Apocalypse of Esdras – 03 Chapters 6 and 7
Type of Spiritual Experience
Again, the specific prophetic and apolcalytic passages are highlighted in bold italic
A description of the experience
1 And he said unto me, In the beginning, when the earth was made, before the borders of the world stood, or ever the winds blew,
2 Before it thundered and lightened, or ever the foundations of paradise were laid,
3 Before the fair flowers were seen, or ever the moveable powers were established, before the innumerable multitude of angels were gathered together,
4 Or ever the heights of the air were lifted up, before the measures of the firmament were named, or ever the chimneys in Sion were hot,
5 And ere the present years were sought out, and or ever the inventions of them that now sin were turned, before they were sealed that have gathered faith for a treasure:
6 Then did I consider these things, and they all were made through me alone, and through none other: by me also they shall be ended, and by none other.
7 Then answered I and said, What shall be the parting asunder of the times? or when shall be the end of the first, and the beginning of it that followeth?
8 And he said unto me, From Abraham unto Isaac, when Jacob and Esau were born of him, Jacob's hand held first the heel of Esau.
9 For Esau is the end of the world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth.
10 The hand of man is betwixt the heel and the hand: other question, Esdras, ask thou not.
11 I answered then and said, O Lord that bearest rule, if I have found favour in thy sight,
12 I beseech thee, shew thy servant the end of thy tokens, whereof thou shewedst me part the last night.
13 So he answered and said unto me, Stand up upon thy feet, and hear a mighty sounding voice.
14 And it shall be as it were a great motion; but the place where thou standest shall not be moved.
15 And therefore when it speaketh be not afraid: for the word is of the end, and the foundation of the earth is understood.
16 And why? because the speech of these things trembleth and is moved: for it knoweth that the end of these things must be changed.
17 And it happened, that when I had heard it I stood up upon my feet, and hearkened, and, behold, there was a voice that spake, and the sound of it was like the sound of many waters.
18 And it said, Behold, the days come, that I will begin to draw nigh, and to visit them that dwell upon the earth,
19 And will begin to make inquisition of them, what they be that have hurt unjustly with their unrighteousness, and when the affliction of Sion shall be fulfilled;
20 And when the world, that shall begin to vanish away, shall be finished, then will I shew these tokens: the books shall be opened before the firmament, and they shall see all together:
21 And the children of a year old shall speak with their voices, the women with child shall bring forth untimely children of three or four months old, and they shall live, and be raised up.
22 And suddenly shall the sown places appear unsown, the full storehouses shall suddenly be found empty:
23 And the trumpet shall give a sound, which when every man heareth, they shall be suddenly afraid.
24 At that time shall friends fight one against another like enemies, and the earth shall stand in fear with those that dwell therein, the springs of the fountains shall stand still, and in three hours they shall not run.
25 Whosoever remaineth from all these that I have told thee shall escape, and see my salvation, and the end of your world.
26 And the men that are received shall see it, who have not tasted death from their birth: and the heart of the inhabitants shall be changed, and turned into another meaning.
27 For evil shall be put out, and deceit shall be quenched.
28 As for faith, it shall flourish, corruption shall be overcome, and the truth, which hath been so long without fruit, shall be declared.
29 And when he talked with me, behold, I looked by little and little upon him before whom I stood.
30 And these words said he unto me; I am come to shew thee the time of the night to come.
31 If thou wilt pray yet more, and fast seven days again, I shall tell thee greater things by day than I have heard.
32 For thy voice is heard before the most High: for the Mighty hath seen thy righteous dealing, he hath seen also thy chastity, which thou hast had ever since thy youth.
33 And therefore hath he sent me to shew thee all these things, and to say unto thee, Be of good comfort and fear not
34 And hasten not with the times that are past, to think vain things, that thou mayest not hasten from the latter times.
35 And it came to pass after this, that I wept again, and fasted seven days in like manner, that I might fulfil the three weeks which he told me.
36 And in the eighth night was my heart vexed within me again, and I began to speak before the most High.
37 For my spirit was greatly set on fire, and my soul was in distress.
38 And I said, O Lord, thou spakest from the beginning of the creation, even the first day, and saidst thus; Let heaven and earth be made; and thy word was a perfect work.
