Many of us are familiar with the story of how Ezra led the second wave of Yahudim captives in Babylon back to Jerusalem. (Ezra 7:1-7) It was through Ezra’s efforts, and faith in the Most High, that Torah was once again elevated to a place of prominence among Yah’s people.
On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of Yahuah upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Torah of Yahuah, and to do and to teach statues and ordinances in Israel.
The book of Ezra records how the man whose name means “helper” led one of the most important spiritual revivals of his day. The reforms instituted by this amazing prophet, scribe, and priest helped the people reestablish their covenant relationship with the Almighty.
When reading through the book that bears his name it is hard to miss this man’s faith and humility. Because the hand of Yah was on him, he was able to accomplish the impossible.
Ezra, whose name is transliterated as Esdras in Latin, possessed an insatiable curiosity regarding end times, the destiny of mankind, Yah’s promises to his people, and the Creation itself.
Ezra’s Creation Story Echoes Genesis, Jubilees, and Enoch
The scriptures inform us that we get back what we invest when it comes to spiritual maturity and discernment. Those who desire to know more about the Kingdom of Yahuah benefit the most when they are willing to spend time in prayer and study.
It is the glory of Yahuah to conceal a matter, and the honor of kings to search it out.
In the apocryphal book of 4 Ezra (2 Esdras), we are privy to an exchange Ezra has with Uriel,1 an angel acting as an agent2 of the Most High. Following a seven day fast, Ezra the scribe articulates his version of the creation event.
When you compare the six days of creation as described in 4 Ezra with the accounts in Jubilees and Genesis, the similarities are undeniable. Additional verses from Job, Amos, 1 Enoch, and Psalms imply a creation model that supports biblical cosmology.
This article is written for those who are willing to throw off the shackles of mind controlled religion and dip their toe into “extra biblical” waters — namely, certain ancient manuscripts that were removed from our western Bibles. The creation accounts in 4 Ezra and Jubilees3 are posted so you can draw your own conclusions as to their compatibility with the Genesis narrative. After you’ve compared these creation accounts, ask yourself if this extra effort paid off in terms of helping you acquire a greater understanding of biblical cosmology, certain end times events, and the importance of observing Yah’s feast days.
Creation Day one
The first day of creation is characterized by seven great works. The Creator brings order out of chaos and light is separated from darkness. This evident in the Genesis, 4 Ezra, and Jubilees accounts.
However, Ezra gives us this nugget of information that is missing from both the Genesis and Jubilees accounts: the light mentioned here is taken from Yahuah’s treasuries or storehouses. These storehouses are also repositories of natural phenomena such as snow, hail, and wind. (Psalm 135:7, Job 38:22, Jeremiah 10:13)
And I said, O Lord, you spoke from the beginning of the creation, even the first day, and said this: Let heaven and earth be made; and your word was a perfect work. And then was the spirit, and darkness and silence were on every side; the sound of man’s voice was not yet formed. Then you commanded a fair light to come forth of your treasures, that your work might appear.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:38-40
The Jubilees account is even more intriguing. Angels were created on day one and given and assigned classes. Angels of the Presence and angels of Sanctification made up the higher orders, while other classes of angelic beings were put in charge of natural phenomena.
For on the first day He created the heavens which are above and the earth and the waters and all the spirits which serve before him – the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification, and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirits of the clouds, and of darkness, and of snow and of hail and of hoar frost, and the angels of the voices and of the thunder and of the lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and heat, and of winter and of spring and of autumn and of summer, and all the spirits of his creatures which are in the heavens and on the earth, (He created) the abysses and the darkness , eventide, and night, and the light, dawn and day which He hath prepared in the knowledge of His heart.
Creation Day two
On day two we are given information regarding the structural foundation that holds up the heavens (firmament layers). This was such a massive undertaking that it was the only thing created on this day. Pillars of heaven and earth, apparently buttressed by winds, support these firmaments which also divide the waters above from the waters beneath.
He spreads out the heavens like a vault; upon the waters has he founded it.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 16:59
Again, on the second day, you did create the spirit of the firmament, and did command him to divide and separate the waters, that one part might move upward and the other part remain beneath.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:41
O Lord who inhabits eternity, whose eyes are exalted and whose upper chambers are in the air4,
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 8:20
And on the second day He created the firmament in the midst of the waters, and the waters were divided on that day – half of them went up above and half of them went down below the firmament (that was) in the midst over the face of the whole earth. And this was the only work (God) created on the second day.
Here is what the prophet Amos, Job, and Enoch have to say:
He builds His upper rooms in the heavens and founds His vault upon the earth. He summons the waters of the sea and pours them over the face of the earth. Yahuah is His name..
He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth upon nothing. He has inscribed a horizon on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.
I then surveyed the receptacles of all the winds, perceiving that they contributed to adorn the whole creation, and to guard the foundation of the earth. I surveyed the stone which supports the corners of the earth. I also beheld the four winds, which bear up the earth, and the expanse of heaven. And I beheld the winds occupying the exalted sky. Arising in the midst of heaven and of earth, and constituting the pillars of heaven.
