A service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship
The Books of the Apocrypha: A Study Outline
Compiled by Dr. William S. Sadler
The Old Testament Apocrypha
The Old Testament Apocalypse
The New Testament Apocrypha
Fragments of Early Gospels
The Passion Gospels
New Testament Apocalypses
Misc Documents of Minor Importance
I. THE OLD TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA
- A. THE OLD TESTAMENT CANON
- 1. It Took One Thousand Years To Assemble The 39 Books Which Make Up
The Old Testament.
- 2. The Old Testament Canon Was Established At A Meeting Of Rabbis At
Jamnia In AD 90.
- 3. All writings of later date than Ezra and Nehemiah were rejected.
- 4. Christian usage of Old Testament scriptures constrained the Jews
to close the OLD TESTAMENT Canon.
- 5. The rejected writings were divided into two classes: a. The Apocrypha.
b. The Apocalypse.
- B. OLD TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA (Hidden Or Spurious)
- 1. I ESDRAS
- Decline And Fall Of Judah From The Time Of Josiah. Overthrow Of Jerusalem
And The Babylonian Exile. The Return Under Ezra -- Reorganization Of The
Jewish State. Persian Kings Rebuild The Temple. Ezra's War On Mixed Marriages.
- 2. II ESDRAS
- The Lord's anger against Israel -- the end of the age. Ezra's seven
visions of judgment and retribution, including the vision of women. Prophecies
of war and calamity. Rule of the Messiah for 400 years.
- 3. TOBIT
- The blind Tobit, a captive in Nineveh, sends his son Tobias to collect
a debt in Media. Tobias marries the seven times widowed virgin, and by
fish gall dispatches the demon who had killed her husbands. Collects the
debt, returns, and the father's sight is restored. Tobias left Nineveh
before it was destroyed.
- 4. JUDITH
- Holophernes, an Assyrian general, acting for Nebuchadnezzar, besieged
Bethulia. Judith, a pious Jewish widow, enters his camp, and while he is
in a drunken stupor, beheads him, taking his head back to the Jewish camp.
the Assyrian army is dispersed.
- 5. ADDITIONS TO ESTHER
- Has to do with Esther at the court of Artaxerxes and Mardocheus' dream.
Discussion of Mordecai's dream. The king's edict in favor of the Jews.
- 6. THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON
- Contrasts the righteous and the ungodly. The rewards of pleasure and
salvation. The attainments of wisdom--the gift of God. Heroes of wisdom
from Adam to Moses--contrasted with the wicked. Israelites contrasted with
- 7. ECCLESIASTICUS (Wisdom of Jesus the Son of SIRACH)
- One of the best of the Old Testament Apocrypha--compares with Proverbs
and Ecclesiastics. Resignation and humility. How to get wisdom. Kindness
and self-control. The wise and the foolish. Sins of the rich. Training
children. Dreams and travel. Higher education. Despite misery, poverty
is best. Fathers worry about daughters. Olden fathers from Adam to Nehemiah.
Denunciation of the gentiles. Giving thanks to the Lord. Good and bad wives.
Table manners. Mourning. Doxology.
- 8. BARUCH--secretary to Jeremiah
- Repentance of Jews after destruction of Jerusalem. Praise of wisdom.
Promise of return from Babylonian exile.
- 9. THE EPISTLE OF JEREMY
- A sarcastic denunciation of the folly of idolatry.
- 10. SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN (The Prayer of Azariah)
- Inserted in the Third Chapter of Daniel. The song of the three youths
in the fiery furnace.
- 11. SUSANNA
- Susanna, wife of wealthy Jewish exile, repulses advances of two Jewish
elders. They accuse her of adultery and she is condemned to death. Daniel
convicted the elders of false testimony--she was vindicated and they were
- 12. BEL AND THE DRAGON
- Daniel traps the priests of Bel by ashes on temple floor--showing they
ate the food, not Bel. Daniel poisons the Dragon and is cast into the lion's
den. Habakkuk was flown from Judea by angels to bring him his dinner. Eventually
Daniel was delivered.