39 And then was the spirit, and darkness and silence were on every side; the sound of man's voice was not yet formed.
40 Then commandedst thou a fair light to come forth of thy treasures, that thy work might appear.
41 Upon the second day thou madest the spirit of the firmament, and commandedst it to part asunder, and to make a division betwixt the waters, that the one part might go up, and the other remain beneath.
42 Upon the third day thou didst command that the waters should be gathered in the seventh part of the earth: six pats hast thou dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being planted of God and tilled might serve thee.
43 For as soon as thy word went forth the work was made.
44 For immediately there was great and innumerable fruit, and many and divers pleasures for the taste, and flowers of unchangeable colour, and odours of wonderful smell: and this was done the third day.
45 Upon the fourth day thou commandedst that the sun should shine, and the moon give her light, and the stars should be in order:
46 And gavest them a charge to do service unto man, that was to be made.
47 Upon the fifth day thou saidst unto the seventh part, where the waters were gathered that it should bring forth living creatures, fowls and fishes: and so it came to pass.
48 For the dumb water and without life brought forth living things at the commandment of God, that all people might praise thy wondrous works.
49 Then didst thou ordain two living creatures, the one thou calledst Enoch, and the other Leviathan;
50 And didst separate the one from the other: for the seventh part, namely, where the water was gathered together, might not hold them both.
51 Unto Enoch thou gavest one part, which was dried up the third day, that he should dwell in the same part, wherein are a thousand hills:
52 But unto Leviathan thou gavest the seventh part, namely, the moist; and hast kept him to be devoured of whom thou wilt, and when.
53 Upon the sixth day thou gavest commandment unto the earth, that before thee it should bring forth beasts, cattle, and creeping things:
54 And after these, Adam also, whom thou madest lord of all thy creatures: of him come we all, and the people also whom thou hast chosen.
55 All this have I spoken before thee, O Lord, because thou madest the world for our sakes
56 As for the other people, which also come of Adam, thou hast said that they are nothing, but be like unto spittle: and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop that falleth from a vessel.
57 And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us.
58 But we thy people, whom thou hast called thy firstborn, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover, are given into their hands.
59 If the world now be made for our sakes, why do we not possess an inheritance with the world? how long shall this endure?
1 And when I had made an end of speaking these words, there was sent unto me the angel which had been sent unto me the nights afore:
2 And he said unto me, Up, Esdras, and hear the words that I am come to tell thee.
3 And I said, Speak on, my God. Then said he unto me, The sea is set in a wide place, that it might be deep and great.
4 But put the case the entrance were narrow, and like a river;
5 Who then could go into the sea to look upon it, and to rule it? if he went not through the narrow, how could he come into the broad?
6 There is also another thing; A city is builded, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things:
7 The entrance thereof is narrow, and is set in a dangerous place to fall, like as if there were a fire on the right hand, and on the left a deep water:
8 And one only path between them both, even between the fire and the water, so small that there could but one man go there at once.
9 If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, if he never shall pass the danger set before it, how shall he receive this inheritance?
10 And I said, It is so, Lord. Then said he unto me, Even so also is Israel's portion.
11 Because for their sakes I made the world: and when Adam transgressed my statutes, then was decreed that now is done.
12 Then were the entrances of this world made narrow, full of sorrow and travail: they are but few and evil, full of perils,: and very painful.
13 For the entrances of the elder world were wide and sure, and brought immortal fruit.
14 If then they that live labour not to enter these strait and vain things, they can never receive those that are laid up for them.
15 Now therefore why disquietest thou thyself, seeing thou art but a corruptible man? and why art thou moved, whereas thou art but mortal?
16 Why hast thou not considered in thy mind this thing that is to come, rather than that which is present?
17 Then answered I and said, O Lord that bearest rule, thou hast ordained in thy law, that the righteous should inherit these things, but that the ungodly should perish.
18 Nevertheless the righteous shall suffer strait things, and hope for wide: for they that have done wickedly have suffered the strait things, and yet shall not see the wide.
19 And he said unto me. There is no judge above God, and none that hath understanding above the Highest.
20 For there be many that perish in this life, because they despise the law of God that is set before them.
21 For God hath given strait commandment to such as came, what they should do to live, even as they came, and what they should observe to avoid punishment.
22 Nevertheless they were not obedient unto him; but spake against him, and imagined vain things;
23 And deceived themselves by their wicked deeds; and said of the most High, that he is not; and knew not his ways:
24 But his law have they despised, and denied his covenants; in his statutes have they not been faithful, and have not performed his works.
