by Donald P. Ames
Many today are sadly lacking in information as to the extra books found in the Catholic Bible and just exactly how they got there. Many Catholics sincerely wonder why and how we can say we have the Bible and yet do not include these extra books which are obviously to be found in theirs. What do they contain! Why are they there! Are they essential to salvation -- and if not why not? These and other questions deserve answers, and we owe it to ourselves and to God and our fellow man to examine them so we might be able to give intelligent answers.
Are They Essential?
This is really a double question and must be so answered. If they do belong in the Bible, obviously they must be included and so recognized as thusly belonging. In this respect, one would have to say they would be essential -- if they do belong. If, on the other hand, we mean are they essential to our salvation today, the answer is in the negative. Regardless of which translation of the Bible we may use, one fact still remains: these extra books, when included, are found in the Old Testament, that which was abolished by Jesus Christ on the cross (Colossians 2:14-16; Hebrews 8:6-13; II Corinthians 3; Romans 7:1-7). We are no longer under the law of Moses, but under the law to Christ (Galatians 4:4-5; 3:23-27). This being the case, it matters not to us today as to the teaching therein. They do not affect what one must do to become a Christian.
This second question, however, does not eliminate all discussion concerning these extra books. Indeed if they belong in the word of God, man has no right to remove them from it. If they do not, man also has no right to attempt to add them to it. But either way, belonging to the Old Testament, they do not bear on what one must do to become a Christian. This point must certainly be kept in mind.
It is the claim of the Roman Catholic Church that it is directly responsible for the Bible we have today. Note the following quotes from their own works:
"The church...exercising the authority given her by Christ, fulfilling her duty as custodian and champion of the written word, separated the true from the false, the divine from the human, and gave men the New Testament, as it is today. And this in the year 397 A.D. -- nearly 400 years after Christ. Thus the Bible came from the church!" (Paulist Correspondence Course, No. 2, pp. 55-56).
Still further, along the same line, we find:
"Now we have seen that the complete divine revelation is transmitted to us from Christ through the Apostles in the divine tradition of the Church. Hence the only certain guide as to the inspiration and canonicity of all the books of Sacred Scripture is the authoritative pronouncement of the Church" (The Teachings of the Catholic Church, Vol. I, p. 30).
To emphasize the claims made by the Catholic Church in this matter, we note that they point out that "what the church, therefore teaches as divinely revealed, that most certainly is revealed by God and must be believed on the divine authority" (Ibid., p. 31). This claim is made because of their claim that they are "a visible Church with a living teaching authority, infallible because the Holy Ghost is with her, preserving her from error" (Ibid. p. 28). They even point out that many reject the church, "not knowing her claim to be the infallible guardian of divine truth" (Ibid., p. 27). I believe from these quotes we can readily recognize the position that is held by the Roman Catholic Church on the matter of revelation.
We might pause here though and also note that this claim is made in spite of the facts of history, and not because of them. Arvid McGuire, in an article on "The New Testament Canon" (Evidence Quarterly, Vol. II No. 2 -- 1961) pointed out that Justin Martyr (100-165 A. D.) knew the gospels, Acts, Romans, I Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, II Thessalonians, I Peter, Hebrews, and Revelation. Clement of Alexandria (165-220) attributed Hebrews to Paul and recognized all but James, II Peter, and III John in his writings. Origen of Alexandria (185-253) quoted all the New Testament books, and Clement of Rome (30-100, same time as the apostles) quoted Matthew, Romans, I Corinthians, Hebrews, James, I Timothy, Titus, and Peter. Tertullian of Carthage (150-222) quoted all except Philemon and I John. In fact, William Fain noted that Sir David Dalrymple in the 19th century reproduced all but 11 verses from secular writings -- all written before 300 A. D. (Gospel Guardian, 6-9-66). Certainly from this evidence, it is recognized that the New Testament was in circulation and recognized before the Catholic Church ever made any decisions about it. Even the best existing manuscripts of the original language today existed before the date set by the Catholic Church. In reality, all the Catholic Church did, as the soldier at the cross (Matthew 27:54), was to recognize what was already established as fact. This had already been preserved and protected by God. (II Peter 1:3)
But getting back to the point of our study, one might ask why all the emphasis on the claims that the Catholic Church gave us the Bible. We have noted her claims, and certainly based on these claims, one would expect her to have put forth all the truth as "the infallible guardian of divine truth." Yet, it is very interesting to note that these extra Catholic Books were never accepted as divine by the Catholic Church until the year 1546 A. D. (Revelation and the Bible, edited by Carl F. H. Henry, p. 171). This is a fact unknown to many Catholics, who have just naturally assumed these extra books were always there. They were not -- not until 1546 A. D.!
