The following is an excerpt of Chapter 10: The Day of Judgment
(9) The Sibylline Oracles
Though almost forgotten, the Sibyls were true women prophets of God, and gave very moving prophecies. The following passages describe everything we have been discussing in connection with the Day of Judgment.
A few passages have already been quoted, but here are longer excerpts which show more of the context so you can get the big picture of what is being said; even though context is problematic in the Oracles because they often speak about local judgments and wars, mixed in with talking about the end of all things. Here are some great quotes from Book 4 of the Sibylline Oracles:
Faithless is the [line 40] whole race of men. But when the judgement of the world and of mortals shall come which God shall make, judging the godly and ungodly alike, then shall He send the godless away into darkness [and then shall they know what impiety they have done], but the godly 45 shall continue upon the grain-giving earth, and God will give them breath and life and grace.
But this shall all come to pass in the tenth generation . . . the stars shall fall from heaven, and the orb of the moon, and the earth shall be shaken with the noise of a great earthquake, and lay low many cities and works of men, and islands shall rise out of the depths of 60 the sea. . . . 155 and living in unholy deeds they deal violently, doing evil with presumption, and none takes account of the godly, but in their great folly and unwisdom they destroy them all, rejoicing in violence, and staining their hands in blood; then shall they know that 160 God is no longer merciful, but that gnashing His teeth in anger He will destroy the whole race of men at once with a great burning. . . .
But if ye will not hearken to me in your folly, but love impiety and give no good hearing to all these things, there shall be fire over the whole earth and a great sign of a sword with a trumpet, at the rising of the sun: and all the earth shall hear loud wailing and a 175 mighty noise. It shall burn up the whole earth and destroy the whole race of men, all cities and rivers, with the sea: and it shall consume all things, and they shall be dust of fire.
But when all is turned to dust and ashes, and God 180 who kindled it shall put to sleep the mighty fire, God Himself shall clothe the bones and ashes again in human shape, and re-make men as they were before. And then shall be the judgement, in which God himself shall judge the world again; all that sinned in godlessness, over 185 them shall earth be heaped to cover them, dark spaces of Tartarus and Stygian recesses of Gehenna. But all that are godly, they shall live again on the earth, and 190 God shall give them breath and life and grace, even to the godly; and all shall then look upon themselves, beholding the sweet light of a sun that never sets; most blessed shall he be who shall live to see that time. (Book 4, Bate)
Book 8 of the Sibylline Oracles:
1 As the great wrath comes upon the disobedient world I show forth the wrath of God to the last age, prophesying to all men, city by city. . . . 190 All the stars will fall directly into the sea, all in turn, and men will call a shining comet “the star,” a sign of much impending toil, war and slaughter. May I not be alive when the abominable woman reigns . . .
The sun, seeing dimly, shines at night. Stars will leave the vault of heaven. A raging storm with many a hurricane 205 will lay the earth desolate. There will be a resurrection of the dead and most swift racing of the lame, and the deaf will hear and the blind will see, those who cannot speak will speak, and life and wealth will be common to all. The earth will equally belong to all, not divided 210 by walls or fences, and will then bear more abundant fruits. It will give fountains of sweet wine and white milk and honey . . .
The earth will sweat when there will be a sign of judgment. A king will come from heaven who is to judge all flesh and the whole world forever when he comes.
220 Both faithful and faithless men will see God the Most High with the holy ones at the end of time. He will judge the souls of the flesh-bearing men on the tribunal when the whole world becomes barren land and thorns. Men will throw away idols and all wealth. 225 Fire will burn up land, heaven, and sea, pursuing the hunt, and will break the gates of the confines of Hades. Then all the flesh of the dead, of the holy ones, will come to the free light. The fire will torture the lawless forever. Whatever one did secretly, he will then say everything, 230 for God will open dark breasts with lights.
A lament will rise from all and gnashing of teeth. The light of the sun will be eclipsed and the troupes of stars. He will roll up heaven. The light of the moon will perish. He will elevate ravines, and destroy the heights of hills. 235 No longer will mournful height appear among men. Mountains will be equal to plains, and all the sea will no longer bear voyage. For earth will then be parched with its springs. Bubbling rivers will fail.
A trumpet from heaven will issue a most mournful sound, 240 wailing for the defilement of limbs and the woes of the world. The gaping earth will then show the abyss of the nether world. All will come to the tribunal of God the king. A river of fire and brimstone will flow from heaven. There will then be a sign for all men, a most clear seal; 245 . . . (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume One, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments. James H. Charlesworth, editor. Peabody, Mass. Hendrickson Publishers. 1983. p. 418, 422-424)
The above quote contains references to most of the important events discussed in this book. The following is a longer quote about the GT and Wrath of God in Book 3 of the Sibylline Oracles:
53 and all men shall perish beneath their own roof-tree, when the torrent of fire shall flow 55 down from heaven. . . . 80 . . . when God that dwellth in the heavens shall roll up the sky as a book is rolled up: and the whole firmament with its many signs shall fall upon the earth and the sea; and 85 then shall flow a ceaseless torrent of liquid fire, and shall burn up the earth and burn up the sea, and melt down the firmament of heaven, the days and the very creation, fusing . . . And then shall come forth the judgment of the great God, in the great age, when all these things come to pass. Ah, for the waters where go the ships, and for all the dry land, when that sun rises which shall not set again! 95 All things shall obey him when he returns to the world. . . .
But in the West a star shall shine, which men will call the long-haired star, a sign of the sword, of famine and 335 death to men, of the slaughter! of great captains and men of renown. And yet again there shall be great signs among men . . . 340 Chasms and yawning gulfs shall break open; many cities shall fall in ruins with all their people . . .