- 13. THE PRAYER OF MANASSEH
- A penitential psalm composed to go along with 2 Chron. 33:11-13.
- 14. FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF MACCABEES
- First and Second Maccabees present reliable history. The Maccabees
are in reality the Hasmonaean family. They won independence for the Jews
from 166 to 63 BC.
- a. Judas Maccabeus was one of five sons of the priest Mattathais.
- b. He rebelled against Antiochus Epiphanes (IV), King of Syria.
- c. Antiochus defiled the temple at Jerusalem. (See Dan. 11:31).
- d. After killing a would-be Syrian priest, Mattathias and his five
sons fled to the hills.
- e. Judas, by guerrilla warfare, defeated the Syrians, entered Jerusalem
and re-established the temple service. (The Feast of Dedication -- see
- f. Fighting on for political independence, Judas died in battle. His
younger brother took over, but was later killed by a Syrian general.
- g. Then Simon, the last son, took charge. He made a treaty of peace
- h. In 134 BC Simon and two sons were murdered by his son-in-law.
- i. The third son, John Hyrcanus, took over. He brought the Jews to
the height of their power.
- j. John was succeeded by his son, Aristobulus, who murdered his mother
and a brother, and imprisoned three other brothers.
- k. Alexandra--the widow-- married one of the brothers. Wars went on,
and the struggle between the Pharisees and the Sadducees began.
- l. Next, Alexandra takes the throne, and was succeeded by her son,
- m. Internal troubles brought Rome into the picture. In 63 BC the dynasty
ended. Rome took over.
- n. Herod the Great marries Marianne, granddaughter of Hyrcanus II.
She was a beautiful woman. Herod murdered her and her sons.
- o. First Maccabees covers 40 years, from the beginning of Antiochus
to the death of Simon. Second Maccabees covers the remainder of the dynasty.
Herod ruled under Rome. (Third and Fourth Maccabees are not reliable).
- C. OLD TESTAMENT APOCALYPSE
- While the apocalypse books might be found in the scripture chests of
the synagogue and were often read at the services, they were never made
a part of the Old Testament. They were regarded as inferior to the Apocrypha.
These books were:
- 1. The Sibylline Oracles
- 2. The Assumption of Moses
- 3. Fourth Ezra
- 4. The Syriac Baruch
- 5. The Greek Baruch
- 6. Psalter of Solomon
- 7. Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
- 8. Book of Jubilees
- 9. Ascension of Isaiah
- 10. Histories of Adam and Eve
- 11. Apocalypse of Abraham
- 12. Apocalypse of Elias
- 13. Apocalypse of Zephaniah
- 14. The Prayer of Joseph
- 15. The Enoch books
- 16. Lives of the Prophets
- 17. Testament of Job
- 18. Martyrdom of Isaiah
- 19. 3rd and 4th Maccabees
- 20. 3rd and 4th Esdras
- 21. Story of the Three Youths
II. NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA
The New Testament Canon was adopted in three sessions. Hippos AD 393;
Carthage 397 and 419.
- A. FRAGMENTS OF EARLY GOSPELS There are more than one hundred
of these fragments--the larger being:
- 1. Gospel of the Ebionites
- 2. Gospel of the Egyptians
- 3. Gospel of Matthias
- 4. Gospel of Peter
- 5. Gospel of Thomas
- 6. Preaching of Peter
- 7. The Fayoum Gospel
- 8. Sayings of Jesus
- 9. Two Gospel Fragments
- l0. Coptic Fragment
- 11. Agrapha--Gospel sayings found in other works
- B. LOST BOOKS
- l. Birth of Mary
- 2. Epiphanius
- 3. Memoirs of the Apostles
- 4. Orosius
- 5. Some Trinity books by apostles and early disciples
- 6. Some 50 sundry books
- C. THE GOSPELS
- l. PROTEVANGELIUM (Book of James)
- Deals with Anna - mother of Mary. Prayer overcomes her barrenness.