Let us think about the consequences of this fact. The Catholic Church claims to be the divine guardian of truth and claims infallibility in its presentation of truth. Yet it claims to have given us the Bible in 397 A.D. and then added to it in 1546 A. D. Which time did it err? It either erred in giving us just part of the Bible in 397 A.D., or it erred in adding the other books to it (note they were added to the Old Testament too -- not to the New Testament) in 1546 A. D. There is no way out of this dilemma, and either horn they accept means that the Catholic Church's claim of being the infallible guardian and giver of truth has been disproved.
The truth of the matter is that they never had anything to do with the selection of the books of the Bible. As already noted the Bible was in circulation and accepted long before the Catholic Church ever came into existence or had any ideas of giving a decree on the Bible. As for the extra books that are accepted by the Catholic Church as Divine in 1546 A.D., we might note that the Church itself never accepted them as divine until 1546 A.D. -- a very good argument against their acceptance. If divine, why did they have to wait until 1500 years after Christ to finally accept them?
In addition to the rejection of these books as divine by the Catholic Church until 1546 A. D., attention is also called to the fact that much in the New Testament comes to us from the Old Testament. In fact, being the divine Son of God, Christ in his reference to the Old Testament gives us his divine approval of what is composed in the old. Going through the New Testament, we find a total of 295 Old Testament quotes made directly, and allusions to still more so that a total of 10% of the New Testament comes to us from the Old (Ibid., p. 137). Yet, despite all this quoting and references, not once did either Christ or the apostles quote or refer to the extra Catholic Books -- thus failing to place the divine stamp of approval thereon. If divine, this absence cannot be explained especially because of the nature of some of these extra books. The only alternative explanation is that neither Christ nor the apostles intended to so endorse them.
Next, we might look to the Jews themselves (other than Christ and the apostles). Surely if anyone would know whether or not these books were divine, the Jews would -- seeing these books are in the Old Testament given to the Jews and compiled by them under the guidance of God almighty (II Peter 1:3). Did they accept them? No! This glaring rejection is even admitted within the Catholic Bible itself, as they point out that each of these books was not contained in the Jewish canon or the Protestant Bibles. Did not God know the Jews were meant to add them? If so, why didn't He so direct?
For the fourth rejection, let us next turn to the so-called "Church Fathers." As is true of almost any subject, these men can be quoted on both sides of the issue, and in reality prove nothing, as they were merely men, and the rejection by Christ and the apostles is sufficient to settle the issue. Nevertheless, they are always of interest since they lived during the first couple of centuries of the early church. Again, in the majority of the cases, they are lined up against these apocryphal books (books of doubtful origin). Although regarded as good reading and literature, the majority did not hold them as being on an equality with the rest of the Bible. Jerome, whose translation was later regarded as divine by the Catholic Church, regarded them as being valuable for ecclesiastical values only -- not as canonical. Augustine, another quoted Church Father by the Catholics, is often claimed to have endorsed them, yet he admitted Judith was not in the canon as received and accepted by the Jews, and when reference was made to 2 Maccabees in an argument, he replied they were hard put to resort to a book not in the same category as those received and accepted by the Jews (Ibid., pp. 176-177).
In view of this evidence, one is less concerned as to why we do not have these extra books, and much more concerned about why the Roman Catholic Church ever decided to include them in 1546 A.D. -- nearly 1500 years alter the Bible was given. And why do they contend they are divine when they were never accepted by Christ and the apostles, or the Jews, or even the majority of the Church Fathers, as well as Catholicism itself for many years. But, as in so many cases, they are less concerned about being consistent as they are about keeping their followers ignorant of the true facts of history.
Later we will continue this study, noting from these books themselves both their contents and reasons why they have never been accepted in the true canon of God's revealed word.
We examined some of the preliminary questions concerning the origin of the extra books to be found in the Catholic Bibles. We also noted this problem placed before the Catholic Church and its claims of being the "infallible guardian of divine truth" -- as well as some of the external evidence against the acceptance of these books.
Having examined the external evidence against these books, let us now turn our attention to an examination of the books themselves. Certainly, the external evidence is sufficient to convince us these books do not belong in the canon of the Bible, but when the internal evidence is also added, there can no longer be any doubt in the minds of those truthfully interested in examining the facts.
