Apocrypha: The Revelation (Apocalypse) of Adam
The Revelation (Apocalypse) of Adam
Translated by Willis Barnstone
This original translation of The Revelation of Adam (Nag Hammadi Codex V, 5) is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by permission and under license from Dr. Willis Barnstone, who retains all copyright. Dr. Barnstone’s translations of the Nag Hammadi texts are published in The Gnostic Bible, © 2003, Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer.
Headings in bold type have been added to the text for clarity by the translators.
The Fall Of Adam And Eve
The revelation that Adam taught his son Seth in the seven hundredth year, saying, Listen to my words, my son Seth. When god created me out of the earth along with your mother Eve, I went about with her in a glory that she saw in the eternal realm from which we came. She taught me knowledge of the eternal god. And we resembled the great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who created us and the powers with him, whom we did not know.
God, the ruler of the realms and the powers, divided us in wrath, and then we became two beings. And the glory in our hearts left us, me and your mother Eve, along with the first knowledge that breathed in us. And glory fled from us and entered another great realm. Your mother Eve and I didn’t come from this realm. But knowledge entered into the seed of great eternal beings. For this reason I myself have called you by the name of that person who is the seed of the great generation or its predecessor. After those days the eternal knowledge of the god of truth withdrew from me and your mother Eve. Then we learned about the inanimate as we did about human beings. We recognized the god who created us. We were not strangers to his powers. And we served him in fear and slavery. After these events our hearts darkened, and I slept in my heart’s darkened thought.
Adam And Eve Are Awakened
And I saw three persons before me whose likeness I was unable to recognize. They were not from the powers of the god who created us. They surpassed glory, saying to me, “Rise, Adam, from the sleep of death, and hear about the eternal being and the seed of that person to whom life has come, who came from you and from Eve, your wife.”
When I heard these words from the great persons standing before me, Eve and I sighed in our hearts. And the lord, the god who created us, stood before us. He said, “Adam, why were you both sighing in your hearts? Don’t you know that I am the god who created you? I breathed into you a spirit of life as a living soul.” Darkness came over our eyes.
Then the god who created us created a son from himself and Eve, your mother. . . . I knew a sweet desire for your mother. And the vigor of our eternal knowledge was destroyed in us, and weakness pursued us. The days of our life were few. I knew that I had come under the authority of death.
Now, my son Seth, I will reveal what those whom I saw revealed to me. After I went through the period of this generation and the years of the generation were over. . . .
Noah And The Flood
For rain showers of god almighty will pour down so that he can destroy all flesh from the earth, using what is around them, along with people from the seed of those who received the life of knowledge. That life of knowledge came from your mother Eve and me. They were strangers to him. Afterward great angels come on high clouds, who take those people where the spirit of life lives. . . . The whole multitude of flesh will be left behind in the waters.
God will rest from his wrath. And he casts his power on the waters, and gives power to his sons and their wives by means of the ark along with the animals, whichever he pleased, and the birds of heaven, which he called and released upon the earth. And god says to Noah, whom generations call Deucalion, “Look, I have protected you in the ark along with your wife and your sons and their wives and their animals and the birds of heaven, which you called and released upon the earth. . . . So I give the earth to you, to you and your sons. In kingly fashion you will rule over it, you and your sons. And you will have no seed from the people who do not stand in my presence in another glory.”
Some become like the cloud of great light, and those people come who are sent out from the knowledge of the great eternal realms and the angels. They stand before Noah and the realms.
And god says to Noah, “Why have you strayed from what I told you? You have created another generation so you can scorn my power.” And Noah says, “I testify before your might that the generation of these people didn’t come from me or my sons. . . .”
And . . . those people are brought into their proper land and a holy dwelling will be built for them. And they are called by that name and live there six hundred years in knowledge of incorruptibility. Angels of the great light live with them. No foul deed resides in their hearts, but only the knowledge of god.
