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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Revelations, Spurious.

The Apocalyptic character, which is occupied in describing the future splendor of the Messianic kingdom and its historical relations, presents itself for the first time in the book of Daniel. which is thus characteristically distinguished from the former prophetical books. In the only prophetical book of the New Test., the Apocalypse of John, this idea is fully developed, and the several apocryphal revelations are mere imiitations, more or less happy, of these two canonical books, which furnished ideas to a numerous class of writers in the first ages of the Christian Church. We here consider those especially which profess to be of a prophetic character. The principal spurious revelations extant have been published by Fabricius, in his Cod. Pseudep. V. T., and Cod. Apoc. N.T., and their character has been still more critically examined in recent times by archbishop Laurence (who has added to their number), by Nitzsch, Bleek, and others, and especially by Dr. Liicke, in his Einleit. in die Offenbarung Johazn. und die gesammte apocalyptische iteratur., (See the preceding article.) Tischendorf, in his Apocalypses Apocryphic (Lips. 1866, 8vo), has published the following: "Apocalypsis Mosis" (Gr. ed. princeps); "Apocalypsis Esdrae" (Gr. ed. pr.); "Apocalypsis Pauli" (Gr. ed. pr.); Apocalypsis Johannis" (Gr. ed. pr.); "Johannis Liber de Dominatione Mariae" (Gr. ed. pr.); "Translatio Marise" (Lat. ed. pr.); another "Translatio Mariae" (Lat.); "Ad ditamenta ad Acta Apost. Apocrypha;" "Ad Acta Andreae et -Matthise, ex codice unciali;" "Ad Acta Philippi, ex codd. Parisiensi et Barocciano;" "Ad Acta Thomae, e codd. Moncrensi et Bodleiano;" "Acta Petri et Andreae, in fine mutila, e cod. Barocciano." In the ac'count below we have brought together the most im portant of these works. (See APOCRYPHA).

I. Pseudo-Revelations Purportzng to Refer to Hebrew Characters. These are principally the following:

1, 2. The Apocalypse of Adam and that of Abraham are cited by Epiphanius (Hoeres. 31, 8) as Gnostic productions. They are now wholly lost.

3. The Book of Enoch is one of the most curious of the spurious revelations, resembling in its outward form both the book of Daniel and the Apocalypse; but it is uncertain whether this latter work or the book of Enoch was first written. (See ENOCH, BOOK OF).

4. The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is a similar apocryphal production. (See TESTAMENT OF THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS).

5. The Apocalypse of Moses, mentioned by Syncellus (Chronog.) and Cedrenus (Comp. Hist.), fragments of which have been published by Fabricius (ut sup.), is conjectured by Grotius to have been a forgery of one of the ancient Christians.

In addition to this and the above work published by Tischendorf, there has lately been discovered an "Ascension" or "Assumption (Ἀνάληψις ) of Moses," in the library at Milan, which has been published by Ceriani (Monumenta Sacra [Mediol. 1861]); Hilgenfeld (N.T. extra Canonemr [Lips. 1866]); Volkmar (Handb. z. d. Apokr. [Leips. 1867, vol. iii]); and Merx (Archiv f. wiss. Erforsch. etc. [ibid. 1867, vol. ii]). It represents an interview between Moses and Joshua just before the death of the former, and professes to depict the future history of Israel. It seems to have been written bv a Jew of the early Christian times (Ewald, Jahrbucher, 1852, 1853). (See MOSES). These are different, works from the so-called "Little Genesis." (See JUBILEES, BOOK OF)

6. The Ascension and Vision of Isaiah (Ἀναβατικὸν καὶ ῞Ορασις ῾Ησαϊ v ου ), although for a long time lost to the world, was a work well known to the ancients, as is indicated by the allusions of Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian, and Epiphanius. The first of these writers (Dial. c. Tryph. ed. ri, p. 49) refers to the account therein contained of the death of Isaiah, who "was sawn asunder with a wooden saw a fact," he adds, "which was removed by the Jews from the sacred text." Tertullian, also (De Patientia), among other examples from Scripture, refers to the same event; and in the next (the 3d) century Origen (Epist. ad African.), after stating that the Jews were accustomed to remove many things from the knowledge of the people which they nevertheless preserved in apocryphal or secret writings, adduces as an example the death of Isaiah, "who was sawn asunder, as stated in a certain apocryphal writing, which the Jews perhaps corrupted in order to throw discredit on the whole." In his Comm. on Matthew he refers to the same events, observing that if this apocryphal work is not of sufficient authority to establish the account of the prophet's martyrdom, it should be believed upon the testimony borne to that work by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:37); in the same manner as the account of the death of Zechariah should be credited upon the testimony borne by our Saviour to a writing not found in the common and published books (κοίνοις καὶ δεδημευμένοις βιβλίοις ), but probably in an apocryphal work. Origen cites a passage from the apocryphal account of the martyrdom of Isaiah in one of his Homiilies (ed. De la Rue, 3:108). The Apostolical Constitutions also refer to the apocryphal books of Moses, Enoch, Adam, and Isaiah as writings of some antiquity.

