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                                           Sermon on the Mount                                                 ...from “Thoughts of an Emperor, a Slave, a Philosopher, and a Christ

                To understand the ancient teaching on Spirit from the Book, Science of Spirit: Lost Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.  We have to ask ourselves… What is this "Invisible Spirit?" that Christ talks about and is it the same god that... we all talk about… from the research the answer is YES... here Christ talks about our connection to spirit... how we are all connected and that the kingdom of Heaven is within all gods creatures... this is the ancient wisdom of a Science of Spirit..

 Sermon on the Mount by Jesus of Nazareth around AD 30

From Wikipedia

The Sermon on the Mount was, according
to the Gospel of Matthew, a particular sermon given by Jesus of Nazareth around AD 30 on a mountainside to his disciples and a large crowd (Matt. 5:1; 7:28). It is thought by some contemporary Christians to have taken place on a mountain on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. The recounting of the Sermon on the Mount comes from the Gospel of Matthew 5-7.

The Sermon on the Mount may be compared to the similar but more succinct Sermon on the Plain as recounted by the Gospel of Luke (Luke 6:17–49). Some commentators believe they may be the same sermon, others that Jesus frequently preached similar themes in different places, still others that neither sermons really took place but were conflations of Jesus's primary teachings as put together by Matthew and Luke.

Probably the best-known portion is the Beatitudes, found at the beginning of the section. It also contains the Lord's Prayer and the injunctions to "resist not evil" and "turn the other cheek", as well as Jesus's version of the Golden Rule. Other lines often quoted are the references to "salt of the Earth" "light of the world," and "judge not, lest ye be judged." Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary (midrash) on the Ten Commandments. To many the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship, and is considered as such by many religious and moral thinkers, such as Tolstoy and Gandhi.

Structure of the sermon

The sermon comprises the following components:

 Chapter 5

When Jesus saw he had attracted a large crowd by healing the sick, he climbed a mountain with his disciples, and spoke: (Matt. 5:1-2)

Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12

You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16)

Jesus has not come to destroy "the Law and the Prophets" but to fulfill, before the end times even the smallest part ("jot and tittle") of the Law will not disappear, whoever ignores even the smallest part and teaches others likewise, will be least in Heaven, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to obey will be great in Heaven, unless your righteousness exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees you will not see Heaven (Matt. 5:17-20)

Anger and verbal insults prohibited, not just murder, whoever says raca is subject to the sanhedrin, whoever says idiot deserves the fires of Gehenna, make amends with friends and enemies before anything else (Matt. 5:21-26)

Lust prohibited, not just adultery (Matt. 5:27-28)

Better to cut away a body part that causes trouble, than for the entire body to be pitched into Gehenna (Matt. 5:29-30)

Divorce (except for infidelity) and remarriage is adultery (Matt. 5:31-32)

Oaths prohibited, not just oath breaking (Matt. 5:33-37)

Love your enemies and turn the other cheek not just "an eye for an eye" (Matt. 5:38-48)

 Chapter 6

Do good deeds and pray in secret, not for public reward (Matt. 6:1-6)

Don't pray like pagans with long prayers, use the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:7-13)

Forgive others and your heavenly Father will forgive you, but if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive you (Matt. 6:14-15)

Fast in secret, not for public reward (Matt. 6:16-18)

Acquire treasures in heaven, not on earth (Matt. 6:19-21)

The eye is the lamp of the body (Matt. 6:22-23)

No one can serve two masters, so choose either God or Mammon (Matt. 6:24)

Seek first the kingdom of God, and have no worries for anything else, don't worry about tomorrow, let tomorrow worry about itself, concern yourself with today (Matt. 6:25-34)

 Chapter 7

Judge not, so that you will not be judged
(Matt. 7:1)

Remove the log from your own eye before attending to the speck in another's (Matt. 7:2-5)

Do not cast pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6)

Ask and you will receive, Seek and you will find, Knock and doors will open (Matt. 7:7-11)

Do to others as you would want them to do to you summarizes "the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12)

The narrow and hard way leads to life, the broad and easy way leads to destruction, many take the easy way, few find the hard way (Matt. 7:13-14)

Beware of false prophets who are wolves in sheep's clothing, by their fruits (actions) will you know them, the good tree does not produce bad fruit and the bad tree cannot produce good fruit (Matt. 7:15-20)

Do the will of the heavenly Father rather than invoking the name of Jesus, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord ... I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity1." (KJV) (Matt. 7:21-23)

Whoever follows this instruction builds on rock and will survive, whoever does not... builds on sand and will be destroyed (Matt. 7:24-27).

