Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume VIII/Apocrypha of the New Testament/Revelation of John
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, translated by Alexander Walker
Revelation of John
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Revelation of John.
Revelation of Saint John the Theologian.
After the taking up of our Lord Jesus Christ, I John was alone upon Mount Tabor, where also He showed us His undefiled Godhead; and as I was not able to stand, I fell upon the ground, and prayed to the Lord, and said: O Lord my God, who hast deemed me worthy to be Thy servant, hear my voice, and teach me about Thy coming. When Thou shalt come to the earth, what will happen? The heaven and the earth, and the sun and the moon, what will happen to them in those times? Reveal to me all; for I am emboldened, because Thou listenest to Thy servant.
And I spent seven days praying; and after this a cloud of light caught me up from the mountain, and set me before the face of the heaven. And I heard a voice saying to me: Look up, John, servant of God, and know. And having looked up, I saw the heaven opened, and there came forth from within the heaven a smell of perfumes of much sweet odour; and I saw an exceeding great flood of light, more resplendent than the sun. And again I heard a voice saying to me: Behold, righteous John. And I directed my sight, and saw a book lying, of the thickness, methought, of seven mountains; and the length of it the mind of man cannot comprehend, having seven seals. And I said: O Lord my God, reveal to me what is written in this book. And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. In this book which thou seest there have been written the things in the heaven, and the things in the earth, and the things in the abyss, and the judgments and righteousness of all the human race. And I said: Lord, when shall these things come to pass? and what do those times bring? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. There shall be in that time abundance of corn and wine, such as there hath never been upon the earth, nor shall ever be until those times come. Then the ear of corn shall produce a half chœnix, and the bend of the branch shall produce a thousand clusters, and the cluster shall produce a half jar of wine; and in the following year there shall not be found upon the face of all the earth a half chœnix of corn or a half jar of wine.
And again I said: Lord, thereafter what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then shall appear the denier, and he who is set apart in the darkness, who is called Antichrist. And again I said: Lord, reveal to me what he is like. And I heard a voice saying to me: The appearance of his face is dusky; the hairs of his head are sharp, like darts; his eyebrows like a wild beast’s; his right eye like the star which rises in the morning, and the other like a lion’s; his mouth about one cubit; his teeth span long; his fingers like scythes; the print of his feet of two spans; and on his face an inscription, Antichrist; he shall be exalted even to heaven, and shall be cast down even to Hades, making false displays. And then will I make the heaven brazen, so that it shall not give moisture upon the earth; and I will hide the clouds in secret places, so that they shall not bring moisture upon the earth; and I will command the horns of the wind, so that the wind shall not blow upon the earth.
And again I said: Lord, and how many years will he do this upon the earth? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Three years shall those times be; and I will make the three years like three months, and the three months like three weeks, and the three weeks like three days, and the three days like three hours, and the three hours like three seconds, as said the prophet David, His throne hast Thou broken down to the ground; Thou hast shortened the days of his time; Thou hast poured shame upon him. And then I shall send forth Enoch and Elias to convict him; and they shall show him to be a liar and a deceiver; and he shall kill them at the altar, as said the prophet, Then shall they offer calves upon Thine altar.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what will come to pass? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then all the human race shall die, and there shall not be a living man upon all the earth. And again I said: Lord, after that what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then will I send forth mine angels, and they shall take the ram’s horns that lie upon the cloud; and Michael and Gabriel shall go forth out of the heaven and sound with those horns, as the prophet David foretold, With the voice of a trumpet of horn. And the voice of the trumpet shall be heard from the one quarter of the world to the other; and from the voice of that trumpet all the earth shall be shaken, as the prophet foretold, And at the voice of the bird every plant shall arise; that is, at the voice of the archangel all the human race shall arise.
And again I said: Lord, those who are dead from Adam even to this day, and who dwell in Hades from the beginning of the world, and who die at the last ages, what like shall they arise? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. All the human race shall arise thirty years old.
And again I said: Lord, they die male and female, and some old, and some young, and some infants. In the resurrection what like shall they arise? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Just as the bees are, and differ not one from another, but are all of one appearance and one size, so also shall every man be in the resurrection. There is neither fair, nor ruddy, nor black, neither Ethiopian nor different countenances; but they shall all arise of one appearance and one stature. All the human race shall arise without bodies, as I told you that in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God.
