Was the Apocalypse of Peter rejected from the Canon because it claims even those in hell will be saved?


I was reading this interesting book which from what I have read was very popular in early Christianity. It goes on to describe hell and heaven from a revelation. It reminds me a lot of Dantes Inferno and I am sure it was derived somewhat from this book. However something caught my attention at the very end of the book which says
“My Father will give unto them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passeth not away… It is because of them that have believed in me that I am come. It is also because of them that have believed in me that, at their word, I shall have pity on men.” Could it be possible the reason the Church Father’s ultimately rejected this text is the reason that it basically claims in the end Jesus will even save those who are in hell? Just a thought.


It was apparently written in the 2nd century, after the Apostle John died. That alone kept it from the canon. Its contents sound more like what we know as a private revelation than they do scripture.


I don’t have the answer to that, but your post made me think about something that I would also like to ask about on here. The Church teaches that our God is a God of infinite mercy. How, then, is it that a God of infinite mercy cannot, or choose not to, save even those who are in Hell? Does what I ask present a contradiction or Doctrine and Scripture?


I don’t have the answer to that, but your post made me think about something that I would also like to ask about on here. The Church teaches that our God is a God of infinite mercy. How, then, is it that a God of infinite mercy cannot, or choose not to, save even those who are in Hell? Does what I ask present a contradiction or Doctrine and Scripture?

  1. the Apocalypse of Peter is not part of Canon because it wasn’t written in the first century.

  2. the “hell” being discussed is most likely Abraham’s Bosom, where all the Old Testament Saints were until Christ descended into Hell and rose on the 3rd day, opening the Gates of Heaven for all those who died before Him. Or it could refer to purgatory.


There does not need to be a reason to “reject” a book from Scripture. Most ancient books are not included in the canon. Better to understand it as certain books were (under God’s guidance) accepted into Scripture by the Magisterium. God’s purposes led certain books to be accepted into the canon. That does not mean other books are necessarily false, though they could be, or not inspiring, because some of them might be. They just did not meet the purpose specifically as Scripture.


The Catholic Church established which books comprised the Bible in the 300s. If your question could be answered, what were the specific issues involved for its rejection from Scripture, it would take a Church historian to do it. However, the reasons given here stand on their own–in it hell is not forever and it was written too late to be considered Scripture.


God’s mercy is infinite, yes, but so is His justice. Those who go to hell have chosen to reject His infinite mercy of their own free will. God will not encroach upon the free will of anyone.


The Church also teaches that God’s qualities have depth that go beyond what we can understand, though we should try to learn as much as we can.

C. S. Lewis described it in his fiction and non fiction. He wrote that the gates of Hell are held closed **from the inside. ** He referred to Heaven as a place where only people who desire and are ready for it would be happy. (That is why he, a Protestant, was open to Purgatory). He raised the question, what about those who choose away from God, why doesn’t God just leave them alone? His answer, Yes, He does. That is what Hell is.


Sure it is generally thought to have been written in the first half of the second century, however some scholars have noted similarities in that both warn of false prophets. It isn’t inconceivable to argue that the Apocalypse of Peter was written by the same person that wrote 2 Peter. Also an interesting thing in the Apocalypse of Peter is the angels named. There are four with specific names however the one that struck me the most was Uriel who is prominent in the book of 2 Esdras, which I believe is only canon in the Slavonic Bible aka the Russian Orthodox Church. However I do know it is also traditionally in an appendix to the Latin Vulgate as 4 Esdras ( Ezra and Nehemiah are 1 and 2 and the Greek version normally referred to as 1 Esdras is 3 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate. Interestingly Uriel also appears in the Book of Enoch.


I have thought of that as well, but since it directly contradicts the words and teachings of Jesus, the rest of the Old Testament and New Testament and most all of the private revelations given to the Saints and Mystics of the Church, I also reject the idea.

It’s a nice thought but if you really think about it hell is a mercy, those who ultimately reject and hate God would be in more pain if God forced them into heaven, thus they are shown mercy and the presence of God is withheld from them.

So God shows His mercy to those that are saved and those that are damned…for all eternity.


“The Great Divorce”, early 1940s, is a work of fiction, by C. S. Lewis. It describes a daily tour bus from Hell/Purgatory to Heaven. The visitors may choose not to get back on the bus, but may choose to remain in Heaven. But they cannot bring anything of Hell with them.

Some get off the bus (with great pain of conversion) and begin the road towards deeper Heaven, with assistance from saints. Others refuse to consider change, and get back on the bus. So you might say for some of the dead, that other place is Purgatory, and for others, it is Hell - where everyone can be sort of a king, in their own eyes.

for your interest


I always wondered about this. It was rejected partly because of the similarities to Greek myths, but then again non-Christians always say Christianity is a ripoff of pagan myths entirely anyway, so… It was also rejected because the Church fathers felt it was just not in line with the rest of the Bible.