The first book we will examine is the book of Tobias, believed to have been written about 726-722 B.C., during the reign of Salmanasar, king of the Assyrians and Sennacherib. The book reads a lot like the book of Job, with Tobias busy burying the slain Jews (yet escaping being put to death himself) and striving to remain faithful to the Lord in spite of the conditions about him.
There are quite a few errors to be found within this book -- doctrinal, historical and geographical. Also set forth in this book is the doctrine of salvation by works, as noted from the following:
According to thy ability be merciful. If thou have much given abundantly; if thou have little, take care even so to bestow willingly a little. For thus thou storest up to thyself a good reward for the day of necessity. For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness. (Tobias 4:8-11)
Here we have the teachings set forth that if one gives enough alms, he is assured not only of the remission of sins but against going to hell as well. This is repeated again for us so that none may misunderstand the emphasis placed on the giving of alms: "Prayer is good with fasting and alms more than to lay up treasures of gold: for alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting" (Tobias 12:8-9). In view of the practices of the Catholic Church, can any doubt why they would like to keep this book in their Bibles?
The next point is made, not to poke fun at the Catholics, but for an honest examination of the contents of these books. Turning to Tobias 6:1-5, we find:
And Tobias went forward, and the dog followed him, and he lodged the first night by the river Tigris. And he went out to wash his feet, and behold a monstrous fish came up to devour him. And Tobias being afraid of him, cried out with a loud voice, saying: Sir, he cometh upon me. And the angel said to him: Take him by the gill, and draw him to thee. And when he had done so, he drew him out upon the land, and he began to pant before his feet. Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines.
Of course, there are several points to be made from this passage. [Removed statement from original as the author made a mistake. JWH] We call attention to the "monstrous fish" which so badly scared Tobias. In view of the fact Jonah was swallowed by merely a "great fish," we would assume this "monstrous fish" would indeed be something fearful to behold. Yet note the ease with which he took hold of it and brought it forth upon the land. Hardly even seemed to be a tug-of-war! But have you ever wondered what this "monstrous fish" looked like? No need to! Any Catholic Bible with pictures accommodates us in this respect. Oh, there may be a bit of variation, but they are all basically alike. This fearful, "monstrous fish" is shown to be about the size of a large-mouth bass and one such picture even shows the fish with a mouthful of three toes! As I said, this is not said to make fun of Catholicism, but since the Catholic Bibles are printed with the imprimatur of the Catholic Church, and these books are to be found exclusively in the Catholic Bibles, one would think this great "infallible guardian of divine truth" would at least provide a picture in harmony with the context -- unless the context favors the dragging ashore rather than the fearful appearance of this "monstrous fish."
And have you also questioned the "useful medicines" of this fish and its entrails? They have also presented us the answer here:
And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kinds of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them. And the gall is good for anointing the eyes, in which there is a white speck, and they shall be cured (Tobias 6:8-9).
I used to think I had heard many superstitious remedies from the backwoods, but using a fish's heart to drive devils out of men and women, and its gall to heal the eyes would certainly have rivaled any of them. Too bad people were not aware of this marvelous remedy in the time of Christ -- they would have had no need of him, then, for many of their desired miracles. Feeling the impact of this passage, the Catholic Bible even rises to the defense of the passage with the following note at the end of the book:
The actual effect on the demon was due to the power of God, not to any power inherent in burning various parts of the fish. However, the physical means used were the instrument of God's power, somewhat like the physical elements used in the sacraments of the church (e.g. holy water).
There you have it! Actually they were not "useful medicines" at all -- merely blessed sacraments used by the power of God. Shame on the angel for deceiving Tobias with this erroneous information. But then, the Catholic Church today knows more than the writer of the book did anyway. And Holy Water? Any doubts still as to why they desire to keep this book in their canon?
Next, I would like for us to consider some of the life of Tobias, and the valuable message it carries for us today.
Now it happened one day, that being wearied with burying, he came to his house, and cast himself down by the wall and slept, and as he was sleeping, hot dung out of a swallow's nest fell upon his eyes, and he was made blind. Now this trial the Lord therefore permitted to happen to him, that an example might be given to posterity of his patience, as also of holy Job. For whereas he had always feared God from his infancy, and kept his commandments, he repined not against God because the evil of blindness had befallen him, but continued immovable in the fear of God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life (Tobias 2:10-14).
