- The following is an excerpt (the latter part) from "Interview with Caiaphas," which is but one chapter of Trevor Payne's "In the Spirit of Elijah."
"Interview with Caiaphas"
Caiaphas is down to business, immediately. "You have come. Good. Let us get down to business."
The leader is miffed that there is no formal greeting.
"I have prepared a very special letter for Herod. One in which, I am sure that, he will find all the necessary ingredients to satisfy his ego. For that is what we must appeal to - his inane desire to be a spiritual leader, as well as the secular."
"What do you mean? He is a Tetrarch; why does he want to be a spiritual leader as well? Is that not our jurisdiction?" His ignorance of man's behaviour always shows up and he is determined to change this.
"Yes, it is." is the reply, "But you must recognise, he has inherited some of his mad father's traits. You remember, how it is said that King Herod, the Great, ordered the massacre of the children of Bethlehem?"
"Well, Herod was afraid the true king of Israel, the Messiah, would come and take his kingdom. This Herod has come to see himself in the vein of a Messiah; and the Messiah is a priest - king. Now do you see?
That is why not all his palaces are in strategic positions; but places like deserts, holy places etc. His desire is to be a holy man, also, God forbid. It seems that it alleviates this feeling of bondage he gets from being king, and surrounded by all those buffoons and hangers - on.
Can you believe it - Herod a holy man?! It is enough to make Elijah rise up, to call down fire from heaven. That is why we will send him to John. He shall receive a roasting, no?"
"Then you have spoken to the King before, concerning this?" Comes the questioning of unbelief.
"Yes. One must keep in contact with those who think they rule over us, if we are to stay one step in front of them." Once again the leader finds himself nodding in recognition of this man's depth of "insight"; "And you have made several, sire."
"Yes. I have sought to cover every possibility and outcome. We cannot fail to accomplish this; our security and the protection of our God depend on it." Caiaphas is very serious and shows his concern for the current situation. "Many zealots are rising up. The Romans are getting nervous. We do not want that; they have the power to destroy this Place. The preaching of John is having greater effect than turning the people's heart to God: they are getting prepared to take over, to cast out the Romans."
Stating the truth; "But the Messiah is coming, is he not? Should we not then look forward to the return of our freedom?" the leader says.
Caiaphas nods in approval. "Yes. But the people make their intentions known and therefore open themselves to being destroyed. Many have risen up, saying they are Christ, only to fall and bring disaster on this land. God must raise up this man, not man.
Until then we must ensure we are in control, and are aware of their moves. Fools like Herod are easily controlled and appealed to, if understood. We must play one against the other and thereby gain our place of influence and dominance; even if they are unaware of it."
"But why not the protection of God, sire?"
"You know how God judges a nation through it's leaders? So, in Herod's adultery he brings judgement, not only upon himself but the nation.
Herod will not listen to us, but John is different - no? Either way we win. But enough of this chit-chat. Let us get down to business." He puts his hand into his robe and pulls out a small scroll of parchment, with a ribbon around it. "Here is the letter. I have arranged a reception for you, at Herod's palace, the Herodium, near Bethlehem. He will be staying there till he leaves for Galilee. Just prior to Passover, he shall live in the city, having come from Machaerus.
He comes up from Jericho, in 10 days. I want you to learn the speech off by heart. It must be word perfect. I do not want any stumbling or mumbling in your beard. I will be there, to ensure you do it right." The leader puts the scroll into the folds of his robe, "You will be there? But why?"
Caiaphas allows some insight to the leader. "There are many things you are not aware of yet. If I tell you it will confuse you and cause you to stumble in this. I will be there to report on this also. It was at Herod's instigation that you were sent in the first place. I had heard of John, as we all had; but when I found that Herod had listened to him, I was even more concerned and interested."
"The king has heard him already!?" He blurts out. Caiaphas motions for him to quiet it down. "How could this be, he would have had to be in disguise to not have aroused John."
"You are right. Herod did it in disguise. He had heard of John, and like I said, because of his inane desire to hear a true prophet he sent servants and then went himself. The word so shocked him, he called for me."
"And so you sent me?" comes the daylight.
"Yes." He pauses to look the leader in the eyes, again, to see if he recognises what had transpired. "Now I want you to go away and learn this. I have made arrangements for you to be accepted at the palace in 6 days time, to learn the protocols; and a further one 5 days after that, after he arrives. I will be there. He desires that we talk straight-away. I will talk with him and then call you in. You will give your report, as listed. Do not be alarmed. I am there to back you up.
My people there will inform you of Herod's idiosyncrasies and anything else that may arise in the meantime. Time and place are in our hands. We must ensure that we are up to the challenge. Now leave. I have many things to see to. May God bless us in our enterprise."
"May He go before us and make our path straight." is the leader's invocation. Then they join together: "Amen!"
