Reasoning From the Scriptures with Ron Rhodes, Does the Apocrypha Belong in the Bible, Critique of Chapter 2..by Matt1618
Reasoning From the Scriptures
with Ron Rhodes

Critique of Chapter 2,
Does the Apocrypha Belong in the Bible?
by Matt1618


Introductory Comments
Apocryphal Books Do Not Claim to be Inspired
New Testament Writers do not quote the Apocrypha
Many Church Fathers Denied the Apocrypha
The Early Jews of Palestine Rejected the Apocrypha
There are Historical Errors in the Apocrypha
The Apocrypha Contains Unbiblical Doctrines
The Septuagint Argument is Flawed
The Church Council Argument is not Convincing
Tests of Canonicity
Hebrews 11:35-A Citation from the Apocrypha?


Introductory Comments

On this examination I will look at Ron Rhodes book, Reasoning From the Scriptures with Catholics, Chapter 2, entitled Does the Apocrypha Belong in the Bible?, pages 31-45. He uses the term ‘Apocrypha’ of the books that Catholics term Deuterocanonical. There are seven full books in question: 1 & 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, Sirach and Wisdom, plus additions to Esther and Daniel. When I refer to the ‘protocanonicals’ in this discussion I am referring to the 39 books of the Old Testament that Rhodes accepts. In green will be Ron Rhodes comments, and my response will follow. Each of the sections, titled in Red, are subsections of the chapter.

The Roman Catholic Church decided these apocryphal books belonged in the Bible sometime following the Protestant Reformation. In fact, the Catholic Council of Trent (A.D. 1545-1563) canonized these books some 1500 years after they were written, largely as a result of the Protestant Reformation, under circumstances that are highly suspect, Rhodes, p. 32.
Rhodes is off by about 1200 years. First off, the Council of Rome in 382, under Pope Damasus, referred to the tradition of the Churches, and in so referring, gave the canon that exists in the Catholic Bible today. Here is what Pope Damasus, as head of this Council affirms:
Likewise it had been said: Now indeed we must treat of the divine Scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun. (Council of Rome -Decree of Pope Damasus, The Canon of Scripture (A.D. 382) as cited by Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Roy J. Deferrari, trans. (St. Lousis: Herder, 1957) p.33, as cited in Not By Scriptura Alone, contributor, Joseph Gallegos, What Did the Church Fathers Teach? Queenship Publishing Company, Santa Barbara, Ca, 1997, p. 460.
The Councils of Carthage and Hippo, in 393 and 398 gave us the same canon as Pope Damasus gave in Rome, and what we have today. There were no councils that can be confirmed, which gave us the canon that Rhodes has in his Bible today. Also the Catholic Church, with the consent of Pope Innocent and Pope Bonficace in 405 and 419 AD, bound Catholics to this canon of books, which included the Deuterocanonicals. Another Council of Carthage in 419, affirmed this canon. Ecumenical Councils way before Trent quoted these books as Scripture. The Council of Florence more than 100 years before Trent specifically noted all the Deuterocanoncal books as Scripture. Now Trent was the first to put infallibility in an extraordinary manner, and yes it was partially prompted by the Protestant revolt, which brought the first body of people that rejected the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. Trent put its blessing in an extraordinary manner, that which was accepted for 1500 years by Christians. 1100 years prior to that it was still infallible through the universal and ordinary Magisterium.
Martin Luther had criticized the Roman Catholic Church for not having scriptural support for such doctrines as praying for the dead. By canonizing the Apocrypha, which offers support for praying for the dead in 2 Maccabees 12:45,46, the Catholic then had “scriptural” support for this and other distinctively Catholic doctrines, Rhodes, p. 32.
Actually, Rhodes has it backwards. Luther said, ‘Show me in Scripture’ support for praying for the dead. The Catholics, already had a 1100 year tradition in an infallible fashion, and 1500 years of Fathers as recognizing these books as Scripture. Those books had always been referred to in support for prayers for the dead. It is not like it just started up in the 16th century. Thus, Catholics, following that tradition, quoted those books as Scripture to Luther. When he saw that 2nd Maccabees pointed to praying for the dead, Luther threw out that and the other Deuterocanonicals. That is what was highly suspect. The Fathers had always referred to the passage. There is no Christian in ancient history who denied and kept denying that book as Scripture. Even the Fathers who are singled out by Rhodes as supposedly rejecting their inspiration, quoted these books as Scripture, as we will see.
As theologian Wayne Grudem puts it, “It is significant that the Council of Trent was the response of the Roman Catholic Church to the teachings of Martin Luther and the rapidly spreading Protestant Reformation, and the books of the Apocrypha contain support for the Catholic teaching of prayers for the dead and justification by faith plus works, not by faith alone, Rhodes, p. 32.
The revolt against Christ’s Church did prompt the Council of Trent to respond to the new doctrines that they created, such as Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. It was on the basis of this new theology, that Luther would decide whether it was Scripture or not. Now, since for more than 1100 years, these books had been officially accepted by the Church as a whole, there was no need for a Council of Trent declaration of the canonicity of those books. Since it was challenged by those who revolted against Christ’s Church, then there was a need to put it in a more formally extraordinarily infallible manner, now with anathemas’ attached to those who did not accept these books as Scripture. However, for about 12 centuries, these books were seen as Scripture by all Christians.

Contrast that to Luther’s outlook on what was Scripture. Now, Luther wrote this in reference to James:

in the whole length of its teaching, not once does it give Christians any instruction or reminder of the passion, resurrection, or spirit of Christ. It mentions Christ once and again, but teaches nothing about Him; it speaks only of a commonplace faith in God. It is the office of a true apostle to preach the passion and resurrection and work of Christ, and to lay down the true ground for this faith, as Christ himself says in John 15 [:27], You shall be my witnesses. All genuinely sacred books are unanimous here, and all preach Christ emphatically. The true touchstone for testing every book is to discover whether it emphasizes the prominence of Christ or not.
Just as Luther rejected Maccabees as not Scripture, he rejected James as well. You see here he terms the book as it is only Scripture if it meets his standard of whether it preaches Christ to Luther’s satisfaction. James falls short for Luther. The Catholic Church with many a Council referred to these books as Scripture. Luther ignored this criteria and manufactured his own criteria. To see his preface to James, go here:
http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/preface.html.

The Council of Florence which itemized those books in an ecumenical council referred to these books as Scripture. The Fathers who Rhodes will bring forth as rejecting these books see these books as Scripture. Ecumenical Councils in the meantime specifically cited these books as Scripture. To see how Ecumenical Councils quoted and referred to these books as Scripture prior to Trent, see here: Pre-Trent Ecumenical Councils

Trent only put in a more emphatic manner that which had previously been referred to as Scripture for 1500 years.

Answering Catholic Arguments


Apocryphal Books Do Not Claim to be Inspired


Unlike the New Testament books, which claimed to be inspired (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Peter 3:16), the apocryphal books never make that claim. Moreover no apocryphal book was written by a true prophet or apostle of God...Further, no apocryphal book contains predictive prophecy, which would have served to confirm divine inspiration , Rhodes, p. 33).
First of all, very few of the New Testament books that Rhodes cites, for example, actually declare themselves to be Scripture. Rhodes says that 2 Timothy 3 claims to be inspired. No. All it did was declare Scripture to be inspired. And it is specifically only speaking about the Old Testament, as it is speaking about the Scripture Timothy has known since infancy (Old Testament, which Paul does not identify), 2 Timothy 3:15. Paul is not declaring his own writing as Scripture. Matthew does not claim to be inspired, nor does the book even name the author of the gospel (which we only get from tradition). The same with Mark, Luke, and John. Peter does say that Paul’s writings are inspired, but he names absolutely none of his individual writings as Scripture. For all we know, Peter can be referring to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9) which never became Scripture, or his letter to the Laodiceans, which also never became Scripture (Col. 4:16b). The only book which declares itself to be Scripture in the New Testament is the book of Revelation. Of course the question of the inspired status of even that book was in question until the late 300s!!! Of course the Church is the source who identified Revelation as Scripture. To the idea that the Deuterocanonical books were not written by true prophets, is actually somewhat irrelevant as nowhere does Scripture itself say that in order to be Scripture, it must be written by a prophet. Nevertheless, even St. Jerome, lauded by Rhodes as someone who rejected the Deuterocanonicals, writes that Baruch, one of the books denied by Rhodes, to be written by a prophet in the same manner as Psalm and Ezekiel:
"I would cite the words of the psalmist: 'the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,’ [Ps 51:17] and those of Ezekiel 'I prefer the repentance of a sinner rather than his death,’ [Ez 18:23] AND THOSE OF BARUCH,'Arise, arise, O Jerusalem,’ [Baruch 5:5] AND MANY OTHER PROCLAMATIONS MADE BY THE TRUMPETS OF THE PROPHETS." Jerome, To Oceanus, Epistle 77:4 (A.D. 399), in NPNF2, VI:159
Besides that, the book of Wisdom does give predictive prophecy, specifically pointing to Christ, which we will see further down.

