Apocalypse of Pseudo-Ephraem
Apocalypse of Pseudo-Ephraem (known today as the Sermon at the end of the world) is a 7th-century Syrian tract which provides a glimpse into the events that took place during its time in the Middle-East.
- A people shall rise up from the desert, the offspring of Hagar, handmaid of Sarah, who hold to the covenant (qyama) of Abraham, the husband of Sarah and Hagar. They are awakened to come in the name of the Ram (dekra), the messenger (izgada) of the Son of Perdition. And there will be a sign in the sky as says our Lord in his Gospel (Matthew xxiv.30). . . . The plunderers (shabbaye) will spread over the earth, in the valleys and on mountain tops, and they will enslave women, children and men, old and young. . . . (much emotive description of killing, looting and enslavement ensues). . . . They open roads in the mountains and paths in the valleys. They will plunder to the ends of creation and take possession of the cities. Lands will be ravaged and corpses abound upon the earth. All peoples will be laid low before the plunderers. And just when the peoples had endured long on the earth and were hoping that now would come peace, they (the plunderers) will exact tribute and all will indeed fear them. Injustice will increase upon the earth and obscure the clouds. Wickedness will grow thick in creation and rise up to Heaven as smoke. (Ps.-Ephraem, Sermon on the End of Times, 61-62 [pp. 260-261])
Use of Pseudo-Ephraem in Controversy over the History of Rapture Doctrine
A translation of a Latin text (with disputed date) of what is purported to be a sermon of Pseudo-Ephraem, by a professor at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Tx., Cameron Rhoades, is cited by some, to support an early Church reference to the rapture. However, exactly how early is questionable. The Latin text may not date before the 8th-century and may be a conflated text, and not translated directly from either the Syriac or Greek texts.
For perspective, according to Frazier, "Collections of works ascribed to Ephrem exist in several languages, the largest body of texts being Greek. Nearly all the surviving texts attributed to Ephrem in languages other than Syriac and Armenian are derived from this Greek corpus, including the Latin corpus.
Importantly, according to Reeves, "The Latin pseudo-Ephrem and the Syriac pseudo-Ephrem are not the same text, and the nature of their relationship to one another has yet to be satisfactorily explained. What does seem to be clear is that the Latin text borrows from the Pseudo-Methodius apocalypse (and is thus later than circa 700 CE), whereas the Syriac text seems to be older and does not betray such influence."
Thus, different translations from different underlying texts (Syriac text, Greek, and Latin) may be confusedly cited as the same Pseudo-Ephraem sermon and popular writers may not point out these important differences, e.g., that the Latin text is later and borrows from Pseudo-Methodius.
The opinions of scholars are divided on the origins of this apocalypse, but a date later than Ephraem with pseudonymous authorship are advanced by some. As an example, C. P. Caspari (Latin text editor) and Paul Alexander advance a date after the demise of (St.) Ephraem. Caspari would date it between late 6th and early 7th AD centuries. Alexander claims the work apparently was originally was written at the end of the 4th AD century, but only reached its final form by the late 6th to early 7th centuries. Thus for these scholars, this is not the actual work of Ephraem the Syrian, but the work of some unknown preacher now termed 'Pseudo- Ephraem'. Yet, both Caspari and Alexander consider Pseudo-Ephraem to be greatly influenced by the actual work of Ephraem.
But despite any debate on the date, this document does give evidence of rapture theory at least as early as the eighth century.
Different Text, Different Translations
A translation by Professor John C. Reeves, from the Syriac text published by Edmund Beck, is available from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina  The entire translation is reprinted below.
A translation from the conflated Latin text was done by Cameron Rhoades a Latin professor at Tyndale Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Tx. The entire translation is also reprinted below.
As referenced above, these two translations differ substantially due to the fact that the underlying text are in different languages and that the Latin version borrows from portions of Pseudo-Methodius apocalypse (late 7th century).
