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2 Esdras 8

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

8
1 Uriel answered:
God Most High created this world where many people live, but he created the future world for only a few of them.
8
1 And he answered me, saying, The most High hath made this world for many, but the world to come for few.
2 For example, Ezra, if you ask the earth, it will tell you that it produces a lot of clay to make pots. But this same earth has a very small amount of gold. That's the way it is with this present world: 2 I will tell thee a similitude, Esdras; As when thou askest the earth, it shall say unto thee, that it giveth much mould whereof earthen vessels are made, but little dust that gold cometh of: even so is the course of this present world.
3 Many have been created, but only a few will be saved.
8.3 Mt 22.14.
3 There be many created, but few shall be saved.
People Live Only a Short Time
4 I said to myself, “I must try to understand what all this means.
4 So answered I and said, Swallow then down, O my soul, understanding, and devour wisdom.
5 I didn't decide when to be born,
g 8.5 I didn't decide when to be born: One possible meaning for the difficult Latin text.
and I won't decide when to die. God will let me live only a few years.”
5 For thou hast agreed to give ear, and art willing to prophesy: for thou hast no longer space than only to live.
6 Then I prayed:
Our Lord in heaven, please hear this prayer from your servant. Plant a new seed in us, so that our hearts and minds will obey you, and so that all humans will stop sinning and live.
6 O Lord, if thou suffer not thy servant, that we may pray before thee, and thou give us seed unto our heart, and culture to our understanding, that there may come fruit of it; how shall each man live that is corrupt, who beareth the place of a man?
7 You alone are God, and you have created each one of us, 7 For thou art alone, and we all one workmanship of thine hands, like as thou hast said.
8 giving us life before we are born and adding arms and legs to our unborn bodies. You keep us safe in fire and water for the nine months that you shape our bodies. 8 For when the body is fashioned now in the mother's womb, and thou givest it members, thy creature is preserved in fire and water, and nine months doth thy workmanship endure thy creature which is created in her.
9 Both the womb that holds the unborn baby and the baby itself are protected until the time of birth arrives. 9 But that which keepeth and is kept shall both be preserved: and when the time cometh, the womb preserved delivereth up the things that grew in it.
10 Then, in obedience to you, the mother's breasts produce milk so her baby 10 For thou hast commanded out of the parts of the body, that is to say, out of the breasts, milk to be given, which is the fruit of the breasts,
11 can be fed for a while. After that, your love helps the baby grow 11 That the thing which is fashioned may be nourished for a time, till thou disposest it to thy mercy.
12 and learn what is right. You teach the child your Law and guide it with your wisdom. 12 Thou broughtest it up with thy righteousness, and nurturedst it in thy law, and reformedst it with thy judgment.
13 You are the Creator of life, and so you can take the life of this child or let it live. 13 And thou shalt mortify it as thy creature, and quicken it as thy work.
14 I ask you, Lord, if you carefully create everyone and then put them to death, why do you create them at all? 14 If therefore thou shalt destroy him which with so great labour was fashioned, it is an easy thing to be ordained by thy commandment, that the thing which was made might be preserved.
15 I realize that you care about all people and know them well, but I am very sad about the suffering of your chosen ones.
15 Now therefore, Lord, I will speak; touching man in general, thou knowest best; but touching thy people, for whose sake I am sorry;
16 I am mourning the pain of Israel, the descendants of Jacob. You chose them to be your own, 16 And for thine inheritance, for whose cause I mourn; and for Israel, for whom I am heavy; and for Jacob, for whose sake I am troubled;
17 and so I will pray for them and for all of us on earth who sin against you. 17 Therefore will I begin to pray before thee for myself and for them: for I see the falls of us that dwell in the land.
18 The time when you will judge is coming soon. 18 But I have heard the swiftness of the judge which is to come.
19 That's why I am begging you to listen to my prayer.
Ezra Prays for the People of Israel
Just before I was taken up into heaven
19 Therefore hear my voice, and understand my words, and I shall speak before thee. This is the beginning of the words of Esdras, before he was taken up: and I said,
20 I prayed:
Our Lord, you live forever in the highest heavens, and they belong to you.