Her husband was Ivacim. Mary taken to the temple when three years old--
was fed by an angel. Widowers brought rods and Joseph's brought forth a
dove. --so he became Mary's husband. An angel appears to Mary telling her
about the son she shall have. She goes to see Elizabeth. Mary was 16 years
old. Joseph is troubled over Mary's pregnancy. Both Joseph and Mary were
given "the test water"--floor sweepings. Neither got sick. They
go to Bethlehem. Lodge in a cave. He finds a midwife --and Jesus is born.
The wise men come and Herod becomes interested. Herod seeks to kill both
John and Jesus. The hill parts and hides John and his mother. Zacharias
is killed. Herod dies. Used by the Gnostics.
- 2. GOSPEL OF THOMAS
- Jesus at five years clears pools of water. On the Sabbath makes 12
clay sparrows. Jesus claps his hands and the sparrows fly away. Annas's
son disturbs the pool and Jesus causes him to wither up. A child bumps
into Jesus--angers him---and drops dead. The complaining parents are blinded.
First day at school Jesus knows his letters from Alpha to Omega. Teacher
asks Joseph to take Jesus away--saying: I sought a disciple and found a
master. " Jesus curses associates and then heals them, Playing with
children on housetop) one falls off and dies. Jesus makes him come alive.
Young man cuts foot with axe. Jesus restores foot. Sows grain and at once
reaps one hundred measures. Father cuts a beam too short. Jesus lengthens
it. Another takes him to school he preaches a sermon. James is gathering
twigs--vriper bites him. Jesus breathes on wound--James is cured--the viper
bursts. Raises dead workman. Story of teaching in the temple at twelve.
Flee with Jesus to Egypt. Ate grain from a field--which perpetually yielded
miraculous harvest. Lived one year with a widow. Cast dead fish in water--they
became alive. They return to Palestine---Jesus was seven. Puts many garments
in black dye. Pulls out each a different color. Changes children into pigs.
Children enter a furnace---come out goats--Jesus changes them back into
children. Jesus slides on a sunbeam. Hangs a pitcher on a sunbeam. Makes
a lion bring back a boy. Cures man who swallowed a viper. Seems to be of
- 3. GOSPEL OF PSEUDO--MATTHEW
- Repetition of story of Mary's birth, temple sojourn, marriage, trip
to Bethlehem. Birth of Jesus-- Dragons worship Jesus. Wild beasts worship
him. Trees bow for Mary--a spring comes forth. Go to Egypt. Idols fall
down. On way from Jericho plays with lion's whelps. Raises a dead man at
- 4. GOSPEL OF THE BIRTH OF MARY
- Little new. Mary born at Nazareth. Lives at the temple. Widows called
when she was fourteen -- Joseph takes her home. Jesus is born.
- 5. ARABIC GOSPEL OF THE INFANCY
- Covers time from birth to return to Nazareth. Miracle follows miracle
in rapid succession. Fireproof diapers. Demoniac woman cured in Egypt.
Dumb bride cured. Leprous girl cured by Jesus' bath water. Man changed
into a mule and restored. Meets one of the thieves crucified with him.
Scores of astonishing miracles at Bethlehem. More miracles at Nazareth.
Clay animals walk and fly. Makes a snake suck out the poison of his own
bite--the child thus saved was Simon Zelotes.
- 6. ARMENIAN GOSPEL OF INFANCY
- Repeats story of birth to sojourn in Egypt. Jesus accused of death
of child -- raises him from the dead -but dies again. Plays tricks on children.
- 7. THE DEATH OF JOSEPH
- An Egyptian book. Lived 111 years. A widower--had four sons and two
daughters. Usual story of the virgin birth of Jesus and sojourn in Egypt.
Return to Nazareth. Joseph could not die until Jesus left the room. Gabriel
put soul in a silk napkin and an angel took it away.
- 8. COPTIC LIFE OF THE VIRGIN
- Little different from other narratives.
