Apocalypses: Revelation of Abraham

Apocalypses

Time Period

70–150 CE, in response to the temple’s destruction.

Pseudonym

Begins with Abraham narrating his decision to abandon idolatry, then transitions to his divine revelation.

Then a voice came speaking to me twice, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’

Angelic Guide

Abraham receives guidance from the angel Yahoel.

And while I was still face down on the ground, I heard the voice speaking, ‘Go, Yahoel of the same name … consecrate this man for me …’

Cosmogony

After some time into his visions, Abraham witnesses hidden parts of the world.

And I saw there the earth and its fruit, and its moving things and its things that had souls …

Primordial Events

Abraham is given a multi-faceted vision that, in part, shows him the beginnings of humanity.

‘Who is the one who seduced Eve, and what is the fruit of the tree?’

Historical Review

Abraham broadly reviews Israel’s history, from Adam up to his father Terah.

‘Why did your father Terah not obey your voice and abandon the demonic worship of idols until he perished, and all his house with him?’

After-the-fact Prophecy

Abraham is informed of the coming enslavement of the Hebrews in Egypt.

‘your seventh generation shall go with you. And they will go out into an alien land. And they will enslave them and oppress them as for one hour of the impious age.’

Persecution

Abraham’s descendants will be persecuted by Gentiles, but those oppressors will be punished.

‘And I will burn with fire those who mocked them and ruled over them in this age and I will deliver those who have covered me with mockery over to the scorn of the coming age.’

Social Upheaval

The world’s decline is framed as ten plagues.

‘The first: sorrow from much need. The second: fiery conflagrations for the cities. The third …’

Resurrection

(n/a)

Judgment

God will send the Messiah to rescue Israel, and God will punish their oppressors.

‘Because I have prepared them to be food for the fire of Hades …’

New Creation

(n/a)

Sources

Primarily the work of a single author, exploring the reason for the 70 CE destruction of Jerusalem.

Gnostic and Christian revisions were made beginning in the second century.

The most extensive alterations came from the Bogomils, a dualist sect of the tenth century. These interpolations malign Jesus and the God of the Hebrew Bible.

Units

1–8: Abraham narrates his rejection of idolatry, confronting his father Terah, who makes idols.

9–12: Abraham’s divine revelation begins. He is instructed by the angel Yahoel to offer a sacrifice.

13–14: Abraham offers the sacrifice.

15–20: Abraham is taken to heaven. He sees the cherubim/seraphim, and various layers of heaven.

21–22: Abraham sees the earth and the things in it. He sees a vision of crowd of people divided left and right.

23–28: Abraham is repeatedly told to review his vision. Each instance expands on the vision in new ways.

29–31: Abraham is told history is divided into twelve ‘hours’. Abraham is taken back to the earth, and told about the Messiah and the eschaton.

32: Abraham is told about the enslavement of his descendants in Egypt, and their subsequent exodus.

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