The first writer, however, who mentions the Ascension of Isaiah by name is Epiphanius, in the 4th century, who observes (Hoeres. 40.) that the apocryphal Ascension of Isaiah was adduced by the Archonites in support of their opinions respecting the seven heavens and their archons, or ruling angels, as well as by the Egyptian Hieracas and his followers in confirmation of their heretical opinions respecting the Holy Spirit; at the same time citing the passage from the Ἀναβατικόν to which they refer (Ascens. of Isaiah 9:27, 32-36; 11:32,33). Jerome also (in Esai. lxiv, 4) expressly names the work, asserting it to be an apocryphal production originating in a passage in the New Test. (1 Corinthians 2:9). St. Ambrose (Opp. i, 1124) cites a passage contained in it, but only as a traditionary report, "plerique ferunt" (Ascens. of Isaiah 5:4-8); and the author of the Imperfect Work on Matthew, a work of the 5th century erroneously attributed to St. Chrysostom (Chrysost. Opp. hom. 1), evidently cites a passage from the same work (Ascens. of Isaiah 1:1, etc.). After this period all trace of the book is lost until the 11th century, when Euthymius Zigabenus informs us that the Messalian heretics made use of that "abominable pseudepigraphal work the Vision of Isaiah." It was also used (most probably in a Latin version) by the Cathari in the West (P. Moneta, Adv. Catharos, ed. Rich. p. 218). The Vision of Isaiah is also named in a catalogue of canonical and apocryphal books in a Paris MS. (No. 1789), after the Qucest. et Resp. of Anastasius (Cotelerius, PP. Apost. i, 197, 349). Sixtus of Sienna (Bibl. Sanct. 1566) states that the Vision of Isaiah, as distinct from the Anavasis (as he calls it), had been printed at Venice. Referring to this last publication, the late archbishop Laurence observes that he had hoped to find in some bibliographical work a further notice of it, but that he had searched in, vain; concluding, at the same time, that it must have been a publication extracted from the Ascension of Isaiah or a Latin translation of the Vision, as the title of it given by Sixtus was "Visio Admirabilis Esaise Prophetse in Raptu Mantis, qun e Divinae Trinitatis Arcana et Lapsi Generis Humani Redemptionem continet." Dr. Laurence observes also that the mode of Isaiah's death is further in accordance with a Jewish tradition recorded in the Talmud (Yebammoth, iv); and he supposes that Mohammed may have founded his own journey through seven different heavens on this same apocryphal work. He shows, at the same time, by an extract from the Raboth, that the same idea of the precise number of seven heavens accorded with the Jewish creed.

There appeared now to be little hopes of recovering the lost Ascension of Isaiah, when Dr. Laurence (then regius professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford) had the good fortune to purchase from a bookseller in Drury Lane an Ethiopic MS. containing the identical book, together with the canonical book of Isaiah and the fourth (called in the Ethiopic the first) book of Esdras. It is entitled the Ascension of the Prophet Isaiah, the first chapters containing the martyrdom, and the rest (for it is divided in the MS. into chapters and yerses) the Ascension, or Vision, of Isaiah. At the end of the canonical book are the words, "Here ends the prophet Isaiah;" after which follows the Ascension, etc.; concluding with the words, "Here ends Isaiah the prophet with his Ascension." Then follows a postscript, from which it appears that it was transcribed for a priest named Aaron, at the cost of a piece of fine cloth twelve measures long and four broad. The Ascension of Isaiah was published by Dr. Laurence at Oxford in 1819, with a new Latin anld an English version. This discovery was first applied to the illustration of Scripture by Gesenius (Comm. on Isaiah). Some time afterwards the indefatigable Dr. Angelo Mai (Nova Collect. Script. Vet. e Vat. Codd. [Rome, 1828]) published two Latin fragments as an appendix to his Sermon. Arian. Fragment. Antiquiss., which he conjectured to be portions of some ancient apocryphal writings. Niebuhr, however, perceived them to be fragments of the Ascension and Vision of Isaiah; and Dr. Nitzsch (Nachweisung zweyer Bruchstiicke, etc., in the Theolog. Stud. und Kritik. 1830) was enabled to compare them with the two corresponding portions (2:14-3:12; 7:1-19) of the Ethiopic version. Finally, in consequence of the more complete notice of the Venetian edition of the Latin version given by Panzer (Annal. Typog. 8:473), Dr. Gieseler had a strict search made for it, which was eventually crowned with success, a copy being discovered in the library at Munich. This work, the date of whose impression was 1522, contained also the Gospel of Nicodemus and the Letter of Lentulus to the Roman Senate. The Latin version contains the Vision only, corresponding to the last chapters of the Ethiopic version.

