Vision of Ezra

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The Vision of Ezra is an ancient apocryphal text purportedly written by the biblical Ezra. The earliest surviving manuscripts, composed in Latin, date to the 11th century AD, though textual peculiarities strongly suggest that the text was originally written in Greek. Like the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra, the work is clearly Christian, and features several apostles being seen in heaven. However, the text is significantly shorter than the Apocalypse.

The text has a strong dependence on 2 Esdras, an earlier Apocalypse, and portrays God as answering the prayer of Ezra to have courage by sending him seven angels to show him heaven. In the Latin Vision of Esdras, Ezra walks down three floors or 72 steps and is shown hell. When arriving in hell, a soul approaches Esdras and says your coming here has granted us some respite. From there he is taken to the fourth underworld where the sinners are shown hanging by their eyelashes. The righteous he sees in heaven are portrayed as passing through a vast scene of flames, and fire-breathing lions, unharmed. The wicked are also seen to be in heaven, but are quickly ripped apart by vicious dogs, and burnt in the fire. Ezra is told by a nearby angel that the crimes of the wicked were that "they denied the Lord, and sinned with women on the Lord’s Day".

Biblical cross-reference and comparison[edit]

Vision of Ezra: angels of hell who carried him

Bible: Lk 16:22: that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels

Vision of Ezra: immortal worm

Mark 9:47-48: Jesus: into hell, the worms that eat them do not die

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