The 4th book of Ezra is an example of Jewish literature from the 1st century CE. Note how the language of Ezra’s prophecies in this excerpt resounds ideas expressed in various books of the New Testament. The prophet calls to flee from this age and announces that the shepherd is coming who will give rest (shabbat). The “Son of God” in v. 47 is undoubtedly the image of Messiah. Those who confessed him wear crowns and carry palm branches. Sounds familiar?
33 I, Ezra, received a command from the Lord on Mount Horeb to go to Israel. When I came to them they rejected me and refused the Lord’s commandment. 34 Therefore I say to you, O nations that hear and understand, “Await your shepherd; he will give you everlasting rest because he who will come at the end of the age is close at hand. 35* Be ready for the rewards of the kingdom because the eternal light will shine upon you forevermore. 36 Flee from the shadow of this age, receive the joy of your glory; I publicly call on my Savior to witness. 37 Receive what the Lord has entrusted to you and be joyful, giving thanks to him who has called you to heavenly kingdoms. 38 Rise and stand, and see at the feast of the Lord the number of those who have been sealed. 39 Those who have departed from the shadow of this age have received glorious garments from the Lord. 40* Take again your full number, O Zion, and conclude the list of your people who are clothed in white, who have fulfilled the law of the Lord. 41* The number of your children whom you desired is full; beseech the Lord’s power that your people, who have been called from the beginning, may be made holy.”
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42* I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude, which I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs. 43* In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound. 44 Then I asked an angel, “Who are these, my lord?” 45 He answered and said to me, “These are they who have put off mortal clothing and put on the immortal, and they have confessed the name of God; now they are being crowned, and receive palms.” 46 Then I said to the angel, “Who is that young man who places crowns on them and puts palms in their hands?” 47 He answered and said to me, “He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world.” So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord. 48 Then the angel said to me, “Go, tell my people how great and many are the wonders of the Lord God which you have seen.” (4 Ezra 2:33-48)
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