. And could the Lord God not have saved his Immanuel that He might be the Messiah of his people? He, Who parted the sea in front of Moses that Israel might walk on dry ground towards its land, could He not have sent His angels to save His Son, His Christ, from the ferocity of man? I solemnly tell you: the Christ is alive and is amongst you, and when His hour comes, He will show Himself in His power » Jesus, in saying these words, which I have underlined, has a sharp sound in His voice which fills the air. His eyes are brighter than ever, and with the gesture of command and promise He stretches out His right arm and hand and lowers them as if He were swearing. He is a boy, but is as solemn as a man.
Hillel: « Child, who taught you these words? »
Jesus: « The Spirit of God. I have no human teacher. This is the Word of the Lord Who speaks to you through My lips. »
Hillel: « Come near us that I may see You, Child, and my hope may be revived by Your faith and my soul enlightened by the brightness of Yours. »
And they make Jesus sit on a high stool between Gamaliel and Hillel and they give Him some rolls to read and explain. It is a proper examination. The people throng and listen.
Jesus reads in His clear voice: « Be consoled, my people. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended… A voice cries in the wilderness: "Prepare a way for the Lord… then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed… " »
Shammai: « See that, Nazarene. It refers here to an ended slavery, but never before have we been slaves as we are now. And there is the mention of a precursor. Where is he? You are talking nonsense. »
Jesus: « I tell you that the admonition of the Precursor should be addressed to you more than anyone else. To you and those like you. Otherwise you will not see the glory of the Lord, neither will you understand the word of God because meanness, pride and falsehood will prevent you from seeing and hearing. »
Shammai: « How dare You speak to a master like that? »
Jesus: « I speak thus. And thus I shall speak even to My death, because above Me there are the interests of the Lord and the love for Truth of which I am the Son. And I add, rabbi, that the slavery of which the Prophet speaks, and of which I am speaking, is not the one you think, neither is the royalty the one you consider. On the contrary, by the merits of the Messiah man will be made free from the slavery of Evil, which separates him from God, and the sign of Christ will be on the spirits, freed from every yoke and made subjects of the eternal kingdom. All the nations will bend their heads, o household of David, before the Shoot born of you and which will grow into a tree that covers the whole world and rises up to Heaven. And in Heaven and on the earth every mouth will praise His Name and bend its knee before the Anointed of God, the Prince of Peace, the Leader, before Him Who by giving Himself will fill with joy and nourishment every disheartened and famishing soul, before the Holy One Who will establish an alliance between Heaven and earth. Not like the Covenant made with the Elders of Israel when God led them out of Egypt, treating them still as servants, but infusing a heavenly paternity into the souls of men with the Grace instilled once again by the merits of the Redeemer, through Whom all good people will know the Lord and the Sanctuary of God will no longer be demolished and destroyed. »
Shammai: « Do not blaspheme, Child! Remember Daniel. He states that after the death of Christ, the Temple and the Town will be destroyed by a people and a leader who will come from afar. And You hold that the sanctuary of God will no longer be demolished! Respect the Prophets! »
Jesus: « I solemnly tell you that there is Someone Who is above the Prophets, and you do not know Him and you will not know Him because you do not want to. And I tell you that what I said is true. The true Sanctuary will not be subject to death. But like its Sanctifier it will rise to eternal life and at the end of the world it will live in Heaven. »
Hillel: « Listen to me, Child. Haggai says: "… The One Expected by the nations will come… great then shall be the glory of this house, and of this last one more than of the previous one". Does he perhaps refer to the Sanctuary of which You are speaking? »
Jesus: « Yes, master. That is what he means. Your honesty leads You towards the Light and I tell you: when the sacrifice of Christ is accomplished, you shall have peace because you are an Israelite without wickedness. »
Gamaliel: « Tell me, Jesus. How can the peace of which the Prophets speak be hoped for, if destruction is going to come to this people by war? Speak and enlighten also me. »
Jesus: « Do you not remember, master, what those said who were present on the night of Christ's birth? That the angels sang: "Peace to men of good will" but this people is not of good will and will not have peace. It will not acknowledge its King, the Just Man, the Saviour, because they expect Him to be a king with human power, whereas He is the King of the spirit. They will not love Him, because they will not like what Christ preaches. Christ will not defeat their enemies with their chariots and their horses, He will instead defeat the enemies of the soul, who endeavour to imprison in hell the heart of man which was created for the Lord. And this is not the victory which Israel is expecting from Him. Your King will come, Jerusalem, riding a "donkey and a colt", that is, the just people of Israel and the Gentiles. But I tell you, that the colt will be more faithful to Him and will follow Him preceding the donkey and will grow in the ways of Truth and Life. Because of its evil will, Israel will lose its peace and suffer for centuries and will cause its King to suffer and will make Him the King of sorrow of Whom Isaiah speaks. »
Shammai: « Your mouth tastes of milk and blasphemy at the same time, Nazarene. Tell me: where is the Precursor? When did we have him? »