They smile at each other, and the leader departs. Caiaphas waits until he is sure the leader will not hear and rings a bell for his private steward. His bond-slave enters. "I have another errand for you."
"Speak, my lord. For I am your's."
"I want you to deliver a letter to High Priest Annas. I desire no one see the letter but my father-in-law. You are not to wait for a reply but to leave immediately. Arrange it to look like you are delivering something else to him."
"Like a pot of something?"
"Yes. That would be good. You could put it in the pot and seal it. Ensure you see him alone. That is imperative."
"Yes, my lord." He bows and Caiaphas takes the letter from a box on a table and gives it to him. The bond-slave bows again and leaves.
"Now we have come to the fruition of our plans. May God bless them." He sits and sips a cool drink.
The servant quickly finds an empty vessel and fills it with the word of the Priest. He seals it with molten wax and changes into clean clothes. He leaves and proceeds to the nearby home of Annas. He rings the door bell and waits. The door opens.
"Good day, my friend. I have come to deliver something important to your Lord, Annas, from my Lord, Caiaphas." He is ushered in and waits in the forecourt. The door-keeper tells a page to inform High Priest Annas. A servant is sent to direct him along the familiar route. Annas is lying on a divan in his reception room. The servant introduces him and waits beside the door. The bond-slave takes note as he addresses the High Priest.
"Blessing, my Lord from my Lord Caiaphas. I have a present for you that requires no reply nor the presence on another."
Annas takes note and motions to the man to leave them alone and to close the door. He sits up and replies; "And what could be so important to warrrant this?"
"I know not sire. But that my lord Caiaphas ordered it so. I could not give you this unless it was so. I am sure when you open it, it will reveal itself." a knowing smile crosses the slave's face and Annas nods to the bond-slave to leave. He places the vessel on a table in front of the priest, turns and leaves; shutting the door behind him. He waits ensuring no one seeks to enter until he is sure the parcel is delivered.
Annas takes an awl and removes the seal and finds the letter. His heart pumps a little faster: "Can this be the confirmation of what I have sought? I wonder." He unseals it and reads:
My dear Father, All things appear to be as hoped for. The fool of a Pharisee has not determined our full purpose and has accepted our offer. Now there will be no one to stop us ensuring our position of authority. If there arises anything from John's arrest and 'end' we have but to place the blame farely on him and his party. We, the Sadduccees, will be free of taint.
No one knows what is in this letter. Please ensure it is burned and destroyed as the others, my father.
Your dutiful son-in-law,
Annas looks up from his reading and a smile crosses his face. It has been easier than he thought to decieve the leader. He is indeed content. "Now for the next target -- Herod."
He rises and proceeds to the fireplace where there are some hot coals still glowing. He places the document on them and slightly fans them with the hem of his garment. A smirk crosses his face as it catches and passes into oblivion. He takes a rod there, used to prod the fire, and breaks up the ash. It is done. No one will be able to point any finger at his work or his son-in-law -- or so he thinks.
Author of In the Spirit of Elijah
Excerpt from In the Spirit of Elijah: 'Nicodemus and Lazarus'
by Trevor Payne
Aug 10, 2014
He is forever doing good works, yet they seem never to proceed from any effort on his behalf. Righteousness appears to flow from him as easy as breathing. Something I have strived for is natural to him.' Then she turns to look at the Elder; 'That is what is so unusual and confounding about him. We strive to be holy, whereas, he does it by nature. That is why it appears so incredible that he should require baptism, for I am sure God hears all his prayers.'
Jesus and friends at the Jordan
by Trevor Payne
Aug 6, 2014
Meanwhile, James, the Lord's brother, has been taking notice of how John baptises his adherents. He is taken aback at his approach. Though knowing he is of levitical stock, the fact that John has turned away from orthodox priesthood compels him to reject John as a priest. He has not been taking notice of the current conversation, when he interjects with: "Did you see that John!! He lifts up his hands, as if calling on God to bless those, he has just baptised. It is as if he is a priest. How can he do this? Is it not for a priest or levite to do such a thing."
Estelle Parke Book Review: 'In the Spirit of Elijah' by Trevor Payne
Jul 31, 2014
He has managed to write the book in such a way as to present the characters, especially John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ and assorted disciples, as real, human, genuine people. In this regard, I feel that the author is to be commended for a job well done. He has included a variety of small, personal accounts and incidents which help to humanize the Biblical characters and 'bring them to life' for the reader. I was disappointed to discover that there are numerous grammatical and other errors of writing throughout the work...
Trevor Payne, an Australian, is a longtime and dedicated believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who has spent his life in the study of the Scriptures, prayer, fasting and charitable works. He is an avid reader of all things spiritual and feels deeply that far too many Christians are caught up in the 'form of religion' instead of being 'transformed into the image of Christ.'
"In the Spirit of Elijah"
by Trevor Payne
Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Xulon Press
Published March 29, 2013
Prices: Kindle $9.30