In past articles, I have discussed visions of Esdras and how he sought explanations for the last days. These were contained in the first six chapters of his second book. There are another ten chapters completing the visions and the discussions between Uriel (Jesus) and Esdras. It is not my purpose to re-write the story here, and I do recommend that you personally review this book which is dealing with the end times. However, there are a few verses of some importance and I wish to highlight some of those for your consideration.
Chapter 7: 42 – 45, “He answered me and said, This present life is not the end where much glory doth abide: therefore, they have prayed for the weak. But the day of doom shall he the end of this time, and the beginning of the immortality for to come, wherein corruption is past, intemperance is at an end, infidelity is cut off, righteousness is grown, and truth is sprung up. Then shall no man be able to save him that is destroyed, nor to oppress him that hath gotten the victory.”
Esdras argues one more time with the Lord, verse 46, “I answered then and said, this is my first and last saying. that it had been better not to have given the earth unto Adam; or else, when it was given him, to have restrained him from sinning.” He follows this by complaining about all the precious things offered after death, but to which he might not aspire because of inheriting Adam’s sinful ways. This contention reminds us of Isaiah 45:9, “Woe unto him that striveth with his maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” Esdras has already been told several times that he cannot understand the wisdom of the creator. Nevertheless, here he is challenging God’s decision to provide Adam with free will. I think this is a point on which we all stumble. Because certain events in the Bible test the acceptance of intellectuals, we are shown that God does not think like man and what seems wrong to us is right with God. For instance, how many of us believe in the virgin birth? Jesus declared that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He then had to tell the shocked disciples that, “With God, anything is possible.” I also think the use of the potter’s wheel (where the Lord talks about refashioning a damaged vessel while it is still on the wheel) is a well chosen illustration because we forget that we are vessels of clay, fashioned by the creator and into which He breathed the breath of life.
Again, in chapter 8, the Angel makes an interesting statement, at verse 1, “And he answered me saying, The Most High hath made this world for many, but the world to come for few. And verse 3. “There be many created, but few shall be saved.” The meaning of this is worth pondering, especially, if taken literally! This ties in with Matthew 20: 16. “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called. but few chosen.” Finally 8: 55, “Ask no more questions concerning the multitude of them that perish.” Chapter 9: 13, “And therefore be thou not curious how the ungodly shall be punished, and when: but enquire how the righteous shall he saved, whose the world is, and for whom the world is created.” We have been told elsewhere that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, but Jesus added. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
From Chapter 12, Esdras sees a vision of an eagle with three heads and twelve wings. Verse 2, “And the two went into it, and set themselves up to reign and their kingdom was small and full of uproar.” Does this describe Israeli in the Middle East? Verse 11, “‘The eagle whom thou sawest come up from the sea. is the kingdom which was seen in the vision of thy brother Daniel. The Angel strives to interpret the vision that was hidden from Daniel, referring to kingdoms and “kings”, most of whom reign but for a short time. I conclude that this references the political instability of the middle east region. This discourse is concluded by verse 30. “It signifieth that these are they, whom the Highest hath kept unto their end: this is the small kingdom and full of trouble, as thou sawest.” Verses 31-32 sum up the whole section. “And the lion, whom thou sawest rising up out of the wood, and roaring. and speaking to the eagle and rebuking her for her unrighteousness with all the words which thou hast heard: This is the anointed which the Highest hath kept for them and for their wickedness unto the end: he shall reprove them and upbraid them for their cruelty.”
Esdras laments that he has learned a lot through these visions and feels that the knowledge should he written down. The Lord gives him a potion to drink, five named scribes and forty days to complete the work.
Verses 44 – 48 complete the story, “In forty days they wrote two hundred and four books. And it came to pass when the forty days were fulfilled, that the Highest spake saying, The first that thou has written publish openly, that the worthy and unworthy may read it: But keep the seventy last, that thou mayest deliver them only to such as be wise among the people: For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom and the stream of knowledge. And I did so.” What a treasure! 0, that they might he found in earthen jars in some caves like the Dead Sea scrolls!
This concludes my “gleanings” from this wonderful book. I hope I stimulated your curiosity and perhaps. even some material to think about!