The reader is cautioned to research the matter further and not confuse the earlier Syriac text with the later, conflated Latin text. This and other near Eastern texts are available at: http://www.religiousstudies.uncc.edu/jcreeves/trajectories.htm
Translation of Pseudo-Ephraem
SERMON OF PSEUDO-EPHREM ON THE END OF THE WORLD
Translated from the text in Edmund Beck, ed., Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Sermones III (CSCO 320; Louvain: Secrétariat du Corpus SCO, 1972), 60-71; see also 79-94 for Beck’s translation. The text is based on two manuscripts: (1) Codex Vaticanus Sir. 566, and (2) Codex Dublinensis (Trinity College) B 5.19. Editio princeps: Thomas Josephus Lamy, ed., Sancti Ephraem Syri Hymni et Sermones (4 vols.; Mechliniae: H. Dessain, 1882-1902), 3:187-212.
A discourse (memra) of the holy saint Ephrem, the Syrian teacher, concerning the end, (final) consummation, judgment, and punishment; on the people of Gog and Magog; and about the Antichrist. O Son who by His grace humbled Himself And who was pleased to make Himself a human being; Who willingly experienced death At the top of the wood(en cross) on Golgotha: Grant me, my Lord, (the ability) to speak about The struggles which will take place in the created order; For peoples will fall upon each other And nations will destroy one another, Evil will fortify itself on the earth And iniquity will increase throughout creation. Righteous rulers will perish And lawless ones will arise on the earth. Then a judgment will arise, And a weighing on the scale for those humans: The side (containing) the wicked will sink down; And that for the elect will rise up. Then spiritual entities will go forth And destroy the ends of the created order. It will happen, my brethren, just as it is written: A plague in a number of places, And a famine will occur in the created order; Terrible struggles and conflicts. Dust will be saturated with blood; The created order will be polluted from iniquity. Regions will be ravaged, And cities will be consumed by Sheol; Nation will rise up against nation And kingdom against kingdom. Lawlessness will be sovereign on earth And the defiled will pursue after the saints. People will openly apostatize And augment the left side; The righteous ones will suffer indignities From those who belong to the side of the sinners. It is due to this, my beloved ones That the final age has arrived. Lo, we have observed the signs, Just as Christ inscribed for us: Rulers will arise, one against another; There will be suffering on earth; Nations will contend with nations And armies will fall upon one another. When the Nile, the river of Egypt, Overflows (and) floods part of the land, Certain regions will prepare themselves Against the country of the Romans. Nations will contend with nations, And a kingdom with a kingdom. They will depart, moving from one land to another; Those Romans who are put to flight. And the Assyrians will gain authority Over the region of the Romans. The fruit of their loins they will subjugate And they will also ravish their women; They will be sowing and also reaping They will plant fruits in the ground; They will acquire vast riches And hoard treasures underground. But just as the Nile, the river of Egypt Recedes again from what it flooded; So too will Assyria recede Back to their own country. For the Romans once again will be found In their ancestral land (i.e., the Assyrians’). Then evil will increase on the earth And the land will be defiled with fornication. The cry of the persecuted and the wretched Will rise up to heaven. Then a judgment will arise To cast them out of the land. The holy covenant will complain; A cry will rise up to heaven. A people will emerge from the wilderness, The progeny of Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah; Who hold fast to the covenant with Abraham, The husband of Sarah and Hagar. Set in motion, he (Ishmael) comes in the name of the ram, The herald of the Son of Destruction. A sign will appear in the heavens, The one our Lord spoke of in His gospel: Luminaries will shine among the stars And the light of His face will gleam. Rulers will quake and tremble; The forces arrayed by them will fall. The peoples of the earth will be terrified When they behold the sign set in the heavens. They will prepare for battle and come together, All peoples and nationalities. They will wage war there And the ground will be drenched with blood. The nations will suffer defeat there, A marauding nation will prevail. The marauders will fly over the landscape, Across plains and over the peaks of mountains. They will take women and children as captives, Also men both elderly and young. The best of the males will be destroyed; The most desirable women will be removed. With strong