1 Enoch 18:1-510 Cephyr
Creation Day Three
Four great works were done on day three:
the dry land appeared
the waters (under the heavens) are gathered to form seas
vegetation and fruit bearing trees appear
the Garden of Eden appears
Upon the third day thou didst command that the waters should be gathered in the seventh part of the earth: six parts hast thou dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being planted of God and tilled might serve thee. For as soon as thy word went forth the work was made. For immediately there was great and innumerable fruit, and many and divers pleasures for the taste, and flowers of unchangeable color, and odors of wonderful smell: and this was done the third day.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:42-44
And on the third day He commanded the waters to pass from off the face of the whole earth into one place, and the dry land to appear. And the waters did so as He commanded them, and they retired from off the face of the earth into one place outside of this firmament, and the dry land appeared. And on that day He created for them all the seas according to their separate gathering-places, and all the rivers, and the gatherings of the waters in the mountains and on all the earth, and all the lakes, and all the dew of the earth, and the seed which is sown, and all sprouting things, and fruit-bearing trees, and trees of the wood, and the garden of Eden, in Eden and all plants after their kind. These four great works God created on the third day.
Both 4 Ezra and Jubilees are consistent with the Genesis account of what happened on the third day.
Then Yahuah said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And Yahuah called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called seas. And Yahuah saw that it was good. Then Yahuah said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the her that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth; and it was so.
Creation Day Four
On day four of the creation week the Sun, Moon, and stars appear. These three heavenly timekeepers will set the boundaries of night and day, and calibrate months and years, the seasons, and feast days. The Sun, called the greater light, is pre-eminent. It is appointed to be the great sign that will govern sabbaths, appointed times, jubilees, and seasons of the year. This is covenant calendar language.
The Moon and stars are the lesser lights that govern the night. (Psalms 136:9) All three are said to be located in the firmament.
On the fourth day you commanded that the sun should shine, and the moon give her light, and the stars should be in order: and gave them a charge to do service unto man, that was to be made.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6: 45,46
And on the fourth day He created the sun and the moon and the stars, and set them in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon all the earth, and to rule over the day and the night, and divide the light from the darkness. And God appointed the sun to be a great sign on the earth for days and for sabbaths and for months and for feasts and for years and for sabbaths of years and for jubilees and for all seasons of the years. And it divides the light from the darkness [and] for prosperity, that all things may prosper which shoot and grow on the earth. These three kinds He made on the fourth day.
Jubilees 2: 8(b)-11(a)
Then Yahuah said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and sasons,a nd for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth; and it was so. Then Yahuah made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. Hemade the stars also. Yahuah set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And Yahuah saw that it was good.
Creation Day Five
Birds and sea creatures are created on the fifth day and told to be fruitful and multiply. But Ezra tells us that it was on this day that two other beings were given life, and a purpose. According to Ezra, Behemoth and Leviathan were among the first fleshly creatures that were created. Behemoth5 occupied land where there are a thousand hills while Leviathan lived in the sea. (Psalm 104:26)
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eats grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moves his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of Elohim: he that made him can make his sword to approach.
Job’s description of Leviathan is equally as fascinating.
Can you draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with and cord which you let down? Can you put a hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Can you fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?
Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
When you dig a bit deeper into the destiny of these two amazing creatures, you may come to realize that they were created for a specific purpose. There will be survivors of the Great Tribulation who will see New Jerusalem descend from above and flock there for medicine, food, and mercy. These two creatures could be on the menu — the ultimate surf and turf meal that will serve as rations for the hungry and destitute until the food supply can be replenished.
You break the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
And Behemoth shall be revealed from his place and Leviathan shall ascend from the sea, those two great monsters which I created on the fifth day of creation, and shall have kept until that time; and then they shall be food for all that are left.
2 Baruch 29:4-6
Upon the fifth day you said to the seventh part, where the waters were gathered that it should bring forth living creatures, fowls and fishes: and so it came to pass. For the dumb water and without life brought forth living things at the commandment of God, that all people might praise thy wondrous works. Then you did ordain two living creatures, the one thou called Behemoth, and the other Leviathan; And did separate the one from the other: for the seventh part, namely, where the water was gathered together, might not hold them both. Unto Behemoth you gave one part, which was dried up the third day, that he should dwell in the same part, wherein are a thousand hills: But unto Leviathan you gave the seventh part, namely, the moist; and has kept him to be devoured of whom you will, and when.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6: 47-52
And on the fifth day He created great sea monsters in the depths of the waters, for these were the first things of flesh that were created by his hands, the fish and everything that moves in the waters, and everything that flies, the birds and all their kind. And the sun rose above them to prosper (them), and above everything that was on the earth, everything that shoots out of the earth, and all fruit-bearing trees, and all flesh. These three kinds He created on the fifth day.
Jubilees 2: 11(b)-13(a)
Creation Day Six
The animal kingdom and man are created on day six. In the Genesis account we are told that the animals were labeled “living creatures according to its kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth.” Man was created to have dominion over the entire earth. He was created in Yahuah’s image.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The Hebrew word selem (#H6754) is translated in English as image. The word can mean a physical representation of something. The term is suitable when used in the context of idolatry. However, when we are told that man is made in Yah’s image (selem) and likeness (demut), the meaning refers to man’s intended purpose — given to him by his Creator. He was to have dominion over the entire creation as a type of vice-regent.
God’s image obviously does not consist in man’s body which was formed from earthly matter, but in his spiritual, intellectual, moral likeness to God from whom his animating breath came. The emphasis of the prohibition of idols is that they are all material created things. This spiritual aspect of man has been damaged by the fall and is daily tarnished by sin. But it was seen in perfection in Christ and will be made perfect in us when salvation is complete.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, p. 768
Upon the sixth day you gave commandment unto the earth, that before you it should bring forth beasts, cattle, and creeping things: and after these, Adam also, who thou made lord of all your creatures: of him come we all, and the people also whom you have chosen.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:53,54
And on the sixth day He created all the animals of the earth, and all cattle, and everything that moves on the earth. And after all this He created man, a man and a woman created He them, and gave him dominion over all that is upon the earth, and in the seas, and over everything that flies, and over beasts and over cattle, and over everything that moves on the earth, and over the whole earth, and over all this He gave him dominion. And these four kinds He created on the sixth day. And there were altogether two and twenty kinds. And He finished all his work on the sixth day –all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and in the seas and in the abysses, and in the light and in the darkness, and in everything.
