|4 Esdras 7 |
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 before:
2 And he said unto me, "Get up, Esdras, and hear the words that I have come to tell you."
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 suppose 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 does not go through the narrow part, how could he come into the broad?
6 There is also another thing: A city is built, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things.
7 The entrance to it 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 there is only a path between both the fire and the water that is so small that only one man can pass there at a time.
9 If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, how shall he receive this inheritance if he never passes the danger set before it?"
10 And I said, "It is so, Lord." Then said he unto me, "Even so also is Israel's portion." [The righteous, must overcome difficulties and be tried before they receive the reward of salvation.]
11 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,
11 Because for their [the righteous] sakes I made the world; and when Adam transgressed my statutes, then was decreed what now is done.
12 And that there should be shown a paradise, whose fruit endures for ever, wherein is security and healing, since we shall not enter into it?
12 Then were the entrances of this world made narrow, full of sorrow and hardship; they are but few and evil, full of perils, and very painful.
13 For the entrances of the greater world [the Kingdom of God] are wide and sure and yield the fruit of immortality.
14 If then the living do not labor not to pass these difficult and vain things, they can never receive those that are laid up for them.
15 Now therefore why do you worry yourself, seeing you are but a corruptible man? And why are you moved, seeing you are only mortal? [More to the point: Why do you question the wisdom and perfect judgments of the potter, you mere lump of clay?]
16 Why have you not considered in your mind what is to come, rather than what is now?"
17 Then I answered and said, "O Lord who bears rule, you have ordained in your law, that the righteous should inherit these things, but that the ungodly should perish.
18 Nevertheless the righteous shall endure narrow things and hope for wide; but those who have done wickedly have suffered the narrow things and yet shall not see the wide."
19 And he said unto me. "There is no judge above God, and none that has understanding above the Highest.
20 For there are many who perish in this life because they disregard the law of God that is set before them.
21 For God has given strict commandments to such as came, what they should do to live, as they came [into the world],1 and what they should observe to avoid punishment.
22 Nevertheless they were not obedient unto him; but spoke against him, and imagined vain things;
23 And deceived themselves by their wicked deeds; and said of the most High, that he does not exist;2 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 you shall come to pass, and the bride [city] shall appear, and she coming forth shall be seen, who now is withdrawn from the earth.
27 And whosoever is delivered from the before mentioned evils shall see my wonders. [To be delivered, it to be freed from all sin. Christ is the deliverer. Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; Col 1:1]
28 For my son Jesus shall be revealed with those that be with him, and those who remain shall rejoice within four hundred years.
29 After these years shall my son the Christ die, and all men who have life.3
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 is not awake, 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 shown, and the good deeds shall be of force, and wicked deeds shall bear no rule."
36 [Verses 37-105 are missing in the public domain versions of 4 Esdras. However the Latin of these verses was long ago found and is in the public domain. I have translated the Latin text to English. They are very instructive.]
36 Then a pit of torment shall appear, and opposite it shall be the place of rest, and the furnace of hell shall be disclosed, and opposite it is the paradise of delight.
37 Then the Most High will say to the nations raised from the dead: 'You see and understand whom you have denied and not served, whose commandments you have despised.
38 Look on this side and on that; here is delight and rest, and there is fire and torment." Thus he will speak to them in the Day of Judgment:
39 "A day that has no sun or moon or stars,
40 Or cloud or thunder or lightning or wind or water or air, or darkness or evening or early in the morning,
41 Or summer or spring or heat, or winter or frost or cold or hail or rain or dew,
42 Or noon or night; or before it was light, or shining, or brightness, but only the splendor of the glory of the Most High, by which all shall see the things that are set before them.
43 For it will last about a week of years.
44 This is my judgment and its prescribed order, to you alone have I shown these things."
45 I answered and then said, "Lord, and now I say: Blessed are those alive who keep your commands.
46 But what about those that I prayed for? What man is there on the earth who has not sinned, and who of your children has not transgressed your covenant?
47 And now I see, that to a few the world to come will be a delight, but torments to many.
48 For an evil heart has grown up in us by which we have alienated the mind from these things [your commands], and has led us into the corruption, and the ways of death is indicated to us, the paths of destruction, and have far hath he removed us from the life [of God]; and this not for just a few, but in almost all who have been created.
