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The Second Book of Esdras [Ezra the Priest the Scribe]

1:1 THE SECOND BOOK of the prophet Ezra [Esdras], son of Scrayah, son of Azaryah, son of Chilquiyah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Achiyah, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, son of Amaryah, son of Aziah, son of Marimoth, son of Arna, son of Uzzi, son of Borith, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi. 2 I, Ezra, was a captive in Media in the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia. 3 The Word of Yahweh came to me: 'Go to my people and proclaim their crimes. 4 Tell their children how they sinned against me, and let them tell their children's children. 5 They sinned even more than their fathers. 6 They forgot me and sacrificed to alien gods. 7 Was it not I who rescued them from Egypt, the country where they were slaves? Yet they provoked me to anger and ignored my warnings.

8 "Now, Ezra, pluck out your hair, let calamities loose upon these people who disobey my law. 9 They are beyond correction. How much longer shall I endure them, I who lavished such benefits on them? Many are the kings I overthrew for their sake. 10 I struck down Pharaoh, with his court, and all his army. 11 I destroyed every nation that stood in their way. In the east I routed the peoples of two provinces, Tyre and Sidon, and killed all the enemies of Yisrayah. 12 'Say to them: "These are the words of Yahweh. Was it not I who brought you through the sea, and made safe roads for you where no road was? 13 [I] gave you Moses as your leader, and Aaron as your priest. 14 I gave you light from a pillar of fire, and performed great miracles among you. And yet you have forgotten me: says Yahweh.

15 '"These are the words of Yahweh Almighty: I gave you quails as a sign. 16 I gave you a camp for your protection. 17 But all you did there was to grumble and complain, instead of celebrating the victory I gave you when I destroyed your enemies. From that day to this you have never stopped complaining. Have you forgotten what benefits I conferred on you? 18 When you were hungry and thirsty in your journey through the desert, you cried out to me: 'Why did you bring us into this desert, to kill us? 19 Better to have remained in Egypt as slaves than to die here in the desert!' I was grieved by your complaints, and gave you manna for food. 20 You ate the bread of malaks. When you were thirsty, I split open the rock and out flowed water in plenty. 21 Against the summer heat I gave you the shelter of leafy trees. I gave you fertile lands to divide among your tribes, expelling the Canaanites, Perizzites, and Philistines who opposed you. 22 What more could I do for you: says Yahweh?

23 '"These are the words of Yahweh Almighty: When you were in the desert, suffering thirst by the stream of bitter water, and cursing me, I did not bring down fire upon you for your blasphemy. 24 I cast a tree into the stream and made the water sweet. What am I to do with you, Yaacob? Yahudah, you refuse to obey me. 25 I will turn to other nations. I will give them my Name, they will keep my statutes. Because you deserted me, I will desert you. 26 When you cry for mercy, I will show you none. When you pray to me, I will not listen. 27 You stained your hands with blood, you run hot-foot to commit murder. It is not I whom you deserted, but yourselves: says Yahweh.

28 '"These are the words of Yahweh Almighty: Did I not plead with you as a father with his sons, as a mother with her daughters, or a nurse with her children? 29 Did I not say: 'Be my people, I will be your Father. Be my sons, I will be your Father? 30 I gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. But now what am I to do with you? I will toss you away. 31 When you offer me sacrifice, I will turn from you. 32 I reject your feasts, your new moons, and your circumcisions. I sent you my servants the prophets, but you took them, killed them, and mutilated their dead bodies. For their murder I will call you to account: says Yahweh.

33 '"These are the words of Yahweh Almighty: Your house is abandoned. 34 I toss you away like straw before the wind. 35 Your children have no posterity, like you they ignored my commandments, and did what I condemned. 36 I will hand over your home to a people soon to come, a people who will trust me, though they have not known me, who will do my bidding, though I gave them no signs, who never saw the prophets, yet will keep in mind what the prophets of old taught. 37 I vow that this people yet to come shall have my favor. Their little ones shall jump for joy. They did see me with their eyes, but they perceive by the spirit, and believe all I say."

38 'Now, father Ezra, look with triumph at the nation coming from the east. 39 The leaders I give them are Abraham, Isaac, Yaacob, Hoshea, Amos, Micah, Yahuel, Obadyah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephanyah, Haggai, Zecharyah, and MalakYah, who is also called Yahweh's Messenger.

2:1 'These are the words of Yahweh: I freed this people from slavery. I gave them commandments through my servants the prophets, but they shut their ears to the prophets, and let my precepts become a dead letter. 2 The mother who bore them says to them: "Go, my sons. I am widowed and deserted. 3 I brought you up joyfully, I lost you with grief and sorrow. 4 You sinned against Yahweh and did what I know to be wrong. 5 What can I do for you now, I am widowed and deserted? Go, my sons, ask Yahweh for mercy." 6 I call upon you, father Ezra, to add your testimony to hers, that her children have refused to keep my covenant. Let your words bring confusion on them. 7 May their mother be despoiled, and may they themselves have no posterity. Condemn them to be scattered among the nations, and their name to vanish from the earth, because they spurned my covenant. 8 'Woe to you, Assyria, for harboring sinners! Remember, you wicked nation, what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah. Their land lies buried under lumps of pitch and heaps of ashes. 9 That is how I deal with those who disobey me: says Yahweh Almighty.

10 'These are the words of Yahweh to Ezra: Tell my people I give them the kingdom of Yahrusalem which I once offered to Yisrayah. 11 I withdraw the splendor of my presence from Yisrayah. I give to my own people the home that was to be theirs forever. 12 The tree of life shall spread its fragrance over them, they shall not toil or grow weary. 13 Ask, you shall receive. Pray that your short time of waiting may be made shorter still. The kingdom is ready for you now, be on the watch! 14 Call heaven, call earth, to witness. I cancelled the evil and brought the good into being. I am the Living One: says Yahweh.

15 'Mother, cherish your sons. Rear them joyfully as a dove rears her nestlings, teach them to walk without stumbling. 16 You are my chosen one: says Yahweh. I will raise up the dead from their resting-places, and bring them out of their tombs, for I acknowledge that they bear my name. 17 Have no fear, mother of many sons. I choose you: says Yahweh. 18 'I will send my servants Yeshayah and Yermeyah to help you. 19 As they prophesied, I set you apart to be my people. 20 I made twelve trees laden with different kinds of fruit ready for you, twelve fountains flowing with milk and honey, and seven great mountains covered with roses and lilies. I will fill your sons with joy. 21 Champion the widow, defend the cause of the fatherless, give to the poor, protect the orphan, clothe the naked. Care for the weak and the helpless, do not mock at the cripple, watch over the disabled, and bring the blind to the vision of my brightness. 22 Keep both old, and young, safe within your walls.

23 'When you find the dead unburied, mark them with the sign, and commit them to the tomb. 24 When I cause the dead to rise, I will give you the chief place. 25 Be calm, my people, your time of rest shall come. Care for your children like a good nurse, train them to walk without falling. 26 Of my servants whom I give you not one shall be lost. I will demand them back from among your number. 27 Do not be anxious when the time of trouble and hardship comes. Others shall lament and be sad, but you shall have happiness and plenty. 28 All nations shall envy you, but shall be powerless against you: says Yahweh. 29 'My power shall protect you, and save your sons from hell. 30 Be joyful, mother, you and your sons, for I will come to your rescue. 31 Remember your children who sleep in the grave. I will bring them up from the depths of the earth, and show mercy to them, for I am merciful: says Yahweh Almighty. 32 Cherish your children until I come, and proclaim my mercy to them, for my favor flows abundantly from springs that never run dry.'

33 I, Ezra, received on Mount Horeb a commission from Yahweh to go to Yisrayah. But when I came, they scorned me, and rejected Yahweh's commandment. 34 Therefore I say to you Gentiles, you who hear and understand: 'Look forward to the coming of your Shepherd. 35 He will give you everlasting rest. He who is to come at the end of the world is close at hand. 36 Be ready to receive the rewards of the kingdom, light perpetual will shine upon you for ever and ever. 37 Flee from the shadow of this world, receive the joy and splendor that await you. I bear witness openly to my Savior. 38 It is He whom Yahweh has appointed. Receive Him and be joyful. 39 Give thanks to the One who summoned you to the heavenly realms. Rise, stand up, see the whole company of those who bear Yahweh's mark, and sit at His table. 40 They moved out of the shadow of this world, and received shining robes from Yahweh. 41 Receive your full number, O Zion. Close the roll of those arrayed in white who faithfully kept the law of Yahweh. The number of your sons whom you so long desired is now complete. Pray that Yahweh's kingdom may come, so that your people, whom He summoned when the world began, may be set apart as His own.'

42 I, Ezra, saw a crowd too large to count on Mount Zion, all singing hymns of praise to Yahweh. 43 In the middle stood a very tall young man, taller than all the rest, who was setting a crown on the head of each one of them. 44 He stood out above them all. 45 I was enthralled at the sight, and asked the malak: 'Sir, who are these?' 46 He replied: 'They are those who laid aside their mortal dress and put on the immortal, those who acknowledged the Name of Yahweh. Now they are being given crowns and palms. 47 'I asked again: 'Who is the young man setting crowns on their heads and giving them palms?'. 48 The malak replied: 'He is the Son of Yahweh, whom they acknowledged in this mortal life. 'I began to praise those who stood so valiantly for Yahweh's Name. The malak said to me: 'Go and tell my people all the great and wonderful acts of Yahweh that you see.'

3:1 IN THE THIRTIETH YEAR after the fall of Yahrusalem, I, Salathiel (who am also Ezra), was in Babylon. As I lay on my bed I was troubled. 2 My mind was filled with perplexity, as I considered the desolation of Zion, and the prosperity of those who lived in Babylon. 3 My spirit was deeply disturbed. 4 I uttered my fears to the Most High: 'Yahweh, my Master, was it not you in the beginning, and you alone, who spoke the Word that formed the world? 5 You commanded the dust, and Adam appeared. His body was lifeless. 6 Yours were the hands that moulded it, and you breathed the breath of life into it. So you made him a living person. 7 You led him into paradise, which you yourself planted before the earth came into being. You gave him your one commandment to obey. 8 He disobeyed it, and thereupon you made him subject to death, him and his descendants. 9 'From him nations and tribes were born, peoples and families, too numerous to count. Each nation went its own way, sinning against you, scorning you, and you did not stop them. 10 But in due time you brought the flood upon the inhabitants of the earth and destroyed them. 11 The same doom came upon all, death upon Adam, and the flood upon that generation. You spared one man, Noah, with his household, and his righteous descendants.

12 'The population of the earth increased, families and peoples multiplied, nation upon nation. 13 But then they began to sin once again, more wickedly than those before them. 14 When they sinned, you chose for yourself one of them, whose name was Abraham. 15 You loved him. To him alone, secretly, at dead of night, you showed how the world would end. 16 You made an everlasting covenant with him, and promised to never abandon his descendants. You gave him Isaac, and to Isaac you gave Yaacob and Esau. Of these you chose Yaacob for yourself and rejected Esau. Yaacob grew to be a great nation. 17 You rescued his descendants from Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai. 18 There you bent the sky, shook the earth, moved the round world, made the depths shudder, and turned creation upside down. 19 Your glory passed through the four gates of fire, earthquake, wind, and frost. You gave the commandments of the law to the Yisrayahites, the race of Yaacob. 20 But you did not take away their wicked heart, and enable your law to bear fruit in them. 21 The first man, Adam, was burdened with a wicked heart. 22 He sinned, and was overcome, not only he but all his descendants. So the weakness became inveterate. Although your law was in your people's hearts, a rooted wickedness was there too. The good came to nothing, and what was bad persisted.

