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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter III

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Text Commentary

1In the fourth year of that king, the Son of Lawlessness will appear, saying, I am the Christ 1 Note that in Coptic Χϱιστός always has the article, whether it is used as a title (‘the Christ’, ‘the Anointed One’) or as a proper name (‘Christ’). (though he is not). 2Do not believe him. 3When the Christ comes, he will come (A 32) encircled by angels, like a flock of doves circling round their dove-cote: 2 Lit. ‘he comes like a dove-cote, with a crown of doves surrounding him’. he will walk 3 Lit. ‘he walks’. on the clouds of heaven, with the sign of the cross preceding him. 4The whole world will see him, like the sun that shines from the eastern regions to the western: thus will he come, 4 Lit. ‘thus he comes’. with all his angels round him. 5The Son of Lawlessness will also try to stand in the holy places. 6He will say to the sun, Fall; and it will fall: he will say, Shine; and it will: he will say, Be darkened; and it will. 5 Sa CB reverses the order of the last two commands to the sun and omits the following command to the moon. 7He will say to the moon, Turn into blood; and it will. He will go with them through the sky. 8He will walk upon the sea and (A 33) on the rivers as if on the dry land. 6 Sa CB and St convert the following sentence into a command introduced by ‘He will say, Walk…’, with further variants between the two authorities. He will make the lame walk: he will make the deaf hear: he will make the dumb speak: he will make the blind see: 9he will make the lepers clean: he will heal the sick; and he will cast out demons from those possessed by them. He will do many signs and wonders in the sight of everyone. 10He will do everything 7 Lit. ‘the works’. that the Christ will do, 8 So SaSt: A ‘has done’, and so apparently Sa CB . except only the raising of the dead. 11By this you will know that he is the Son of Lawlessness, for he has no power over the soul. 12Behold, I will tell you what his distinguishing features are, so that you may be able to recognize him. 13He is a spare, 9 Lit. ‘little’. weedy, 10 Meaning doubtful. man, tall, 11 So SaSt: A ‘young’: Sa CB is defective at this point. thin-legged, with a patch of grey hair at the front of his head, (A 34) but otherwise bald, with his eyebrows 12 Sa CB ‘eyelids’. reaching to his ears, and with leprous sores on the tips of his fingers. 13 Lit. ‘there being bareness of leprosy at the front of his hands’. 14He will transform himself in front of those who look at him: 14 Sa CB and St ‘in front of you’. he will become a child: he will become an old man: 15 Sa CB and St reverse the order (‘…old man…child’). he will transform all his features; but what distinguishes his head cannot be changed. 15By this you may be certain that he is the Son of Lawlessness.

16The virgin, whose name is Tabitha, will hear that the Shameless One has appeared in the holy places. 17And she will put on her linen 18garment and pursue him up into Judaea; and she will reproach 19him all the way to Jerusalem, crying out, O Shameless One, O Son of Lawlessness, O you who have been an enemy of all the saints.

20(SaSt 6) Then the Shameless One will turn in fury upon the virgin. 21,22He will pursue her to the west. He will suck her blood at eventide, and throw it 16 Text ‘her’ …‘she’ (cp. verse 24). on the temple; and it 16 Text ‘her’ …‘she’ (cp. verse 24). will become the salvation of the people. 23She will arise in the morning, alive, and will reproach him, saying, Shameless One, you have no power over my soul, nor over my body; for I live in the Lord always. 24(SaSt7) And she will say also, My blood you have thrown on the temple has become the salvation of the people.

25Then, when Elijah and Enoch hear that the Shameless One has appeared in the holy place, they will come down to fight against him, saying, Are you then not ashamed to cling to the saints, 17 Sa CB om. ‘to cling to the saints’. for you are a stranger, always? 26You have been an enemy of what is in 27heaven and what is on the earth: you have been an enemy of the thrones and of the angels, You are a stranger always. 28You fell from heaven like the morning stars. 29You abandoned your proper home: 18 Lit. ‘you changed’. you were alienated from your tribe. 19 So SaSt (lit. ‘the tribe became darkness for you’): Sa CB is fragmentary here, but it certainly read ‘your tribe’. 30Are you then not ashamed to cling to God, for you are the Devil?