The notes at the end of the book provide this additional bit of information: "After this verse the Greek has: I remained deprived of sight for four years.'" So there we have it! A marvelous story of patience like that of holy Job, only he was made blind by hot dung from a swallow rather than by Satan, and as a result of being faithful to God rather than an effort by Satan to get him to turn from God. Furthermore, God himself was the only one involved (except the swallow). This is a marvelous example of the justice and mercy and goodness of God Almighty, as manifested by the affliction he bestowed upon Tobias for being faithful him -- purely for future generations, of course.
Do you want to know the value of this great lesson? Note the following from the notes within the Catholic Bible at the end of this book:
The question has been raised whether the book is historical or fictional. As far as inspiration is concerned either opinion is acceptable, since inspiration is perfectly compatible with the various literary forms, including fiction, many Catholic authors believe that the book is substantially historical, but that the historical core has undergone a process of elaboration.
Isn't that a great way of handling this book? They do not know if it is historical or fictional, but it is inspired either way! That makes a rather convenient out. If pressed too hard on the errors, it becomes fictional; if on the above lesson, it becomes historical. Did it ever occur to them the errors therein make it irrelevant -- it simply is not inspired! But let them take the fictional approach -- what is the value of the above story of Tobias and his suffering "as also of holy Job." Anyone can suffer in fiction. 0r historical and fact -- then they are confronted with the fish, as well as the various errors therein. So they try to escape the easy way: "Many Catholic authors believe" How many? Who? Are they right? We like the forthright (?) answer presented by the Catholic Church.
And, in conclusion, did you note what these "many" Catholic authors believe? That "the book is substantially historical." In other words, "many" Catholic authors believe "most" of it is true -- but that it has "undergone a process of elaboration," or in other words, even that part that they believe is "mostly historical" is unreliable because the story has been stretched to suit the fancies and imagination of other writers. So, here we have a book admittedly containing errors and falsehoods, which they do not even know if it is fact or fiction, and yet they are passing it off as inspired by God! This is not only out of harmony with the rest of the Word of God, but completely contrary to all the Bible teaches about Inspiration.
Wisdom of Solomon
One short passage from this book contains all that is needed for our study and its consequences:
For thy almighty hand, which made the world of matter without form, was not unable to send upon them a multitude of bears, or fierce lions, or unknown beasts of new kind, full of rage: either breathing out a fiery vapour, or sending forth a stinking smoke, or shooting horrible sparks out of their eyes: whereof not only the hurt might be able to destroy them, but also the very sight might kill them through fear (Wisdom of Solomon 11:18-20).
This sounds very much like the reading of some science fiction writers' efforts to produce a monster of some sort. It completely ignores God's usual dealings with mankind and desires to create some kind of fire-breathing, burning-eyed dragon of children fables this in 100 B. C.!
But note something else about this statement the world was made of "Matter without form." Sound familiar? Almost as if this is where Joseph Smith got his teaching that Adam created the world out of pre-existing matter. Contrast this with Hebrews 11:3 the statement found in Genesis 1:1, where Delitzsch comments on the word "created" thusly: "there is nothing belonging to the composition of the universe, either in material or form which had an existence out of God prior to this divine act in the beginning" (Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. I, p. 47). Since truth is not in direct conflict with truth, I believe this is sufficient for this book by itself.
Certainly, if a book is to be considered for the canon of the Bible, and if it is inspired by God, we would not only expect it to be in harmony with the rest of the revealed truth but also to be in harmony with the character of God. And if, as claimed, the Catholic Church is the "infallible guardian of divine truth," then one would think these extra Catholic books would readily meet such a test. Such, however, is not the case, as we continue our study.
The book of Judith was evidently written somewhere around the period of the Babylonian exile in 605-586 B.C., and centers around the life of the "godly" woman of Judith and her efforts to deliver the Israelites from the hands of their enemies, as did Jael in Judges 4. To give the story, we note that Holofernes had laid siege to the Jews, and as the food and water supply was short within the city walls, talk of surrender was prominent. However, after talking it over, they decided to wait on God they would give him exactly five days to either deliver them or their food supply would be exhausted and they would have to surrender. Judith, a very godly and righteous woman -- and also a very beautiful one, as well as wealthy, heard of it and rebuked them very strongly for not having faith in God and trusting in him for deliverance. She pointed out they needed to repent of their sins and beg his forgiveness if they desired deliverance; to bring their lives in harmony with his will, and then he would come to their aid. She also rebuked them for their ultimatum to God and assured them God was going to deliver Holofernes into her hands so his defeat would be the shameful defeat of being delivered up to a woman.
Having set her course of action, the book tells us that "the Lord also gave her more beauty: because all this dressing up did not proceed from sensuality, but from virtue: and therefore the Lord increased her beauty so that she appeared to all men's eyes incomparably lovely" (Judith 10:4). So having set her course of action, we find she also has the Lord working with her thus endorsing her actions by his.
