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The Apocrypha is a group of writings (or books) that are contained in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint, abbreviated LXX), but are not in the Hebrew Old Testament (which should be a big clue towards understanding their spurious nature). These books were supposed to have been written somewhere around 200 B.C. or later (although, some of the books themselves claim earlier authorship). Some churches recognize them as Scripture. Some do not. Most (if not all) "Protestant" churches reject the Apocrypha (as holy writ), whereas the Roman Catholic Church accepts most of the Apocrypha (12 in number, called the Deuterocanonicals). Eastern Orthodox, Greek, and Russian churches accept most, if not all, the Apocrypha writings.
The names of these books are as follows (as found in the New Revised Standard Version): Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (or The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach), Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, The Prayer of Azariah And the Song of the Three Jews, Susanna, Bel and The Dragon, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees, (all the above are accepted as Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church), 1 Esdras, The Prayer of Mannassh, Psalm 151, 3 Maccabees, 2 Esdras (2 Esdras is not actually found in the Greek but in the Slavonic Bible as 3 Esdras), and then 4 Maccabees (which is found in an appendix to the Greek Bible).
Roman Catholics argue that the early church fathers quoted from these books (the first 12) and looked at them as Scripture. They also argue that church counsels throughout the ages have always confirmed their canonicity; therefore, this shows they should be regarded as God's Word. The problem with this is, the early church fathers were Roman Catholics themselves (see www.atruechurch.info/earlychurchfathers.html). And, the church counsels they refer to were Roman Catholic Church counsels. So what we have here is Roman Catholics using earlier Roman Catholics to prove their point. In Colossians 2:8, Paul warns against this kind of thing (the traditions of men).
Another argument that is used for the Apocrypha is that the apostles quoted from the Septuagint (the Greek O.T., which contained the Apocrypha) and used it as their Bible, and therefore they viewed the Apocrypha as the Word of God. Now, it does appear that the apostles quoted from the Septuagint, because many (not all) of the quotes in the New Testament follow the wording of the Septuagint. But, this does not dictate (or demand) that the apostles accepted the Apocryphal writings as Scripture.
In fact, nowhere in the New Testament is there to be found one quote from any book in the Apocrypha. This is typically understood, but there are those who say there are many "references" to the Apocrypha to be found in the New Testament, thus supporting the idea that the Apocrypha was accepted by the apostles as the Word of God.
James Akin has a web site (www.cin.org/users/james) in which he gives a list of somewhere around 300 "references" which supposedly are passages to be found in the New Testament that are "references" to passages in the Apocrypha. He says he obtained this list from pages 800-804 in the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine, published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft).
The best "reference" to be found (which Mr. Akin calls "indisputable") is Hebrews 11:35. It is suppose to be a "reference" to 2 Maccabees 7 (mainly verses 1, & 5-9). Hebrews 11:35 says,
And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
2 Maccabees 7:1 reads (NRSV),
It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king under torture with whips and thongs, to partake of unlawful swine's flesh.
And then 2 Maccabees 7:5 says,
When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly,
And 2 Maccabees 7:7-9 says,
After the first brother had died in this way, they brought forward the second for their sport. They tore off the skin of his head with the hair, and asked him, "Will you eat rather than have your body punished limb by limb?" He replied in the language of his ancestors and said to them, "No." Therefore he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done. And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws."
So, 2 Maccabees gives an account of people dying for their faith and having their hope in the resurrection. James Akin says this is "indisputable". So, all one has to do is find a document (or make one up) that records someone dying for their faith and having hope in the resurrection, and this means that these are the people the writer of Hebrews had in mind! This "indisputable" reference is an indisputable assumption about what was in the mind of the author of the book of Hebrews!
As stated above, this is the best "reference" to be found. Yet, even if there was a direct quote (let alone a "reference"), this, in and of itself, would not prove that the one giving the direct quote is substantiating the document as being the living Word of God.
For example, there are some who consider Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15:33 a quote from a play called "Thais" by Menander. Even if this was a direct quote, does this mean Paul believes the play was inspired by God? No way! You could also note Acts 17:28. Here, Paul quotes one of their own idolatrous poets. Is Paul here propagating that this poet was inspired by God? No. Likewise, in Titus 1:12 Paul quotes "one of their own" (in the context of "idle talkers and deceivers"), but is Paul saying the man was a holy man of God who was moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21)? No. That would be taking Paul's words way beyond his intent.
