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2 Esdras 6

2 Esdras :Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

1 The Lord answered:
I decided that when I created the world—before the doors of the world were put in place or the wind started to blow;
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 thunder roared or lightning flashed; before the foundations of heaven
c 6.2 heaven: Latin “Paradise.”
were laid;
2 Before it thundered and lightened, or ever the foundations of paradise were laid,
3 before beautiful flowers bloomed or stars moved across the sky or crowds of angels gathered together; 3 Before the fair flowers were seen, or ever the moveable powers were established, before the innumerable multitude of angels were gathered together,
4 before the sky and heaven were set in the air and given names; before I chose Mount Zion as my own or 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 years were counted; before the evil plans of sinners were destroyed or people who faithfully worshiped me were counted as mine. 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 Before all these things happened, I made the decision that since I alone had created the world and everything in it, I alone would bring it to an end. 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 I asked, “How much time will pass between the end of the present age and the beginning of the next?”
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 The Lord answered:
The same amount of time that passed between Abraham and his son Isaac, who was the father of the twins Jacob and Esau. Esau was born first, but Jacob was holding onto Esau's heel as they were born.
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.
9-10 Esau's heel is like the end of this present age, and Jacob's hand is like the beginning of the next age. There's no space in between the two, so don't look for any. 9 For Esau is the end of the world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth.
More Signs of the End of Time
11 I said to Uriel the angel,
d 6.11 I said to Uriel the angel: Latin “I said.”
“Sir, would you please
11 I answered then and said, O Lord that bearest rule, if I have found favour in thy sight,
12 show me more signs of the end of time? You showed me only some of them the other night.”
e 6.12 the other night: See 5.1-13.
12 I beseech thee, shew thy servant the end of thy tokens, whereof thou shewedst me part the last night.
13 Uriel
f 6.13 Uriel: Latin “He.”
answered, “Stand up, and you will hear a loud voice.
13 So he answered and said unto me, Stand up upon thy feet, and hear a mighty sounding voice.
14 Don't be afraid if the place where you are standing begins to shake back and forth 14 And it shall be as it were a great motion; but the place where thou standest shall not be moved.
15 while the voice is speaking. The message will be about the end of time, and the foundations of the earth will know 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 that the message is about them. They will tremble in fear because they know they will be changed when the end comes.” 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 So I stood up and listened. I heard a voice as loud as a roaring ocean,
6.17 Rev 1.15; 14.2; 19.6.
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:
Soon I will come to judge all people on earth
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 punish everyone who does evil. Then Jerusalem's time of disgrace will end, 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 the present age will begin to disappear, because I will bring it to a close. I will show the following signs: the books which list the names of my people will be opened in the sky where everyone can see them.
6.20 Dn 7.10; 12.1; Ml 3.16; Rev 20.12.
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 Children a year old will begin speaking, and pregnant women will give birth after only three or four months, yet the babies will live and play. 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 Fields where seeds have been planted will be bare, and barns that were full will be empty. 22 And suddenly shall the sown places appear unsown, the full storehouses shall suddenly be found empty:
23 A trumpet will be blown, and everyone will be terrified.
6.23 1Co 15.51
23 And tha trumpet shall give a sound, which when every man heareth, they shall be suddenly afraid.
24 Friends will suddenly become enemies. The earth and all living things will tremble with fear. Rivers and springs will stop flowing for three hours. 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 I will rescue everyone who survives these disasters, and they will live to see the end of this world.
25 Whosoever remaineth from all these that I have told thee shall escape, and see my salvation, and the end of your world.
26 They will meet those who were taken up into heaven without dying.
g 6.26 those who were taken up into heaven without dying: Such as Enoch (see Genesis 5.24) and Elijah (see 2 Kings 2.11,12).
The hearts of everyone on earth will be changed,
6.26 Gn 5.24; 2K 2.11
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 so that evil will disappear. 27 For evil shall be put out, and deceit shall be quenched.
28 Faithfulness will increase and overcome wickedness, and truth will be seen after being hidden for so long. 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 While this voice was speaking, I felt the ground under me begin shaking back and forth.
h 6.29 forth: One possible meaning for the difficult Latin text of verse 29.
29 And when he talked with me, behold, I looked by little and little upon him before whom I stood.
30 Then Uriel said to me:
I have come tonight to show you these things.
i 6.30 things: One possible meaning for the difficult Latin text of verse 30.
30 And these words said he unto me; I am come to shew thee the time of the night to come.