Interpretation

One of the most important debates over the sermon is how directly it should be applied to every day life. The advocacy of complete non-resistance is incompatible with survival in human society, thus almost all Christian groups have developed arguments to compromise the teachings. McArthur lists twelve basic schools of thought on this issues.

The absolutist view rejects all compromise and believes that if obeying the scripture costs the welfare of the believer then that is a reasonable sacrifice for salvation. All the precepts in the Sermon must be taken literally and applied universally. Proponents of this view include St. Francis of Assisi and in later life Leo Tolstoy. No Christian denomination fully adopts this position, but the early Anabaptists came close and modern Anabaptist groups such as the Mennonites and Hutterites come closest.

One method that is common, but not endorsed by any denomination, is to simply modify the text of the sermon. In ancient times this took the form of actually altering the text of the Sermon to make it more palatable. Thus some early copyists changed Matthew 5:22 from "whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment" to the watered down "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." More common in recent centuries is to paraphrase the Sermon and in so doing make it far less radical. A search through the writings of almost every major Christian writer finds them at some point to have been guilty of this modification.

One of the most common views is the hyperbole view, that argues that portions of what Jesus states in the Sermon are hyperbole and that if one is to apply the teaching to the real world the need to be "toned down." Most interpreters agree that there is some hyperbole in the sermon, with Matthew 5:29 being the most prominent example, but there is disagreement over exactly which sections should not be taken literally.

Closely related is the general principles view that argues that Jesus was not giving specific instructions, but general principles of how one should behave. The specific instances cited in the Sermon are simply examples of these general principles.

The double standard view is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church. It divides the teachings of the Sermon into general precepts and specific counsels. Obedience to the general precepts is essential for salvation, but obedience to the counsels is only necessary for perfection. The great mass of the population need only concern themselves with the precepts, the counsels must be followed by only a pious elite such as the clergy and monks. This theory was initiated by St. Augustine and later fully developed by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Martin Luther rejected the Catholic approach and developed a different two level system McArthur refers to as the two realms view. Luther divided the world into the religious and secular realms and argued that the Sermon only applied to the spiritual. In the temporal world obligations to family, employers, and country force believers to compromise. Thus a judge should follow his secular obligations to sentence a criminal, but inwardly he should mourn for the fate of the criminal.

At the same time as the Protestant Reformation was underway a new era of Biblical criticism began leading to the analogy of scripture view. Close reading of the Bible found that several of the most rigid precepts in the sermon were moderated by other parts of the New Testament. For instance while Jesus seems to forbid all oaths, Paul is shown using them at least twice, thus the prohibition in the Sermon does have some exceptions.

In the nineteenth century several more interpretations developed. Wilhelm Hermann embraced the notion of attitudes not acts that can be traced back to St. Augustine. This view states that Jesus in the Sermon is not saying how a good Christian should behave, only what their attitude is. The spirit lying behind the act is more important than the act itself.

Albert Schweitzer popularized the interim ethic view. This view sees Jesus as being convinced that the world was going to end in the very near future, as such survival in the world did not matter as in the end times material well being would be irrelevant.

In the twentieth century another major German thinker, Martin Dibelius, presented another view also based eschatology. His unconditional divine will view is that the ethics behind the Sermon are absolute and unbending, but the current fallen state of the world makes it impossible to live up to them. Humans are bound to attempt to live up to them, but failure is inevitable. This will change when the Kingdom of Heaven is proclaimed and all will be able to live in a Godly manner.

Closely linked to this is the repentance view which is that Jesus intended for the precepts in his Sermon to be unattainable and through our certain failure to live up to them will learn to repent.

