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The Apocrypha is not God-inspired

by Bill Wong

 

 

Roman Catholicism includes the Apocrypha in its Bible versions as inspired writings by reason of their traditions.

 

However, the Bible tells us there are only two sets of writings; one each for the two covenants – the Old Testament (the Tanakh) and the New Testament (B’rit Hadashah).

 

The Word of God, the Bible only consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament and not the Apocrypha or deutero-canon. The Apocrypha is a set of writings that were written during the inter-testamental time period between the end of writings in the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. No one knows exactly who wrote them and they are of questionable origin.

 

There are many reasons that the Apocrypha are not books inspired by God and do not belong in Bibles. We will mention just a few below.

 

 

1. 

 

What the word ‘apocrypha’ means itself.  The word means 'hidden'.  God does not hide in the Bible.  Nothing is hidden or mysterious in the Bible.  He is light which uncovers darkness.  Indeed, the Bible is God's revelation to us about Himself, His son whom He sends to reconcile us to Him, our history, and His plan to redeem us.  The Bible is all about revealing, not hiding.  So the name itself reveals it contradicts who God is and what the Bible is.

 

 

2.

 

There is no claim of divine inspiration and in fact it disclaims divine inspiration itself when, for example, in 2 Maccabees 15:38-39 the writer requests a pardon if his narration proves to be false.

 

It also espouses doctrines that are contrary to what are in the Old and New Testaments. This is where the idea of Purgatory comes from (2 Maccabees 12:39-46 speaks of a monetary sin offering and reconciling the dead of their sins) which contradicts the Bible’s teaching of one sufficient mediator, Jesus Christ the Lord (1 Timothy 2:5).   The Bible does not teach indulgences, etc.

 

The Roman Catholic Church is responsible for many un-Biblical views about death that have passed into Christianity today. Please also see the section: ‘The Truth about Death’.

 

 

3.

 

The legitimacy of the Apocrypha’s authenticity has been in doubt by Biblical scholars since they first appeared.  The Roman Catholic Church itself was divided as to whether they were inspired and most church fathers did not think so. Nevertheless, it was still included in the Catholic versions of the Bible.

 

 

4.

 

There are only two covenants – the Old and the New (Old and New Testaments).  This is all the Bible consists of: everything before Christ is in the Old Testament which foretells of Jesus the Messiah; and then everything when He does come is in the New Testament, because the Lord Jesus is the New Covenant.  The Bible is God’s Word which deliberately follows the sequence and structure of two covenants, one following after the other.

 

If the Apocrypha is to belong anywhere, it should be with the books of the Old Testament, but it is not.  This is a telltale sign that it is not inspired.

 

 

5.

 

The Jews, and therefore the Lord Jesus Himself, never acknowledge it as God-inspired or canonical.  That is why it is not in the Tanakh which is everything in the Old Testament. 

 

Some try to downplay the significance of this by making it a Jew vs. Gentile or Christianity issue, but this is not the case.  The fact that it was never accepted by Jews, prove it is not the inspired words of God (remember the Apocrypha existed even before Christianity came).  This can be seen and proven when Jesus reads from the Isaiah scroll in Luke 4:14-22.

 

Since the Apocrypha was never accepted by the Jews at any time of the writing’s history, that means every synagogue attended by Jesus and the apostles, including Paul, never had any of the Apocryphal books.  The very attendance of the Lord in synagogue is acceptance of whatever holy writings the Jews used as the word of God; this would be the Tanakh/Old Testament and no apocryphal writings.  So the fact that the Apocrypha is not included by the Jews and the synagogue is not to be ignored as a trivial thing.   All the Lord Jesus and the apostles ever knew and accepted were the same word of God of the Jews – this is the Old Testament.

 

This fact is proven also by the Lord and the apostles themselves, because they never quote from these hidden books.

 

 

6. 