In reviewing James Akin's many "references", what you will find is that the New Testament passage simply brushes upon a similar subject that is found in the Apocrypha (which proves nothing). For a few examples, note the following "references" (from James Akin's list):
Jude 13/Wisdom 14:1
. . . raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. (Jude 13, NKJV)
Again, one preparing to sail and about to voyage over raging waves calls upon a piece of wood more fragile than the ship that carries him. (Wisdom 14:1)
1 Thessalonians 3:11/Judith 12:8
Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. (1 Thessalonians 3:11)
After bathing, she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the triumph of his people. (Judith 12:8)
Hebrews 12:12/Sirach (or, Ecclesiasticus) 25:23
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, (Hebrews 12:12)
Dejected mind, gloomy face, and wounded heart come from an evil wife. Drooping hands and weak knees come from the wife who does not make her husband happy. (Sirach 25:23)
As can be seen, these references barely brush upon the same or similar subject. There are also some references that are down right stupid (they have no connection)! For a few examples, note the following:
Luke 15:12/Tobit 3:17
And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me,' So he divided to them his livelihood. (Luke 15:12)
So Raphael was sent to heal both of them: Tobit, by removing the white films from his eyes, so that he might see God's light with his eyes; and Sarah, daughter of Raguel, by giving her in marriage to Tobias son of Tobit, and by setting her free from the wicked demon Asmodeus. For Tobias was entitled to have her before all others who had desired to marry her. At the same time that Tobit returned from the courtyard into his house, Sarah daughter of Raguel came down from her upper room. (Tobit 3:17)
Acts 15:4/Judith 8:26
And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. (Acts 15:4)
Remember what he did with Abraham, and how he tested Isaac, and what happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia, while he was tending the sheep of Laban, his mother's brother. (Judith 8:26)
Acts 5:34/Judith 8:35
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. (Acts 5:34)
Uzziah and the rulers said to her, "Go in peace, and may the Lord God go before you, to take vengeance on our enemies. (Judith 8:35)
Acts 19:27/Wisdom 3:17
So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship. (Acts 19:27)
Even if they speaking of those born out of wedlock live long they will be held of no account and finally their old age will be without honor. (Wisdom 3:17)
John 3:28/1 Maccabees 9:39
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, "I am not the Christ," but, "I have been sent before Him." (John 3:28)
They looked out and saw a tumultuous procession with a great amount of baggage; and the bridegroom came with his friends and his brothers to meet them with tambourines and musicians and many weapons. (1 Maccabees 9:39)
Aside from the folly above, the Apocrypha itself has a great deal of false doctrine in it. For the rest of this article, we will look at each book, and some of the error found therein.
The book of Tobit:
Tobit is a story of a man named Tobit and his son named Tobias. Early on in the story, some birds slice their droppings into his eyes and he becomes blind (Tobit 2:10). Also, there is a woman named Sarah who had been married 7 times, but each time, without fail, a demon (named Asmodeus) came on the wedding night and killed the groom before they could consummate the marriage (Tobit 3:7).
As the story goes, an angel of God comes along named Raphael (Tobit 5:4) and through a process of time (several days) he ends up healing Tobit's blindness through the use of some supposed "medicine" and gets rid of Asmodeus, the demon, so Sarah and Tobias are able to have a wedding night without Tobias being killed by the demon.
There are several problems with this book.
I. The "angel of God" lies.
Near the beginning of the story, Tobit asks the angel (Raphael) his name. He gives a false name and a false lineage. He says, "I am Azariah, the son of the great Hananiah, one of your relatives." (Tobit 5:13, or 12)
II. This lying "angel of God" (more like, demon) uses witchcraft.
In Tobit 6, Tobias goes down to the river to wash his feet and this large fish jumps out and attempts to swallow his foot (Tobit 6:3). Tobias freaks out, but the angel tells him to catch the fish so that he can use the fish for medicinal purposes and for warding off an evil spirit. In Tobit 6:8, the "angel" says,
As for the fish's heart and liver, you must burn them to make a smoke in the presence of a man or a woman afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, and every affliction will flee away and never remain with that person any longer.
A little later, the "angel" instructs Tobias (regarding his marriage to Sarah),
When you enter the bridal chamber, take some of the fish's liver and heart, and put them on the embers of the incense. An odor will be given off; the demon will smell it and flee, and will never be seen near her any more. (Tobit 6:17-18)
So, Tobias does it.
Then Tobias remembered the words of Raphael, and he took the fish's liver and heart out of the bag where he had them and put them on the embers of the incense. The odor of the fish so repelled the demon that he fled to the remotest parts of Egypt. (Tobit 8:2-3)
This is witchcraft teaching! There is no way this is God-breathed!
There is also,
III. False doctrine about giving:
For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness. (Tobit 4:10)
For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. (Tobit 12:9)
In other words, almsgiving saves! This teaching would fit well with Catholic doctrine (especially in their past). To refute the above, please note Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:3-4.
There is also,
IV. False doctrine about where to place your bread.
Place your bread on the grave of the righteous, but give none to sinners. (Tobit 4:17)
"Place your bread on the grave of the righteous..."? That is foolish! For what? They're dead. They don't need it! Also, "...give none to sinners" is directly against Christ's words in Luke 6:30, "Give to everyone who asks of you," and Paul's words in Romans 12:20.
The book of Judith
This is a story about a woman named Judith, who, through her beauty, entices "the eyes of all the men who might see her" (Judith 10:4), and brings about a deliverance for the Jews. She ends up cutting off the head of the leader of an invading army, and this leads to the Jew's deliverance.