- D. THE PASSION GOSPELS
- 1. GOSPEL OF PETER
- Found in Egyptian tomb 1884 with some of Book of Enoch. Probable date,
A. D. 150. Is Docetic -doubts reality of Jesus' sufferings. Anti-Jewish.
White-washes Pilate. Fairly orthodox story according to the Gospels with
additions concerning the resurrection. Tells story of Jesus going to Hades
to deliver the righteous Fathers.
- 2. ACTS OF PILATE (Gospel of Nicodemus)
- Twenty-nine sections. Generally, conforms to the story of the four
gospels. Special features. Roman standards bowed before Jesus as he passed.
Did the same when strong Jews held them. Did this every time Jesus passed.
Jews charged that Jesus was illegitimate. Many testified for Jesus. Man
suffering for 38 years and was healed. A blind man cured Veronica and her
issue of brood. One who saw Lazarus resurrected. They locked up Joseph
of Arimathea. Jesus let him out. Priest of Galilee saw Jesus' ascension.
Another heard him tell about drinking poison and handling snakes. (Mark
16) Nicodemus and Joseph convert Annas and Caiaphas. Judas's wife roasting
rooster tries to keep Judas from suicide by having the cock crow. Mary
Magdalene goes to Rome. Jesus descends into hell. Plants his cross. Releases
Adam and Eve and all the ancient worthies. Takes Satan captive. Takes them
all to Paradise. Pilate goes to Annas---he confesses they crucified the
Son of God. Pilate writes a confession to Emperor Claudius . Appendix:
. Wise men saw a cross, saying: "This is the Son of God. "Jesus
makes a dead cock alive to follow Judas and report on him. The cock reported--and
Jesus sent him off on a thousand year's flight. Caesar, on hearing of Jesus,
crucifixion, orders Pilate brought to him as a prisoner. Orders him beheaded.
Angel shows the head to his wife, Procla. She drops dead. The emperor was
sick and sent for Jesus -- on learning Pilate had crucified him, ordered
Pilate's death. Tiberius had fever, ulcers and nine kinds of leprosy. He
learned about Jesus from Veronica. Several of Jesus' cured patients appear
in his behalf. The narrative goes on through the crucifixion and resurrection.
Satan and the Prince of hell have a quarrel about Christ. Satan is expelled.
Takes many out of hell, including Adam who then meets Enoch and Elijah.
Pilate summons the Jews and makes them read the Scriptures relating to
Christ. They confess they made a mistake in crucifying Jesus. They all
- 3. GOSPEL OF BARTHOLOMEW
- Jesus tells Bartholomew that 30,000 souls leave this world each day.
Tells him abut going down to Hades. Later Jesus tells him that only 50
of these souls are righteous. But some of these others may later be saved.
Jesus another time told ham 12,880 persons die each day. Begs Jesus to
show him the Devil. Jesus finally does---a dragon-like monster. The Devil
tells him how to deceive men. (Gluttony, adultery, blasphemy, idolatry,
suicide, etc. ) Bartholomew looks into the bottomless pit. Learns about
different kinds of punishment for sins. Satan said he had 600 Demon assistants.
Discussion about the sin against the Holy Ghost. Satan said God cast him
out of Paradise because he would not worship Adam-made in the --image of
God. Saturday, Death and six assistants came up from hell and talked with
Jesus he vanquished them.-- got up, went down to hell, and smashed things
up in general. Bound Satan. Adam and Eve stationed at the gate of Paradise
to welcome arriving saints Thomas goes home because his son died-- Raised
him from the dead in Jesus' name.
- 4. BOOK OF JOHN THE EVANGELIST
- Jesus did not take human nature, but rather angelic nature. The Mosaic
laws are works of the Devil. Deluded one third of angels by having them
write fifty talents owed God in the place of one hundred. Fallen angels
enter into women and debauch mankind. A story of Christ's second coming
somewhat after Paul's teaching. The pit of Hades is so deep that a stone
cast in would take three years to reach the bottom.
- 5. ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN
- Evodius, associate of Andrew and Peter and seventy-second disciple,
says he saw all of this: Jesus returned with a chariot of cherubim and
Mary's soul leaped to his bosom. Then Mary dies and her body is hidden.
