This post is about the Book 4 Ezra, it is a Jewish Apocalypse. These are the 7 Visions of Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, the builder of the Second Temple in Jerusalem…These are the conversations with Angels to Salathiel (who calls himself Ezra the scribe)…They are very pertinent to us in the last days!
The apocalypse is set in Babylon in the thirtieth year after the destruction of Jerusalem (557 B.C.). It is ascribed to a certain Salathiel (Shealtiel), who was the father of Zerubbabel, the builder of the Second Temple (see Ezra 3:2; 1 Chron 3:17). In 4 Ezra, however, Salathiel identifies himself as Ezra the scribe (3:1).
What we have is a series of seven visions, primarily conversations with an angel, which are granted to Salathiel or Ezra in response to his prayers. His prayers, however, are more of a complaint than a petition and his dialogue with the angel more of a disputation than the anticipated setting in which a prophet reverently receives instruction from a heavenly messenger. The spirit of the whole thing is rather strange.
The text referring to the lost tribes comes in an explanation of a night dream in which Ezra sees the figure of a man coming forth out the heart of a storm-tossed sea. The man then flies with the clouds of heaven; all that he looks upon trembles, and when he speaks all that hear his voice are consumed with fire. From the four quarters of the earth a multitude of men gather to wage war against him. He then carves for himself a great mountain and flies upon it. From his mountain he annihilates the hostile host with a stream of fire and tempest which proceed from his mouth. The man then descends the mountain and summons to his side all who have not attempted to oppose him. (4 Ezra 13:1-13.)
The interpretation of the dream says that the man from the sea is the Messiah, his enemies are the nations of the world, and the graven rock is the heavenly Jerusalem which has come down to earth. The annihilation of the hostile forces is effected by the fire of the Law, meaning the Law of Moses. Then the Messiah gathers the ten tribes out of alien lands, joins them with those who are already in Palestine, and establishes his millennial kingdom of peace and glory. (4 Ezra 13:21-29.) Our oft-quoted passage reads as follows:
These are the ten tribes which were led away from their own land into captivity in the days of King Hoshea, whom Shalmaneser the king of the Assyrians led captive; he took them across the river, and they were taken unto another land. But they formed this plan for themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the nations and go to a more distant region, where mankind had never lived, and there at least they might keep their statutes which they had not kept in their own land. And they went in by the narrow passages of the Euphrates River. For at that time the Most High performed signs for them, and stopped the channels of the river until they had passed over. Through that region there was a long way to go, a journey of a and a half; and that country is called Arzareth [Hebr for “another land.”]
Then they dwelt there until the last times; and now, when they are about to come again, the Most High will stop the channels of the river again, so that they may be able to pass over. Therefore you saw the multitude gathered together in peace. But those who are left of your people, who are found within my holy borders, shall be saved. Therefore when he destroys the multitude of the nations that are gathered together, he will defend the people who remain. And then he will show them very many wonders. (4 Ezra 13:40-49.)
4 Ezra (Apocrypha), chapter 13
Compare with Revised Standard Version: 4Ezr.13
1: And it came to pass after seven days, I dreamed a dream by night:
2: And, lo, there arose a wind from the sea, that it moved all the waves thereof.
3: And I beheld, and, lo, that man waxed strong with the thousands of heaven: and when he turned his countenance to look, all the things trembled that were seen under him.
4: And whensoever the voice went out of his mouth, all they burned that heard his voice, like as the earth faileth when it feeleth the fire.
5: And after this I beheld, and, lo, there was gathered together a multitude of men, out of number, from the four winds of the heaven, to subdue the man that came out of the sea
6: But I beheld, and, lo, he had graved himself a great mountain, and flew up upon it.
7: But I would have seen the region or place whereout the hill was graven, and I could not.
8: And after this I beheld, and, lo, all they which were gathered together to subdue him were sore afraid, and yet durst fight.
