|4 Esdras 1 |
1 [There is some confusion about the nomenclature of this book. Some early Latin manuscripts call it 3 Esdras, while Jerome and the medieval Latin manuscripts denoted it 4 Esdras, which to this day is the name used for it in modern critical editions that are typically in Latin, the language of its most complete version. Though the earliest available manuscript is written in Latin, it has traces showing it to have been translated from original Hebrew.
This book (as 2 Esdras) was in the original King James Version of the Bible. In a cost cutting move, the newly independent USA started printing their own Bibles, deleting this Book along with others, known as the Apocrypha. Later the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1826 withdrew their subsidies for printing the Apocrypha. There is controversy over the date this book was written. Most scholars, analyzing the detail of the eagle being symbolic to Roman Emperor successions in the first two centuries AD, assume it could not have been written "by anyone's imagination, and so must have been written after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem," (which assumption ironically denies the role of God to describe future events in detail, thus illustrating the shallow faith of the scholars). Although this book still appears in the Latin Vulgate Bible, the Catholic Encyclopedia dismisses the seven prophetic visions as: "they can hardly be relied upon, as they relate rather the legendary tales of a later age;" apparently God's prophetic destruction of all sinners on the earth does not fit in with their doctrines.
Against these negative views is the fact that George Fox quoted from this book, whose great measure in Christ is testified throughout this site. The verses that name Jesus and Christ are incredible prophecies of Jesus as the Messiah; it is no wonder that the book has been challenged from many sides.
The details of the many mighty prophecies, and the unparalleled explanations of why things are and are to come, are all too wonderful to discount and not be available. The explanations of God's purpose and way with the earth are without peer in all the other books of the Bible. Esdras serves as the voice of the Jews and those who name themselves Christians, who, though still locked into sin, can't understand why they are going to be destroyed along with the rest of the sinners on earth. God very patiently explains why these prophetic events of his deliberate planning must take place, but does not fully explain how it will end well for all men in the next life. Esdras reminds me of Peter, when he told Jesus he must not go to Jerusalem to be crucified; and Jesus replied: "Get behind me, Satan! You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.” Mar 8:33. Peter, thinking like a man, only knowing life as it is on earth, ignorant of the next life, could not imagine it being the will of God that Jesus must die a horrible death. As the events foretold in this book and others unfold, unless you have been taught by the Spirit of God about how all men are eventually saved, and how death can be merciful to men — you too may find yourself as the pot criticizing the potter.
The first three chapters are generally believed by the scholars to have been written sometime after Christ's life on earth because of the description of the Kingdom and the Son of God. I disagree and cite Daniel 7 and Jacob seeing angels ascending and descending from heaven as proof that Old Testament prophets were permitted to see the Kingdom. The later chapters are accepted by many as written pre-Christ, yet Chapter 7 has even greater testimony to the validity of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, even naming him.]
1 The fourth book of the prophet Esdras, the son of Saraias, the son of Azarias, the son of Helchias, the son of Sadamias, the son of Sadoc, the son of Achitob,
2 The son of Achias, the son of Phinees, the son of Heli, the son of Amarias, the son of Aziei, the son of Marimoth, son of Arna, son of Uzzi, son of Borith, the son of Abisei, the son of Phinees, the son of Eleazar,
3 The son of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi; which was captive in the land of the Medes, in the reign of Artexerxes king of the Persians.
4 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
5 "Go your way, and show my people their sinful deeds; and show their children their wickedness that they have done against me; so that they may tell their children's children.
6 Because the sins of their fathers are increased in them for they have forgotten me, and have offered unto strange gods.
7 Am not I even he that brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage? But they have provoked me unto wrath, and despised my counsels.
8 Then pull out the hair of your head, and cast all evil upon them for they have not been obedient unto my law; but they are a rebellious people.
9 How long shall I forbear them, unto whom I have done so much good?
10 I have destroyed many kings for their sakes; I have smitten down Pharaoh with his servants and all his power.
11 All the nations have I destroyed before them, and in the east I have scattered the people of two provinces, even of Tyrus and Sidon, and have slain all their enemies.
