The Ages of The World

An important theological tenet of the Yahad was the notion of predestination: from the very beginning, God had foreordained how history would develop, who would inherit eternal life, and who was destined for perdition. The Ages of the World is apparently a full discussion of this notion, proving the idea using examples drawn from the biblical text. In the surviving portions, the example of the ten generations between Shem and Abraham is the centerpiece.

The introduction to the work, which emphasizes God’s predetermination of history.

4Q180 Frag. 1 The prophetic interpretation concerning the ages which God made: an age to complete [all which is] 2and shall be. Before He created them, He established [their] workings [ . . . ] 3age by age. And it was engraved upon [eternal] tablets [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] ages of their dominion. This is the order of the so[ns of Noah to] [Abraham un]til he bore Isaac, ten [generahons (?) . . . ] [ . . . ]
A version of the story of original sin similar to that known from 1 Enoch 6-1 1 and Jubilees 4:22 (Gen. 6:1-2, 4).

The prophetic interpretation concerning Azazel and the angels wh[o went in to the daughters of man,] 8[so that] they bore mighty men to them. And concerning Azazel [who taught them] 9[to love] iniquity and caused them to inherit wickedness all [ . . . ] [ . . . ] judgments, and the judgment of the council of [ . . . ]

The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah was foreknown from creation (Gen. 18-19).

Frags. 2-4 Col. 2 which [ . . . ] He who dwells [ . . . ] 2which [this] [and] was beautiful to Lot I . . . ] to inherit [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] three me[n . . . ] 4[who appeared to Abra]m at the oaks of Mamre were angels. [And. the LORD said,] How g[reat] is the [outc]ry against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin, how 6very [grea]t! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to their outcry that has come 7[to me]; and if not, I will kno[w . . . ] the word [ . . . all] 8fle[sh] which [ . . . ] concerning every [ . . . ] 9speaks [ . . . ] and I will see . . .” because everything [ . . . ] [ . . . ] before He created them He knew [their] thought[s . . . ]

God has a predetermined plan for man. This plan includes punishment (II. 1-2) and rewards (II. 3-6).

4Q181 Frag. 1 for the guilt in the Yahad with the coun[cil of . . . ], to wa[l]low in the sin of humankind, and for great judgments and evil diseases 2in the flesh, according to the powerful deeds of God, corresponding to their wickedness, according to their uncleanness caused by the Council of the sons of h[eaven] and earth, as a wicked association until 3the end.
Corresponding to the compassion of God, according to His goodness, and the wonder of His glory, He brings some of the sons of the world near, to be reckoned with Him in [the council] 4[of the g]ods as a holy congregation, stationed for eternal life and in the lot with His holy ones [ . . . ] [ . . . ] each one [acco]mplishes according to the lot which falls t[o him . . . ] 6[ . . . ] for e[te]rn[al] life [ . . . ]
There are sufficient similarities between 11. 1-4 of this fragment and 4Q180 frag. 1, ll. 5-9 to suggest that the texts are related.

Frag. 2 [Abraham until he bor]e Isaac, [ten generations. The prophetic interpretation concerning Azazel and the angels who went in to] 2[the daughters] of man, so that [they] bore mighty me[n] to them. [And concerning Azazel . . . ] 3[ . . . ] He satisfied Israel with plenty (or Israel in seventy weeks, He entreated) [ . . . ] 4and those who love iniquity, and cause them to inherit guilt, all [ . . . ] before all those who know Him [ . . . ] 6and there are no bounds to His goodness [ . . . ] 7these are the wonders of know]ledge [ . . . ] He established them in His truth and [ . . . ] 9in all their ages [ . . . ] ith[eir] creatures [ . . . ]

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