9: And, lo, as he saw the violence of the multitude that came, he neither lifted up his hand, nor held sword, nor any instrument of war:
10: But only I saw that he sent out of his mouth as it had been a blast of fire, and out of his lips a flaming breath, and out of his tongue he cast out sparks and tempests.
11: And they were all mixed together; the blast of fire, the flaming breath, and the great tempest; and fell with violence upon the multitude which was prepared to fight, and burned them up every one, so that upon a sudden of an innumerable multitude nothing was to be perceived, but only dust and smell of smoke: when I saw this I was afraid.
12: Afterward saw I the same man come down from the mountain, and call unto him another peaceable Multitude.
13: And there came much people unto him, whereof some were glad, some were sorry, and some of them were bound, and other some brought of them that were offered: then was I sick through great fear, and I awaked, and said,
14: Thou hast shewed thy servant these wonders from the beginning, and hast counted me worthy that thou shouldest receive my prayer:
15: Shew me now yet the interpretation of this dream.
16: For as I conceive in mine understanding, woe unto them that shall be left in those days and much more woe unto them that are not left behind!
17: For they that were not left were in heaviness.
18: Now understand I the things that are laid up in the latter days, which shall happen unto them, and to those that are left behind.
19: Therefore are they come into great perils and many necessities, like as these dreams declare.
20: Yet is it easier for him that is in danger to come into these things, than to pass away as a cloud out of the world, and not to see the things that happen in the last days. And he answered unto me, and said,
21: The interpretation of the vision shall I shew thee, and I will open unto thee the thing that thou hast required.
22: Whereas thou hast spoken of them that are left behind, this is the interpretation:
this is Eliza R. Snow, who wrote it in the form of a lyric which appeared in the Church hymnal from 1856 to 1912. They key stanzas were as follows:
Thou, Earth, was once a glorious sphere Of noble magnitude, And didst with majesty appear Among the worlds of God.
But thy dimensions have been torn Asunder, piece by piece, And each dismember’d fragment borne Abroad to distant space.
When Enoch could no longer stay Amid corruption here, Part of thyself was borne away To form another sphere.
That portion where his city stood He gain’d by right approv’d; And nearer to the throne of God His planet upward moved.
And when the Lord saw fit to hide The “ten lost tribes” away, Thou, Earth, wast sever’d to provide The orb on which they stay.
And thus, from time to time, thy size Has been diminish’d still Thou seemest the law of sacrifice Created to fulfil.
It is argued that since Eliza was married to Joseph Smith [Eliza Roxey Snow (1804-87) was baptized in 1835 and was sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith on June 29, 1842.] she certainly got the doctrine from him. It is held that this is a doctrine that Joseph taught to his wives and his closest friends. [R. Clayton Brough, The Lost Tribes (Horizon Publishers, 1979), pg 47.] There is also a supporting statement attributed to the grandson of a man with whom the Prophet once stayed. In response to his grandfather’s question as to where the ten tribes were, Joseph Smith reportedly took him outside and pointed to a star twenty feet (from their position) to the right and below the north star. [_Ibid., pg 47-48.] Eliza R. Snow also purportedly told his grandfather that she got her information on this matter from the Prophet. [Robert W. Smith, The Last Days (SLC: Pyramid Press, 1947), pg 225-27.] In addition, we are told by a son of Anson Call, a particular friend of the Prophet, that Joseph told him in company with others on a number of occasions that the ten tribes were on a portion of the earth that had been taken away. [Ibid., pg 215. See also Parley P. Pratt, Millennial Star, Vol. 1, pg 258 (Question 7), and Writings of Parley P. Pratt (Parker Pratt Robinson: SLC, 1952), pg 306-307.]
The Hollow Earth Theory. Another of our traditions holds that the ten tribes are hidden in a hollow of the earth somewhere. Sources include Benjamin F. Johnson, personal friend of Joseph Smith, who records the following conversation: “I asked where the nine and a half tribes of Israel were. ‘Well,’ said [Joseph Smith], ‘you remember the old caldron or potash kettle you used to boil maple sap in for sugar, don’t you?’ I said yes. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘they are in the north pole in a concave just like the shape of that kettle. And John the Revelator is with them, preparing them for their return.'” [Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review (Independence, MO: Zion’s Printing and Publishing Co., n.d.), pg 93.]