Then Noah divides the whole earth among his sons, Ham and Japheth and Shem. He says to them, “My sons, hear me. Look, I have divided the earth among you. But serve him in fear and slavery all the days of your life. You children must not go away from the face of god almighty. . . .”
. . . the son of Noah says, “You and your power will be pleased with my seed. Seal it with your strong hand of fear and command, and then the whole seed that came from me will not turn from you and god almighty, but they will serve in humility and fear of what they know.”
The Four Hundred Thousand
Then others from the seed of Ham and Japheth come, four hundred thousand, and enter another land and stay with those people who came from the great eternal knowledge. The shadow of their power protects those with them from everything evil and every filthy desire.
Then the seed of Ham and Japheth forms twelve kingdoms, and their other seed enters into the kingdom of other people.
. . . they take counsel . . . aeons . . . that are dead . . . the great aeons of incorruptibility. And they go to their god Sakla. They go in to the powers, accusing the great ones who are in their glory.
They say to Sakla, “What is the power of these people who stood in your presence, who were taken from the seed of Ham and Japheth, who number four hundred thousand? They were received into another realm from which they came, and they overturned all the glory of your power and the dominion of your hand. The seed of Noah through his sons has done your will, and so have all the powers in the realms over which your might rules. Both those people and those who reside in their glory have not done your will. But they have turned aside your whole throng.”
Fire And Sulphur And Asphalt
Then the god of the realms gives them some of those who serve him. . . . They come on that land where the great ones are who have not been defiled, nor will they be defiled by any desire. For their souls did not come from a defiled hand, but from an eternal angel’s great command.
Then fire and sulfur and asphalt are cast upon those people, and fire and blinding mist come over those realms, and the eyes of the powers of the luminaries are darkened, and the inhabitants of the realms cannot see in those days.
And great clouds of light descend, and other clouds of light come down on them from the great eternal realms. Abrasax and Sablo and Gamaliel descend and bring those people out of the fire and the wrath, and take them above the eternal realms and the rulers of the powers, and take them away . . . there with the holy angels and the eternal beings. The people will be like those angels, for they are not strangers to them. But they work with the imperishable seed.
The Illuminator Of Knowledge
Once again, for the third time, the illuminator of knowledge passes by in great glory to leave some of the seed of Noah and the sons of Ham and Japheth—to leave fruit-bearing trees for himself. And he redeems their souls from the day of death. The whole creation that came from the dead earth will be under the authority of death. But those who reflect on the knowledge of the eternal god in their hearts will not perish. They have not received spirit from this kingdom but from something eternal, angelic. . . . The illuminator will come . . . Seth. And he will perform signs and wonders to scorn the powers and their ruler.
Then the god of the powers is disturbed and says, “What is the power of this person who is higher than we are?” Then he brings a great wrath against that person. And glory withdraws and lives in holy houses it has chosen for itself. The powers do not see it with their eyes, nor do they see the illuminator. They punish the flesh of the one over whom the holy spirit has come.
The Origin Of The Illuminator
Then the angels and all the generations of the powers will use the name in error, asking, “Where did this come from?” or “Where did the words of deception, which all the powers have failed to realize, come from?”
Now, the first kingdom says of the illuminator that he came from . . . a spirit . . . to heaven. He was nourished in the heavens. He received the glory of that one and the power. He came to the bosom of his mother, and in this way he came to the water.
And the second kingdom says of him that he came from a great prophet. And a bird came, took the child who was born, and brought him onto a high mountain. And he was nourished by the bird of heaven. An angel came forth there. He said to him, “Rise! God has given you glory.” He received glory and strength, and in this way he came to the water.
The third kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin womb. He was cast out of his city, he and his mother; he was brought to a desert place. He was nourished there. He came and received glory and power, and in this way he came to the water.
The fourth kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin. . . . Solomon sought her, he and Phersalo and Sauel and his armies, which had been sent out. Solomon himself sent his army of demons to seek out the virgin. And they did not find the one whom they sought, but the virgin who was given to them. It was she whom they fetched. Solomon took her. The virgin became pregnant and gave birth to the child there. She nourished him on a border of the desert. When he was nourished, he received glory and power from the seed from which he was conceived, and in this way he came to the water.