538 and on all men together war and pestilence shall be laid: and God shall make the whole heavens as brass above, and send drought upon the whole earth, 540 and it shall be as iron. Then will men all lament sore for the failure of seedtime and ploughing; and 543 He who made heaven and earth shall kindle grievous fire upon earth, and but a third part of all mankind shall be left. . . .
[Egypt shall be destroyed] 618 Then shall they bend the naked knee to God the great king immortal on the fruitful earth, and all the works of men’s hands shall fall in the flame of fire. And then shall God give joy to men; for the earth, the trees, 620 and the full flocks of sheep shall give their proper fruit for men, wine and honey and white milk, and corn which is the best of all gifts to mortals….
632 But be thou ware [sic] of the wrath of the great God, when the end, even pestilence, comes to all mankind, and they are brought low under the terror of judgment; and one king shall 635 take another and take away his land, and nation shall lay nation waste, . . . and they 640 shall come to strife one with another for gold and silver –love of grain shall be the evil shepherd of the cities– in a strange land; and all shall be unburied, and the flesh of some shall vultures rend, and wild beasts of the field; when this is come to pass, the terrible earth shall 645 swallow the remnants of the dead; it shall all be unploughed, and unsown, proclaiming in its misery the pollution with which thousands are defiled . . .
653 And then shall God send from the sun a king, who shall make all the earth cease from ruinous war killing 655 some, and with some making a sure agreement. Nor shall he do this by his own counsel, but in obedience to the ordinances of the high God . . .
670 . . . Fiery swords shall fall from heaven on the earth: great flashing torches, flaming through the midst of them; and the earth, mother of all things, shall be 675 shaken in those days by the hand of the Immortal, and the fishes of the sea and all the beasts of earth and the myriad tribes of birds, and every soul of man and every sea shall shudder before the face of the Immortal, and there shall be great fear.
He shall break asunder the 680 craggy peaks of the mountains and the great hills, and a dark cloud shall overshadow all; and the high gullies in the lofty mountains shall be full of dead: and the rocks shall run with blood, and every torrent shall fill the plain with it. And all the strong built walls of 685 the enemy shall fall down, because they knew not the judgment of the great God, but ye did all rush to take up spears in your folly against the holy place.
688 And God shall give judgment upon all, by war, and by sword, by fire and drenching rain; and brimstone shall fall 690 from heaven, with stones of hail great and grievous: and death shall overtake the four-footed beasts. And then shall they know the ever-living God who judges thus; and through the width of the earth shall sound the wailing and mourning of perishing men; and all the 695 unholy shall be bathed in blood: the very earth shall drink the blood of the slain, and the beasts shall be glutted with their flesh.
All these things did the great and eternal God bid me foretell; and this shall not lack 700 fulfillment and consummation: enough that his mind has counseled it; for the spirit of God is in the world a spirit of truth. But all the sons of the high God shall dwell peaceably round the temple, rejoicing in that which the creator, the 705 righteous sovereign judge shall give them. For he shall stand by them as a shelter in His greatness, as though He walled them in with a wall of flaming fire; they shall be at peace in their cities and lands. No hand of evil war shall stir against them, but the Immortal shall be 710 their champion, and the hand of the holy one. . . .
749 the cities shall be full of good 750 things, and the fields with fatness; no sword shall come against the land, nor shout of war; nor shall the earth again be shaken, deeply groaning: no war no drought shall afflict the land, no dearth nor hail to spoil the crops, but deep peace over all the earth; king shall live 755 as friend to king to the bound [end] of the age, and the Immortal shall establish in the starry heaven one law for men over all the face of the earth for all the doings of hapless mortals. For he alone is God and there is 760 no other . . . keep from adultery, and lust which confounds the use of nature: bring up thine own children and slay them not; for the Immortal will be wroth with him that sins in these things. . . .
775 . . . All the paths of the plain, and the rough place of the hills, and the lofty mountains, and the wild waves of the sea shall be made easy for 780 traveler and sailor in those days; for perfect peace and plenty cometh on the earth: and the prophets of the high God shall take away the sword, for they are the judges of men and their righteous kings; and well gotten wealth will abound among men: for this is the judgment of the great God, and His rule. . . .
809 These things do I show forth . . . 815 . . . but when all these things come to pass, then shall ye remember me, and none shall call me distraught, who am a prophetess of the high God. . . . (Book 3. Sibylline Oracles, Book III-V, Rev. H. N. Bate, 1918.)
The above prophecies bring to mind 2 Ezra 16 that also speaks of this time when few people will be left alive on Earth, especially 19-34 which is available in the NRSV, WEB, NEB, and many other Bible translations. Here are the highlights of it:
19 Famine and plague, tribulation and anguish are sent as scourges for the correction of humankind. . . . 22 For many of those who live on the earth shall perish by famine; and those who survive the famine shall die by the sword. 23 And the dead shall be thrown out like dung . . . 24 No one shall be left to cultivate the earth or to sow it. 25 The trees shall bear fruit, but who will gather it?. . .26 . . . For in all places there shall be great solitude;
27 a person will long to see another human being, or even to hear a human voice. 28 For ten shall be left out of a city; and two, out of the field, those who have hidden themselves in thick groves and clefts in the rocks. 29 Just as in an olive orchard three or four olives may be left on every tree . . . The earth shall be left desolate . . .
33 Virgins shall mourn . . .Their bridegrooms shall be killed in war, and their husbands shall perish of famine. (2 Ezra 16:19,22,-34) (NRSV)