The book begins with a historical error. The writer has Nebuchadnezzer as King over the Assyrians in Nineveh (Judith 1:1, 16; 2:1). Nebuchadnezzer was king over the Babylonians in Babylon.
As a result of this obvious error, James Akin (see the above mentioned web site) argues that the book is a parable. You could read the text (Judith) for yourself, it reads much like a historical writing and gives no reason for being taken as a parable (other than this one blatant error).
Additions To Esther
This is bad, first of all, by its very title (please note Proverbs 30:5-6). These "additions" are only found in Greek, not Hebrew (the language in which Esther was written). If it was really supposed to be part of Esther, it would still be in Esther (Psalm 12:6-7).
Secondly, the "additions" talk about God several times over, and if you are familiar with Esther, this is one subject glaringly absent! It's an obvious attempt (or should be obvious) that someone wanted to add to Esther. The title is appropriate, "Additions To Esther", Proverbs 30:5-6.
The Wisdom Of Solomon
This has a preponderance of false doctrine in it.
Wisdom 1:13 says, ". . . God did not make death". Please note Isaiah 45:7; Romans 11:36 and Colossians 1:16.
Wisdom 3:16-19 says,
But children of adulterers will not come to maturity, and the offspring of an unlawful union will perish. Even if they live long they will be held of no account, and finally their old age will be without honor. If they die young, they will have no hope and no consolation on the day of judgment. For the end of an unrighteous generation is grievous.
So, in other words, if you are born out of wedlock, you're going to hell and there's nothing you can do about it! This is against Romans 10:13, John 3:16, and Isaiah 55:6f.
Wisdom 6:17 says, "The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction." This is a lie. Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Just because someone has a sincere desire for wisdom means nothing (in and of itself). Note Proverbs 1:28,
"Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me."
Here is someone who has a "sincere desire for wisdom", but wisdom does not come!
In Wisdom 6:22 the writer says, "I will tell you what wisdom is and how she came to be, ..." This is a lie. The writer never says how wisdom came to be.
Wisdom 6:24 says, "The multitude of the wise is the salvation of the world," This is a lie. Jesus is the salvation of the world (that is, for any who might be saved). Please note 1 Timothy 4:10.
Wisdom 8:19 says, "As a child I was naturally gifted, and a good soul fell to my lot; or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body." This speaks against the truth found in Psalm 51:5; 53:1, and Romans 7:18.
Chapter 9 has a long prayer that is suppose to be Solomon's prayer asking for wisdom. 1 Kings 3:6-9 gives his "prayer", and it's not what is given in Wisdom 9.
Wisdom 12:11 says, speaking of God, "Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness, ..." This is a lie. Please note Hebrews 10:28 and Hebrews 10:30-31.
Wisdom 13:1 says,
For all people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know the one who exists, nor did they recognize the artisan while paying heed to his works; but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.
This is contrary to Romans 1:18-23.
Similarly, Wisdom 13:6 says,
Yet these people are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.
"These people are little to be blamed"? This is a lie. Romans 1:20 says they are without excuse. Also, it says they "go astray while seeking God". This also is a lie. Please see Romans 3:11 and 1:28.
Wisdom 14:27 says,
For the worship of idols not to be named is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.
This is a lie. The worship of idols is the result of evil (Romans 1:28), not the beginning or cause of evil. Also, please note 1 Timothy 6:10.
Wisdom 15:17 says,
People are mortal, and what they make with lawless hands is dead; for they are better than the objects they worship, since they have life, but the idols never had.
This is contrary to Psalm 115:8 and Psalm 135:18.
Wisdom 16:21, speaking of the children of Israel in the desert, says,
For your sustenance manifested your sweetness toward your children; and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it, was changed to suit everyone's liking.
This is contrary to Numbers 11:5-6.
Wisdom 7:17 says, "For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, ..." This is a lie (obvious from the above).
Ecclesiasticus or The Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach or simply Sirach
Sirach 1:1 says, "Wisdom was created before all other things, ..." Also, 1:9 says, "It is he who created her; ..." 24:8 says, "Then the Creator of all things gave me a command, and my Creator chose the place for my tent." 24:9 says, "Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me, ..." This is all a lie. Proverbs 8:23 says of wisdom, "I have been established from everlasting." Wisdom was never created.
In Sirach, there is false doctrine concerning the atonement of sins.
Those who honor their father atone for sins, (Sirach 3:3)
Sirach 3:14-15 says,
For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and will be credited to you against your sins; in the day of your distress it will be remembered in your favor; like frost in fair weather, your sins will melt away.
And Sirach 3:30 says,
As water extinguishes a blazing fire, so almsgiving atones for sin.
This is all against 1 John 2:2, Ephesians 2:9, and Titus 3:4.
Sirach 8:13 says,
Do not give surety beyond your means; but if you give surety, be prepared to pay.
This is contrary to Proverbs 6:1f; 11:15; 17:18; & 22:26.
Sirach also teaches the damning lie of self-esteem.