However, the claim that there is no claim in the Deuterocanonicals to be written with the authority of a prophet is false: Let us see the Book of Sirach, 24:32-34:

32 I will again make instruction shine forth like the dawn, and I will make it shine afar; 33 I will again pour out teaching like prophecy, and leave it to all future generations. 34 Observe that I have not labored for myself alone, but for all who seek instruction.
He had previously written that the book of the Covenant of the Most High God was written by Moses (Sir. 24:23). Now he writes that what he writes is again pouring out prophecy. This book is written for all future generations for all who seek instruction. Thus, not only do the books actually have a predictive prophecy (Wis. 2:12-20) in reference to Jesus, but also Sirach claims to speak for God in the same manner as Moses did, and for all future generations (Sir. 24:32-34). So not only is Rhodes’ premise false, but his claim is false on the face of it.
In one key apocryphal book--2 Maccabees, from which Roman Catholics draw support for the doctrine of the Mass --the author concedes that it is an abridgement of another man‘s works and expresses concern as to whether a good job was done or not (see 2 Maccabees 2:23; 15:38). Such would not be the case had this book been truly inspired by God , Rhodes, p. 34).
Well, in my very detailed exposition of the sacrifice of the Mass, I wrote a very long piece,
http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/sacrifice.html and not one time did I need to go to 2nd Maccabees for biblical support. Hebrews, 1 Corinthians, Genesis, Malachi are some of the books that I used to defend the Mass. Yes, Maccabees does have theology which shows that sacrifice is offered for sins, but that can be found elsewhere in books Rhodes accepts. Now, as to its uncertainty as to its own inspired status: there is nothing in Scripture that says in order for it to be Scripture, there can be no uncertainty. For example, Paul writes the following:
1 Cor. 1:16 I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.

1 Cor.7:25 Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.

1 Cor.7:40 But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.

Here, Paul forgets who he baptized, and he has no idea if what he writes here is from the Spirit of God. He is merely giving his opinion, and what he says is not a command of the Lord. Just because someone has doubts does not mean that his writing is not inspired. Humility is actually a good quality to have. A writer of an inspired book does not have to know that what he is writing is an inspired book, in order for it to be an inspired book. 2nd Maccabees shows that the author is humble. That is something that Jesus extols and does not criticize:
Luke 14:11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

New Testament Writers do not quote the Apocrypha

It is a fact that no New Testament writer quoted from any of the apocryphal books as holy Scripture or gave them the slightest authority as inspired books. Jesus and the disciples virtually ignored these books--something that would not have been the case if they had considered them to be inspired. By contrast, there are many quotations by Jesus and the apostles from the canonical books of the Old Testament. A good example is the Gospel of Matthew which contains approximately 130 Old Testament citations and allusions, Rhodes, p. 34.
Just because a book is not specifically quoted does not mean the book was not referred to. 2nd Maccabbees 6-7, is specifically pointed to in Hebrews 11:35. We will see that later. Also, 12 books of the Old Testament that Rhodes accepts also are never referred to in the New Testament. Does that mean Rhodes will be throwing these books out of his Bible?: Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Nahum. If he does not, he has a double standard. What is used against the Deuterocanonicals, if he was consistent, would come back to eliminate almost one third of the number of books found in Rhodes’ Old Testament. In fact, Rhodes is mistaken when he says that Jesus or the apostles don’t refer to the Deuterocanonicals. I will show this in addressing his next comments. In reference to Matthew quoting or alluding to 130 citations, and nowhere referring to the Deuterocanonicals, that is again mistaken. There are approximately 11 allusions to the Deuterocanonicals, just in Matthew, also at a point where Jesus is on the point of crucifixion, (Mt. 27:43, cf., Wis. 2:18-20 which we will see shortly).

Based on the above premise, Rhodes writes:

Ask

--What does it suggest to you that the New Testament writers often quoted from the Old Testament, but never quoted from an apocryphal book?

--In view of the fact that the New Testament writers virtually ignored the Apocrypha, do you think they viewed it as Scripture?, Rhodes, pp. 34-35

Let us take a look at some clear references to show that Rhodes here is wrong. Now, even if there are no direct quotations that say, “the book of Maccabees says“, we have clear borrowing from the Deuterocanonicals found in New Testament:
Wisdom 2:18-20 18: for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19: Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20: Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."
Compare to Matthew 27:43:
He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'
Specifically we know that Christ was tortured, as predicted in Wisdom 2. And he was specifically taunted, by his opponents ’if he really was the Son of God, God should deliver him!!!’ This is prophecy fulfilled and referred to by the apostle Matthew.

Here are some other examples of New Testament writers borrowing from the Deuterocanonicals:

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Compare to
Sirach 5:11: Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering
James is alluding to Sirach in how we are to listen quick and well, but be deliberate in speaking.
Wisdom 9:13 For what man can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills?
Compare that to this mention by Paul:
Romans 11:34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"
Paul gives us almost a word for word citation from Wisdom 9.

Wisdom 13:1-9:

1: For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works; 2: 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. 3: If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. 4: And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them. 5: For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. 6: Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him. 7: For as they live among his works they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful. 8: Yet again, not even they are to be excused; 9: for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?
Compare this to Romans 1:18-23:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
Paul did not make this passage up. Here Paul is speaking of the culpability of people who choose to be ignorant of God. They should know Him from the greatness and beauty of created things. They should know Him from this beauty. Instead, many people choose to follow and make gods of those created things. That is explicitly found in Wisdom 13.
Sirach 28:2: Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. 3: Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord? 4: Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins? 5: If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins?
Compare that to this:
Matt 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Jesus’ obviously had this passage in mind when he teaches this prayer. He did not pull this out of the air. Sirach 28:2 is replicated almost exactly with Matt. 6:14, when he says that you must forgive your neighbors sins, in order to be forgiven by God. Then, Sirach 28:3-5, says the same thing as Matt. 6:15. If you show no mercy to others for their sins against you, you will not be forgiven by God.
Tobit 4:15: And what you hate, do not do to any one.
Jesus says:
Matt 7:12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
This is the inverse of Tobit. It is the same in a negative form. But notice that he says that this is the law and the prophets!!! Where in the Protocanonicals is that mentioned? It is not, but is a clear reference to Tobit.
Wisdom 15:7 For when a potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service, he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner; but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides.
Compare that to this:
Romans 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
Paul uses the same language as the book of Wisdom. The potter can use for clean uses and contrary uses in Wisdom 15, while Paul says God has the same right over the vessels he makes.
Sirach 11:19: when he says, "I have found rest, and now I shall enjoy my goods!" he does not know how much time will pass until he leaves them to others and dies.
Luke 12:18-23 And he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' 20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Jesus in this parable is obviously drawing from Sirach. He mentions how the rich man says to himself that he will rest up and enjoy all his goods, he assumes that he will be able to enjoy them for a long time, as in Sirach 11:19. Jesus says that one can assume nothing, because one does not know how long one will live, just as Sirach 11:19 says.

To see other allusions to the Deuterocanonicals in the New Testament, including Matthew, check here: http://scripturecatholic.com/deuterocanon.html There are even more explicit New Testament passages that refer to Deuterocanonical passages. I will bring these passages up when responding to other attempted points by Rhodes further down.


Many Church Fathers Denied the Apocrypha

Rhodes then next goes on to admit, yes some Fathers accepted the Deuterocanonicals, but many rejected these books’ Scriptural status:

Even though certain church fathers spoke approvingly of the Apocrypha, then there were other early church fathers-notably Origen, Jerome, Athanasius, and Cyril of Jerusalem that denied their inspiration and canonicity. So merely quoting some church fathers in favor of the Apocrypha is not a convincing argument.

Further, as Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie have noted, it is clear that some church fathers used apocryphal books for devotional or preaching purposes, but did not consider them as canonical. One can demonstrate respect for a book without necessarily considering that book canonical, Rhodes, p. 35.

Geisler and Rhodes bank their whole argument on the idea that if the Fathers did not put the Deuterocanonicals on the list of the canon that they themselves draw up, ipso de facto, that Father rejected the inspiration of those books: If it is not in the canon, it is not inspirational. However, that is not the case. When the Fathers referred to the canons, in many cases they were speaking about only the Liturgical canon. that is books of Scripture that would be read during the Mass. Not all books of Scripture would be read during the Mass. If these Fathers left off those books from their individual canon, that does not in fact mean that those books are not Scripture.

I have a whole paper, almost 100 pages, which refutes the theory that certain Fathers did not accept the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/deut.html

Now, if before there was an official pronouncement in 419 when the Council of Carthage’s proclamation of the books of the Bible were confirmed by Pope Boniface, some Fathers denied the Deuterocanonicals were Scripture, there would not be a problem, as Fathers are not infallible, but that is not the case. In fact, even before the councils were proclaimed, the Fathers did not deny their inspiration. Each of the Fathers that Rhodes referred to, accepted these books as Scripture in the total sense of the word. I have numerous quotations from the Fathers that he specifically quoted, where they referred to these books and treated them as Scripture. I will just give a sample of one quote from each of the Fathers that Rhodes says were anti-Deuterocanonical:

Rhodes’ first example is Origen. Here is Origen quoting the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture:

But that we may believe on the authority of holy Scripture that such is the case, hear how in the book of Maccabees, where the mother of seven martyrs exhorts her son to endure torture, this truth is confirmed; for she says, ' ask of thee, my son, to look at the heaven and the earth, and at all things which are in them, and beholding these, to know that God made all these things when they did not exist.' [2 Maccabees 7:28]" Origen, Fundamental Principles, 2:2 (A.D. 230),in ANF, IV:270
Notice that it is not on Origen’s authority, but on the authority of the Scripture of Maccabees, that God made all things out of nothing. This is proof of the doctrine that God made everything out of nothing. He calls Maccabees Holy Scripture and uses it to prove doctrine about God.