23 Years went by, and when the time came you raised up a servant for yourself, whose name was David. 24 You told him to build the city that bears your name, and to offer you in sacrifice what was already your own. 25 This was done for many years, until the inhabitants of the city went astray. 26 They behaved just like Adam and all his line, for they had the same wicked heart. 27 And so you gave your own city over to your enemies. 28 'I said to myself: "Perhaps those in Babylon lead better lives, and that is why they conquered Zion." 29 But when I arrived here, I saw more wickedness than I could reckon. 30 These thirty years I saw many evil-doers with my own eyes. My heart sank, because I saw how you tolerate sinners and spare the unrighteous. 31 You destroyed your own people, but protected your enemies. 32 You gave no hint whatever to anyone how to understand your ways. Is Babylon more virtuous than Zion? Has any nation except Yisrayah ever known you? 33 What tribes put their trust in your covenants as the tribes of Yaacob? But they have seen no reward, no fruit for their pains. 34 I travelled up and down among the nations, and saw how they prosper, heedless though they are of your commandments. So weigh our sins in the balance against the sins of the rest of the world. It will be clear which way the scale tips. Has there ever been a time when the inhabitants of the earth did not sin against you? 35 Has any nation ever kept your commandments like Yisrayah? You may find one man here, one there, but nowhere a whole nation.'

4:1 The malak who was sent to me, whose name was Uriel, replied: 'You are at a loss to explain this world. Do you expect to understand the ways of the Most High?' 2 'Yes, my lord': I replied. 3 'I was sent to propound to you three of the ways of this world:' he continued; 'to give you three illustrations. 4 If you can explain to me any one of them, I will answer your question about the way of the Most High, and teach you why the heart is wicked.' 5 I said, 'Speak, my lord.' 'Come then:' he said; 'weigh me a pound of fire, measure me a bushel of wind, or call back a day that has passed.'

6 'How can you ask me to do that?' I replied: 'No man on earth can do it.' 7 He said: 'Suppose I had asked you "How many dwellings are there in the heart of the sea? 8 Or, how many streams to feed the deep? Or, how many watercourses above the vault of heaven? Where are the paths out of the grave, and the roads into paradise?". 9 You might then have replied: "I have never been down into the deep, I have not yet gone down into the grave, I have never gone up into heaven." But as it is, I only asked you about fire, about wind, and about yesterday, things you are bound to have met. Yet you failed to tell me the answers. 10 'If then': he went on; 'you cannot understand things you grew up with, how can your small capacity comprehend the ways of the Most High? 11 A man corrupted by the corrupt world can never know the way of the incorruptible.' 12 When I heard that, I fell prostrate, and exclaimed: 'Better to have never come into existence, than be born into a world of wickedness and suffering which we cannot explain!'

13 He replied: 'I went out into a wood, and the trees of the forest were making a plan. 14 They said: "Come, let us make war on the sea, force it to retreat, and win ground for more woods." 15 The waves of the sea made a similar plan. They said: "Come, let us attack the trees of the forest, conquer them, and annex their territory." 16 The plan made by the trees came to nothing, for fire came and burned them down. 17 The plan made by the waves failed just as badly, for the sand stood its ground and blocked their way. 18 If you had to judge between the two, which would you pronounce right, and which wrong?'

19 I answered: 'Both were wrong. Their plans were impossible, the land is assigned to the trees, and a place for its waves is allotted to the sea.' 20 'Yes:' he replied; 'you judge rightly. 21 Why then do you fail to do so with your own question? Just as the land belongs to the trees, and the sea to the waves, so men on earth can understand earthly things, and nothing else. Only those who live above the skies can understand the things above the skies.' 22 I said: 'Tell me, my lord, why was I given the faculty of understanding? 23 My question is not about the distant heavens, but about the things which happen every day before our eyes. Why was Yisrayah made a byword among the Gentiles? Why are the people you love put at the mercy of godless nations? 24 Why was the law of our fathers brought to nothing, and the written covenants made a dead letter? 25 We pass like a flight of locusts, our life is but a vapor. We are not worth Yahweh's pity, though we bear His name, what then will He do for us? These are my questions.'

26 He answered: 'If you survive, you will see. 27 If you live long enough, you will marvel. 28 This present age is quickly passing away. It is full of sorrow and frailties, too full to enjoy what is promised in due time for the righteous. 29 The evil about which you ask me was sown, but its reaping has not yet come. 30 Until the crop of evil is reaped as well as sown, until the ground where it was sown vanishes, there will be no room for the field which was sown with the good. 31 A grain of the evil seed was sown in the heart of Adam from the first. How much unrighteousness has it produced already! How much more will it produce before the harvest! 32 Reckon this up: if one grain of evil seed produced so great a crop of unrighteousness, how vast a harvest will there be when good seeds beyond number are sown!

33 'I asked: 'But when? How long do we have to wait? 34 Why are our lives so short, and so miserable?' He replied: 'Do not be in a greater hurry than the Most High Himself. 35 You are in a hurry for yourself alone, the Most High for many. Are these not the very questions which were asked by the righteous in the storehouse of souls? "How long must we stay here? 36 When will the harvest begin, the time when we get our reward?" 37 The arch-malak Jeremiel gave them this answer: "As soon as the number of those like yourselves is complete. Yahweh weighed the world in a balance, He measured and numbered the ages. He will move nothing, alter nothing, until the appointed number is achieved."' 38 'But, my lord, my master:' I replied; 'we are all of us sinners through and through. 39 Can it be that because of us, because of the sins of mankind, the harvest and the reward of the just are delayed?' 40 'Go:' he said. 'Ask a pregnant woman whether she can keep the child in her womb any longer after the nine months are complete.' 41 'No, my lord:' I said; 'she cannot.' He went on: 'The storehouses of souls in the world below are like the womb. 42 As a woman in travail is impatient to see the end of her labor, so they are impatient to give back all the souls committed to them since time began. 43 Then all your questions will be answered.'

44 I said: 'If it is possible for you to tell, and for me to understand, will you be gracious enough to disclose one thing more? 45 Which is the longer, the future still to come, or the past that has gone by? 46 What is past I know, but not what is still to be.' 'Come and stand on my right:' he said. 'You shall see a vision, and I will explain what it means.' 48 So I stood and watched. Before my eyes there passed a blazing fire, [and] when the flames disappeared from sight, there was still some smoke left. 49 After that a dark rain-cloud passed before me. 50 There was a heavy storm, and when it went over, there were still some raindrops left. 'Reflect on this': said the malak. 'The shower of rain filled a far greater space than the drops of water, and the fire more then the smoke. In the same way, the past far exceeds the future in length. What remains is but raindrops and smoke.' 51 'Pray tell me:' I said; 'do you think that I shall live to see those days? 52 Or in whose lifetime will they come?' 'If you ask me what signs will herald them:' he said; 'I can tell you in part. The length of your own life I am not commissioned to tell you, of that I know nothing.

5:1 'But now to speak of the signs. 2 There will come a time when the inhabitants of the earth will be seized with panic. The way of truth will be hidden from sight, the land will be barren of faith. 3 There will be a great increase in wickedness, worse than anything you now see or have ever heard of. 4 The country you see governing the world now will become a trackless desert, laid waste for all to see. 5 After the third period (if the Most High grants you a long enough life) you will see confusion everywhere. 6 The sun will suddenly begin to shine in the middle of the night, and the moon in the day-time. 7 Trees will drip blood, stones will speak, nations will be in confusion, and the courses of the stars will be changed. A king unwelcome to the inhabitants of earth will succeed to the throne. 8 Even the birds will all fly away. The Dead Sea will cast up fish. At night a voice will sound, unknown to the many but heard by all. 9 Chasms will open in many places, and spurt out flames incessantly. 10 Wild beasts will range far afield, women will give birth to monsters, fresh springs will run with salt water, and everywhere friends will become enemies. Understanding will be hidden, and reason withdraw to her secret chamber. Many will seek her, but not find her. The earth will overflow with vice and wickedness. 11 One country will ask another: "Has justice passed your way, or any just man?". 12 It will answer: "No." In those days men will hope, but hope in vain. They will strive, but never succeed.

13 'These are the signs I am allowed to tell you. Turn to prayer again, continue to weep and fast for seven days. Then you shall hear further signs, even greater than these.' 14 I awoke with a start, shuddering. My spirit faltered, and I was near to fainting. 15 The malak who came and talked to me gave me support and strength, and set me on my feet. 16 The next night Phaltiel, the leader of the people, came to me. 17 'Where have you been:' he asked? 'And why that sad look? 18 Have you forgotten that Yisrayah was entrusted to your care in exile? Rouse yourself, take nourishment. 19 Do not abandon us like a shepherd abandoning his flock to savage wolves.' I replied: 'Leave me. Do not come near me for seven days, then you may come again.' When he heard this, he left me.

20 FOR SEVEN DAYS I fasted, with tears and lamentations, as the malak Uriel told me to do. 21 By the end of the seven days my mind was again deeply disturbed. 22 I recovered the power of thought and spoke once more to the Most High.

23 'Yahweh, my Master:' I said; 'out of all the forests of the earth, and all their trees, you chose one vine. 23 From all the lands in the whole world, you chose one plot. 25 Out of all the flowers in the whole world, you chose one lily. From all the depths of the sea, you filled one stream for yourself. 26 Of all the cities ever built, you set Zion apart as your own. From all the birds that were created, you named one dove. 27 From all the animals that were fashioned, you took one sheep. 28 Out of all the countless nations, you adopted one for your own, and to this chosen people you gave the law which all men have approved. 29 Yahweh, why then did you put this one people at the mercy of so many? Why did you humiliate this one stock more than all others, and scatter your own people among the hordes of heathen? Those who reject your promises trampled on the people who trust your covenants. 30 If you hate your people so, they should be punished by your own hand.'

31 When I finished speaking, the malak who visited me that previous night was sent to me again. 32 'Listen to me:' he said. 'I will give you instruction. Attend carefully, and I will tell you more.' 33 'Speak on, my lord': I replied. He said to me: 'You are in great sorrow of heart for Yisrayah's sake. 34 Do you love Yisrayah more than Yisrayah's Maker does?' 'No, my lord:' I said. 'Sorrow forced me to speak. 35 My heart is tortured every hour as I try to understand the ways of the Most High, and to fathom some part of His judgments.' He said to me: 'You cannot.' 'Why not, my lord:' I asked? 'Why was I born? Why could my mother's womb not have been my grave? 36 Then I should never have seen Yaacob's trials and the weariness of the race of Yisrayah.' 37 He said to me: 'Count to me those who are not yet born, collect the scattered drops of rain, and make the withered flowers bloom again. Unlock the storehouses for me, let loose the winds shut up there, or make the shape of a voice visible. Then I will answer your question about Yisrayah's trials.'