My child, honor yourself with humility, and give yourself the esteem you deserve. (Sirach 10:28)
One loses self-respect with another person's food, but one who is intelligent and well instructed guards against that. (Sirach 40:29)
For verses concerning self-esteem, or self-respect please note Proverbs 26:12; 28:26; Matthew 5:3; Luke 9:23; and Jeremiah 17:5.
Sirach 12:4-7 says,
Give to the devout, but do not help the sinner. Do good to the humble, but do not give to the ungodly; hold back their bread, and do not give it to them, for by means of it they might subdue you; then you will receive twice as much evil for all the good you have done to them. For the Most High also hates sinners and will afflict punishment on the ungodly. Give to the one who is good, but do not help the sinner.
This goes directly against Luke 6:27-36 and Matthew 5:38-48.
Sirach teaches the opposite of Matthew 5:3 & 4:
Happy are those who do not blunder with their lips, and need not suffer remorse for sin. (Sirach 14:1)
Sirach teaches against the truth revealed in Isaiah 63:17.
Sirach 15:11-12(a) says
Do not say, 'It was the Lord's doing that I fell away'; for he does not do what he hates. Do not say, 'It was he who led me astray';
Yet Sirach contradicts itself in Sirach 23:4,
O Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes,
So, does God do such things or not? Indeed, He does (Romans 1:28f)! It is God's doing when someone falls away! Please see Isaiah 63:17. Also note Matthew 13:12 ("what he has will be taken away from him"). Likewise, note Matthew 25:29, Mark 4:21-25, Luke 8:10-18; 19:11-27.
Sirach 20:30 says,
Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure, of what value is either? Better are those who hide their folly than those who hide their wisdom.
In other words, "those who hid their folly are better than Christ."! Because, Christ hides His wisdom. Please note Proverbs 12:23. We see a prudent man concealing knowledge in Christ. In Matthew 13:3 He spoke many parables. Note Matthew 13:10-11, 34-35 (kept secret, i.e. God kept them secret). Note also Romans 16:25. And note, God still conceals knowledge, Psalm 25:14, Proverbs 3:32, Deuteronomy 29:29.
Sirach 22:3 says,
It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined son, and the birth of a daughter is a loss.
This is contrary to Psalm 127:3, "The fruit of the womb is a reward", not a loss!
Sirach 22:6 says,
Like music in time of mourning is ill-timed conversation, but a thrashing and discipline are at all times wisdom.
This is contrary to Ecclesiastes 3:1 and following.
In Sirach 22:23, ungodly wisdom can be found, seasoned with the error of greed. Sirach 22:23 says,
Gain the trust of your neighbor in his poverty, so that you may rejoice with him in his prosperity. Stand by him in time of distress, so that you may share with him in his inheritance.
Sirach 25:24 says,
From a woman sin had its beginning, and because of her we all die.
This is a lie and contrary to Romans 5:12.
More foolishness can be found in Sirach 26:5 which says,
Of three things my heart is frightened, and of a fourth I am in great fear: [here's an ungodly fear] Slander in the city, the gathering of a mob, and false accusation - all these are worse than death.
Worse than death? Jesus said to rejoice over such things (slander and false accusation, Matthew 5:11-12).
Sirach 28:18 says,
Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue. Happy is the one who is protected from it, who has not been exposed to its anger, [this is against Matthew 5:11-12 & Luke 6:22-23] who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters. For its yoke is a yoke of iron, and its fetters are fetters of bronze; its death is an evil death, and Hades is preferable to it.
That's a lie! Worse than Hades? Please note Luke 16:23-24. Hades is definitely worse!
Sirach 29:21 says,
The necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing, and also a house to assure privacy.
This is worldly wisdom. The necessities of life are food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8, a house is not included). With these we should be content. As Christ himself had food and clothing, and no house (Matthew 8:20), and was content (being without sin, Hebrews 4:15).
Sirach 31:15 says, "Judge your neighbor's feelings by your own," This is against Matthew 7:1-2. We should not judge our neighbor's feelings by our own. Our feelings are not the standard. God's Word is the standard (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Sirach 32:19 says,
Do nothing without deliberation, but when you have acted, do not regret it.
This is more foolishness. What if you did wrong? You had better regret it (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13; 2 Corinthians 7:10)!
In Sirach 37:11 it says,
Do not consult . . . with a merchant about business or with a buyer about selling,
There's nothing unlawful or foolish about that (Proverbs 12:15; 15:22; 19:20)!
Similar folly can be found in Sirach 39:34 where it says,
No one can say, "This is not as good as that," for everything proves good in its appointed time.
"No one can say, 'This is not as good as that,'"? Paul did (1 Corinthians 7:38).
How about some table manners? Sirach 41:19 declares,
Be ashamed of breaking an oath or agreement, and of leaning on your elbow at meals;
How about a damning lie! Sirach 37:13 says,
And heed the counsel of your own heart, for no one is more faithful to you than it is. For our own mind sometimes keeps us better informed than seven sentinels sitting high on a watchtower.
This is against the wisdom of Proverbs 14:12 (16:25); & Jeremiah 17:9.