For a larger look at Origen and the Deuterocanonicals, go here: Origen

Next, Rhodes quoted St. Jerome as a denier of the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture.

St. Jerome is the one most often referred to as somebody who denied the Deuterocanonicals’ inspiration. He may be the one who had most doubts. However, he translated these books as Scripture, and referred to them as Scripture. He accepted the judgment of the Church, and thus referred to them as Scripture.

Let us look at a couple of examples:

"I would cite the words of the psalmist: 'the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,’ [Ps 51:17] and those of Ezekiel 'I prefer the repentance of a sinner rather than his death,’ [Ez 18:23] AND THOSE OF BARUCH,'Arise, arise, O Jerusalem,’ [Baruch 5:5] AND MANY OTHER PROCLAMATIONS MADE BY THE TRUMPETS OF THE PROPHETS." Jerome, To Oceanus, Epistle 77:4 (A.D. 399), in NPNF2, VI:159
Notice how Jerome makes no distinction at all between the Psalmist, Ezekiel, and Baruch. They are all Scripture, God's Word. Also, contrary to Rhodes' assertion that the Deuterocanonicals had no prophets, Jerome himself calls Baruch a prophet, thus according his writing Scriptural status. According to Jerome, Baruch thus authoritatively spoke God's Word. He uses Baruch in tandem with these prophets to prove David in Psalm 51 correct.
Does not the SCRIPTURE say: 'Burden not thyself above thy power' [SIRACH 13:2] Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 108 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, VI:207
St. Jerome thus calls the book of Sirach Scripture. Rhodes is wrong to cite him as denying their inspiration.

The following is an examination of St. Jerome’s treatment of the Deuterocanonicals: St. Jerome

Next, St. Athanasius did give a list of a canon, (this is before the Councils of Rome, Carthage and Hippo were confirmed by succeeding popes). However, the list of canon that he provided, was not meant to be a full list of that which was Scripture. We see St. Athanasius accepting the Deuterocanonicals’ Scriptural status. For example, he writes:

Since, however, after all his severe sufferings, after his retirement into Gaul, after his sojourn in a foreign and far distant country in the place of his own, after his narrow escape from death through their calumnies, but thanks to the clemency of the Emperor,- -distress which would have satisfied even the most cruel enemy,-- they are still insensible to shame, are again acting insolently against the Church and Athanasius; and from indignation at his deliverance venture on still more atrocious schemes against him, and are ready with an accusation, fearless of the words in Holy Scripture, 'A false witness shall not be unpunished;’ [Proverbs 19:5] and, 'The mouth that belieth slayeth the soul;' (Wisdom 1:11) we therefore are unable longer to hold our peace, being amazed at their wickedness and at the insatiable love of contention displayed in their intrigues. [Athanasius the Great: Defence Against the Arians, 3 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:101
Here St. Athanasius speaks of the fearless words of Holy Scripture. First he quotes Proverbs and then he quotes the Book of Wisdom. He thus terms Wisdom as ‘the fearless words of Holy Scripture.’ He uses it against his enemies. Obviously, even his enemies recognized the Book of Wisdom as the 'fearless words of Holy Scripture'. It is almost amazing to think that people like Rhodes and Geisler will use St. Athanasius as an important Father who rejected the Deuterocanonicals, but either are ignorant of or conveniently ignore the fact that the Saint himself uses the term ‘fearless words of Holy Scripture’ in reference to the Book of Wisdom.

For a larger treatment of St. Athanasius’ look at the Deuterocanonicals, (Rhodes does decide to champion him as not recognizing these books as Scripture), p.36, see this: St. Athanasius

Finally, the other example of a Father who supposedly rejected the Deuterocanonicals is St. Cyril of Jerusalem. He writes:

2. The Divine Nature then it is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says, "For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionally the Maker of them is seen" (Wis 13:5). He said not that from the creatures the Maker is seen, but added proportionably. For God appears the greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when his heart is uplifted by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God. 3. Wouldest thou learn that to comprehend the nature of God is impossible? The Three Children in the furnace of fire, as they hymn the praises of God, say "Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the Cherubim" (Song of the Three Children, 32, or in Daniel 3, between verses 23 and 24, there are 68 verses, of which this is verse 32. This is part of the Deuterocanonical portion). Tell me what is the nature of the Cherubim, and then look upon Him who sitteth upon them. And yet Ezekiel the Prophet even made a description of them, as far as was possible, saying that every one has four faces, one of a man, another of a lion, another of an eagle, and another of a calf; and that each one had six wings. (Ezek. 1:6-11)Catechetical Lectures, NPNF2, Lecture IX:2-3, Volume 7, p. 51.
Here, St. Cyril of Jerusalem is out to prove the power of God. He points to both the Book of Wisdom and the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel as proof of his power. He uses those passages to prove the veracity of the Creed where it says: "We believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible;". He uses this very text to, as St. Cyril says "to comprehend the nature of God." He matter of factly intersperses the use of Ezekiel with the Song of the Children (as found in the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel 3) and the Wisdom of Solomon as proof for doctrine. Thus, he treats these passages just as the rest of Scripture to teach doctrine.

To see more on St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s treatment of the Deuterocanonicals, see this: St. Cyril of Jerusalem


The Early Jews of Palestine Rejected the Apocrypha

The Jews of Palestine, including the Jewish Council of Jamnia which met in A.D. 90, rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture. This is understandable in view of the fact that there were no Jewish prophets that lived during the 400-year period between the Old and New Testaments, Rhodes, p. 36.
Well, if you notice, one of Rhodes reasons for rejecting the Deuterocanonicals was because the Christ rejecting Jews of Palestine rejected those books 60 years after Christ died. Ironic that he would go to them 60 years after they rejected Jesus, and after the New Testament was compiled, rejected those books, would have those people as the source of their canon. Is it not ironic that Rhodes accepts a Christ rejecting council while rejecting the Christian councils that ruled on the matter? But Rhodes’ premise is incorrect. There was no unanimity even among Palestinian Jews on the extent of the canon. A.C. Sundberg, a Lutheran historian notes the following:
It has become evident that the Septuagint circulated in Palestine. This inference was suggested to Semler (1771:1.124-128) by the use of the Septuagint in the earliest Christian writings of the New Testament. As noted, Murabaât produced fragments of six Minor Prophets (Micah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephniah and Zechariah) in Greek. Barthélemy has shown that the text of these fragments, assigned to the end of the first century C.E., is most probably a recension of the Septuagint and is very similar to Justin’s Old Testament quotations (Barthélemy 1953). This shows that a Greek text type used among Christians of the second century was current among Jews in Palestine in the first century C.E. Similarly, K. Stendahl (1954:177-180) has provided support for Swetes suggestion that the venue for the text of the New Testament quotations from the Old is to be found in a Palestinian Septuagint tradition. Pfeiffer was probably right saying that the Christians took their Old Testament in Greek before the closing of the canon at Jamnia. But the implication of the above is that the Greek Old Testament adopted by the Christians was received from Palestinian rather than Diaspora Judaism (Cross 1995:128, n. 2).
The Septuagint was in use in Palestine and those books did include the Deuterocanonical books. Sundberg also notes that even after Jamnia, the Jews still disputed what was Scripture and what was not. Sundberg also notes that Sirach for example, was quoted in the talmud, as Scripture in the Second century:
There are evidences of a continued use of this apocryphal literature in rabbinic literature of later times. Sirach is quoted three times in the Talmud as scripture. It is twice quoted with the introductory formula, "for so it is written in the Book of Ben Sira."35 Ben Sira is also sometimes quoted as "Writings" when the rabbis were proof-texting, e.g., "This matter is written in the Pentateuch as written. . . , repeated in the Prophets, as written. . . , mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, as written, (here Sirach 12.15 is quoted), it was learned in the Mishnah, . . . ."36
This is understandable in view of the fact that there were no Jewish prophets that lived during the 400-year period between the Old and New Testaments...Then Rhodes approvingly quotes H.E. Ryle “Philo makes no quotations from the Apocrypha; and he gives not the slightest ground for the supposition that the Jews of Alexandria, in his time, were disposed to accept any of the books of the Apocrypha in their Canon of Holy Scripture,” Rhodes, p. 36
Well, Philo was in dispute with many other Jews. Sundberg, the Lutheran historian notes:
According to the consensus, these were completely ignored (except for Daniel) by the rabbinical leaders. However, they enjoyed great popularity among some circles. Clearly, the writers and readers of these books did not hold that inspiration had ceased. Also for Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora, especially in Alexandria, the canon was thought to have been considerably enlarged. The influence of these additional writings circulating in Alexandrian and Diaspora Judaism was greatly felt in early Christianity.
These citations of Sundberg, given above, can be found here:
http://department.monm.edu/classics/Speel_Festschrift/sundbergJr.htm