38 'My lord, my master:' I said. 39 'How can there be anyone with such knowledge, except the One whose home is not among men? I am only a fool, how can I answer your questions?' 40 He said to me: 'Just as you cannot do any of the things I put to you, so you will not be able to find out my judgments, or the ultimate purpose of the love I promised to my people.' 41 I said: 'But surely, master, your promise is to those who are alive at the end. What is to be the fate of those who lived before us, or of ourselves, or of those who come after us?' 42 He said to me: 'I will compare the judgment to a circle: the latest will not be too late, nor the earliest too early.' 43 To this I replied: 'Could you not have made all men, past, present, and future, at one and the same time? 44 Then you could hold your judgment with less delay.' But he answered: 'The creation may not go faster than the Creator, nor could the world support at the same time all those created to live on it.'

45 'But, my lord:' I said; 'You told me you will at one and the same time restore to life every creature you made. How can that be? If it is going to be possible for all of them to be alive at the same time, and for the world to support them all, then it could support all of them together now.' 'Put your question in terms of a woman's womb': he replied. 'Say to a woman: "If you give birth to ten children, why do you do so at intervals? 47 Why not give birth to ten at one and the same time?"' 48 'No, my lord, she cannot do that:' I said. 'The births must take place at intervals.' 49 'True:' He answered. 'I made the earth's womb to bring forth those conceived in it at intervals. An infant cannot give birth, nor can a woman who is too old. I made the same rule for the world I created.' 50 I continued my questions. 'Since you opened the way:' I said; 'may I now ask. 51 Is our mother that you speak of still young, or is she already growing old?' 52 He replied: 'Ask any mother why the children she has borne lately are not like those born earlier, but smaller. 53 She will tell you: "Those who were born in the vigor of my youth are very different from those born in my old age, when my womb is beginning to fail." 54 Think of it like this: if you are smaller than those born before you, and those who follow you are smaller still, the reason is that creation is growing old and losing the strength of youth.' 55 I said to him: 'If I have won your favor, my lord, show me through whom you will visit your creation.'

6:1 He said to me: 'Think of the beginning of this earth. The gates of the world were not yet set up. 2 No winds gathered and blew, no thunder pealed, no lightning flashed. 3 The foundations of paradise were not yet laid, nor were its fair flowers there to see. 4 The powers that move the stars were not established, nor the countless hosts of malaks assembled, nor the vast tracts of air setup on high. 5 The divisions of the firmaments had not received their names. Zion was not yet chosen as Yahweh's own footstool. 6 The present age was not planned, the schemes of its sinners were not yet outlawed, nor was Yahweh's seal yet set on those who stored up a treasure of fidelity. Then did I think my thought, and the whole world was created through me and through me alone. In the same way, through me and through me alone the end shall come.'

7 'Tell me': I went on; 'about the interval that divides the ages. 8 When will the first age end and the next age begin?' He said: 'The interval will be no bigger than that between Abraham and Issac. 9 Yaacob and Esau were his descendants, and Yaacob's hand was grasping Esau's heel at the moment of their birth. 10 Esau represents the end of the first age, and Yaacob the beginning of the next age. 11 The beginning of a man is his hand, and the end of a man is his heel. Between the heel and the hand, Ezra, do not look for any interval.'

12 'My lord, my master:' I said. 'If I have won your favor, make known to me the last of your signs, of which you showed me a part that former night.' 13 'Rise to your feet:' he replied; 'and you will hear a loud resounding voice. 14 15 When it speaks, do not be frightened if the place where you stand tremble and shakes. 16 It speaks of the end, and the earth's foundations will understand that it is speaking of them. 17 They will tremble and shake, for they know that they must be transformed at the end.' 18 On hearing this I rose to my feet and listened. A voice began to speak. Its sound was like the sound of rushing waters. 19 The voice said: 'The time draws near when I will come to judge those who live on the earth, the time when I will inquire into the wickedness of wrong-doer, the time when Zion's humiliation will be over, the time when a seal will be set on the age about to pass away. 20 I will perform these signs: the books shall be opened in the sight of heaven, and all shall see them at the same moment. 21 Children only one year old shall be able to talk. Pregnant women shall give birth to premature babes of three and four months, who shall live and leap about. 22 Fields that were sown shall suddenly prove unsown, barns that were full shall suddenly be found empty. 23 There shall be a loud trumpet-blast, it shall strike terror into all who hear it. 24 At that time friends shall make war on friends as though they were enemies. The earth and all its inhabitants shall be terrified. Running streams shall stand still, for three hours they shall cease to flow.

25 'Whoever is left after all that I foretold, he shall be preserved, see the deliverance that I bring, and the end of this world of mine. 26 They shall all see the men [two witnesses] who were taken up into heaven without ever knowing death. 27 Then men on earth shall feel a change of heart and come to a better mind. 28 Wickedness shall be blotted out and deceit destroyed. Fidelity shall flourish, corruption overcome, and truth, so long unfruitful, be brought to light.' 29 While the voice was speaking to me, the ground under me began to quake. 30 Then the malak said to me: 'These, then, are the revelations I brought you this night." 31 If you pray and fast for seven days once again, I will return to tell you even greater things. 32 For be sure your voice has been heard by the Most High. 33 The Mighty Yahweh saw your integrity and the chastity you observed all your life. 34 That is why He sent me to you with all these revelations, and with this message: "Be confident and have no fear. Do not rush too quickly into unprofitable thoughts now in the present age, then you will not act hastily when the last age comes."

35 THEREUPON I WEPT and fasted again for seven days in the same way as before, thus completing the three weeks enjoined on me. 36 On the eighth night I was disturbed at heart again, and spoke to the Most High. 37 With spirit aflame and in great agony of mind I said: 'O Yahweh, at the beginning of creation you spoke the Word. 38 On the first day you said: "Let heaven and earth be made!". 39 Your Word carried out its work. At that time the hovering spirit was there, and darkness circled round. 40 There was silence, no sound of human voice as yet. You commanded a ray of light to be brought out of your store-chambers, to make your works visible from that time onwards.

41 On the second day you created the malak of the firmament, and commanded him to make a dividing barrier between the waters, one part withdrawing upwards and the other remaining below. 42 On the third day you ordered the waters to collect in a seventh part of the earth. 43 The other six parts you made into dry land, and from it kept some to be sown and tilled for your service. 44 Your Word went forth, and at once the work was done. A vast profusion of fruits appeared instantly, of every kind and taste that can be desired, with flowers of the most subtle colors and mysterious scents. These were made on the third day. 45 On the fourth day by your command you created the splendor of the sun, the light of the moon, and the stars in their appointed places. 46 You ordered them to be at the service of man, whose creation was about to take place. 47 On the fifth day you commanded the seventh part, where the water was collected, to bring forth living things, birds and fishes. 48 At your command, dumb lifeless water brought forth living creatures, and gave the nations cause to tell of your wonders.

49 Then you set apart two creatures. One you called Behemoth, and the other Leviathan. 50 You put them in separate places, for the seventh part where the water was collected was not big enough to hold them both. 51 You gave to Behemoth as his territory part of the land which was made dry on the third day, a country of a thousand hills. 52 To Leviathan you gave the seventh part, the water. 53 You kept them to be food for whom you will, and when you will. On the sixth day you ordered the earth to produce for you cattle, wild beasts, and creeping things. 54 To crown your work you created Adam, and gave him sovereignty over everything you made. It is from Adam that we, your chosen people, are all descended.

55 'I recited the whole story of the creation, O Yahweh, because you said that you made this first world for our sake. 56 All the rest of the nations descended from Adam are nothing, they are no better than spittle, and, for all their numbers, no more than a drop from a bucket. 57 And yet, O Yahweh, those nations which count for nothing are today ruling over us and devouring us. 58 We, your people, are put into their power. Your people, whom you called your first-born, your only son, your champion, and your best beloved. 59 Was the world really made for us? Why, then, may we not take possession of our world? How much longer shall it be so?'

7:1 When I finished speaking, the same malak was sent to me as on the previous nights. 2 He said to me: 'Rise to your feet, Ezra, listen to the message I came to give you.' 3 'Speak, my lord': I said. 4 He said to me: 'Imagine a sea set in a vast open space, spreading far and wide, but the entrance to it narrow like the gorge of a river. 5 If anyone is determined to reach this sea, whether to set eyes on it or to gain command of it, he cannot arrive at its open waters except through the narrow gorge. 6 Or again, imagine a city built in a plain, a city full of everything you can desire. 7 The entrance to it is narrow and steep, with fire to the right and deep water to the left. 8 There is only the one path, between the fire and the water, and that is only wide enough for one man at a time. 9 If some man was given this city as a legacy, how can he take possession of his inheritance except by passing through these dangerous approaches?' 10 'That is the only way, my lord': I agreed.

11 He said to me: 'Such is the lot of Yisrayah. It was for Yisrayah that I made the world. 12 When Adam transgressed my decrees the creation came under judgment. 13 The entrances to this world were made narrow, painful, arduous, few, evil, full of perils and grinding hardship. 14 The entrances to the greater world are broad and safe, and lead to immortality. 15 All men must enter this narrow and futile existence, otherwise they can never attain the blessings in store. 16 Ezra, why are you so deeply disturbed at the thought that you are mortal, and must die? Why do you not turn your mind to the future instead of the present?' 17 My lord, my master:' I replied. 'In your law you laid it down that the just shall come to enjoy these blessings, but the unrighteous shall be lost. 18 The just, therefore, can endure this narrow life and look for the spacious life hereafter. But those who live a wicked life will go through the narrows without ever reaching the open spaces.' 19 He said to me: 'You are not a better judge than Yahweh, nor wiser than the Most High. 20 Better that many now living should be lost, than that the law Yahweh set before them should be despised!

21 Yahweh gave clear instructions for all men when they come into this world, telling them how to attain life, and how to escape punishment. 22 The unrighteous refuse to obey Him. 23 They set up their own empty ideas, and planned deceit and wickedness. 24 They even deny the existence of the Most High, and do not acknowledge His ways. 25 They reject His law, refuse His promises, do not put faith in His decrees, nor do what He commands. Therefore, Ezra, emptiness for the empty, fullness for the full!

26 'Listen! The time shall come when the signs I foretold will be seen. 27 The city which is now invisible shall appear, and the country now concealed be made visible. 28 Everyone who was delivered from the evils I foretold shall see for himself my marvellous acts. 29 My Son the Messiyah shall appear with His companions, and bring four hundred years of happiness to all who survive. 30 At the end of that time, my Son the Messiyah shall die, and so shall all mankind who draw breath. 31 The world shall return to its original silence for seven days, as at the beginning of creation. No one shall be left alive. After seven days the age which is not yet awake shall be roused, and the age which is corruptible shall die. 32 The earth shall give up those who sleep in it, the dust those who rest there in silence, and the storehouses shall give back the souls entrusted to them. 33 The Most High shall be seen on the judgment-seat, and there will be an end of all pity and patience. 33 Judgment alone shall remain. 35 Truth shall stand firm, and faithfulness be strong. Requitals shall begin at once, and open payment made. 36 Good deeds shall awake, wicked deeds shall not be allowed to sleep. The place of torment shall appear, and over against it the place of rest. The furnace of hell shall be displayed, and on the opposite side the paradise of delight.

37 'The Most High shall say to the nations that were raised from the dead: "Look and understand who it is you denied, and refused to serve, whose commandment you despised. 38 Look on this side, then on that. Here are rest and delight, there fire and torments." 39 That is what He will say to them on the day of judgment. 40 'That day will be a day without sun, moon, stars, cloud, thunder, lightning, wind, water, air, darkness, evening, morning, summer, spring, winter, heat, frost, cold, 42 hail, rain, dew, noonday, night, dawn, without brightness, glow, or light. 41 There shall be only the radiant glory of the Most High, by which all men will see everything that lies before them. 43 It shall last as it were for a week of years. Such is the order I appointed for the Judgment. 44 I give this revelation to you alone.'

