Roman Catholics (questions asked by them)

 

 

11. Why did you take the apocryphal books away from the Bible?

 

 

 

We have not taken away those books from the canon of the Bible, but those books were added to the canon by your predecessors. For that is what in 1546 the cardinals and the bishops and the pope of that time did during the Council of Trent. Therefore the truth is that your predecessors adulterated the canon of the Scripture adding to it the books they wanted to add (as well as some words to the book of Esther and the book of Daniel) and you accuse us unjustly of having taken them away.

The reasons why we don’t accept these books (and the above mentioned additions to Esther and Daniel) as canonical, that is, as part of the canon of Scripture, are the following ones:

 

They are full of contradictions and mistakes.

● In the book of Esther it is written: “Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom” (Esther 5:1-3). In the additions to that book we find these words which refer to the same event: “‘Then having passed through all the doors, she stood before the king, who sat upon his royal throne, and was clothed with all his robes of majesty, all glittering with gold and precious stones; and he was very dreadful. Then lifting up his countenance that shone with majesty, he looked very fiercely upon her: and the queen fell down, and was pale, and fainted, and bowed herself upon the head of the maid that went before her’ (Est. 15:6-7). As you can see, the description of the event we find in the additions is inconsistent with the description we find in the inspired book, because according to the additions the king looked very fiercely upon Esther and the queen even fainted, while according to the inspired book Esther obtained favour in the sight of the king.

● In the book of Tobias, which is full of fables, it is written that an angel of God called Raphael said a lie. First it is written that Tobias went to seek a man that might go with him to Rages, and he found Raphael but he did not know that he was an angel of God; afterward, when the father of Tobias asked that man to say to him the family and the tribe he belonged to, Raphael answered: ‘I am Azarias, the son of Ananias the great, and of thy brethren’ Here is the full account: “Therefore when he went to seek a man, he found Raphael that was an angel. But he knew not; and he said unto him, Canst thou go with me to Rages? and knowest thou those places well? To whom the angel said, I will go with thee, and I know the way well: for I have lodged with our brother Gabael. Then Tobias said unto him, Tarry for me, till I tell my father. Then he said unto him, Go and tarry not. So he went in and said to his father, Behold, I have found one which will go with me. Then he said, Call him unto me, that I may know of what tribe he is, and whether he be a trusty man to go with thee. So he called him, and he came in, and they saluted one another. Then Tobit said unto him, Brother, shew me of what tribe and family thou art. To whom he said, Dost thou seek for a tribe or family, or an hired man to go with thy son? Then Tobit said unto him, I would know, brother, thy kindred and name. Then he said, I am Azarias, the son of Ananias the great, and of thy brethren. Then Tobit said, Thou art welcome, brother; be not now angry with me, because I have enquired to know thy tribe and thy family; for thou art my brother, of an honest and good stock: for I know Ananias and Jonathas, sons of that great Samaias, as we went together to Jerusalem to worship, and offered the firstborn, and the tenths of the fruits; and they were not seduced with the error of our brethren: my brother, thou art of a good stock’ (Tobias 5:4-13). The angels of God are holy and cannot lie for they say and do whatever God wants them to say and do. If that angel was called Raphael he had to answer that his name was Raphael; why then did he say that his name was Azarias? In this book it is also written that an angel of God taught a superstition! Here are the passages confirming this: ‘And as they went on their journey, they came in the evening to the river Tigris, and they lodged there. And when the young man went down to wash himself, a fish leaped out of the river, and would have devoured him. Then the angel said unto him, Take the fish. And the young man laid hold of the fish, and drew it to land. To whom the angel said, Open the fish, and take the heart and the liver and the gall, and put them up safely. So the young man did as the angel commanded him; and when they had roasted the fish, they did eat it: then they both went on their way, till they drew near to Ecbatane. Then the young man said to the angel, Brother Azarias, to what use is the heart and the liver and the gal of the fish? And he said unto him, Touching the heart and the liver, if a devil or an evil spirit trouble any, we must make a smoke thereof before the man or the woman, and the party shall be no more vexed. As for the gall, it is good to anoint a man that hath whiteness in his eyes, and he shall be healed’ (Tobias 6:1-8). Now I ask you: ‘How can we accept this book, where angels teach even superstitions, as an inspired book?’

● In the book of Judith the story of that woman is dated to just after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. Here is what some verses say: ‘Now the children of Israel, that dwelt in Judea, heard all that Holofernes the chief captain of Nabuchodonosor king of the Assyrians had done to the nations, and after what manner he had spoiled all their temples, and brought them to nought. Therefore they were exceedingly afraid of him, and were troubled for Jerusalem, and for the temple of the Lord their God: For they were newly returned from the captivity, and all the people of Judea were lately gathered together: and the vessels, and the altar, and the house, were sanctified after the profanation’ (Judith 4:1-3). In these words there are several lies, for when the Jews returned to Judea from the captivity, Nabuchodonosor king of the Babylonians was no longer alive, for he had died many years before. At the time Cyrus, king of Persia, was reigning over Media and Persia. It was Cyrus who let the Jews go free so that they might return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of God.

● The writer of the second Book of the Macabees concludes with these words: ‘And if I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired: but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto’ (2 Macabees 15:38). A writer inspired by God would never have written such words, because God cannot apologize to anybody for not being able to do a better job, and because in a Writing inspired by God all things are good and of value, for what is written is the Word of God.

In the second book of Macabees it is written a lie concerning the ark of the covenant of the Lord. The book says: ‘It is also found in the records, that Jeremy the prophet commanded them that were carried away to take of the fire, as it hath been signified: And how that the prophet, having given them the law, charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, when they see images of silver and gold, with their ornaments. And with other such speeches exhorted he them, that the law should not depart from their hearts. It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremy came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremy perceived, he blamed them, saying, As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified’ (2 Macabees 2:1-8). These things cannot be true because in the book of the prophet Jeremiah, with regard to the ark of the covenant of the Lord, it is written: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (Jeremiah 3:14-16). As you can see, also this evident contradiction proves that this book of Macabees is not inspired by God.