It is not corrupted. Jesus returns and takes the body to Paradise. David
comes with Jesus. Mary lived in Jerusalem with a group of virgins. There
were 206 days from her death to the assumption. The voice of the Trinity
welcomed Mary to Paradise. Jesus brought back Mary's soul to embrace the
resurrected body. High priest's hand cut off. He confesses guilt of the
crucifixion, embraces Mary's body, and his hand grows back on his arm.
Mary went daily to pray at Jesus' sepulcher, but no one could see her.
Gabriel would visit with her. Many apostles resurrected to salute Mary
at the assumption Peter was their spokesman. Thomas came from India. Every
sick person who touched the wall of Mary's sepulcher was healed. Mary and
the apostles are transported by air to Jerusalem---from Bethlehem to escape
the priests who wanted to burn Mary's body when she died. As the apostles
carry Mary on her bed, a Jew sits on the bed. His arms are cut off by an
angelic sword and dangle in the air over the bed. When Mary was in danger
at Bethlehem John was preaching at Ephesus and was transported by air to
Mary's assistance. Mary's dead body shone with a dazzling brightness. A
bright cloud hovered over the funeral procession. Angels were singing in
the cloud. The man who talked with Peter the night of the denial touches
the bier, his hands wither. He confirms belief, and upon kissing the bier,
he is healed-- He takes a palm from John, goes to Jerusalem, and cures
all the blind. After Mary's assumption' the apostles are transported by
air to their home. Thomas was late in arriving-he passed Mary in the air--she
tossed him her girdle---he showed it to the apostles.
- E. ACTS 1. THE ACTS OF JOHN.
- Much preaching and many prayers. Ruler makes John drink poison -no
harm. It kills a criminal. John raised the criminal from the dead. Nevertheless,
he was banished to Patmos. At Ephesus' the altar of Artemis is split and
the priest drops dead. Raises a young man from the dead. The would-be traducer
of a married woman seeks to desecrate her dead body. He drops dead. The
servant who let him into the tomb also dies. John raises the woman from
death. She in time forgives and raises the two men. They are converted.
At a deserted inn John is attacked by bedbugs. He orders them to desist---they
do. They assemble at the door until morning. As John leaves, they rush
upon the bed and disappear into the joints. All who touched his garments
were healed. In the midst of a passionate funeral sermon the dead man arose
Two rich men give their all for two jewels. Broke them in public. John
restores them --for benefit of the poor. John turns pebbles into a vast
horde of Jewels. Raises another young man from the dead. Priest of the
idols challenges John to drink poison which has killed two condemned criminals.
John drinks it and is not harmed. Still the priest doubts---demands John
restore life to the two dead criminals. John does--the priest believes.
John's coat raises a dead man. John finally goes to heaven bodily--the
assumption of John.
- F. THE ACTS OF PAUL
- Tertullian says the author of this book was convicted of imposture
and deposed. He was a presbyter in Asia. (About AD 160) Paul raises a young
man (Barnabas) from the dead. Paul creates a commotion by preaching against
marriage. Thecla, a maiden, hears Paul. Renounces her betrothal. Paul is
arrested -- banished. Thecla is to be burned. Rain and hail put out the
fire--she is saved.Later, she was fed to the beasts--they refused to harm
her. She cast herself into a pool--the seals floated on top--dead. Paul
strikes the abdomen of a man with dropsy--it opens and water gushes out.
The man drops dead, and Paul raises him from the dead. Half of Apollo's
temple falls at Paul's petition. Heals woman possessed of a devil. Raises
young woman from the dead who was thrown over a cliff. When beasts are
turned loose upon Paul lion licks his feet. Angels loose Paul from iron
fetters-- goes to beach to baptize believers. Nero's cupbearer listening
to Paul falls out of window--dies. Paul restores him. Paul appears to Nero
after he was beheaded.