49 He answered me and said, "Hear me, and I will instruct you, and will admonish you once more.
50 For this reason the Most High did not make just one world but two.
51 Considering that you have said, "There are not many righteous, but a only few, while the ungodly abound, hear my reply to this.
52 If you only have a few select [precious] stones [jewels], would you add to the number of them lead and clay? "
53 And I said, "Lord, how could that be?
54 And he said to me, "Not only that, but ask the earth and she will tell you defer to her, and she will declare to you.
55 Say to her, 'You produce gold and silver and brass, and also iron and lead, and clay;.
56 But silver is more than gold, and brass than silver, and iron than brass, and lead upon the iron, and clay than lead.
57 Judge therefore which things are precious and desirable, those that are abundant or those that are rare.
58 And I said, "O sovereign Lord, what is plentiful of less worth, for what is more precious is more rare.
59 He answered me and said, "Weigh that which you have thought, for he who has what it is difficult to achieve is delighted more that he who has what is is easy for many.
60 So also is what I have promised; for I will rejoice over the few who will be saved, because it is they, who have increased my glory and honored my name.
61 And I will not grieve for the multitude of those who perish, for they are now like the mist, and are like the flame and smoke has burned them with fire, which is now put out. [If any man's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire. 1 Cor 3:15]
62 Then I answered and said, "O earth, what have you brought forth if the mind is made out of the dust like the other created things. [Because the carnal mind is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. Rom 8:7]
63 For it would be better if the dust had not been, so a son's mind might not have been made from it.
64 But now the mind grows with us, and for this reason we are tormented, because we perish and know it.
65 Mourn human kind, and the beasts of the field be glad; weep, all those who were born, while the four-footed flocks rejoice.
66 For a lot of it is better to them than with us. They do not look for a judgment, nor, do they know any torment or salvation promised to them after the death.
67 What does it profit us, if we shall be preserved alive but cruelly tormented?
68 For all those born were mingled in iniquities, and are full of sins and burdened with transgressions. [Esdras puts himself as more just than God, saying that men were born wicked and had no choice; so to punish them is not fair.]
69 And if we were after the death to not come into judgment, you would perhaps be better to us."
70 And he answered me, and said, "When the Most High made the world and Adam and all who have come from him, he first prepared the judgment, and what are the concerns of the judgment.
71 And now, from your own words, understand, for what you said was: 'because the mind grows with us.'
72 Therefore, he in the earth who lived in sin shall be tormented, for knowing what they were doing, for receiving the commandments and not keeping them, and though they obtained the law, by fraud they ignored it.
73 Then what will they have to say in the judgment, or how they answer in the last times?
74 For how long has been the long suffering of the Most High with those who inhabit the world; and not because of them, but for the sake of the times of which he has foreordained."
75 And I answered, and I said, "If I have found grace before you, Show, O Lord, to this your servant, if after the death and we have given up our souls, if not preserved, will we be kept in his rest till the time which the creation will begin to be renewed or shall we be tormented immediately from then on?"
76 He answered me and said, I will show you, and in this matter. But do not be associated with those who have shown scorn, nor number yourself among those who are tormented.
77 For you have a treasure of works laid up with the most High, but not shown to you until in the last times.
78 Regarding death, the word is: when the most High has decided that a man should die, on the withdrawal of the spirit from the body, so as to be called to Him again by who gave it, the man first adores the glory of the Most High.
79 And if it is one of those who have spurned, and not kept the way of the Most High and who have despised his law, and those who hated those who fear the Lord,
80 Such spirits shall not come near to habitations [of rest], but shall immediately wander about in torments, ever grieving, and be grim in seven ways.
81 The first way: because they have scorned the law of the Most High.
82 The second way: because they are no longer able to make a good repentance that they may live.
83 The third way: they see the reward laid up for them that the covenants of the Most High yet have believed.
84 The fourth way: they shall consider the torment laid up for them in the last.
85 The fifth way: seeing the habitations of the others are guarded by angels with silence as a great reward.
86 The sixth the way: see how some of them will pass over into torments.
87 The way of the seventh: which is greater than all the ways of above named for in their dishonor they shall be consumed with shame, and will pine away and be fearful of seeing the glory of the Most High before whom they have sinned against while living, and before whom in the last times they are to be tried.