Another published version of the hollow earth theory takes us to Mexico, where there is a large cave opening on the side of a cliff which David O. McKay is said to have said “led to the center of the earth, and that it was the access to the outer world for the ten tribes.” The cliff is, of course, too high to scale from the bottom and is protected from the top by a large overhanging ledge. No one has ever been able to enter it. [Susan Peterson, “The Great and Dreadful Day: Mormon Folklore of the Apocalypse,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1976, No. 1, pg 373.]
Knob on the Earth Theory. We learn from a son of Philo Dibble that Joseph Smith drew a picture for his father to show him where the ten tribes were. The picture consisted of a circle with a smaller circle on each side, something like a round face with round ears. The Prophet explained that one of these lobes (the one above the north pole) represented the orb upon which the ten tribes resided. Presumably the other lobe, beneath the south pole, was for the city of Enoch. It is also assumed that these smaller planets are connected to the earth by an invisible neck of land. [Matthew W. Dalton, A Key to This Earth (Willard, Utah: 1906; See also Walt Whipple, “A Discussion of the Many Theories Concerning the Whereabouts of the Lost Ten Tribes,” BYU Library, unpublished typescript; and Brough, pg 51-55.]
The North Pole Theory. The argument in this instance is that the ten tribes live in a mysteriously camouflaged area somewhere near the North Pole. Among is strong advocates have been W. W. Phelps [W. W. Phelps, “A Letter to Oliver Cowdery,” Messenger and Advocate 2:194 (October 1835).], who we are reminded acted as scribe at times for the Prophet Joseph, Orson Pratt, and George Reynolds. Elder Pratt expounded on the often-quoted text from 2 Esdras (an apocryphal work, which we must consider), which speaks of the ten tribes escaping from their Assyrian captors, crossing the Euphrates, and marching into the north to dwell in a land never before inhabited. He reconstructs the route they followed, giving distances and travel times, detailing little-known facts concerning the “comparatively pleasant” climate that would greet them and speaks of the grain and other vegetables they would raise. [Orson Pratt, “Where are the Ten Tribes of Israel?” Millennial Star 29:200-4.] George Reynolds, following Elder Pratt’s lead, wrote of the feelings of awe these vagabonds of Israel must have experienced as they faced the icy waters of the Arctic Sea. [George Reynolds, “The Assyrian Captivity,” Juvenile Instructor 18:26-29.]
23: He that shall endure the peril in that time hath kept himself: they that be fallen into danger are such as have works, and faith toward the Almighty.
24: Know this therefore, that they which be left behind are more blessed than they that be dead.
25: This is the meaning of the vision: Whereas thou sawest a man coming up from the midst of the sea:
26: The same is he whom God the Highest hath kept a great season, which by his own self shall deliver his creature: and he shall order them that are left behind.
27: And whereas thou sawest, that out of his mouth there came as a blast of wind, and fire, and storm;
28: And that he held neither sword, nor any instrument of war, but that the rushing in of him destroyed the whole multitude that came to subdue him; this is the interpretation:
29: Behold, the days come, when the most High will begin to deliver them that are upon the earth.
30: And he shall come to the astonishment of them that dwell on the earth.
31: And one shall undertake to fight against another, one city against another, one place against another, one people against another, and one realm against another.
32: And the time shall be when these things shall come to pass, and the signs shall happen which I shewed thee before, and then shall my Son be declared, whom thou sawest as a man ascending.
33: And when all the people hear his voice, every man shall in their own land leave the battle they have one against another.
34: And an innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, as thou sawest them, willing to come, and to overcome him by fighting.
35: But he shall stand upon the top of the mount Sion.
36: And Sion shall come, and shall be shewed to all men, being prepared and builded, like as thou sawest the hill graven without hands.