"But Judith praying to the Lord passed through the gates, she and her maid. And it came to pass, when she went down the hill, about the break of day, that the watchmen of the Assyrians met her, and stopped her, saying: Whence comest thou! Or whither goest thou? And she answered: I am a daughter of the Hebrews, and I am fled from them, because I knew they would be made a prey to you, because they despised you, and would not of their own accord yield themselves, that they might find mercy in your sight. For this reason I thought with myself, saying: I will go to the presence of Holofernes, that I may tell him their secrets and shew him by what he may tell them, without the loss of the one man of his army. And when the men had heard her words, they beheld her face, and their eyes were amazed, for they wondered exceedingly at her beauty" (Judith 10:10-14).
Perhaps at first reading, it would sound as if we here had a case similar to that of Benedict Arnold, but in reality, such is not so. We do note though that God is indeed with her in her trip into the enemy camp, amazing them with her beauty and protecting her on the journey. Is this treason? If so, it is God-endorsed. But let us then note what she tells Holofernes:
"For it is certain that our God is so offended with sins, that he hath sent word by his prophets to the people, that he will deliver them up for their- sins. And because the children of Israel know they have offended their God, thy dread is upon them. Moreover also a famine hath come upon them, and for drought of water they are already to be counted among the dead. And they have a design even to kill their cattle, and to drink the blood of them. And the consecrated things of the Lord their God which God forbade them to touch, in corn, wine, and oil, these have they purposed to make use of, and they design to consume the things which they ought not to touch with their hands: therefore because they do these things, it is certain they will be given up to destruction. And I thy handmaid knowing this, am fled from them, and the Lord hath sent me to tell thee these very things and will pray to God, and he will tell me when he will repay them for their sins, and I will come and tell thee so that I may bring thee through the midst of Jerusalem, and thou shalt have all the people of Israel, as sheep that have no shepherd, and there shall not so much as one dog bark against thee: because these things are told me by the providence of God. And because God is angry with them, I am sent to tell these very things to thee" (Judith 11:8-17).
Quite a story isn't it? How much of it is true? Not even the first syllable! Like the Gibeonites (Joshua 9) who were displeasing to God, it was something she created to gain the captain's favor -- endorsed and helped by God by her beauty and lies while rebuking the Israelites for not trusting God and conforming their lives to his commandments. She then enticed him, got him drunk, in secret cut off his head, placed it in her basket, and returned it safely to the Jews in the city. Needless to say, defeat for the Assyrians soon followed, and she retired in wealth and respect among the Jews for the remainder of her "faithful" and "God-fearing" life. Such a story not only makes a mockery of God, but is a disgrace to any purporting to believe Him and trust in His righteousness. It makes God an endorser of lies and a participant in the same by assisting her in her plot. And it makes Judith a dishonest person as well for not abiding in the very thing she urged the Jews to do.
If this were all, it would be sufficient to condemn the book, but let us note a bit more from Judith 1:5 "Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Nineveh the great city, fought against Arphaxas and overcame him.'' Interesting - did it sound a bit odd? Commenting on this passage at the end of the book, the Catholic Bible itself admits:
"This text creates a difficulty, since Nabuchodonosor was not an Assyrian but the ruler of the Babylonian Empire from 605 to 562, and Nineveh had been destroyed in 612; further, later passages indicate that the events recounted in this book took place after the Babylonian Exile."
Such a glaring contradiction of history is so obvious that the impact cannot be ignored by either those examining the book nor even by the Catholics in their defense of these books which they admit are not accepted by either Jews nor protestants. Note their defense: "Some authors (here we go again with that clear cut statement of conviction - DPA) are of the opinion that the names given here and later (especially Nabuchodonosor and the Assyrians) are not intended to be historical." Convenient, isn't it? Some authors" -- "of the opinion" -- really says something! Agree with the book and they say we do too; differ and they say so do we! How do they explain it then? "The author would have chosen them for purposes of symbolism, i.e., instead of using the actual names he used names that served as types of the enemies of the Jewish people; or perhaps he chose the names because they were better known than the actual names," so says the Catholic Bible itself! What does it mean? They have a glaring contradiction, they know it, and they do not know what to do about it! But they still claim the book is inspired! Commenting in the notes at the end of the book, they also admit there are some exaggerations to be found in the book, such as Judith 2:7-8,
"The Holofernes called the captains, and the officers of the power of the Assyrians: and he mustered men for the expedition, as the king commanded him, a hundred and twenty thousand fighting men on foot, and twelve thousand archers, horsemen. And he made all his warlike preparations to go before with a multitude of innumerable camels, with all provisions sufficient for the armies in abundance, and herds of oxen, and flocks of sheep, without number."
