“Land Barren of Faith and Righteousness” – the 4th book of Ezra is a vibrant example of Jewish literature from the 1st century CE (outside of the Bible). Though attributed to biblical Ezra it reflects the apocalyptic hope stirred by the oppression of the Roman era, long after the days of Ezra the scribe. This excerpt from the book predicts similar things that Jesus spoke of in Mat 24:12. It resounds Luke 91:20 and Hab 2:11 as the author weeps for Israel and is allowed to see the future.
1 “Now concerning the signs: Behold, the days are coming when those who dwell on earth shall be seized with great terror, and the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith. 2 And unrighteousness shall be increased beyond what you yourself see, and beyond what you heard of formerly. 3 And the land which you now see ruling shall be waste and untrodden, and men shall see it desolate. 4 But if the Most High grants that you live, you shall see it thrown into confusion after the third period; and the sun shall suddenly shine forth at night, and the moon during the day. 5 Blood shall drip from wood, and the stone shall utter its voice; the peoples shall be troubled, and the stars shall fall.
6 And one shall reign whom those who dwell on earth do not expect, and the birds shall fly away together; 7 and the sea of Sodom shall cast up fish; and one whom the many do not know shall make his voice heard by night, and all shall hear his voice. 8 There shall be chaos also in many places, and fire shall often break out, and the wild beasts shall roam beyond their haunts, and menstruous women shall bring forth monsters. 9 And salt waters shall be found in the sweet, and all friends shall conquer one another; then shall reason hide itself, and wisdom shall withdraw into its chamber, 10 and it shall be sought by many but shall not be found, and unrighteousness and unrestraint shall increase on earth. 11 And one country shall ask its neighbor, ‘Has righteousness, or anyone who does right, passed through you?’ And it will answer, ‘No.’ 12 And at that time men shall hope but not obtain; they shall labor but their ways shall not prosper.
13 These are the signs which I am permitted to tell you, and if you pray again, and weep as you do now, and fast for seven days, you shall hear yet greater things than these.” 14 Then I awoke, and my body shuddered violently, and my soul was so troubled that it fainted. 15 But the angel who had come and talked with me held me and strengthened me and set me on my feet. (4 Ezra 5:1-14)
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