45 I replied: 'My lord, I repeat what I said before. 46 "How blest are the living who obey the decrees you laid down!" 47 But as for those whom I have been praying, is there any man alive who never sinned, any man who never transgressed your covenant? 48 I see now that there are few to whom the world to come will bring happiness, and many to whom it will bring torment. The wicked heart grew up in us which estranged us from Yahweh's ways, brought us into corruption, the way of death, opened out to us the paths of ruin, and carried us far away from life. It did this, not merely to a few, but to almost all who were created.'

49 The malak replied: 'Listen to me. I will give you further instruction and correction. 50 It is for this reason the Most High created not one world, but two. 51 There are, you say, not many who are just, only a few. 52 Whereas the wicked are very numerous. Well then, hear the answer. 53 Suppose you had a very few precious stones, would you add to their number by putting common lead and clay among them?' 54 'No:' I said. 'No one would do that.' 'Look at it also in this way:' he continued. 55 'Speak to the earth, ask her humbly, she will give you the answer. 56 Say to her: "You produce gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, and clay. 57 There is more silver than gold, more copper than silver, more iron than copper, more lead than iron, more clay than lead." Then judge for yourself which things are valuable and desirable, those that are common, or those that are rare.'

58 'My lord, my master:' I said. 'The common things are cheaper, and the rarer are more valuable.' 59 He replied: 'Consider then what follows from that. The owner of something hard to get has more cause to be pleased than the owner of what is common. 60 In the same way, at my promised judgment, I shall have joy in the few who are saved, because it is they who made my glory prevail, and through those who my Name was made known. 61 But I shall not grieve for the many who are lost. They are no more than a vapor, they are like flame or smoke. They catch fire, blaze up, and then die out.' 62 Then I said: 'Mother Earth, what have you brought forth! 63 Is the mind of man a product of the dust, like the rest of creation? Far better then if the very dust was never created, and so never produced man's mind. 64 But, as it is, we grow up with the power of thought, and are tortured by it.

65 We are doomed to die, and we know it. 66 What sorrow for mankind, what happiness for the wild beasts! What sorrow for every mother's son, what gladness for the cattle and flocks! How much better their lot is than ours. They have no judgment to expect, no knowledge of torment or salvation after death. 67 What good to us is the promise of a future life if it is going to be one of torment? 68 Every man alive is burdened and defiled with wickedness, a sinner through and through. 69 Would it not have been better for us if there was no judgment awaiting us after death?' 70 The malak replied: 'When the Most High was creating the world, and Adam and his descendants, He first of all planned the judgment and what goes with it. 71 Your own words, when you said that man grows up with the power of thought, will give you the answer. 72 It was with conscious knowledge that the people of this world sinned, and that is why torment awaits them. 73 They received the commandments but did not keep them, they accepted the law but violated it. 74 What defense will they be able to make at the judgment, what answer at the last day? How patient the Most High was with the men of this world, and for how long! Not for their own sake, but for the sake of the destined age to be.'

75 Then I said: 'If I have won your favor, my lord, make this plain to me. When every one of us gives back his soul at death, shall we be kept at rest until the time when you begin to create your new world, or does our torment begin at once?' 76 'I will tell you that also': he replied. 77 'But do not include yourself among those who despise my law, do not count yourself with those who are to be tormented. 78 You have a treasure of good works stored up with the Most High, though you will not be shown it until the last days. But now to speak of death. When the Most High gives final sentence for a man to die, the spirit leaves the body to return to the One who gave it, and first of all to adore the glory of the Most High.

79 As for those who reject the ways of the Most High, and despise His law, and who hate all that fear Yahweh. 80 Their spirits enter no settled abode, but roam thenceforward in torment, grief, and sorrow. 81 And this for seven reasons. 82 First, they despised the law of the Most High. Secondly, they lost their last chance of making a good repentance, and so gaining life. 83 Thirdly, they can see the reward in store for those who trusted the covenants of the Most High. 84 Fourthly, they begin to think of the torment that awaits them at the end. 85 Fifthly, they see that malaks are guarding the abode of the other souls in deep silence. 86 Sixthly, they see that they are soon to enter into torment. 87 The seventh cause for grief, the strongest cause of all, is this: at the sight of the Most High in His glory, they break down in shame, waste away in remorse, and shrivel with fear remembering how they sinned against Him in their lifetime, and how they are soon to be brought before Him for judgment on the last day.

88 'As for those who kept to the way laid down by the Most High, this is what is appointed for them when their time comes to leave their mortal bodies. 89 During their stay on earth they served the Most High in spite of constant hardship and danger, and kept to the last letter the law given them by the lawgiver. 90 Their reward is this: first they shall exult to see the glory of Yahweh who will receive them as His own, and then they shall enter into rest in seven appointed stages of joy. 91 Their first joy is their victory in the long fight against their inborn impulses to evil, which failed to lead them astray from life into death. 92 Their second joy is to see the souls of the wicked wandering ceaselessly, and the punishment in store for them. 93 Their third joy is the good report given of them by their Maker, that throughout their life they kept the law with which they were entrusted.

94 Their fourth joy is to understand the rest which they are now to share in the storehouses, guarded by malaks in deep silence, and the glory waiting for them in the next age. 95 Their fifth joy is the contrast between the corruptible world they escaped, and the future life that is to be their possession. 96 Between the cramped laborious life from which they were set free, and the spacious life which will soon be theirs to enjoy for ever and ever. 97 Their sixth joy will be the revelation that they are to shine like stars, never to fade or die, with faces radiant as the sun. 98 Their seventh joy, the greatest joy of all, will be the confident and exultant assurance which will be theirs, free from all fear and shame, as they press forward to see face to face the One whom they served in their lifetime, and from whom they are now to receive their reward in glory. 99 'The joys I declared are the appointed destiny for the souls of the just, the torments I described before are the sufferings appointed for the rebellious.'

100 Then I asked: 'When souls are separated from their bodies, will they be given the opportunity to see what you described to me?' 101 'They will be allowed seven days:' he replied. 'For seven days they will be permitted to see the things I told you, and after that they will join the other souls in their abodes.' 102 Then I asked: 'If I have won your favor, my lord, tell me more. 103 On the day of judgment will the just be able to win pardon for the wicked, or pray for them to the Most High? Can fathers do so for their sons, or sons for their parents? Can brothers pray for brothers, relatives and friends for their nearest and dearest?' 104 'You have won my favor:' he replied; 'and I will tell you. The day of judgment is decisive, and sets its seal on the truth for all to see. In the present age a father cannot send his son in his place, nor a son his father, a master his slave, nor a man his best friend, to be ill for him, or sleepy, or eat or be cured for him. 105 In the same way no one shall ever ask pardon for a another. When that day comes, every individual will be held responsible for his own wickedness or goodness.' To this I replied: 'But how is it, then, that we read of intercessions in scripture? 106 First, there is Abraham, who prayed for the people of Sodom. Then Moses, who prayed for our ancestors when they sinned in the desert.

107 Next, there is Joshua, who prayed for the Yisrayahites in the time of Achan. 108 Then Samuel in the time of Saul, David during the plague, and Solomon at the dedication of the temple. 109 Eliyah prayed for rain for the people, and for a dead man that he might be brought back to life. 110 Khazaqiyah prayed for the nation in the time of Sennacherib, and there are many more besides. 111 If the just asked pardon for the wicked in the time when corruption grew and wickedness increased, why can it not be the same on the day of judgment?' 112 The malak gave me this answer: 'The present world is not the end, and the glory of Yahweh does not stay in it continually. 113 That is why the strong pray for the weak. But the day of judgment will be the end of the present world, and the beginning of the eternal world to come. 114 In that world corruption will be over, all excess abolished, unbelief uprooted, justice will be full-grown, and truth will have risen like the sun. 115 On the day of judgment, therefore, there can be no mercy for the man who lost his case, no reversal for the man who won it.'

116 I replied: 'But this is my point, my first point and my last. 117 How much better it would be if the earth never produced Adam at all, or, since it did so, if he was restrained from sinning! 118 What good does it do us all to live in misery now, and have nothing but punishment to expect after death? 119 O Adam, what did you do? Your sin was not your fall alone, it was ours also, the fall of all your descendants. 120 What good is the promise of immortality to us, when we commit mortal sins? What good is the hope of eternity, in the wretched and futile state to which we have come? 121 What good is the prospect of dwelling in health and safety, when we live such evil lives? 122 The glory of the Most High will guard those who lead a life of purity, but what help is that to us whose conduct is so wicked? 123 What good is the revelation of paradise, its imperishable fruit, the source of perfect satisfaction, and healing? 124 We shall never enter it, since we made depravity our home. 125 Those who practise self-discipline shall shine with faces brighter than the stars. 126 What good is that to us whose faces are darker than the night? During a lifetime of wickedness we never gave a thought to the sufferings awaiting us after death.'

127 The malak replied: 'This is the thought for every man to keep in mind during his earthly contest. 128 If he loses, he must accept the sufferings you mentioned. If he wins, the rewards I described will be his. 129 That was the way Moses in his time urged the people to take, when he said: "Choose life and live!" 130 But they did not believe him, nor the prophets after him, nor me when I spoke to them. 131 Over their damnation there will be no sorrow, there will only be joy for the salvation of those who believed.'

132 'My lord:' I replied. 133 'I know that the Most High is called "compassionate" because He has compassion on those yet unborn, called "merciful" because He shows mercy to those who repent and live by His law, "patient" because He shows patience to those who sin (His own creatures as they are), "benefactor" because He prefers giving to taking, and "rich in forgiveness" because He forgives sinners again and again, past, present, and to come. 134 Without His continued forgiveness there could be no hope of life for the world and its inhabitants. 135 He is called "generous" because without His generosity in releasing sinners from their sins, not one ten-thousandth part of mankind could hope to be given life. 136 He is also called "judge", for unless He grants pardon to those who were created by His Word, and blots out their countless offences, I suppose that of the entire human race only very few would be spared.'

8:1 The malak said to me in reply: 'The Most High made this world for many, but the next world for only a few. 2 Let me give you an illustration, Ezra. Ask the earth, it will tell you it can produce plenty of clay for making earthenware, but very little gold-dust. 3 The same holds good for the present world: many were created, but only a few will be saved.'

4 I SAID: 'My soul, drink deep of understanding, eat your fill of wisdom! 5 Without your consent you came here, unwillingly you go away, only a brief span of life is given you. 6 O Yahweh above, if I may be allowed to approach you in prayer, plant a seed in our hearts and minds, make it grow until it bears fruit, so that fallen man may obtain life. 7 You alone are Yahweh, we are all shaped by you in one mould, as your Word declares. 8 The body moulded in the womb receives from you both life and limbs, that which you create is kept safe amid fire and water. 9 For nine months the body moulded by you bears what you created in it. Both the womb which holds safety and that which is safely held will be safe only because you keep them so. 10 After the womb delivers up what was created in it, then from the human body itself, that is milk from the breasts, the fruit of the breasts, is supplied by your command. 11 For a certain time what was made is nourished in that way. 12 Afterwards it is still cared for by your mercy. You bring it up to know your justice, train it in your law, and correct it by your wisdom. 13 It is your creature, you made it. 14 You can put it to death or give it life, as you please. But if you should lightly destroy one who was fashioned by your command with so much labor, what was the purpose of creating him?