Or perhaps there can also be excused at; symbolism too! The truth of the matter is that the book is not written in symbolism or accurate facts, and there is no explanation for these problems. So great are the contradictions, etc., that in an effort to escape the consequences of having accepted the book as divine, again the Catholics insert in the notes at the end of the book: "As in the case of the Book of Tobias, the question arises whether the account is historical or fictional. Some Catholic authors (how I love these statements of "our" convictions--DPA) are of the opinion that the author is describing actual events but that he adds non-historical features." Now, it is not symbolism, but "some" are of the "opinion" they are actual with fiction added to dress them up a bit. Then they still have the contradictions to deal with, and in the final analysis, they still cannot justify the book as being from God.
The book of Ecclesiasticus, written about 180 B. C. is not to be confused with our own book of Ecclesiastes (same, except with a "cus" on the end). In nature, it reads a lot like the book of Proverbs but makes no claim to inspiration. In fact, the prologue thereof states:
"My grandfather Jesus, after he had much given himself to a diligent reading of the law, and the prophets, and other books, that were delivered to us from our fathers, had a mind also to write something himself, pertaining to doctrine and wisdom: that such as are desirous to learn, and are made knowing in these things, may be more and more attentive in mind, and be strengthened to live according to the law. Therefore I thought it good, and necessary for me to bestow some diligence and labour to interpret this book; and with much watching and study in some space of time, I brought the book to and end and set it forth ..."
The teachings of this book, as Proverbs, are many, varied, short and to the point as well. It is a long book, having more chapters in it than to be found in Isaiah, and more false teaching than to be found in the book of Mormon! In presenting the doctrine of salvation by works, again we find in Ecclesiasticus 3:32-34 that "water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms resisteth sins: and God provideth for him that sheweth favour: he remembereth him afterwards, and in the time of his fall he shall find a sure stay."
But let us consider some of the other equally pointed statements to be found therein: "Be not ashamed to confess thy sins, but submit not thyself to every mall for sin. Resist not against the face of the mighty, and do not strive against the stream of the river." (Ecclesiasticus 4:31). Contrast this with the statement of Peter in Acts 5:29! Resist if the going is "with the stream," or else just fade away and keep quiet.
"Separate thyself from thy enemies, and take heed of thy friends" (Ecclesiasticus 6:13). "Bring not every man into thy house: for many are the snares of the deceitful ... Receive a stranger in, and he shall overthrow thee with a whirlwind, and shall turn thee out of thy own" (Ecclesiasticus 11:31, 36). "Do good to the humble, and give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not to him, lest thereby he overmaster thee. For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him..." (Ecclesiasticus 12:6-7). Doesn't this make for a pleasant setting? Suppose this had been the attitudes of Abraham when the angels came to tell him of the coming son or the fall of Sodom. Or suppose this is the teaching set forth by Christ today. Quite a contrast with that to be found in the beatitudes, or in Matthew 5:43-47, or in Romans 12:1821, or Proverbs 25:21-22.
Or further consider this doctrine of expedience in the following:
"Better is the man that hideth his folly, than the man that hideth his wisdom. Wherefore have a shame of these things I am now going to speak of. For it is not good to keep all shamefacedness: and all things do not please all men in opinion. Be ashamed of fornication before father and mother: and of a lie before a governor and a man in power: of an offence before a prince, and a judge: of iniquity before a congregation and a people: of injustice before a companion and friend: of deceit in fiiving and takings be ashamed of upbraiding speeches before friends: and after thou hast given, upbraid not" (Ecclesiasticus 41:18-28).
Of course, we conclude if these people are not present, then it is "not good to keep all shamefacedness." Makes it rather convenient -- you can sin, just so you do not pet caught before someone with influence to shame you. Is this the origin of the Catholic dogma one can lie and not be held responsible providing the one lied to had no business knowing in the first place?
Or perhaps we can contrast Paul's teachings of Philemon 1:16 and Ephesians 5:6-9, and Christ's in Luke 6:27-31 with that found in the following:
Be not ashamed of any of these things, and accept no person to sin thereby: Of the corruption of buying, and of merchants, and of much correction of children, and to make the side of a. wicked slave to bleed ... where there are many hands, shut up, and deliver all things in number, and weight: and put all in writing that thou givest out or receivest in." (Ecclesiasticus 42:1-7).