That last part always fascinated me, where Jesus tells Peter not to let anybody know about God’s mercy of letting everyone out of Hell because he loves them too much to let them stay there forever and everyone in Heaven was praying for their release, because then mankind would just go on sinning and not even bother with repentance and turning to Christ, even Christians. It resonates with me and sometimes I think it’s very much in line with who we know God to be. I sometimes wonder if God put it in the Church fathers’ heads to reject it because of this, and why it’s the reason it wasn’t discovered by modern man until the late 19th/early 20th century. He wanted to make sure it stayed a secret between Him and Peter. Yes, it’s “believed” not to have been written before the 2nd century, but who knows.

But then again, I’d rather not take that chance, and neither should you. What if it really is a forgery? What if God really does leave everyone in Hell forever like He’s said He will, because it IS what unrepentant sinners and evil people deserve anyway? Sure, famous people we like who are atheists, we wish they’d turn to Christ, but what about Hitler and Charles Manson? They’re so far gone, Hell was made just for them. Do you think letting Lucifer out again is a good idea at all? They would all have to undergo MAJOR upgrades.

And even if this book is true, who would want to go to Hell at all, even if it’s temporary? Only people who consciously choose dark over light. If someone loves being a sinner, then they’ve chosen Hell and God has no choice but to put them there. There’s no in-between. Likewise if someone hates being a sinner and wants to be with God.

The Apocalypse of Peter is certainly just Bible “fan fiction.” It claims that Jesus also showed visions of Heaven to Peter, but the real canon Bible is light on the details, instead saying no one can conceive of what God has prepared for the faithful, which sounds much more like it.


The Apocalypse of Peter isn’t merely just New Testament Apocrypha as many books are which are heretical. It lies in a class of disputed New Testament books The Antilegomena or “disputed writings” which were widely read in the Early Church and included the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Book of Revelation, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache. Thus even books which did make the Canon were disputed where others were very popular. Actually a lot of doctrines of the Church come from these writings. The Apocalypse of Peter further inspired the Apocryphal Apocalypse of Paul which is clearly using Peter’s Apocalypse but expands on it. I don’t see anything heretical in anything the Apocalypse of Peter says, some say it used Greek and Egyptian depictions of the glories and torments of the afterlife however a lot of Hellenistic traditions were accepted into scripture.


Actually, all of the books we now call the “New Testament” were once disputed writings. Some early Christians denied anything like a “New Testament” ought to exist at all. Other early Christians denied the inspiration of books like Isaiah or Genesis. The Magisterium determined that a “New Testament” should exist; and also created something they called “Old Testament”, still inspired. (The Jews don’t have any volume called the “Old Testament”, and they look at some of the same books differently from Christians).

The fact that a certain doctrine in Catholic theology also appears in a book not in the Bible does not prove that book is the source of that doctrine. Some ideas in Confucianism sound similar to ideas in Christianity also. God is the source, and He spread truths to many places.


Interesting but is there any reliable source for this?


The belief that ultimately everyone will be saved including those is Hell is called Universalism. It was condemned by the Church as heresy in AD 543.
Anyone believing that everyone will or might ultimately be saved is a heretic.


How do we know the Magisterium were correct? Like I feel messed up for questioning the early Churchs decision however there were many different types of Christianity and it seems only the Orthodox Nicene Christianity was allowed and everything else is heretical. Is it wrong to question this? I do believe in the Churches teaching but how do we know they didn’t not allow certain books which were popular in early Christianity because it didn’t fit in with the view recited in the Creed? I mean i have read about how the New Testament we have seems to never contradict itself. How do we know this wasn’t by accident, that it was really a viewpoint that just won in the end? I ask this because if The Apocalypse of Peter was disavowed because of even those being saved who were in hell, or even the Shepherd of Hermas where Jesus takes on a more Docetism view where Jesus was more of a Spirit opposed to fully man, though that book is one of the longest and most hard to understand books I have ever read in the New Testament Apocrypha. But how do we know our form of Christianity wasn’t somewhat corrupted? Like just because certain books don’t go along with the narrative completely doesn’t mean they are necessarily false. Am I wrong? I don’t know I’m a critical thinker and it took makes me confused a lot.


Well, that is why Christ left his church … to guide us.
The first step is to look into the church that Christ set up for us.
Is it true, holy, universal, one? Not that there aren’t sinners in it, but what has the church said over the centuries? Lots of error has been promoted about Christ himself. How do we know what is right? It is too confusing to do it all ourselves after 2000 years of problems and errors about the faith, as well as historical aids being lost and destroyed. And Jesus understood this and set things up so we would know what the truth is…the living truth…the church. There will always be some new misunderstanding and false teaching challenging the truth of which we as individuals are not equiped to cope with.

So how do we know what books belong in and out of the Bible? For me it is a matter of the Holy Church, guided by the Holy Spirit of Pentecost, who tells us what books constitute the inspired Holy Bible.

Why this particular book was not included in the NT would depend on the criteria the church required for it’s recognition. Was it reasonably in line with true teaching? Was it used in the liturgical proceedings by a goodly number of the early local churches? Was it devoid of all silly saying and practices? Was the timeframe written too late? Examination of early manuscripts.

To answer some of those questions would almost require our presence back in time.

I myself haven’t read the book, but if it says/indicates that Hell is just temporary, we know that this does not agree with what the Church teaches. Even tho in those early days, Hell was not yet well defined and was more or less open to opinion, it certainly was a good choice to exclude it on that basis of hell being temporary.


Good point.

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