25 And therefore, Esdras, for the empty are empty things, and for the full are the full things.
26 Behold, the time shall come, that these tokens which I have told thee shall come to pass, and the bride shall appear, and she coming forth shall be seen, that now is withdrawn from the earth.
27 And whosoever is delivered from the foresaid evils shall see my wonders.
28 For my son Jesus shall be revealed with those that be with him, and they that remain shall rejoice within four hundred years.
29 After these years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life.
30 And the world shall be turned into the old silence seven days, like as in the former judgments: so that no man shall remain.
31 And after seven days the world, that yet awaketh not, shall be raised up, and that shall die that is corrupt
32 And the earth shall restore those that are asleep in her, and so shall the dust those that dwell in silence, and the secret places shall deliver those souls that were committed unto them.
33 And the most High shall appear upon the seat of judgment, and misery shall pass away, and the long suffering shall have an end:
34 But judgment only shall remain, truth shall stand, and faith shall wax strong:
35 And the work shall follow, and the reward shall be shewed, and the good deeds shall be of force, and wicked deeds shall bear no rule.
36 Then said I, Abraham prayed first for the Sodomites, and Moses for the fathers that sinned in the wilderness:
37 And Jesus after him for Israel in the time of Achan:
38 And Samuel and David for the destruction: and Solomon for them that should come to the sanctuary:
39 And Helias for those that received rain; and for the dead, that he might live:
40 And Ezechias for the people in the time of Sennacherib: and many for many.
41 Even so now, seeing corruption is grown up, and wickedness increased, and the righteous have prayed for the ungodly: wherefore shall it not be so now also?
42 He answered me, and said, This present life is not the end where much glory doth abide; therefore have they prayed for the weak.
43 But the day of doom shall be the end of this time, and the beginning of the immortality for to come, wherein corruption is past,
44 Intemperance is at an end, infidelity is cut off, righteousness is grown, and truth is sprung up.
45 Then shall no man be able to save him that is destroyed, nor to oppress him that hath gotten the victory.
46 I answered then and said, This is my first and last saying, that it had been better not to have given the earth unto Adam: or else, when it was given him, to have restrained him from sinning.
47 For what profit is it for men now in this present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for punishment?
48 O thou Adam, what hast thou done? for though it was thou that sinned, thou art not fallen alone, but we all that come of thee.
49 For what profit is it unto us, if there be promised us an immortal time, whereas we have done the works that bring death?
50 And that there is promised us an everlasting hope, whereas ourselves being most wicked are made vain?
51 And that there are laid up for us dwellings of health and safety, whereas we have lived wickedly?
52 And that the glory of the most High is kept to defend them which have led a wary life, whereas we have walked in the most wicked ways of all?
53 And that there should be shewed a paradise, whose fruit endureth for ever, wherein is security and medicine, since we shall not enter into it?
54 (For we have walked in unpleasant places.)
55 And that the faces of them which have used abstinence shall shine above the stars, whereas our faces shall be blacker than darkness?
56 For while we lived and committed iniquity, we considered not that we should begin to suffer for it after death.
57 Then answered he me, and said, This is the condition of the battle, which man that is born upon the earth shall fight;
58 That, if he be overcome, he shall suffer as thou hast said: but if he get the victory, he shall receive the thing that I say.
59 For this is the life whereof Moses spake unto the people while he lived, saying, Choose thee life, that thou mayest live.
60 Nevertheless they believed not him, nor yet the prophets after him, no nor me which have spoken unto them,
61 That there should not be such heaviness in their destruction, as shall be joy over them that are persuaded to salvation.
62 I answered then, and said, I know, Lord, that the most High is called merciful, in that he hath mercy upon them which are not yet come into the world,
63 And upon those also that turn to his law;
64 And that he is patient, and long suffereth those that have sinned, as his creatures;
65 And that he is bountiful, for he is ready to give where it needeth;
66 And that he is of great mercy, for he multiplieth more and more mercies to them that are present, and that are past, and also to them which are to come.
67 For if he shall not multiply his mercies, the world would not continue with them that inherit therein.
68 And he pardoneth; for if he did not so of his goodness, that they which have committed iniquities might be eased of them, the ten thousandth part of men should not remain living.
69 And being judge, if he should not forgive them that are cured with his word, and put out the multitude of contentions,
70 There should be very few left peradventure in an innumerable multitude.