The Apocalypse of Peter was not only held in high regard by some Christians in the first few centuries, we are told that it was one of the antilegomena that was eventually rejected in terms of its being divinely inspired canon (although some churches received it as part of the canon, the larger church regarded it as a part of the notha "spurious" writings that were not to be accepted as part of the canon). However, it is interesting that the view found therein was received so well in the church, so as to be even considered, indicates that those within the early church may have had the same views that it did concerning the nature of hell, abortion, and homosexuality (three issues often in dispute today). In any case, I've presented the brief work below so that you might read it for yourself. I'm sure all liberals will be glad it never made it into the canon, since the work has such a "Dante-esque" feel to it.
The Apocalypse of Peter
1 . . . . many of them will be false prophets, and will teach divers ways and
doctrines of perdition: but these will become sons of perdition. 3. And then God
will come unto my faithful ones who hunger and thirst and are afflicted and
purify their souls in this life; and he will judge the sons of lawlessness.
4. And furthermore the Lord said: Let us go into the mountain: Let us pray..
And going with him, we, the twelve disciples, begged that he would show us one
of our brethren, the righteous who are gone forth out of the world, in order
that we might see of what manner of form they are, and having taken courage,
might also encourage the men who hear us.
6. And as we prayed, suddenly there appeared two men standing before the Lord
towards the East, on whom we were not able to look; 7, for there came forth from
their countenance a ray as of the sun, and their raiment was shining, such as
eye of man never saw; for no mouth is able to express or heart to conceive the
glory with which they were endued, and the beauty of their appearance. 8. And as
we looked upon them, we were astounded; for their bodies were whiter than any
snow and ruddier than any rose; 9, and the red thereof was mingled with the
white, and I am utterly unable to express their beauty; 10, for their hair was
curly and bright and seemly both on their face and shoulders, as it were a
wreath woven of spikenard and divers-coloured flowers, or like a rainbow in the
sky, such was their seemliness.
11. Seeing therefore their beauty we became astounded at them, since they
appeared suddenly. 12. And I approached the Lord and said: Who are these? 13. He
saith to me: These are your brethren the righteous, whose forms ye desired to
see. 14. And I said to him: And where are all the righteous ones and what is the
aeon in which they are and have this glory?
15. And the Lord showed me a very great country outside of this world,
exceeding bright with light, and the air there lighted with the rays of the sun,
and the earth itself blooming with unfading flowers and full of spices and
plants, fair-flowering and incorruptible and bearing blessed fruit. 16. And so
great was the perfume that it was borne thence even unto us. 17. And the
dwellers in that place were clad in the raiment of shining angels and their
raiment was like unto their country; and angels hovered about them there. 18.
And the glory of the dwellers there was equal, and with one voice they sang
praises alternately to the Lord God, rejoicing in that place. 19. The Lord saith
to us: This is the place of your high-priests, the righteous men.
20. And over against that place I saw another, squalid, and it was the place
of punishment; and those who were punished there and the punishing angels had
their raiment dark like the air of the place.
21. And there were certain there hanging by the tongue: and these were the
blasphemers of the way of righteousness; and under them lay fire, burning and
punishing them. 22. And there was a great lake, full of flaming mire, in which
were certain men that pervert righteousness, and tormenting angels afflicted
23. And there were also others, women, hanged by their hair over that mire
that bubbled up: and these were they who adorned themselves for adultery; and
the men who mingled with them in the defilement of adultery, were hanging by the
feet and their heads in that mire. And I said: I did not believe that I should
come into this place.
24. And I saw the murderers and those who conspired with them, cast into a
certain strait place, full of evil snakes, and smitten by those beasts, and thus
turning to and fro in that punishment; and worms, as it were clouds of darkness,
afflicted them. And the souls of the murdered stood and looked upon the
punishment of those murderers and said: O God, thy judgment is just.
25. And near that place I saw another strait place into which the gore and
the filth of those who were being punished ran down and became there as it were
a lake: and there sat women having the gore up to their necks, and over against
them sat many children who were born to them out of due time, crying; and there
came forth from them sparks of fire and smote the women in the eyes: and these
were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion.
26. And other men and women were burning up to the middle and were cast into
a dark place and were beaten by evil spirits, and their inwards were eaten by
restless worms: and these were they who persecuted the righteous and delivered
27. And near those there were again women and men gnawing their own lips, and
being punished and receiving a red-hot iron in their eyes: and these were they
who blasphemed and slandered the way of righteousness.
28. And over against these again other men and women gnawing their tongues
and having flaming fire in their mouths: and these were the false witnesses.
29. And in a certain other place there were pebbles sharper than swords or
any spit, red-hot, and women and men in tattered and filthy raiment rolled about
on them in punishment: and these were the rich who trusted in their riches and
had no pity for orphans and widows, and despised the commandment of God.
30. And in another great lake, full of pitch and blood and mire bubbling up,
there stood men and women up to their knees: and these were the usurers and
those who take interest on interest.
31. And other men and women were being hurled down from a great cliff and
reached the bottom, and again were driven by those who were set over them to
climb up upon the cliff, and thence were hurled down again, and had no rest from
this punishment: and these were they who defiled their bodies acting as women;
and the women who were with them were those who lay with one another as a man
with a woman.
32. And alongside of that cliff there was a place full of much fire, and
there stood men who with their own hands had made for themselves carven images
instead of God. And alongside of these were other men and women, having rods and
striking each other and never ceasing from such punishment.
33. And others again near them, women and men, burning and turning themselves
and roasting: and these were they that leaving the way of God