spears and lances They will impale elderly men. They will separate a son from his father, A daughter from the side of her mother; They will separate a brother from his brethren, A sister from the side of her sisters. They will slay the bridegroom in his bedroom And expel the bride from her bridal chamber. They will take a wife away from her husband, And slaughter her as if she were a sheep; They will cast an infant away from its mother And drive the mother into captivity. The child will scream out on the ground: Its mother hears, but what can she do? For it will be trampled by the hooves Of horses, camels, and infantry! She (tries to) turn toward it, (but) they will not allow her; The child remains within the wild (?). They separate children from their mother As the soul (is separated) from the body. She watches while they divide them up, Her beloved ones (taken from) the embrace of her bosom; Two of her children to two (different) masters, Her own self to still another master; She has been allocated, and her children with her; For they are now slaves to robbers. Her children cry out with laments, Their eyes burning with tears; She turns toward her beloved ones, The milk flowing forth from her breast: ‘Farewell, my beloved ones! May God go with you! The one who accompanied Joseph In (his) servitude among foreigners: May He accompany you, my children Into the captivity where you are going!’ ‘Farewell, our mother! May God go with you! The one who accompanied Sarah Into the palace of Abimelech the Gadarite: May He accompany your own self Until the Day of Resurrection!’ The son will stand and watch while his father Is sold into slavery. The eyes of both of them will burn with tears While they groan, one in front of the other. A brother will watch while his brother Is killed and cast down on the ground, Whereas he they drive off into captivity In order to serve among foreigners as a slave. They even put to death mothers Who are holding their children to their breasts. Bitter is the sound of the infants Who are groaning to satisfy their desire (for milk). They will prepare roads in the mountains, Highways in the middle of the plains; They will maraud until the very ends of the created order. They will establish rule over the urban centers. The provinces will suffer destruction, And they will multiply corpses on the earth. All peoples will be brought low Before the marauder nation. And once the peoples have endured much on earth And hope that now peace has arrived, They (the Ishmaelites) start exacting tribute And everyone will be fearful of them. Lawlessness will intensify on the earth And even obscure the clouds; Wickedness will enclose the created order And waft up like smoke to the heavens. Then since wickedness will be rampant upon the earth, The Lord’s wrath will then stir up Kings and mighty armies. For when He seeks to expunge it from earth, He sends out humans against humans To annihilate one another. Truly at that time He will summon The kings and mighty armies Who are behind those gates Which Alexander fashioned. Many rulers and peoples Remain behind the gates. They look toward heaven And call on the name of God, That the Lord send His sign From within His heaven of glory And the Divine Voice Summon them who are by those gates; So that they suddenly break down and collapse At the command of the Divinity. Numerous armies issue forth, As many as the stars which cannot be counted. As multitudinous as the sand by the sea, And exceeding (the number of) the stars in the sky. A full span was consumed From the lower crossbar; And from the upper crossbar Another full span was consumed On account of the great quantity of their sharp spears With which they lacerated it. They issued forth, Moving, spilling forth from there; Kings and large armies And every people and language group Emerging from (behind) those gates. Gog and Magog and Nūl and Agag, Kings and mighty armies! Togarmah and Ashkenaz and Daypar, Pūìayē with Lūbayē. Amzartayē and Garmēdō‘, ¬alab with helmet-covered heads, Azmurtayē and Kūshayē, Hunayē and Parzayē, Diqlayē and Tūbalayē, Mūshkayē with Kūshayē. Allied to and coming with them Were both the Medes and the Persians, Armenians and Turks And NamrūÐayē and MūshÐayē; The descendants of Ke’wan and Serug; The progeny of Yaqìan and the MaÐūnayē; Numerous armies and nations Whose number cannot be calculated. They will burst forth and flood the earth, Shaking the walls of the created order. A dust cloud will rise up over the earth, Obscuring the sun above And covering creation With clouds and dark fogs, In accordance with what Ezekiel prophesied, The son of Buzi in his prophecy. For when the Huns come forth To wage war and to do battle, They will take hold of pregnant women And heap fire on top of