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A Synopsis of Paper 175: The Last Temple Discourse

Jesus returned to the temple accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, thirty Greeks, several disciples, and eleven of the apostles-all but Judas. He delivered his final discourse in the temple. Jesus explained once again that his proclamation of the truth of sonship with God was open to all. He said that he had persistently sought peace but that the rulers of Israel would not have it. "There cannot be peace between light and darkness, between life and death, between truth and error." He offered mercy once more to the leaders who were about to reject him.

Jesus spoke about the long history of mercy that his Father had bestowed on the Jewish people, and about the prophets that had been sent generation after generation. He warned them that they were in danger of losing their status as the custodians of divine law. Jesus offered them one more chance to repent, to seek God and the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus faulted the scribes and Pharisees for being hypocrites, for refusing to enter the kingdom, for preventing others from entering the kingdom, for refusing to show mercy to the poor, for being false teachers, for dishonesty, for being strict about tithes while disregarding laws on faith, mercy, and judgment, for rejecting truth and spurning mercy, and for making an outward show of religion while their souls were steeped in iniquity. He warned them that if they persisted in their evil ways an accounting would be required. Jesus finished his speech and left the temple with his followers.

The apostles were confused. The crowds who heard Jesus were stunned. That evening all of Jerusalem discussed the question of Jesus' fate. More than thirty prominent Jews met that night and agreed that if Jesus was arrested, they would make an open acknowledgment of their allegiance to him.

Judas returned to the temple in time to hear the last half of Jesus' discourse. Although he clung more firmly than ever to his plan to forsake the gospel, Judas left the temple with the other apostles and remained with them that night at Mount Olivet.

The Sanhedrin's answer to the Master's offer of mercy was their unanimous vote to sentence him to death, a sentence declared even before Jesus was arrested. The Sanhedrin gave orders that Jesus was to be apprehended in secret and brought to court Thursday at midnight. The angels and celestial beings attending the Master were eager to assist him but were powerless to act against his wishes.

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