Jesus: « He is. Does not Malachi say: "Here I am going to send My messenger to prepare the way before Me; and the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter His Temple, and the angel of the Covenant Whom you are longing for"? Therefore the Precursor immediately precedes Christ. He already is, as Christ is. If years should elapse between him who prepares the ways for the Lord and Christ, all the ways would become obstructed and twisted again. God knows and arranges beforehand that the Precursor should precede the Master by one hour only. When you see this Precursor, you will be able to say: "The mission of Christ is beginning". And I say to you: Christ will open many eyes and many ears when He comes this way. But He will not open yours or those of people like you, because you will be putting to death Him Who is bringing you Life. But when the Redeemer sits on His throne and on His altar, higher up than this Temple, higher than the Tabernacle enclosed in the Holy of the Holies, higher up than the Glory supported by the Cherubim, maledictions for the deicides and life for the Gentiles will flow from His thousands and thousands of wounds, because He, o master who are unaware of it, is not, I repeat, is not the king of a human kingdom, but of a spiritual Kingdom and His subjects will be only those who for His sake will learn to regenerate in the spirit and, like Jonah, after being born, will learn to be born again, on other shores: "The shores of God", by means of a spiritual regeneration which will take place through Christ, Who will give humanity true Life. »
Shammai and his followers: « This Nazarene is Satan! »
Hillel and his followers: « No. This child is a Prophet of God.
Stay with me, Child. My old age will transfuse what I know into Your knowledge and You will be Master of the people of God. »
Jesus: « I solemnly tell you that if there were many like you, salvation would come to Israel. But My hour has not come. Voices from Heaven speak to Me and in solitude I must gather them until My hour comes. Then with My lips and My blood I will speak to Jerusalem, and the destiny of Prophets stoned and killed by her, will also be My destiny. But above My life there is the Lord God, to Whom I submit Myself as a faithful servant, to make of Myself a stool for His glory, waiting that He will make the world a stool at the feet of Christ. Wait for Me in My hour. These stones shall hear My voice again and vibrate hearing My last word. Blessed are ,those who in that voice will have heard God and believed in Him because of it. To them Christ will give that kingdom which your selfishness imagines to be a human one, whereas it is a heavenly one and therefore I say: "Here is Your servant, Lord, Who has come do to Your will. Let it be consummated, because I am eager to fulfill it". »
And here, with the vision of Jesus with His face burning with spiritual ardour and raised to Heaven, His arms stretched out, standing upright in the midst of the astonished doctors, the vision ends.
(and it is 3:30 on the 29th).
29th January 1944.
I have here two things to tell you and which will certainly be of interest to you. I had decided to write them as soon as I came out of my sopor. But as there is something more urgent, I will write them later. [… ]
What I wanted to tell you at the beginning is this. Today you were asking me how I had been able to find out the names of Hillel, Gamaliel and of Shammai.
It is the voice that I call « the second voice » which tells me these things. A voice even less audible than Jesus' and the voices of other people who dictate. These are voices, I have told you and I repeat it, which my spiritual hearing perceives as being identical to human voices. I hear them as kind or angry voices, strong or weak, joyful or sad, as if one spoke very close to me. The « second voice », instead, is like a light, an intuition that speaks in my spirit. « In » not « to » my spirit. It is an indication.
So, while I was approaching the group of the disputant parties and I did not know who was the illustrious personage who was disputing so heatedly beside an old man, this internal " something" said to me: "Gamaliel - Hillel". Yes. First Gamaliel and then Hillel. I have no doubt about it. While I was wondering who they were, the internal monitor pointed out the third unpleasant individual to me, just as Gamaliel was calling him by name. And I was thus able to learn who was the man with the pharisaic appearance.
Today this internal monitor makes me understand that I was seeing the universe after its death. The same happens many times in visions. It is this monitor who makes me understand certain details which I would not be able to grasp by myself and which are necessary for comprehension. I do not know whether I have made myself clear.
But I am stopping because Jesus is beginning to speak. [… ]
22nd February 1944.
« Little John, be patient. There is something else. And let us do it to please your spiritual Director and complete the work. I want this work to be handed in tomorrow: Ash Wednesday. I want you to complete this task because… I want you to suffer with Me.
Let us go back, far back. Let us go back to the Temple where I, a twelve year old boy, am disputing. Nay, let us go back to the roads which take one to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to the Temple.
See Mary's distress, when She realised, after the groups of men and women had gathered together, that I was not with Joseph.
She does not reproach Her spouse bitterly. Every woman would have done that. You do so for much less, forgetting that man is still the head of the family. But the pain that appears on Mary's face pierces Joseph's heart more than any bitter reproach. Mary does not give vent to dramatic outbursts. You do so for much less because you love to be noticed and pitied. But Her repressed sorrow is so obvious: She starts trembling, Her face turns pale, Her eyes are wide open and thus She arouses pity more than any outburst of tears and cries.
