Review of the Arabic Text of Mt Sinai Arabic Codex 151 - The Book of the Abraksis, the Acts of the Apostles
The Book of the Abraksis, the Acts of the Apostles
[There is no Introduction to Acts. Comments begin in Chapter 5]
“Then when they brought them, they made all of them stand before the group. Then the high priest began to say to them, ‘did we not strictly command you that you should not teach anyone in this name? Then you, however, then have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you wish to bring upon us the blood of this men. Simon answered with the apostles and said to them, ‘God has priority to be obeyed before people.” 5:27-29
“Oh, stubborn (heard-shouldered) ones, and uncircumcised of your hearts and of your ears, you are at all times opposing the Holy Spirit like your fathers, even you also. Then verily which one of the prophets did not your fathers persecute and kill? They killed those who previously prophesied of the coming of the Righteous One, who you surrendered and killed, while you received the law by commandment of the angels and did not keep it. Then when they heard this they were filled with fury in their souls and began to gnash their teeth against him. And he, since he was filled with faith and he Holy Spirit, looked straight into heaven. Then he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right of God.” 7: 51-55
After that St Stephen made clear that the people have remained rebellious from the time of Moses, and then after Moses they had left the worship of God and worshipped idols, and that it is not a wonder that they now had opposed Christ and crucified him. How beautiful that he now turns his words to reprove them. He says. ‘You at all times are rebels, not wishing to remove the rebellion from your hearts and your hearings. By the Righteous One he means Christ, because he is truly the Righteous One, who makes righteous by faith in him, whoever believes in him.
“And then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip and said to him, ‘Arise and go down to the south in the wilderness road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ Then he arose and went down. Then one eunuch met him who had come from Ethiopia, the agent of Candace, the Queen of Ethiopia, and he was responsible for all her treasury. Then it happened that he had come to pray in Jerusalem. Then, when he was returning on his way back, he was sitting on his chariot and he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then, the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go forward and accompany the chariot. Then, when he went forward, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet. Then he asked him, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ However, then he said, ‘How am I able to understand if no person makes me understand?’ Then he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. Then, however, the section of the book in which he was reading was this: Like the sheep for slaughter he was led, and like the ewe before the shearers he was silent. And thus, he did not open his mouth. In his humility, from prison and from quarreling he was led, and who will tell of his generation? His life was cut off from the earth.’ Then the eunuch said to Philip, ‘’\I ask you, whom did the prophet mean by this, himself, or another person?
“Then Philip opened his mouth and began from this very book to proclaim to him the matter of our Lord Christ. Then, while the two of them were going on the road, they reached one placed in which there was water. Then the eunuch said, ‘’Behold here is water. Then what hindrance is there for my being baptized?’ Then, he commanded that the chariot be stopped. Then both of them went down to the water and Philip baptized the eunuch. Then, when he went up from the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched up Philip so that the eunuch did not see him again, but he was continuing happily on his way” 8:26-39
“Then, however Saul still then was filled with menacing and the fury of killing against the disciples of our Lord. And he asked for himself letters from the high priest In order that he might give then to the synagogues in Damascus so that if he found men or women living this way, he might make them prisoners, and take them to Jerusalem.” 9:1,2
From here he begins to inform us of the news of Saul. And he describes first his opposition. Then, he follows that with his obedience. And verily he mentioned his opposition to the congregation (church) and his harming it. Then he followed that with his call from heaven, to indicate what the grace of the Spirit did in the administration of salvation to the nations (Gentiles). And that was because while the [Spirit] was able to choose one of those who believe for his work, but because they were still holding fast to the traditions and customs and were setting themselves apart from the nations (Gentiles) [the Spirit] was compelled to choose Saul.
“And there were in the congregation (church) of Antioch, prophets and teachers. Barnabas, and Simon who was called Niger, and Lucius who was from the city of Cyrene, and Manean the son of the nursery of Herod the chief of the Quarter, (the tetrarch) and Saul. Then, when they were fasting and making intercession to God, the Holy Spirit said to them, ‘Set apart for me Saul and Barnabas for the work to which I have called them.’ And after they had fasted and prayed, they laid hands upon them and sent the two of them out.” 13: 1-3
From here he informs us about the experience of Saul and Barnabas for the making of the message to the nations (Gentiles) by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. He means by the work that the two of them would be servants entrusted with the proclaiming of the gospel to the nations (Gentiles) for their salivation
“Then when Paul stood in the Areopagus he said, ‘Oh men Athenians, verily I see you are striving for excellence in your worship of demons in all conditions. And while I was walking around and seeing the houses of your ceremonies, I found one altar upon which was written, To the concealed god. Then that one whom you fear, while not knowing him, this is the one I am preaching to you, because God who created the world and all that is in it, since he is the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples, the work of hands, and the hands of mankind do not serve him. And he is not in need of a thing, because verily he is the one who gives every person life and soul. And from one blood he create4d all the world of people so that they may be dwelling on the face of all the earth. …And In this time, he commands all people to repent every person in every place, since he has raised up today the one by whom he is planning to judge all of the earth with justice, at the hand of the man whom he set apart, and to return every person to his faith by raising him from the dead. Then when they heard of the resurrection from the dead, some of them were ridiculing, while some of them were saying, verily we will listen to you about this another time.’ And thus, Paul went out from among them. And people of them joined him and believed. And one of them was Dionysius of the judges of Areopagus and a woman whose name was Damaris, and others with them.” 17:22-26 & 30-34
St. Ephraim said that it is said severe drought and earthquakes happened in the city of Athens continuously. Then its people agreed to pray every day and offer sacrifices to all their gods. Then when they had completed the sacrificing to all of their gods, upon all of their altars, and did not see a benefit, they tore them down and threw them away, Then they gathered together and pondered and said, may there not be another god than these? Then who is this one that does not stop from agitating us?’ Then they erected an altar and said, This is for the god we do not know.’ And they wrote upon it, ‘To the concealed god.’ That is, to the veiled one. Then the mercy of God was demonstrated to them, and he had mercy on the narrowness of their minds and freed them from their difficulties.