As we begin to draw our study of these extra books found in the Catholic Bible to a close, we might note the comment made concerning inspiration by Joseph Cook (1838-1901): "Inspiration is such a divine superintendence over the book of the Bible as makes them a trustworthy, infallible and safe guide concerning the way of salvation" (The New Dictionary of Thoughts, originally compiled by Tryon Edwards, p. 313). This test of trustworthiness, infallibility, and safety is now being applied to these books.
The small book of Baruch was written about 605 B.C., as the children of Israel were being carried off into the Babylonian captivity. It briefly lists their sins and a plea for mercy from God, if they will repent. One rather interesting statement therein is:
"O Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, hear now the prayer of the dead of Israel, and of their children, that have sinned before thee, and have not hearkened to the voice of the Lord their God, wherefore evils have cleaved fast to us. Remember not the iniquities of our fathers, but think upon thy hand, and upon thy name at this time: for thou art the Lord our God, and w January 30, 2019 hast put thy fear in our hearts, to, the intent that we should call upon thy name" (Baruch 3:4-7).
There are a couple of interesting points to be made from this one quote. First of all, we see here a desire to ignore the sins. of the past and purely because God is the God of Israel, then God it is up to you to preserve your own name - regardless of what we may have done to deserve this punishment. The plain fact cannot be overlooked that once God had set them up as a nation in order to protect and preserve his name, he had promised captivity if they did not obey him - not just a threat of an enemy to scare them for the moment (Deuteronomy 28).
Next, we would like to call attention to the "prayer of the dead of Israel . . . that have sinned before thee" - and this does not mean the spiritually dead because of their sins, as the context plainly shows. Here is the idea of those who are already dead praying to God, and with hopes of their prayers being answered, and this was because God, being God, ought to do something about it. Such certainly is not the same as the blood of Abel or the prayers of the saints in Revelation 6:9-11. Nor is it in harmony with the case of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, as this story was revealed by Christ. But, again, if this book is accepted, the way is opened for the Rosary and with a little stretching to come shortly, even the idea of Purgatory.
1 and 2 Maccabees
Before launching into the principal passage we want to study of these two books, written between the Testaments, let us first note a few miscellaneous points about them. The Catholics recognize they have problems with these two books also, and admit them thus admitting their lack of inspiration. Commenting on I Maccabee 11:48 "And they slew in that day a hundred thousand men, and they set fire to the city, and got many spoils that day, and delivered the king," in the notes at the end of the book, they added, "Some of the numbers found in the two books of Maccabees seem to be exaggerated." In other words, they are unreliable and inaccurate! Going still further, in II Maccabees 8:20, we find the Jews that were loyal, being 6,000, slew 120,000 in battle, and again the comment on this passage at the end of this book: "Some of the numbers in 2 Mc seem to be exaggerated." To add still further to the lack of reliability of the books, in I Maccabee 6:37 we find a reference to 32 men on beasts and the note at the end of the book, "the number is obviously erroneous; the Hebrew text probably had 'two' or 'three'."
But such trivial problems as unreliability are rather minor to the Catholic Church considering what is at stake in these two books. In fact, commenting on the parallel deaths in I Maccabee 6:1-17 and II Maccabee 9, the notes add:
"If the account of the death of Antiochus in 2 Mc. 1:11-17 is also taken to refer to Antiochus IV, it will be noticed that the account given there differs from the present account and 1 Mc. 6:1-17. One solution of the difficulty then created would be to recall that 2 Mc. 1:11-17 is part of a letter quoted by the author and he cannot be considered to guarantee everything in the letter."
Makes a rather nice escape of the contradictions -- "one solution" says blame the letter, and if this does not suffice, the Church can ay it was one solution. Give us time and well find another you might think more plausible if you do not accept that. Well, sorry, but we're still waiting:
Also, to excuse the plain chronological errors, they add at the end of II Maccabee, "the author does not always follow the chronological order of events; e.g., following his own principles of arrangement, he describes the death of Antiochus IV before the purification of the Temple." That is another way of trying to pass off the fact that chronological patterns were violated and wrong events placed out of order. Excuse it as merely his "own principles of arrangement," rather than admitting it is merely another of many errors.
But now let us direct our attention to the primary passage we want to note here, found in II Maccabee 12:38-46. To give us the full context:
"So Judas having gathered together his army, came into the city Odollam: and when the seventh day came, they purified themselves according to the custom, and kept the Sabbath in the same place. And the day following Judas came with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchers of their fathers. And they found under the coats of the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth to the Jews: so that all plainly saw, that for this cause they were slain. Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden. And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, for as much as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain. And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead), and because he considered that they who had fallen asleep, with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."