And again I said: Lord, is it possible in that world to recognise each other, a brother his brother, or a friend his friend, or a father his own children, or the children their own parents? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, John. To the righteous there is recognition, but to the sinners not at all; they cannot in the resurrection recognise each other. And again I John said: Lord, is there there recollection of the things that are here, either fields or vineyards, or other things here? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. The prophet David speaks, saying, I remembered that we are dust: as for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he shall flourish: for a wind hath passed over it, and it shall be no more, and it shall not any longer know its place. And again the same said: His spirit shall go forth, and he returns to his earth; in that day all his thoughts shall perish.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then will I send forth mine angels over the face of all the earth, and they shall lift off the earth everything honourable, and everything precious, and the venerable and holy images, and the glorious and precious crosses, and the sacred vessels of the churches, and the divine and sacred books; and all the precious and holy things shall be lifted up by clouds into the air. And then will I order to be lifted up the great and venerable sceptre, on which I stretched forth my hands, and all the orders of my angels shall do reverence to it. And then shall be lifted up all the race of men upon clouds, as the Apostle Paul foretold. Along with them we shall be snatched up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And then shall come forth every evil spirit, both in the earth and in the abyss, wherever they are on the face of all the earth, from the rising of the sun even to the setting, and they shall be united to him that is served by the devil, that is, Antichrist, and they shall be lifted up upon the clouds.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then shall I send forth mine angels over the face of all the earth, and they shall burn up the earth eight thousand five hundred cubits, and the great mountains shall be burnt up, and all the rocks shall be melted and shall become as dust, and every tree shall be burnt up, and every beast, and every creeping thing creeping upon the earth, and every thing moving upon the face of the earth, and every flying thing flying in the air; and there shall no longer be upon the face of all the earth anything moving, and the earth shall be without motion.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then shall I uncover the four parts of the east, and there shall come forth four great winds, and they shall sweep all the face of the earth from the one end of the earth to the other; and the Lord shall sweep sin from off the earth, and the earth shall be made white like snow, and it shall become as a leaf of paper, without cave, or mountain, or hill, or rock; but the face of the earth from the rising even to the setting of the sun shall be like a table, and white as snow; and the reins of the earth shall be consumed by fire, and it shall cry unto me, saying, I am a virgin before thee, O Lord, and there is no sin in me; as the prophet David said aforetime, Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made pure; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. And again he said: Every chasm shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill brought low, and the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough ways into smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then shall the earth be cleansed from sin, and all the earth shall be filled with a sweet smell, because I am about to come down upon the earth; and then shall come forth the great and venerable sceptre, with thousands of angels worshipping it, as I said before; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man from the heaven with power and great glory. And then the worker of iniquity with his servants shall behold it, and gnash his teeth exceedingly, and all the unclean spirits shall be turned to flight. And then, seized by invisible power, having no means of flight, they shall gnash their teeth against him, saying to him: Where is thy power? How hast thou led us astray? and we have fled away, and have fallen away from the glory which we had beside Him who is coming to judge us, and the whole human race. Woe to us! because He banishes us into outer darkness.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what wilt Thou do? And I heard a voice saying to me: Then will I send an angel out of heaven, and he shall cry with a loud voice, saying, Hear, O earth, and be strong, saith the Lord; for I am coming down to thee. And the voice of the angel shall be heard from the one end of the world even to the other, and even to the remotest part of the abyss. And then shall be shaken all the power of the angels and of the many-eyed ones, and there shall be a great noise in the heavens, and the nine regions of the heaven shall be shaken, and there shall be fear and astonishment upon all the angels. And then the heavens shall be rent from the rising of the sun even to the setting, and an innumerable multitude of angels shall come down to the earth; and then the treasures of the heavens shall be opened, and they shall bring down every precious thing, and the perfume of incense, and they shall bring down to the earth Jerusalem robed like a bride. And then there shall go before me myriads of angels and archangels, bearing my throne, crying out, Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. And then will I come forth with power and great glory, and every eye in the clouds shall see me; and then every knee shall bend, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth. And then the heaven shall remain empty; and I will come down upon the earth, and all that is in the air shall be brought down upon the earth, and all the human race and every evil spirit along with Antichrist, and they shall all be set before me naked, and chained by the neck.