37: And this my Son shall rebuke the wicked inventions of those nations, which for their wicked life are fallen into the tempest;
38: And shall lay before them their evil thoughts, and the torments wherewith they shall begin to be tormented, which are like unto a flame: and he shall destroy them without labour by the law which is like unto me.
39: And whereas thou sawest that he gathered another peaceable multitude unto him;
40: Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land.
41: But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt,
42: That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.
43: And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river.
44: For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over.
45: For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth.
46: Then dwelt they there until the latter time; and now when they shall begin to come,
47: The Highest shall stay the springs of the stream again, that they may go through: therefore sawest thou the multitude with peace.
48: But those that be left behind of thy people are they that are found within my borders.
49: Now when he destroyeth the multitude of the nations that are gathered together, he shall defend his people that remain.
4 Ezra (Apocrypha), chapter 4
Compare with Revised Standard Version: 4Ezr.4
1: And the angel that was sent unto me, whose name was Uriel, gave me an answer,
2: And said, Thy heart hath gone to far in this world, and thinkest thou to comprehend the way of the most High?
3: Then said I, Yea, my lord. And he answered me, and said, I am sent to shew thee three ways, and to set forth three similitudes before thee:
4: Whereof if thou canst declare me one, I will shew thee also the way that thou desirest to see, and I shall shew thee from whence the wicked heart cometh.
5: And I said, Tell on, my lord. Then said he unto me, Go thy way, weigh me the weight of the fire, or measure me the blast of the wind, or call me again the day that is past.
6: Then answered I and said, What man is able to do that, that thou shouldest ask such things of me?
7: And he said unto me, If I should ask thee how great dwellings are in the midst of the sea, or how many springs are in the beginning of the deep, or how many springs are above the firmament, or which are the outgoings of paradise:
8: Peradventure thou wouldest say unto me, I never went down into the deep, nor as yet into hell, neither did I ever climb up into heaven.
9: Nevertheless now have I asked thee but only of the fire and wind, and of the day wherethrough thou hast passed, and of things from which thou canst not be separated, and yet canst thou give me no answer of them.
10: He said moreover unto me, Thine own things, and such as are grown up with thee, canst thou not know;
11: How should thy vessel then be able to comprehend the way of the Highest, and, the world being now outwardly corrupted to understand the corruption that is evident in my sight?
12: Then said I unto him, It were better that we were not at all, than that we should live still in wickedness, and to suffer, and not to know wherefore.
13: He answered me, and said, I went into a forest into a plain, and the trees took counsel,
14: And said, Come, let us go and make war against the sea that it may depart away before us, and that we may make us more woods.
15: The floods of the sea also in like manner took counsel, and said, Come, let us go up and subdue the woods of the plain, that there also we may make us another country.
16: The thought of the wood was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it.
17: The thought of the floods of the sea came likewise to nought, for the sand stood up and stopped them.
18: If thou wert judge now betwixt these two, whom wouldest thou begin to justify? or whom wouldest thou condemn?
19: I answered and said, Verily it is a foolish thought that they both have devised, for the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea also hath his place to bear his floods.
20: Then answered he me, and said, Thou hast given a right judgment, but why judgest thou not thyself also?
21: For like as the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea to his floods: even so they that dwell upon the earth may understand nothing but that which is upon the earth: and he that dwelleth above the heavens may only understand the things that are above the height of the heavens.
22: Then answered I and said, I beseech thee, O Lord, let me have understanding:
23: For it was not my mind to be curious of the high things, but of such as pass by us daily, namely, wherefore Israel is given up as a reproach to the heathen, and for what cause the people whom thou hast loved is given over unto ungodly nations, and why the law of our forefathers is brought to nought, and the written covenants come to none effect,
24: And we pass away out of the world as grasshoppers, and our life is astonishment and fear, and we are not worthy to obtain mercy.
25: What will he then do unto his name whereby we are called? of these things have I asked.