12 Speak you therefore unto them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord,
13 I led you through the sea and in the beginning gave you a large and safe passage; I gave you Moses for a leader, and Aaron for a priest.
14 I gave you light in a pillar of fire, and great wonders have I done among you; yet have you forgotten me,' says the Lord."
15 Thus says the Almighty Lord, 'The quails were as a token to you, and I gave you tents for your safeguard; nevertheless you murmured there,
16 And triumphed not in my name for the destruction of your enemies; but even to this day do you yet murmur.
17 Where are the benefits that I have done for you? When you were hungry and thirsty in the wilderness, did you not cry unto me,
18 Saying, "Why have you brought us into this wilderness to kill us? It had been better for us to have served the Egyptians, than to die in this wilderness."
19 Then had I pity upon your mournings, and gave you manna to eat; so you ate angels' bread.
20 When you were thirsty, did I not cleave the rock, and waters flowed out to your fill? For the heat, I covered you with the leaves of the trees.
21 I divided among you a fruitful land; I cast out the Canaanites, the Pherezites, and the Philistines, before you. What shall I yet do more for you?'" says the Lord.
22 Thus says the Almighty Lord, "When you were in the wilderness, in the river of the Amorites, being thirsty, and blaspheming my name,
23 I did not give you fire for your blasphemies, but cast a tree in the water, and made the river sweet.
24 What shall I do unto you, O Jacob? You, Judah, would not obey me. I will turn myself to other nations, and unto those will I give my name, that they may keep my statutes.
25 Since you have forsaken me, I will forsake you also; when you desire me to be gracious unto you, I shall have no mercy upon you.
26 Whenever you shall call upon me, I will not hear you because you have defiled your hands with blood, and your feet are swift to commit manslaughter.
27 As it were, you have not forsaken me, but rather your own selves," says the Lord.
28 Thus says the Almighty Lord, "Have I not prayed you as a father his sons, as a mother her daughters, and a nurse her young babes,
29 That you would be my people, and I should be your God; that you would be my children, and I should be your father?
30 I [would have] gathered you together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings; but now, what shall I do unto you? I will cast you out from my face.
31 When you offer unto me, I will turn my face from you; for your solemn feast days, your new moons, and your circumcisions, I have forsaken.
32 I sent unto you my servants the prophets, whom you have taken and slain, and torn their bodies in pieces, whose blood I will require of your hands," says the Lord.
33 Thus says the Almighty Lord, "Your house is desolate, I will cast you out as the wind does stubble.
34 And your children shall not be fruitful because they have despised my commandment, and done the thing that is an evil before me.
35 Your houses will I give to a people that shall come;1 which not having heard of me yet shall believe me; to whom I have shown no signs, yet they shall do what I have commanded them.
36 They have seen no prophets, yet they shall call their sins to remembrance, and acknowledge them.
37 I take to witness the grace of the people to come, whose little ones rejoice in gladness; and though they have not seen me with bodily eyes, yet in spirit they believe the thing that I say.
38 And now, brother, behold what glory; and see the people that come from the east;
39 Unto whom I will give for leaders, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Oseas, Amos, and Micheas, Joel, Abdias, and Jonas,
40 Nahum, and Abacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus, Zachary, and Malachy, who is called also an angel of the Lord."
1 Your house is desolate, I will cast you out as the wind does stubble. Your houses will I give to a people that shall come; Notice! Esdras speaks of the future when God will abandon Israel's favor and embrace the Gentile nations. Yet, when the so-called scholars say that the probable date of this writing lies toward the end of the first century, perhaps 90–96, (though some suggest a date as late as 218); these scholars ignore the fact that at either time the Gentiles had already been accepted by God. So, to deny this writing as a pre-Christ is to deny the truth of the writer. Gentle reader, judge for yourself the gentle, sweeping, wisdom that is throughout this writing — it is marvelous and obviously penned by a true prophet, writing words received from God. Remember, the scholars were not taught by the Holy Spirit — otherwise they would not be expressing opinions, but rather certain truths.