This is an excerpt from “Apocalypse of Zephaniah” which is a Jewish text from late first century BCE. This Jewish author wrote in Greek in style of “apocalypse”. He describes the heavenly record of his sins. Note the similarity of this list to Jesus’s words in the Gospels (Matt 25:31-46)

Then I looked, and I saw him with a manuscript in his hand. He began to unroll it. Now after he spread it out, I read it in my (own) language. I found that all my sins which I had done were written in it, those which I had done from my youth until this day. They were all written upon that manuscript of mine without there being a false word in them.  If I did not go to visit a sick man or a widow, I found it written down as a shortcoming upon my manuscript. If I did not visit an orphan, it was found written down as a shortcoming on my manuscript. A day on which I did not fast (or) pray in the time of prayer I found written down as a failing upon my manuscript. And a day when I did not turn to the sons of Israel—since it is a shortcoming—I found written down upon my manuscript.

So that I threw myself upon my face and prayed before the Lord Almighty, “May your mercy reach me and may you wipe out my manuscript because your mercy has [co]me to be in every place and has filled every [p]lace.” Then I arose and stood, and I saw a great angel before me saying to me, “Triumph, prevail because you have prevailed and have triumphed over the accuser, and you have come up from Hades and the abyss. You will now cross over the crossing place. ”Again he brought another manuscript which was written by hand. He began to unroll it, and I read it, and found it written in my (own) language … [missing text] (Apocalypse of Zephaniah 7)

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  1. The words (own) language seems to be connected to the authors laws in this context. Is it possible that Acts 2:6 makes the connection between different nations and different laws? I have learned to read into scripture that Pentecost revealed Jesus, not law.

    • How about this – the same message (law/teaching/principle) but applied very differently for different people (expressed in different languages).

  2. Or the same law, same message and same principles applied to all languages and men would seem to be a more likely meaning. After all, he is reading the same message, just translated in different languages.


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