them; They will come closer and mutter incantations over them, While roasting their children inside them! Splitting them open, they extract their fetuses When they are finished cooking inside of them. They draw near: then place them in basins, And pour water over them And dissolve their corpses there In those enchanted waters. They immediately take their swords And their bows with their spears And dip them in those waters For their arrows and their weapons. Every weapon to which are applied Those magical potions Appears as if there are hundreds, even thousands Of cavalrymen who wield them. Moreover those hundreds of horsemen Who set out (and) traverse the whole of the earth Appear as if they are accompanied By six thousand myriads. If one of them should fall off during battle While engaging in the fight, Wherever he extends his hand Suddenly a knife emerges! They eat the flesh of children And also drink the blood of women. Clothed in tanned skins, They mount the winds and tempests; And rapidly, in the blink of an eye, They lay waste to cities, Topple their walls to the ground, And destroy the strong citadels. Moving quickly, they bind the swift And slaughter the vigorous men. They are quicker in motion Than winds and tempests. Whenever news of them is heard on earth (to wit) ‘The Huns have set out (and) are coming!’ They blanket the whole of creation. Because they are sorcerers, They fly between heaven and earth. Their chariots are like the winds, And their swords and their lances Are like terrifying bolts of lightning. Holding straps in their hands And two or three horses, Each one of them leads with him Some fifty or sixty men, Traveling behind and in front of him Like winds and tempests. The sound of the battle-cry of just one of them Is like the roaring of lions. Indeed dread of the Huns Will overpower the entire earth; They will cover the whole earth Like the waters during the days of Noah, And they will overwhelm the edges of the created order: There is no one who can withstand them. These are the ‘numerous peoples’ About whom Ezekiel spoke Who will cover the whole earth As if they were clouds. ‘Fish will shudder before them, (As will) the birds of the sky And wild beasts and vermin of the earth And every species in creation; High mountains will be thrust down And fortified towers will collapse, Even the walls of the cities.’ On the earth will be a wasteland. For Ezekiel has prophesied That it will come to pass in the End of Days: They will burst out (and) come up from the land And cover the created order; Gog and Magog will prepare itself And arrive at the ‘hill country of Israel.’ Between the sea and Jerusalem He will place his encampment. Riders will fly off, descending Upon Egypt and opposite India; Leading away so many captives they cannot be numbered. People and riches, Cattle and property Which have now become his prey. Then Righteousness will summon Michael, the one who is leader of the host, To come down (and) destroy his encampment Just as (he destroyed) the encampment of Sennacherib. The angel, receiving the command, will draw The terrible and powerful sword, And departing, he will destroy his force In the twinkling of an eye! Righteousness will pick up and hurl Stones of fire upon the encampment. The slain on the ground will be as numerous As the (particles of) sand which cannot be counted; People and pack-animals will perish, The entire encampment will be consumed. The blaze will extend Unto the sea and to the islands. The bow will swerve from the hands Of Gog, the wicked ruler; Also his arrows (will drop) from his left hand: His entire encampment will be consumed. The inhabitants of Judaea will go out And loot his whole encampment. They will collect and pick up armament: Lances, arrows, and bows. For seven years within a fire They will burn them, as it is written: ‘They will not need to gather Wood from the field or thickets.’ Seven years they will throw in the fire Shields and clubs, Arrows, spears, and bows. They will prove sufficient for fueling the fire for seven years. Then the Lord will bring in His peace, Which attests His glorification among the heavens. And once more the empire of the Romans Will spring up and flourish in its place. It will possess the earth and its extremities, And no one will exist who opposes it. And when iniquity has become rife on earth And has polluted the whole of creation, Then a judgment will arise Which will entirely obliterate the people. The Son of Destruction, the Evil One, Will emerge and come upon the earth. A deceiver of humanity, An instigator of trouble over the whole earth. On the day when he comes to it, (when) the Son of Destruction arrives on earth, The created order will be thrown into commotion, And terror will engulf the earth. The