The 7th Day Sabbath Rest
And on the seventh day Yahuah ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on that day He rested from all the work of creation that He had accomplished.
Unfortunately, the Genesis mention of Yah’s resting on day seven does not go far enough in my opinion. The Father’s seventh day rest was intended for mankind as well. It was set-apart for us so we would have a day to rest from our work (labor) and reconnect with our family and our heavenly Father.
This sabbath day of rest was not something strictly mandated for “the Jews.” It was a way to identify true covenant keepers. Jubilees tells us that the Father makes note of those who honor the sabbath day (the 7th day of the week).
And He finished all His work on the sixth day — all that is in the heavens and the earth, and in the abysses, and in the light and in the darkness, and in everything. And He gave us a great sign, the Sabbath day, that we should work six days, but keep Sabbath on the seventh day from all work. And all the angels of the presence, and all the angels of sanctification, these two great classes — He hath bidden us to keep the Sabbath with Him in heaven and on earth. And He said unto us: ‘Behold, I will separate unto Myself a people from among all the peoples, and these shall keep the Sabbath day, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people, and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify (it) unto Myself, even so will I bless them, and they shall be My people and I will be their God.
This seventh day Sabbath6 rest was given to believers of all biblical ages from Adam to Yeshua, and will continue into the eternal ages to come. Yeshua and his disciples kept the Sabbath and we are expected to honor it too. Keeping the Sabbath is a sign or a mark that identifies true believers.
Ezra Kept Asking, Seeking, and Knocking
The point of this re-examination of the creation event is to inspire followers of Yeshua to emulate Ezra — a man who wanted to go deeper with Yah. The Father always rewards believers who desire to know more about Him and matters related to the Kingdom. We have to think for ourselves as we walk out this very personal salvation. We live in an age where we can no longer be satisfied with spoon-fed “traditional” church doctrine.
For those brave believers who are ready to break away from the religious doctrinal herd mentality and determine for themselves whether books like Jubilees, 1 & 2 Esdras, 1 Enoch or Baruch deserve consideration, we hear you. The Study Tools section of this website is loaded with resource links to help you along your way. And, as usual, we encourage you to always seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Maranatha!
1 Uriel is one of four archangels mentioned in 1 Enoch 8:1 and is credited with being the angel who enlightened the scribe Ezra through many visions. Uriel, as one of the angels of the Presence, was sent by Yah to Lamech to warn Noah (his son) concerning the impending world-wide flood with instructions on how to escape this judgment. (1 Enoch 10:1-4)
2 For information on the role angels play in ministry and agency, see The Gospel Worth Dying For Chapter 9, “Agency and Prolepsis.”
3 The R.H. Charles translation.
4 Deuteronomy 10:14 (LXX): “Behold, to Yahuah your Elohim belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, and the earth and everything in it.” Yah dwells in the highest part of the firmaments – the Heaven of Heavens. This is why He is sometimes regarded as the Most High.
5 The word behemoth (Strong’s #H930) is the same in English as it is in Hebrew and is the plural form of the word behemah (Strong’s #H929). Behemah can mean beast, cattle, or large quadruped (four-legged) animal. It is interesting that this creature is connected to a location where there are “a thousand hills.” Just speculation, but is there a connection to Psalms 50:10 which states: “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle (behemah) upon a thousand hills?”
6 The Sabbath is NOT Sunday, which is the first day of the week. The Emperor Constantine made Sunday a day of rest from labor and the Roman Catholic Church made this change. Unfortunately many Protestant denominations followed suit. See the article, “Who Changed the Sabbath to Sunday?” (Linking to this article is not an endorsement of this website or its ministry. It is for research purposes only.)
The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is a collection of ancient Hebrew manuscripts that are believed to have been written by a Pharisee during the Hasmonean (Maccabean) high priesthood of John Hyrcanus. According to Irish theologian and bible scholar R.H. Charles, the Testaments were authored by this Pharisee sometime between 137 and 107 BCE.
There are several translations of these writings — in Greek, Armenian, Slavonic, and Hebrew — with some Christian additions. Classified as pseudepigraphal literature, the Testaments are presented as death bed confessions of the 12 sons of Jacob. According to Charles, the order of these testimonies are not chronological as to birth. Instead, they are grouped according to their respective mothers:
Sons of Leah (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun)
Sons of Bilhah (Dan, Naphtali)
Sons of Zilpah (Gad, Asher)
Sons of Rachel (Joseph, Benjamin)
Why Is Reading “The Testaments” Important?
As believers in Messiah and students of Scripture, we all bear a personal responsibility in learning all we can about the Father’s plan for our ultimate redemption through our High Priest Yeshua. It is our duty to study to show ourselves approved as we learn how to rightly divide the word. This includes reading “scary” Revelation and ancient books that the religious gatekeepers have told us were off limits — assigning them labels such as apocryphal or pseudepigraphal.
In order to truly work out our salvation this side of eternity, we should all be willing to challenge ourselves and the religious establishment.
Our Father wants us to know more about this walk than what we were taught in church. This conclusion is based on a conversation between the scribe Ezra and Yahuah, recorded in 2 Esdras. In this exchange, Ezra is told to write 204 books in forty days, but keep 70 aside for the wise among the people.
