|4 Esdras 9 |
1 He answered me then, and said, "Measure the time diligently in itself; and when you see part of the signs have already past, which I have told you before,
2 Then shall you understand, that it is the very same time, wherein the Highest will begin to visit the world which he made.1
3 Therefore when there shall be seen earthquakes and uproars of the people in the world,
4 Then shall you well understand, that the most High spoke of those things from the days that were before you, even from the beginning.
5 For like as all that is made in the world has a beginning and an end, and the end is revealed;
6 Even so the times also of the Highest have plain beginnings in wonder and powerful works, and endings in effects and signs.
7 And every one that shall be saved, and shall be able to escape by his works, and by faith, whereby you have believed,
8 Shall be preserved from the said perils, and shall see my salvation in my land, and within my borders for I have sanctified them for me from the beginning.
9 Then will those be in a pitiful state, who have abused my ways; and those who have cast away my ways despitefully will dwell in torments.
10 For such as in their life have received benefits, and have not known me;
11 And those who have loathed my law, while they yet had liberty, and when as yet the opportunity of repentance was open to them, understood not, but despised it; [The law includes the law that is on every man's heart.]
12 The same must learn it after death by pain.2 [There is a forced repentance for those banned from heaven and sent to the outer darkness of Hell. Pain is used to rid a man from sins: The pain of a wound cleanses away evil, so do stripes purge the inward parts [including the heart] of man. Pro 20:30.]
13 And therefore do not be curious how the ungodly shall be punished, and when; but inquire how the righteous shall be saved, whose the world is, and for whom the world is created."3 [The world was created to produce righteous sons of God, whose creation requires men to take up the cross and crucify their carnal minds and evil imaginations to receive a new heart, new mind, and new Spirit; so that they are pure enough to be God's servant on earth and forever, hearing from God the words to pray before praying, hearing from God the words to speak before speaking, and seeing from God what is to be done before doing it, thus to bring pleasure, honor, and glory to God.]
14 Then answered I and said,
15 "I have said before, and now do speak, and will speak it also hereafter, that there be many more of them which perish, than of them which shall be saved.
16 Like as a wave is greater than a drop."
17 And he answered me, saying, "Like as the field is, so is also the seed; as the flowers are, such are the colors also; such as the workman is, such also is the work; and as the farmer is himself, so also are his yields; for it was the time of the world.
18 And now when I prepared the world, which was not yet made, even for them to dwell in that now live, no man spoke against me.
19 For then every one obeyed; but now the manners of those who are created in this world that is made are corrupted by a perpetual seed,4 and by them ridding from themselves the law that is unsearchable.
20 So I considered the world, and, behold, there was peril because of the devices that were come into it.
21 And I saw it, and spared some with great effort, and have kept me a grape of the cluster, and a plant from the forest.
22 Let the multitude perish then, which was born in vain; and let my grape be kept, and my plant; for with great labor have I made it perfect.
23 Nevertheless, if you will cease yet seven days more, (but you shall not fast in them,
24 But go into a field of flowers, where no house is built, and eat only the flowers of the field; taste no flesh, drink no wine, but eat flowers only;)
25 And pray unto the Highest continually, then will I come and talk with you."
26 So I went my way into the field which is called Ardath, like as he commanded me; and there I sat among the flowers, and did eat of the herbs of the field, and the food of the same satisfied me.
27 After seven days I sat upon the grass, and my heart was vexed within me, like as before:
28 And I opened my mouth, and began to talk before the most High, and said,
29 "O Lord, you who show yourself unto us, you were shown unto our fathers in the wilderness, in a place where no man tread, in a barren place, when they came out of Egypt.
30 And you spoke saying, 'Hear me, O Israel; and mark my words, you seed of Jacob.
31 For, behold, I sow my law in you, and it shall bring fruit in you, and you shall be honored in it forever.'
32 But our fathers, which received the law, kept it not, and observed not your ordinances; and though the fruit of your law did not perish, neither could it, for it was yours;
33 Yet those who received it perished because they did not keep [nurture and grow] the thing that was sown in them.
34 And, lo, it is a custom, when the ground has received seed, or the sea a ship, or any vessel meat or drink, that, that being perished in which it was sown or cast into,
35 That thing that was sown or cast in it, or received, does also perish, and remains not with us; but with us it has not happened so.
36 For we who have received the law perish by sin, and our heart also which received it.
37 Notwithstanding the law perishes not, but remains in his force."
38 And when I spoke these things in my heart, I looked back with mine eyes, and upon the right side I saw a woman, and, behold, she mourned and wept with a loud voice, and was much grieved in heart, and her clothes were rent, and she had ashes upon her head.
39 Then let I my thoughts go that I was in, and turned unto her,
40 And said unto her, "Why do you weep? Why are you so grieved in your mind?"
41 And she said unto me, "Sir, let me alone, that I may bewail myself, and add unto my sorrow, for I am sorely vexed in my mind, and brought very low."