31The Shameless One will hear it and be furious, and he will fight with them in the market-place of the great city; and he will spend seven days fighting with them. 20 Sa CB adds ‘and kill them’. 32And they will lie dead in the market-place for three and a half days; and all the people will see them. 33But on the fourth day they will arise and reproach him, saying, O (A 35) Shameless One, O son of Lawlessness, 21 So A: Sa CB and St om. ‘O Son of Lawlessness’. are you then not ashamed to lead astray the people of God, for whom you have not suffered? 34Do you not know that we live in the Lord, so that we can reproach you continually when you say, Over these have I prevailed? 22 So Sa CB and St: in A the last half of this verse is manifestly corrupt. 35We will lay aside the flesh of the body 23 So SaSt: A ‘spirit’; Sa CB is defective at this point. and kill you, since you will have no power to speak on that day. 36For we are strong 24 SaSt ‘for we live’: Sa CB is defective. in the Lord always; but you are ever an enemy of God. 25 Sa CB and St om. ‘of God’. 37The Shameless One will hear it and be furious and fight with them; and the whole city will gather round them. 38On that day they will shout aloud to heaven, shining like the stars, and all the people 26 Sa CB and St om. ‘and all the people’. and the whole world will see them. 39The Son of Lawlessness will not prevail over them. 40(A 36) He will vent his fury on the land 27 So Sa CB and St: A ‘He will go to the land’. and set himself to sin against the people. 41He will hunt down all the saints, and they will be brought to him as prisoners with the priests of the land. 42He will kill them and destroy them…, 28 This lacuna in A cannot be filled from Sa, since both Sa CB and SaSt om. verse 41 and verse 42 as far as here. and their eyes will be put out with iron spikes. 43He will peel off their skins from their heads: 29 Sa CB om. ‘He…heads’. he will pull out their nails one by one. 44He will order vinegar and lye to be put in their noses. 45Those who are unable to endure the tortures of that king will take their money and flee on ferries to desert places. 30 Sa CB and St ‘flee to the ferries (SaSt ‘rivers’), saying, Ferry us to the desert’. 46When they die they will be like men asleep. 31 Lit. ‘They will sleep like men asleep’. 47The Lord will receive to himself their spirits and their souls. Their (A 37) flesh will be as permanent as rock: 32 SaSt, wrongly, ‘Their flesh tastes like ham (i.e. πέϱνα for πέτϱα)’: Sa CB is defective. no wild beast shall eat them until the last day of the great judgement. 48 Then will they rise up and find a place of rest; but they will not share in the kingdom of the Christ like those who have endured. 49For the Lord said, I will grant them to sit on my 33 So Sa CB and St: A ‘their’. right hand. They will obtain grace for others. 34 Sa CB and St om. this sentence. 50They will be victorious over the Son of Lawlessness: they will see the destruction of heaven and earth: they will obtain the thrones of glory and the crowns. 51Sixty righteous will be chosen in those days, who are prepared: 35 So SaSt: A Sa CB ‘Sixty righteous who are prepared for this hour will hear’ (Sa CB adds ‘in those days’). they will arm themselves with the breastplate of God, and run to Jerusalem, and fight with 52the Shameless One, saying, All the mighty works (A 38) which the prophets did from the beginning, you have done; but you could not raise the dead, for you have no power over the soul. 53By this we have recognized that you are the Son of Lawlessness. 54He will hear it and be furious, and order fires to be lit on the altars 36 Lit. ‘and order altars to be kindled’. Sa CB and St om. the reference to the kindling of the altars, though the righteous are burned on them. and the righteous to be bound and put on them and burned. 55And on that day many will change their minds and desert him, saying, This is not the Christ: the Christ does not kill the righteous: he does not pursue honest men: does he not rather seek to persuade them by signs and wonders? 37 So SaSt: A, obviously corruptly, ‘he does not pursue men while he will seek, but he persuades them by signs and wonders’. Sa CB is defective but appears to agree substantially with SaSt.