 

What the word deuterocanonical means which is used to describe it.  The word means 'second canon'.   God is perfect.  Did He not know these would be canonical?  If it is meant to belong in the canon it would be part of the "first" time, when the Old and New Testaments were canonized. As mentioned before, it would actually be a part of the books of the Old Testament which predate Christ's coming and the initiation of the New Covenant sealed by His blood. These books were officially canonized in 1546 by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent – only after and in response to Martin Luther’s 95 theses. Think of it, a second canon officially canonized 1500 years after the Lord’s return to heaven.

 

 

7.

 

The Apocrypha is written in Greek even though all the writings (Old Testament) before Christ were written in Hebrew or Aramaic. This is an anomaly and an anachronism.

 

The language of the Old Covenant was Hebrew.  The language of the New Covenant was Greek, signifying that the entire Word of God (the Bible compromises of both) goes forth to both Jew and Gentile, covering the entire range of people – everybody. 

 

The languages of the covenants were assigned by God for a purpose.  The Old Testament was translated into Greek (the Septuagint), but its original source was the Hebrew.  Yet we find that the Apocrypha is written in Greek as its original language – before the time of Jesus and the New Testament.  This is evidence that it is not inspired, because the gospel of Christ to all nations only came when Jesus arrived; and this gospel of Christ was ordained by God to be in the Greek language, hence why the New Testament was written in Greek. 

 

The apocrypha being written in Greek before the advent of Christ and the New Testament gospel conflicts with the plan of God and is out of place.  The languages, like the covenants themselves, are markers of God’s plan and work together.  Indeed, the languages define the covenants. There is a sequence: Old Testament (Hebrew) => New Testament (Greek) with no space in between.

 

Again, if it was truly inspired, it would be written entirely in Hebrew and be part of the Old Testament since it was before Christ.  The very language it was written in and the time it was written speaks against its origin as being from God.

 

 

8.

 

Look at the book of Malachi.  As the last of the Old Testament prophets and the last book of the Old Testament, it is obvious in its intention to point us to the coming of the Messiah, which we know is the advent of the Lord Jesus.  Malachi is clearly the bridge between the Old and New Testaments, with nothing in between. 

 

The name Malachi means “my messenger” – an indicator of its role in pointing to the Messiah in the New Testament, facilitating the transition of the ending of the old to the new.

 

Please note that the gospels refer directly to Malachi, showing that the New Testament writings pick up immediately after Malachi and the Old Testament with the coming of John the Baptist who prepares the way for the Lord.

 

This is what we read in the last book of the Old Testament:

 

Malachi 3:

1   Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom you seek,

    shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold,

    he shall come, said the LORD of hosts.   (AKJV)

 

Malachi 4:

5    Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

6     And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers,

     lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.   (AKJV)

 

 

This is what we read in the New Testament:

 

Luke 1:

17   He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,'

     and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."  

     (NKJV, referring to Malachi 4:5-6)

 

Matthew 11:

7     As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,

     "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

8     "But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces!

9     "But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.

10   "This is the one about whom it is written, 'Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.'

11   "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!

      Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

12   "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

13   "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.

14   "And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

15   "He who has ears to hear, let him hear.          (NASB, referring to Malachi 3:1 and 4:5)

 

Matthew 17:

1     Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.

2     And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

3     And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

4     Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You,

     and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

5     While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said,

     "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

6     When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.

7     And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid."

8     And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

9     As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying,

     "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."

10   And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

11   And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things;

12   but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished.

     So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands."

13   Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.  

(NASB, referring to Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6)

 

 

The Book of Malachi shows us without a doubt that there are only two covenants where the last words of the Old Testament lead directly into the beginning of the New Testament. There is no in-between time period of writing – it is only what was already in the Old Testament and what it immediately pointed toward, the New Testament and the coming of the Messiah.

 

 

The only conclusion we can reach is that the Apocrypha is not inspired by God and does not belong in the canon of God-breathed writings in any way.

 

God’s truth reveals that the only God-breathed writing is the Bible. In the Bible, the Word of God and two-edged sword, there are two testaments with no other writing in between them:

 

1. The Tanakh (Old Testament) which foretold the coming of the Messiah.

 

2. The B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) details His arrival and saving work.