The subject of the first part is the martyrdom of Isaiah, who is here said to have been sawn asunder; in consequence of the visions which he related to Hezekiah, in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of that monarch, different from those in the canonical book. These relate principally to the coming of "Jesus Christ the Lord" from the seventh heaven; his being changed into the form of a man; the preaching of his twelve apostles; his final rejection and suspension on a tree, in company with the workers of iniquity, on the day before the Sabbath; the spread of the Christian doctrine; the last judgment; and his return to the seventh heaven. Before this, however, the arch-fiend Berial is to descend on earth in the form, of an impious monarch, the murderer of his mother, where, after his image is worshipped in every city for three years seven months and twentyseven days, he and his powers are to be dragged into Gehenna.

The second portion of the work gives a prolix account of the prophet's ascent through seven heavens, each more resplendent and more glorious than-the other. It contains distinct prophetical allusions to the miraculous birth of Christ of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem; his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension; and the worship of "the Father, his beloved Christ, and the Holy Spirit." The mode of the prophet's own death is also announced to him. "The whole work," observes its learned translator, "is singularly characterized by simplicity of narration, by occasional sublimity of description, and by richness as well as vigor of imagination." Dr. Laurence conceives that the writer had no design of imposing upon the world a spurious production of his own as that of the prophet, but rather of composing a work, avowedly fictitious, but accommodated to the character and consistent with the prophecies of him to whom it is ascribed.

As to the age of tins work, Dr. Laurence supposes, from the obvious referenceto Nero and the period of three years seven months and twenty- seven days, and again of three hundred and thirty-two days, after which Berial was to be dragged to Gehenna, that the work was written after the death of Nero (which took place on June 9. A.D. 68), but before the close of the year 69. Lucke, however (Einleitung), looks upon these numbers as purely arbitrary and apocalyptical, and maintains that the dogmatical character of the work, the allusion to the corruptions of the Church, the absence of all reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Chiliastic view, all point to a later period. All that can be considered as certain respecting its date is that the first portion was extant before the time of Origen and the whole before Epiphanius. It has been doubted whether the work does not consist of two independent productions, which were afterwards united into one, as in the Ethiopic version; but this is a question impossible to decide in the absence of the original. The Latin fragments discovered by Mai correspond literally with the Ethiopic; while they not only differ from the Venetian edition in single phrases, but the latter contains passages so striking as to induce the supposition that it is derived from a later recension of the original text.

The author was evidently a Jewish Christian, as appears from the use made of the Talmudical legend already referred to, as well as by his representing the false accuser of Isaiahas a Samaritan. Thework also abounds in Gnostic, Valentinian, and Ophitic notions, such as the account of the seven heavens and the presiding angels of the first five, the gradual transmutation of Christ until his envelopment in the human form, and finally the docetic conception of his history on earth. All this has induced Liucke (ut sup.) to consider the whole to be a Gnostic production of the 2d or 3d century, of which, however, the martyrdom was first written. Dr. Laurence. finds so strong a resemblance between the account of the seven heavens here and in the testament of Levi (Twelve Patriarchs), that he suspects the latter to "betriy a little plagiarism." If this learned divine were right in his conjecture respecting the early age of this production, it would doubtless afford an additional testimony, if such were wanting, to the antiquity of the belief in the miraculous conception and the proper deity of Jesus, who is here called the Beloved, the Lord, the Lord God, and the Lord Christ. In respect, however, to another passage, in which the Son and Holy Spirit are represented as worshipping God, the learned prelate truly observes that this takes place only in the character of angels, which they had assumed.

Dr. Lucke observes that the drapery only of the apocalyptic element of this work is Jewish, the internal character being altogether Christian. But in both form and substance there is an evident imitation, if not of the Apocalypse of St. John, at least of the book of Daniel and of the Sibylline oracles. The use of the canonical Apocalypse Lucke (op. cit. § 16) considers to be undeniable in 8:45. Comp. Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8-9. (See ISAIAH).

7. The Epistle of Baruch is given as the "First Book of Baruch" in the Paris and London Polvglots in Syriac and Latin, the "Second Book of Baruch" being there what is commonly known as the apocryphal book of Baruch. This letter is also contained in the Svriac "Apocalypse of Baruch" noticed below.