Another eschatological view is that of modern dispensationalism. Dispensationalism first developed by the Plymouth Brethren divides human history into a series of ages or dispensations. Today we live in the period of grace where living up to the teachings of the sermon is impossible, but in the future the Millennium will see a period where it is possible to live up to the teachings of the Sermon, and where following them will be a prerequisite to salvation. 

References

  1. Betz, Hans Dieter. Essays on the Sermon on the Mount. translations by Laurence Welborn. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985.
  2. Fox, Emmet. The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life and the Lord's Prayer : An Interpretation 1989 ISBN 0060628626
  3. Kissinger, Warren S. The Sermon on the Mount: A History of Interpretation and Bibliography. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1975.
  4. Kodjak, Andrej. A Structural Analysis of the Sermon on the Mount. New York: M. de Gruyter, 1986.
  5. Lapide, Pinchas. The Sermon on the Mount, Utopia or Program for Action? translated from the German by Arlene Swidler. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1986.
  6. McArthur, Harvey King. Understanding the Sermon on the Mount. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1978.
  7. Prabhavananda, Swami Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta 1991 ISBN 0874810507

   Older English versions of the Lord's Prayer

Dated 1611 AD. (Early Modern English)

Our father which art in heauen,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done in earth as it is in heauen.

Giue us this day our daily bread.

And forgiue us our debts as we forgiue our debters.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliuer us from euill.

Amen.

 

Traditional

Although numerous variations exist, this version, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, is a fairly well known example:

Our Father who art in Heaven,

hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, .

on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

[For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.

Amen.]

Apart from four minor words and some capital letters, this is essentially the same as the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: the earlier version had "which art in Heaven", "in Earth", and "them that trespass".

The use of the word "trespasses" instead of "debts" as in Matthew 6:12 may be due to the use of the word in the explanation that follows the prayer in Matthew 6:13,14, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Even in the third century, Origen used the word trespasses (paraptômata) in the prayer. However, the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland uses "debts" and "debtors" in the prayer. Most Evangelical churches associate the use of "trespasses" with Catholic traditions and prefer the use of "debts" and "debtors" instead.

The doxology (indicated in square brackets in the texts above) is almost certainly not part of the original prayer, but a later addition. It is frequently omitted or separated from the main body of the prayer.

 

                                   APOCALYPSE OF THOMAS                               

From the Book, “Thoughts of an Emperor, a Slave, a Philosopher, and a Christ

            Note: If you look closely at the Apocalypse of Thomas, and its last seven days and the seven signs you will recognize the strong similarity between that and the last seven days of the Universal Calendar of the Maya. In studying the Mayan Calendar interpretation of Ian Lungold and Carl Calleman over the last 4 years I have notice this. It is understandable that Christ knew about the Mayan Calendar because it has existed for 5125 years and the Apocalypse of Thomas is another interpretation of the end of time and of the planetary cycles. The Maya spoke of their god Quetzalcoatl as creator of the Calendar, hence; when they heard reports of Christ, they thought he was the very same person, Quetzalcoatl. From my perspective Christ or one of his teachers, “Enoch” (to the Hebrews), Thoth (Egyptians), Hermes (the Greeks), created the calendar. They were the masters of time and space appeared before the Mayan People or their forbearers, the Olmec people, educate them about the end times and had them carve this truth in stone.

 

I have included here excerpts from the Apocalypse of Thomas, which can be found on the internet in its entirety. It should be read by anyone who wants to deepen their understand of its relationship to the Mayan Calendar. These references bear a striking resemblance to the return of the 12th planet as described by Zecharia Sitchin in his trilogy on the Nephilim and the 12th planet. 

 APOCALYPSE OF THOMAS

From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 


Introduction

The emergence of this book has been recent. The Gelasian Decree condemns the book 'called the Revelation of Thomas' as apocryphal, and that was all that was known of it. In 1908 a quotation in the Berlin MS. (eighth-ninth century) of Jerome's Chronicle was noticed by Dr. Frick. At the eighteenth year of Tiberius, the manuscript has this note:

In a certain apocryphal book, said to be of Thomas the apostle it is written that the Lord Jesus told him that from his ascension into heaven to his second advent the time comprised is nine jubilees.