Sirach 42:14 says,
Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good;
In other words, wickedness is better than righteousness, if the righteousness is done by a woman! God says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; ..." (Isaiah 5:20).
Moreover, Sirach 46:19 speaks of Samuel's "eternal sleep". Ecclesiastes 12:5 speaks of man's "eternal home". In other words, man enters into eternity, and that being either salvation or condemnation (Hebrews 9:27). But, there is not "eternal sleep" (John 5:28-29).
Sirach 49:4, speaking of the kings of Israel, says,
Except for David and Hezekiah and Josiah, all of them were great sinners, for they abandoned the law of the Most High;
Not true. Jehoshaphat did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 22:43), and so did Jotham (2 Kings 15:34).
The book of Baruch
This is a book that is purported to be written by Baruch, the son of Neriah, the Baruch mentioned in Jeremiah (Jer. 32:12,13,16; 36:4,5,8,10,13-19,26,27,32; 43:3,6; 45:1,2). It concerns the issue of the Israelite captivity, prayers for God to have mercy, and then God promising to have mercy.
Besides the fact that it should be found in the Hebrew language (like the book of Jeremiah is), at the very beginning of the book we have a lie.
In Baruch 1:8-9 it says,
At the same time, on the tenth day of Sivan, Baruch took the vessels of the house of the Lord, which had been carried away from the temple, to return them to the land of Judah - the silver vessels that Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, had made, after King Nebuchadnezzer of Bablylon had carried away from Jerusalem Jeconiah and the princes and the prisoners and the nobles and the people of the land, and brought them to Babylon.
In the context, this is stated to have been done while Nebuchadnezzar was still alive (1:1, "in the fifth year, on the seventh day of the month, at the time when the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and burned it with fire." See also Baruch 1:10f). 1 Kings 25:1-15 records Nebuchadnezzer taking the city and vessels of gold and silver. There is no returning of the vessels of the house of the Lord until approximately 70 years later under the command of Cyrus (long after Nebuchadnezzar's death). This is recorded in Ezra 1:1, and 1:7f. The book of Baruch begins with a lie.
The Letter Of Jeremiah
This is suppose to be a letter Jeremiah wrote to the captives of Israel. The obvious error is found in 1:16 & 1:23. Speaking of idols, it is written,
. . . their faces are wiped because of the dust from the temple, which is thick upon them. One of them holds a scepter, like a district judge, but is unable to destroy anyone who offends it. Another has a dagger in its right hand, and an ax, but cannot defend itself from war and robbers. From this it is evident that they are not gods; so do not fear them. (1 :13-16 or 6:13-16)
. . . when their faces have been blackened by the smoke of the temple. Bats, swallows, and birds alight on their bodies and heads; and so do cats. From this you will know that they are not gods; so do not fear them. (1:21-23 or 6:21-23)
This is foolishness! It is not because of these things that men know that they are not gods! Man's knowledge about the true God (Romans 1:18-25) dictates that they know idols are not gods, but they turn to them anyway in their suppression of the truth, and in their debased minds (Romans 1:28). Men don't need dust to fall upon them (or birds) to know they are but idols.
The Prayer of Azariah
This is "Additions to Daniel, inserted between 3:23 and 3:24" (NRSV, paperback, p. 131). Additions to Daniel (or any other book of the Bible) should be looked at through the eye of Proverbs 30:5-6. Additions are written by liars!
This Prayer of Azariah gives songs that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego supposedly sung while they were in the fire. One song is quite long. If you read Daniel chapter three, it does not appear they were in the furnace for any great length of time.
The clear false doctrine in this book can be found in verses 26-27 (It's one chapter, 68 verses long). Verses 26-27 says,
But the angel of the Lord came down into the furnace to be with Azariah and his companions, and drove the fiery flame out of the furnace, and made the inside of the furnace as though a moist wind were whistling through it.
This is a lie. Please note Daniel 3:22-26.
The book of Susanna
This is another addition to Daniel (Proverbs 30:5-6). This is about a woman named Susanna who was wrongly accused of sexual immorality and sentenced to death, and Daniel (supposedly) saves her from being put to death.
This is suppose to be a thirteenth chapter to Daniel, but it doesn't fit. It's written in the wrong language (Greek). If it was authentic it should be either Hebrew or Aramaic. Also, the historical parts of Daniel are written in chronological order (chapters 1-6). This is suppose to be a historical account, but it has Daniel as a "young lad", so it should actually be near the beginning of the book rather than at the end.
Bel And The Dragon
This is suppose to be a fourteenth chapter to Daniel (Proverbs 30:5-6), which again, doesn't fit, because the historical record ends in chapter six of Daniel, and the rest is prophecy. It likewise is not written in the correct language.
In this book, Daniel (supposedly) exposes some idolaters who make it out that their god eats the offerings made. He lays dust on the floor, and exposes their footprints, showing that priests crept in during the night and ate the food.