(I.) The Design of this Epistle is to comfort the nine tribes and a half who were beyond the river Euphrates, by assuring them that the sufferings which they have to endure in their captivity, and which are far less than theyi deserve, are but for a season, and are intended to atone for their sins; and that God, whose love towards Israel is unchangeable, will speedily deliver them from their troubles and requite their oppressors. They are therefore not to be distracted by the prosperity of their wicked enemies, which is but momentary, but to observe the law of Moses, and look forward to the day of judgment, when all that is now perplexing will be rectified.

(II.) The Method or Plan which the writer adopted to carry out the design of this epistle will best be seen from a brief analysis of its contents. Being convinced of the unchangeable love of God towards his people (Revelation 1:2), and of the close attachment subsisting between all the tribes (Revelation 1:3), Baruch feels constrained to write this epistle before he dies (Revelation 1:4) to comfort his captive brethren under their sufferings (Revelation 1:5), which are far less than they deserve (Revelation 1:6), and are designed to atone for (Revelation 1:7-8), as well as to wean them from, their sins (Revelation 1:9), so that God might gather them together again. Baruch then informs them, first of all, that Zion has been delivered to Nebuchadnezzar because of the sins of the children of Israel (Revelation 1:11-12). That the enemy, however, might not boast that he had destroyed the sanctuary of the Most High by the strength of his own arm, God sent angels from heaven to destroy the forts and walls, and also to hide some of the vessels of the Temple (Revelation 1:13-16); whereupon the enemy carried the Jews as captives to Babylon, and left only few in Zion (Revelation 1:17), this being the burden of the epistle (Revelation 1:18-19). But they are to be comforted (Revelation 1:20), for while he was mourning over Zion and praying for mercy (v. 21, 22) the Lord revealed words of consolation to Baruch that he might comfort his brethren, which is the cause of his writing this epistle (v. 23, 24), viz. 1 that the Most High will punish their enemies, and that the day of judgment is nigh (v. 25, 26). The great prosperity of the world (v. 27), its splendid government (v. 28), great strength (v. 29) and glory (v. 30), luxurious life (v. 31), barbarous cruelty (v. 32), and glorious dominion (v. 33) which the Gentiles now enjoy; notwithstanding their wickedness, will speedily vanish, for the day of judgment is at hand (v. 34), when every thought and deed will be examined and made manifest (v. 35, 36). The captive Jews are therefore not to envy any of the present things, but patiently to look forward to the promises of the latter days (v. 37, 38), the fulfilment of which is rapidly approaching, and for which they are to prepare themselves, lest, by neglecting this, they might lose both this world and the world to come (v. 39-41). All that now happens tends to this truth (Revelation 2:1-7). This Baruch sets forth to lead his brethren to virtue (Revelation 2:8), and to warn them of God's judgment before he dies (Revelation 2:9), that they may give heed to the words of Moses, who, in Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 4:28; Deuteronomy 30:19; Deuteronomy 31:28, foretold what would befall them for leaving the law (Deuteronomy 31:9-12). Baruch also assures them that after they have suffered and become obedient they shall receive the reward laid up for them (Deuteronomy 31:13-14), charges them to regard this epistle as a testimony between him and his brethren that they may be minidful of the law, the holy land, their brethren, the covenant of their forefathers, the solemn feasts and Sabbaths (Deuteronomy 31:15-16), to transmit it, together with the law, to their children (Deuteronomy 31:17), and to be instant in prayer to God that he may pardon their sins and impute unto them the righteousness of their forefathers (Deuteronomy 31:18-19), for "unless God judges us according to the multitude of his mercies, woe to us all who are born" (Deuteronomy 31:20). He, moreover, assures them that notwithstanding the fact that they have now no prophets and holy men in Zion to pray for them as in former days, yet if they rightly dispose their hearts they will obtain incorruptible treasures for their corruptible losses (Deuteronomy 31:21-27), and admonishes them constantly to remember these things, and prepare themselves, while in possession of this short life, for the life that is to come (Deuteronomy 31:28-30), when repentance will be impossible, as the judgment pronounced upon every one will be final (v. 36-39); and to read the epistle on the solemn fast (v. 40, 41).

(III.) The Unity of the Epistle. The foregoing analysis will show that every part of this epistle contributes to the development of the main design of the writer, thus demonstrating the unity of the whole. This is, moreover, corroborated by the uniformity of diction which prevails throughout this document. It must, however, be admitted that hypercriticism may find some ground for scepticism in the latter part of it, viz. ii, 2141. But even if it could be shown that this is a later addition, it would not interfere with the design of the whole.

