Friday, November 16, 2012


Heinrich and Sarah each wanted to know all about how and why their father had been involved with this. It was clear that he had been quite careful with his doings since they really had no idea. Freyda remained quiet as she mulled over what this meant. Nonetheless, each understood the danger they were in if this fell into the wrong hands, so they all, in turn, said, “Yes”, as they nodded their heads. Freyda said, “I knew that Hans was involved with others who were calling for reform and I knew he was sympathetic to the Messianic point of view, but even I did not know he was this deep into it. He occasionally traveled on business, or at least I assumed it was on business. Perhaps he went to your home,’ looking at Rebekah, “or they met somewhere in between.” Rebekah responded with a shrug of her shoulders and a simple, “I was not aware of any such visits.”

Rebekah continued going through the book as everyone watched. The next four pages had many scripture references. Rebekah recognized some of these and remarked, “I believe these are verses that show that Yeshua is the Messiah; clearly we’ll have to check these out. In and of themselves, they aren’t dangerous, though scripture truths have certainly gotten Dr. Luther into plenty of trouble.” Next was a section that was decidedly different. Once she surmised its intent, she said, “I suspect that this section is trying to show the hidden codes that are built into the Hebrew; it gets into a subject of study that rabbis have longed engaged in called gematria. It will take some time to explain this, so I’ll leave that till later.” Freyda knew what gematria entailed, though Heinrich and Sarah were clueless, as the expressions on their faces made obvious. Rebekah reinforced her comment by adding, “we can talk about this later today or tomorrow.” The rest of the book reverted back to the appearance of an ordinary list of supplies, contacts, and notes. Rebekah closed the book and held it in her two hands. I propose that we remove the pages with coded messages and then destroy it. If we find a cipher wheel or any mention of one, then that should be destroyed as well.  Heinrich nodded, though he had never seen one.

Heinrich said, “I wonder if we’ll find any other mysteries in this box?” As Freyda and Rebekah went through the rest of the items, Heinrich picked up the book that Rebekah had just finished and looked through its pages. He stared for a while at the letters in the square code, and the section on gematria, before ending up on the last page of the book. It had a small drawing that had passed through everyone else’s inspection. In it was a rectangular shape with the letter K by the left side and the letter F by the bottom line” and in the middle of the shape was Jer629. This intrigued Heinrich, so he said to Rebekah, as he pointed at the drawing, “Rebekah, what do you make of this at the end of the book?” She turned her gaze to the marks and thought for a while. “Hmm – this could be a Bible verse; Jer could be Jeremiah and 629 could be the chapter and verse. How can we get a Bible to look this up?” Heinrich added, “I could go ask Martin, he would have the translation!” “I don’t think I want to get him involved with this,” added Rebekah. Freyda said, “I may have something that could help.” 

Having captured the floor, she said, “Hans was very interested in Bible translations and those who were doing it, such as Wycliffe and John Hus. Both men were strong believers that people should be allowed to read the Bible in their own language. And both men paid for it with their lives. When Hus was burned at the stake a hundred years ago, the Catholics used Wycliffe’s Bible as kindling for the fire. Ironically, the last words of Hus were, 'in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.' And here we are 100 years later, with Martin Luther taking on the whole Roman Catholic Church. In fact, I’m beginning to think that much of this secrecy is because of this sort of thing. The Catholic Church hates those who are involved with translating it, so if news about this was circulating in Europe, then a secret code makes a lot of sense. Hans was able to purchase an updated copy of Wycliffe’s Bible several years ago.” 

Heinrich was incredulous at this news so he asked, “do you mean you actually have a copy of one here?” With everyone’s eyes on her, Freyda said somewhat sheepishly and with a wry smile, “Yes; but it’s not the kind of thing you want to keep out in the open, so it’s hidden away. Would you like me to get it?” Everyone said “yes.” She said to Heinrich, “Could you please help me? it’s in a place that’s kind of hard to get to.” Heinrich said,“sure,” as he rose up to join her. They went into the attic again; Heinrich removed a board that his mother identified from one of the walls, and then removed a large bag from its cavity. They went downstairs with the bag under Heinrich’s arm. When they returned to the the table, Heinrich opened the bag and laid four books on the table. Each was about six inches wide and nine inches tall. The covers were made of stiff leather but they didn’t have any decoration on them, though each spine had words that identified its contents and Heinrich selected the one that included Jeremiah. He opened the book and scanned its front pages. Heinrich knew a little English and after reading a few sentences in the forward, said, “this is a revised version edited by John Purvey.” Freyda added, “Hans said it was very rare; he wanted to have one just in case...”

Heinrich finished the thought, “'Just in case we needed one' - thank you father.” He found the table of contents and the page where Jeremiah begins. While turning through the pages he noticed occasional illustrations and flourishes of color that he wanted to see later. But Jeremiah’s opening page appeared and he marveled at the distinguished look of the page. Freyda commented, “Wycliffe’s bible is one of the first to use chapter and verse numbers.” Heinrich found chapter six and proceeded to verse 29. He read the following: ‘The bellows failed, lead is wasted in the fire, the welder welded in vain; for the malices of them be not wasted.’ His first reaction echoed his perplexity, “what does that mean?” Everyone contemplated the possible meaning as Heinrich repeated it. Rebekah said, “bellows is the subject of the sentence; what does bellows mean? Rebekah spoke Polish of course and had a good command of German since her family was originally from there. But she did not know much English. Heinrich had enough exposure to English in college to read the verse, but had a limited vocabulary. Freyda and Sarah knew only German; and of course, Freyda also spoke Hebrew. Heinrich remembered that he had an English/German list of words and then rose up to get it from a bookcase. He thumbed through it and then exclaimed, ‘bellows’ - it means blasebalg in German. Everyone then pictured the device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air that was used to fan a fire to greater intensity and heat. Heinrich responded, “we don’t have one here, but there is a big one at the shop. We hang it on the wall near the furnace where we heat the iron,” said Heinrich. 

Rebekah replied, “OK, we’ve figured out what Jer629 could be referring to; so now we’ll have to figure out what K and F means around the rectangle. Do you know of something that is rectangular by the bellows?” Heinrich tried to imagine the layout but couldn’t picture the details, so he said in an increasing tone of voice, “I can’t say without seeing it – I could go tonight!” Freyda weighed in, “I think if you want to keep a low profile, doing your inspection tomorrow - in the daylight, when your helper is gone, is the best time to do it. Opening up your shop tonight and rummaging through it with a lantern is no way to keep things quiet. Besides, we haven’t even had supper yet.” Heinrich said in a disappointed tone, “OK, I guess you’re right.”They completed their inspection of the trunk and found no more items of interest. 

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