sun will become dark in its place, And the stars will fall from the height; All the luminaries will be quenched, Darkness will cover the created order. The earth with its inhabitants will shake, And mountains and heights will quake; Springs and fountains will dry up, And the waves in the sea will abate And the fish therein grow still. Rulers will stop rendering judgment And priests will tremble in the sanctuary And military power will collapse. Confusion will be on the earth And all human powers will be paralyzed, For the Evil One will be ready. He will come to and enter Jerusalem. He will rebuild and establish himself in Zion, And will make himself to be God And enter into the sanctuary to take a seat In accordance with what the Apostle wrote to us. The Jews will take pride in him; They will prepare themselves and come to him. And he moreover will blaspheme when he says: ‘I, even I, am the Father and the Son! The First and the Last! There is no other god apart from me!’ But at that time ten thousand Jews will denounce him: They will answer him in truth: ‘You are a deceiver for (all) creatures! For the one whom our ancestors restrained At the top of the wood(en cross) on Golgotha Is (actually) the redeemer of (all) creatures, And he was raised up to the One Who sent him!’ Then the Evil One will be enraged And he will issue a command regarding those who denounced him That they should immediately die by the sword, And everyone will be too afraid to renounce him. Then he will begin to display Wonders through deception In the heavens and on the earth, Within the sea and on the dry land. He will summon the rain and it will fall; He will command the seed and it will sprout However he will not actually perform (miracles); He will be employing magic. He will command the waves and they will cease, And the winds will be obedient to him. He will suspend fruits on the trees And cause water to gush from the ground. He will address the leprous and they will become clean, (Speak to) the blind, and they will see light, He will call to the deaf and they will hear him, (Address) even the mute and they will speak. He will effect all the wonders Which Our Lord performed within the created order, Except that he will not be able to resurrect the dead, For he will not have authority over (the) spirits (of the dead). Lightening-flashes will be his messengers, And are the sign of his advent; Demons are his armies And the commanders of the devils are his pupils; He will dispatch the heads of his legions To distant lands Where they will display marvelous powers and healings And mislead the whole of creation. Behold, the Apostle has penned a warning for us In his epistle to the Thessalonians: ‘Let no word or no letter Trouble you that is not from us. For the rebellion comes first, Also the Man of Sin And he will exalt himself over God, Making himself to be God.’ And when the Accursed One comes And displays his mighty works and wonders, The nations will gather together and come As (if) they were going to see God. Groups and nations will join him, And every person will renounce their deity; Everyone will say of him to their fellow That they should acknowledge him, the Son of Destruction! Peoples will fall upon one another, Slaying each other with swords. The elect will flee from his presence To the peaks of mountains and hills, And there will be calamity on earth Unlike any that came before. Fear will fall upon all people And they will be overcome with terror. Children will renounce their father And follow after the Evil One; Priests will abandon their altars To serve as his heralds. People will flee to cemeteries And hide themselves among the dead, Pronouncing the good fortune of the deceased Who had avoided the calamity: ‘Blessed are you for you were borne away (to the grave) And hence you escaped from the afflictions! But as for us, woe is us! For when we die, Vultures will serve as escort for us!’ And if the days of that time were not shortened, The elect would never survive The calamities and afflictions. For Our Lord revealed (and) disclosed to us In his Gospel when He said: ‘Those days will be shortened For the sake of the elect and the saints.’ And when he has harassed the whole of creation, (When) the Son of Destruction (has bent it) to his will, Enoch and Elijah will be sent That they might persuade the Evil One. With a gentle question The saints will come before him, In order to expose the Son of Destruction Before the assemblies surrounding him: ‘If you are indeed God, Tell us what we ask of you: Where is the place that you have hidden The elders Elijah and Enoch?’ The Evil One will respond and say To the saints at that time: ‘When I wish (it), they are in the height(s), Or again should I choose, they are within the sea; For I have authority over habitations, Since there is no other god apart from me And I can make anything On earth (and) also in heaven!’ They will answer The Son of Destruction as follows: ‘If you are truly God, Call out to the deceased so that they will rise! For it is written within the books Of the prophets and the apostles That when the Messiah reveals Himself, He will resurrect the dead from the graves. If you cannot show us this (sign), Then the One who was crucified is greater than you! For he roused and resurrected those who were dead, And was exalted in great splendor.’ Then the Evil One will become enraged With the saints at that time; He will draw his terrible sword And sever the necks of the righteous ones. But Gabriel will arise (and) descend (With) Michael (as) military commanders; They will resurrect those saints While the Evil One stands confused with his servants. They will approach and seize that Accursed One And the Lord will rebuke (him) from heaven; Then He will destroy the Accursed One And all of his forces. Angels will suddenly approach And cast him into Gehenna, And all of those who believed in him Will be thrust into the flame(s). Then the Lord will come from above In splendor and with a company of His angels, And between earth and heaven A throne-chariot will be fixed there. He will admonish the sea and it will dry up; The fish within it will perish. He will dissolve the heavens and the earth, And there will be (only) darkness and gloom. He will dispatch fire upon the earth, And it will burn there for forty <days> Purifying it of iniquity And of pollution and of sins. A great throne will be adorned And the Son will be seated on the right; Seats will be positioned For the twelve apostles of the Son; And couches will be decorated for the martyrs And a royal chamber for the righteous ones. The Watchers will blow trumpets And the dead will arise from the dust; Fiery entities will suddenly go forth And assemble all the descendants of Adam. They will gather the wheat in a storehouse And throw the straw into the fire; The good will go forth into the Kingdom, And the bad will remain in Gehenna; The righteous will fly up to the height, And the sinners will burn in fire. The martyrs will float to the couch; The wicked will go out into darkness. And Christ will reign forever, He will be sovereign over each generation. To Him be the glory, and His mercy is over us For all time, amen, amen!
Rhoades Translation from a Latin text of Pseudo-Ephraem
On the Last Times, the Anti-Christ, and the End of the World A Sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem and Isidor of Sevilla (Caspari's title of the sermon is: Eine Ephraem Syrus und Isidor von Sevilla beigelegte Predigt über die letzten Zeiten, den Antichrist und das Ende der welt.)
The English translation of the Latin text in C.P. Caspari's Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten aus den zwei letzten Jahrhunderten des kirchlichen Altertums und dem Anfang des Mittelater (Christiania, 1890, pp. 208-20) was provided by Cameron Rhoades, instructor of Latin at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.
Section I Dearly beloved brothers, believe the Holy Spirit who speaks in us. We have already told you that the end of the world is near, the consummation remains. Has not faith withered away among mankind? How many foolish things are seen among youths, how many crimes among prelates, how many lies among priests, how many perjuries among deacons! There are evil deeds among the ministers, adulteries in the aged, wantonness in the youths—in mature women false faces, in virgins dangerous traces! In the midst of all this there are the wars with the Persians, and we see struggles with diverse nations threatening and "kingdom rising against kingdom." When the Roman empire begins to be consumed by the sword, the coming of the Evil One is at hand. It is necessary that the world come to an end at the completion of the Roman empire. In those days two brothers will come to the Roman empire who will rule with one mind; but because one will surpass the other, there will be a schism between them. And so the Adversary will be loosed and will stir up hatred between the Persian and Roman empires. In those days many will rise up against Rome; the Jewish people will be her adversaries. There will be stirrings of nations and evil reports, pestilences, famines, and earth quakes in various places. All nations will receive captives; there will be wars and rumors of wars. From the rising to the setting of the sun the sword will devour much. The times will be so dangerous that in fear and trembling they will not permit thought of better things, because many will be the oppressions and desolations of regions that are to come.