88 For those who have kept the ways of of the Most High, this is the order when they shall be separated from their mortal body.
89 In the time of which they lived in the body, they have served Most High with great effort and have withstood danger every hour, keeping watch so as to keep perfectly the law of the Lawgiver.
90 Therefore this is the teaching concerning them:
91 In the first place they shall see with great joy the glory of him who receives them, for they shall rest in seven orders.
92 The first order: with much labor they have striven to overcome the evil thoughts that were formed in them, that they [evil thoughts] may not lead them astray from life into death.
93 The second order: because they see the perplexity in which the souls of the ungodly wander, and what punishment awaits them.
94 The third order: they see the record of their warnings from he who formed them; and seeing that while alive they kept the law by faith in whom gave it.
95 The fourth order: they understand the rest in which they are gathered into their chambers; and they shall rest in profound quiet while guarded by angels, and what glory awaits them in the last.
96 The fifth order: they rejoice that they have now escaped what is corruptible, and inherit what is to come in the future; besides they see the straits and toil from which they have already been fully delivered, and the spacious freedom they will receive and enjoy forever.
97 The order of the sixth: when shown to them how their face is to shine like the sun, and how they are to be made like the light in the stars, being incorruptible forever.
98 The seventh order: which is greater than everything already stated for they shall rejoice with confidence and without uncertainty, and shall rejoice with reverence as they make haste to see the face of Him they served and lived, and as they are to receive from Him the reward of glorification.
99 Here in order of the souls of the just, as henceforth is announced; the before said are the ways of torment which those who have neglected it shall suffer hereafter."
100 I answered, and I said: "Then shall they be given the time of their souls, after they have been separated from the bodies, that they may see what you said?"
101 He said to me: "for seven days they shall have freedom that they may see in those seven days what was predicted in the words [above], and afterwards they shall be gathered together as in their habitations." [Remember that a day there could be a thousand years here and vice versa.]
102 I answered, and said: "If I have found favor in your sight, show me also your servant, if in the day of judgment of the just they will be able to pray for the wicked to the Most High to excuse them,
103 In the case of parents for the children, or the children for the parents, brothers for their brethren, or for the nearest kinsmen, with confidence in defense of our dearest."
104 He answered me and said: "for you have found favor in the eyes with my own eyes, and this I will show you. The Day of Judgment is a bold thing shows to all as the seal of the truth. Just as now the father does not send, or son his father, or a lord his loyal servant, or whom he loved; [he does not] ensure them to be ill, or sleep, or eat,
105 So no one can pray for something then, for everyone shall bear their own unrighteousness or righteousness."
106 [This concludes the verses that were deleted and restored by translation from the public domain Latin. This verse is numbered 36 in most versions today.]
106 Then said I, "Abraham prayed first for the Sodomites, and Moses for the fathers who sinned in the wilderness;
107 And Jesus after him for Israel in the time of Achan;
108 And Samuel and David for the destruction: and Solomon for them that should come to the sanctuary:
109 And Helias for those that received rain; and for the dead, that he might live:
110 And Hezekiah for the people in the time of Sennacherib: and many for many.
111 Even so now, seeing corruption is grown up, and wickedness increased, and the righteous have prayed for the ungodly. Why shall it not be so now also?
112 He answered me, and said, "This present life is not the end where much glory does abide; therefore have they prayed for the weak.
114 Intemperance is at an end, infidelity is cut off, righteousness is grown, and truth is sprung up.
115 Then shall no man be able to save him that is destroyed, nor to oppress him that has gotten the victory."
116 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.
117 For what profit is it for men now in this present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for punishment?
118 O you Adam, what have you done? For though it was you who sinned, you are not fallen alone, but we all that come of you.
119 For what profit is it unto us, if there be promised us an immortal time, whereas we have done the works that bring death?
120 And that there is promised us an everlasting hope, whereas ourselves being most wicked are made vain?
121 And that there are laid up for us dwellings of health and safety, whereas we have lived wickedly?
122 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?
124 (For we have walked in unbecoming ways.)
125 And that the faces of them which have used abstinence [from evil] shall shine above the stars, whereas our faces shall be blacker than darkness?
126 For while we lived and committed iniquity, we considered not that we should begin to suffer for it after death."
127 Then answered he me, and said, "This is the condition of the battle, which man that is born upon the earth shall fight;
128 That, if he is overcome, he shall suffer as you have said; but if he gets the victory, he shall receive the thing that I say.