In the second part of this chapter, there is (supposedly) a living dragon that the king and the people believe is a god. So, Daniel asks the king for permission to kill the dragon to prove the dragon is not a god. The king gives permission. So, Daniel poisons the dragon and it dies. As a result, the people are infuriated and Daniel is thrown into the lions den (for a second time). While Daniel is in the lion's den, the prophet Habakkuk supposedly flies (by the spirit) from Judea to Babylon to give Daniel some food while in the den.
You can see that this account is false most clearly by looking at verses 28 and 29.
When the Babylonians heard about it Daniel killing the dragon, they were very indignant and conspired against the king, saying, "The king has become a Jew; he has destroyed Bel (the dragon) and slaughtered the priests." Going to the king, they said, "Hand Daniel over to us, or else we will kill you and your household."
Besides the unlikelihood of the people addressing the king in this manner, this idea of the king "becoming a Jew" is not a new concept. This is supposedly during the reign of King Cyrus, and from his first year, he exemplified "Jewishness", Ezra 1:1-4.
This is a historical account of the times of the Jews under the leadership of Judus (and his brothers), who was called Maccabeus, who lead the Jews into several military victories. There is an account of where the holiday Hanukkah comes from in 1 Maccabees 4:52-59.
There is not much in the way of false doctrine in it, except perhaps the idea of removing the "marks of circumcision" in 1 Maccabees 1:15. How do you do that? Also, in 1 Maccabees 2:57 it says that "David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom forever." Actually, it was because God was merciful, 2 Samuel 7:18-22.
1 Maccabees is basically history. There is no reason to believe it is inspired, especially being so closely associated with all these books with serious error, and in the light of Amos 8:11-12.
2 Maccabees covers more history in more detail. There is false doctrine to be found in this book.
In 2 Maccabees 6:14-16, the writer is attempting to show how God deals differently with the Jewish nation, and he writes,
For in the case of the other nations the Lord waits patiently to punish them until they have reached the full measure of their sins; but he does not deal in this way with us, in order that he may not take vengeance on us afterward when our sins have reached their height. Therefore he never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with calamities, he does not forsake his own people.
The Lord doesn't wait until the sins have reached "full measure"? If this were true, then why did Jesus say to the Jews,
Fill up, then, the measure of your father's guilt. (Matthew 23:32; please note also verses 33-36.)
The above quote (from 2 Maccabees) says, "in order that he may not take vengeance on us...". Please note Deuteronomy 32:35-36 and Hebrews 10:30. God does take vengeance on His people!
Will He "forsake"? Yes, Deuteronomy 31:16-17. Will He utterly forsake the Israelites as a people? No. Psalm 94:14 (Psalm 37:28-29). But, He will forsake all the wicked (including wicked Jews, 2 Chronicles 15:2).
In 2 Maccabees 12:39-45, we have the classic Catholic purgatory text.
On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchres of their ancestors. Then under the tunic of each one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead so that they might be delivered from their sin.
No mention of purgatory is there, but, no doubt, the implications of the text, according to the Catholics, is that such a place exists. This text goes against a lot of Scripture.
First of all, Scripture teaches that it is appointed that men die once, and after this, judgment (Hebrews 9:27). In John 8:24, Jesus said to the Jews that they would die in their sins. What is dying in your sin? It is being lost (unsaved, not saved from your sin) at the time of your death. And what is the result of this? Hell!
In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul says,
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Similarly, in Romans 2:6-10a Paul wrote, speaking of God's judgment,
... who "will render to each one according to his deeds": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, ...
This judgment is based upon the "things done in the body". Once death hits, we are no longer in the body (obviously), and thus, our fate is sealed as to either eternal condemnation or salvation. As Jesus said in John 5:28-29,
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Whatever state people die in (wicked or righteous), this dictates either their condemnation or salvation. This is exemplified in Luke 16:22-23, where the rich man dies in his sins and is in torments in Hades (note, those in Hades get thrown into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:11-15).
Now, Biblically, the only exception to this sealed fate after death is found in 1 Peter 4:6. Here it is speaking of a specific group of "spirits" (men) that were alive during the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:19-20). Other than this specific group, the above holds true for the rest of mankind.
Therefore, when idolaters die, they die in their idolatry, and thus end up in hell (not heaven). This is why Revelation 21:8 says,
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
This text (2 Maccabees 12:39-45) teaches that idolaters, who have died idolaters, can somehow inherit eternal life. Such a lie goes directly against Revelation 21:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Ephesians 5:5-6.
Furthermore, this text (2 Maccabees 12:39-45) teaches that the blood of animals can take away sins. This is a lie and is directly against Hebrews 10:4 & 11 (the animal sacrifices were symbolic, Hebrews 9:9-10).
Moreover, this text (2 Maccabees 12:39-45) teaches that the sins of a dead sinner can be atoned for by the actions of living sinners. Please note Psalm 49:7-8a.
None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him - for the redemption of their souls is costly.
Finally, 2 Maccabees 12:39-45 teaches hypocrisy. On the one hand, they are praying for idolaters, yet in verse 45 it says, "he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness". Yes, there is a splendid reward for those who fall asleep in godliness. But idolaters fall asleep in ungodliness! The only "reward" they will receive is hell fire (Isaiah 66:24)!