This does not appear in any of the published texts. Already in 1907 F. Wilhelm had printed, in his Deutsche Legenden und Legendare, a text from a Munich MS. which attracted little attention, but was in fact the lost Apocalypse, or part of it.

In the same year E. Hauler showed that a leaf of a fifth-century palimpsest at Vienna -the same that contains a leaf of the Epistle of the Apostles- was a fragment of this book. Professor E. von Dobschutz had, before this, begun making preparation for an edition of the Apocalypse based on manuscripts at Munich and Rome which has not yet appeared. In the Journal of Theological Studies for 1910 I printed the beginning of the book from a Verona MS. (of eighth century). Maffei had noticed this, and in 1755 Dionisi had printed it in a forgotten volume. In 1911 Dom Bihlmeyer printed another 'uninterpolated' text from Munich in the Revue Benedictine. Yet more: in 1913 Max Forster (Studien z. engl. Phlilol.: Der Vercelli-Codex) showed that the fifteenth sermon in the famous Anglo-Saxon MS. at Vercelli is an Old English version of this Revelation; that a Hatton MS. and the Blickling Homilies also contain matter drawn from it: and that a shortened Latin form is to be found in a dialogue printed by Suchier (L'Enfant sage, 1910, p. 272). Lastly, there are quotations from it in some odd -I think Irish- homilies in a Reichenau MS. at Carlsruhe, printed by Domde Bruyneas 'Apocryphes Priscillianistes' in the Revue Bened., 1907.

There is, then, a quantity of material which we shall look to Professor Dohschutz to co-ordinate. Latin appears to have been the original language, and the data of the fuller text point to the days of Arcadius and Honorius. How much earlier the shorter text may be it is not easy to say: and I would not commit myself to the assertion that there is not a Greek document at the back of that.


APOCALYPSE OF THOMAS

A. Verona fragment (eighth century) and Wilhelm's text (Munich Clm. 4585, ninth century).

Here beginneth the epistle of the Lord unto Thomas.

Hear thou, Thomas, the things which must come to pass in the last times: there shall be famine and war and earthquakes in divers places, snow and ice and great drought shall there be and many dissensions among the peoples, blasphemy, iniquity, envy and villainy, indolence, pride and intemperance, so that every man shall speak that which pleaseth him. And my priests shall not have peace among themselves, but shall sacrifice unto me with deceitful mind: therefore will I not look upon them. Then shall the priests behold the people departing from the house of the Lord and turning unto the world (?) and setting up (or, transgressing) landmarks in the house of God. And they shall claim (vindicate) for themselves many [things and] places that were lost and that shall be subject unto Caesar (?) as also they were aforetime: giving poll-taxes of (for) the cities, even gold and silver and the chief men of the cities shall be condemned (here Verona ends: Munich continues) and their substance brought into the treasury of the kings, and they shall be filled.

For there shall be great disturbance throughout all the people, and death. The house of the Lord shall be desolate, and their altars shall be abhorred, so that spiders weave their webs therein. The place of holiness shall be corrupted, the priesthood polluted, distress (agony) shall increase, virtue shall be overcome, joy perish, and gladness depart. In those days evil shall abound: there shall be respecters of persons, hymns shall cease out of the house of the Lord, truth shall be no more, covetousness shall abound among the priests; an upright man (al. an upright priesthood) shall not be found.

On a sudden there shall arise near the last time a king, a lover of the law, who shall hold rule not for long: he shall leave two sons. The first is named of the first letter (A, Arcadius), the second of the eighth (H, Honorius). The first shall die before the second (Arcadius died in 408- Honorius in 423).

Thereafter shall arise two princes to oppress the nations under whose hands there shall be a very great famine in the right-hand part of the east, so that nation shall rise up against nation and be driven out from their own borders.

Again another king shall arise, a crafty man (?), and shall command a golden image of Caesar (?) to be made (al. to be worshipped in the house of God), wherefore (?) martyrdoms shall abound. Then shall faith return unto the servants of the Lord, and holiness shall be multiplied and distress (agony) increase. The mountains shall the comforted and shall drop down sweetness of fire from the facet, that the number of the saints may be accomplished.