In forty days they wrote two hundred and four books. And it came to pass, when the forty days were filled, that the Highest spake, saying, “The first that thou hast written publish openly, that the worthy and unworthy may read it: but keep the seventy last, that thou mayest deliver them only to such as be wise among the people. For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge.” So during forty days, ninety-four books were written. And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, “Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first, and let the worthy and the unworthy read them, but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people.”
2 Esdras 14:44-47 KJV (Published in the original 1611 KJV but removed in subsequent printings)
In addition to The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, so-called apocryphal and pseudepigraphal literature such as Enoch, Jubilees, Sirach, 3 & 4 Esdras, 1 & 2 Baruch, and more deserve our attention. In most cases, when read with an open mind and examined in the context of the Bible canon of sixty six books, your Bible study will be enriched in ways you never imagined possible.
According to Charles, the Testaments’ influence of the New Testament is extensive. He asserts that the Sermon on Mount1, the Gospels2, and Paul’s writings3 echo themes of forgiveness, the coming Messiah, the Commandments, the Resurrection of believers and the coming of Antichrist.
If you haven’t read The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, they will be presented here as voiceover narration. It is my prayer that you will visit this page often. As usual, test all things.
When you get to the end of the book of Acts you may notice something peculiar. Unlike most of the other epistles included in the New Testament (other than James and 3 John) Acts does not end with the customary “amen.” Chapter 28’s rather abrupt conclusion to the story of the beginnings of the early church has led to speculation that the book of Acts is missing a final chapter. This is an important observation since Paul was chosen by Yeshua to be the Apostle to the nations (Gentiles).
But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. ‘I will deliver you from the people, as well as the nations, to whom I send you, to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to Elohim, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Although Paul immediately answered the call to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, he was constantly being thwarted in his efforts by a certain sect of the Pharisees. The religious leaders who crucified the Messiah were determined to kill him.
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and to the nations, that they should repent, turn to Elohim, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Yahudiym seized me in the Temple and tried to kill me.”
Many of us were led to believe that Acts 28 was the beginning of the end for Paul while under Roman house arrest. We were left with the impression that Paul was immediately beheaded in Rome. But was this the case? According to Dr. Ralph F. Wilson:
Presumably Paul would have had a hearing before Caesar (Acts 27:24) at the end of this period. The possible results might be: (1) conviction and execution, (2) conviction and much stricter confinement, (3) exile from Rome, or (4) Paul’s accusers don’t appear and his case is dismissed. Perhaps the significance of the “two years” of Acts 28:30 is that it is the statutory time that Paul’s accusers have to bring their case before the emperor before the case is dismissed. We’re not sure. At any rate, there seems to be a firm Christian tradition that Paul was released for a time before his final execution.
Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, Doctor of Ministry & Master of Divinity, Fuller Theological Seminary
As usual, do your own research. I have posted the text of Acts 29, better known as the “Long Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles” for your convenience. It picks up where Acts 28:31 ends. Or, you can watch the video which features a voiceover narration with images.
1 And Paul, full of the blessings of Christ, and abounding in the spirit, departed out of Rome, determined to go into Spain, for he had a long time proposed to journey thither ward, and was minded also to go from thence to Britain.
2 For he had heard in Phoenicia that certain of the children of Israel, about the time of the Assyrian captivity, had escaped by sea to “The Isles afar off” as spoken by the Prophet Esdras, and called by the Romans – Britain.
3 And the Lord commanded the gospel to be preached far hence to the Gentiles, and to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
4 And no man hindered Paul; for he testified boldly of Jesus before the tribunes and among the people; and he took with him certain of the brethren which abode with him at Rome, and they took shipping at Ostrium and having the winds fair, were brought safely into a haven of Spain.
5 And many people were gathered together from the towns and villages, and the hill country; for they had heard of the conversion to the Apostles, and the many miracles which he had wrought.
6 And Paul preached mightily in Spain, and great multitudes believed and were converted, for they perceived he was an apostle sent from God.
7 And they departed out of Spain, and Paul and his company finding a ship in Armorica sailing unto Britain, they were therein, and passing along the south Coast, they reached a port called Raphinus.
8 Now when it was voiced abroad that the Apostle had landed on their coast, great multitudes of the inhabitants met him, and they treated Paul courteously and he entered in at the east gate of their city, and lodged in the house of an Hebrew and one of his own nation.
9 And on the morrow he came and stood upon Mount Lud and the people thronged at the gate, and assembled in the Broadway, and he preached Christ unto them, and they believed the Word and the testimony of Jesus.
10 And at even the Holy Ghost fell upon Paul, and he prophesied, saying, Behold in the last days the God of Peace shall dwell in the cities, and the inhabitants thereof shall be numbered: and in the seventh numbering of the people, their eyes shall be opened, and the glory of their inheritance shine forth before them. The nations shall come up to worship on the mount the testifieth of the patience and long suffering of a servant of the Lord.
11 And in the latter days new tidings of the Gospel shall issue forth out of Jerusalem, and the hearts of the people shall rejoice, and behold, fountains shall be opened, and there shall be no more plague.
12 In those days there shall be wars and rumors of war; and a king shall rise up, and his sword, shall be for the healing of the nations, and his peacemaking shall abide, and the glory of his kingdom a wonder among princes.
13 And it came to pass that certain of the Druids came unto Paul privately, and showed by their rites and ceremonies they were descended from the Jews which escaped from bondage in the land of Egypt, and the apostle believed these things, and he gave them the kiss of peace.