“And from Miletus itself, he [Paul} sent and brought the ministers (priest) of the congregation (church) of Ephesus. Then, when they came to him, he said to them, ‘You know that verily, I from the first day I entered Asia, how I was with you all of the time, while I was worshipping God in great humility and with tears and tr4ials which were stirred up against me by the plots of the Jews. And for what reasons am I rebuked? It was the most fitting thing for your souls that I should proclaim to you while I was teachings it the streets and, in the homes, while I was urging Jews and pagans to repent to God, and faith our Lord Jesus Christ.
“And I am now a captive of the Spirit and am going to Jerusalem while I do not know what thing will come suddenly upon me there, but the Holy Spirit in every city is warning me and saying that bonds and hardships are awaiting me, but my soul is not counted as anything with me in the completion of my striving and the service which I received from the Lord Jesus, in order that I may witness to the Gospel of the grace of God. And I now know that verily you also will never see my face, oh all those for whom I travelled and preached to you the Kingdom. And for this reason, I warn you on the day of this people That verily I am pure from the blood of all of you and because I did not seek exemption from te4acdhing you all of the pleasure of God. Then guard yourselves and all of the flock over which the Holy Spirit has raised you up as bishops, that you may guard the congregation (church) of Christ which he purchased with his blood, because verily I know that after I leave, the fierce wolves will ente4r with you without co9mpassi0on for the flock. And from you also will arise men who will speak crooked things, to turn back the disciples so that that they will follow them. For this reason, be awake, remembering that I, for three years, did not stop by day or by night, while with tears I was preaching to each person of you. And I now commend you to God and to the world of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all of the saints. Silver or gold or clothes, I did not desire. And you know that for my needs and for those who were with me, these two hands served. And I have showed you everything, and thus it is necessary to work and to care for those who aree3 sick, and that they remember the words of our Lord, because that he said, ‘Blessing to the one who gives, more than the one who receives.’ Then when he said these sayings, he knelt down on his two knees and prayed, and all of the people with him.’’ And they embraced him and began kissing him, while they were especially in agony over these words which he said, that they would not see his face again. And they escorted him to the boat.” 20: 17-38
“Then when the seventh day arrived, the Jews who were from Asia saw him in the temple. Then they aroused all of the people, and threw hands upon him while reviling and saying, ‘Oh men Children of Israel, help. This man who teaches in every place contrary to our people and contrary to the Torah and contrary to this country, has also brought in Gentiles into the temple and defiled the pure place. And that was because they had previously seen Trophimus, the Ephesian with him in the city, so were thinking that he entered the temple with Paul” 21:27-29
This Trophimus was a believer from the nations (Gentiles), and Paul forbade him from entering with him into the temple, so that the Jews would not find a way for arguing. Then, however, the Asians then claimed about him that he had brought him into the temple.
“And when Paul knew that some of the people were of the party of the Sadducees and some of them were of the part of the Pharisees he shouted in the assembly, ‘Oh men my brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of two Pharisees, and I am being judged on the hope of the resurrection of the dead’. Then when he said this, the Pharisees and the Sadducees fell upon one another, and the people were divided. And that was because the Sadducees maintain that there is no resurrection nor angles nor spirit. Then, however, then affirm all of them .” 23:6-8
In the Arabic text of this passage, rather than simply transliterating Sadducees and Pharisees, as the Greek terms σαδδουκαιων and φαρισαιων are used, Bishr ibn al-Sirri, borrowed two Arabic terms from the broader Islamic culture. For Sadducees, he used Zanadiqa (plural of Zindiq, i.e. Unbelievers;) and for Pharisees, he chose Mu’tazila. While etymologically, Mu’tazila is equivalent to Pharisees, both signifying people who set themselves apart, the Separated; historically,Mu’tazila referred to the Islamic schools in Basrah and Baghdad; that advocated the use of reason, in the interpretation of the Qur’an. During the middle of the 9th century, they acquired the support of the Caliph al-Ma’moon in Baghdad. He sided with them in advocating the createdness of the Qur’an. However, Imam Hanbal, a founder of one of the four schools for the interpretation of Shariah, taught that the Qur’an was eternal!