And again I said: Lord, what will become of the heavens, and the sun, and the moon, along with the stars? And I heard a voice saying to me: Behold, righteous John. And I looked, and saw a Lamb having seven eyes and seven horns. And again I heard a voice saying to me: I will bid the Lamb come before me, and will say, Who will open this book? And all the multitudes of the angels will answer, Give this book to the Lamb to open it. And then will I order the book to be opened. And when He shall open the first seal, the stars of the heaven shall fall, from the one end of it to the other. And when He shall open the second seal, the moon shall be hidden, and there shall be no light in her. And when He shall open the third seal, the light of the sun shall be withheld, and there shall not be light upon the earth. And when He shall open the fourth seal, the heavens shall be dissolved, and the air shall be thrown into utter confusion, as saith the prophet: And the heavens are the works of Thy hands; they shall perish, but Thou endurest, and they shall all wax old as a garment. And when He shall open the fifth seal, the earth shall be rent, and all the tribunals upon the face of all the earth shall be revealed. And when He shall open the sixth seal, the half of the sea shall disappear. And when He shall open the seventh seal, Hades shall be uncovered.
And I said: Lord, who will be the first to be questioned, and to receive judgment? And I heard a voice saying to me, The unclean spirits, along with the adversary. I bid them go into outer darkness, where the depths are. And I said: Lord, and in what place does it lie? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. As big a stone as a man of thirty years old can roll, and let go down into the depth, even falling down for twenty years will not arrive at the bottom of Hades; as the prophet David said before, And He made darkness His secret place.
And I said: Lord, and after them what nation will be questioned? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. There will be questioned of Adam’s race those nations, both the Greek and those who have believed in idols, and in the sun, and in the stars, and those who have defiled the faith by heresy, and who have not believed the holy resurrection, and who have not confessed the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost: then will I send them away into Hades, as the prophet David foretold, Let the sinners be turned into Hades, and all the nations that forget God. And again he said: They were put in Hades like sheep; death shall be their shepherd.
And again I said: Lord, and after them whom wilt Thou judge? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. Then the race of the Hebrews shall be examined, who nailed me to the tree like a malefactor. And I said: And what punishment will these get, and in what place, seeing that they did such things to Thee? And I heard a voice saying to me: They shall go away into Tartarus, as the prophet David foretold, They cried out, and there was none to save; to the Lord, and He did not hearken to them. And again the Apostle Paul said: As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in law shall be judged by means of law.
And again I said: Lord, and what of those who have received baptism? And I heard a voice saying to me: Then the race of the Christians shall be examined, who have received baptism; and then the righteous shall come at my command, and the angels shall go and collect them from among the sinners, as the prophet David foretold: The Lord will not suffer the rod of the sinners in the lot of the righteous; and all the righteous shall be placed on my right hand, and shall shine like the sun. As thou seest, John, the stars of heaven, that they were all made together, but differ in light, so shall it be with the righteous and the sinners; for the righteous shall shine as lights and as the sun, but the sinners shall stand in darkness.
And again I said: Lord, and do all the Christians go into one punishment?—kings, high priests, priests, patriarchs, rich and poor, bond and free? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. As the prophet David foretold, The expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. Now about kings: they shall be driven like slaves, and shall weep like infants; and about patriarchs, and priests, and Levites, of those that have sinned, they shall be separated in their punishments, according to the nature of the peculiar transgression of each,—some in the river of fire, and some to the worm that dieth not, and others in the seven-mouthed pit of punishment. To these punishments the sinners will be apportioned.
And again I said: Lord, and where will the righteous dwell? And I heard a voice saying to me: Then shall paradise be revealed; and the whole world and paradise shall be made one, and the righteous shall be on the face of all the earth with my angels, as the Holy Spirit foretold through the prophet David: The righteous shall inherit the earth, and dwell therein for ever and ever.