14 And Paul abode in his lodgings three months confirming in the faith and preaching Christ continually.
15 And after these things Paul and his brethren departed from Raphinus and sailed unto Atium in Gaul.
16 And Paul preached in the Roman garrison and among the people, exhorting all men to repent and confess their sins.
17 And there came to him certain of the Belgae to inquire of him of the new doctrine, and of the man Jesus; And Paul opened his heart unto them and told them all things that had befallen him, howbeit, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; and they departed pondering among themselves upon the things which they had heard.
18 And after much preaching and toil, Paul and his fellow laborers passed into Helvetia, and came to Mount Pontius Pilate, where he who condemned the Lord Jesus dashed himself down headlong, and so miserably perished.
19 Immediately a torrent gushed out of the mountain and washed his body, broken in pieces, into a lake.
20 And Paul stretched forth his hands upon the water, and prayed unto the Lord, saying O Lord God, give a sign unto all nations that here Pontius Pilate, who condemned thine only-begotten son, plunged down headlong into the pit.
21 And while Paul was yet speaking, behold, there came a great earthquake, and the face of the waters was changed, and the form of the lake like unto the Son of Man hanging in an agony upon the Cross.
22 And a voice came out of heaven saying, Even Pilate hath escaped the wrath to come for he washed his hands before the multitude at the blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus
23 When, therefore, Paul and those that were with him saw the earthquake, and heard the voice of the angel, they glorified God, they were mightily strengthened in the spirit.
24 And they journeyed and came to Mount Julius where stood two pillars, one on the right hand and one on the left hand, erected by Caesar Augustus.
25 And Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, stood up between the two pillars, saying, Men and brethren these stones which ye see this day shall testify of my journey hence; and verily I say, they shall remain until the outpouring of the spirit upon all nations, neither shall the way be hindered throughout all generations.
26 And they went forth and came unto Illtricum, intending to go by Macedonia into Asia, and grace was found in all the churches, and they prospered and had peace. Amen.1
1 This version of Acts 29 was reproduced from a work known as the “Long Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.” Also referred to as the Sonnini Manuscript, it is named for C. S. Sonnini, who translated the document from the original Greek manuscript found in the archives at Constantinople (presented to him by the Sultan Abdoul Achmet). You will have to do your own research and draw your own conclusions as to the authenticity of this chapter addition to the Book of Acts. Here are links to two articles for your convenience: The Sonnini Manuscript (from The Saxon Messenger) and The Lost Chapter of Acts of the Apostles (from Torah Truth Seeker).
~ It is widely believed that 2 Timothy was Paul’s final letter written prior to his execution while held in Mamertine Prison in Rome. Tradition holds that Paul was beheaded by Nero.
The Book of Esther has always bothered me. If the version of Esther found in most Bible translations is authentic, then why is Yahuah not mentioned in the narrative? There is no naming of the Covenant nor is prayer mentioned, only fasting. The historicity of Esther’s story is somewhat sketchy. And, from a personal standpoint, the way in which Esther became Queen is somewhat unseemly.1
As covenant people we owe our very life to our Creator and lean on Him to give us direction in good times and bad. So why was Yah not included in a book about a woman who would be instrumental in preventing the genocide of thousands of Hebrews?
While reading the R.H. Charles translation of the Apocrypha, I stumbled upon the “Additions” to Esther that are not found in the Masoretic translation of this book. More about this later. The important thing to note is there are two versions of Esther. The Masoretic Hebrew2 translation is devoid of any covenant language. By contrast, the Greek Septuagint version peppers the narrative with many mentions of the Most High, and includes the dreams and prayers of the central characters — namely Queen Esther and her cousin3 Mordecai.
Another interesting thing to note: the Book of Esther is nowhere to be found among the Old Testament fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Why? There are at least three possibilities to consider:
The leadership at Qumran did not consider the book to be authoritative.
The book did meet their approval, but no copies survived.
Esther’s story had not been written by the time the Qumran community disbanded.
The Additions to Esther
About a month ago I decided to read through the Old Testament using the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Scriptures. It wasn’t long before I noticed profound differences in how the Masoretes recounted Esther’s story compared to the LXX version of the book.
For the sake of space and time, I will include and mark the main additions that appear in the LXX but are absent from the Masoretic texts. The Additions to Esther listed here are taken from the R.H. Charles translation of the Apocrypha.
Addition A – Chapter 1 (LXX Introduction)
In the second year of the reign of Artaxerxes the great king, on the first day of Nisa, Mardocheus the son of Jairus, the son of Semeias, the son of Kiseus, of the tribe of Benjamin, was a dream. He was a Jew, dwelling in the city of Susa, a great man, serving in the king’s court; and he was of the captivity, which Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon carried from Jerusalem with Jechonias, the king of Judea. And this was his dream; and behold noise and tumult, thunderings and earthquake, confusion upon the earth.
And behold, two great dragons came forth, both of them ready to fight, and their cry was great. And at their cry every nation made itself ready for war, to make war upon a nation of righteous men. And behold a day of darkness and of gloom; tribulation and anguish; affliction and great confusion upon the earth. And the whole righteous nation was troubled, fearing the evils that threatened them, and they made ready to perish.
And they cried unto God; and from their cry, as it were from a small spring, there came up a great river, even much water. A light and the sun rose, and the humble were exalted and consumed the glorious. And Mardocheus, having seen this dream and observed what God had determined to do, awoke and keep it in his heart, and sought by all means to understand it until the night.
Mordecai discovers the plot of the two eunuchs.