56In those days the Christ will take pity on his own. He will send his angels from heaven, in number six hundred and four thousand, 38 SaCB and St ‘sixty-four thousand’. each one of them having six (A 39) wings. 57Their voice will shake heaven and earth as they bless and glorify their Lord. 58Those upon whose forehead the name of Christ is written, and 59upon whose 39 SaCB and St add ‘right’. hand is the seal, both small and great, they will set upon their wings and protect 40 Lit. ‘take’. them from his wrath. 60Then will Gabriel and Uriel be a pillar of light to lead them 41 SaCB and St add ‘until they bring them’. into the holy land; and they will give them the right to eat from the tree of life, 42 On the restorations from here to the end of A 39 see Schmidt, Der Kolophon …’, p. 321. and to 〈wear white〉 garments, and to be guarded 〈by angels〉. 61〈They shall〉 not 〈thirst〉, 43 SaCB and St ‘They shall not hunger nor thirst’. nor 〈shall〉 the Son of 〈Lawlessness〉 have power over them. 62〈But〉 on 〈that day〉 the land will be in turmoil 〈and the sun be〉 darkened: peace and the spirit will be removed from the earth: 44 Lit. ‘They will carry the 〈peace〉 from upon the earth and the spirit’. The ‘spirit’, which is to be ‘removed from the earth’, is presumably the Divine spirit, which was active initially at the creation (Gen. i. 2 ) and subsequently ‘filled the whole world’ (Wisd. i. 7 ). the trees will be uprooted and fall: the wild beasts and the cattle will die in confusion. 63(A 40) The birds will fall dead upon the ground: 45 Cp. Anon. Apoc. iii. 26 (below, p. 925). the earth will be dry; 46 SaCB om. ‘the earth will be dry’. and the waters of the sea will be dried up. 64The sinners on the earth will groan, saying, What have you done to us, Son of Lawlessness, by saying, I am the Christ, though you are the Devil? 65You have no power to save yourself: how can you save us? 66You have performed 47 SaCB and St add ‘empty’. On the restorations from here to the end of A 40 see Schmidt, Der Kolophon …, p. 321. 〈signs〉 before us and 48 Lit. ‘until you’. estranged 〈us〉 from the Christ who made us. 49 So A SaSt: SaCB ‘everyone’. 67〈Woe〉 to us 〈that we have〉 listened to you. 〈Behold, now we〉 shall die of famine. 50 SaCB and St add ‘and tribulation’. 68〈Where〉 now is there the vestige of a 〈righteous man that we may〉 reverence him? 51 A ‘it’: SaCB ‘you’ (i.e. ‘thee’); SaSt leaves the pronoun unexpressed. Or where is there 〈a teacher〉 that we can appeal to 〈him〉? 69Now we shall perish in (SaSt 13) 52 One folio of A is missing here; but SaSt is available until A resumes at verse 84, as is also SaCB as far as the end of verse 72. the day of wrath, for we have disobeyed God. 70We went to the deep places in the sea; but we found no water. 71We dug in the rivers to a depth of sixteen cubits; but we found no water. 72Then will the Shameless One weep 53 Text ‘Then the Shameless One wept’. on that day, saying, Woe is me that my time has passed me by. 73,74I said my time would not pass me by. My years have become months, my days have vanished like dust driven by the wind: now I shall perish with you. 75Run out, therefore, into the desert; lay hands upon the brigands, and kill them. 76Bring the saints up; for it is because of them (SaSt 14) that the earth bears fruit. 77For it is because of them that the sun shines upon the earth. For it is because of them that the dew comes down upon the earth. 78The sinners will weep, saying, You have made us enemies of God. 〈If〉 you can, 〈get up〉 and pursue 〈them〉.

79Then will he spread his fiery wings and fly forth after the saints. 80,81He will fight with them again. The angels will hear of it, and they will come down and fight with him in a war with many swords. 82On that day the Lord will hear and order the heaven and the earth in great anger to send forth fire. 83And the fire will overwhelm the earth to an extent of seventy-two cubits: it will devour the sinners and the devils like stubble. 84(A 41) A righteous judgement will there be on that day: the mountains of the earth will give tongue. 54 So SaSt: A has ‘… in a righteous judgement. On that day will the mountains and the earth give tongue’. 85The paths will speak with one another, Did you hear to-day the sound 55 Lit. ‘voice’. of 〈a〉 man walking, who did not come to the judgement of the Son of God?

86The sins of each will stand against him in the place where they were committed – those committed in the day as well as those committed in the night. 87The righteous 56 Text ‘unrighteous’. and the … will see the sinners in 〈their〉 punishments, both those who have persecuted them and those who have handed them over to death. 88Then the sinners … will see the place of the righteous, and thus will they be favoured. 57 Lit. ‘and thus there will be grace’. 89In those days what the 〈righteous〉 (A 42) ask for many times will be given them. 90On that day will the Lord judge heaven and earth. He will judge those who have transgressed in heaven and those who have done the same on earth. He will judge the shepherds of the people. He will ask them about the sheep; and they will be given him, unencumbered by wickedness and lies. 58 Lit. ‘there being no deadly deceit in them’.

91Then will Elijah and Enoch descend. They will lay aside their worldly flesh and take on spiritual flesh. 92They will pursue the Son of Lawlessness and kill him without his being able to speak. 93On that day he will melt before them like (A 43) ice melted by fire. 94He will perish like a dragon that has no breath. 95He will be told, Your time has passed you by: now you are to perish together with those who believe in you. 96They will be flung into the pit of the abyss, and it will be shut over them.

97On that day the Christ, the King, with all the saints, will come 59 Lit. ‘comes … burns … spends’. from heaven. 98He will burn 59 Lit. ‘comes … burns … spends’. the earth, and spend 59 Lit. ‘comes … burns … spends’. a thousand years upon it; for the sinners had taken possession of it. He will make a new heaven and a new earth, no devil … will be 60 Lit. ‘is’. in them. 99He will reign with the saints, going up 〈and〉 down; and they will be with the (A 44) angels always, and with the Christ a thousand years.