There are Historical Errors in the Apocrypha

Rhodes starts off in the next section by arguing that there are no geographical or historical errors in his Bible, while the Deuterocanonicals have them. We see him here approaching the Deuterocanonical books like an atheist approaching a protocanonical book. He starts off from a presumption that since it is not in my Bible there must be some errors, while for the protocanonicals he gives those books the benefit of the doubt. Rhodes quotes John Ankerberg first, then Josh McDowell:

Ankerberg - Tobit contains certain historical and geographical errors such as the assumption that Sennacherib was the son of Shalmaneser (1:15) instead of Sargon II, and that Nineveh was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and Ahasuerus (14:5) instead of by Nabopolassar and Cyaxares....Judith cannot possibly be historical because of the glaring errors it contains...[In 2 Maccabees] there are also numerous disarrangements and discrepancies in chronological, historical, and numerical matters in the book, reflecting ignorance or confusion

McDowell - The apocrypha contains demonstrable errors . . . Tobit was supposedly alive when Jeroboam staged his revolt in 931 B.C. and was still living at the time of the Assyrian captivity (722 B.C.), yet the Book of Tobit says he lived only 158 years, Rhodes, p. 37.

Then, he quotes a fellow who says that categorically there is no archaeological discovery that has ever controverted a biblical reference, but he says ‘not so for the apocrypha’, Rhodes, p. 37.

There are two ways to address this. First off, there are archaeological and historical errors, or at a minimum, apparent historical errors in the Protocanonicals, despite Rhodes protestations to the contrary. For example, the book of Esther, nowhere quoted in the New Testament as Scripture, also contains "historical and geographical errors." No Queen Esther or Mordecai is known to history. Queen Ahasuerus is not noted as being deposed. The Land of Agag is unknown at that time...

As Steve Kellmeyer notes here in the following in reference to protocanonical books:http://www.bridegroompress.com/sc/canon.htm

The book of Daniel says the Medes were a world power in the eras between the neo-Babylonians and the Persians (cf. Dan 2:31-45, 7:1-7), but no historical evidence confirms it. Belshazzar was never titled a king, despite Daniel's assertions otherwise, and he was the son of Nabonidus (556-539 B.C), not of Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 B.C.) (cf 5:1-30, 7:1-7, 17, 8:1-27). Only Daniel records a Darius the Mede. Darius I was really king of Persia (522-486 B.C).
In addition, Ezra shows King Darius appearing after Xerxes and Araxerses, although in actuality he reigned earlier. So do we now remove Esther, Daniel and Ezra from the canon on the same basis that Tobit and Judith are thrown out? Now, any atheist will quote the above on the books that Rhodes and Protestants will accept, and the Protestant will say, ‘well, it can be explained’ by this or that. But when there are any possible problems from a historical perspective on the Deuterocanonical books, and Rhodes and the Protestants will say, ‘aha, that proves that the Deuterocanonicals are not inspired.’!!! They do it in the same way as the skeptic. As St. Augustine wrote, there can be apparent contradictions, when fully investigated, that can be cleared up.

Rhodes and those he quote give the benefit of the doubt for the Protocanonicals, but not for the Deuterocanicals. For example, Rhodes just quoted McDowell as exposing the supposed errors on the Deuterocanonicals. On the other hand, in dealing with protocanonicals, he writes:

One of the things for which we appeal with regard to possible contradictions is fairness. . . . [W]e must always begin by giving the author the benefit of the doubt. This is the rule in other literature, and we ask that it also be the rule here. We find so often that people want to employ a different set of rules when it comes to examining the Bible, and to this we immediately object.

. . . As historical and archaeological study proceed, new light is being shed on difficult portions of scripture and many “errors” have disappeared with the new understanding. We need a wait-and-see attitude on some problems. While all Bible difficulties and discrepancies have not yet been cleared up, it is our firm conviction that as more knowledge is gained of the Bible’s past, these problems will fade away. Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask About the Christian Faith, (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1980), 15, 17.

He gives no such benefit of the doubt for the Deuterocanonicals that he demands that others give the Protocanonicals. Now, in reference to specific alleged errors a Catholic can answer in two ways. We can ask for the same benefit of the doubt that Rhodes and McDowell give to the Protocanonicals be given to the Deuterocanonicals. Many of the Fathers and Catholic apologetics have traditionally taken for granted the historicity of Tobit. For example, in addressing specific problems in Tobit, the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia defends the historicity of Tobit and addresses specific problems here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14749c.htm Here is another web site that defends the historicity of Tobit and Judith by appealing to equal standards for the protocanonicals as well as the deuterocanonicals http://www.catholicapologetics.net/apolo_157.htm There is a possibility of defending the books in a historical fashion. One of the examples brought up by Rhodes, in Tobit, is about Sennacharib being the son of the wrong person. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that it is a textual proble:
A like solution is to be given to the difficulty that Sennacherib is said to have been the son of Salmanasar (i, 18), whereas he was the son of the usurper Sargon. The Vulgate reading here, as in i, 2, should be that of AB and Aleph, to wit, Enemesar; and this stands for Sargon.
That would explain that, but neither Rhodes nor Ankerberg, acknowledge this possibility at all.

Now, another way of addressing the issue, and in fact may be a more complete way, and may be preferable to the prior attempt, is by doing what McDowell says: Acknowledge that: new light is being shed on difficult portions of scripture and many “errors” have disappeared with the new understanding. One of the new lights would be the genre of the books Tobit an Judith. Although this has not been a traditional defense, there is a growing understanding that the type of literature that the books of Judith and Tobit may not be primarily historical. If it is Wisdom literature, then these books are primarily a teaching vehicle of faith and morals and this is literature that is not meant to be just a recitation of facts. Thus, if there are mistakes made in history or geography, since it is not meant to be historical, there is no problem at all. Or a somewhat in between way of looking at it is this way: Although these books are historical in essence, they go beyond teaching history and geography and historical facts. It teaches spiritual truths, but there is still a historical nucleus behind the facts. With any of these ways of looking at these books, the double standard that Rhodes, Ankerberg, and McDowell, bring to the table, are exposed. If the issues that are brought up against the Deuterocanonical prove that the books are not inspired, they would also prove the Protocanonicals to be uninspired. Of course they hold to double standards without acknowledging that.


The Apocrypha Contains Unbiblical Doctrines

Another argument that Protestants often make against these books are echoed by Rhodes, that they are unbiblical. In this paragraph he gives six doctrines that he sees as unbiblical:

The Apocrypha contains a number of unbiblical doctrines, such as the 1) doctrine of the Mass (2 Maccabees 12:42-45; compare with Hebrews 7:27), 2) the notion that the world was created out of preexistent matter (Wisdom of Solomon; compare with Genesis 1 and Psalm 33:9), the idea that 3) giving alms and other works can make an atonement for sin (Ecclesiasticus [Sirach] 3:3; 3:30; 5:5; 20:28; 35:1-4; 45:16; 45:23; compare with Romans 3:20),4) the invocation and intercession of the saints (2 Maccabees 15:14; Baruch 3:4; compare with Matthew 6:9), the 5) worship of angels (Tobit 12:12; compare with Colossians 2:18), 6) purgatory and the redemption of souls after death (2 Maccabees 12:42,45; compare with Hebrews 9:27).
Well, first of all, if the Deuterocanonical books are a part of the Bible, as has been understood for 2000 years and by the church as a whole for 1600 years, it is de facto biblical. You can’t call something biblical ‘unbiblical’. He has his Bible, and he continues the double standards against the Deuterocanonicals. Now let us go to the supposedly unbiblical doctrines found in the Deuterocanonicals as opposed to the ‘true doctrine‘ in the Scriptures that he accepts: It is his opinions in fact we are looking at:

1) He attacks 2nd Maccabees because sins are forgiven when offering sacrifice. He gives Hebrews 7:27 as a citation to show sacrifice is no longer necessary. Let us look at the context of that verse, Heb. 7:25-8:3:

25 Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever. Hebrews 8 1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer
The context proves the exact opposite of what Rhodes claims. First, the aim of Rhodes pointing to Heb. 7:27 is to show that sacrifice is no longer ongoing, since Christ died in the past one time. Well, that is true, he only died once. However, the context shows that Jesus is a High Priest, who continues to intercede for us, in order that we can be saved (Heb. 7:25). He does contrast in Heb. 7:27 to the old Levitical sacrifices which were ongoing sacrifices of animals. Yes, Jesus does not need to die again. However, the benefits of that sacrifice must be applied on an ongoing basis, as Jesus must continue to intercede for believers (Heb. 7:25). Jesus is a high priest, and what must the high priest do? He must offer gifts and sacrifices (Heb. 8:3). Thus, in the new covenant, gifts and sacrifices, which is plural, still must be given. Now, Jesus is not killed again and again, but the fruits of the sacrifice must be applied to us in an ongoing way, otherwise Jesus is not a high priest. Jesus is termed in Hebrews an Eternal High Priest (after the order of Melchizedek, Heb. 5:6, 6:20, 7:17), and since he is an eternal priest, he must continue to have something to offer. This sacrifice that is offered will forgive sins, just as 2nd Maccabees shows. Other passages which show the need for ongoing sacrifices include the following:
Heb. 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Mal. 1:11: For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

Heb. 13:10 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.