And Mardocheus took his rest, as was his custom, in the court with Gabatha and Tharra, the two eunuchs of the king who kept the court. And he heard their communing, and searched out their counsels, and learned that they were preparing to lay hands upon Artaxerxes the king; and he informed the king concerning them. And the king examined the two eunuchs, and they confessed their intention and were led forth and executed. And the king wrote these things for a memorial, and Mardocheus wrote concerning these things.
And the king charged Mardocheus to serve in the court, and gave him gifts in respect of these things. And Haman, the son of Mamadathus, a +Bugaean+, was in honor in the king’s sight, and sought to bring evil upon Mardocheus and his people because of the two eunuchs of the king.
Addition B – Insert between Chapter 3:13 and Chapter 3:14
And the following is the copy of the letter; The great king Artaxerxes writes thus to the rulers and inferior governors of a hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India even to Ethiopia, who hold authority under him. Ruling over many nations and having obtained dominion over the whole world, I was minded (not elated by the confidence of power, but ever conducting myself with great moderation and gentleness) to make the lives of my subjects continually tranquil, desiring both to maintain the kingdom quiet and orderly to its utmost limits, and to restore the peace desired by all men.
But when I had enquired of my counsellors how this should be brought to pass, Man, who excels in soundness of judgment among us, and has been manifestly well inclined without wavering and with unshaken fidelity, and had obtained the second post int he kingdom, informed us that a certain ill-disposed peoples mixed up with all the tribes throughout the world, opposed in their law to every other nation, and continually neglecting the commands of the king, so that the united government blamelessly administered by us is not quietly established.
Having then conceived that this nation alone of all others is continually set in opposition to every man, introducing as a change a foreign code of laws, and injuriously plotting to accomplish the worst of evils against our interests, and against the happy establishment of the monarchy; we signify to you in the letter written by Amanda, who is set over the public affairs and is our second governor, to destroy them all utterly with their wives and children by the swords of the enemies, without pitying or sparing any, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month Adar, of the present year; that the people aforetime and now ill-disposed to us having been violently consigned to death in one day, may hereafter secure to us continually a well constituted and quiet state of affairs.
Addition C – Insert between Chapter 4:17 and Chapter 5:1
The prayer of Mordecai.
And Mardocheus besought the Lord, calling to remembrance all the works of the Lord, and said, ‘Lord, Lord, King that rules over all, for in Thy power is the whole world, and there is none that gainsayeth Thee when Thou wildest to save Israel: for Thou didst make heaven and earth, and every wondrous thing beneath the heaven; and Thou art Lord of all, and there is not one that shall resist Thee, the Lord.
Thou knows all things; Thou knows, Lord, that it was not in insolence or in pride or in vainglory that I did this, to wit, that I did not bow before proud Haman. For I had been content to kiss the soles of his feet for the salvation of Israel.
But I did this that I might not set the glory of a man above the glory of God: and I will bow before none save before Thee, my Lord, and I will not do it in pride. nd now, Lord, God and King, the God of Abraham, spare Thy people; for the eyes of our enemies are against us to consume us, and they seek to destroy the heritage that is Thine from the beginning. Despise not Thy portion which Thou didst redeem unto Thyself out of the land of Egypt. Hearken to my prayer, and be gracious unto Thine heritage; and turn our mourning into feasting, that we may live and sing Thy Name, O Lord; ad destroy not the mouth of them that praise Thee.
And all Israel cried out with their might, for their death was before their eyes.
The Prayer of Esther.
And Esther, the queen fled in prayer unto the Lord, being seized with an agony of death. and taking off her glorious raiment, she put on garments of anguish and mourning; and instead of the choice ointments, she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she humbled her body with much fasting, and every place of the ornament of her joy she filled with her tangled hair. And she besought the Lord God of Israel and said, ‘My Lord, our King, Thou art God alone; help me who stand alone, and have no helper save Thee: for my danger is in my hand.
I have heard ever since I was born in the tribe of my family that Thou, Lord, didst take Israel out of all the nations, and our father from their progenitors, for an everlasting inheritance, and that Thou didst for them all that Thou didst promise. And now e have sinned before Thee, and Thou has delivered us into the hands of our enemies, because we have given glory to their gods. Righteous art Thou, O Lord.
And now they have not been satisfied with the bitterness of our captivity, but they have laid their hands ,<in the hands of their idols>, to remove the ordinance of Thy mouth and to destroy Thine inheritance, and to stop the mouth of them that praise Thee, and to quench the glory of Thy house, and Thy altar, and to open the mouth fo the nations to give praise to vain idols, and that a king of flesh should be magnified for ever.’
Surrender not, O Lord, Thy scepter unto them that be not gods; and let not them that are our enemies mock at our fall; but turn their counsel against themselves, and make an example of him that began to do this against. us. Remember <us>, O Lord; make Thyself known to us in the time of our tribulation, and give me courage O King of the gods and Lord over all dominion. Put eloquent speech into my mouth before the lion; and turn his heart to hatred of him that fighteth against us, that there may be an end of him and of them that are likeminded with him. But save us by Thy hand, and help me sho stand alone, and have none to save Thee, O Lord.
Knowledge has Thou of all things, and Thou knows that I hat the glory of the wicked, and I detest the bed of the uncircumcised and of any alien. Thou knows my necessity, that I abhor the sign of my proud estate, which is upon my head int he days when I show myself openly; I abhor it as a menstruous rag, and I wear it not in the days of my leisure.
And Thy servant hath not eaten at the table of Human, and I have not honored the king’s feast, neither have I dunk the wine of libations. And Thy servant hath known no joy since the day I was brought here until now, save in Thee, Lord God of Abraham. O God, whose strength is over all, hear the voice of the hopeless, and save us from the hand of them that deal wickedly and save me out of my fear.
Additions D, E, and F describe Esther’s appearance before the king, Artaxerxes’ second edict concerning the Yahudim (Jews), and an interpretation of the dream of Mordecai.
More Questions. Few Answers.
There are other discrepancies between the canonical Esther and the LXX version with the Additions:
Mordecai is said to hold a high position at court in the second year of Artaxerxes, but in Esther 2:16 says it was the seventh year.
Mordecai is credited with informing the king of the eunuch conspiracy but in Esther 2:21-23 it says it was Esther who informed the king in her cousin Mordecai’s name.
Mordecai is rewarded but Esther 6:3,4 says he was forgotten.
Esther voices her hatred of her position as wife of an uncircumcised alien, but canonical Esther makes no such objection.
Haman is called a Macedonian but in Esther 3:1 his father has a Persian name.
As fascinating as these Additions may be they only raise more questions regarding both versions of Esther.
Bible scholar R. H. Charles has this to say about the authorship of the Additions:
The Additions belong to that mass of floating legendary material which in the course of years gathered around the name of Esther. It is impossible to assign a single date to them, as they are written in different styles, and may be the work of different authors, some of the additions (e.g. A, C, D, F) having probably grown up gradually and assumed their present shape after an existence of some years inn oral tradition.
The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Volume One, page 668
It is also interesting to note that out of Esther’s book comes the creation of a celebration known as Purim.
Therefore these days are called Purim, from the word Pur. Because of all the instructions in this letter, and because of all they had seen and experienced, the Jews bound themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should not fail to celebrate these two days at the appointed time each and every year, according to their regulation. These days should be remembered and celebrated by every generation, family, province, and city, so that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, nor should the memory of them fade from their descendants.
As students of the Scriptures we have to be both thoughtful and discerning. Like me, this may be the first time you have been made aware of the Esther Additions. It is not the intention of this article to cast doubt on the authenticity of either version of Esther. I merely want to expose you to information you may not have been made aware of in church.
1 Esther 2:8-16
2 According to 18th century Anglican scholar Adam Clark, the work of the Masoretes is, in reality, a commentary which has been integrated into the body of Scripture. Clark asserts that the Hebrew of the Masoretic Text (Masoretic Hebrew) is different from the Hebrew of the Patriarchs (Ancient Hebrew) in which Old Covenant (OT) scripture was originally written. It is based on the Hebrew which was rejected by early believers in Messiah (Natsarim).
3 Some translations describe Mordecai as Esther’s uncle while others say they are first cousins, with Esther being “the daughter of the brother of Mordechai’s father.” Both were of the tribe of Benjamin.
According to bible scholar Robert Henry Charles, Enoch has had more influence on the New Testament than any other so-called apocryphal or pseudepigraphal work. This makes one wonder why we have been warned to stay away from the writings of this pre-Flood prophet. However, after reading through 1 Enoch1 and the entire New Testament, it is hard to fathom why anyone would want to dismiss this book.
The writers of New Testament canon authenticate the importance of the Book of Enoch. Verbatim quotes taken from this book can be found in the Gospels, Hebrews, Romans, Revelation, and Jude. This is fitting for a book that was written specifically for the last generation living at the time just before Yeshua’s second coming.
Enoch — The Hidden Prophet
We will begin our investigation into this ancient book by revisiting Genesis.
And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Genesis 5:24 New International Version
Many of us were taught in church that this verse meant that Enoch was taken to heaven. Is this really what the phrase “God took Him” is saying? When you examine the word laqach (Strong’s #H3947), translated as “took”, you may draw a different conclusion. While it can mean to take or carry off, should we infer that the only place Enoch could have been carried off to was the heaven of heavens?
Remember, Yeshua is the first fruits of the Resurrection. No one who has already died is in heaven now, except our Messiah, who is also serving presently as our High Priest.2
No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.
John 3:13 Berean Study Bible
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4: 16,17 Berean Study Bible
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. For David did not ascend into the heavens…
Acts 2:29; 34(a) English Standard Version
You may be tempted to cite the conversation Yeshua had with the thief on the cross as a rebuttal to what has just been presented. However, your counter claim hinges on the placement of a comma in Luke 23:43:
And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Berean Study Bible
The comma placement in this and other translations is misleading. Koine Greek (the language of the day) was written without punctuation. So it was up to the translator (or his/her editor) to decide whether to put a comma after the word you. However, when you place the comma after the word today, something incredible happens. Doing so better aligns Yeshua’s promise to this condemned man with what Scripture actually says about the order of the resurrections.3
Once you understand this it is hard to believe that Enoch, Elijah, or the thief would be taken up to heaven before our Messiah. Believers who are included in the first resurrection — those already in Sheol and those still alive — will be taken up at the same time.
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 New Living Translation
It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
1 Corinthians 15:52 New Living Translation
So, the Prophet Enoch was taken by Yah. But where did he disappear to? The Book of Jubilees tells us.
And he was taken from amongst the children of men, and we conducted him in to the Garden of Eden in majesty and honour, and behold there he writes down the condemnation and judgment of the world, and all the wickedness of the children of men. And on account of it (God) brought the waters of the flood upon all the land of Eden; for there he was set as a sign and that he should testify against all the children of men, that he should recount all the deeds of the generations until the day of condemnation. And he burnt the incense of the sanctuary, (even) sweet spices acceptable before the Lord on the Mount. For the Lord has four places on the earth, the Garden of Eden, and the Mount of the East, and this mountain on which thou art this day, Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion (which) will be sanctified in the new creation for a sanctification of the earth; through it will the earth be sanctified from all (its) guilt and its uncleanness throughout the generations of the world.