After a little space there shall arise a king out of the east, a lover of the law, who shall cause all good things and necessary to abound in the house of the Lord: he shall show mercy unto the widows and to the needy, and command a royal gift to be given unto the priests: in his days shall be abundance of all things.

And after that again a king shall arise in the south part of the world, and shall hold rule a little space: in whose days the treasury shall fail because of the wages of the Roman soldiers so that the substance of all the aged shall be commanded (to be taken) and given to the king to distribute.

Thereafter shall be plenty of corn and wine and oil, but great dearness of money, so that the substance of gold and silver shall be given for corn, and there shall be great dearth.

At that time shall be very great rising (?) of the sea, so that no man shall tell news to any man. The kings of the earth and the princes and the captains shall be troubled, and no man shall speak freely (boldly). Grey hairs shall be seen upon boys, and the young (?) shall not give place unto the aged.

After that shall arise another king, a crafty man, who shall hold rule for a short space: in whose days there shall be all manner of evils, even the death of the race of men from the east even unto Babylon. And thereafter death and famine and sword in the land of Chanaan even unto (Rome?). Then shall all the fountains of waters and wells boil over (?) and be turned into blood (or, into dust and blood). The heaven shall be moved, the stars shall fall upon the earth, the sun shall be cut in half like the moon, and the moon shall not give her light. There shall be great signs and wonders in those days when Antichrist draweth near. These are the signs unto them that dwell in the earth. In those days the pains of great travail shall come upon them. (al. In those days, when Antichrist now draweth near, these are the signs. Woe unto them that dwell on the earth; in those days great pains of travail shall come upon them.) Woe unto them that build, for they shall not inhabit. Woe unto them that break up the fallow, for they shall labour without cause. Woe unto them that make marriages, for unto famine and need shall they beget sons. Woe unto them that join house to house or field to field, for all things shall be consumed with fire. Woe unto them that look not unto (?) themselves while time alloweth, for hereafter shall they be condemned for ever. Woe unto them that turn away from the poor when he asketh.

[Here is a break: the text goes on: For I am of the high and powerful: I am the Father of all. (al. And know ye: I am the Father most high: I am the Father of all spirits.) This, as we shall see, is the beginning of the older(?) and shorter text, and of the Vienna fragment: only, in the latter, some words now unintelligible precede it: not the words, however, which are in Wilhelm's text. I will continue with Wilhelm.]

These are the seven signs the ending of this world. There shall be in all the earth famine and great pestilences and much distress: then shall all men be led captive among all nations and shall fall by the edge of the sword.

On the first day of the judgement will be a great marvel (or, the beginning shall be). At the third hour of the day shall be a great and mighty voice in the firmament of the heaven, and a great cloud of blood coming down out of the north, and great thunderings and mighty lightnings shall follow that cloud, and there shall be a rain of blood upon all the earth. These are the signs of the first day (Monday in the Anglo-Saxon, and so for the other days).

And on the second day there shall be a great voice in the firmament of the heaven, and the earth shall be moved out of its place: and the gates of heaven shall be opened in the firmament of heaven toward the east, and a great power shall be sent belched) forth by the gates of heaven and shall cover all the heaven even until evening (al. and there shall be fears and tremblings in the world). These are the signs of the second day.

And on the third day, about the second hour, shall be a voice in heaven, and the abysses of the earth shall utter their voice from the four corners of the world. The first heaven shall be rolled up like a book and shall straightway vanish. And because of the smoke and stench of the brimstone of the abyss the days shall be darkened unto the tenth hour. Then shall all men say: I think that the end draweth near, that we shall perish. These are the signs of the third day.

And on the fourth day at the first hour, the earth of the east shall speak, the abyss shall roar: then shall all the earth be moved by the strength of an earthquake. In that day shall all the idols of the heathen fall, and all the buildings of the earth. These are the signs of the fourth day.