Section II We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: "Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!" For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, brothers most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord. And we think that the earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and incursions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!
Section III When therefore the end of the world comes, there arise diverse wars, commotions on all sides, horrible earthquakes, perturbations of nations, tempests throughout the lands, plagues, famine, drought throughout the thoroughfares, great danger throughout the sea and dry land, constant persecutions, slaughters and massacres everywhere, fear in the homes, panic in the cities, quaking in the thoroughfares, suspicions in the male, anxiety in the streets. In the desert people become senseless, spirits melt in the cities. A friend will not be grieved over a friend, neither a brother for a brother, nor parents for their children, nor a faithful servant for his master, but one inevitability shall overwhelm them all; neither is anyone able to be recovered in that time, who has not been made completely aware of the coming danger, but all people, who have been constricted by fear, are consumed because of the overhanging evils.
Section IV Whenever therefore the earth is agitated by the nations, people will hide themselves from the wars in the mountains and rocks, by caves and caverns of the earth, by graves and memorials of the dead, and there, as they waste away gradually by fear, they draw breath, because there is not any place at all to flee, but there will be concession and intolerable pressure. And those who are in the east will flee to the west, and moreover, those who are in the west shall flee to the east, and there is not a safer place anywhere, because the world shall be overwhelmed by worthless nations, whose aspect appears to be of wild animals more than that of men. Because those very much horrible nations, most profane and most defiled, who do not spare lives, and shall destroy the living from the dead, shall consume the dead, they eat dead flesh, they drink the blood of beasts, they pollute the world, contaminate all things, and the one who is able to resist them is not there. In those days people shall not be buried, neither Christian, nor heretic, neither Jew, nor pagan, because of fear and dread there is not one who buries them; because all people, while they are fleeing, ignore them.
Section V Whenever the days of the times of those nations have been fulfilled, after they have destroyed the earth, it shall rest; and now the kingdom of the Romans is removed from everyday life, and the empire of the Christians is handed down by God and Peter; and then the consummation comes, when the kingdom of the Romans begins to be fulfilled, and all dominions and powers have been fulfilled. Then that worthless and abominable dragon shall appear, he, whom Moses named in Deuteronomy, saying:-Dan is a young lion, reclining and leaping from Basan. Because he reclines in order that he may seize and destroy and slay. Indeed (he is) a young whelp of a lion not as the lion of the tribe of Judah, but roaring because of his wrath, that he may devour. "And he leaps out from Basan." "Basan" certainly is interpreted "confusion." He shall rise up from the confusion of his iniquity. The one who gathers together to himself a partridge the children of confusion, also shall call them, whom he has not brought forth, just as Jeremiah the prophet says. Also in the last day they shall relinquish him just as confused.
Section VI When therefore the end of the world comes, that abominable, lying and murderous one is born from the tribe of Dan. He is conceived from the seed of a man and from an unclean or most vile virgin, mixed with an evil or worthless spirit. But that abominable corrupter, more of spirits than of bodies, while a youth, the crafty dragon appears under the appearance of righteousness, before he takes the kingdom. Because he will be craftily gentle to all people, not receiving gifts, not placed before another person, loving to all people, quiet to everyone, not desiring gifts, appearing friendly among close friends, so that men may bless him, saying;-he is a just man, not knowing that a wolf lies concealed under the appearance of a lamb, and that a greedy man is inside under the skin of a sheep.