In 2 Maccabees 14:37-46, there is an account of a man named Razis who is made out to be a godly man ("very well thought of and for his good will was called father of the Jews", verse 37; and, "he had most zealously risked his body and life for Judaism"). This Razis commits suicide, much like Saul did (1 Samuel 31:4). 2 Maccabees 14:41b-42 reads,
Being surrounded, Razis fell upon his own sword, preferring to die nobly rather than to fall into the hand of sinners and suffer outrages unworthy of his noble birth.
That is pride, not godliness and humility! Also, since when is suicide "noble"?
Besides what we just looked at, the writer himself ends the book denying inspiration. Speaking of the book of 2 Maccabees, he writes,
If it is well told and to the point, that is what I myself desired; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do.
If it was the living Word of God, it could not be "poorly done and mediocre".
Here ends the books that the Roman Catholic Church believes to be Scripture. At this point in the order of the Apocryphal books, the NRSV has this (right at the end of 2 Maccabees just before 1 Esdras):
(b) The following books are recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek and Russian Churches. They are not so recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, but 1 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh (together with 2 Esdras) are placed in an appendix to the Latin Vulgate Bible.
Here is a brief look at these books.
This book covers the end of king Josiah's reign, into the time of Ezra, the return of the captives, and the rebuilding of the temple. In chapter one, it says of Josiah (regarding his warring against the king of Egypt) that he "did not heed the words of the prophet Jeremiah from the mouth of the Lord." 2 Chronicles 35:22 says Josiah "did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God."
In chapters three and four, there is a silly story about three young men of the bodyguard of king Darius. Darius has a big banquet, and it says,
They ate and drank, and when they were satisfied they went away, and King Darius went to his bedroom; he went to sleep, but woke up again. Then the three young men of the bodyguard, who kept guard over the person of the king, said to one another, 'Let each of us state what one thing is strongest; and to the one whose statement seems wisest, King Darius will give rich gifts and great honor of victory. He shall be clothed in purple, and drink from gold cups, and sleep on a gold bed, and have a chariot with gold bridles, and a turban of fine linen, and a necklace around his neck; and because of his wisdom he shall sit next to Darius and shall be called Kinsman of Darius. (3:3-7)
As a result of this contest, King Darius ends up issuing a decree to rebuild the city, the temple, and restore the temple vessels of gold and silver. In this statement about the vessels of gold and silver, this book reveals its folly. The vessels of gold and silver had already been restored, by the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11). So, there is clear error on this account. Plus, with this decree, 1 Esdras chapter 6 (which covers basically what is found in Ezra 5 & 6) is foolishness, because if 1 Esdras 3 & 4 were a true account, a decree would have already been made by Darius to rebuild the temple. But, in 1 Esdras 6 they have Darius issuing a decree again. 1 Esdras 3 & 4 does not align with the truth.
The Prayer Of Manasseh
This is supposedly the prayer of Manasseh when he repented after being carried away by the king of Assyria (2 Chronicles 33:10-16). In verse 8 it says,
Therefore you, O Lord, God of the righteous, have not appointed repentance for the righteous, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you, but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.
This is a lie. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were sinners too (Abraham, Romans 4:2-5; Isaac, Genesis 35:29, sinners die; Jacob, Genesis 49:33; Romans 3:23).
In the copy of The Septuagint With The Apocrypha by Brenton, this book is not included (and neither is 2 Esdras), but is in the NRSV Apocrypha. This supposed Psalm is only seven verses long, and the beginning title says,
This psalm is ascribed to David as his own composition (though it is outside the number), after he had fought in single combat with Goliath.
So, it admits to being "outside the number" of the true Scriptures (the true Psalms of God), and it claims to be one of the earliest (if not the earliest) Psalm ever written. This Psalm is not found in Hebrew (like the rest of the Psalms). Obviously, someone just made it up. There is no reason to believe it was written by David. It's not even in David's language (Hebrew).
What is evil here is that someone wrote this under the guise of being written by David hoping people would believe it to be from David. In other words, a liar wrote it. And, he exposes himself in the statement "it is outside the number". Indeed it is!
3 Maccabees is more Jewish history. The most obvious error in this book (besides whether or not the stories in it are true or not, and they sound quite fictitious) is 3 Maccabees 6:18 which says,
Then the most glorious, almighty, and true God revealed his face and opened the heavenly gates, from which two glorious angels of fearful aspect descended visible to all but the Jews.
God told Moses, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me and live." (Exodus 33:20) In the story, everyone does not die. 3 Maccabees 6:18 is a lie. God did not reveal His face.
This is written as more history of the Jews during the time of Ezra. Chapter 1 verse 30 is used as a proof text (by some) as if Christ is referring to or quoting out of 2 Esdras 1:30 in Matthew 23:37. God is supposedly speaking and says,
I gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you ? I will cast you out from my presence. (2 Esdras 1:30)
Compare this with Matthew 23:37. Matthew 23:37 says the opposite! He wanted to gather them, but they refused.