And on the fifth day, at the sixth hour, there shall be great thunderings suddenly in the heaven, and the powers of light and the wheel of the sun shall be caught away, and there shall be great darkness over the world until evening, and the stars shall be turned away from their ministry. In that day all nations shall hate the world and despise the life of this world. These are the signs of the fifth day.

And on the sixth day there shall be signs in heaven. At the fourth hour the firmament of heaven shall be cloven from the east unto the west. And the angels of the heavens shall be looking forth upon the earth the opening of the heavens. And all men shall see above the earth the host of the angels looking forth out of heaven. Then shall all men flee.

(Here Wilhelm's text ends abruptly.)

B. Bihlmeyer's text, from Munich Clm. 4563 (eleventh to twelfth century, from Benedictbeuren): and the Vienna fragment.

Hear thou, O Thomas, for I am the Son of God the Father and I am the father of all spirits. Hear thou of me the signs which shall come to pass at the end of this world, when the end of the world shall be fulfilled (Vienna: that it pass away) before mine elect depart out of the world. I will tell thee that which shall come to pass openly unto men (or, will tell thee openly, &c.): but when these things shall be the princes of the angels know not, seeing it is now hidden from before them (Vienna adds: at what day the end shall be fulfilled, and some defective clauses).

Then shall there be in the world sharings (participations) between king and king, and in all the earth shall be great famine great pestilences, and many distresses, and the sons of men shall be led captive among all nations and shall fall by the edge of the sword (and there shall be great commotion in the world: Vienna omits). Then after that when the hour of the end draweth nigh there shall be for seven days great signs in heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be moved.

Then shall there be on the first day the beginning: at the third hour of the day a great and mighty voice in the firmament of heaven and a bloody cloud coming up (down, Vienna) out of the north, and great thundering and mighty lightings shall follow it, and it shall cover the whole heaven, and there shall be a rain of blood upon all the earth. These are the signs of the first day.

And on the second day there shall be a great voice in the firmament of heaven, and the earth shall be moved out of its place, and the gates of heaven shall be opened in the firmament of heaven toward the east, and the (smoke of a great fire shall break forth through the gates of heaven and shall cover all the heaven until evening. In that day there shall be fears and great terrors in the world. These are the signs of the second day. Vienna is defective here).

But on the third day about the third hour shall be a great voice in heaven, and the abysses of the earth (Vienna ends) shall roar from the four corners of the world; the pinnacles (so) of the firmament of heaven shall be opened, and all the air shall be filled with pillars of smoke. There shall be a stench of brimstone, very evil, until the tenth hour, and men shall say: We think the time draweth nigh that we perish. These are the signs of the third day.

And on the fourth day at the first hour, from the land of the east the abyss shall melt (so) and roar. Then shall all the earth be shaken by the might of an earthquake. In that day shall the ornaments of the heathen fall, and all the buildings of the earth, before the might of the earthquake. These are the signs of the fourth day.

But on the fifth day at the sixth hour, suddenly there shall be a great thunder in heaven, and the powers of light and the wheel of the sun shall be caught away (MS. opened), and there shall be great darkness in the world until evening, and the air shall be gloomy (sad) without sun or moon, and the stars shall cease from their ministry. In that day shall all nations behold as in a mirror (?) (or, behold it as sackcloth) and shall despise the life of this world. These are the signs of the fifth day.

And on the sixth day at the fourth hour there shall be a great voice in heaven, and the firmament of the heaven shall be cloven from the east unto the west, and the angels of the heavens shall be looking forth upon the earth by the openings of the heavens, and all these that are on the earth shall behold the host of the angels looking forth out of heaven. Then shall all men flee unto the monuments (mountains ?) and hide themselves from the face of the righteous angels, and say: Would that the earth would open and swallow us up! And such things shall come to pass as never were since this world was created.

Then shall they behold me coming from above in the light of my Father with the power and honour of the holy angels. Then at my coming shall the fence of fire of paradise be done away -because paradise is girt round about with fire. And this shall be that perpetual fire that shall consume the earth and all the elements of the world.