She is no longer tired or hungry. And yet the journey was a long one and She has not taken any food for so many hours! But She leaves everything: the bed She was preparing and the food which was ready to be handed out. And She goes back. It is night, it is dark. It does not matter. Every step takes Her back to Jerusalem. She stops the caravans and pilgrims and questions them. Joseph follows Her and helps Her. A long day's walk back to Jerusalem and then the feverish search in town.
Where, where can Her Jesus be? And by God's provision for many hours She will not know where to look for Me. To look for a child in the Temple does not make sense. What could a child be doing in the Temple? At most, if he had got lost in town and his little steps had brought him back there, he would have cried for his mother and thus would have attracted the attention of people and of the priests, who would have taken the necessary steps to find the parents by means of announcements left at the gates. But there was no announcement. No one in town knew anything of this Child. Beautiful? Blond? Strong? There are so many like that! It is too little to enable anyone to say: "I saw Him. He was there or there!"
Then, after three days, the symbol of three other days of future anguish, Mary, exhausted, enters the Temple, walks along the yards and the halls. Nothing. She runs, the poor Mother, whenever She hears the voice of a child. Even the bleating of the lambs give Her the impression that She hears Her Creature weeping and looking for Her. But Jesus is not weeping. He is teaching. All of a sudden, from beyond the barrier of a large group of people, She hears His voice saying: "These stones will vibrate… " She endeavours to make Her way through the crowd, and succeeds after much effort. There is Her Son, standing in the midst of the doctors with His arms stretched out.
Mary is the Prudent Virgin. But this time anxiety overcomes prudence. It is a hurricane that demolishes everything. She runs to Her Son, embraces Him, lifting Him off the stool and putting Him down on the ground and She exclaims: "Oh! Why have You done this to us? For three days we have been looking for You. Your Mummy is dying with pain, Son. Your father is exhausted with fatigue. Why, Jesus?"
You do not ask "why" of Him Who knows. "Why" He behaved in a certain way. You do not ask those with a vocation "why" they leave everything to follow the voice of God. I was Wisdom and I knew. I was "called" to a mission and I was fulfilling it. Above the earthly father and mother there is God, the Divine Father. His interests are above ours, His affections are superior to everything else. And I tell My Mother.
I finish teaching the doctors with the lesson to Mary, the Queen of doctors. And She has never forgotten it. The sun began to shine again in Her heart now that She had Me, humble and obedient, beside Her, but My words are deeply rooted in Her mind. There will be much sunshine and many clouds will gather in the sky during the next twenty-one years I will still be on the earth. And great joys and many tears will alternate in Her heart during the next twenty-one years. But never again will She ask: "My Son, why have You done this to us?"
Oh, insolent men, learn your lesson.
I directed and enlightened the vision, because you, little John, are not able to do anything further.
Now pay attention to what I say. I want this booklet to be made up as follows:
First sorrow: Presentation in the Temple. Second sorrow: stay in Egypt. Third sorrow: Jesus lost in the Temple. Fourth sorrow: the death of St. Joseph. Fifth sorrow: My departure from Nazareth.
Then the dictation dated 10th February 1944. Sixth sorrow: the description of the vision dated 13th February (4 points: the synagogue, the house in Nazareth, Jesus' sermon in the synagogue, the conversation with His Mother after escaping from Nazareth). Seventh sorrow: the vision dated 14th February. Then the dictation dated 15th February. Then the dictation dated 16th February. Eighth sorrow: the supper at Passover. Ninth sorrow: the Passion, taking the vision dated 11th February 1943 and connecting it with the one dated 18th February. Tenth sorrow: the burial of Jesus (19th February). Then the vision and dictation dated 21st February. Vision and dictation dated 22nd February as far as the point indicated. The other dictation on the finding of Jesus in the Temple is to be put in its place in the third sorrow.
First the Father will make the usual booklet for himself and for you and you will correct it so that there is not even one error in it. Then he will make the copies he wants for other people. Of course each vision is to be accompanied by its dictation. The Father wanted everything for Easter. I wanted it as preparation for Easter and I am having it handed to you today, because it is already 4:30 p.m. of Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Set to work, children and may you be blessed. And may those be blessed who will accept the gift with simple hearts and faith. The fire which the Father wished today will light up in them. The world will not change in its cruelty. It is too corrupt. But they will be comforted and they will feel the thirst for God, the incentive to holiness, rise within themselves.
Go in peace, little John. Your Jesus thanks you and blesses you. »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, volume #1, chapter 41.
Copyright 1986 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, Ilsola del Liri, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries.
Jesus with the Doctors of the Law Heinrich Hofmann