In 2 Esdras 4:23, Ezra supposedly asks "why Israel has been given over to the Gentiles in disgrace...?" Ezra (the true Ezra) knew the answer to this question. See Ezra 9:7.
2 Esdras 5:4 & 8 has a strange and foolish prophecy in it. This was supposed to have happened near the latter end of Ezra's life (or soon thereafter).
... if the Most High grants that you live, you shall see it [the earth] thrown into confusion after the third period; and the sun shall suddenly begin to shine at night, and the moon during the day. [That's nothing new!]... There shall be chaos also in many places, fire shall often break out, the wild animals shall roam behind their haunts, and menstruous women shall bring forth monsters. (2 Esdras 5:4&8)
More folly can be found in 2 Esdras 5:51-55.
He replied to me, "Ask a woman who bears children, and she will tell you. Say to her, 'Why are those whom you have borne recently not like those whom you bore before, but are smaller in stature?' And she herself will answer you, 'Those born in the strength of youth are different than those born during the time of old age, when the womb is failing.' Therefore you also should consider that you and your contemporaries are smaller in stature than those who were before you, and those who come after you will be smaller than you, as born of a creation that already is aging and passing the strength of youth."
In other words, each generation gets shorter and shorter, and even within the same family, the older children are shorter than the younger. This is foolishness.
There is a false prophecy in 2 Esdras 7:28-30.
For my son the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him, and those who remain shall rejoice four hundred years. After those years my Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breath. Then the world shall be turned back to primeval silence for seven days, as it was at the first beginnings, so that no one shall be left.
The above is false for the following reasons:
1. We know the Messiah was not here for 400 years, after which he died (Luke 3:1, 23; 23:1).
2. When the Messiah did die, everyone else ("all who draw human breath") did not die also (Matthew 27-28).
Furthermore, 2 Esdras 7:61 goes directly against the character of God. God is supposedly speaking and says, "I will not grieve over the great number of those who perish." This is not the God of the Bible. Please see Isaiah 15:2; 16:11; Jeremiah 9:1-3; 48:31, 36; Ezekiel 33:11.
2 Esdras 8:59-60 says,
For just as the things that I have predicted await you, so the thirst and torment that are prepared await them. For the Most High did not intend that anyone should be destroyed; but those who were created have themselves defiled the name of him who made them, and have been ungrateful to him who prepared life for them now.
This is contrary to Proverbs 16:4; Psalm 92:6-7; & Romans 9:22 ("vessels of wrath prepared for destruction").
This book goes into more detail about the martyrdom of the seven sons and their mother which 2 Maccabees writes about. It also writes about the martyrdom of an old man named Eleazar.
In chapter 3, there is a fictitious account of David's desire for a drink from the well in Bethlehem. It describes him as having this "irrational desire" and being "extremely thirsty".
. . . the king was extremely thirsty, and though springs were plentiful there, he could not satisfy his thirst from them. But a certain irrational desire for the water in the enemy's territory tormented and inflamed him, undid and consumed him. When his guards complained bitterly because of the king's craving, two staunch young soldiers, respecting the king's desire, armed themselves fully, and taking a pitcher climbed over the enemy's ramparts. (4 Maccabees 3:10-12)
This is not at all what took place. Please see 2 Samuel 23:13-17 (also, note that there were three soldiers, not two).
Finally, the worst error in this book is that it exalts philosophy and reason.
4 Maccabees begins with,
The subject that I am about to discuss is most philosophical, that is, whether devout reason is sovereign over the emotions. So it is right for me to advise you to pay earnest attention to philosophy. (1:1)
Paul basically says the opposite of this. He warns against philosophy in Colossians 2:8. 4 Maccabees goes on,
For the subject is essential to everyone who is seeking knowledge, and in addition it includes the praise of the highest virtue- I mean, of course, rational judgment. (1:2)
So, the writer of 4 Maccabees calls rational judgment "the highest virtue". What is the highest virtue? It is not reason. It is love. Please see 1 Corinthians 13:1f and Matthew 22:37-40.
In chapter 2, 4 Maccabees basically makes reason out to be the savior.
It is for this reason, certainly, that the temperate Joseph is praised, because by mental effort he overcame sexual desire. For when he was young and in his prime for intercourse, by his reason he nullified the frenzy of the passions. Not only is reason proved to rule over the frenzied urge of sexual desire, but also over every desire. (2:2-4)
Scripture says it is by the Spirit that one overcomes sin (Galatians 5:16). Mental effort will lead to failure, because our reasoning capabilities will reason us right into wickedness (Jeremiah 17:9)!
This teaching is a "destructive heresy", because it encourages people to trust in themselves, in their own mental effort, and this will lead to disaster, Proverbs 28:26.
This completes the books of what is called The Apocrypha. The bottom line to all this is: We should not be surprised to see no written revelation between Malachi and Matthew. In fact, we should expect this, because God wrote concerning this time period in Amos 8:11-12.
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord God, "That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it."
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