This is a joyful hymn, a poem, a set of verses penned a Jewish writer around the turn of the first century CE. The poet who composed the Odes of Solomon was well versed in an array of Jewish literature (he alludes to it and uses it for inspiration) and a Jew who believed in Messiah. The text was most likely composed in Aramaic and was preserved in both Aramaic and Greek. The author does not use the name of Jesus, he does not quote any of the Apostolic works (NT) but his faith is, without a doubt, similar to many other Jews described in the New Testament. Consider the connection of this “letter from God” with Zechariah 5 and Revelation 5.
1 Joy is for the holy ones.
And who will put it on but they alone?
2 Grace is for the elect ones.
And who will receive it but they who trusted in it from the beginning?
3 Love is for the elect ones.
And who will put it on but they who possessed it from the beginning?
4 Walk in the knowledge of the Lord
and you will know the grace of the Lord generously;
both for his exultation and for the perfection of his knowledge.
5 And his thought was like a letter,
and his will descended from on high.
6 And it was sent from a bow like an arrow
that has been forcibly shot.
7 And many hands rushed to the letter,
in order to catch [it], then take and read it.
8 But it escaped from their fingers;
and they were afraid of it and of the seal which was upon it.
9 Because they were not allowed to loosen its seal;
for the power which was over the seal was better than they.
10 But those who saw the letter went after it;
that they might know where it would land,
and who should read it,
and who should hear it.
11 But a wheel received it,
and it [the letter] came over it.
12 And with it was a sign,
of the Kingdom and of providence.
13 And everything which was disturbing to the wheel,
it mowed it and cut it down.
14 And it restrained a multitude of adversaries;
and bridged rivers.
15 And it crossed over [and] uprooted many forests (i.e., the nations),
and made a wide way.
16 The head went down to the feet,
because unto the feet ran the wheel,
and whatever had come upon it.
17 The letter was one of command,
and hence all regions were gathered together.
18 And there appeared at its head, the Head which was revealed,
even the Son of Truth from the Most High Father.
19 And he inherited and possessed everything,
and then the scheming of the many ceased.
20 Then all the seducers became headstrong and fled;
and the persecutors became extinct and were blotted out.
21 And the letter became a large volume,
which was entirely written by the finger of God.
22 And the name of the Father was upon it;
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
to rule forever and ever. Hallelujah. (Odes of Solomon, Ode 23)
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