This is a short excerpt from the book from the extra-biblical book called “Jubilees”. The book is a fine example of Jewish spiritual literature from the 2nd or 1st century BCE. The composition retells the book of Genesis but in a very Midrashic way, adding a lot of legends and comments between the familiar biblical stories. This particular section speaks of different varieties of angels and their activities and sounds a lot like John’s Revelation. This text was well-known to Jews of the 1st century CE when the NT was written.

2 1 And the angel of the presence spoke to Moses by the word of the LORD, saying, “Write the whole account of creation, that in six days the LORD God completed all his work and all that he created. And he observed a sabbath the seventh day, and he sanctified it for all ages. And he set it (as) a sign for all his works.” 2 For on the first day he created the heavens, which are above, and the earth, and the waters and all of the spirits which minister before him:

the angels of the presence,
and the angels of sanctification,
and the angels of the spirit of fire,
and the angels of the spirit of the winds,
and the angels of the spirit of the clouds and darkness and snow and hail and frost,
and the angels of resoundings and thunder and lightning,
and the angels of the spirits of cold and heat and winter and springtime and harvest and summer, and all of the spirits of his creatures which are in heaven and on earth.

And (he created) the abysses and darkness—both evening and night—and light—both dawn and daylight—which he prepared in the knowledge of his heart. 3 Then we saw his works and we blessed him and offered praise before him on account of all his works because he made seven great works on the first day. (Jubilees 2:1-4)

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16 COMMENTS

    • Many ancient books do not have definite names of their authors attached to them. That is more of a modern phenomenon. Books are often ascribed to people by tradition, but the books themselves rarely say who wrote them when and why. So we have to do a lot of guessing.

  1. I have occasionally wondered what the scriptures meant when they state that God created light on the 1st day despite not creating the sun, moon & stars until the 4th day.

  2. Don’t trust any book that differs from the bible Ie “2 For on the first day he created the heavens, which are above, and the earth,” : Gen 1 starts with all the planets and stars already in place then on the first day separated the waters for lights

    • I think I expressed it very clear this is not the Bible in the intro… I am not asking anyone to trust it, just be familiar with what ancient Jews believed and how they saw the world. It helps us understand the Bible better.

  3. Good day Prof. Pinchas Shir. Thank you very much for the overview on the book Jubilees. I would like to know more about this book, please. Is it available and at what price? It sounds very interesting and I would really like to know about this history. Thank you Gerda

  4. Jubilees states that “For on the first day he created the heavens, which are above, and the earth, and the waters and all of the spirits which minister before him”: Then why before the first day was God brooding over the waters? Gap theory?? Send me an email with thoughts.

    • I do not know, honestly. I do not think we should read these stories with such scrutiny of facts and sequences. I think the big picture is what is important.

  5. I think God’s creating light on the first day, before creation of the sun and the moon, is explained in NT scriptures that speak of the New Jerusalem needing no sun or moon, since the LORD will be her light.

  6. The LORD God created the ministering spirits at creation. One of these spirits approached Moshe. It could be that the Egyptian gods and other local deities of ancient times were fashioned after manifestations of these ministering spirits that were around since creation.
    J.

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