15 'And now let me say this: you know best about mankind at large. 16 It is for your own people that I grieve, for your inheritance that I mourn. 17 My sorrow is for Yisrayah, my distress for the race of Yaacob. 18 For them and for myself, therefore, I address my prayer to you, since I perceive how low we have fallen, we dwellers on earth. 19 I know well how quickly your judgment will follow. Hear my words then, and consider the prayer which I make to you.'

Here begins the prayer Ezra made, before he was taken up to heaven. 20 'O Yahweh, who inhabits eternity; to whom the sky and the highest heavens belong; whose throne is beyond imagining; whose glory is past conceiving; who are attended by the host of malaks trembling as they turn themselves into wind and fire at your bidding; whose Word is true and constant; whose commands are mighty and terrible; whose glance dries up the deeps; whose anger melts the mountains; and whose truth stands forever: hear your servant's prayer. 22 O Yahweh, listen to my petition, and consider my words, for you fashioned me. 23 While I live I will speak. 24 While understanding lasts, I will answer. 25 'Do not look upon your people's offences, look on those who served you faithfully. 26 Pay no heed to the unrighteous and their pursuits, but to those who observed your covenant, and suffered for it. 27 Do not think of those who were untrue to you all their life, but remember those who acknowledged and feared you from the heart. 28 Do not destroy those who lived like animals, but take account of those who bore shining witness to your law. 29 Do not be angry with those judged to be worse than beasts. 30 Show love to those who put unfailing trust in your glory.

31 We and our fathers lived in mortal sin, it is on our account that you are called merciful. 32 If it is your desire to have mercy on us sinners, who have no just deeds to our credit, then you shall be called merciful indeed. 33 The reward which will be given to the just, who have many good works stored up with you, will be no more than their own deeds earned. 34 'What is man, that you should be angry with him? Or the race of mortals, that you should treat them so harshly? 35 The truth is, no man was ever born who did not sin. No man alive is innocent of offence. 36 It is through your mercy towards those with no store of good deeds to their name that your justice and kindness, O Yahweh, will be made known.'

37 The malak said to me in reply: 'Much of what you said is just, and it will be as you say. 38 Be sure that I shall not give any thought to sinners, to their creation, death, judgment, or damnation. 39 I shall take delight in the just, in their creation, their departure from this world, their salvation, and their final reward. 40 So I said, and so it is. 41 The farmer sows many seeds in the ground, and plants many plants, but not all the seeds sown come up safely in season, nor do all the plants strike root. 42 So too in the world of men, not all who are sown will be preserved.' 43 To that I replied: 'If I have won your favor, let me speak. The farmer's seed may never come up because it is given no rain at the right time, or it may rot because of too much rain. 44 Man was formed by your hands, and made in your image. You made everything for his sake, will you compare him with seed sown by a farmer? 45 Surely not, O Yahweh above! Spare your own people, pity them, for you will be pitying your own creation.'

46 He answered: 'The present is for those now alive, the future for those yet to come. 47 You cannot love my creation with a love greater than mine, far from it! 49 Never again rank yourself among the unjust, as you so often do. 50 The Most High approves of the modesty you rightly show, you have not sought great glory by including yourself among the righteous. 51 In the last days, then, the inhabitants of the world will be punished for their arrogant lives by bitter sufferings. 52 Ezra, you should direct your thoughts to yourself, and the glory awaiting those like you. 53 Paradise lies open for all of you. The tree of life is planted, the age to come is made ready, and rich abundance is in store. 54 The city is already built, rest from toil is assured, goodness and wisdom are brought to perfection. 55 The root of evil is sealed off from you. For you there is no more illness, death is abolished, hell has fled, and decay is quite forgotten. All sorrows are at an end, the treasure of immortality is finally revealed. 56 Ask no more questions, therefore, about the many who are lost. 57 They were given freedom, and used it to despise the Most High, to treat His law with contempt, and abandon His ways. Yes, and they trampled on His just servants.

58 They said to themselves: "There is no Yahweh"; though well aware that they must die. 59 Yours will be the joys I predicted, theirs the thirst and torments which are prepared. 60 It is not that the Most High wants any man to be lost. 61 Those He created have themselves brought dishonor on their Creator's Name, and shown ingratitude to the One who put life within their reach. 62 My day of judgment is now close at hand. I have not made this known to all, only to you and a few like you.' 63 'My lord:' I replied; 'you revealed to me the many signs which you are going to perform in the last days, but you have not told me when that will be.'

9:1 The malak answered: 'Keep a careful count yourself. 2 When you see that some of the predicted signs already happened, you will understand the time has come when the Most High will judge the world He created. 3 When the world becomes the scene of earthquakes, insurrections, plots among the nations, unstable government, and panic among rulers, then you will recognize these as the events which the Most High foretold since the world first began. 4 Just as everything that is done on earth has its beginning and end clearly marked, so it is with the times which the Most High determined. 5 Their beginning is marked by portents and miracles, their end by manifestations of power.

7 'Whoever comes safely through and escapes destruction (thanks to his good deeds, or faith he shows), will survive all the dangers I foretold. 8 He will witness the salvation I bring to my land, the country I marked out from all eternity as my own. 9 Those who misused my law will be taken by surprise. 10 Their contempt for it will bring them continual torment. 11 All who failed to acknowledge me in their lifetime, in spite of all the good things I gave them, all who disdained my law while freedom was still theirs, who scornfully dismissed the thought of penitence while the way was still open, all these will have to learn the truth through torments after death. 12 Do not be curious any more, Ezra, to know how the unrighteous will be tormented, but only how and when the just will be saved. 13 The world is theirs. 14 It exists for their sake.'

15 I answered: 'I repeat what I said again and again. 16 The lost outnumber the saved as a wave exceeds a drop of water.' 17 The malak replied: 'The seed to be sown depends on the soil, the color on the flower, the product on the workman, and the harvest on the farmer. 18 There was once a time before the world was created for men to dwell in, at that time I was planning it for the sake of those who now exist. 19 No one disputed my plan, for no one existed. I supplied this world with unfailing food, and a mysterious law. 20 Those who I created turned to a life of corruption. I looked at my world, and there it lay spoiled. 21 My earth was in danger from men's wicked thoughts, at the sight I could scarcely bring myself to spare them. 22 I saved one grape out of a cluster, one tree out of a forest. So then let it be: destruction for the many who were born in vain, and salvation for my grape and my tree, which cost me such labor to bring to perfection. 23 'You, Ezra, must wait one more week. Do not fast this time. 24 Go to a flowery field where no house stands. Eat only what grows there, no meat or wine, and pray unceasingly to the Most High. 25 I will come and talk to you again.'

26 SO I WENT OUT as the malak told me to a field called Ardat. 27 I sat there among the flowers. My food was what grew in the field, and I ate to my heart's content. The week ended. 28 I was lying on the grass troubled in mind again with all the same perplexities. 29 I broke my silence and addressed the Most High. 30 'O Yahweh:' I said; 'You showed yourself to our fathers in the desert at the time of the exodus from Egypt, when they were travelling through the barren and untrodden waste. 31 You said: "Hear me, Yisrayah. Listen to my words, race of Yaacob. 32 This is my law, which I sow among you to bear fruit, and bring you glory forever." Our fathers who received your law did not keep it. 33 They did not observe your commandments. Not that the fruit of the law perished, that is impossible, for it was yours. 34 Those who received it perished, because they failed to keep safe the good seed that was sown in them. 35 Now the usual way of things is that when seed is put into the earth, or a ship on the sea, or food or drink into a jar, then if the seed, or the ship, or the contents of the jar should be destroyed, what held or contained them does not perish with them. 36 But with us sinners it is different. Destruction will come upon us, the recipients of the law, and upon our hearts, the vessel that held the law.

37 The law itself is not destroyed, but survives in all its glory.' 38 While these thoughts were in my mind, I looked round. 39 On my right I saw a woman in great distress, mourning, and lamenting loudly. Her dress was torn, and she had ashes on her head. 40 Abandoning my meditations, I turned to her, and said: 'Why are you weeping? What is troubling you?' 41 She replied: 'Sir, please leave me to my tears and my grief. 42 My bitterness of heart is great, my distress is great.' I asked: 'Tell me what happened to you?' 43 She replied: 'Sir, I was barren and childless through thirty years of marriage. 44 Every hour of every day during those thirty years, day and night alike, I prayed to the Most High. 45 Then after thirty years, Yahweh had mercy on my distress, and answered my prayer. He took note of my sorrow, and granted me a son. What happiness He brought to my husband and myself and to all our neighbors! What praise we gave to the Mighty Yahweh! 46 I took great pains over his upbringing. 47 When he came of age, I chose a wife for him, and fixed the date of the wedding.

10:1 'But when my son entered his wedding-chamber, he fell down dead. 2 So we all put out our lamps, and all my neighbors came to comfort me. 3 I controlled my grief till the evening of the following day. 4 When they all ceased urging me to take comfort, and control my grief, I rose and stole away in the night. I came here, as you can see, to this field. 5 I made up my mind to never go back to the town, but to stay here eating nothing and drinking nothing, and to continue my mourning and fasting unbroken till I die.' 6 At that I interrupted the train of my thoughts, and I spoke sternly to the woman: 'You are the most foolish woman in the world.' 7 I said; 'Are you blind to the grief and sufferings of our nation? It is for the sorrow and humiliation of Zion, the mother of us all, that you should mourn so deeply. 8 You should share in our common mourning and sorrow. 9 But you are deep in sorrow for your one son. Ask the earth and she will tell you, she must mourn for the thousands and thousands who come to birth upon her.

10 We all originally sprang from her, and there are more to come. 11 Almost all her children go to perdition, and their vast numbers are wiped out. 12 Who then has the better right to be in mourning: the earth, who has lost such vast numbers, or you, whose sorrow is for one alone? 13 You may say to me: "But my grief is very different from the earth's grief. I lost the fruit of my own womb, which I brought to birth with pain and travail, but it is only in the course of nature that the vast numbers now alive on earth should depart in the same way as they came." 14 My answer to that is: At the cost of pain you were a mother, but in the same way the earth has always been the mother of mankind, bearing fruit to earth's creator. 15 'Keep your sorrow to yourself, therefore, and bear your misfortunes bravely. 16 If you will accept Yahweh's decree as just, then in due time you will receive your son back again, and win a honored name among women. 17 So go back to the town, and to your husband.' 18 'No, I will not:' she replied. 'I will not go back to the town, I will stay here to die.'

20 I continued to argue with her. 'Do not do what you say:' I urged. 21 'Be persuaded because of Zion's misfortunes, and take comfort to yourself from the sorrow of Yahrusalem. 22 You see how our sanctuary was laid waste, our altar demolished, and our temple destroyed. Our harps are unstrung, our hymns silenced, our shouts of joy cut short. The light of the sacred lamp is out, and the ark of our covenant was taken as spoil. 23 The holy vessels are defiled, and the name which Yahweh conferred on us is disgraced. Our leading men were treated shamefully, our priests burnt alive, and the Levites taken off into captivity. Our virgins were raped, our wives ravished, our Yahweh-fearing men carried off, and our children abandoned. 24 Our youths were enslaved, and our strong warriors reduced to weakness. Worst of all, once sealed with Yahweh's own seal, Zion forfeited its glory and is in the hands of our enemies. Throw off your own heavy grief, lay all your sorrows aside. May the Mighty Yahweh restore you to His favor, may the Most High give you rest and peace after your troubles!'

