I am here, John the Baptist:
I am happy that you are permitting me to write to you now. I realize that you are tired after having received the message from Jesus, but I would like to supply some information about my life.
I was born in the month of June (your calendar) some six months before that of my cousin Jesus in the neighborhood of Ain Karim, which is a small town not far from Jerusalem, and as you know I was the son of a priest who served in the Temple in Jerusalem and my family were all pious and devoted and filled with a strict interpretation regarding the laws which the Jews believed had been received from God through Moses, and to my father these laws of Moses and the Ten Commandments represented the most important part of the Jewish religion, and he taught me a strict moral code which I absorbed in my youth and which later became the cardinal principles of my brief ministry as the harbinger of the glad tidings of Jesus.
During my manhood I was an ascetic and shunned all meat and strong drink and ate only the simplest of foods in order not to be subject to the passions of man, and later I became a hermit and lived in a cave and away from the haunts of men and their society.
When Jesus and his family returned from Egypt to Nazareth to be among his people in Galilee, I had many occasions to see and talk to him there, and this continued over a period of many years up to the time of my ministry, which we began a few months apart from each other. This ministry was worked out between us and formed part of a plan prearranged in advance, and the gospel is not true in declaring that I did not know Jesus, but that I would anoint the one on whom I would see the dove of the Holy Spirit descend. I did know Jesus and I did anoint him, not because I saw any dove or heard a voice from Heaven, but because I was convinced in my heart that he was the Messiah and that I was the prophet who was to announce his coming. However, I wish to state that I did not truly understand that Jesus was bringing with him immortality which comes from possession of the Divine Love, nor did I even possess this Divine Love in my soul at the time of my execution.
As a youth and young man, in order to make a livelihood, I used to work in the fields of wheat and might be said to have been a farmer, but my true vocation was that of a prophet in the sense that Elijah was, that is to say, to proclaim to the rulers and the people to repent of their evil ways and to return to the path of righteousness that God had directed the Jews to follow as the great goal of the religion calling for love to God and one's fellow man.
It is not true, as some theologians believe, that I tried to lead a reform movement independent of Jesus, nor was I to any extent influenced by the Essenes, whose views of purity led them to isolated communities away from the so -- called contaminations of the genuine Hebrew civilization, or the Hellenistic influences, and where they carried out their religious practices; for, like Jesus, I believed not in retreat from the world but in carrying the message of God to the people, and as I believed in ablutionals as symbolical spiritual purity, I had of necessity to preach where water was readily obtainable and that was the Jordan.
And it was in this sense that I was a real prophet, for I not only preached repentence to all who would listen, but I also thundered against what I considered the evil conduct of Herod for transgressions against the God's law of matrimony, for I looked upon his marriage to Herodias as illegal, an act which could bring down upon his subjects the wrath of God. Contrary to what the Bible says; Herodias was not living with Herod while his half brother, was alive, for he was dead at the time the royal pair were married, but to us, the Pharises, to which I belonged, the marriage was not legal because no woman, as we understood it, could contract marriage with the brother of a deceased husband when children had been born of the first marriage. Hence Salome, the offspring of Herodias and Herod's step brother, invalidated this marriage to Herod, and it was this violation of our levirate marriage law that prompted my preaching against him.
It is true, of course, that Herodias was incensed against me for, as a member of the ruling class, she was a Sadducee at heart and did not believe in the correctness of my views. She therefore was elated to see me imprisoned and silenced. Herod did not concern himself too much about this part of my preachings, for while he disagreed with me about the interpretation of the marriage law, wrangling between Pharises and Sadducees had been going on for some two centuries, and such legalistic disputes did not have the urgency for him as this particular one had for Herodias, but he was concerned rather with the attitude which the Roman overlords took towards religious meetings which could be a pretext for seditious and rebellious gatherings, and he thought it wise to remove with my arrest the cause of such possible sources of disorder in his territory.
Herod sent some soldiers in the garb of travellers to seek me out without arousing suspicion, and though I was not preaching in territory subject to his jurisdiction, sequestered me into his land and brought me to his fortress of Macherus near the Dead Sea. I was confined there for about ten months, or until Herod's birthday, on your calendar, late February of the year 29. I know that Herod was not too anxious for my death, but Herodias wanted it and her request was granted. Solome or Solomith, did dance at this festival, but it is not true that her dancing made Herod grant her request for my death; on the contrary, she has assured me that she never did ask for my decapitation, and I can state that my head was never brought in before the King on a platter. These, of course are fanciful details which students of the Old Testament will associate with the story of the festival of Purin, wherein the King Ahasuerus vowed to grant Ester anything she asked for at his banquet.
At the time of my death, I did not, as I have said, possess the Divine Love, but I did have an abundance of the natural love in a pure state and was in good spiritual condition, and when it was possible for spirits to obtain the love at the time of the Transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah obtained it, I was one of those who then understood the real meaning of Jesus' Ministry and I prayed for the Divine Love and obtained it. This Transfiguration took place less than six months after my death, but I was in that spiritual state that enabled me to realize its importance and to seek for the Great Gift.
As a spirit, I watched the progress of Jesus' efforts to win the Jewish people and I often came to him to offer him comfort, and I also attempted to warn him at the time of his arrest when shortly before the approach of Judas and the henchmen of the high priest he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, and he seemed to have a realization of his coming death. This has been exaggerated by the copyists of the gospels, who have sought to show that Jesus was fated to die on the cross and that it was his mission to shed his blood through betrayal and crucifixion, and all the statements attributed to Jesus that his time was "not yet come" or that his "time was come" are not true, yet the fact of the matter is that Jesus did have a foreboding of his coming disaster, and I did try to get his attention and warn him of the betrayal.
John the Baptist,
of the New Testament