(IV.) The Author, Date, and Canonicity of the Epistle. With the solitary exception of the learned and eccentric William Whiston (who has translated it in A Collection of Authentic Records [Lond. 1727]), this epistle has been, and still is, regarded by all scholars as pseudepigraphic, and we question whether a critic could be found in the present day bold enough to defend its Baruchic authorship. All that we can gather from the document itself is:

1. That it was written by a Jew, as is evident

(a) from the Hagadic story, mentioned in 1:13-15, about the destruction of the walls and forts by the angels and the hiding of the holy vessels (comp. also 2 Maccabees 2:1-4);

(b) from the solemn admonition strictly to adhere to the law of Moses;

(c) from the charge that this epistle be transmitted by the Jews to their posterity, together with the law of Moses, and be read in their assemblies at their fasts; and

2. That it was written most probably about the middle of the 2d century B.C., as appears from the admonition to be patient under the sufferings from the Gentiles, and to wait for the day of judgment which is close at hand (1:37-41), and the frequent reference to a future life. Ewald (Gesch. Isr. 4:233) and Fritzsche (Exeget. Handb. zu den Apokr. i, 175) contemptuously dismiss it in a few lines, and most unjustly regard it as written "in a prolix and senseless style" by a monk. Besides the London and Paris Polyglots, the Syriac is contained in the beautiful edition of the Apocrypha just published (Libri Veteris Testamenti Apocryphi Syriace, recogn. Paul. Anton. de Lagarde, Lond. 1861), and the Latin may be found in Fabricii Cod. Pseudepigr. V. T. ii, 147 sq. (See BARUCH).

8. The Apocalypse of Baruch was discovered in a Syrian manuscript, judged by Curetoni to belong to the 6th century, and was first published by Cerrain in 1866 in a close Latin translation (.Mon. Sac. et Prof: I, ii, 7398), and in 1871 in the original Syriac (ibid. 5, ii). The last few chapters, however, had long been known as the "Epistle of Baruch" noticed above.

(I.) Contents. The composer of this work has, like the author of the book of Baruch in the ordinary Apocrypha of the Old Test., chosen as the fictitious writer of his revelations the friend and amanuensis of Jeremiah. The scene is laid in or near Jerusalem; and the supposed time is that immediately preceding and following the destruction of the city and the transportation of the people to Babylon. The author professes to give the exact year, "the twenty-fifth of Jechoniah of Judah." Jechoniah must here stand for Jehoiakim, and the twenty-fifth year ought to be the eleventh. The work divides itself into seven parts, if we treat the letter to the nine and a half tribes as a kind of appendix. Baruch is throughout represented as the speaker, referring to himself in the first person, except in the opening of ch. 1 and 78, which are of the nature of a title.

The first part (ch. 1-9) opens by telling how the Word of the Lord came to Baruch, and warned him of the destruction impending over Jerusalem on account of the wickedness of its inhabitants. The punishment should last only for a time, and the ruin of the city should not be accomplished by the hands of its enemies. The next day the army of the Chaldaeans surrounded Jerusalem; and when the sacred vessels had been committed to the safe custody of the earth, to be kept till the last times, angels overthrew the walls, the enemy were admitted, and the people were led captive to Babylon. Then Baruch and Jeremiah rent their clothes and fasted seven days. In the second part (ch. 10-12) Jeremiah is sent to Babylon, but Barutch is told to remain amid the desolatioll of Zion, that God may show him what will come to pass at the end of days. So Baruch sits before the gates of the Temple and utters a lamentation over the fate of Zion, and prophesies vengeance against the victorious land now so prosperous. Having thus given vent to his grief, he again fasts for seven days.

In the third part (ch. 13-20) he stands upon Mount Zion, and is told that he shall be preserved till the end of times, that he may bear testimony against the nations which oppressed his people. He answers that only few shall survive in those days to hear the word of the Lord, and complains that those who have not walked in vanity like other peoples have derived no advantage from their faithfulness. The Lord answers that the future world was made on account of the just, "for this world is a contest and trouble to them in much labor, and therefore that which is to come is a crown in great glory." In further conversation Baruch is advised not to estimate the blessings of life by its leigth, and to look rather to the end than the beginning. He is then desired to sanctify himself and fast for seven days.