25 Suddenly, while I was still speaking to the woman, I saw her face begin to shine. 26 Her countenance flashed like lightning, and I shrank from her in terror. 27 While I wondered what this meant, she suddenly uttered a loud and terrible cry, which shook the earth. I looked up and no longer saw a woman, but a complete city, built on massive foundations. I cried aloud in terror: 28 'Where is the malak Uriel, who visited me before? It is his doing that I fell into this bewilderment, that all my hopes are shattered, and all my prayers in vain.'

29 I was still speaking when the malak appeared who had visited me before. 30 When he saw me lying in a dead faint, unconscious on the ground, he grasped me by my right hand, put strength into me, and raised me to my feet. 31 'What is the matter:' he asked? 32 'Why are you overcome? What was it that disturbed your mind and made you faint?' 'It was because you deserted me': I replied. 'I did what you told me, I came out to the field. What I saw here and can still see is beyond my power to relate.' 33 He said: 'Stand up like a man, and I will explain it to you.' 34 Speak, my lord:' I replied. 35 'Only do not abandon me and leave me to die unsatisfied. 36 I see and I hear things beyond my understanding, unless this is all an illusion and a dream. 37 I beg you to tell me, my lord, the meaning of my vision.'

38 The malak replied: 'Listen to me while I explain to you the meaning of the things that terrify you. 39 The Most High revealed many secrets to you. 40 He saw your blameless life, your unceasing grief for your people, and your deep mourning over Zion. 41 Here then is the meaning of the vision. 42 A little while ago you saw a woman in mourning, and tried to give her comfort. 43 Now you no longer see that woman, but a whole city.

44 She told you she lost her son, and this is the explanation. 45 The woman you saw is Zion, which you now see as a city, with all its buildings. 46 She told you she was childless for thirty years, that was because there were three thousand years in which sacrifices were not yet offered in Zion. 47 But then, after the three thousand years, Solomon built the city and offered the sacrifices. 48 That was the time when the barren woman bore her son. She said she took great pains over his upbringing, that was the period when Yahrusalem was inhabited. Then she told you of the great loss she suffered, how her son died on the day he entered his wedding-chamber. 49 That was the destruction which overtook Yahrusalem. Such was the vision: you saw the woman mourning for her son, and you tried to comfort her in 50 her sufferings, this was the revelation you had to receive. 51 Seeing your sincere grief and heartfelt sympathy for the woman, the Most High is showing you now her radiant glory, and her beauty.

52 That was why I told you to stay in a field where no house stood, for I knew that the Most High intended to send you this revelation. 53 I told you to come to this field, where no foundation had been laid for any building. 54 In the place where the city of the Most High is to be revealed, no building made by man could stand. 55 'Have no fear then, Ezra, set your trembling heart at rest. 56 Go into the city, and see the magnificence of the buildings, so far as your eyes have power to see it all. 57 After that you shall hear as much as your ears have power to hear. 58 You are more blessed than most other men, few have such a name with the Most High as you have. 59 Stay here till tomorrow night, when the Most High will show you in dreams and visions what He intends to do to the inhabitants of earth in the last days.' I did as I was told and slept there that night and the next.

11:1 ON THE SECOND NIGHT I had a vision in a dream. 2 I saw an eagle with twelve wings and three heads rising from the sea. I saw it spread its wings over the whole earth. 3 All the winds blew on it, and the clouds gathered. 4 Out of its wings I saw rival wings sprout, which proved to be only small and stunted. 5 Its heads lay still. Even the middle head, which was bigger than the others, lay still between them. 6 As I watched, the eagle rose on its wings to set itself up as ruler over the earth and its inhabitants. 7 I saw it bring everything under heaven into subjection, it met with no opposition at all from any creature on earth. 8 I saw the eagle stand erect on its talons, and it spoke aloud to its wings: 'Do not all wake at once.' 9 'Sleep in your places, each wake up in turn, the heads are to be kept till the last.' 10 I saw that the sound was not coming from its heads, but from the middle of its body. 11 I counted its rival wings, and saw that there were eight of them.

12 As I watched, one of the wings on its right side rose and became ruler over the whole earth. 13 After a time, its reign came to an end, and it disappeared from sight completely. 14 The next one arose and established its rule, which it held for a long time. 15 When its reign was coming to an end and it was about to disappear like the first one, a voice could be heard saying to it: 'You ruled the world for so long, listen to my message before your time comes to disappear. 16 None of your successors will achieve a reign as long as yours, nor even half as long.' 17 The third wing arose, ruled the world for a time like its predecessors, and disappeared like them.

19 In the same way all the wings came to power in succession, and disappeared from sight in turn. 20 As time went on, I saw the wings on the left side also raise themselves up to seize power. 21 Some of them did so, and passed immediately from sight, while others arose but never came to power. 22 At this point I noticed that two of the little wings were no longer to be seen, like the twelve. 23 Nothing was now left of the eagle's body except the three motionless heads and six little wings. 24 As I watched, two of the six little wings separated from the rest and took up a place under the head on the right. 25 The other four remained where they were. 26 I saw them planning to rise up and seize power.

27 One rose, but disappeared immediately. 28 The second vanished even more quickly than the first. 29 I saw the last two planning to seize the kingship for themselves. 30 While they were still plotting, suddenly one of the heads woke from sleep, the one in the middle, the biggest of the three. 31 I saw how it joined with the other two heads, and along with them turned and devoured the two little wings which were planning to seize power. 32 This head got the whole earth into its grasp, establishing an oppressive rule over all its inhabitants, a world-wide kingdom mightier than any of the wings had ruled. 33 After that I saw the middle head vanish just as suddenly as the wings did. 34 There were two heads left, and they also seized power over the earth and its inhabitants. 35 As I watched, the head on the right devoured the head on the left. 36 I heard a voice which said to me: 'Look carefully at what you see before you.' 37 I looked, and saw what seemed to be a lion roused from the forest. 38 It roared as it came, I heard it address the eagle with a human voice.

39 'Listen to what I tell you': it said. 40 'The Most High says to you: Are you not the only survivor of the four beasts to which I gave the rule over my world, intending to bring my ages to their end through them? 41 You are the fourth beast, you conquered all who went before, ruling over the whole world, holding it in the grip of fear and harsh oppression. 42 You lived long in the world, governing it with deceit, with no regard for truth. You oppressed the gentle, injured the peaceful, hated the truthful, and loved liars. You destroyed the homes of the prosperous, and razed to the ground the walls of those who did you no harm. 43 Your insolence is known to the Most High, your pride to the Mighty One. 44 The Most High surveyed the periods He fixed. They are now at an end, His ages have reached their completion. 45 So you, eagle, must now disappear and be seen no more, you and your terrible great wings, your evil small wings, your cruel heads, your grim talons, and your whole worthless body. 46 All the earth will feel relief at its deliverance from your violence, and look forward hopefully to the judgment and mercy of its Creator.'

12:1 While the lion was still addressing the eagle, I looked and saw the one remaining head disappear. 2 The two wings which went over to him arose and set themselves up as rulers. 3 Their reign was short and troubled, when I looked at them they were already vanishing. 4 The eagle's entire body burst into flames, and the earth was struck with terror. 5 My alarm and fear was so great that I awoke, and said to myself: 'See the result of your attempt to discover the ways of the Most High! My mind is weary, I am utterly exhausted. 6 The terrors of this night completely drained my strength. 7 I will now pray to the Most High for strength to hold out to the end. 8 'Then I said: 'My Master Yahweh, if I have won your favor and stand higher in your approval than most men, if it is true that my prayers reach your presence, then give me strength. 9 Reveal to me, Yahweh, the exact interpretation of this terrifying vision, and so bring full consolation to my soul. 10 You already judged me worthy to be shown the end of the present age.'

11 He said to me: 'Here is the interpretation of your vision. 12 The eagle you saw rising from the sea represents the fourth kingdom in the vision seen by your brother Daniyl. 13 He was not given the interpretation which I am now giving you, or already gave you. 14 The days are coming when the earth will be under an empire more terrible than any before. 15 It will be ruled by twelve kings, one after another. 16 The second to come to the throne will have the longest reign of all the twelve. 17 That is the meaning of the twelve wings you saw. 18 'As for the voice which you heard speaking from the middle of the eagle's body, and not from its heads, this is what it means: After this second king's reign, great conflicts will arise, which will bring the empire into danger of falling. 19 Yet it will not fall then, but will be restored to its original strength.

20 'As for the eight lesser wings which you saw growing from the eagle's wings, this is what they mean: The empire will come under eight kings whose reigns will be trivial and short-lived. 21 Two of them will come and go just before the middle of the period, four will be kept back until shortly before its end, and two will be left until the end itself.

22 'As for the three heads which you saw sleeping, this is what they mean: In the last years of the empire, the Most High will bring to the throne three kings who will restore much of its strength, and rule over the earth and its inhabitants more oppressively than anyone before. 23 They are called the eagle's heads, because they will complete and bring to a head its long series of wicked deeds. 24 As for the greatest head, which you saw disappear, it signifies one of the kings, who will die in his bed in great agony. 25 The two that survived will be destroyed by the sword. 26 One of them will fall by the sword of the other, who will himself fall by the sword in the last days. 27 'As for the two little wings that went over to the head on the right side, this is what they mean: They are the ones whom the Most High reserved until the last days. 28 Their reign, as you saw, was short and troubled.

31 'As for the lion you saw coming from the forest, roused from sleep and roaring, which you heard addressing the eagle, taxing it with its wicked deeds and words, this is the Messiah whom the Most High kept back until the end. 32 He will address those rulers, taxing them openly with their sins, their crimes, and their defiance. 33 He will bring them alive to judgment. 34 He will convict them, and then destroy them. He will be merciful to those of my people that remain, all who were kept safe in my land. 35 He will set them free, and give them gladness, until the day of final judgment comes, which I told you about at the beginning.

36 'That, then, is the vision which you saw, and its meaning. 37 It is the secret of the Most High, which no one except yourself has proved worthy to be told. 38 What you saw you must write in a book, and deposit it in a hiding-place. You must disclose these secrets to those of your people whom you know to be wise enough to understand them, and to keep them safe. 39 Stay here yourself for seven more days, to receive whatever revelation the Most High thinks fit to send you.' Then the malak left me.

40 When all the people heard seven days passed without my returning to town, they assembled, and came to me. 41 What wrong or injury have we done you:' they asked me; 'that you deserted us, and settled here? 42 Out of all the prophets you are the only one left to us. 43 You are like the last cluster in a vineyard, like a lamp in the darkness, or a safe harbor for a ship in a storm. 44 Have we not suffered enough? If you desert us, it woulf be far better to have been destroyed in the fire that burnt up Zion. 45 We are no better than those who perished there.' They raised a loud lamentation. 46 I replied: 'Take courage, Yisrayah. Lay aside your grief, house of Yaacob. 47 The Most High bears you in mind, the Mighty One has not forgotten you forever. 48 I did not leave you, nor abandon you. 49 I came here to pray for Zion in her distress, and to beg for mercy for your sanctuary that fell so low. Go to your homes now, every one of you. I will come back to you in a few days' time.' 50 So the people returned to the town as I told them, while I remained in the field. I stayed there for seven days in obedience to the malak, eating nothing but what grew in the field, and living on that for the whole of the time.