And again I said: Lord, how great is the multitude of the angels? and which is the greater, that of angels or of men? And I heard a voice saying to me: As great as is the multitude of the angels, so great is the race of men, as the prophet has said, He set bounds to the nations according to the number of the angels of God.
And again I said: Lord, and after that what wilt Thou do? and what is to become of the world? Reveal to me all. And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. After that there is no pain, there is no grief, there is no groaning; there is no recollection of evils, there are no tears, there is no envy, there is no hatred of brethren, there is no unrighteousness, there is no arrogance, there is no slander, there is no bitterness, there are none of the cares of life, there is no pain from parents or children, there is no pain from gold, there are no wicked thoughts, there is no devil, there is no death, there is no night, but all is day. As I said before, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, that is, men who have been made like the angels through their excellent course of life; them also must I bring, and they will hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, one shepherd.
And again I heard a voice saying to me: Behold, thou hast heard all these things, righteous John; deliver them to faithful men, that they also may teach others, and not think lightly of them, nor cast our pearls before swine, lest perchance they should trample them with their feet.
And while I was still hearing this voice, the cloud brought me down, and put me on Mount Thabor. And there came a voice to me, saying: Blessed are those who keep judgment and do righteousness in all time. And blessed is the house where this description lies, as the Lord said, He that loveth me keepeth my sayings in Christ Jesus our Lord; to Him be glory for ever. Amen.
- For the history of the tradition that the transfiguration occurred on Mount Tabor, see Robinson’s Researches, ii. 358.
- One ms. has: 700 cubits.
- ms. B adds: And they shall be manifested at the consummation of the age, in the judgment to come. Just as the prophet Daniel saw the judgment, I sat, and the books were opened. Then also shall the twelve apostles sit, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And when I heard this from my Lord, I again asked: Show me, my Lord, when these things shall come to pass, etc. [B is the designation of a Paris manuscript dated 1523. All the manuscripts are comparatively recent; see Tischendorf, pp. xviii., xix.—R.]
- ms. B. here inserts Luke xxi. 11.
- The chœnix of corn was a man’s daily allowance. It was equal to two points according to some, a pint and a half according to others.
- Or, gloomy.
- ms. B. adds: And he will love most of all the nation of the Hebrews; and the righteous shall hide themselves, and flee to mountains and caves. And he shall take vengeance on many of the righteous; and blessed is he who shall not believe in him.
- Or, dew.
- To the description of Antichrist, ms. E adds: He holds in his hand a cup of death; and all that worship him drink of it. His right eye is like the morning star, and his left like a lion’s; because he was taken prisoner by the archangel Michael, and he took his godhead from him. And I was sent from the bosom of my Father, and I drew up the head of the polluted one, and his eye was consumed. And when they worship him, he writes on their right hands, that they may sit with him in the outer fire; and for all who have not been baptized, and have not believed, have been reserved all anger and wrath. And I said: My Lord, and what miracles does he do? Hear, righteous John: He shall remove mountains and hills, and he shall beckon with his polluted hand, Come all to me; and through his displays and deceits they will be brought together to his own place. He will raise the dead, and show in everything like God. [E is one of the Venice manuscripts.—R.]
- Ps. lxxxix. 44, 45.
- Ps. li. 19.
- Ps. xcviii. 6 according to the LXX.
- Lit., from quarters even to quarters of the world.
- Adapted from Eccles. xii. 4.
- To this sectionms. E adds many details: They that have gold and silver shall throw them into the streets, and into every place in the world, and no one will heed them. They shall throw into the streets ivory vessels, and robes adorned with stones and pearls; kings and rulers wasting away with hunger, patriarchs and governors (or abbots), elders and peoples. Where is the fine wine, and the tables, and the pomp of the world? They shall not be found in all the world; and men shall die in the mountains and in the streets, and in every place of the world. And the living shall die from the stink of the dead, etc. Whosoever shall not worship the beast and his pomp shall be called a witness (or martyr) in the kingdom of heaven, and shall inherit eternal life with my holy ones.
- Comp. Matt. xxii. 30, and parallel passages.
- Ps. ciii. 14–16 according to LXX.
- Or, breath.
- Ps. cxlvi. 4 according to LXX.
- Another reading is cross.