In the fourth part (ch. 21-30) he comes from a cave in the valley of Cedron, whither he had withdrawn, to the place where God spoke with him before. It is sunset, and he begins to deplore the bitterness of life, and calls upon God to hasten the promised end. In reply he is reminded of his ignorance, and told that the predetermined number of men must be completed, but "that the end is not far distant." Baruch then says that he does not know what will happen to the enemies of his people, or at what time God will visit them. The signs of the end are accordingly enumerated, the last time being divided into twelve parts, each with its distinguishing characteristic. These parts, however, are to be mixed together and to minister to one another. The specified signs shall affect the whole earth, "and then Messiah will begin to be revealed." A description of the Messianic period follows, on which we need not dwell. With this the conversation terminates, and though the usual fast is not mentioned, the section evidently comes to a close.

In the fifth part (ch. 31-43), having consoled the people by telling them of the future glory of Zion, he goes and sits upon the ruins of the Temple. While he laments he falls asleep, and has a vision of a vine and a cedar, of which the interpretation is afterwards given to him. The vision relates to the triumph of the Messiah. Baruch then asks, To whom and to how many shall these things be, or who shall be worthy to live in that time? for many of God's people have thrown away the yoke of the law, but others have left their vanity and fled for refuge under God's wings. God answers him, To those who have believed will be the predicted blessings, and to those who despise will be the opposite of this. Baruch is then commanded to go and instruct the people, and afterwards to fast for: seven days, preparatory to further communications.

In the sixth part (ch. 44-47) he calls together his first-born son, his friend Gadelii, and seven of the elders of the people, and tells them that he is going to his fathers, according to the ways of all the earth. He exhorts them not to depart from the law, and promises that they shall see "the consolation of Zion." He dwells on the rewards and punishments of the future world, desires them to advise the people, and assures them that, though he must die, "a wise man shall not be wanting to Israel, nor a son of the law to the race of Jacob." He then goes to Hebron, and fasts for sevnen days.

In the seventh part (ch. 48-76) he prays for compassioon on this people, the people whom God has chosen, and who are unlike all others. He is told that the time of tribulation must arise, and many of its circumstances are recounted. He deplores such sad consequences of the sin of Adam, and in answer to an inquiry he is informed about the resurrection and its results. At last he falls asleep and has a vision. As this vision (ch. 53) and its interpretation (ch. 56-74), though they bring us to no definite date, throw an interesting light upon the uncertain methods in which history was parcelled out into periods, we may notice them at more length than would otherwise be necessary. A cloud ascended from the great sea, and it was full of white and black waters, and a similitude of light. ning appeared at its extremity. It passed quickly on and covered the whole earth. Afterwards it began to discharge its rain; but the waters which descended from it were not all alike, for first there were very black waters for a time, and afterwards the waters became bright, but of these there were not many. Black waters succeeded and again gave place to bright, and so on for twelve times; but the black waters were always more than the bright. At the end of the cloud it rained black waters, and these were darker than all that had been before, and fire was mingled with them, and they brought corruption and ruin. After these things the lightning which he had seen in the extremity of the cloud flashed so that it illumined the whole earth, and it healed those regions where the last waters had descended. After this twelve rivers ascended from the sea and surrounded that lightning, anid were mnade subject to it. At this point Baruch awoke through fear. In answer to his prayer for the interpretation of the vision, the angel Ramiel was sent to satisfy his request. The cloud symbolized the length of the age." The first black waters were the sin of Adam, with its consequences, including the fall of the angels and the flood. The second the bright waters were Abraham and his descendants, and those who were like them. The third (black) waters were the mixture of all the sinners after the death of these just men, and the iniquity of the land of Egypt. The fourth (bright) waters were the advent of Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, and all who were like them, in whose time "the lamp of the eternal law shone upon all who were sitting in darkness." The fifth (black) waters were the works of the Amorites, and the sins of the Israelites in the days of the judges. The sixth (bright) waters were the time of David and Solomon. The seventh (black) waters were the perversion of Jeroboam, and the sins of his successors, and the time of the captivity of the nine and a half tribes. The eighth (bright) waters were the righteousness of Hezekiah. The ninth (black) waters were the universal impiety in the days of Manasseh. The tenth (bright) waters were the purity of the generations of Josiah. The eleventh (black) waters were the calamity which had just happened to Zion. The rest of the interpretation is, of course, given in the future tense. "As for the twelfth (bright) waters which thou hast seen, this is the world. For the time shall come after these things when thy people shall fall into calamity, so as to be in danger of all perishing together. But nevertheless they shall be saved, and their enemies shall fall before them. And they shall for some time have much joy. And in that time, after a little, Zion shall be again built, and its oblations shall be again established, and the priests shall return to their ministry, and the nations shall again come to glorify it, but nevertheless not fully, as in the beginning. But it shall come to pass after these things that there shall be the ruin of many nations. These are the bright waters which thou hast seen." The other waters, which were blacker than all the rest, after the twelfth, belonged to the whole world, and they represented times of trouble and conflict, which are described at some length; and all who survived these should be delivered into the hands of the Messiah. These last black waters are, in the interpretation, succeeded simply by bright waters, representing the blessedness of the Messianic time. Baruch, having heard the words of the angel, expressed his wonder at the goodness of God. He is informed that, though he must depart from the earth, he shall not die. But before his removal he must go and instruct the people.