1 Cor. 10:16-17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

These passages show the need for sacrifice on an ongoing fashion for the forgiveness of sins. For a detailed look at how these, and many more passages show that the Doctrine of the Mass is very biblical, see this:
http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/sacrifice.html

2) In reference to the idea that the book of Wisdom teaches that God created out of preexistent matter, and he gives Genesis 1 and Psalm 33:9 in opposition to that book, is kind of hard to refute since he does not refer to a specific passage in Wisdom that teaches that. Thus, Rhodes just throws this out without giving us a reference to analyze.

3) In reference to the Sirach passages which speaks of sins being atoned for by almsgiving we have passages in both the Old and New Testament which reflect a similar teaching. Jesus says:

Luke 11: 39 And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.
Well, Jesus says the same thing as Sirach!!!! You can’t clean it from the outside. How do you clean it from the inside? Oh. Give alms and you get cleansed!!! The Sirach passage should be a good cross reference for the Luke passage in Rhodes’ Bible. That is Jesus' very words in Luke. The Sirach passages and Luke 11:41 are a good match. But Rhodes decided to throw Sirach out of his bible because it is ‘unbiblical’! To be consistent he must throw out Luke as well.

This is also found in Rhodes’ Old Testament as well. The fact that good actions can atone for sins is reflected in Proverbs as well:

Proverbs 16:6: By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
Sin is atoned for by good works in Proverbs 16:6, despite Rhodes’ assertions. So, if Romans 3:20 contradicts Sirach, and that is the basis for throwing out Sirach, then Proverbs and Luke need to be thrown out as well. Either that or Romans 3 needs to be thrown out if Rhodes is consistent. Of course, neither Sirach, Romans, Luke, or Proverbs need to be thrown out, because these Scriptures are all inspired. It is Rhodes flawed interpretation that is at the root of the problem.

4) Now, in reference to the intercession of saints in Maccabees contradicting Matthew 6:9. The example in 2nd Maccabees is the prophet Jeremiah who is prayed to intercede for the believers. Here is the 2nd Maccabees quote in question:

2nd Macc. 15:12-15 12: What he saw was this: Onias, who had been high priest, a noble and good man, of modest bearing and gentle manner, one who spoke fittingly and had been trained from childhood in all that belongs to excellence, was praying with outstretched hands for the whole body of the Jews. 13: Then likewise a man appeared, distinguished by his gray hair and dignity, and of marvelous majesty and authority. 14: And Onias spoke, saying, "This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah, the prophet of God." 15: Jeremiah stretched out his right hand and gave to Judas a golden sword, and as he gave it he addressed him thus: 16: "Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with which you will strike down your adversaries."
Well, the Lord said Our Father who art in Heaven. Ok, He says to pray to the Father. 2nd Maccabees in fact does not say not to pray to the Father. And the Lord’s prayer does not say not to pray to saints in heaven, so actually that passage is sort of irrelevant to the issue. Now what is relevant is that saints, such as Jeremiah intercede for those on earth. We see this in protocanonical books as well. For example we see this in Jeremiah 15:1:
Then the LORD said to me, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go!
The prophet Jeremiah had been interceding for the people, who had abandoned God and turned to everybody and everything except him (Jer. 14). God refused to listen to Jeremiah’s pleading because of their wickedness. Then he says that Moses and Samuel were interceding for them!!! In the Old Testament, Moses and Samuel always interceded for their people (Ex. 32:11-14, Nm 14:11-25, 1 Sm 7:5-9, 12:19-23). Well, Moses and Samuel were both long physically dead, but now, during the time of Jeremiah, they were still interceding!!! Moses and Samuel had such charity, that God truly considered their prayers. But since the people were so wicked, even their intercession would not succeed. Even though God denied their prayers, it was because the people were so wicked, that they would get punished. Implied is that Moses and Samuel’s intercession was even more effective than the prophet Jeremiah, but they were not listened to only because of their wickedness. So, in the time of Jeremiah, there is intercession for people by Moses and Samuel. Now, in 2nd Maccabees, Jeremiah, who is in heaven is appealed to in order to intercede for Judas Maccabeus.

We also see in Revelation:

Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints
Rev. 6:9-10 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?"
The saints receive prayers from those on earth, and intercede for those on earth, just as Jeremiah is appealed to in 2nd Maccabees. Thus, the passage which Rhodes to, says nothing about not praying to Saints in heaven, while we have passages in both the Old and New Testament in Rhodes’ Bible which reflect the theology found in 2nd Maccabees. We will see more of this in responding to Rhodes‘ next complaint

5) Tobit 12 says nothing about the worship of angels. Here is what it says in context. Rhodes claims Tobit 12:12 teaches the adoration of angels. Let us see the passage in context, Tobit 12:11-17:

11: "I will not conceal anything from you. I have said, `It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God.' 12: And so, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed, I brought a reminder of your prayer before the Holy One; and when you buried the dead, I was likewise present with you. 13: When you did not hesitate to rise and leave your dinner in order to go and lay out the dead, your good deed was not hidden from me, but I was with you. 14: So now God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. 15: I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One." 16: They were both alarmed; and they fell upon their faces, for they were afraid. 17: But he said to them, "Do not be afraid; you will be safe. But praise God for ever.
Ok, Rhodes says this passage shows that the angel is worshipped. Instead, the angel was talking to Tobit and his son Tobias. He did not say worship me in Tobit 12:12. In Tobit 12:12, it says Rafael presents the prayer before God the Father, termed ‘the Holy One.‘ All he did was to assist them, just as Hebrews says that angels do (Heb. 1:14). Raphael the angel presents the prayers of the saints and enters the presence of God the Father. Raphael specifically speaks of the presence of the glorious one, God the Father, not himself, (v. 16). He tells Tobit and Tobias, Praise God forever, not praise Rafael forever. So there is absolutely no hint of Raphael being worshipped as God or commanding his worship. He intercedes for them, and gives the praise to God. So the Rhodes premise is false. Besides this, we see in Revelation, borrowing from Tobit 12, Rev. 8:2-4:
2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; 4 and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.
Just as Tobit 12 speaks about 7 angels before the throne of God offering prayers of saints, so does the book of Revelation. It is obvious that this passage found in the book of Revelation is borrowing from Tobit 12. They both have 1) 7 angels standing before 2)the throne of God 3)presenting the prayers of the saints. Actually Rhodes, by quoting Tobit 12 in an attempt to throw away its canonical status, shows that the apostle John definitely had this specific Scripture in mind and is borrowing from Tobit 12 in putting forth this passage in Revelation 8.

6) Rhodes says 2nd Maccabees is unbiblical because it speaks to the redemption of souls after death. Well, those in purgatory are already redeemed prior to going to the judgment. Purgatory is for cleansing, they’ve already been redeemed. Rhodes‘ passage supposedly against this is Heb. 9:27. All that passage says is that one dies only once and after death comes judgment. It says nothing about there being no purgatory, or cleansing not being necessary to be before the throne of God. Purgatory is in fact the final application of what Christ did on the cross, to the soul of one who needs cleansing. Purgatory does not say that one dies twice, which I guess Rhodes is implying so that passage is kind of irrelevant to Maccabees. But Maccabees reflects the belief of the Jews at the time, (and is still believed by Orthodox Jews today. For an example of prayers said by Jews today, look here: http://www.ou.org/yerushalayim/yizkor/laws.htm) where prayers are made for the dead. Nowhere in the New Testament is this belief system denied. Jesus and Paul and all the apostles were all aware of this. Now, if this system was wrong, it goes without saying that they would have refuted that belief. In fact, we see in passages in New Testament Scripture, the theology that is reflected in 2nd Maccabees 12. For example the following:

1 Cor.3:13-15 each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Mt. 5:22-26 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
We see the 1 Corinthians passage showing that after death, there is a judgment, just as in Heb. 9. But in the course of that judgment if ones works are good but not perfect, the person still will be saved, but only as through fire. Thus, there is a cleansing necessary. We also see in Matthew 5, in the context of judgment, Jesus saying, that if you sin, but not so much as going to hellfire (v. 22), there will be a time when one will be put in prison (an allusion to purgatory) until the debt is fully paid. Then one will get to go to heaven. Now, there are many other passages in Scripture which reflects the necessity of purgatory, a cleansing necessary to get into heaven. Here is one of several articles I’ve written which goes into detail on the above, and other passages which show the Biblical basis for purgatory I wrote on the issue: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/purgatory.html. But in any case Hebrews 9 the passage that Rhodes brought up does nothing to deny any concept of purgatory.


The Septuagint Argument is Flawed

Though it is true that the Septuagint includes the Apocrypha, many Protestant scholars have noted that while the Septuagint was first translated several centuries before the time of Christ, it apparently was not until the fourth century after Christ that the Apocrypha was appended to this translation. We know of no Septuagint manuscripts earlier than the fourth century that contain the Apocrypha, suggesting that the Apocrypha was not in the original Septuagint, Rhodes, p. 39.
The Septuagint is indeed quoted in the New Testament about 80% of the time so Rhodes tries to devalue that fact by saying that these books were not in the Septuagint. Because some manuscripts do not have the deuterocanonicals, does not mean that they were not there. In the first century, the Septuagint was circulated to Christians. The Fathers were handed the Septuagint by the Jews. The earliest writings that we have from the Fathers quote from the Deuterocanonicals just as they do the rest of the Septuagint:

Here are some examples from the first two centuries. We see in the letter of Barnabas, in the First century:

For the prophet speaks against Israel, "Woe to their soul, because they have counselled an evil counsel against themselves, (Isa. 3:9) saying, “Let us bind the just one, because he is displeasing to us.” (Wis. 2:12) And Moses also says to them, "Behold these things, saith the Lord God: Enter into the good land which the Lord swore [to give] to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit ye it, a land flowing with milk and honey.”(Exo. 33:1) Barnabus, The Letter of Barnabas, 6,7 ANF, vol. 1, p. 141 [AD 74].
Notice that right in the middle of quoting Isaiah, Barnabas, in the first century, quotes Wisdom, as a prophecy pointing towards Christ. Wisdom is termed prophetic, right alongside his quoting of Isaiah and Genesis.

Next, let us look at Clement of Rome, in an undisputed first century letter to the Corinthians

Let His faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Him. By the word of His might He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. "Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done?” or, "Who shall resist the power of His strength?" (Wis 12:12). When and as He pleases He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away (Mt. 24:35). Pope Clement of Rome, (Letter to the Corinthians 27 [ca. A.D. 80], Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Anti-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts, 1995, p. 12. [70 AD]
The Word of his might, determined by Clement, is Wisdom 12, right alongside a quotation of Matthew. Clement refers to Wisdom in the same way that he refers to Matthew.
You shall not waver with regard to your decisions [Sir. 1:28]. Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving [Sir. 4:31]" (Didache 4:5 [A.D. 70]).
The Didache, which is termed ‘The teaching of the apostles’ is also a first century document. The Didache also refers to Sirach as Scripture.

When you can do good, defer it not, because "alms delivers from death" (Tob. 12:9, 4:10), Be all of you subject one to another (1 Pet. 5:5), having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles,” (1 Pet. 2:12). Polycarp of Smyrna, (Letter to the Philadelphians 10 [A.D. 135]), Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Anti-Nicene Fathers, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts, 1995, p. 35.
Right in the middle of his quoting Scripture such as 1st Peter, Polycarp refers to Tobit as Scripture.

Thus, the Septuagint, by the quotations of these Fathers, where they are treated in the exact same fashion as the rest of Scripture, includes these books, and any attempt to say that the Septuagint does not include them, ignores the witness of the Fathers, who had access to the Septuagint in the first century. Thus, these quotation from the Church Fathers conclusively prove that Septuagint included the Deuterocanonicals. The Fathers who existed quoted them, so even if there is not a large body of manuscripts of the first century that still remain, those manuscripts existed, with those books. If they did not exist, the 1st Century Church Fathers, could not have quoted them, along in the same manner as the rest of Scripture. But Rhodes assertion that there is no evidence from the first few centuries that the Deuterocanonical were included in the Septuagint is also denied by the following:

Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible 1963) At first the LXX [Septuagint] was highly regarded by all the Jews; it spread from Egypt to the whole Jewish Diaspora and became the official Bible Greek-speaking Judaism. The New Testament writers, writing in Greek for Greek-speaking people, usually quoted from the OT according to the LXX [Septuagint]. Naturally, therefore, the LXX also became the official Old Testament of the early Church, and it is still the official Old Testament of the Greek Church, of both the Uniate and the Schismatic Christians. However, after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., when Jewish opposition to Christianity became more pronounced and Judaism crystalized in its rabbinical form, the LXX [Septuagint], though originally made by Jews for Jews, was frowned on by the Jews as a quasi-Christian book."
Portions of the LXX were found in Judea among the Dead Sea Scrolls... which dated to before 70 A.D. Some examples are those found in Cave 4, 119LXXLev. 120papLXX Lev. 121LXXNum. 122LXXDuet. And then there is Q9 [a unidentified Greek LXX text], found in Cave Nine....

It is important to note that in the caves of the Qumran [the "Dead sea scrolls" findings] was found copy [scroll 2QSir] a of the book of Ecclesiasticus (The Wisdom of ben Sira) in the Hebrew . Also A fragment [scroll 4Q551] The Story of Susanna [ch. 13 of the book of Dan.] in the Hebrew. And in cave four of the Qumran. fragments of the "Apocrypha" book of Tobit were found in Cave four. These fragments of the book of Tobit are in Aramaic [scrolls 4Q196-9] as well as Hebrew [scroll 4Q200]. It should be noted that the Qumran caves are not the only place in Judea where some of the "Apocryphal"" books have been found. Another example is the copy of the book of Ecclesiasticus (The Wisdom of ben Sira) in the Hebrew was also found in the ruins of Masada. This scroll fragment dates from the early first century BC.


The Catacomb Argument is not Convincing

The fact that some scenes from the Apocrypha are portrayed on the walls of catacombs does not mean the apocryphal books are canonical. It simply means that some of the events recorded in apocryphal books were meaningful enough to some people that they drew pictures on he wall Drawings on walls are hardly a test for canonicity, Rhodes, pp. 39-40.
No one says that drawings on walls are a ‘test’ for canonicity. This is just another piece that Christians treated the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. The catacombs were primarily burial places for Christians. They were used in emergency cases, to be places to celebrate the Eucharist. Within the catacombs, important symbols of the faith would be drawn. Within the drawings, there are images of things that were in the Old and New Testament. And in those drawings, reflect important symbols of lives of those believers. And of course, this reflects that the Deuterocanonicals are placed on the same level as the rest of the Old and New Testaments.

The Church Council Argument is not Convincing

As noted above, Roman Catholics often argue that the Council of Rome (A.D. 382), the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393), and the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), accepted the Apocrypha. This may seem like a strong argument at first sight. But the fact that different Church councils held during different time periods have come to differing conclusions on certain matters proves one thing: Church councils are not infallible. Only God and His Word are infallible. Human beings and their councils make mistakes, Rhodes, p. 40.
For those set in their ways to follow someone who threw out books of the Bible, and come up with reasons to throw them out, and refuse to hear the true evidence, nothing will convince them. Rhodes starts off by throwing out an argument that has no basis in fact. There have been 21 Ecumenical Councils and each have affirmed the doctrines from all the earlier ones. There have been not contrary conclusions on the same matter. And it is telling, that not only local, regional councils such as the Councils points us to, but all popes spoken on the matter, and all the Ecumenical Councils that mentioned the matter, affirmed these books as Scripture. There is no council that said one thing on one doctrine, and the direct opposite in another Council. So the premise that Rhodes speaks from is false. In fact there is not one even local council for 15 centuries that has confirmed Rhodes’ set of books for the Old Testament. The councils are unanimous in confirming the Catholic books, and all the Catholic books. All the Fathers who spoke on these books accepted these books as Scripture as referred to in my other piece. Those Councils just confirmed that all the books that had been accepted by the Fathers and affirmed their long accepted status. As noted before, even the Fathers trotted out by Rhodes as rejecting those books called them Scripture and went to them in support of doctrine.

Now, in reference to human beings being fallible, and only Scripture is infallible. That is a nice theory thrown out to rationalize the Sola Scriptura position. The apostles themselves were fallible. They were sinners, as evidenced in any reading of the gospels. However, that did not stop some of them from writing Scriptures. Scripture itself shows that fallible people, if guided by the Spirit, can be infallible. Otherwise Scripture would not be inerrant. If God could protect humans through the Holy Spirit from making errors when writing, why could He not, through the Holy Spirit do the same through His Church? If we are going to be sure on what the Scripture is, we would want an infallible Church to assure that what we have is Scripture. And that is exactly the way that Christ did it. We do know even in Scripture, that a Church Council, guided by the Holy Spirit, can be infallible. We see for example, on the doctrinal issue on the necessity of circumcision, headed by Peter, (Acts 15:6-13), the Church came to the infallible decision that circumcision was not necessary. And the Church in Council said that it was guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:25-29, especially v. 28) in making both infallible doctrinal decree (that circumcision was no longer necessary (v. 10-12, v.19), and necessary rules that were not infallible (by abstaining from food offered to idols, etc. vs. 20, 28-29).

Some of the councils, such as the local councils of Hippo and Carthage in North Africa, were heavily influenced by Augustine, the most powerful voice of ancient times that accepted the Apocrypha. However, Geisler and MacKenzie have provided strong evidence that shows how ill-founded Augustine’s position was. Among other things, they note that Augustine was fully aware that the ancient Jews rejected these apocryphal books. Further, Augustine felt the apocryphal books belonged in the Bible because of their mention “of extreme and wonderful sufferings of certain martyrs,” which is hardly a criteria for canonicity. Further, Augustine seems to have accepted the apocryphal books as canonical largely based on the fact that these books were contained in the Septuagint of his day. As we have noted, though, there is evidence to suggest that the original Septuagint did not contain the Apocrypha, Rhodes, p. 40.
This critique of St. Augustine is selective, because if he was against the Deuterocanonicals, you would be sure that Rhodes and Geisler would cite him in support of their position. In fact, Augustine was not misinformed on the issue. In reality, we have seen Rhodes and Geisler misinform their readers about Jerome’s true position on the Scriptures. Nonetheless, in the year 382, Pope Damasus had the council of Rome before Augustine was even Catholic!!! He couldn’t have had influence when he wasn’t even Catholic!!! The Council of Rome, based on the tradition of the Churches, declared the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture in 382. Now, St. Augustine was present at the Council of Hippo in 393 AD, but had little influence because at the time, he was not even a bishop yet!!! He was a new convert who had no vote at all. So St. Augustine was not influential at two of the three Councils mentioned. Both Councils before St. Augustine had any significant influence at all, had already decided, based on tradition, that the Deuterocanonical books were Scripture, along with the New Testament. Now in 398 the Bishop did have an influence on the Council of Carthage. However, it wasn’t as though he dictatorially decided the Scriptures on that one, let alone at the other ones where he little or no influence. Now, Pope Innocent in 405, approved the canons arrived at in Carthage and Hippo in his letter to the bishop of Tolouse. In 419, in the next Council of Carthage at which no doubt Augustine had influence, approved the canon of Hippo of 393 AD, which he had no influence at all. And Pope Boniface in 419 approved this canon and made it binding upon all believers. So this was an infallible decree, and it was binding on all Christians. Art Sippo notes about the 419 Council of Carthage decree:
In his History of the Church, Philip Schaff makes the following comment about the canons promulgated by this council:
These things produced a change in the opinions of [Pope] Zosimus, and about the middle of the year 418, he issued an encyclical letter to all the bishops of both East and West, pronouncing the anathema upon Pelagius and Coelestius (who had meanwhile left Rome), and declaring his concurrence with the decisions of the council of Carthage in the doctrines of the corruption of human nature, of baptism, and of grace. Whoever refused to subscribe to the encyclical, was to be deposed, banished from his church, and deprived of his property.
Now in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 14, 2nd Series, it confirms that the year was 419, and Boniface was the Pope at the time, but in any case, there is no proof that St. Augustine was the decider of what was the Scriptures. It was affirmed before he came to even be a Catholic bishop.

BTW in addressing one of Rhodes’ other objections, that Augustine was wrong because the Jews rejected the Deuterocaonicals, that is totally irrelevant. The Jews were in a state of flux on the status of the canon, at the time of Christ, on whether the Deuterocanonicals were Scripture or not. They had not finalized the canon of even the protocanonical books. In any case, Jesus gave his authority to ‘bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loose on heaven’ to the Church to the Church (Mt. 16:18, 18:18), not to Christ rejecting Jews.

Of course Rhodes repeats the theory that the 1st Century Septuagint didn’t include the Deuterocanonicals, and thus St. Augustine was mistaken. However, as already noted, the Church Fathers quoted from the Septuagint the Deuterocanonicals in the first century so that is proof that Rhodes theory is incorrect in and of itself. St. Augustine was right, and not mistaken.


Tests of Canonicity

Rhodes gives us a test on what is canonical. He gives his own theory on what is the test for what is Scripture. After giving his analysis that the 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament apparently pass the test but the Deuterocanonicals do not, he gives us his tests:

Measuring the Apocrypha against these tests shows the Apocrypha falls far short of the Old and New Testaments.

1) The books were not written by prophets or apostles of God.

2) The books do not ring with the sense of "thus saith the Lord."

3) The books contradict doctrines revealed in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

4) While some church fathers used the books for devotional purposes, the books nevertheless fail to have the transforming effects of the Old and New Testaments.

5) The books, for the most part, were not accepted on a broad scale by the people of God-at least not until 1500 years later when the Catholic Council of Trent pronounced them canonical, Rhodes, pp. 41-42.

Let us go over these items one by one:

1) Who is Rhodes to determine what a prophet is? Where does the Bible say that in order to be Scripture, it must be written by a prophet? He gives a citation of Deuteronomy 18:18, which only says that one can find out who a prophet is, if what they predict comes true. It doesn’t say Scripture is Scripture only if written by a prophet. Where is Esther mentioned as a prophet? Is there any hint that 1st and 2nd Chronicles are written by prophets? Where does Ecclesiastes come off as ‘prophetic’? Mark and Luke were neither prophets or apostles, so that would eliminate some New Testament books as well. Besides that, the Book of Wisdom, one of the books that Rhodes rejects as non-prophetic, specifically prophecies how Christ would be killed and he would be taunted by his enemies as one who claims to be the Son of God:

Wis. 2:18-20 18 for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him (See Mt. 27:43) from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."
If this is not prophetic about God’s Son, I don’t know what is.

Besides that, as we have seen, many of the Fathers that Rhodes allege deny the Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonicals, speak of the writers of these books as 'prophets', and verify their Scriptural status.

2) What objective criteria does Rhodes use to say that these books do not ring with the sense of ‘thus saith the Lord’? When one reads 2nd or 3rd John, or 1st and 2nd Chronicles, or the letter of Philemon, or Ecclesiastes does one just say, "This is definitely God’s Word"? No, it is only one's tradition that one has come to believe in, that says that this is God’s Word, and this is not. Rhodes grudgingly borrows from the Catholic Church. Otherwise, the Rhodes approach is pure subjectivism based on feelings alone. This 'criteria' is similar to the Mormons 'burning in the bosom' mentality of identifying Scripture (which they use to 'validate' the Book of Mormon.) No one can honestly say, "Well, this feeling comes to me, when I read the Letter of Paul to Philemon, it rings: ‘thus saith the Lord.’" When one reads the book of Numbers, and all the dietary laws that are there, or the genealogies, where does one get a feeling this says ‘thus saith the Lord?’ This is purely a subjective bias of Rhodes with no objective criteria given.

3) The idea that the Deuterocanonicals contradict Scriptural Doctrines is another purely subjective assertion by Rhodes. Any criteria applied to the Deuterocanonicals as contradicting other Scriptures can be applied to other New and Old Testament books. In fact there are many books written by Protestant Scholars who will recognize 'apparent' contradictions within the New and Old Testament 66 books. They will rightly say that they are only ‘apparent contradictions’, not real contradictions. Books have been written by Protestants (and Catholics as well) to explain why one Scripture does not contradict another one both in fact and in doctrine. For example, James 2:24 and Romans 4:3 seem to teach different doctrines on salvation and whether one is saved by faith alone or by faith plus works. However, all Christians recognize the fact that both James and Romans are Scripture, and there must be a way to reconcile those Scriptures. One can find many things in Scriptures that can appear to be contradictory. Christians make an attempt to reconcile, or explain how the various Scriptures can be reconciled. The style of writing must be taken into account when studying the biblical texts. However, when it comes to the Deuterocanonicals, Protestants will see one passage that they can jump on and automatically say "See, that is not Scriptural and it contradicts other Scriptures. Therefore it is not Scripture." They make no effort at all to see how the Deuterocanonical passages that they claim contradict other passages can be reconciled while at the same time they will jump hoops to reconcile apparent discrepancies between non-Deuterocanonical books. Protestants will often times even misrepresent what the Deuterocanonical book teaches, misrepresent the teaching on the matter in the New or Old Testament, and then say ‘voila’, the "Apocrypha" contradicts Scripture. (In fact that is what Rhodes did in his book, p. 38) This proves nothing against the Deuterocanonicals.

4) The idea that in order to be Scripture it must transform the lives of believers is another subjective criteria. If I look at 2nd Maccabees 7, we see heroic displays of virtue, where those who knew what God’s laws were, and refused to violate the laws that God had given them, instead of violating that law subjected themselves to torture and eventually death, with their Mother also refusing to violate God’s law. They looked forward to the 'resurrection of life'. That is a very New Testament concept. I have never been called to that type of thing, and I hope to never have to, but this example is transformative to me. I go through nothing like that, but nonetheless that example encourages me to do what God wants me to do. The book of Wisdom’s prophecy of Christ in Wisdom 2:12-20 encourages me with even further evidence that Christ fulfills prophecy. The example of Judith helps to transform my life. The book of Wisdom and Sirach gives further evidence of good wisdom that transforms lives. True, not all portions of the Deuterocanonicals transform lives. That is like many portions of the rest of the Bible, such as Ecclesiastes ("all is vanity"), Philemon, the portions of Scripture that have lots of names without commentary, rules about dietary laws, in and of themselves don’t seem to transform lives. That does not mean that if books of Scripture does not transform lives, it is not inspired Scripture.

5) The idea that Rhodes gives that God’s people would automatically receive the words as God’s word is not true. The idea that he inferred by saying that the Deuterocanonicals were not accepted by the people of God is mistaken. Some protocanonical books were written a long long time before they were accepted. The Jews, who were God’s people had many factions, as mentioned before, and there was no agreement on what was the Jewish Scriptures. For example, the song of Solomon, written about 1000 years before, was still in question on its status during even after the Council of Jamnia which was 60 years after the Church was established. Esther, for the portions that Rhodes has, does not even use the term God (the Deuterocanonical portions of Esther that Catholics use, does use and refer explicitly to God). Many Jews who had the Septuagint, accepted the Deuterocanonical books as Scripture. They were much more askance on these books after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD. For the Church, in the New Testament, James, Hebrews, 2nd & 3rd John, Philemon, Revelation was in dispute until the late 4th century when the Church’s Councils in the late 4th century, ratified their canonicity. Now, despite the fact that this premise was incorrect, (that it must be practically unanimously considered by the people of God immediately in order for it to be Scripture), even if that premise was correct, he would be incorrect on this issue. Why do I say that? Because the people of God did accept these books from the beginning. We have seen that the Church Fathers did accept them, in fact almost unanimously!! Even the Fathers that Rhodes trotted out saw these books as inspired Scripture. J.N.D. Kelly, respected Anglican historian notes this about the first few centuries of the Christian Church:

It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the [Protestant Old Testament] . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha or deutero-canonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was . . . the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. .. . most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew.. . . In the first two centuries. . . the Church seems to have accept all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture. Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. . . Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache [cites] Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary" Early Christian Doctrines, p. 53-54.
So the Church did receive these books as Scripture.

Hebrews 11:35-A Citation from the Apocrypha?

Hebrews 11:35 is a clear reference to 2nd Maccabees 6-7. However, because it is not specifically quoted, Rhodes tries to downplay this fact. Here is his critique of Catholic attempts to use Hebrews 11:35 as referring to 2nd Maccabees 6-7 as Scripture:

Note that even if this verse alludes to an apocryphal book, it is definitely not a quotation from it. In fact, there is not a single clear quotation in the New Testament of any apocryphal book. This is completely unlike the Old Testament books, for these books are quoted consistently throughout the New Testament, Rhodes, p. 44.
As we see the next comments he will make, we will see here that Rhodes will basically talk out of both sides of his mouth. For now though, he first makes a big thing out of the fact that this Hebrews 11:35 does not say, as ‘Scripture says’, or ‘as it says in Maccabees’. And the fact that there is not a single reference in the New Testament that specifically gives a specific quotation and says ‘this book is Scripture‘, he makes a big thing about it. We have already seen many references to the Deuterocanonical books even though they do not say ‘Scripture says’. However, in many cases throughout Scripture specific references are not always preceded by specific quotation marks. Especially here in Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 is referring to the heroes of faith. For example in Heb. 11:4-5 Paul writes that by faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, and was killed. He does not quote Genesis, but we all know that he is referring to Genesis 4:3-8. Even without the quotation. The same thing goes with his reference to Noah, where he mentions Noah and his ark. Now no one in his right mind would think that this is not a reference to Noah and the ark in Genesis 6. The same goes with references to Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, etc, all throughout Hebrews 11 with many, many references. There is only one citation of a specific quote in 11:18, surrounded by other references without quotes. Even without the quotation, it is unquestionable that Paul is referring to those passages in Genesis. As Paul proceeds in chapter 11, he gives more references to other books and people in the Bible. Over 20 people and or events are referred to that are biblical, and in only one of them is there a specific citation. The same goes with Hebrews 11:35. Just as we know that Hebrews 11:4 refers to Genesis 4, we also know that Hebrews 11:35 refers to 2nd Maccabees 7. Let us take a look at this verse, Hebrews 11:35:
a)Women received their dead by resurrection. b)Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life
There are a couple of examples of women receiving back their dead by resurrection in the Protestant Old Testament. You can find Elijah raising the son of the widow of Zarepheth in 1 Kings 17, and you can find his successor Elisha raising the son of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4. So the first part of Hebrews 11:35, is unquestionably referring to Scripture. But one thing you can never find -- anywhere in the Protestant Old Testament, from front to back, from Genesis to Malachi -- is someone being tortured and refusing to accept release for the sake of a better resurrection, as mentioned in the 2nd part of Hebrews 11:35. That is what is specifically mentioned in 2nd Maccabees 7:
2: One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, "What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers."
8 He replied in the language of his fathers, and said to them, "No." Therefore he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done. 9: 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."
12 "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" 13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!"
Even the mother saw this hope:
22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws."
29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.
35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God.
The background is that a King was demanding that they eat meats that were forbidden by the Mosaic Laws. Not only in this chapter is there a heroic display of courage in the face of the torture that Hebrews 11:35 speaks of, but in the passages I highlight here, we see that the brothers and the mother 6 times refer to the hope of a resurrection of life!!! That is more of a mention here of resurrection than in all the rest of the Old Testament passages combined. There is nothing in the protocanonical Scriptures that says people endured torture in the hope of rising again.

Thus, in the context of the many references in Hebrews 11 that specifically points us to Scripture, without actual citations, 2nd Maccabees is unquestionably referred to in this passage. Just as Heb. 11:35 in the first part of the verse refers to 2nd Kings, the second part of this verse refers to Maccabees on the same level as 2nd Kings. It is irrelevant that it is not a specific citation.

Now, back to Rhodes point, there is no, ‘even if‘, Hebrews 11:35 is unquestionably referring to 2n Maccabees 7.

Then Rhodes other statement about ‘there is not a single clear quotation in the New Testament of any apocryphal book. This is completely unlike the Old Testament books, for these books are quoted consistently throughout the New Testament’ is absolutely false. The following books, almost 1/3rd of the number of books of the Protestant Old Testament are nowhere quoted or even alluded to in the New Testament: Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, and Nahum. If Rhodes had that standard for these books, his canon would have 27 instead of 39 books. Of course he doesn’t mention that.

Also note that even if there were a citation of an apocryphal book in the New Testament, that in itself does not prove the apocryphal book belongs in the canon of Scripture or that it is inspired by God....We must keep in mind that the Bible even alludes to pseudepigraphal books (pseudepigrapha means “false writings”) such as the “Bodily Assumption of Moses” (see Jude 9). Even Roman Catholic reject that book as belonging in the canon. The Bible also quotes from pagan poets and philosophers (see Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12; 1 Corinthians 15:33), but that does not mean these writings are inspired or belong in the canon, Rhodes, p. 35.
Now, of course, he says even if there were references to the Deuterocanonicals (as Heb. 11:35 clearly is, and there is not even a possibility of it being something else besides 2nd Macc. 7), it wouldn’t mean anything. Here is where Rhodes talks out of both sides of the mouth. In his opening attack on the Deuterocanonicals he was claiming it wasn’t Scripture because it was not quoted. Now, he says even if was a citation it wouldn’t prove anything!!! Well, hello there, make up your mind!!! He tries to attack because there is not a specific quotation from 2nd Maccabees (just as in all of Hebrews 11 there are more than 20 references to Scripture but only one specific citation) and that is the grounds to reject that as well as the rest of the Deuterocanonical books. He puts his eggs in the same basket that would eliminate 12 of the books that he accepts. Then he says, well that doesn’t even mean anything because even if it did it still doesn’t mean it is Scripture???? The Catholic can’t win for losing!!! Then why did Rhodes bring up that point in the first place!!! His second attack on the Deuterocanonicals cancels out his first attack within two paragraphs, pp. 44-45!!! But the point of the Catholic referring to Hebrews 11:35b is to show that 2nd Maccabees is treated in the same way as 2nd Kings (Heb. 11:35a) in the very same verse. He knows there is no alternative reference for Heb. 11:35b, so he must explain that away. Then he says, ‘well the Body Assumption of Moses’ is in there so even if it refers to Heb. 11:35, it means nothing!!! Then don’t brag about how the protocanonicals are quoted. Then, it really doesn’t matter that the protocanonicals are quoted!!! And besides that, the comparison of ‘The Bodily Assumption of Moses’ to the Deuterocanonical books won’t work. The Bodily Assumption of Moses was never regarded by the writers of Scripture as Scripture. However, Jesus and the apostles had the Septuagint in their possession, which did not include the ‘Bodily Assumption of Moses.’ It did include the 2nd book of Maccabees. The pagan poet citation (Acts 17, Titus 1) was not part of the Septuagint, but the Deuterocanonicals were. The Church Councils unanimously put the Deuterocanonicals in the canon, but did not include the pagan poets. The Church Fathers who wrote on the issue quoted and treated the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture, but never cited the Cretan poets as Scripture. When the Christians went to the catacombs, they had drawing and symbols that pointed to the Deuterocanonicals, just as the rest of Scripture, and they did not have drawings for pagan poets. Thus, even this backup attempt to attack the Deuterocanonicals, falls flat.

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