- 3. ACTS OF PETER
- Heals all manner of diseases. His daughter is healed and then reverts
to her old affliction. By Peter's prayer his daughter is palsied and the
gardener's daughter dies. Later, Peter resurrects her. An adulteress, coming
to communion, is rebuked and stricken dumb. Peter casts demon out of young
man. Caesar's statue crashes in pieces. Peter orders it sprinkled with
holy water - and it is fully restored. Peter causes a dog to speak. The
dog dies at Peter's feet. Causes dead fish to come alive in his bath water.
Seven-month child rebukes a sinner-- and strikes him dumb. Peter heals
a blind widow-- Simon, the magician, kills a lad--Peter raises him from
the dead. Raises several from the dead. Heals many on a Sabbath day. Simon
tries to fly-- falls and breaks his leg in three places-- later he comes
to his end, Peter gets into serious trouble because he advised wives to
abstain from sex relations with their husbands. Agrippa orders Peter crucified.
Being crucified with head down was Peter's request.
- 4. ACTS OF ANDREW
- Andrew heals a blind men. Raises an Egyptian boy from the dead. A mother
sought sex relations with her son. The young man sought help from Andrew.
The mother falsely accuses her son. The boy, with Andrew, is imprisoned.
An earthquake releases them and injures many--Andrew heals them all. Many
are baptized. Casts out a devil. Raises a man killed by seven dogs. Stills
a raging storm. Makes the "sign of the cross', and routs a troop of
armed men. Puts out a fire with holy water. Blinds his enemies and then
restores their sight. A "possessed" lad hangs himself, and Andrew
restores him. Man afflicted 22 years with "sores" is healed.
Resurrects a dead soldier. Andrew is thrown to the beasts, but they refused
to touch him -- turned and devoured their keepers. Serpent kills a boy
-- Andrew restores him and the serpent dies. A proconsul is healed and
baptized. He raises up 38 dead sailors from a shipwreck. Causes an illegitimate
child to be born dead. Healed all the sick in several cities. Healed one
sick with 'ulcers and worms.' Cured an epileptic -- one who "foamed
at the mouth." Was crucified, but preached three days hanging on the
- 5. ACTS OF THOMAS
- Agent of a king comes from India to hire a carpenter to build a palace
for the monarch. He engages Thomas. A cupbearer who buffets Thomas is killed
by a lion. A dog brings in his hand Thomas restores the man. The king gives
Thomas much money to build the palace. Thomas gives away the money to the
poor. When the king comes, he finds no palace. He is wroth and orders Thomas
arrested. The king's brother dies: goes to Paradise, and comes back to
tell the king of the wonderful palace which Thomas had builded for the
king in Paradise. The king's brother is returned to this life-- Thomas
is released from prison. This is a long and wordy recital in the Acts of
Thomas. There is a long story of a dragon who was jealous of a maiden and
whom Thomas caused to swell up and burst. A colt- descendant of the olden
Balaam - utters praises for Thomas. Several are raised from the dead and
devils are cast out of many. Many sick are healed by washing in a stream
which Thomas had blessed. Heals and makes beautiful an ugly-duckling daughter.
A herd of wild asses preach the gospel, and one of them casts out devils.
Thomas finally cast 1nto prison because the wife of the ruler had stopped
sex relations with him. He blamed the teachings of Thomas. In this connection-and
while in prison--Thomas utters the famous "Psalm of the Soul--one
of the most worthy' from a literary standpoint, of all of this document.
Then Thomas is released and goes free. After much preaching and many converts
he is again imprisoned and executed. Later, when the king's child is afflicted,
he sends for one of Thomas's bones. Fails to find the body, but brings
some dust from the tomb, and his child is cured.
- 6. ACTS OF ANDREW AND MATTHIAS (MATTHEW)
- Matthias went to preach in a land of cannibals who put out the eyes
of their victims and gave them poison. The poison did not affect Matthias,
and his eyes were restored. Andrew is sent to deliver him. They came in
a boat. Two angels rowed. Jesus steered the boat. Andrew rested. They put
a rope around Andrew and dragged him in the streets. Then cast him into
prison. He makes the sign of the cross and is healed. Bitter water flows
from a statue.