We are next told (ch. 77) how Baruch went to the people and admonished them to be faithful, holding out hopes that their brethren might return from the captivity. The people promised to remember the good that God had done to them, and requested him to write a letter before his departure to their brethren in Babylon. He promised to do so, and send the epistle by the hands of men, and also to forward a letter to the nine and a half tribes by means of a bird. Accordingly, he sat alone under an oak and wrote two letters. One he sent by three men to Babylon, and the other to the tribes beyond the Euphrates by an eagle which he called. He charged the eagle not to pause till he reached his destination, and, to encourage him, reminded him of Noah's dove, of Elijah's ravens, and how "Solomon, in the time of his reign, whithersoever he wished to send or to seek anything, commanded a bird, and it obeyed him as he had commanded it." Then the letter is subjoined (ch. 77-86). It consists of a general exhortation to the captive tribes to be faithful, in the hope of being soon restored to a happier lot. The last chapter (87) relates how he folded and sealed the letter, tied it to the eagle's neck, and despatched it.

(II.) Author, Date, etc. The work, according to its title in the MS. in which it has been preserved, was "translated from Greek into Syriac." Notwithstanding the Hebraic coloring of its thought and language, it may very well have been written originally in Greek. There can be no doubt that it was written by a non-Christian Jew. Though it is rich in Messianic passages, no expression betrays a Christian hand. The book is pervaded by the strong and exclusive feeling of a Jew, confident, amid the most terrible humiliation, in the divine election of his race. It bears a strong resemblance in general structure, and even in particular thoughts and expressions, to the fourth book of Ezra. We must, of course, assign it a similar time and authorship to the epistle of Baruch above noticed, which Ewald locates in the reign of Domitian (Gesch. Isr. 7:84 sq.). This is confirmed by allusions to the destruction of the Temple (ch. 39), and the references to Daniel's "times" as if fulfilled. See Drummond, The Jewish Messiah (Lond. 1877), p. 117 sq. (See BARUCH).

9. The Fourth Book of Ezra (the first according to the Ethiopic and Arabic) is, from its apocalyptic character, styled by Nicephorus (Song of Solomon 3:4) the Apocalypse of Ezra (Ἀποκάλυψις Ε᾿σδρᾶ ). (See ESDRAS, SECOND BOOK OF).

10, 11. The Apocalypse of Zephaniah and that of Zechariah are referred to by Jerome (Ep. ad Pammach.), and cited as lost apocryphal books in an ancient MS. of the Scriptures in the Coislinian Collection (ed. Montfaucon, p. 194).

II. Pseudo-Revelations Purporting to Refer to Christian Characters. Of these the most important are the following:

1. The Apocalypse of St. Peter is mentioned by Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. 3:3, 25), and was cited by Clement of Alexandria, in his Adumbrations, now lost (Euseb. loc. cit. 6:14). Some fragments of it have, however, been preserved by Clement, in his Selections firom the Lost Prophecies of Theodotus the Gnostic, and are published in Grabe's Spicilegium (i, 74 sq.). From these we can barely collect that this apocalypse contained some melancholy prognostications, which seem to be directed against the Jews, and to refer to the destruction of their city and nation. This work is cited as extant in the ancient fragment of the canon published by Muratori, a document of the 2d or 3d century, with this proviso, that "some of us are unwilling that it be read in the Church," as is perhaps the signification of the ambiguous passage, "Apocalypsis Johannis et Petri tantum recipimus; quam quidam ex nostris legi in ecclesia nolunt." Eusebius designates it at one time as "spurious," and at another as "heretical." From a circumstance mentioned by Sozomen (Hist. Ecclesiastes 7:19), viz. that it was read in some churches in Palestine on all Fridays in the year down to the 5th century, Lucke infers that it was a Jewish-Christian production (of the 2d century), and of the same family with the Preaching of Peter. It is uncertain whether this work is the same that is read by the Copts among what they call the apocryphal books of Peter.

There was also a work under the name of the Apocalypse of Peter by his Disciple Clement, an account of which was transmitted to pope Honorius by Jacob, bishop of Acre in the 13th century, written in the Saracenic language; but this has been conjectured to be a later work, originating in the time of the Crusades.