13:1 THE SEVEN DAYS PASSED, and the next night I had a dream. 2 In my dream, a wind came up out of the sea and set the waves in turmoil. 3 This wind brought a human figure rising from the depths, as I watched this man came flying with the clouds of heaven. 4 Wherever he turned his eyes, everything they fell on was seized with terror. Wherever the sound of his voice reached, all who heard it melted like wax at the touch of fire. 5 Next I saw an innumerable host of men gathering from the four winds of heaven, to wage war on the man who rose from the sea. 6 I saw the man hew out a vast mountain for himself, and fly up on to it. 7 I tried to see from what quarter or place the mountain was taken, but I could not. 8 I saw all who gathered to wage war against the man were filled with fear, yet they dared to fight against him. 9 When he saw the hordes advancing to attack, he did not so much as lift a finger against them. 10 He had no spear in his hand, no weapon at all. 11 As I watched, he poured what seemed like a stream of fire out of his mouth, a breath of flame from his lips, and a storm of sparks from his tongue. All of them combined into one mass: the stream of fire, the breath of flame, and the great storm. It fell on the host advancing to join battle, and burnt up every man of them. All that enormous multitude suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but dust, ashes, and a reek of smoke. I was dumbfounded at the sight.

12 After that, I saw the man coming down from the mountain and calling to himself a different company, a peaceful one. 13 He was joined by great numbers of men, some with joy on their faces, others with sorrow. 14 Some came from captivity, some brought others to him as an offering. I woke up in terror, and prayed to the Most High. 15 I said: 'You revealed these marvels to me, your servant, all the way through. You judged me worthy to have my prayers answered. 16 Now show me the meaning of this dream also. 17 How terrible, to my thinking, it will be for all who survive to those days! But how much worse for those who do not survive! 18 Those who do not survive will have the sorrow of knowing what is in store in the last days, and yet missing it. 19 Those who do survive are to be pitied for the terrible dangers and trials which, as these visions show, they will have to face. 20 But perhaps after all it is better to endure the dangers and reach the goal than to vanish out of the world like a cloud, and never see the events of the last days.'

21 He replied: 'Yes, I will explain the meaning of this vision, and tell you all you ask. 22 As for your question about those who survive, this is the answer: The very person from whom the danger will come from, will protect from danger those who have works and fidelity laid up to their credit with the Most High. 23 You may be assured that those who survive are more highly blessed than those who die.

25 'This is what the vision means: The man you saw rising from the depths of the sea is He whom the Most High held in readiness through many ages. 26 He will Himself deliver the world He made, and determine the lot of those who survive. 27 As for the breath, fire, and storm which you saw pouring from the mouth of the man, so that without a spear or any weapon in His hand He destroyed the hordes advancing to wage war against Him, this is the meaning: The day is near when the Most High will begin to bring deliverance to those on earth. 28 Then men will all be filled with great alarm. 29 They will plot to make war on one another, city on city, region on region, nation on nation, kingdom on kingdom. 30 When this happens, and all the signs I showed you come to pass, my Son will be revealed, whom you saw as a man rising from the sea. 31 On hearing His voice, all the nations will leave their own territories, and their separate wars. They will unite in a countless host, as you saw in your vision, with a common intent to go and wage war against Him. 32 He will take His stand on the summit of Mount Zion. 33 Zion will come into sight before all men, complete and fully built. 34 This corresponds to the mountain which you saw hewn out, not by the hand of man. 35 My Son will convict the nations that confront Him of their unrighteous deeds. 36 This will correspond to the storm you saw. 37 He will taunt them with their evil plottings and the tortures they are to endure soon. 38 This corresponds to the flame. 39 He will destroy them without effort by means of the law, that is like the fire.

40 Then you saw Him collecting a different company, a peaceful one. They are the ten tribes which were taken off into exile in the time of King Hoshea, whom Shalmaneser king of Assyria took prisoner. 41 He deported them beyond the River, they were taken away into a strange country. 42 But then they resolved to leave the country populated by the Gentiles, go to a distant land never yet inhabited by man, and there at last be obedient to their laws, which in their own country they failed to keep. 43 As they passed through the narrow passages of the Euphrates, the Most High performed miracles for them, stopping up the channels of the river until they crossed over. 44 Their journey through that region, which is called Arzareth, was long, and took a year and a half. 45 They lived there ever since, until this final age. 46 Now they are on their way back, and once more the Most High will stop the channels of the river to let them cross.

48 'That is the meaning of the peaceful assembly that you saw. With them too are the survivors of your own people, all who are found inside my sacred boundary. 49 So then, when the time comes for Him to destroy the nations assembled against Him, He will protect His people who are left, and show them many prodigies.' 50 'My lord, my master:' I asked. 51 'Explain to me why the man I saw rose up out of the depths of the sea.' 52 He replied: 'It is beyond the power of any man to explore the deep sea and discover what is in it. 53 In the same way no one on earth can see my Son and His company until the appointed day. 54 Such then is the meaning of your vision. 55 The revelation was given to you, and to you alone, because you gave up your own affairs, and devoted yourself entirely to mine, to the study of my law. 56 You took wisdom as your guide in everything, and called understanding your mother. That is why I gave this revelation to you, there is a reward in store for you with the Most High. 57 In three days' time I will speak with you again, and tell you some momentous and wonderful things.' 58 I went away to the field, giving worship and praise to the Most High for the wonders He performed from time to time, for His providential control of the passing ages, and what happens in them. There I remained for three days.

14:1 ON THE THIRD DAY I was sitting under an oak tree, when a voice came to me from a bush, saying, 'Ezra, Ezra!' 2 'Here I am, Yahweh', I answered, and rose to my feet. 3 The voice went on: 'I revealed myself in the bush, and spoke to Moses, when my people Yisrayah were in slavery in Egypt. 4 I sent him to lead my people out of Egypt. I brought him up on to Mount Sinai, and kept him with me for many days. 5 I told him of many wonders, showing him the secrets of the ages, and the end of time. 6 I instructed him what to make known and what to conceal. 7 So too I now give this order to you. 8 Commit to memory the signs I showed you, the visions you saw, and the explanations you were given. 9 You yourself are about to be taken away from the world of men. 10 You will remain with my Son and with those like you, until the end of time. 11 The world lost its youth, time is growing old. 12 The whole of time is in twelve divisions. Nine divisions and half the tenth already passed, only two and a half still remain. 13 Set your house in order, therefore. 14 Give warnings to your nation, and comfort to those in need of it. 15 Take your leave of mortal life. Put away your earthly cares, lay down your human burdens, strip off your weak nature, set aside the anxieties that vex you, and be ready to depart quickly from this life. 16 However great the evils you witnessed, there are worse to come. 17 As this ageing world grows weaker and weaker, so evils will increase for its inhabitants. 18 Truth will move farther away, and falsehood come nearer. 19 The eagle that you saw in your vision is already on the wing.'

20 'May I speak in your presence, Yahweh:' I asked? 'I am to depart, by your command, after giving warning to those of my people who are now alive. 21 Who will give warning to those born hereafter? The world is shrouded in darkness, its inhabitants are without light. 22 Your law was destroyed in the fire, no one can know about the deeds you did, or intend to do. If I won your favor, fill me with your holy Spirit, so that I may write down the whole story of the world from the very beginning, everything that is contained in your law. Then men will have the chance to find the right path, and, if they choose, gain life in the last days.'

23 He replied: 'Go, call the people together. 24 Tell them to not look for you for forty days. Have a large number of writing-tablets ready. 25 Take with you Scrayah, Dibri, Shelemyah, Ethan, and Asiel, five men all trained to write quickly. Then return here. 26 I will light a lamp of understanding in your mind, which will not go out until you finish all that you are to write. 27 When your work is complete, you must make some of it public. The rest you must give to wise men to keep secret. Tomorrow at this time you shall begin to write.'

28 I went as I was ordered, summoned all the people, and said: 'Yisrayah, listen to what I say. 29 Originally our ancestors lived in Egypt as foreigners. 30 They were rescued from that land, and were given the law which offers life. 31 But they disobeyed it, and you followed their example. You were given a land of your own, the land of Zion. But like your ancestors you sinned, and abandoned the way laid down for you by the Most High.

32 Because He is a just judge He took away from you in due time what He gave. 33 So now you are here in exile, and your fellow-countrymen are still farther away. 34 If then you will direct your understanding and instruct your minds, you shall be kept safe in life, and meet with mercy after you die. 35 The judgment will come after death. We shall be restored to life, the names of the just will be known, and the deeds of the unrighteous exposed. 36 From this moment no one must come to talk to me, nor look for me for the next forty days.'

37 I took with me the five men as I was told, we went away to the field, and we stayed there. 38 On the next day I heard a voice calling me, which said: 'Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you.' 39 So I opened my mouth, and was handed a cup full of what seemed like water, except that its color was the color of fire. 40 I took it and drank, and as soon as I did so my mind began to pour forth a flood of understanding. 41 Wisdom grew greater and greater within me, I retained my memory unimpaired.

42 I opened my mouth to speak, and I continued to speak unceasingly. The Most High gave understanding to the five men, who took turns at writing down what was said, using characters they did not know before. 43 They remained at work through the forty days, writing all day, taking food only at night. 44 But as for me, I spoke all through the day. 45 Even at night I was not silent. In the forty days, ninety-four books were written. At the end of the forty days the Most High spoke to me. 46 'Make public the books you wrote first:' He said; 'to be read by good and bad alike. 47 The last seventy books are to be kept back, given to none but the wise among your people. 48 They contain a stream of understanding, a fountain of wisdom, a flood of knowledge.' And I did so.

15:1 PROCLAIM TO MY PEOPLE the words of prophecy which I give you to speak: says Yahweh. 2 Have them written down, because they are trustworthy and true. 3 Have no fear of plots against you, do not be troubled by the unbelief of those who oppose you. 4 Everyone who does not believe will die because of his unbelief. 5 Yahweh says: Beware, I am letting loose terrible evils on the world, 6 sword, famine, death, and destruction. 7 Wickedness has spread over the whole earth, there is no room for further deeds of violence.

8 Therefore Yahweh says: I will not keep silence about their unrighteous sins. 9 I will not tolerate their wicked deeds. 10 See how the blood of innocent victims cries to me for vengeance, and the souls of the just never cease to plead with me! I will most surely avenge them: says Yahweh. 11 I will hear the plea of all the innocent blood that was shed. My people are being led to the slaughter like sheep. 12 I will no longer allow them to remain in Egypt, but will use all my power to rescue them. I will strike the Egyptians with plagues, as I did before, and destroy their whole land. 13 How Egypt will mourn, shaken to its very foundations, when it is scourged and chastised by Yahweh! 14 How the tillers of the soil will mourn, when the seed fails to grow, and when their trees are devastated by blight, hail, and terrible storm! Alas for the world and its inhabitants! 15 The sword that will destroy them is not far away. Nation will draw sword against nation and go to war.

16 Stable government will be at an end. 17 One faction will prevail over another, caring nothing in their day of power for king or leading man of rank. 18 A man may want to visit a city, but will not be able to do so. 19 Ambition and rivalry will reduce cities to chaos, destroy houses, and fill men with panic. A man will violently assault his neighbor's house and plunder his goods. No pity will restrain him when he is in the grip of famine and grinding misery. 20 See how I summon before me all the kings of the earth: says Yahweh; from sunrise and south wind, from east and south, to turn back and repay what they were given. 21 I will do to them as they are doing to my chosen people even to this day. I will pay them back in their own coin.

22 These are the words of Yahweh Almighty: I will show sinners no pity. 23 The sword will not spare those murderers who stain the ground with innocent blood. 24 Yahweh's anger overflows in fire to scorch the earth to its foundations, and consume sinners like burning straw. 25 Alas for sinners who flout my commands! 26 Yahweh says: I will show them no mercy. Away from me, you rebels! 27 Do not bring your pollution near my holiness. Yahweh well knows all who sin against Him, and has consigned them to death and destruction. 28 Disaster has already fallen upon the world, you will never escape it. Yahweh will refuse to rescue you, because you sinned against Him.

29 How terrible the sight of what is coming from the east! Hordes of dragons from Arabia will sally forth with countless chariots. 30 From the first day of their advance their hissing will spread across the land, to fill all who hear them with fear and consternation. 31 The Carmanians, mad with rage, will rush like wild boars out of the forest, advancing in full force to join battle with them, and will devastate whole tracts of Assyria with their tusks. 32 But the dragons will summon up their native fury, and will prove the stronger. 33 They will rally, join forces, and fall on them with overwhelming might until they are routed, until their power is silenced, and every one of them turns to flight. 34 Their way will be blocked by a lurking enemy from Assyria, who will destroy one of them. Fear and panic will spread in their army, and wavering among their kings. 35 See the clouds stretching from east and north to south! Their appearance is hideous, full of fury and tempest. 36 They will clash together, they will pour over the land a vast storm. Shed by the sword, blood will reach as high as a horse's belly, a man's thigh, or a camel's hock.

37 Terror and trembling will cover the earth. 38 All who see the raging fury will shudder and be stricken with panic. 39 Then vast storm-clouds will approach from north and south, and others from the west. But the winds from the east will be stronger still, and will hold in check the raging cloud and its leader. 40 The storm which was bent on destruction will be fiercely driven back to the south and west by the winds from the east. 41 Huge mighty clouds, full of fury, will mount up and ravage the whole land and its inhabitants. A terrible storm will sweep over the great and the powerful, with fire, hail, and flying swords. 42 A deluge of water will flood all the fields and rivers. 43 They will flatten to the ground cities, walls, mountains, hills, trees in the woods, and crops in the fields. They will advance all the way to Babylon, and blot it out. 44 When they reach it, they will surround it, and let loose a storm in all its fury. 45 The dust and smoke will reach the sky, and all her neighbors will mourn for Babylon. Any of her survivors will be enslaved by her destroyers.

46 And you, Asia, who shared the beauty and the splendor of Babylon, alas for you, poor wretch! 47 Like her you dressed up your daughters as whores, to attract and catch your lovers who always lusted for you. 48 You copied all the schemes and practices of that vile harlot. 49 Therefore Yahweh says: I will bring terrible evils upon you: widowhood, poverty, famine, sword, and plague, bringing ruin to your homes, bringing violence and death. 50 Your strength and splendor will wither like a flower, when that scorching heat bears down upon you. 51 You will be a poor weak woman, bruised, beaten, and wounded, unable to receive your wealthy lovers any more. 52 Should I be so fierce with you: says Yahweh; if you had not killed my chosen ones continually, gloating over the blows you struck them, and hurling your drunken taunts at their corpses?

55 Paint your face, make yourself beautiful! 56 The harlot's pay shall be yours, you will get what you earned. 57 What you do to my chosen people, Yahweh will do to you: says Yahweh. 58 He consigns you to a terrible fate. Your children will die of hunger, you will fall by the sword, your cities will be blotted out, and all your people will fall on the field of battle. 59 Those who are up on the mountains will be dying of hunger, their hunger and thirst will force them to gnaw their own flesh and drink their own blood. 60 You will be foremost in misery, and still there will be more to come. 61 As the victors go past on their way home from the sack of Babylon, they will smash your peaceful city, destroy a great part of your territory, and bring much of your splendor to an end. 62 They will destroy you, you will be stubble, and they the fire. They will completely devour you, your cities, your land, your mountains, and will burn all your forests and your fruit-trees. 63 They will make your children prisoners and plunder your property. Not a trace will be left of your splendid beauty.

16:1 Alas for you, Babylon and Asia! Alas for you, Egypt and Syria! 2 Put on sackcloth and hair-shirt. 3 Raise a howl of lamentation for your sons, your doom is close at hand. 4 The sword is let loose against you, and who will turn it aside? 5 Fire is let loose upon you, who will put it out? 6 Calamities are let loose against you, who is there to stop them? 7 Can any man stop a hungry lion in a forest, or put out a fire among the stubble once it begins to blaze? 8 Can any man stop an arrow shot by a strong archer? 9 When Yahweh sends calamities, who can stop them?

10 When His anger overflows in fire, who can put it out? When the lightning flashes, who will not tremble? 11 When it thunders, who will not shake with dread? 12 When it is Yahweh who utters His threats, is there any man who will not be crushed to the ground at His approach? 13 The earth is shaken to its very foundations, and the sea is churned up from its depths; the waves and all the fish with them are in turmoil before the presence of Yahweh and the majesty of His strength. 14 His arm which bends the bow is strong, the arrows which He shoots are sharp, once they are on their way, they will not stop before they reach the ends of the earth. 15 Calamities are let loose, and will not turn back before they strike the earth. 16 The fire is alight and will not be put out until it has burned up earth's foundations. 17 An arrow shot by a powerful archer does not turn back, no more will the calamities be recalled which are let loose against the earth.

18 Alas, alas for me! Who will rescue me on that day? When troubles come, many will groan. 19 When famine strikes, many will die. When wars break out, empires will tremble. When calamities come, all will be filled with terror. 20 What will men do in the face of calamity? Famine and plague, suffering and hardship, are scourges sent to teach men better ways. 21 But even so they will not abandon their crimes, nor keep in mind their scourging. A time will come when food grows cheap, so cheap they will imagine they were sent peace and prosperity. 22 But at that very moment the earth will become a hotbed of disasters, sword, famine, and anarchy. 23 Most of its inhabitants will die in the famine, those who survive the famine will be destroyed by the sword. 24 The dead will be tossed out like dung, there will be no one to offer any comfort. 25 The earth will be left empty, and its cities a ruin. None will be left to till the ground and sow it.

26 The trees will bear their fruits, but who will pick them? The grapes will ripen, but who will tread them? 27 There will be vast desolation everywhere. 28 A man will long to see a human face, or hear a human voice. 29 Out of a whole city, only ten will survive. 30 In the country-side, only two will be left, hiding in the forest, or in holes in the rocks. 31 Just as in an olive-grove three or four olives might be left on each tree, or as a few grapes in a vineyard might be overlooked by the sharp-eyed pickers, so also in those days three or four will be overlooked by those who search the houses to kill. 32 The earth will be left a desert, and the fields will be overrun with briers. 33 Thorns will grow over all the roads and paths, because there will be no sheep to tread them. 34 Girls will live in mourning with none to marry them, women will mourn because they have no husbands, their daughters will mourn because they have no one to support them. The young men who should have married them will be killed in the war, and the husbands wiped out by the famine.

35 LISTEN TO ME, you who are Yahweh's servants, take my words to heart. 36 This is the Word of Yahweh. Receive it, and do not disbelieve what He says. 37 Calamities are here, close at hand, and will not delay. 38 When a pregnant woman is in the ninth month, and the moment of her child's birth is drawing near, there will be two or three hours in which her womb will suffer pangs of agony, and then the child will come from the womb without a moment's delay. 39 In the same way calamities will come on the earth without delay, and the world will groan under the pangs that grip it.

40 Listen to my words, my people. 41 Get ready for battle, when the calamities surround you, be as though you were strangers on earth. 42 The seller must expect to have to run for his life, the buyer to lose what he buys. 43 The merchant must expect to make no profit, the builder to live never in the house he builds. 44 The sower must not expect to reap, nor the pruner to gather his grapes. Those who marry must expect no children, the unmarried must think of themselves as widowed. 46 All labor is labor in vain. Their fruits will be gathered by foreigners, who will plunder their goods, pull down their houses, and take their children captive. 47 If they have children, they will have been bred only for captivity and famine, any who make money do so only to have it plundered. 48 The more care they lavish on their cities, houses, and property, and on their own persons, the fiercer my indignation will be against their sins: says Yahweh. 49 Like the indignation of a virtuous woman towards a prostitute, so will be the indignation of justice towards wickedness with all her finery. 50 She will accuse her to her face, when the champion arrives to expose all sin upon earth.

52 Do not imitate wickedness and her actions. In a very short time she will be swept from the earth, and the reign of justice over us will begin. 53 The sinner must not deny he sinned. 54 He will only bring burning coals on to his own head if he says: 'I committed no sin against the majesty of Yahweh.' Yahweh knows all that men do. 55 He knows their plans, their schemes, and their inmost thoughts. He said: 'Let the earth be made'; and it was made, and; 'Let the heavens be made'; and they were made. 56 It was by Yahweh's Word that the stars were fixed in their places, the number of the stars is known to Him. 57 He looks into the depths with their treasures. 58 He measured the sea and everything it contains. 59 By His Word He confined the sea within the bounds of the waters, and above the water He suspended the land. He spread out the sky like a vault, and made it secure upon the waters. 60 He provided springs in the desert, and pools on the mountain-tops as the source of rivers flowing down to water the earth. 61 He created man, and placed a heart in the middle of his body. 62 He gave him spirit, life, and understanding, the very breath of Almighty Yahweh who created the whole world, and searches out secret things in secret places.

63 He knows well your plans and all your inward thoughts. 64 Alas for sinners who try to hide their sins! Yahweh will scrutinize all their deeds. 65 He will call you all to account. 66 You will be covered with confusion when your sins are brought into the open, and your wicked deeds stand up to accuse you on that day. 67 What can you do? How can you hide your sins from Yahweh and His malaks? Yahweh is your judge: fear Him! Abandon your sins, and have done with your wicked deeds forever! Then Yahweh will set you free from all distress. 68 Fierce flames are being kindled to burn you. 69 A great horde will descend on you, they will seize some of you, and make you eat pagan sacrifices.

70 Those who give in to them will be derided, taunted, and trampled on. 71 In place after place, and in all the neighborhood, there will be a violent attack on those who fear Yahweh. Their enemies will be like madmen, plundering and destroying without mercy all who still fear Yahweh. 72 They will destroy and plunder their property, and throw them out of their homes. 73 Then it will be seen that my chosen people stood the test like gold in the assayer's fire. 74 Listen, you whom I chose: says Yahweh. 75 The days of harsh suffering are close at hand, but I will rescue you from them. Away with your fears and doubts! 76 Yahweh is your leader. 77 You who follow my commandments and instructions: says Yahweh; must not let your sins weigh you down, nor your wicked deeds get the better of you. 78 Alas for those who are entangled in their sins, and overrun with their wicked deeds! They are like a field overrun by bushes, with brambles across the path, with no way through, completely shut off, doomed to destruction by fire.










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Do you want to end up in boiling lava? Most of us don't! But, nearly all of us will!!
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Thank you for stopping by. May Yahweh open your eyes and allow you to see!

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-- Yahchanan --
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Fear Yahweh - judgment day is coming!!