- 7. ACTS OF PETER AND ANDREW
- Andrew is carried from the city of the man-eaters to a mountain to
meet Peter. They sow seed and it immediately springs up as ripened grain.
Jesus appears as a 12-year old boy and makes a camel go through the eye
of a needle. One thousand souls were baptized. - Andrew goes fishing. Catches
12,000 fish. They even follow him on dry land.
- F. THE EPISTLES
- 1. LETTERS OF CHRIST AND ABGARUS
- Abgarus, a minor Roman official, writes Jesus a letter of congratulation
on his many cures of sick folks, and asks him to come and heal his affliction--
Jesus replies that he wil1 send one of his disciples.
- 2. LETTER OF LENTULUS
- Contains a detailed description of Jesus' portrait.
- 3. EPISTLE TO THE LAODICEANS
- Purported to be written by Paul. It is a very mediocre production compared
to Paul's other writings.
- 4. CORRESPONDENCE OF PAUL AND SENECA
- Seneca, at Caesar's court, exchanges some 14 letters with Paul. Nothing
noteworthy is found in these communications.
- 5. EPISTLE TO THE APOSTLES
- This is the major work of the Epistles. It is a lengthy but common-place
review of many events in Jesus' life. There is an answer to a question
as to when he would be coming back after he returned to his Father. The
answer appears to say that he would return after 150 years.
- G. NEW TESTAMENT APOCALYPSES
- 1. APOCALYPSE OF PETER
- Begins with a discussion of illegitimate children---how they are put
in the hands of "caretaker angels. " Peter asks Jesus to show
him someone who had departed this world. He was shown a man whose face
shone like the sun. His body was whiter than snow--altogether, he looked
like a rainbow. Then Peter was shown Hell. Men hanging by their tongues.
Women hanging by their hair. Others hanging by their feet-- all being tortured
by fire. Money-lenders for usury were in a lake of molten fire. There was
a special pit of fire for homosexuals. In the resurrection, beasts and
fowls were required to restore all that they had eaten---that the very
identical particles should become part of the resurrected bodies of the
saints. The bones, flesh, skin must be the same as before death. When Jesus
returns on a cloud of angels the sea becomes fire. Some wicked are devoured
by worms-- Special punishment is given women who did not keep their virginity.
- 2. THE APOCALYPSE OF PAUL
- This purports to be what Paul saw when he was transported to the third
heaven--see cor. 12:20 It is apparent that Dante got much of the material
for his Inferno from this document. This story ranges far and wide. This
book was found when digging for a house foundation in Tarsus. Was taken
to the Emperor at Rome who opened the box. There is an interesting account
of the work of the recording angels. There seems to be two kinds of angels
-good and bad. This revelation teaches the resurrection of the identical
body of death -contrary to Paul's teaching in the New Testament letters.
He sees in Paradise the names of the saints in golden letters on the walls
of the city. He saw rivers of milk and honey and the tree of life with
12 fruits-- Date trees with clusters of 10,000. Grapes with 10,000 on a
bunch. Paul learns that the root of all evl1 is price. He is taken to a
special city--the city of Christ, where he sees rivers of milk, honey,
oil, wine, etc. There was a river of fire and another neither hot nor cold
for lukewarm and indifferent mortals. There was a deep pit for some offenders--it
required five hundred years to reach the bottom. The hardhearted were put
naked in a region of ice and snow, with worms to gnaw their flesh. Paul
visits with Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--also Job, Enoch, and John
- 3. THE APOCALYPSE OF THOMAS.