20 O Lord, thou that dwellest in everlastingness which beholdest from above things in the heaven and in the air;
21 Your throne is too large to measure, and your glory is greater than we can imagine. Angels tremble when they stand in front of you, 21 Whose throne is inestimable; whose glory may not be comprehended; before whom the hosts of angels stand with trembling,
22 and they change into wind or fire at your command. We believe your laws and everything you say, just as an army believes its strong leader.
8.22 Ps 104.4; He 1.7.
22 Whose service is conversant in wind and fire; whose word is true, and sayings constant; whose commandment is strong, and ordinance fearful;
23 One look from you dries up the deepest ocean, and mountains melt when they see your anger. Your truth will never be changed. 23 Whose look drieth up the depths, and indignation maketh the mountains to melt away; which the truth witnesseth:
24 I am your servant, because you created me, so please hear my prayer. 24 O hear the prayer of thy servant, and give ear to the petition of thy creature.
25 I will speak as long as I am alive and can think. 25 For while I live I will speak, and so long as I have understanding I will answer.
26 Ignore the sins of your people and instead look carefully at those who have faithfully worshiped you.
26 O look not upon the sins of thy people; but on them which serve thee in truth.
27 Forget what the wicked do, but remember how your faithful followers struggled to obey your laws, even when this caused them trouble. 27 Regard not the wicked inventions of the heathen, but the desire of those that keep thy testimonies in afflictions.
28 Don't pay attention to those who constantly do wrong, but take care of everyone who listens with fear to what you command. 28 Think not upon those that have walked feignedly before thee: but remember them, which according to thy will have known thy fear.
29 Don't wipe out those people who behave like wild animals; instead, honor those who enjoy teaching your Law to others. 29 Let it not be thy will to destroy them which have lived like beasts; but to look upon them that have clearly taught thy law.
30 Don't get angry with those you know are no better than wild beasts. Instead show your love to everyone who has trusted your glory. 30 Take thou no indignation at them which are deemed worse than beasts; but love them that always put their trust in thy righteousness and glory.
31 We and our ancestors have done things that lead to death, yet it is because of our sins that you are called a God of mercy.
31 For we and our fathers do languish of such diseases: but because of us sinners thou shalt be called merciful.
32 We are sinful and guilty, so if you have pity on us, you will certainly be called a merciful God. 32 For if thou hast a desire to have mercy upon us, thou shalt be called merciful, to us namely, that have no works of righteousness.
33 You will bless the people who have always done what is right. 33 For the just, which have many good works laid up with thee, shall out of their own deeds receive reward.
34 Why are you so angry with people? What good are we anyway?
34 For what is man, that thou shouldest take displeasure at him? or what is a corruptible generation, that thou shouldest be so bitter toward it?
35 No one on earth has ever been perfect—everyone has sinned! 35 For in truth them is no man among them that be born, but he hath dealt wickedly; and among the faithful there is none which hath not done amiss.
36 If you show mercy to those who have done nothing for others, then everyone will know how kind and good you are. 36 For in this, O Lord, thy righteousness and thy goodness shall be declared, if thou be merciful unto them which have not the confidence of good works.
The Lord Promises a Future Reward for Ezra
37 The Lord answered:
Ezra, some of what you just said is true, and those things will happen exactly as you said.
37 Then answered he me, and said, Some things hast thou spoken aright, and according unto thy words it shall be.
38 It's true that I won't even think about sinners or their birth, death, judgment, and everlasting punishment. 38 For indeed I will not think on the disposition of them which have sinned before death, before judgment, before destruction:
39 Instead, I will celebrate the birth of good people, their lives on earth, and how they were saved from destruction and how they will be rewarded. 39 But I will rejoice over the disposition of the righteous, and I will remember also their pilgrimage, and the salvation, and the reward, that they shall have.
40 Things will happen just as I have told you. 40 Like as I have spoken now, so shall it come to pass.
41 A farmer plants a lot of seeds and small plants, yet not all of them will take root and grow. It's the same with people—not everyone on earth will be saved at the end of time. 41 For as the husbandman soweth much seed upon the ground, and planteth many trees, and yet the thing that is sown good in his season cometh not up, neither doth all that is planted take root: even so is it of them that are sown in the world; they shall not all be saved.
42 Then I replied:
Please listen to me again.