42 And I said unto her, "What ails you? Tell me."
43 She said unto me, "I your servant have been barren, and had no child, though I had a husband thirty years,
44 And those thirty years I did nothing else day and night, and every hour, but make my prayer to the Highest.
45 After thirty years God heard me your handmaid, looked upon my misery, considered my trouble, and gave me a son; and I was very glad of him, as also was my husband and all my neighbors; and we gave great honor unto the Almighty.
46 And I nourished him with great travail.
47 So when he grew up and came to the time that he should have a wife, I made a feast."
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1 Measure the time diligently in itself; and when you see part of the signs have already past, which I have told you before. Then shall you understand, that it is the very same time, wherein the Highest will begin to visit the world which he made. The Day of the Lord, the end of the world, is a personal experience: for the righteous, it occurs at the conclusion of their perfection; for the wicked, it occurs as they die. The righteous are plucked from the fire, to have their soul barely saved at the last minute. The wicked are burned to be only alive in spirit. If the righteous can barely be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?1 Pet 4:18. For more on how the Day of the Lord occurs for the wicked and the righteous, see Francis Howgill's outstanding writing.
2 The same must learn it after death by pain. The law of God is written on every man's heart. We must learn to live by God's law in this life, or we must learn to live by God's law after death by pain. In this life or the next, we have to: a) discover the bitterness of the passions and pleasures that our hearts desire, and b) over time suffer the consequences of our passions and pleasures, while longing to have them removed by desperately seeking the grace of God to be changed. From the Word of the Lord within: "so they must pass through the earth wise," or else, you must learn about good and evil the hard way, in Hell with pain. You cannot receive wisdom by reading a book; you must be taught by the Holy Spirit: the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14.
This passage is one of the few that shows Hell is not eternal torture, rather it has a purpose — to teach us, to correct us. God is Love. Love corrects. Love disciplines. But Love restores. Love never fails. Do you honestly think God created us so he could punish and torture us forever? If you do, you have grossly underestimated his power, his forethought, his mercy, his kindness, his compassion, and most of all — his LOVE. The purpose of life is to find God, and his purpose will not be thwarted. He values every life. We are his creation, and he loves all of us. We all are one. Every person you see will eventually be your brother, reconciled to God, after being purified with removal of our lusts, affections, selfishness, addictions, and pride. See Is There Hope for All for more on this subject.
Until we have learned from the Holy Spirit teaching us what is the true gospel, the true hope, love vs. lust, sin vs. righteousness, turmoil vs. peace, humility vs. pride, good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, bitter vs. sweet; which process teaches us to hate anything evil and love all good, we would not even enjoy heaven because we would long for our addictions that are not available there. Jesus told us the same in the parable: No one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires the new wine, for he will say, 'The old wine is better.' Luke 5:39. A man must crucify his lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial before he can enjoy fellowship in the heavens.
3 the righteous shall be saved, whose the world is, and for whom the world is created. The world was created for the saints. It exists to produce the saints, by them running the course with patience that is set before them. Heb 12:1. A saint is to become a priest and a king in the next life. They are the lynchpins of the future, a future where the increase of Christ's Kingdom and government is without end — infinite — forever. Isaiah 9:7. They are to be Kings in the infinite expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven and its government; (but Kings in heaven are servants like Christ, not rulers as we know them on the earth). This is the whole purpose of life. He [God] has made from one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the allotted times and the boundaries of their habitation; so that they should seek the Lord, and perhaps might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from every one of us. For in him we live and move, and have our being; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in you all. Those who feel after him and find him are the saints. The saints (the righteous) are God's purpose in creating the earth — to create sons of love, who have chosen to lose their life in order to please their creator; who have chosen to give up the pleasures of the world, looking for a better world and life; willing to suffer to attain lasting peace and joy; wanting to please God rather than men; who have trusted God to be perfect, without fault, full of love for them, and the rewarder of those who diligently seek him; who have admired the qualities of God as revealed by his Jesus on the earth; and who have wanted to become like him; who saw virtue and goodness personified in Jesus; who trusted his promises enough to sacrifice their earthly life; who sought God without specific knowledge of the reward for finding him, but knew it would be wonderful because he said it would be. These saints have proven themselves trustworthy of becoming a part of God, in union with Christ and the Father, to share in those unspecificed benefits of being an heir and son of God; to be directed by God in unspecified works forever, but never doubting the joy and pleasure of being obedient to the direction of ultimate goodness, perfection, kindness, virtue, purity, wisdom, love, mercy, power, knowledge — all just words to describe the object of their efforts, hopes, trust, and faith — their reason for living.
4 now the manners of those who are created in this world that is made are corrupted by a perpetual seed.
What seed? The seed of the evil seedman, Satan.
How do the seeds get planted? But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. Mat 13:25
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