Apocalypses: 2 Baruch

Apocalypses

Time Period

95–115 CE, a few decades after Rome destroyed Jerusalem, but before Pseudo-Barnabas was written (which itself was before the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 132 CE).

Pseudonym

Much like 4 Ezra, this author identifies himself as a renowned Judean living a few decades after Babylon conquered Jerusalem.

And it happened in the twenty-fifth year of Jeconiah, the king of Judah, that the word of the Lord came to Baruch, the son of Neriah …

Angelic Guide

For most of the book, Baruch is interacting with God directly. Only near the end does Baruch receive guidance from the angel Ramael.

And while I was pondering these and similar things, behold, Ramael, the angel who is set over true visions, was sent to me …

Cosmogony

(n/a)

Primordial Events

(n/a)

Historical Review

Baruch receives a vision of a series of clouds and their different colored waters, each one corresponding to a part of the biblical history of Israel.

‘And as you first saw the black waters on the top of the cloud which first came down upon the earth; this is the transgression which Adam, the first man, committed.’

After-the-fact Prophecy

As the cloud vision continues, it eventually becomes this as it passes the historical Baruch’s time.

‘But the king of Babylon will arise, the one who now has destroyed Zion … And he too will fall finally.’

Persecution

(n/a)

Social Upheaval

The final stage of the cloud vision is filled with strife and worldly disruptions.

‘And it will happen that everyone who saves himself from the war will die in an earthqake, and he who saves himself from the earthquake will be burned by fire, and he who saves himself from the fire will perish by famine.’

Resurrection

Baruch shows much more of a focus on resurrection than other eschatological apocalypses.

‘And it will happen after these things when the time of the appearance of the Messiah has been fulfilled and he returns with glory, that then all who sleep in hope of him will rise.’

Judgment

After the resurrection, God will pass judgment.

‘But the souls of the wicked will the more waste away when they shall see all these things. For they know that their torment has come and that their perditions have arrived.’

New Creation

The new world is is a ‘day’ belonging to God, and the righteous who have live in it will be transformed.

‘For they shall see that world which is now invisible to them, and they will see a time which is now hidden to them.’

Sources

The author chose the identity of Baruch so that he could, like 4 Ezra, analogize Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem to when Babylon did the same.

The cloud vision mentions the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s temple after Babylon, and surveys Judah’s troubled history after that time, but does not mention the 70 CE destruction itself. This has led some to think the author incorporated material from another apocalyptic text written before 70 CE.

Units

1–9: Jerusalem is destroyed by Babylon. Baruch fasts for seven days.

10–12: Baruch laments Jerusalem. He fasts for seven days.

13.1–21.1: Baruch has a dialogue with God on the point of being righteous. He fasts for seven days.

21.2–34.1: Baruch prays, then has a dialogue with a voice from heaven about disasters that will precede the Messiah’s arrival. Baruch informs the people of Israel.

35–47: Baruch receives a vision of a forest. God interprets the vision. Baruch has a dialogue with God about believers and apostates. Baruch informs the people of Israel, then fasts for seven days.

48–77: Baruch prays, then has a dialogue with God about the resurrection. He receives a vision of clouds and different colored waters. Ramael interprets the vision. Baruch informs the people of Israel.

78–87: Baruch writes a letter to the tribes of Israel.

Comments