The Revelation of Peter

In a portion parallel to Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Jesus is seated on the Mount of Olives, and the disciples come to him asking, "Make known unto us what are the signs of thy Parousia [appearing] and of the end of the world..." As Jesus tells them the signs, He admonishes them, "And ye, receive ye the parable of the fig-tree thereon: as soon as its shoots have gone forth and its boughs have sprouted, the end of the world will come." 2

Peter then asks Jesus to explain the parable of the fig tree that signals the end of the age and the coming of the Lord. (cf. Mt.24:32-36; Mk.13:28-32; Lk.21:29-33) Jesus replies, "Do you not understand that the fig tree is the house of Israel? Truly, I tell you, when its branches have sprouted at the end of the world, false Christs shall arise. They will arouse expectation and say, 'I am the Christ who once came into the world.' But this liar is not the Christ. When they reject him, he will murder with the sword. Then shall the branches of the fig tree, which is the house of Israel, shoot forth. There shall be many martyrs by his hand...." 3

"The Revelation of Peter," a short work which does not speak of much more than the restoration of Israel, was not considered an heretical document, far from it. The "Muratorian Canon," written about 180 A.D., lists the writings which the Church (or part of it) then acknowledged as canonical. It mentions, "...We also accept a Revelation by John and one by Peter, although some of us do not want the latter to be read aloud in the Church." 4

"The Revelation of Peter" was considered part of the canon. It was accepted as the Word of God. Yet some in the Church did not want it to be read to the people. Certainly that is unusual. (Eusebius was familiar with "The Revelation of Peter," but he did not quote from it.)

Those in the Church who did not want "The Revelation of Peter" to be publicly read were not arguing that it was not the Word of God. It simply contained material that they did not like. Even if they thought it was the Word of God, they did not want it to be read to the Church. Though today we do not consider it canonical, it still is firm documentary evidence of what the early Church believed.

1. Edgar Hennecke, The New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 2, edited by Wilhelm

Schneemelcher, translated by R. McL. Wilson, The Westminster Press, Phila.,

1965, P.668 For the full text of this section, chapter 2, in the Ethiopic

text, see Pp.668-669

2. ibid., P.668

3. Eberhard Arnold, The Early Christians after the Death of the Apostles,

Plough Press, Farmington, PA., 1972, P.295

4. Eberhard Arnold, The Early Christians after the Death of the Apostles,

Plough Press, Farmington, PA., 1972, P.167

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