The notes at the end of the book add this comment to verse 46: "In the Greek - 'therefore he had an expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead so that they might be absolved from their sins."' The doctrines used in the Catholic Church today have many bases in this passage, as is quite obvious. Not only are the ideas of Purgatory and praying for the dead to be gathered from this passage, but also the convenience of the money in payment for sins.
Let us, first of all, observe how he planned to free those whom God brought a "just judgment" against for their sins. Did he offer a sin offering as Moses did for the children of Israel when they sinned? Did he command burnt sacrifices? No, sent 12,000 drachmas of silver to Jerusalem "so that they might be absolved from their sin." In other words, regardless of how bad the sin, if enough money is given, there is always hope! Note how this ties in with the other books on giving alms to have sins removed. Not to be found in the Bible, the Catholic Church must have these books to preserve its practice here.
But next, to this sin of idolatry. How important is it? The wrath of God is called a "just judgment of the Lord," and he is praised for revealing the "things that were hidden." Even the Catholics do not believe the sin of idolatry is readily forgiven by God. It is classified as a mortal sin (as contrasted with a venial or everyday sin) and needs a special grace from God - sometimes even a miracle to obtain forgiveness (The Teaching of the Catholic Church, Vol. 1, p. 593, 608). In order to obtain forgiveness and even make it into the state of Purgatory, one must have the rites of Extreme Unction - Final Anointing - performed. Note the following:
"In the case of mortal sins the person must be at least in a state of "habitual" repentance, i. e. after his last mortal sin lie must at least once have elicited an act of contrition and never have revoked the same. If in such a state of unconsciousness and the danger of death should overtake him, Extreme Unction would remit his sin and open to him the gate of heaven. Should he previously to death regain consciousness and have the opportunity of confession, he is still bound to confess his sin, for such is the will of Christ; but his soul, having been cleansed from mortal stain, is safe for eternity and has escaped the doom of eternal loss. It is this wonderful efficacy of Last Anointing which creates its unique importance in the eyes of priests and faithful, especially in the case of careless Catholics, who may be suddenly overtaken by unconsciousness and the danger of death. In such cases it is of greater importance than priestly absolution, for the validity of absolution pronounced over those who are totally unconscious and thus unable to give any outward sign of acknowledgement of sin and repentance is a matter of doubt" (Ibid, Vol. 2, p. 1012).
Note that one needs extreme unction to get into heaven, but if unconscious, priestly absolution is pronounced, though the results are "a matter of doubt." But these men were guilty of mortal sins and dead for 36-48 hours. They were beyond the reach even of "priestly absolution." It was a "just judgment of the Lord." Yet, in spite of ' the wasted efforts and no signs of repentance, they conclude two things: (1) Prayer for the dead will forgive their sins - a second chance after death, and (2) the money paid for their sins was because be fully expected them to obtain the forgiveness of this mortal sin, for which they must repent and receive a special grace. If he died with the mortal sin, the gates of heaven would not be opened for him. Without extreme unction, neither would the gates of Catholic-created Purgatory. This leaves one other destination, even according to Catholic dogma - and there is no escape from this place (Luke 16).
The truth of the matter is that their dogmas rest on the book - in spite of the errors involved, but the word of God disagrees with both. II Corinthians 5: 10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deed in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." It is too late after death and too late for someone else to do what "he" should have done "in the body."
In conclusion, I would like to note and agree with the statement made by Merrill F. Unger in the Introductory Guide to the Old Testament, p. 109 - "Certainly a book that contains what is false in fact, erroneous in doctrine or unsound in morality, is unworthy of God and cannot have been inspired by Him. Tried under these criteria the Apocryphal books stand self-condemned."
Note: Books used in this article, other than the Bibles were:
- Paulist Correspondence Course, Lesson No. 2, based on Hurley's I Believe; 1935; Paulist Fathers, 21 E. Van Buren St., Chicago, Illinois.
- The Teaching of the Catholic Church, Vol. 1-2; Edited by Canon George D. Smith; 1959; Macmillan Co., New York.
- Revelation and the Bible, edited by Carl F. H. Henry, 1958; Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- The New Dictionary of Thoughts, compiled by Tryon Edwards, C. N. Catrevas, Jonathan Edwards and Ralph Emerson Browns: 1957 Standard Book Company.