Then shall the spirits and souls of all men come forth from paradise and shall come upon all the earth: and every one of them shall go unto his own body, where it is laid up, and every one of them shall say: Here lieth my body. And when the great voice of those spirits shall be heard, then shall there be a great earthquake over all the world, and by the might thereof the mountains shall be cloven from above and the rocks from beneath. Then shall every spirit return into his own vessel and the bodies of the saints which have fallen asleep shall arise.

Then shall their bodies be changed into the image and likeness and the honour of the holy angels, and into the power of the image of mine holy Father. Then shall they be clothed with the vesture of life eternal, out of the cloud of light which hath never been seen in this world; for that cloud cometh down out of the highest realm of the heaven from the power of my Father. And that cloud shall compass about with the beauty thereof all the spirits that have believed in me.

Then shall they be clothed, and shall be borne by the hand of the holy angels like as I have told you aforetime. Then also shall they be lifted up into the air upon a cloud of light, and shall go with me rejoicing unto heaven, and then shall they continue in the light and honour of my Father. Then shall there be unto them great gladness with my Father and before the holy angels These are the signs of the sixth day.

And on the seventh day at the eighth hour there shall be voices in the four corners of the heaven. And all the air shall be shaken, and filled with holy angels, and they shall make war among them all the day long. And in that day shall mine elect be sought out by the holy angels from the destruction of the world. Then shall all men see that the hour of their destruction draweth near. These are the signs of the seventh day.

And when the seven days are passed by, on the eighth day at the sixth hour there shall be a sweet and tender voice in heaven from the east. Then shall that angel be revealed which hath power over the holy angels: and all the angels shall go forth with him, sitting upon chariots of the clouds of mine holy Father (so) rejoicing and running upon the air beneath the heaven to deliver the elect that have believed in me. And they shall rejoice that the destruction of this world hath come.

The words of the Saviour unto Thomas are ended, concerning the end of this world.

None of the Latin texts seem to be complete. But we see that Wilhelm's text is a blend of two sorts of Apocalypse -that akin to Daniel which, under the form of prophecy, describes events contemporary with the author and continues them into the future: and that which is more akin to John and describes the signs of the end.

Bihlmeyer's text has only the latter element, and as it agrees pretty closely with our oldest authority, the Vienna fragment (though in that, as I have said, something did precede Bihlmeyer's opening) I judge it to be the older of the two forms. The first part of Wilhelm's text with its clumsy indication of Arcadius and Honorius by means of their initials is much in the manner of the later Sibyllines, in which this particular trick is pushed to an absurd length, and used for quite imaginary personages as well as historic ones. In the second part Wilhelm's text departs widely from the Vienna fragment, and here again shows itself as probably inferior.

The Apocalypse, we see, was known in England in the ninth century at least: and I think it must probably be regarded as the ultimate parent of a little piece which is found in innumerable manuscripts and has often been printed: I mean Jerome on the Fifteen Signs of the last days before the judgement. The beginning of this states that Jerome found it 'in the annals of the Hebrews'. Its popularity was very great. Illustrations of the Fifteen Signs are occasionally to be found in manuscripts, and I have seen them on the alabaster tablets carved at Nottingham in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but the best-known representation of them is in a window at All Saints', North Street, York, where they are accompanied by mottoes taken from the 'Prick of Conscience',which used to be attributed to Richard of Hampole.

The Anglo-Saxon version in the Vercelli Book (no. xv) begins thus:

We are told in this book how Saint Thomas the apostle of God asked our Lord when the time of Antichrist should be. Then the Lord spake unto him and said thus:

It behoveth that it be in the next days. Then shall be hunger and war, &c.:

The text conforms, generally speaking, to the longer recensions. The signs of the fifth day are omitted. The conclusion diverges from the Latin and tells how the Virgin, Michael, and Peter successively intercede with the Judge, and he forgives a third part of the sinners at the prayer of each. But not all are pardoned: for we then have the sentences: Venite benedicti and Discedite maledicti as in Matt. xxv.

Quite recently (in Proc. R.I.A.) the Rev. St. J. Seymour has pointed out the probable dependence of the Saltair na Rann (eleventh century) on our apocalypse in its description of the Signs of the End.


Scanned and Edited by
Joshua Williams
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995

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