31 But if you pray and go without eating for seven more days, I will show you even greater things, 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 because God Most High has heard your prayer. Our mighty God has watched you obey and do right since you were young. 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 so he sent me to show these things and to tell you to be brave and trust him to keep you safe. 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 If you waste time worrying and asking about the past, then you will be in a rush when the end comes.” 34 And hasten not with the times that are past, to think vain things, that thou mayest not hasten from the latter times.
How Long Will Foreign Nations Rule Over Us?
35 Some time later, I cried and went without eating for seven more days, just as I had done before,
j 6.35 just as I had done before: See 5.20.
and so my three weeks of sorrow were complete.
k 6.35 my three weeks of sorrow were complete: Only two weeks were mentioned in this book. Perhaps the author is remembering another seven-day period that is no longer part of the book. Three weeks of sorrow is a normal period of time (see Daniel 10.2,3).
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 Then on the very next night,
l 6.36 the very next night: Latin, “the eighth night.”
I once again became upset and started praying to God Most High.
36 And in the eighth night was my heart vexed within me again, and I began to speak before the most High.
37 I was very depressed and nervous, 37 For my spirit was greatly set on fire, and my soul was in distress.
38 but I prayed:
6.38 Ps 33.6; He 11.3; 2P 3.5.
Our Lord, on the first day of creation, you said, “I command the heavens and the earth
m 6.38 the heavens and the earth: The entire universe.
to appear.” And they did, just as you commanded.
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 There was a wind blowing, while a silent darkness covered everything. No human voice could be heard. 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 you commanded bright light to shine from the storehouse of light, so that your creation could be seen. 40 Then commandedst thou a fair light to come forth of thy treasures, that thy work might appear.
41 On the second day, you created the spirit of the dome and commanded it to separate the water above from the water below.
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 On the third day, you commanded the water to come together and cover one-seventh of the world. You dried up the other six parts to make them useful for planting and harvesting crops.
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 As soon as you commanded these things, they happened. 43 For as soon as thy word went forth the work was made.
44 All kinds of fruits and vegetables suddenly appeared, each of them different and tasty. Colorful, sweet-smelling flowers began blooming. All of this happened on the third day. 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 On the fourth day, you commanded the sun, the moon, and the stars to shine in the sky.
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 you gave them orders to serve the humans you would soon make. 46 And gavest them a charge to do service unto man, that was to be made.
47 On the fifth day, you commanded the ocean to be filled with birds, fishes, and other living creatures. And it happened.
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 The water that had no life of its own produced living creatures, just as you commanded, so that nations would be amazed at your creation. 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 You named two of these living creatures: one was Behemoth, and the other was Leviathan.
6.49-52 Job 7.12; Ps 74.12-15.
49 Then didst thou ordain two living creatures, the one thou calledst Enoch, and the other Leviathan;
50 You put them in different places, because the ocean could not hold them both. 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 Behemoth was sent to live on dry land, in an area covered with thousands of mountains. 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 Leviathan was allowed to live in the ocean. You created them both, so that the people you choose can eat them at the time you have decided. 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 On the sixth day, you commanded the earth to give life to tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles.
53 Upon the sixth day thou gavest commandment unto the earth, that before thee it should bring forth beasts, cattle, and creeping things:
54 Then you created Adam and made him the ruler over everything you had created. We, your chosen people, are his descendants. 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 I have told you this, our Lord, because you said that you created the world for our sake alone.
n 6.55 you said that you created the world for our sake alone: This idea is not found in the Old Testament. It is a later Jewish interpretation of such verses as Exodus 4.22; Deuteronomy 10.15, and 14.2.
55 All this have I spoken before thee, O Lord, because thou madest the world for our sakes
56 And you said that the rest of the nations on earth, even though they are also descendants of Adam, are as worthless as spit. They are no more important to you than a single drop of water in a bucket. 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 But these nations are the ones that have defeated us and are ruling over us. 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 You have called us your first-born child, and we are the only people you have chosen as your own. You honor and love us, although you allowed enemy nations to conquer 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 this world was created for us, then how long must we wait before we can take control? 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?

© 1999 American Bible Society

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