The Apocalypse of Elijah

Notes:

1 Note that in Coptic Χϱιστός always has the article, whether it is used as a title (‘the Christ’, ‘the Anointed One’) or as a proper name (‘Christ’).

2 Lit. ‘he comes like a dove-cote, with a crown of doves surrounding him’.

3 Lit. ‘he walks’.

4 Lit. ‘thus he comes’.

5 Sa CB reverses the order of the last two commands to the sun and omits the following command to the moon.

6 Sa CB and St convert the following sentence into a command introduced by ‘He will say, Walk…’, with further variants between the two authorities.

7 Lit. ‘the works’.

8 So SaSt: A ‘has done’, and so apparently Sa CB .

9 Lit. ‘little’.

10 Meaning doubtful.

11 So SaSt: A ‘young’: Sa CB is defective at this point.

12 Sa CB ‘eyelids’.

13 Lit. ‘there being bareness of leprosy at the front of his hands’.

14 Sa CB and St ‘in front of you’.

15 Sa CB and St reverse the order (‘…old man…child’).

16 Text ‘her’ …‘she’ (cp. verse 24).

17 Sa CB om. ‘to cling to the saints’.

18 Lit. ‘you changed’.

19 So SaSt (lit. ‘the tribe became darkness for you’): Sa CB is fragmentary here, but it certainly read ‘your tribe’.

20 Sa CB adds ‘and kill them’.

21 So A: Sa CB and St om. ‘O Son of Lawlessness’.

22 So Sa CB and St: in A the last half of this verse is manifestly corrupt.

23 So SaSt: A ‘spirit’; Sa CB is defective at this point.

24 SaSt ‘for we live’: Sa CB is defective.

25 Sa CB and St om. ‘of God’.

26 Sa CB and St om. ‘and all the people’.

27 So Sa CB and St: A ‘He will go to the land’.

28 This lacuna in A cannot be filled from Sa, since both Sa CB and SaSt om. verse 41 and verse 42 as far as here.

29 Sa CB om. ‘He…heads’.

30 Sa CB and St ‘flee to the ferries (SaSt ‘rivers’), saying, Ferry us to the desert’.

31 Lit. ‘They will sleep like men asleep’.

32 SaSt, wrongly, ‘Their flesh tastes like ham (i.e. πέϱνα for πέτϱα)’: Sa CB is defective.

33 So Sa CB and St: A ‘their’.

34 Sa CB and St om. this sentence.

35 So SaSt: A Sa CB ‘Sixty righteous who are prepared for this hour will hear’ (Sa CB adds ‘in those days’).

36 Lit. ‘and order altars to be kindled’. Sa CB and St om. the reference to the kindling of the altars, though the righteous are burned on them.

37 So SaSt: A, obviously corruptly, ‘he does not pursue men while he will seek, but he persuades them by signs and wonders’. Sa CB is defective but appears to agree substantially with SaSt.

38 SaCB and St ‘sixty-four thousand’.

39 SaCB and St add ‘right’.

40 Lit. ‘take’.

41 SaCB and St add ‘until they bring them’.

42 On the restorations from here to the end of A 39 see Schmidt, Der Kolophon …’, p. 321.

43 SaCB and St ‘They shall not hunger nor thirst’.

44 Lit. ‘They will carry the 〈peace〉 from upon the earth and the spirit’. The ‘spirit’, which is to be ‘removed from the earth’, is presumably the Divine spirit, which was active initially at the creation (Gen. i. 2 ) and subsequently ‘filled the whole world’ (Wisd. i. 7 ).

45 Cp. Anon. Apoc. iii. 26 (below, p. 925).

46 SaCB om. ‘the earth will be dry’.

47 SaCB and St add ‘empty’. On the restorations from here to the end of A 40 see Schmidt, Der Kolophon …, p. 321.

48 Lit. ‘until you’.

49 So A SaSt: SaCB ‘everyone’.

50 SaCB and St add ‘and tribulation’.

51 A ‘it’: SaCB ‘you’ (i.e. ‘thee’); SaSt leaves the pronoun unexpressed.

52 One folio of A is missing here; but SaSt is available until A resumes at verse 84, as is also SaCB as far as the end of verse 72.

53 Text ‘Then the Shameless One wept’.

54 So SaSt: A has ‘… in a righteous judgement. On that day will the mountains and the earth give tongue’.

55 Lit. ‘voice’.

56 Text ‘unrighteous’.

57 Lit. ‘and thus there will be grace’.

58 Lit. ‘there being no deadly deceit in them’.

59 Lit. ‘comes … burns … spends’.

60 Lit. ‘is’.

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