Section VII But when the time of the abomination of his desolation begins to approach, having been made legal, he takes the empire, and, just as it is said in the Psalm:-They have been made for the undertaking for the sons of Loth, the Moabites and the Ammanites shall meet him first as their king. Therefore, when he receives the kingdom, he orders the temple of God to be rebuilt for himself, which is in Jerusalem; who, after coming into it, he shall sit as God and order that he be adored by all nations, since he is carnal and filthy and mixed with worthless spirit and flesh. Then that eloquence shall be fulfilled of Daniel the prophet:-And he shall not know the God of their fathers, and he shall not know the desires of women. Because the very wicked serpent shall direct every worship to himself. Because he shall put forth an edict so that people may be circumcised according to the rite of the old law. Then the Jews shall congratulate him, because he gave them again the practice of the first covenant; then all people from everywhere shall flock together to him at the city of Jerusalem, and the holy city shall be trampled on by the nations for forty-two months, just as the holy apostle says in the Apocalypse, which become three and a half years, 1,260 days.
Section VIII In these three years and a half the heaven shall suspend its dew; because there will be no rain upon the earth, and the clouds shall cease to pass through the air, and the stars shall be seen with difficulty in the sky because of the excessive dryness, which happens in the time of the very fierce dragon. Because all great rivers and very powerful fountains that overflow with themselves shall be dried up, torrents shall dry up their water-courses because of the intolerable age, and there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been, since people began to be upon the earth, and there will be famine and an insufferable thirst. And children shall waste away in the bosom of their mothers, and wives upon the knees of their husbands, by not having victuals to eat. Because there will be in those days lack of bread and water, and no one is able to sell or to buy of the grain of the fall harvest, unless he is one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or on the hand. Then gold and silver and precious clothing or precious stones shall lie along the streets, and also even every type of pearls along the thoroughfares and streets of the cities, but there is not one who may extend the hand and take or desire them, but they consider all things as good as nothing because of the extreme lack and famine of bread, because the earth is not protected by the rains of heaven, and there will be neither dew nor moisture of the air upon the earth. But those who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs.
Section IX Then, when this inevitability has overwhelmed all people, just and unjust, the just, so that they may be found good by their Lord; and indeed the unjust, so that they may be damned forever with their author the Devil, and, as God beholds the human race in danger and being tossed about by the breath of the horrible dragon, he sends to them consolatory proclamation by his attendants, the prophets Enoch and Elijah, who, while not yet tasting death, are the servants for the heralding of the second coming of Christ, and in order to accuse the enemy. And when those just ones have appeared, they confuse indeed the antagonistic serpent with his cleverness and they call back the faithful witnesses to God, in order to (free them) from his seduction ...
Section X And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy of son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the wood of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth. And he shall be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss of everlasting fire alive with his father Satan; and all people, who do his wishes, shall perish with him forever; but the righteous ones shall inherit everlasting life with the Lord forever and ever.
- Dr Mal Couch (31 January 1997). Dictionary Of Premillennial Theology. Kregel Publications. pp. 329–. ISBN 978-0-8254-2410-6. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- Paul Julius Alexander, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition.
- T.L. Frazier, "A Second Look at the Second Coming," p. 181.
- Professor John C. Reeves, Blumenthal Professor of Judaic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, email correspondence used with permission.
- Bennett, David Malcolm: "Raptured or Not Raptured? That is the Question," The Evangelical Quarterly, 80.2 (2008), 144.
- Translated from the text in Edmund Beck, ed., Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Sermones III (CSCO 320; Louvain: Secrétariat du Corpus SCO, 1972), 60-71; see also 79-94 for Beck’s translation. The text is based on two manuscripts: (1) Codex Vaticanus Sir. 566, and (2) Codex Dublinensis (Trinity College) B 5.19. Editio princeps: Thomas Josephus Lamy, ed., Sancti Ephraem Syri Hymni et Sermones (4 vols.; Mechliniae: H. Dessain, 1882-1902), 3:187-212
- The English translation of the Latin text in C.P. Caspari's Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten aus den zwei letzten Jahrhunderten des kirchlichen Altertums und dem Anfang des Mittelater (Christiania, 1890, pp. 208-20) was provided by Cameron Rhoades, instructor of Latin at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.