129 For this is the life whereof Moses spoke unto the people while he lived, saying, 'Choose you life, that you may live.'
130 Nevertheless they believed not him, nor yet the prophets after him, no nor myself who has spoken unto them,
131 That there should not be such heaviness in their destruction, as shall be joy over them that are persuaded to salvation."
132 I answered then, and said, "I know, Lord, that the most High is called merciful, in that he has mercy upon them which are not yet come into the world,
133 And upon those also that turn to his law;
134 And that he is patient, and long suffers those that have sinned, as his creatures;
135 And that he is bountiful, for he is ready to give where it is needed;
136 And that he is of great mercy, for he multiplies more and more mercies to them that are present, and that are past, and also to them who are to come.
137 For if he did not multiply his mercies, the world would not continue with them that inherit therein.
138 And he pardons; for if he did not so of his goodness, that those who have committed iniquities might be eased of them, the ten thousandth part of men should not remain living.
139 And being judge, if he should not forgive them that are cured with his word, and put out the multitude of contentions,
140 There would probably be very few left of the innumerable multitude."
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1 For God has given strict commandment to such as came, what they should do to live, as they came [into the world], and what they should observe to avoid punishment. Paul tells us: For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by instinct the things contained in the law, these men who do not have the law, are a law to themselves. Rom 2:14. The gospel has been preached by God in all men. Col 1:23. God has given every man a small measure of himself, the Light, that is given to every man who comes into the world. John 1:1-9. The Light in man reasons and pleads with him in his lifetime, and at judgment all men will recall those pleadings and be ashamed of their deliberate departure from the loving counsel of God.
2 said of the most High, that he does not exist; Has there ever been a time in history when there are so many people who believe that God is a myth? We are besieged with the theory of evolution. We are besieged with reports of new paleontology discoveries proving that man evolved from apes. Belief in a creator is ridiculed by knowledgeable men. The cover of the April 8, 1966 edition of Time headlined "God is Dead," and the accompanying article concerned a movement in American theology that arose in the 1960s known as the death of God. Atheism is rampant today, and with atheism, evil flourishes. Surely our time is the time of the end of the age, and the thinning of the earth of sinners, with the complete destruction of sin on the earth approaching.
Even the vast majority of those who believe in a God, do not believe in a God who insists on righteousness and abstention from sin, but rather believe in a Santa Claus fatherly figure who is there to serve us when prayed to; thus, even for believers, the true God has been forgotten and his law in their hearts ignored.
3 For my son Jesus shall be revealed with those that be with him, and those who remain shall rejoice within four hundred years. After these years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life. This is a remarkable prophecy about his son Jesus, written 400 years before his birth. Many scholars have worked hard to discredit it as written before the death of Christ. However, George Fox quoted from these verses and others to prove that the Jesus was the Messiah and was shamefully put to death, just as predicted in the Jews' own scriptures:
Again [like Mat 23:37] , in 4 Esdras 1:30. ‘the Lord [would have] gathered you, as a hen gathers her chicken under her wings: but now what shall I do for you? I will cast you out of my sight.’ Would not the Messiah have gathered you when he came, but you would not hear? So your house has become a desolation [the temple destroyed], and you were cast forth [scattered in exile].
And in Solomon's Book of Wisdom Chapter 2: ‘He upbraids us for offending against the law (2:12); he makes his boast to have the knowledge of God and calls himself the Son of God (2:13); he is made to reprove our thoughts (2:14); it grieves us also to look upon him for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of another fashion (2:15): let us examine him with rebukes and torments, that we may know his meekness, and prove his patience(2:19); let us condemn him to a shameful death (2:20).’ And did not you Jews fulfill all this? Are not these sayings verified by you concerning the Messiah?
And you sons of Adam, who are called Jews, what do you think of the saying in 4 Esdras? Chapter 7, ‘The bride shall appear, and he shall come forth and be seen, that now is under the earth: for my Son Jesus shall appear with those that be with him, and those who remain shall rejoice within four hundred years; and after these same years shall my Son Christ die.’ So do you think he spoke truth? What Jesus was this, the anointed,* that was prophesied of should die after the four hundred years?
