Faith, Trust, Righteousness
|Wickedness, Scorn for God|
In the book of 2 Esdras, the prophet is Ezra, just as in the book of Ezra in the Bible. In 2 Esdras 7:75, Ezra asks the angel Uriel this question:
"...show this also to thy servant: whether after death, as soon as every one of us yields up his soul, we shall be kept in rest until those times come when thou wilt renew the creation, or whether we shall be tormented at once?"
The angel Uriel responds to Ezra (2 Esdras 7:78-80):
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. 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 -- such spirits shall not enter into hapitations, but shall immediately wander about in torments, ever grieving and sad...
Uriel then tells Ezra of seven ways that the wicked will grieve, including the consideration of the "torment laid up for themselves in the last days". They "cannot now make a good repentence that they may live". They will be judged by the Most High in the last days.
After the discussion of the wicked, Uriel says (2 Esdras 7:88-98):
"...those who have kept the ways of the Most High, when they shall be separated from their mortal body... they shall see with great joy the glory of him who receives them, for the shall have rest in seven orders. ... being gathered into their chambers and guarded by angels in profound quiet, and the glory which awaits them in the last days. ... their face is to shine like the sun, ... to be made like the light of the stars, being incorruptible from then on."
Ezra also asks if spirits will have time to see anything after leaving their bodies, and Uriel answers:
They shall have freedom for seven days, so that during these seven days they may see the things of which you have been told, and afterwards they shall be gathered in their habitations.
The Shepherd of Hermas is a prophetic writing that was used in Christian churches in the first and second centuries. In the first chapter, mention is made of the fate of the wicked (Hermas 1:11):
"But as for those who think wickedly in their heart, they take to themselves death and captivity; and especially those who love this present world, and glory in their riches, and regard not the good things that are to come; their souls wander up and down, and know not where to fix."
You have likely heard the phrase that "Jesus set the captives free." But, did you know for certain what that really meant? It was a specific reference to what Jesus did after he died on the cross. Did you know that he actually set some captives free between His death and resurrection? He had a reason for dying beyond being the perfect sacrifice for sin... read on.
Ephesians 4:9-10 talks about Christ's descent into the lower parts of the earth. This would also be known as the abyss, or Hades.
Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.
1 Peter 3:18-20 mentions that Christ died and "went and preached to the spirits in prison." Prison here is also a reference to Hades.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Luke 16:19-31 talks about a rich man who dies and is buried, suffering torment, and also a beggar Lazarus, who goes to "Abraham's Bosom". This is a known reference to 2 parts of Hades, one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous.
Enoch, Chapter 22:
And thence I went to another place, and he showed me in the west another great and high mountain [and] of hard rock. And there was in it four hollow places, deep and wide and very smooth. How smooth are the hollow places and deep and dark to look at. Then Raphael answered, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: 'These hollow places have been created for this very purpose, that the spirits of the souls of the dead should assemble therein, yea that all the souls of the children of men should assemble here. And these places have been made to receive them till the day of their judgement and till their appointed period till the period appointed, till the great judgement (comes) upon them.'
And he answered me and said unto me: 'These three have been made that the spirits of the dead might be separated. And such a division has been made 〈for〉 the spirits of the righteous, in which there as the bright spring of water. 10. And such has been made for sinners when they die and are buried in the earth and judgement has not been executed on them in their lifetime. 11. Here their spirits shall be set apart in this great pain till the great day of judgement and punishment and torment of those who †curse† for ever, and retribution for their spirits. There He shall bind them for ever.
The Descent of Christ into Hades, Chapter 8(24):
While Hades was thus discoursing to Satan, the King of glory stretched out His right hand, and took hold of our forefather Adam, and raised him. Then turning also to the rest, He said: Come all with me, as many as have died through the tree which he touched: for, behold, I again raise you all up through the tree of the cross. Thereupon He brought them all out, and our forefather Adam seemed to be filled with joy, and said: I thank Thy majesty, O Lord, that Thou hast brought me up out of the lowest Hades. Likewise also all the prophets and the saints said: We thank Thee, O Christ, Saviour of the world, that Thou hast brought our life up out of destruction.