And the fifth kingdom says of him that he came from a drop from heaven. He was thrown into the sea. The abyss received him, gave birth to him, and brought him to heaven. He received glory and power, and in this way he came to the water.
And the sixth kingdom says that one . . . came down to the realm that is below in order to gather flowers. She became pregnant from the desire of the flowers. She gave birth to him in that place. The angels of the flower garden nourished him. He received glory and power there, and in this way he came to the water.
And the seventh kingdom says of him that he is a drop and came from heaven to earth. Dragons brought him down to caves, and he became a child. A spirit came over him and raised him to the place from where the drop had come. He received glory and power there, and in this way he came to the water.
And the eighth kingdom says of him that a cloud came over the earth and enveloped a rock. He came from it. The angels above the cloud nourished him. He received glory and power there, and in this way he came to the water.
And the ninth kingdom says of him that from the nine muses one separated. She came to a high mountain and spent some time seated there, so that she desired her own body in order to become androgynous. She fulfilled her desire and became pregnant from her desire. He was born. The angels who were over the desire nourished him. And he received glory there and power, and in this way he came to the water.
The tenth kingdom says of him that his god loved a cloud of desire. He fathered him in his hand and cast upon the cloud above him some of the drop, and he was born. He received glory and power there, and in this way he came to the water.
And the eleventh kingdom says of him that the father desired his own daughter. She was pregnant from her father. She cast her child . . . tomb out in the desert. The angel nourished him there, and in this way he came to the water.
The twelfth kingdom says of him that he came from two luminaries. He was nourished there. He received glory and power, and in this way he came to the water.
And the thirteenth kingdom says of him that every birth of their ruler is a word. And this word received a mandate there. He received glory and power, and in this way he came to the water, that the desire of those powers might be satisfied.
But the generation without a king says that god chose him from all the eternal realms. He caused knowledge of the one of truth, who is undefiled, to reside in him. He said, “Out of a foreign air, from a huge eternal realm, the great illuminator appeared. And he made the generation of those people whom he had chosen for himself shine, so that they should shine on the whole eternal realm.”
People Acknowledge Their Error
The seed, those who will receive his name upon the water and that of them all, will fight against the power. And a cloud of darkness will come upon them.
Then the peoples will cry out with a great voice, saying, “Blessings on the soul of those people because they have known god with a knowledge of the truth. They shall live forever, because they have not been corrupted by their desire, along with the angels, nor have they performed the works of the powers, but they have stood in his presence in a knowledge of god like light that has come forth from fire and blood.
“But we have done every deed of the powers foolishly. We have boasted in the transgression of all our works. We have cried against the god of truth because all his work . . . is eternal. These are against our spirits. For now we know that our souls will die in death.”
Then a voice came to them. Micheus and Michar and Mnesinous, who are over the holy baptism and the living water, were saying, “Why were you crying out against the living god with lawless voices and tongues without law over them, and souls full of blood and foul deeds? You are full of works that are not of the truth, yet your ways are full of joy and rejoicing. Having defiled the water of life, you have drawn it within the will of the powers to whom you have been given to serve them.
“And your thought is not like that of those people whom you persecute. . . . Their fruit does not wither. But they will be known up to the great eternal realms, because the words they have kept, of the god of the eternal realms, were not committed to the book, nor were they written. Angelic beings will bring them, whom all the generations of people will not know. For they will be on a high mountain, upon a rock of truth. Therefore they will be called words of incorruptibility and truth, for those who know the eternal god in wisdom of knowledge and teaching of angels forever, for he knows all things.”
These are the revelations that Adam made known to Seth his son. And his son taught his seed about them. This is the hidden knowledge of Adam, which he gave to Seth, which is the holy baptism of those who know the eternal knowledge through those born of the word and the imperishable illuminators, who came from the holy seed: Yesseus Mazareus Yessedekeus, the living, water.