*the crucified, purified, sanctified, perfected believers of the early Church had the anointing and had the life of God within them, as they walked the earth but dwelled in sight and consciousness in heaven. Both Jesus and John spoke of the anointing as "he," a person, that person being the Spirit of Jesus. They freely confessed that Jesus, (the anointing), had come in their flesh to be their ruling Lord and King.
Further, the 400 years was close to the life of the early church, which was the woman who was forced to flee into the wilderness. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand-two-hundred and sixty days. Rev 12:6. The woman had a man child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron; The man child child was taken up into the heavens in 388 AD. The woman is the church of Christ; the true church, which was forced by the devil to flee into the wilderness for 1260 days (years by Bible references) by the persecutions of the false church in which Satan rules. So the true church was no longer seen in the world, no longer organized, but instead became a few isolated individuals; and all men that have life also died after 400 years — the true church died out, (after these years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life). George Fox refers to this throughout his writings. The true Church of Christ returned from the wilderness in 1648, the beginning of Fox entering the Kingdom, which resulted in thousands entering the kingdom of heaven to be kings and priests to God. Counting backwards, the true church totally disappeared in 388AD. The woman had a man child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron; The man child child was taken up into the heavens in 388 AD, a few years after the sainted Roman Emperor Theodosius I had enacted a law in 380 AD establishing Roman Catholic Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, which effectively combined the church and Roman state as one entity. The crushing boot of the Empire's sponsored Roman religion was used to persecute and kill the true church by burning all heretics. The Roman Empire's church, both east and west, had doctrines that had been dictated by the sainted Emperors Constantine and Justinian the despot, thus eliminating the true gospel by 388 AD. As prophesied in Revelation, the church adulterated with the Kings of the earth.
The Book of 4 Esdra 7:28 states: "For my son Jesus shall be revealed with those that be with him, and those who remain shall rejoice within four hundred years." This book was originally in the King James Bible, to be removed in the early 1800s. There is argument over when this book was written: some say long before Christ, some say in the 2nd Century — but in either case it was a prophecy that came true. 388 years is close to 400 AD, the time that the early church died, (and all men that have life died too), the woman (Church) went into the wilderness, and her son, (the man-child Jesus) was taken up to heaven (referenced as died).
Around 1750, the Quaker movement, as pure as it had been in the beginning, became completely apostatized, with the last substance disappearing by 1880. The long night of apostasy picked up again. The man child awaits his appearance again. From the Word of the Lord within: "The woman was snatched away and hidden in the wilderness again. The woman in the wilderness is beautiful. Little children, listen to the woman in the wilderness. This time when she appears, she will come in great power." So the true church is no longer seen in the world, no longer organized, but instead is a few isolated individuals being prepared and following their Lord and Master.
Isaac Penington writes of the church in the wilderness:
But Zion, all this while, has lain in the dust, and been despised; she has had no building, no fence, but has been trampled under foot by every unclean beast. Her witnesses have been clothed with sack-cloth, (a garment which all the lofty inhabitants of Babylon disdain): her fare has been hard in the wilderness, only a little manna, (which, with the fleshly Israel, who lust after rich and large knowledge, is counted light bread, and their souls soon loathe it);* nor had she this in plenty, but only a small proportion daily, from the hand of the free Giver, sufficient to keep life in her in the wilderness, and to furnish her with strength to give in her testimony against Babylon, so far as the Lord saw good to call any of her seed thereunto. Now what believer can be willing to fare thus with her at present, and to wait for her future riches, fullness, beauty, and glory? No, no; they have so long lived richly, and fared so deliciously in Babylon, that they know not how to eat the bread of affliction, and drink the water of affliction, with sad and desolate Zion: and yet this is the only way and passage out of Babylon into Zion. That which has been rich and fat, and full fed there, must become poor and lean, and feel hunger, and have none of the bread of life administered to it; no, not so much as husks either.
*Penington has said that a seeker in the wilderness must be satisfied with a difficult-to-receive bread and with not much bread (spoken words heard in the heart); in the wilderness there is no organized, mature body of true Christians to meet with and be ministered to by them all speaking from the Word of God in their hearts. Further Penington observes that many fleshly Christians cannot tolerate small beginnings, only content with volumes of words heard or read. For years, waiting on God every day for an hour in the morning, I would hear one short sentence every week or two; such are the small beginnings in the wilderness.
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