What Is Your Opinion Of 2 Esdras 7?
Question: Dear Brandon Thanks again for this format I ask about the book of second Esdras. I would like your opinion on chapter 7. It seems as though no one in this earth age has much of a chance to make it to Heaven I appreciate you so much God Bless
(WEB Note: Additional question from Dorothy) I asked a question about the second book of Esdras but did not state that I was wanting to know what you thought about chapter 7 where it speaks about what happens when we die.
Name: Brandon T. Ward
Answer: Foreword: For those who are not aware 2 Esdras 7 is a part of the Apocrypha which was included in the original 1611 KJV Bible. It was removed from the KJV Bible in 1885AD. The Apocrypha consists of 15 books and some of them I believe hold true value. We can always ensure they align with the Scriptures by seeking out a double witness.
Dorothy, I am glad you asked this question. It happens to touch on a study we are currently writing (now complete: The Fall Of Satan). You are correct. The Bible itself and 2 Esdras 7 both state not many will be saved and I believe this book is the best documentation of that.
2 Esdras 7:3-9 and Matthew 7:13-14 both complement one another. They both describe a very narrow path that leads to life. Yet, most people never walk that path, instead walking along the broad path that leads to destruction because it is easier for them.
2 Esdras 7:16,
“And why have you not considered in your mind what is to come, rather than what is now present?”
Many of us get caught up in our daily lives and never give our Father much thought, (see: The Bible Is The Textbook Of Life). We are always worried about tomorrow and lose sight of God’s Eternal Kingdom. Instead, we worry about the latest gadget, toy or what will make us look better in man’s eyes completely losing sight of the big picture which is “the great sea of life” spoken of in 2 Esdras 7:3-9. We never consider “what is to come” which are unimaginable rewards that will be issued by our Father (1 Corinthians 2:9).
2 Esdras 7:68-70 explains we are all sinners and if,
“He did not give out of his goodness so that those who have committed iniquities might be relieved of them, not one ten-thousandth of mankind could have life.“
We are saved by His Gracious gift, our Father sent His only begotten Son into the world to die so we could have Eternal life if we so choose (John 3:16). While you did not ask, we are going to look at chapter eight.
2 Esdras 8:1-3
1 “He answered me and said, “The Most High made this world for the sake of many, but the world to come for the sake of few.”
2 “But I tell you a parable, Ezra. Just as, when you ask the earth, it will tell you that it provides very much clay from which earthenware is made, but only a little dust from which gold comes; so is the course of the present world.”
3 “Many have been created, but few shall be saved.”
Which aligns with Matthew 22:14. Should any of this surprise us though?
Look at our world today, look at how unrighteousness abounds in these end times. Even look at the churches of today how they openly and proudly accept the sinful ways of the world and lead their congregations down that broad path of destruction.
Let us now move to your final question which concerns what happens when we die. When our flesh body dies, our spirit returns to our Father who gave it (2 Corinthians 5:8, Ecclesiastes 12:6-7). Esdras documents the same example only with more details.
In Luke 16:19-31 we read the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man, (see: Are Sinners Tormented Forever?). The Rich Man explains he is burning with torment which is only a figure of speech for the shame he is feeling. He goes on to explain in verse 26, there is a great gulf or divide between himself and Lazarus who is on the other side of this great divide with Abraham. The Rich Man now believed as he could see, but it was too late for him.
With that foreword, we can now document this in 2 Esdras 7:78-87 with greater detail.
2 Esdras 7:78-87
78 “Now, concerning death, the teaching is: When the decisive decree has gone forth from the Most High that a man shall die, as the spirit leaves the body to return again to him who gave it, first of all it adores the glory of the Most High.”
79 “And if it is one of those who have shown scorn and have not kept the way of the Most High, and who have despised his law, and who have hated those who fear God”
80 “such spirits shall not enter into habitations, but shall immediately wander about in torments, ever grieving and sad, in seven ways.”
Remember, the soul has already returned to our Father. The soul is now like the Rich Man, on the wrong side of the gulf or the great divide in Heaven.
2 Esdras 7:81-82
81 “The first way, because they have scorned the law of the Most High.”
82 “The second way, because they cannot now make a good repentance that they may live.”
This is why we must repent now for our sins so they may be washed away, this was one of the reasons “The Rich Man” burned.
2 Esdras 7:83
83 “The third way, they shall see the reward laid up for those who have trusted the covenants of the Most High.”
This perfectly fits the account in Luke of the Rich Man.
2 Esdras 7:84-87
84 “The fourth way, they shall consider the torment laid up for themselves in the last days.”
85 “The fifth way, they shall see how the habitations of the others are guarded by angels in profound quiet.”
86 “The sixth way, they shall see how some of them will pass over into torments.”
87 “The seventh way, which is worse than all the ways that have been mentioned, because they shall utterly waste away in confusion and be consumed with shame, and shall wither with fear at seeing the glory of the Most High before whom they sinned while they were alive, and before whom they are to be judged in the last times.”
Readers, can you truly appreciate this last verse?
Imagine sitting on the wrong side of the gulf seeing all of the rewards given to the righteous and understanding that you are awaiting your death sentence. I say to everyone this does not have to be your future, you can repent today and come into the open arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, (see: Christ Accepts The Sinner).
Ask Him for forgiveness and cease from your sins. Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one… Claim the promise of the seven orders of “those who have kept the ways of the Most High,” (2 Esdras 7:88-98).