In the ancient Latin stichometry in Cotelerius (Apostolic Fathers), the Apocalypse of St. Peter is said to contain 2070 stichs, and that of John 1200. It is cited as an apocryphal book in the Indiculus Scripturarum after tile Questiones of Anastasius of Nicaea, together with the Apocalypse of Ezra and that of Paul. There is in the Bodleian Library a MS. of an Arabic Apocalypse of St, Peter, of which Nicoll has furnished an extract in his catalogue, and which may possibly be a translation of the Greek apocalypse. (See PETER).

2. The Apocalypse of St. Paul is mentioned by Augustine (Tiact. 98 in Ev. Joan.), who asserts that it abounds in fables, and was an invention to which occasion was furnished by 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. This appears from Epiphanius (Hoeres. 38:2) to have been an anti-Jewish Gnostic production, and to be identical with the Ἀναβατικόν of Paul, used only by the anti- Jewish sect of Gnostics called Cainites. It is said by Sozomen (Hist. Ecclesiastes 7:19) to have been held in great esteem. It was also known to Theophylact and (Ecumenius (on 2 Corinthians 12:4), and to Nicephorus in the 9th century (Song of Solomon 3:4). Whether this is the same work which Dupin (Proleg. and Canon) says is still extant among the Copts is rendered more than doubtful by Fabricius (Cod. Apoc. ii, 954) and Grabe (Spicileg. i, 85). The Revelation of St. Paul, contained in an Oxford MS., is shown by Grabe (loc. cit.) to be a much later work. Theodosius of Alexandria (Ε᾿ρωτήματα περὶ προσωδιῶν ) says that the Apocalypse: of St. Paul is not a work of the apostle, but of Paul of Samosata, from whom the Paulicians derived their name. The Revelation of St. Paul is one of the spurious works condemned by pope Gelasius, together with the Revelations of St. Thomas and St. Stephen.

3. There was an apocryphal Revelation of St. John extant in the time of Theodosius the Grammarian, the only one of the ancients who mentions it, and who calls it a pseudepigraphal book. It was not known what had become of it, until the identical work was recently published, from a Vatican as well as a Vienna manuscript, by Birch, in his Auctarium, under the title of "The Apocalypse of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Divine." From the silence of the ancients respecting this work, it could scarcely have been written before the 3d or 4th century. Lucke has pointed out other internal marks of a later age, as, for instance, the mention of incense, which he observes first came into use in the Christian Church after the 4th century (although here the author of the spurious book may have taken his idea from Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3); also of images and rich crosses, which were not in use before the "4th and 5th centuries." The name patriarch, applied here to a dignitary in the Church, belongs to the same age. The time in which Theodosius himself lived is not certainly known, but he cannot be placed earlier than the 5th century, which Lucke conceives to be the most probable age of the work itself. Regarding the object and occasion of the work (which is a rather servile imitation of the genuine Apocalypse), in consequence of the absence of dates and of internal characteristics, there are no certain indications. Birch's text, as well as his manuscripts, abounds in errors; but Thilo has collated two Paris manuscripts for his intended edition (see his Acta Thome, Proleg. p. 88). Assemani (Bibl. Orient. III, i, 282) states that there is an Arabic version among the Vatican MSS.

III. Pseudo-Revelations bearing Extracanonical Names. Of these the following deserve special notice:

1. The Prophecies of Hystaspes were in use among the Christians in the 2d century. This was apparently a pagan production, but is cited by Justin Martyr, in his Apology, as agreeing with the Sibylline oracles in predicting the destruction of the world by fire. Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. vi) and Lactantius (Instit. 7:15) also cite passages from these prophecies, which bear a decidedly Christian character.

2. The ancient romantic fiction entitled the Shepherd of Hermas is not without its apocalyptic elements. These, however, are confined to book 1:3, 4; but they are destitute of signification or originality. (See HERMAS).

3. The Apocalypse of Cerinthus is mentioned by Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. 3:28), and by Theodoret (Fab. Heret. ii, 3). Eusebius describes it as a revelation of an earthly and sensual kingdom of Christ, according to the heresy of the Chiliasts. Of the Revelations of St. Thomas and St. Stephen, we know nothing beyond their condemnation by pope Gelasius, except that Sixtus of Sienna observes that, according to Serapion, they were held in high repute by the Manichees; but in the works of Serapion which we now possess there is no allusion to this. There is, however, an unpublished MS. of Serapion in the Hamburg Library, which is supposed to contain a more complete copy of his work. (See CERINTHUS).

4. The Sibylline Oracles is the title of an apochryphal work, evidently of Christian origin, of the early centuries of our aera, written as a sort of parody on the famous Roman traditionary books of that name. (See SIBYLLINE ORACLES)

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Revelations, Spurious.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/r/revelations-spurious.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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