- 1 Thess. iv. 17.
- Or, by.
- Two mss. have this number; the other four have 500, 1800, 30, 60-100ths.
- Or, winnow.
- Ps. li. 7.
- ms. D has: Again another prophet has said. [D is another Paris manuscript of the fifteenth century.—R.]
- Isa. xl. 4.
- Comp. Matt. xxiv. 30.
- Rev. xxi. 2.
- Comp. Isa. vi. 3.
- Or, upon.
- Phil. ii. 10.
- Rev. v. 6.
- Ps. cii. 26.
- Or, regions sunk in water.
- Ps. xviii. 11.
- Lit., tongue.
- ms. D inserts, Trinity and.
- Ps. ix. 17.
- Ps. xlix. 14.
- Ps. xviii. 41.
- Rom. ii. 12.
- Lit., heap up.
- Ps. cxxv. 3.
- Matt. xxv. 33.
- Matt. xiii. 43.
- 1 Cor. xv. 41.
- Ps. ix. 18.
- Lit., proportion or analogy.
- Ps. xxxvii. 29.
- Deut. xxxii. 8 according to the LXX.
- Rev. vii. 17, xxi. 4.
- John x. 16. [The correct text of John x. 16 is: “one flock, one shepherd,” but it was altered quite early.—R.]
- i.e., the things heard.
- Matt. vii. 6.
- Ps. cvi. 3.
- John xiv. 23.
- As a specimen of the eschatology of these documents, Tischendorf gives the following extracts from the termination of ms. E:— Hear, righteous John: All these shall be assembled, and they shall be in the pit of lamentation: and I shall set my throne in the place, and shall sit with the twelve apostles and the four and twenty elders, and thou thyself an elder on account of thy blameless life; and to finish three services thou shalt receive a white robe and an unfading crown from the hand of the Lord, and thou shalt sit with the four and twenty elders, etc. And after this the angels shall come forth, having a golden censer and shining lamps; and they shall gather together on the Lord’s right hand those who have lived well, and done His will, and He shall make them to dwell for ever and ever in light and joy, and they shall obtain life everlasting. And when He shall separate the sheep from the goats, that is, the righteous from the sinners, the righteous on the right, and the sinners on the left; then shall He send the angel Raguel, saying: Go and sound the trumpet for the angels of cold and snow and ice, and bring together every kind of wrath upon those that stand on the left. Because I will not pardon them when they see the glory of God, the impious and unrepentant, and the priests who did not what was commanded. You who have tears, weep for the sinners. And Temeluch shall call out to Taruch: Open the punishments, thou keeper of the keys; open the judgments; open the worm that dieth not, and the wicked dragon; make ready Hades; open the darkness; let loose the fiery river, and the frightful darkness in the depths of Hades. Then the pitiful sinners, seeing their works, and having no consolation, shall go down weeping into streams as it were of blood. And there is none to pity them, neither father to help, nor mother to compassionate, but rather the angels going against them, and saying: Ye poor wretches, why are you weeping? In the world you had no compassion on the weak, you did not help them. And these go away into everlasting punishment. There you will not be able to bear the sight of Him who was born of the virgin; you lived unrepenting in the world, and you will get no pity, but everlasting punishment. And Temeluch says to Taruch: Rouse up the fat three-headed serpent; sound the trumpet for the frightful wild beasts to gather them together to feed upon them (i.e., the sinners); to open the twelve plagues, that all the creeping things may be brought together against the impious and unrepenting. And Temeluch will gather together the multitude of the sinners, and will kick the earth; and the earth will be split up in diverse places, and the sinners will be melted in frightful punishments. Then shall God send Michael, the leader of His hosts; and having sealed the place, Temeluch shall strike them with the previous cross, and the earth shall be brought together as before. Then their angels lamented exceedingly, then the all-holy Virgin and all the saints wept for them, and they shall do them no good. And John says: Why are the sinners thus punished? And I heard a voice saying to me: They walked in the world each other after his own will, and therefore are they thus punished. Blessed is the man who reads the writing: blessed is he who has transcribed it, and given it to other Catholic churches: blessed are all who fear God. Hear ye priests, and ye readers; hear ye people, etc.