- Much about the last judgments on earth - rain of blood, etc. Depicts
the end of the world, but contains little not found in other writing attributed
- 4. THE REVELATION OF STEPHEN
- The story of Saul seeing Stephen stoned to death. Gamaliel- rebukes
- H. MISC. DOCUMENTS
- 1. THE APOSTLES' CREED
- 1. "Peter. I Believe In God The Father Almighty;
- 2. "John. Maker Of Heaven And Earth;
- 3. "James. And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
- 4. "Andrew. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin
- 5. "Philip. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead
- 6. "Thomas. He descended into hell, and the third day he arose
again from the dead; 7. "Bartholomew. He ascended into heaven, sitteth
at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
- 8. "Matthew. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and
- 9 "James, the son of Alpheus. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the
holy Catholic Church;
- 10. "Simon Zelotes. The communion of saints, the forgiveness of
- 11. "Jude, the brother of James. The resurrection of the body;
- 12. "Matthias. Live everlasting. Amen. "
- 2. EPISTLE OF BARNABAS This is one of the best of all the Apocrypha-
almost worthy of a place in the New Testament Canon. One of the few apocryphal
books without miracles. Denounces sacrifices and burnt offerings. Quotes
much from the Old Testament, Daniel, Isaiah, and others. Refers to many
prophecies concerning Christ. Discusses the spiritual aspects of circumcision,
etc. Treats the spiritual meaning of clean and unclean beasts, and claims
that baptism and the cross were foretold in prophecy. Claims that God's
promises refer to the gentiles as well as to the Jews. Discusses the spiritual
aspects of Sabbath keeping, and portrays the real meaning of the temple
and its services. Teaches the "way of life"---the things a Christian
must be and do in order to be happy. In Chapter 14, Verse 11, he seems
to offer objections to birth control, as well as to abortion and infanticide.
And then he portrays the "way of darkness"- the path to destruction.
- 3. THE EPISTLES OF IGNATIUS
- a. To the Ephesians Exhorts to loyalty to the bishop. Warns against
heretics and false teachers. Admonishes to remember prayer and charity.
Love the Gospel. The virginity of Mary and the Incarnation. Exhorts to
- b. To the Magneslans Exhortations and platitudes. Wants them to live
orderly and in unity. Cautions against false opinions. Commends faith and
piety. Exhorts to perseverance.
- c. To the Trallians Commends them for their subjection to their spiritual
leaders. Warns against heretics. exhorts to humility and unity, The true
doctrine of Christ.
- d. To the Romans. About the sufferings of Christ. The honor of martyrdom.
- e. To the Philadelphians Praises their bishop. Warns against divisions.
Be united--avoid judging. Glad to hear persecutions at Antioch had stopped.
- f. To the Smyrneans Warns against belittling the sufferings of Christ
and the new doctrines of heretics. Thanks them for their kindness.
- g. To Polycarp Tells him how to improve his faith. How to help others.
Urges him to write to the churches.
- 4. POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS. Commends them for their faith. Exhorts
to faith, hope, and charity. Urges them to perform social and other Christian
duties. Exercise faith. Grow in grace. Exhorts against covetousness.
- 5. THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS (Found in three books)
- a. First Book of Hermas warning against proud and filthy thoughts.
On neglecting to chastise children and correct his talkative wife. The
glory of the Church Triumphant. How to get rid of reprobates. The vision
of trials and tribulations.
- b. Second Book of Hermas. Believing in one God. Against lying--be simple.
Putting away the wife for adultery. Dealing with a sad heart -- patience.
How every man has two angers. Fear God not the Devil. Flee from evil and
do good. Ask God for daily help avoid doubting. Grieve not the spirit of
God that lives in us. Even prophets must be tried by their spirits. God's
commands are not impossible.
- c. Third Book of Hermas Look for the abiding city to come. The rich
are helped by the prayers of the poor. Difficult to tell the righteous
from the wicked in this world. Fruits of true believers. Reward of clean
living. Two sorts of voluptuous men---and their death. The fruits of repentance.
Many kinds of the elect and their rewards. Mysteries of the triumphant
- 6. OTHER DOCUMENTS OF MINOR IMPORTANCE
- a. The Gospel According to the Hebrews.
- b. Gospel of the Egyptians.
- c. Arabic Gospel of Jesus' Childhood.
- d. Gospel of Philip.
- e. History of Joseph the Carpenter.
- f. The Gospel of Eve.
A service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship