Response to Another Attack on the Deuterocanonicals

Response to Another Attack on the Deuterocanonicals

First Half - Discussion on Tobit, Lying and Sorcery
Second Half - Jews and the Canon, Inspiration, Josephus, Jamnia, & Wisdom 2

By Matt1618

I wrote a paper critiquing an online critique of the Deuterocanonicals. That paper is here: I received an email from a Protestant who argued that my arguments defending the Deuterocanonicals were insufficient. I respond here to that critique of my article on the issue. The emailer’s words are in green, and you will see my response. You will see all Scriptures quoted in black, whether when I quote Scriptures, or when the emailer quotes Scripture.

Before I bring his comments in and my response I want to give the background of what he is talking about in the book of Tobit. He asserts the book has an angel both lying and committing sorcery, and that is one of the reasons why the book of Tobit should be denied canonical status. In the book of Tobit, there is an angel of the Lord, Raphael, who meets Tobias, the son of Tobit, who is to go on a journey, Tobit 5. Raphael says that he is a kinsman with the name of Azaraias. In Tobit 6 they catch a large fish. They eat the fish and the angel tells them to cut out and take the heart , liver and gall from the fish (Tob. 6:3-5). He instructs Tobias to take for his wife Sarah, the daughter of Raguel. There has been a demon who had killed seven men seven different times in the bridal chamber when they were about to be in Sarah’s embrace. When Tobias tells Raphael about all the men who died in their bridal chamber, Raphael tells Tobias to not worry but to take live ashes of incense and put on the incense the heart and liver of the fish they had just eaten. Then Tobias is told the demon will flee and never return, and God will save him. Raphael tells Tobias that no harm shall come to him, Tob. 6:15-18. Raguel is the father of Sarah, knows Tobit and tells Tobias about the 7 men who had been killed in the bridal chamber. Tobias, because of Raphael’s encouragement, agrees to marry Sarah. Raguel then introduces Tobias to Sarah, Tob. 7:1. Tobias takes the heart and the liver of the fish and puts it on live ashes of incense and made smoke just as Raphael instructed, Tob. 8:2-5. Raphael binds the demon and the demon flees and Tobias is safe. Both Raguel and Tobias give praise to God for his mercy and greatness (Tob. 8:5-6, 14-17). Tobit had gone blind in the meantime. Next Raphael instructs Tobias when he greets his father Tobit, to take the gall that he had gotten from the fish, and anoints him with the gall on his eyes Tob. 11:7. This then cures Tobit’s blindness, Tob. 11:11-13. Tobit praises God for all that happened, Tob. 11:17-18. Raphael then reveals to Tobit and Tobias that he is an angel, and gives praise to God. Then he reveals that he is Raphael one of the seven holy angels, Tob. 12:6-15. Then in Tobit 13 Tobit writes a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God. This needs to be said as background to the following comments by the emailer.

God bless,
I come to you as a servant in Christ. I read your refutal of the refutal of the apocrypha books that Roman Catholicism has included into the accepted canon of scriptural books. I don't want to make this essay too long, but I wanted to address a couple of points, mainly with the book of Tobit.
God bless you as well. Ok, we will see.
1)Rafael lies from the outset to Tobias about who he is and encourages Tobias to use magic or sorcery to ward off a demon.
Angels do not always reveal from the beginning who they are. We will see that in the example of the angels that came to Abraham in Genesis 18 and Lot in Genesis 19. They are spiritual beings but can give appearances as men at times, and act as men at times as well. That is why Hebrews 13:2 says:
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Angels are not required to announce themselves as angels and in many cases appear as men. That is what Hebrews 13 means. Hebrews tells us we may entertain angels and not know it. That is the only way that people can entertain them unaware. We can only not know it, if they act as men and do not reveal to us that they are angels. Do you thus charge all the angels mentioned in Hebrews 13 as liars? If Hebrews 13 is correct, if someone asks them what their name is, they must give a name of a human being. Otherwise they would make the human being `aware.’ Thus, angels do not have to say who they are. In any case, ultimately in Tobit, Raphael does announce that he is an angel, Tobit 12:11-14:
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."
Thus, yes it is chapters after Tobit 5, but the angel ultimately does reveal who he is. Notice how closely this resembles the book of Revelation. He is one of the seven holy angels of God, who presents prayers of the saints and enters the presence of the Holy One. The book of Revelation tells us something very similar, 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.
In the book of Revelation, John quite probably drew from this passage in Tobit to speak about the seven angels, who present prayers of the saints in heaven before the throne of God. These prayers ascend before God. So this reference to the book of Tobit in fact shows how consonant this book is with the rest of divine revelation.

What about your charge that Raphael's initial proclamation of who he is was ‘lying’? Yes, he conceals in the very beginning who he was, in line with Hebrews 13. Most angels do not just start off by saying, ‘hey, I am an angel.’ Now in Tobit 5, the angel does say that he is a kinsman. He also says his name is Azarias, the son of Ananias. But what do those names mean, and is that lying?

A commentary sheds some light on this:

Some have wondered that the Angel should apparently tell a lie. In reality there is no question of a lie. The heavenly messenger had every right to conceal the truth of his identity, which he does by playing on the Hebrew names ‘Azaarius’ (Heb. ‘The Lord has given aid.‘.) and ‘Ananias’ (Heb. ‘The Lord is clement.’) which truthfully describe his particular mission. Admittedly, there is always something mysterious from our viewpoint about the appearances in human form of the Angels as they are described in Sacred Scripture. Such phenomena have no analogy in the natural order, and so, human terminology is usually inadequate to describe them. In this case it could well be that the Angel is expressing, by approximation, a twofold reality: his angelic nature and his appearance in human form. Thus when he says that he is ‘of the children of Israel’ (5:7), and that he is a ‘kinsman’ of Tobias senior (5:14) he means: ‘I though an angel of God, have taken, at God’s command, the human form of the individual Israelite Azarias.’ The language is vague and involved, but it is not false. The book of Tobias by D. F. Devine, A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Orchard, Thomas Nelson & Sons, page 399, New York, 1953.
He healed Tobit and saved Tobias from death and sent a demon fleeing from a woman. He did God's work.

Now, about the idea that the angel encourages sorcery or magic to ward off demons. This apparently is based on the angel telling Tobias to use a fish’ heart liver to ward off demons (Tobit 6:3-7, 8:2-3). If God will use matter in some way to ward off demons, that is not ‘magic‘. If God gives approval to such actions it is not magic.

In the Old Testament we had a pagan show a response similar to your outrage about this supposed ‘magic’ in reference to not using fish matter, but water.

2 Kings 5:9-14:

9: So Na'aman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the door of Eli'sha's house. 10: And Eli'sha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." 11: But Na'aman was angry, and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper. 12: Are not Aba'na and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. 13: But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, if the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when he says to you, `Wash, and be clean'?" 14: So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Well, apparently you are talking like Naman, who at first refused to do what the prophet Elisha instructed him to do. He said he should ‘wave his hand’ so God can do his work. Apparently God wanted Naman to take the step of dipping down into the water, before he would get healed. It is not the water itself, but God responding to an act of faith, using that water to heal people. If he can do that with water, why can he not do it with other things, even such things as fish matter? I know now one associates water with cleansing and so forth and it does not seem strange, but it was strange at the time. One does not normally associate fish matter with cleansing, but if water is matter, and its use is not ‘magic’ why is fish matter, which is also matter, suddenly termed ‘magic’? If one is not magic, then the other is not magic.

We see this in the New Testament as well. Jesus in John 9:6-7 does the following:

6 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, 7 saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Silo'am" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
Here Jesus spits, makes clay of spittle anoints the man’s eye with this spit. Not only does Jesus do that, but he also makes the Blind man wash in the pool of Siloam. In the book of Tobit, Tobias applies gall to the eyes of his Father Tobit, Tob. 11:7-13, and he then can see. On what grounds is Jesus applying clay mixed with spit not magic, and Tobit doing the same with fish gall ‘magic’?

In the gospel of Mark, we find a parallel to Tobit’s use of matter in a healing. Mark 6:7, 13 says.

7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.
The disciples anointed people with oil and healed people. Notice that oil, matter is used also in association with unclean spirits being cast out. The matter here is oil instead of fish matter, but still, it is matter used as a means by God to heal. At the same time demons are being expelled. How is that not sorcery but Tobit 8 sorcery? We also see in James 5:13-16 oil used by God as a means of healing. If the actions found in the gospel of John, James, Mark, 2nd Kings, etc. can not be termed magic and sorcery, then neither can the actions found in the book of Tobit be charged with sorcery.
Now, in the book of 1 Kings, chapter 22 and verses 18-22, Ahab king of Israel contacts favorable prophets to proclaim victory for him in his upcoming war against Ramoth-Gilead. Only the true prophet of God, Micaiah, predicted the real outcome, the fall of the king. Yahweh allowed lying spirits to entice the false prophets so that Micaiah would prophecy for the Lord. The lying spirits resulted in disaster and destruction for Ahab. QUITE the contrary to the story of Tobit in which a lying spirit promised prosperity and gave it. Lying spirits in real scripture only do wicked things.
The premise is incorrect. Raphael was a true angel. He promised and gave healing. He is one of the seven angels who just as in the book of Revelation present the prayers of the saints to God, does so as well in the book of Tobit. Rapahel was not a lying spirit, his name means God anoints, and God heals. The false prophets in 1 Kings gave explicitly false prophecies. Raphael was sent by God, and he was God’s instrument to heal people and correctly predicted what would happen. Quite different.
2)In Genesis chapter 18, Abraham had always KNOWN the three men were angels, and they weren't just angels, one of them was the Lord HIMSELF manifested in flesh for Abraham to see. There never was any deception on the part of the Lord and His angels. They had always intended for Abraham to know they were who they were. It's very clear in Scripture: Genesis 18:1-5
"Yahweh appeared to him at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and bowed to the ground. "My Lord," he said. "I beg you, if I find favor with you, kindly do not pass your servant by. A little water shall be brought; you shall wash your feet and lie down under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you shall refresh yourselves before going further. That is why you have come in your servant's direction." They replied "Do as you say."
It's clear as day Abraham knew God before him and was never deceived, nor did God intend to deceive him.
First, in Genesis 18 nowhere does it say that the angels told him that they were angels. Scripture says that he saw 3 men. He bows to the men, but that gives no indication that he is aware that they are angels. The angels in Genesis 18 initially give the indication that they were men. The fact that Lot bows down before them does not mean that he knew they were angels any more than the fact that Jacob bowed before Esau indicates that he thought that his brother was an angel, Gen. 33:3. Giving a respectful bow in both cases is just that, respectful bows to men. Abraham thought they were men. Abraham gives no idea that he is aware that this is an incarnation of Jesus.

Next when he says ‘My lord’, that does not indicate that Abraham thought either the men were angels or believes he thought that they were an incarnation of Jesus. That was just a respectful greeting. Sarah herself called Abraham my lord, Gen. 18:12. She didn’t think that Abraham was God or an angelic being. Ephron called Abraham my lord twice in Genesis 23 (vv. 11, 15), without Abraham even being thought of anything more than a human being. Rebekah calls Abraham’s servant ‘my lord’, Genesis 24:18. Thus, Abraham‘s greeting of ‘my lord’ gives us no idea that he thought these 3 angels were anything more than men.

In Genesis 19, Lot also knew the angels before him. Again, no clear intent by the angels to decieve him was ever established. Verses 2-3 reads just like chapter 18 with Abraham, as Lot did as Abraham did and served his angelic hosts. No deception, nothing remotely like Rafael in TOBIT.
You are making straw men by saying that I am arguing that the angels deceived Abraham. I am not saying that. It is just that they did not initially reveal who they were to Abraham in Genesis 18, just like Raphael did not deceive them in Tobit 5. Both Abraham and Tobias fed them as men. In Genesis 18 Abraham had Sarah make food consisting of cakes, as well as a calf. If he 'always' knew they were angels, why did he give them food when angels do not require food for sustenance? People do however. He watched them while they ate (Gen. 19:7-8). This is similar to the angels eating with Tobit, Tobit 6:3.
Also, I think you completely misread all of Chapter 19 because the men Lot offered his daughter to were the citizens of Sodom who were hunting down the angels that came before Lot! It's clear in scripture:

Gen. 19:4-8

"They had not gone to bed when the house was surrounded by the men of the town, the men of Sodom both young and old, all the people without exception. Calling to Lot they said, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so that we may abuse them." "Lot came out to them, at the door, and having closed the door behind him said 'I beg you, my brothers, do no such wicked thing. Listen, I have two daughters who are virgins. I am ready to send them out to you, to treat as it pleases you. But as for the men, do nothing to them, for they have come under the shadow of my roof."
In the next few verses, the angels blinded the men who were forcing themselves into Lot's home. This was all a test by God to judge Lot's righteousness, to test that Lot was worthy of salvation from the destruction of Sodom. This is all in accordance to what Jesus said hundreds of years later when He said you must love God more then you do your mother, your wife, even your children (Luke 14:26) Lot knew the angels were God's servant and his love for God made him protect the angels more then he did his own daughters.
Talking about misreading, please read those words above!!! Now I do bold the words that you give, but must have missed. It does not say that ‘the citizens of Sodom were hunting down the angels that came before Lot.’ Would they have the nerve to actually attack angels if they thought they were angels? Of course not, it says in the Scripture you pointed me to, ‘Where are the men?’ They wanted to molest what they thought were men. Lot also had no idea that they were angels. If Lot thought that they were men, why would he go out of his way to protect them from harm, he was willing to give up his own daughters to get raped, instead of letting them get raped by the men knocking on the door. Angels are supernatural beings who can not be physically harmed by human beings. Also, notice the very words that he used, he said ‘but as for the men’, do nothing to them!!! He told those from Sodom that they were men. He had just gave them a feast and given them baked unleavened bread, Genesis 19:3, just as Sarah did in Genesis 18. Men are given feasts, not angels. It is only when Lot sees the power that they had when they blinded the men that he saw that they were supernatural beings and he then heeded their warning, Gen. 19:11-23. Yes, by their actions he eventually saw them as supernatural beings, but initially he only saw them as men. That is the same as initially Tobias saw Raphael as a man, ultimately it was revealed to him that Raphael was an angel.

3) This is what you said regarding sorcery: "The quotation of Deuteronomy says that one is not supposed to use a charmer, practice divination, or encourage sorcery (Dt. 18:10-12). That is absolutely irrelevant to Tobit, as the angel does no such conjuring up of Spirits."

No, the angel in TOBIT DOES use sorcery, and his brand of sorcery is similar to the brand used in modern day SANTERIA. And the quote in Deuteronomy states not one who encourages sorcery but one who IS a sorcerer (yes, encouraging it is bad, too, but notice how being one is considered an abomination.) NOWHERE ELSE in Scripture do we read of any angel of God who uses such tactics to ward off evil spirits.

Scripture’s inspiration has nothing to do with Modern day Santeria. The angel in Tobit does not practice sorcery. The only way to tie the angel Raphael to this is to allege that he encouraged what you call sorcery. He did not practice it, but tells Tobias to get live ashes of incense and put the heart and liver of the fish in it, (Tobit 6:3-4, 16-18, 8:2-3) and Tobias made smoke. Tobias actually does that, not the angel. If God gives his blessing on this being the means to drive out a demon that had killed 7 people, that is God’s blessing. Nowhere else in Scripture does anybody heal someone blind by spitting in clay and that used as a means of curing his blindness, John 9:6. That does not make Jesus a sorcerer, nor render John uninspired. Raphael tells Tobias to obey and praise God throughout the whole book and points them to Him. That is not something sorcerers do. When Raphael accomplishes his whole mission, chapter 12, Tobit in chapter 13 composes a prayer of thanksgiving to God that begins and ends with praise of Him. That is not what a sorcerer does.

God commanded incense to be offered throughout the Old Testament. In Genesis 8 the sweet smell of Noah’s burnt offering was pleasing to God after God destroyed the evil in the flood. In Numbers 16 we see the following:

44: and the LORD said to Moses, 45: "Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." And they fell on their faces. 46: And Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense on it, and carry it quickly to the congregation, and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun." 47: So Aaron took it as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and behold, the plague had already begun among the people; and he put on the incense, and made atonement for the people. 48: And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stopped.
We see here that Aaron put incense, made fire, and stopped a plague. This was Moses’ intercession to stop God’s wrath and the killing of men. Tobias made smoke with a fish heart and liver on incense to make a demon flee the woman and a man is saved from death. Basically a similar concept is applied to both books.

So my question to you is, since God has not encouraged any angel in Scripture to use the practices the lying spirit Rafael uses, what then do you call the act performed by Tobias under Rafael if it isn't sorcery?
You bring your false premises again. There is no lying spirit involved but the angel entertaining the man unaware (Hebrews 13). It was God’s healing power used to save a man from death. Seven men had died in Tobit (Tobit 6:13), just as men had died in a plague in Numbers. The offering of incense in one area with the act of intercession of Moses stopped the plague that killed the people in Numbers. In Tobit, the offering of incense with fish liver and heart on top of the incense made the demon flee the woman and a husband would be saved from death. Here the angel binds and has authority over demons. As Divine notes:
It is clear here that the chief efficacy of the burning heart and liver of the fish, is due to the power of God and his Angel over the demon. A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, p. 400.
There was no sorcery in Numbers 16 and there was no sorcery in Tobit 8. Nor was there sorcery when the disciples healed people with the anointing of oil, and also cast out demons in Mark 6.
4) This is what you said: "What does Romans 3:1-2 actually say? Does it say that the Jews will actually be the ones who canonize the Old Testament? Does it say that they have the authority to determine the canon over the canon that the Church that Jesus himself established? Jesus says to his New Covenant apostles �Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.�? (Mt. 16:18-19, Mt. 18:18). Well, here is the actual text of Romans 3:"

1 What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way; chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
And what were the Apostles? What was Jesus? They were- JEWS. Jesus MANY times cites already canonized scripture in the Gospels, and refers to them as so, so there already was an established canon of Old Testament scripture before Roman Catholicism came into the picture and took credit for herself.
I realize that Jesus and the apostles were Jews. However, you notice the whole religious system was changed by Jesus. The canon that you are promoting is the canon of the Pharisees, the ones who rejected Jesus. If Jesus ‘canonized’ Old Testament Scripture by his mention of them in the gospels, then there are many Old Testament books not canonized by Jesus’ lack of mention of them. Also, there was no such thing as a canonized Jewish Scripture that predated the Church that Christ established. There were various groups within Judaism that recognized different Scriptures. The Sadducees only recognized the Pentateuch and denied other books were Scripture. When Jesus spoke to the Sadducees, notice he only referred to the Pentateuch even though to others he acknowledged other books as Scripture. There are Greek speaking Jews who recognized the Deuterocanicals as Scripture. Then there is the Pharisaic Scripture that you promote.

Now back to Romans 3 you must look at the context. The specific point that Paul speaks of here is the advantage of circumcision. Circumcision was necessary to enter the old covenant family of God. At the same time, the Jews were entrusted in the old covenant with the oracles of God as well. However, Paul goes on to write that circumcision is no longer necessary to enter the covenant with God (Rom. 3&4, cf., Gal. 3, 4, 5). The basis on which he makes his statement on the oracles is in reference to circumcision. As Paul makes the tie-in with the Jews being entrusted with the oracles of God with circumcision, which is done away with as a necessity for entrance into God’s family, it is a tremendous stretch to say that this gives the Jews the Ok to determine the extent of the canon, while ignoring the Church that Jesus established. Just as circumcision is done away with as a necessity, so the Jews no longer had the authority to determine the extent of the canon. The Church that accepted Jesus and who Jesus gave authority to bind and loose on earth that which is in heaven (Mt. 16:18, 18:18) certainly had more authority to determine the extent of the canon.

And what were the oracles that Paul cited? What was the message he said God entrusted to the jews? That message was the Law and the Prophets, the Scriptures from the Old Testament.

God gave the Jews the Ten Commandments as well as the Pentateuch. That is not even up for debate. And the prophetic books were all cited by Jesus and Paul as scripture. Peter in the book of Acts refers to the Psalms as scripture. All but 4 books in the true canon of Old Testament Scripture are referenced as such in the New testament

Sure, the 10 commandments and the Pentateuch were given way, way before Jesus’ incarnation. However, there is no record anywhere, before or during Jesus lifetime, that there was a set canon of Scripture that was accepted by all the Jews at the time. Why should we accept a canon by those Jews who rejected Jesus? No doubt in the New Testament individual books of the Old Testament are cited as Scripture, but there is no indication in the New Testament that ‘these are the specific set of books that are Scripture.’ You wrote only 4 Old Testament books were not referenced in the New Testament. Of course you ignore the fact that Hebrews 11:35b does reference 2 Maccabbees 7 as can be seen here. Please click on ‘Does Hebrew 11:35 quote the Apocrypha’. Besides that the following books are not referenced in the New Testament: Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Nahum. That comprises almost a third of the books of the Old Testament that are ignored in the New Testament. If you can show me a specific citation in the New Testament for any of these books, please give me them to me and I will revise this paper and other articles, that I have made this claim on. I will even take a clear reference that is as clear as Hebrews 11:35b pointing to 2 Maccabees 7. Otherwise you need to retract the claim that ‘only 4 Old Testament books were not referenced in the New Testament.’
Paul says in Romans Chapter 11 that the Jews are still the chosen people of God.

You said:

" This just says that the Jews were committed, or given the oracles of God, or Scripture. It does not say that they determine what the content of the Scriptures are, of either the New or Old Testament. In fact at the time of Jesus there was no determined Jewish canon."

What you said makes absolutely no sense. If there was no defined canon, how can God give them to the Jews? And moreso, how can God give his message to the Jews if they were only going to alter it? And again, your claim of no defined canon at the time of Jesus is inaccurate as Christ Himself refers to the Scriptures clearly in many instances in the Gospel (as do the Apostles in their letters.)

You claim I make no sense. Yes, the inspired words that became Scripture were given to the Jews, no doubt. Your argument seems to be that because God gave them Scripture, at the time the words were given, the Jews are supposed to know immediately which words were inspired Scripture and which were not? That is not the case at all. Although the words of course were inspired at the time they were given, the determination of what was Scripture was not understood by the Jews immediately. You will see nowhere before Jesus’ time a canon of all of the Old Testament books. There was much question on Song of Songs, Esther and other books that you accept now plus the Deuterocanonical books. Some books were accepted by the Jewish community quicker than other ones. There was no united Jewish community on the extent of the canon at the time of Christ either.

Yes, Paul wrote that the Jews were the chosen people of God. However, in the New Covenant, Gal. 6:14-16 says:

14 But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.
The New Israel of God are those who walk in Jesus Christ. The Israel of God are those who glory in the cross of Jesus Christ and those who walk by this rule. It is not on those who reject Him. Yes, the Jews are chosen people but those who are in Christ are now the ones who have the true faith. Paul said it was because of Israel’s rejection of Christ that made it possible for Gentiles to be saved, Rom. 11:11. Peter talks how they denied the Holy and Righteous One, Acts 3:14. Those who reject Jesus do not determine what are the contents of Scripture are for those who follow Jesus Christ.

Josephus is a well respected Jewish historian from the 1st century AD. He has often stated in his life that divine inspiration from God ended at the time of Malachi, that it was only from the time of Moses to Artaxerxes, a period BEFORE any of the apocryphal books were written. Josephus was also quoted as saying:

"From Artexerxes to our own time the complete history has been written but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets." ... "We have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine..."(Flavius Josephus, Against Apion 1:8)

When you find Josephus' quotations you'll see that he mentions 22 books as accepted. That sounds contradictory to the 39 accepted books in the true Christian canon of Old Testament Scripture. However, many of the Old Testament Scritpures were at the time joined as single books. Here is the breakdown as revealed in this website,

Genesis - 1
Exodus - 1
Leviticus - 1
Numbers - 1
Deuteronomy - 1 (the 5 books of Moses)
Joshua - 1
Judges and Ruth, folded together on one scroll as they were in Josephus' time - 1
1 and 2 Samuel - also considered one book in Josephus' time - 1
1 and 2 Kings - Ditto. - 1
1 and 2 Chronicles - Ditto again. - 1
Jeremiah and Lamentations - also considered as one book at the time - 1
Isaiah - 1
Amos, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi, Jonah, Haggai, Habakkuk, Nahum, Micah, Hosea, Joel, Obadiah - all folded together, as noted above - 1
Daniel - 1
Ezekiel - 1
Ezra and Nehemiah, folded together - 1
Esther - 1
Job - 1 (the 13 prophetic books)
Proverbs - 1
Psalms - 1
Song of Songs - 1
Ecclesiastes - 1. (the 4 instructional books)

Ok, let me understand the argument. Josephus, who was a Jew who did not accept Christianity at all, wrote this in 93-95 AD. Jesus came and had established his Church and ascended into heaven in approximately 33 AD. According to you, we are supposed to follow the canon of an unbelieving Jew 60 years after Jesus came and went? We are to accept the canon of him who rejected Jesus over the canon of the Church that Jesus established? I can not buy into that. On the contrary, Jesus said to his apostles ‘whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,’ Mt. 18:18. That would include the Old Testament canon that had not been decided before Christ came. Jesus did not say ‘whatsoever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, except unbelieving Jews decide for you 60 years after I commission you, the full extent of the Old Testament.’ Josephus is a respected scholar no doubt. He gives us much historical knowledge, especially about the conflict between the Jews and Romans, including about Jerusalem’s temple’s destruction. Jesus had predicted that. However, he was not a Christian believer, and apparently your best argument is that we are supposed to abide by a Christ rejecting Jew, 60 years after Christ established his Church? He was not even an authoritative rabbi, but a scholar who had no authority to make such proclamations anyway. There is no such list given prior to Josephus. I don’t quite follow or agree with that logic.

You also refer to Josephus’ argument that prophets ceased at the time of Artexerxes. Therefore not only prophets but even inspired writings ceased at the time of Malachi. Well, we will see when I address your argument in the last section, there was not full agreement among Jews, even at the time of Josephus, that inspiration had ceased at the time of Malachi. The Deuterocanonicals clearly do point to Christ, as we will see later, and is thus prophetic. Besides that, when you use that argument, then you are seizing upon an argument that invalidates all of the New Testament. John the Baptist will not then have been a prophet, and certainly Jesus was not a prophet. You have thus invalidated not only the Deuterocanonicals, but all of the New Testament. If his argument is valid then we have no inspired New Testament as well as no inspired Deuterocanonical books. If his argument is not valid, then neither the New Testament or the Deuterocanonicals’ canonicity, are invalidated. The Catholic Church rightly says his argument is not valid.

5) Lastly, I want to end on this one. You say this: "Now we do not have any record of any of the debates in Jamnia. However, it is well-known that Christianity was attacked in the Council of Jamnia. Those who were Christian were termed in a very derogatory manner and there are prayers in the Council that called for curses upon Christians. In fact, they may have looked at Wisdom 2:12-20, especially vv. 18-20 and undoubtedly saw this passage pointing to Jesus:"

If there is no record of the debates at jamnia, then how do you know what was even said there? How do you know Christianity was attacked there? How do you know there were derogatory prayers aimed at Christians at the time in Jamnia IF NO RECORD OF THE DEBATES EXISTED? You have to offer proof of this, otherwise it would seem you are repeating oft heard Roman Catholic propoganda to dispell the Jews' authority of Old Testament Scripture.

Well, even if we do not have the explicit prayers that condemn Christians, we do have some indications that such prayers existed. For example, the following comes from an online encyclopedia discussing the Council of Jamnia:
Several concerns of the remaining Jewish communities in Israel would have been the loss of the national language, the growing problem of conversions to Christianity, based in part on Christian promises of life after death. What emerged from this era was two fold:

A rejection of the Septuagint or Koine Greek Old Testament widely then in use among the Hellenized diaspora along with its additional books not part of the Hebrew language Masoretic Text.

The inclusion of a curse on the Minim which probably included Jewish Christians (Birkat ha-Minim). According to the Jewish Encyclopedia article on Min: "In passages referring to the Christian period, "minim" usually indicates the Judæo-Christians, the Gnostics, and the Nazarenes, who often conversed with the Rabbis on the unity of God, creation, resurrection, and similar subjects (comp. Sanh. 39b). In some passages, indeed, it is used even for "Christian"; but it is possible that in such cases it is a substitution for the word "Noẓeri," which was the usual term for 'Christian'. .. On the invitation of Gamaliel II., Samuel ha-Ḳaṭan composed a prayer against the minim which was inserted in the "Eighteen Benedictions"; it is called "Birkat ha-Minim" and forms the twelfth benediction; but instead of the original "Noẓerim" ... the present text has "wela-malshinim" (="and to the informers"). The cause of this change in the text was probably, the accusation brought by the Church Fathers against the Jews of cursing all the Christians under the name of the Nazarenes."

So we see here in an online encyclopedia that has no care of the Protestant or Catholic debate on the canon, it asserts that up to the time of Jamnia, the Septuagint, was in wide use among the diaspora where Jews resided. The additional books mentioned in the above text, are the Deuterocanonicals. Jamnia basically rejected the Septuagint that all the Jews in the Diaaspora used. So thus, 60 years after Christ, the book that was used most by Jews in the diaspora was that which included the Deuterocanonicals. No doubt Jamnia rejected those books. However, those books were in wide use by Jews. So much for this supposed unanimity of Jews on the extent of the canon being only the Pharisaic canon used by Protestants.

Dr. Albert Sundberg, a Lutheran historian, acknowledges that even Jamnia did not settle the issue for all Jews: Even after Jamnia we see the following:

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
Here he is discussing Sirach as quoted in the Talmud in the second century. This is taken from So your presumptions are not correct.

There is no idea of a set canon up to that point. Also, noticed a bit above in reference to Jamnia, there is a growing problem of Jews converting to Christianity. They included a curse of those Jewish Christians. Thus, there are curses of Christians at Jamnia.

Here is some more information that John Hellman documents in his reference to the Jewish Encyclopedia (Jabneh is another term used for Jamnia):

The curse can be documented by referring to the following quotes taken from Encyclopaedia Judaica under the subject headings listed below. The page references are found at the end of this article. The Encyclopaedia Judaica is advertised as “The Most Comprehensive Authoritative Source on the Jewish World.”:


… (12) Asks God to destroy the malshinim ("slanderers" or "informers"), all His enemies, and to shatter the "kingdom of arrogance" (see below).

… Birkat ha Minim (benediction 12), introduced in Jabneh by Samuel ha Katan, at the request of Rabban Gamaliel II, … enlarged on the meaning of a previously known benediction, as Shel Paroshin ("concerning the dissidents") or Shel Resha’im ("concerning the wicked"). He did this by applying it specifically to Jewish heretics. It is generally assumed that this new formulation was meant to force the Judeo-Christians out of the Jewish community; in the Genizah version, the word Nozerim ("Christians") actually occurs." 4. Encyclopaedia Judaica, Published in 1971 by The Macmillan Company, New York. Volume 2, pages 841 - 842, Article: AMIDAH. "SAMUEL HA-KATAN

… Samuel is best known for Birkat ha-Minim, which expressed anathema against Judeo-Christians, sectarians, and informers. It was composed at the request of Gamaliel II, and incorporated into the daily *Amidah (Ber. 28b)." 5. Ibid. Volume 14, pages 815 - 816, Article: SAMUEL HA-KATAN

Hopefully the Jewish Encyclopedia should allay your concerns that I am just 'repeating oft heard Roman Catholic propaganda.' You are basing your rejection of these books on Protestant propaganda that is relying on a Council 60 years after Christ. They come up with a canon that Protestants accept, while at the same time this Council that you rely as a witness to the Pharisaic Scriptures that you have, curses Christians. That does not make sense to me.

You mention the verse in the book of Wisdom as having Messianic tones and go on to say:

"Wisdom 2 does not say, "this is a prophecy about the Messiah," but gives a powerful forecast of, and can only be explained by what happened to Jesus the Messiah who indeed was God's Son who was condemned to death, and mocked. It is obvious that those Jews in Jamnia who rejected Christianity saw that this passage pointed to Jesus and they could not have that."

If that was the case, then the Jews would have had to remove Isaiah, Psalms, many of the other prophetic books, even Genesis and Exodus since there are heavy Messianic prophecies in those books. Really, the argument that the Jews removed the apocrypha because of their heavy messianic prophecies does not hold water due to the LACK of true messianic prophecies in the books as well as the fact that true Jewish Scripture still contains messianic prophecies that Christ fulfilled.

I hope I've shed some light on this subject, and I implore you to please read the Scriptures with true discernment. It's obvious you haven't done so.

The Jews in fact did adjust the translation of Isaiah 53 to try to make it not apply to Christ. But that is another issue. Of course Isaiah and the Psalms were recognized as Scripture, that they would say would apply to a person at the time, for example Psalm 22 would be talking about David and/or Solomon, not Christ. Some books had long been accepted, so those books were not in dispute. There were other books, such as Esther which did not mention God once, Song of Solomon and others, besides the Deuterocanonical books that were in question. The Hellenistic Jews had accepted the Septuagint which included those books.

Why do you say that there is a lack of true messianic prophecies? Well, let us look at Wisdom 2:12-20 and see if that lacks a true prophecy of Christ:

12: "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. (Mt. 23:23, 27-28, Jn 7:19, Mt. 26:3-4) 13: He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. (Jn 8:55, Jn 3:18, 5:25) 14: He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; (Jn 9:4, Lk 6:7-11) 15: the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. (Mt. 15:1-6, Mk 3:1-6, Lk 5:21-26) 16: We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. (Lk 11:39-41, Mt. 5:10, Lk 10:22, 17: Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; (Mt. 27:42) 18: for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. (Mt. 27:43) 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.(Mt. 27:43, Lk 23:35-37)"
You can not reasonably tell me that this is not a true prophecy of Christ. See the pointing to Jesus Christ. Look at how the Scripture found in Wisdom 2:12-20 directly ties in to Jesus Christ. These passages are just as prophetic towards Christ as is Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, if not more so. You must argue as a Jew who denies the tie in to Isaiah 53 to Christ does, to say that this passage is not an inspired Scripture that points to Jesus Christ.

The author to the Hebrews in Heb 11:35 points to 2 Macc 7 in the same way that he points to other passages in the Old Testament that you recognize as well. Paul in Romans 1 clearly draws from Wisdom 13 as well.

It is clear that the grounds that you have used to dismiss the Deuterocanonicals do not hold water. Latching on to Protestant arguments attacking the Deuterocanonicals that would likewise do away with books that you accept, means you are taking away from God’s Holy Word, Rev. 22:19. I don’t recommend that at all.

©2006, "Response to Another Attack on the Deuterocanonicals", written by Matt1618. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

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