42 I answered then and said, If I have found grace, let me speak.
43 The seeds the farmer planted may not grow because you stopped the rain from falling. Or maybe there was too much rain, and they rotted in the ground. 43 Like as the husbandman's seed perisheth, if it come not up, and receive not thy rain in due season; or if there come too much rain, and corrupt it:
44 People aren't the same as seeds. You made people to be like you, and then you created all plants and animals for them. Are we the same as seeds? 44 Even so perisheth man also, which is formed with thy hands, and is called thine own image, because thou art like unto him, for whose sake thou hast made all things, and likened him unto the husbandman's seed.
45 Surely not. Save us, Lord, because you created us to be your very own. Have mercy on us. 45 Be not wroth with us but spare thy people, and have mercy upon thine own inheritance: for thou art merciful unto thy creature.
46 The Lord said:
The present time is for those who are now alive, and the future is for those who will come later.
46 Then answered he me, and said, Things present are for the present, and things to cometh for such as be to come.
47 It's true that you cannot love my creation more than I do, but stop thinking of yourself as wicked. 47 For thou comest far short that thou shouldest be able to love my creature more than I: but I have ofttimes drawn nigh unto thee, and unto it, but never to the unrighteous.
48 Yet I am pleased that you 48 In this also thou art marvellous before the most High:
49 don't think of yourself as perfect and that you realize it's wrong to boast. 49 In that thou hast humbled thyself, as it becometh thee, and hast not judged thyself worthy to be much glorified among the righteous.
50 These arrogant people who have boasted about themselves will suffer much pain at the end of time. 50 For many great miseries shall be done to them that in the latter time shall dwell in the world, because they have walked in great pride.
51 Meanwhile, you should think about the glorious reward that you and other faithful followers will receive at that time.
51 But understand thou for thyself, and seek out the glory for such as be like thee.
52 Heaven will be open to all of you. In fact, the tree that brings life has been planted, and the future world is ready. I have built the holy city, where you will have everything you need, including perfect rest. All things that are good and wise are waiting for you.
8.52 1P 1.4.
52 For unto you is paradise opened, the tree of life is planted, the time to come is prepared, plenteousness is made ready, a city is builded, and rest is allowed, yea, perfect goodness and wisdom.
53 Things that are evil will be kept from you, so that you won't ever be sick or unhappy. You will live forever, because wickedness and the world of the dead will be wiped out.
h 8.53 because wickedness ... out: One possible meaning for the difficult Latin text.
53 The root of evil is sealed up from you, weakness and the moth is hid from you, and corruption is fled into hell to be forgotten:
54 All misery will disappear at the end of time, and everyone will receive the gift of everlasting life. 54 Sorrows are passed, and in the end is shewed the treasure of immortality.
55 So stop asking about the large number of people who will die.
55 And therefore ask thou no more questions concerning the multitude of them that perish.
56 After all, when they had the chance to choose, they rejected me and refused to obey my laws and commands. 56 For when they had taken liberty, they despised the most High, thought scorn of his law, and forsook his ways.
57 They abused those who were faithful to me 57 Moreover they have trodden down his righteous,
58 and even said I wasn't real, knowing they would someday die. 58 And said in their heart, that there is no God; yea, and that knowing they must die.
59 That's why the rewards I have described will be given to you, while the wicked will receive nothing but thirst and torture. I, the Most High God, do not like to see people die without hope.
8.59 Lk 16.24.
59 For as the things aforesaid shalt receive you, so thirst and pain are prepared for them: for it was not his will that men should come to nought:
60 But it's their fault for disgracing me, even though I created them and offered them a good life. 60 But they which be created have defiled the name of him that made them, and were unthankful unto him which prepared life for them.
61 The time of their judgment is coming soon. 61 And therefore is my judgment now at hand.
62 No one besides you and a few other faithful followers know this.
More Signs of the End of Time
I said
62 These things have I not shewed unto all men, but unto thee, and a few like thee. Then answered I and said,
63 to the Lord, “You have shown me a lot of things that will be signs of the end of time, but you have not told me when they will take place.” 63 Behold, O Lord, now hast thou shewed me the multitude of the wonders, which thou wilt begin to do in the last times: but at what time, thou hast not shewed me.

© 1999 American Bible Society
 



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Last update of the program: 1-11-2019