Book of Jubilees 4:23-26 R.H. Charles translation
Enoch was still alive; acting in the role of Priest while in the Garden of Eden. This means he was 365 when he was taken to the Garden (Genesis 5:23).4 At the time of Noah’s birth a panicked Lamech would seek counsel from his father Methuselah regarding paternity issues. Methuselah interceded with his father Enoch on Lamech’s behalf.
And after some days my son Methuselah took a wife for his son Lamech, and she became pregnant by him and bore a son. And his body was white as snow and red as the blooming of a rose, and the hair of his head and his long locks were white as wool, and his eyes beautiful. And when he opened his eyes, he lighted up the whole house like the sun, and the whole house was very bright. And thereupon he arose in the hands of the midwife, opened his mouth, and conversed with the Lord of righteousness. And his father Lamech was afraid of him and fled, and came to his father Methuselah. And he said unto him: ‘I have begotten a strange son, diverse from and unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven; and his nature is different and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious. And it seems to me that he is not sprung from me but from the angels, and I fear that in his days a wonder may be wrought on the earth. And now, my father, I am here to petition thee and implore thee that thou mayest go to Enoch, our father, and learn from him the truth, for his dwelling-place is amongst the angels.’ And when Methuselah heard the word of his son, he came to me to the ends of the earth; for he had heard that I was there, and he cried aloud, and I heard his voice and I came to him. And I said unto him: ‘Behold, here am I, my son, wherefore hast thou come to me?’
1 Enoch 106:1-9 (Fragment of the Book of Noah) R.H. Charles translation
Keep in mind that it was during this time that Nephilim giants were roaming the earth. These were the monstrous offspring of disobedient Watcher angels and human females. No wonder Lamech was freaked out. However, the important thing to remember is that Enoch is still alive, hundreds of years following his being “taken” away to Eden. (Genesis 5:21-26)
Enoch eventually died and went to Sheol, the compartmental destination of every human after death.
For thus did Enoch, the father of your father command Methuselah, his son, and Methuselah his son Lamech, and Lamech commended me all the things which his father commanded him. And I also will give you commandment, my sons, as Enoch commanded his son in the first jubilees: whilst still living, the seventh in his generation, he commanded and testified to his son and to his sons’s sons until the day of his death.
Book of Jubilees 7:38,39 R.H. Charles translation
It is interesting that Enoch disappeared from among men, only to re-appear after spending time with the angels in Eden.5 This is also true of the book that bears his name.
There is an interesting parallel between the life of Enoch, related in his book, and the subsequent history of the book itself. We are told Enoch was secluded from mankind for a period of time. The, after being called to become a preacher, Enoch reappeared as a powerful figure on the world scene. As we will see, the Book of Enoch has been through a similar process of reappearance in recent times. For many years the Book of Enoch was in a period of virtual seclusion. The book is now reemerging on the world stage with an important message undiminished by time.
Who Really Wrote the Book of Enoch? by R.I. Burns, SageWorks Press, 2017, page 148
The Dead Sea Scrolls Authenticate Enoch
You may be surprised to learn that among the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the caves of Qumran, the Book of Enoch was amongst the most represented. It wasn’t until after the Resurrection that this important book fell into disfavor among the religious leaders in Jerusalem. We suspect that it was because Enoch foretold the coming of Yeshua and his Kingdom.
Rabbis who rejected Yeshua also began to standardize canon, excluding Enoch’s writings. Although the book of Enoch maintained its relevance among New Testament writers, it began to disappear into the background of history; eventually banned by the Council of Laodicea. Both Jerome and Augustine apparently endorsed this discrediting of the book.
We praise Yah that this group of self-anointed arbiters of the validity of Scripture did not have the final say in the matter. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 produced fragments from at least 10 copies of Enoch, along with fragments from Jubilees, the Psalms, Isaiah and Deuteronomy.
Enoch’s Fingerprints Are All Over The New Testament
According to R.H. Charles, 1 Enoch has influenced New Testament writers more than any other extra-biblical ancient writings. Using Charles’ notes as a guide, we have created the chart below to help you test whether this is true.
BOOK OF ENOCH
1 John 1:7
1 John 2:8
1 John 2:15
1 Corinthians 6:2
2 Corinthians 4:6
1 Thessalonians 5:3
2 Thessalonians 1:7
1 Timothy 1:9
1 Timothy 1:15
1 Timothy 5:21
1 Timothy 16:15
Chapter 15:1; 70:1-4
John 12:36/Luke 16:8
Source: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Volume 2, by R.H. Charles, pages 180,181
*These verses identify “the devil” by name, the fallen angel Azazel. See also 1 Enoch 8:1,2
1 There are currently three versions of Enoch. The version referred to in this article as 1 Enoch is the one we believe to be the most trustworthy translation. In this article all references to the Book of Enoch allude to 1 Enoch, which is also called Ethiopic Enoch.
4 In 2 Enoch (also called The Book of the Secrets of Enoch) Chapter 68, the author claims that Enoch lived 365 years and was “taken up to heaven on the first day of the month of Tsivan” and remained in heaven sixty days. According to R.H.Charles, 2 Enoch has been preserved only in Slavonic. Writings in the Zohar exhibit close affinity to 2 Enoch. However, Ethiopian Christians regard 1 Enoch as the authentic version, and a part of the canon of their Bible.
5 Read The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 6, “Here Comes The Bride”
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