“The Sins Which Defile the Sun Rays” – an Excerpt from Ancient Jewish Literature – Apocalypse of Baruch or 3 Baruch (First/Second Century CE)

And I said to the angel, “What is this bird?” And he said to me, “This is the guardian of the world.”…  And I said, “Lord, what is this bird, and what is its name?” And the angel told me, “His name is Phoenix”…And taking me, he led me to the west. And when the time of the setting (of the sun) came, I saw again the bird coming in front and the sun coming with the angels. When he came, I saw the angels, and they removed the crown from his head. And the bird was overcome and let his wings droop.

And when I saw these things, I said, “Why do they remove the crown from his head and why is the bird so overcome?” And the angel said to me, “When the day is completed, angels take the crown of the sun and carry it to heaven and renew it because it and its rays are defiled upon earth. And every day it is renewed.” And I Baruch said, “Lord, by what are its rays defiled upon earth?” And the angel said to me, “By the sight of the lawlessness and unrighteousness of men committing fornication, adultery, theft, robbery, idol-worship, drunkenness, murder, discord, jealousy, slander, murmuring, gossip, divination, and other things which are unacceptable to God. By means of these it is defiled, and because of this it is renewed. And now, concerning how the bird becomes overcome: It is overcome because it checks the rays of the sun and the fire and burning the whole day. For if its wings did not draw around the rays of the sun as earlier said, no living being would survive.” (3 Baruch 6-8)

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  1. Well, if we didn’t have an atmosphere and a geomagnetic field, we’d burn up from cosmic rays, ultraviolet light, and the occasional coronal mass ejection. So I guess somebody up there likes us and wants us to be fruitful and multiply. Let’s hope he doesn’t send another meteor down like on Sodom & Gomorrah.

  2. Reading this I feel to lay prostrate before Our King and God Jesus as the very sins of myself and mankind does need repentance and continuing of cleansing from Jesus in our Salvations. Oh Mighty God, how pleased I am to hear the sun was cleansed and renewed. I ponder now The hotness of the sun today-results of sin today? No reprieve-all must come and bow and confess Holy Holy art tho o Lord.

  3. Does it have anything to do w the time/hour that is not day or night? A kind of shadowy & not like the darkness nor the brightness before dawn?? Do the ancient Hebrews deal w it? (I read somewhere they avoid bad spirits by staying at home at night on Tuesdays.)

    • Yes, there are superstitions of that sort, but they are from a later era, 3rd-4th century CE, maybe. Not in this passage though.

  4. How beautiful. I will never see the sun set again without confessing what ever might have been sin that day. Thank you so much.

  5. I had something strange happen to me & have been searching, reading & researching everything since.
    I was hit by a tractor trailer shortly after I had several (3) already dead birds fall from the sky at my feet.
    I have yet to find the reason why this happened.
    There isn’t enough room to leave a better description of what occurred. Is there a direction you could point me in?

  6. Ancient Jewish texts do not seize to amaze me. I think i read something like this from the Second Book of Esdras. Also, Lamentations 3:23 (Thy mercies are new every morning) seem to quote from these texts. May his name be glorified

  7. Hi Prof. I was taught that things around the phoenix bird is idolatrous, I know that it is not what you intended here. Question is.. if we play(talk,rumour) about this stuff, that people will take this to higher level and worship(or attach it to our Diety)?

  8. 2 Peter 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. >>If something is not the Truth…it is not of the Father or the Son. Period.

  9. Amen Prof. So true, enormous thorn in my flesh is all this new information I learn now, and the worse is I know this is all the truth. How do I add that to my students, and into our doctrines, even sermons getting difficult to not enforce the new.

  10. I always get satisfied with professor response in all questions. The care you show to us.

    I wish God of Israel to keep blessing you with wisdom to interpretation of the Holy Scriptures!!



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