Old Testament

Apocrypha* & Pseudepigrapha**

Also Known As The Noncanonical Literature*** 

Questions of Ezra

What is the fate of the righteous and the sinners?

Ezra the prophet saw the angel of God and asked him one question after another. And the angel approached him and said what will be at the consummation. The prophet asked the angel and said, “What has God prepared for the righteous and the sinners?

And at the time at which the day of the end arrives, what will become of them? Where do they go, to honor or to tortures?” The angel replied and said to the prophet, “Great joy and eternal light have been prepared for the righteous and for the sinners there have been prepared the outer darkness and the eternal fire.? The prophet said to the angel, “Lord, who of the living has not sinned against God? And if that is so, then blessed are the beasts and the birds who do not await resurrection and have not expected the end. If you will crown the righteous, who have endured all tortures, and the prophets and the martyrs when they were taking stones and with a hammer were pounding their faces until their innards were seen, they were tortured for your sake. Have mercy upon us sinners who have been occupied and have been seized by Satan.?


The Prophet rebuked

The angel replied and said, “If there is someone above you, do not talk with him anymore. Otherwise great evil will befall you.” The prophet said to the angel, “Lord, I would speak a little more with you, reply to me! When the day of the end arrives and he takes the soul, will he assign it to the place of punishment or to the place of honor until the Parousia?(....)”


The day of the end

The angel replied and said, “Do not wait until the day of the end, but like a flying eagle hasten to do good deeds and mercy. For that day is fearsome, urgent, arrives suddenly like someone merciless and impartial, it takes a captive unexpectedly, surely. Whether he weeps or mourns, it will have no mercy.


“But when the day of the end arrives, a good angel comes to the good soul and an evil one to the evil. Just as someone sent by the kings to doers of evil deeds and good deeds recompenses good to the good and evil to the evil, even in the same way a good angel comes to the good soul and an evil one to the evil. Not that the angel is evil, but each (man’s) deeds (are evil). He takes the soul, brings it to the east; they pass through frost, through snow, through darkness, through hail, through ice, through storm, through hosts of Satan, through streams, through the winds of terrible rains, through terrible and astounding paths, through narrow defiles, and through high mountains. O wondrous way, for one foot is behind the other and before it are fiery rivers!” The prophet was amazed and said, “O, that wondrous and terrible way!”


The seven steps to the Divinity

The angel said, “To that way there are seven camps and seven steps to the Divinity, if I can make (someone) pass along it. Because the first lodgings are bad and wondrous; the second fearsome and indescribable; the third hell and icy cold; the fourth quarrels, and wars, in the fifth, then, investigation-if he is just, he shines, and if he is a sinner, he is darkened; in the sixth, then the soul of the righteous man sparkles like the sun; in the seventh, then having brought (him) I make him approach the great throne of the Divinity, opposite the garden, facing the glory of God where the sublime light is.”


God cannot be seen

The prophet said to the angel, “My lord, when you cause him to pass through such terrors, through quarrels, through wars, through burning heat, why do you not cause him to meet the Divinity, rather than causing him to approach only the throne?” The angel said to the prophet, “You are one of the foolish men and you think according to human nature. I am an angel and I perpetually serve God, and I have not seen the face of God. How do you say that sinful man should be caused to meet the Divinity? For the Divinity is fearful and wondrous and who dares to look toward the uncreated Divinity? If a man should look he will melt like wax before the face of God; for the Divinity is fiery and wondrous. For such guardians stand around the throne of the Divinity.


Freeing of the soul from Satan

The prophet asked the angel and said, “Lord, what will become of us, for we are all sinners and seized in the hands of Satan? Now, by what means are we delivered or who will bring forth from his hands?” The angel answered and said, “If someone remains after death, father or mother or brother or sister or son or daughter or any other Christian, and he offers prayers, with fasts, for forty days, there will be great rest and mercy through the sacrifice of Christ. For Christ was sacrificed for our sake upon the cross and for six ages he delivered (our) soul from the hands of Satan. How the soul is delivered through that offered reverently by a priest, if he fulfills the forty days in such a way as is pleasing to god. For forty days he will remain in the church not going in the public places, but from time to time will recite the Psalms of David together with prayers. It is this which brings us forth from the hands of Satan. If not, give to the poor.


The nature of prayer

“For your prayers are thus: just as a farmer goes forth, comes to sow, and the shoot comes forth joyous and graceful and desired to produce numerous fruit, and thorn and weeds also come forth and choke (it) and do not let numerous fruit be assembled. Similarly, also you when you go inside the church and desire to offer prayers before the Divinity, the Ares of this world and the deceit of greatness (wealth) come forth and choke you and do not let numerous fruit be sown. For if your prayer were such as Moses wept for forty days and spoke with God mouth to mouth, likewise also Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, likewise Daniel also pray(ed) in the lion’s den (.....”)



He saw the angel of God and asked concerning the righteous and sinners when they go forth from this world. The angel said, “For the righteous there is light and rest, eternal life, but for the sinners, unending tortures.” Ezra said. “If that is so, then blessed are the animals and the beasts of the field and the creeping things and the birds of heaven who do not await resurrection and judgment.” The angel said, “You sin in saying this, for God has made everything for the sake of man and man for the sake of God. And those things in which God finds man, by those is he judged.” Ezra said, “When you take the souls of men, where will you bring them?” The angel said. “I bring the souls of the righteous to worship God and establish them in the upper atmosphere, and the souls of the sinners are seized by the demons who are imprisoned in the atmosphere.” And Ezra said. “And when will the soul which is seized by Satan be delivered?” The angel said, “When the soul has someone as a good memorial in this world, (this) one releases it from Satan through prayer and (acts of) mercy.” Ezra said, “By what means?” The angel said, “By prayer, by (acts of) mercy, and by sacrifices.” (Ezra said) “If the sinner’s soul has no good memorial, which helps him, what will happen to him?” The angel said to him, “Such a one is in the hand of Satan until the coming of Christ, when the trumpet of Gabriel sounds. Then the souls are freed from the hands of Satan and soar down from the atmosphere. And they come and are united each with its body and aroused and renewed. And it raises (it) up before Christ our God who comes to judge (those on) the earth, that is the righteous and the wicked, and requites each for his deeds.”

Through the petition of your divinely narrated prophets, have pity upon the readers of this writing.


* Apocrypha - (from the Greek word απόκρυφα meaning "those having been hidden away") are texts of uncertain authenticity or writings where the authorship is questioned. These texts may have been used in some churches by were never considered as part of the Bible

** Pseudepigrapha = (from Greek pseudes = "false", "epigraphe" = "inscription") are texts falsely attributed to biblical characters or times. These books were never part of the Bible & were never considered as scripture by the church at any time despite being published under such titles of "The Lost Books of the Bible" or "The Hidden Gospels". The church has always known about them & they were never "Hidden" & could be read at any University or college. There is no deep dark secret here, just publishers trying to make a buck with interesting book titles.

*** Noncanonical Literature =  Never part of the Canon or Bible.