26: Then answered he me, and said, The more thou searchest, the more thou shalt marvel; for the world hasteth fast to pass away,
27: And cannot comprehend the things that are promised to the righteous in time to come: for this world is full of unrighteousness and infirmities.
28: But as concerning the things whereof thou askest me, I will tell thee; for the evil is sown, but the destruction thereof is not yet come.
29: If therefore that which is sown be not turned upside down, and if the place where the evil is sown pass not away, then cannot it come that is sown with good.
30: For the grain of evil seed hath been sown in the heart of Adam from the beginning, and how much ungodliness hath it brought up unto this time? and how much shall it yet bring forth until the time of threshing come?
31: Ponder now by thyself, how great fruit of wickedness the grain of evil seed hath brought forth.
32: And when the ears shall be cut down, which are without number, how great a floor shall they fill?
33: Then I answered and said, How, and when shall these things come to pass? wherefore are our years few and evil?
34: And he answered me, saying, Do not thou hasten above the most Highest: for thy haste is in vain to be above him, for thou hast much exceeded.
35: Did not the souls also of the righteous ask question of these things in their chambers, saying, How long shall I hope on this fashion? when cometh the fruit of the floor of our reward?
36: And unto these things Uriel the archangel gave them answer, and said, Even when the number of seeds is filled in you: for he hath weighed the world in the balance.
37: By measure hath he measured the times; and by number hath he numbered the times; and he doth not move nor stir them, until the said measure be fulfilled.
38: Then answered I and said, O Lord that bearest rule, even we all are full of impiety.
39: And for our sakes peradventure it is that the floors of the righteous are not filled, because of the sins of them that dwell upon the earth.
40: So he answered me, and said, Go thy way to a woman with child, and ask of her when she hath fulfilled her nine months, if her womb may keep the birth any longer within her.
41: Then said I, No, Lord, that can she not. And he said unto me, In the grave the chambers of souls are like the womb of a woman:
42: For like as a woman that travaileth maketh haste to escape the necessity of the travail: even so do these places haste to deliver those things that are committed unto them.
43: From the beginning, look, what thou desirest to see, it shall be shewed thee.
44: Then answered I and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, and if it be possible, and if I be meet therefore,
45: Shew me then whether there be more to come than is past, or more past than is to come.
46: What is past I know, but what is for to come I know not.
47: And he said unto me, Stand up upon the right side, and I shall expound the similitude unto thee.
48: So I stood, and saw, and, behold, an hot burning oven passed by before me: and it happened that when the flame was gone by I looked, and, behold, the smoke remained still.
49: After this there passed by before me a watery cloud, and sent down much rain with a storm; and when the stormy rain was past, the drops remained still.
50: Then said he unto me, Consider with thyself; as the rain is more than the drops, and as the fire is greater than the smoke; but the drops and the smoke remain behind: so the quantity which is past did more exceed.
51: Then I prayed, and said, May I live, thinkest thou, until that time? or what shall happen in those days?
52: He answered me, and said, As for the tokens whereof thou askest me, I may tell thee of them in part: but as touching thy life, I am not sent to shew thee; for I do not know it.
50: And then shall he shew them great wonders.
51: Then said I, O Lord that bearest rule, shew me this: Wherefore have I seen the man coming up from the midst of the sea?
52: And he said unto me, Like as thou canst neither seek out nor know the things that are in the deep of the sea: even so can no man upon earth see my Son, or those that be with him, but in the day time.
53: This is the interpretation of the dream which thou sawest, and whereby thou only art here lightened.
54: For thou hast forsaken thine own way, and applied thy diligence unto my law, and sought it.
55: Thy life hast thou ordered in wisdom, and hast called understanding thy mother.
56: And therefore have I shewed thee the treasures of the Highest: after other three days I will speak other things unto thee, and declare unto thee mighty and wondrous things.
57: Then went I forth into the field, giving praise and thanks greatly unto the most High because of his wonders which he did in time;
58: And because he governeth the same, and such things as fall in their seasons: and there I sat three days.