“Then they appointed for him a day. Then many were assembled together and came to him where he was staying. Then he made clear to them the matter of the Kingdom of God, while he was encouraging them and convincing them about Jesus from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning until evening. Then, some people of them were persuaded by his speaking, while others were not persuaded. Then they left him, while they were not agreeing with one another. Then Paul said to them these words, ‘How beautiful what the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of Isaiah the prophet has become heavy, and their eyes have become regarding our fathers, when he says, ‘Go out to this people and say to them that you are hearing me a hearing but not understanding. And you are seeing but not distinguishing clearly, because the heart of this people has become thick, and their hearing has become heavy, and their eyes have become lusterless, so that they do not see withy their eyes, and do not hear with their ears, and do not understand with their hearts, and do not repent to me so that I will forgive them.’ Then know this therefore, that I will send this salvation of God to the nations (Gentiles), because they will obey it.” Then Paul rented for himself from his money, a house and remained in it for two years. And he was entertaining there all who were coming to him, while he was proclaiming the matter of the Kingdom of God and was teaching openly the matter of our Lord Jesus Christ without hindrance.” 28:23-31
Because the essence of the divinity was one, it was possible to attribute the saying of the Father to the Son, and to the saying of the Son and the Father to the Spirit. And that is that Isaiah said this as if it is concerning the Father, and John said that Isaiah said this when he saw his glory and spoke about it. And Paul said here that the Holy Spirit spoke that. And This is an indication that the essence is one. [In reference to verse 25, where Paul referred to the Holy Spirit speaking by the mouth of Isaiah]
At this limit Luke ended his stories, and that was because he was absent from him. And you will find in the beginning of the commentary of the letters of Paul, which I composed, an explanation of the condition of Paul, and that he came before Nero at this first time. Then he gained the victory and was released, and he remained after that for a period of two years and left. Then he returned and converted Nero’s relatives, and then was martyred at his two hands [i.e. during the reign of Nero] by the sword, patiently.”
Note The above information regarding the conclusion of the Book of Acts, must have been part of an Eastern Christian tradition.
The Letters of John
“We proclaim to you that one who was found from the beginning, that one we heard and whom we saw with our eyes. We saw, and we touched with our hands, the one who is the Word of Life. And the life appeared, and we have seen, and we witness, and we proclaim to you the life of eternity, that which was found with the Father and which was revealed to us. And the things which we saw, and we heard, we are also informing you about it, so that you may have a part with us. Then, however, our partnership then is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we write t you this letter that our joy in you may be complete. And this gospel which we heard from him, and which we preach to you, is that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. Then if we say that we have fellowship with him while we are striving ion the darkness, then we are lying, and we are not walking in the truth. But if we ae walking in the light, just as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ his Son cleanses us from all of our sins. And if we say that we do not have sin, then verily we deceive ourselves and there is no truth in us. But if we confessed our sins, then he is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins for us and to purify us from all of our iniquities. And if we say we do not sin, then verily we make him a liar and his word is not with us.”
I John 1
“That is, we proclaim to you the only Son who continues to remain forever with his Father, without separation.
“He says, ‘We proclaim to you the one while he was born with an eternal birth for which there was no beginning, he continues to be from before all beings, the living among them and the dead, and he is the Fountain of Life, because he is the Creator, the Maker, not only for the essences (natures) which do not speak only, but the Creator of living, speaking ones also. And he has appeared in this time for the salvation of his creation and its renewal. And he named him “Word”, according to his naming in the Gospel, to indicate that we has born from the Father without separation, and without being behind him (less than him)” And we have explained the meaning in the commentary on the Gospel of John.
“We proclaim to you that one who became flesh. That is, he took a person for his revealing himself. And he made that one flesh, that is the person according to his own self, for the sake of the union which is inseparable. And from him we heard this teaching which we proclaim to all of the people.”
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah, then he is born of God. And whoever loves the Father loves also the one is born of him. And in this we know that we are loving the sons of God, if we love God and do his commandments, because this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, because everyone who is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the overcoming that overcomes the world, our faith. Because who is the one who overcomes the world except that one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, this one who came by the mediation of the water and the blood, Jesus Christ? It is not by the water alone, but by the water and the blood, while the Spirit witnesses. And the Spirit is the truth. And they are three witnesses, the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three of them are in one . If we accept the witness of people, then how much more the witness of God which is the greatest? And this is the witness of God which he witnessed concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God then he has this witness in himself. And whoever does not believe God, Then he has made him a liar, because he did not believe the witness which God witnessed concerning his Son. And this is the witness, that God granted us the life of eternity, and the life is in his Son. Everyone who holds on to the Son then, he holds on to the life also. And whoever is not clinging to the Son of God, then there is no life for him.” I John 5:1-12
“And we know that whoever is born of God will never sin, because that one who is born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not come near him. We know that verily we are from God, and the world, all of it, is placed in the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God came and gave us a mind tha t we may know the truth, while we are in the truth in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and the life of eternity. Oh, my sons, keep yourselves from the worship of idols .” I John 5:18-21
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