Vision of the man from the sea
5 I kept watching these things, and an innumerable multitude of people came together from the four winds of heaven to fight against the man who had come up from the sea. 6 I watched as he carved a great mountain for himself and flew onto it. 7 I tried to see the region or place from which the mountain was carved, but I couldn’t.
8 After this I looked and I saw that all who had gathered to do battle against him were sorely afraid, yet they dared to fight. 9 When he saw the rush of the multitude coming, he didn’t raise his hand or hold a spear or any weapon of war. Rather, I saw 10 something like a wave of fire shoot forth from his mouth, and a breath of flame from his lips, and a storm of sparks from his tongue. All these things—the wave of fire, the breath of flame, and the mighty storm—mixed together 11 and fell upon the crowd that was rushing forward, prepared to fight. It burned them all up so that suddenly nothing was seen of the innumerable mob except the dust of ashes and the smell of smoke. I saw this and was amazed.
12 After these things I saw the same man coming down from the mountain and calling to himself another crowd—a peaceful one. 13 Many people came to him. Some were rejoicing and some were sad, some were even tied up, while some were bringing other people as an offering.
I woke up in great fear and pleaded with the Most High. I said, 14 “From the beginning you showed your servant these wonders, and you considered me worthy that you should receive my prayer. 15 Now show me also the interpretation of this dream. 16 As I turn it over in my mind, I think: How terrible it will be for those who will be left in those days, and how much worse for those who aren’t left! 17 Those who aren’t left will be full of sorrow, 18 since they now know what lies in store for the last days, but they won’t live to see them. But how terrible it will be also for those who are left, 19 for that very reason! They will see great dangers, and there will be many kinds of distress, as these dreams show. 20 Yet it is better[b] to encounter these things, even incurring danger, than to pass from the world like a cloud and not see what happens at the end.”
21 He answered me, “I will tell you the interpretation of the dream as well, and I will explain to you the things you spoke about. 22 As to what you said about those who are left, this is the interpretation: 23 He who brings the danger at that time will himself guard those who fall into danger, who have works and faith in the most mighty one. 24 Know, therefore, that those who are left enjoy greater privilege than those who have died. 25 The interpretations of the vision are as follows:
“In that you saw a man going up from the heart of the sea, 26 that is the one whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages. He will liberate God’s creation all by himself, and he will put in order those who are left.
27 “In that you saw something like wind and fire and storm go out of his mouth, 28 and that he didn’t hold a spear or weapon of war, yet destroyed the rush of that multitude that had come to fight him, here is the interpretation: 29 Look, the days are coming when the Most High will begin to rescue those who are on the earth. 30 Those who live on earth will go out of their minds. 31 They will plan to wage war against each other, city against city, place against place, nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 32 When these things happen, and the signs that I showed you before take place, then my Son will be revealed, whom you saw as a man rising up. 33 When all the nations hear his voice, then each one will leave its own region and will leave off the wars they were waging against each other. 34 An innumerable mob will be gathered together, as you saw, wanting to come and fight against him. 35 But he will take his stand on the summit of Mount Zion. 36 Zion will come and will appear to all, built and ready, as you saw a mountain carved without hands. 37 My Son himself will indict the assembled nations for their impious deeds—these things were indicated by the storm. He will scold them for their evil plans and reveal the torments with which they are about to be tortured. These things correspond to the flame. 38 He will destroy them without effort by the Law, which was indicated by the fire.
39 “As to the fact that you saw him collecting to himself another peaceful multitude, 40 these are the ten tribes that were taken captive from their land in the days of King Hoshea, whom King Shalmaneser of the Assyrians took across the river as a captive. They were taken into another land, 41 but they made this plan for themselves: They would leave the multitude of the nations and go into a more remote region, where the human race had never lived. 42 There they would be able to observe their customs, which they hadn’t kept in their own region. 43 They went in through the narrow passages of the Euphrates River. 44 Then the Most High gave them signs and stopped the flow of the river until they had passed. 45 They made a long journey through that region for a year and a half, and that region is called Arzareth. 46 They lived there until the last time, and now they begin again to return. 47 The Most High will once again stop the flow of the river so that they can cross. These people make up the multitude gathered in peace, 48 along with those who are left of your people, who are found within my holy boundaries. 49 Then when he begins to destroy the multitude of the nations that are gathered, he will protect the people who have survived. 50 Then he will show them many more signs.”
51 I said, “Supreme Lord, show me why I saw a man rising up from the heart of the sea.”
He said to me, 52 “Just as no one can seek out or know what is in the depth of the sea, so no one on earth can see my Son or those who are with him, except in that time when his day has come. 53 This is the interpretation of the dream that you saw, which has enlightened you alone of all people. 54 You have abandoned your own affairs and occupied yourself with mine, and you have sought out my Law. 55 You have given your life to wisdom, and have called understanding your mother. 56 Because of this, I have shown you these things, for you have a reward with the Most High. After three days I will tell you more and explain to you weighty and wonderful things.”
57 I went out from there into a large field, glorifying and praising the Most High for the wonders he performed over time, 58 and because he governs the times and all that comes about in its time. I stayed there for three days.
- 2 Esdras 13:3 Lat omits this wind… heart of the sea.
- 2 Esdras 13:20 Syr; Lat easier