In the books of the Macabees there is also another contradiction which proves that those books are unreliable. It is a contradiction concerning the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian king, who is made to die three different deaths. The first account of his death is as follows: ‘About that time king Antiochus travelling through the high countries heard say, that Elymais in the country of Persia was a city greatly renowned for riches, silver, and gold; And that there was in it a very rich temple, wherein were coverings of gold, and breastplates, and shields, which Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Grecians, had left there. Wherefore he came and sought to take the city, and to spoil it; but he was not able, because they of the city, having had warning thereof, Rose up against him in battle: so he fled, and departed thence with great heaviness, and returned to Babylon. Moreover there came one who brought him tidings into Persia, that the armies, which went against the land of Judea, were put to flight: And that Lysias, who went forth first with a great power was driven away of the Jews; and that they were made strong by the armour, and power, and store of spoils, which they had gotten of the armies, whom they had destroyed: Also that they had pulled down the abomination, which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem, and that they had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls, as before, and his city Bethsura. Now when the king heard these words, he was astonished and sore moved: whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for. And there he continued many days: for his grief was ever more and more, and he made account that he should die. Wherefore he called for all his friends, and said unto them, The sleep is gone from mine eyes, and my heart faileth for very care. And I thought with myself, Into what tribulation am I come, and how great a flood of misery is it, wherein now I am! for I was bountiful and beloved in my power. But now I remember the evils that I did at Jerusalem, and that I took all the vessels of gold and silver that were therein, and sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judea without a cause. I perceive therefore that for this cause these troubles are come upon me, and, behold, I perish through great grief in a strange land. Then called he for Philip, one of his friends, who he made ruler over all his realm, And gave him the crown, and his robe, and his signet, to the end he should bring up his son Antiochus, and nourish him up for the kingdom. So king Antiochus died there in the hundred forty and ninth year” (1 Macabees 6:1-16); the second account is this: “The brethren, the Jews that be at Jerusalem and in the land of Judea, wish unto the brethren, the Jews that are throughout Egypt health and peace: God be gracious unto you, and remember his covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants; And give you all an heart to serve him, and to do his will, with a good courage and a willing mind; And open your hearts in his law and commandments, and send you peace, And hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble. And now we be here praying for you. What time as Demetrius reigned, in the hundred threescore and ninth year, we the Jews wrote unto you in the extremity of trouble that came upon us in those years, from the time that Jason and his company revolted from the holy land and kingdom, And burned the porch, and shed innocent blood: then we prayed unto the Lord, and were heard; we offered also sacrifices and fine flour, and lighted the lamps, and set forth the loaves. And now see that ye keep the feast of tabernacles in the month Casleu. In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, the people that were at Jerusalem and in Judea, and the council, and Judas, sent greeting and health unto Aristobulus, king Ptolemeus' master, who was of the stock of the anointed priests, and to the Jews that were in Egypt: Insomuch as God hath delivered us from great perils, we thank him highly, as having been in battle against a king. For he cast them out that fought within the holy city. For when the leader was come into Persia, and the army with him that seemed invincible, they were slain in the temple of Nanea by the deceit of Nanea's priests. For Antiochus, as though he would marry her, came into the place, and his friends that were with him, to receive money in name of a dowry. Which when the priests of Nanea had set forth, and he was entered with a small company into the compass of the temple, they shut the temple as soon as Antiochus was come in: And opening a privy door of the roof, they threw stones like thunderbolts, and struck down the captain, hewed them in pieces, smote off their heads and cast them to those that were without’ (2 Macabees 1:1-16). While according to third account God struck the king with a plague and he died: ‘About that time came Antiochus with dishonour out of the country of Persia For he had entered the city called Persepolis, and went about to rob the temple, and to hold the city; whereupon the multitude running to defend themselves with their weapons put them to flight; and so it happened, that Antiochus being put to flight of the inhabitants returned with shame. Now when he came to Ecbatane, news was brought him what had happened unto Nicanor and Timotheus. Then swelling with anger. he thought to avenge upon the Jews the disgrace done unto him by those that made him flee. Therefore commanded he his chariotman to drive without ceasing, and to dispatch the journey, the judgment of GOD now following him. For he had spoken proudly in this sort, That he would come to Jerusalem and make it a common burying place of the Jews. But the Lord Almighty, the God of Isreal, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: or as soon as he had spoken these words, a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts; And that most justly: for he had tormented other men's bowels with many and strange torments. Howbeit he nothing at all ceased from his bragging, but still was filled with pride, breathing out fire in his rage against the Jews, and commanding to haste the journey: but it came to pass that he fell down from his chariot, carried violently; so that having a sore fall, all the members of his body were much pained. And thus he that a little afore thought he might command the waves of the sea, (so proud was he beyond the condition of man) and weigh the high mountains in a balance, was now cast on the ground, and carried in an horselitter, shewing forth unto all the manifest power of God. So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army. And the man, that thought a little afore he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry for his intolerable stink. Here therefore, being plagued, he began to leave off his great pride, and to come to the knowledge of himself by the scourge of God, his pain increasing every moment. And when he himself could not abide his own smell, he said these words, It is meet to be subject unto God, and that a man that is mortal should not proudly think of himself if he were God. This wicked person vowed also unto the Lord, who now no more would have mercy upon him, saying thus, That the holy city (to the which he was going in haste to lay it even with the ground, and to make it a common buryingplace,) he would set at liberty: And as touching the Jews, whom he had judged not worthy so much as to be buried, but to be cast out with their children to be devoured of the fowls and wild beasts, he would make them all equals to the citizens of Athens: And the holy temple, which before he had spoiled, he would garnish with goodly gifts, and restore all the holy vessels with many more, and out of his own revenue defray the charges belonging to the sacrifices: Yea, and that also he would become a Jew himself, and go through all the world that was inhabited, and declare the power of God. But for all this his pains would not cease: for the just judgment of God was come upon him: therefore despairing of his health, he wrote unto the Jews the letter underwritten, containing the form of a supplication, after this manner: Antiochus, king and governor, to the good Jews his citizens wisheth much joy, health, and prosperity: If ye and your children fare well, and your affairs be to your contentment, I give very great thanks to God, having my hope in heaven. As for me, I was weak, or else I would have remembered kindly your honour and good will returning out of Persia, and being taken with a grievous disease, I thought it necessary to care for the common safety of all: Not distrusting mine health, but having great hope to escape this sickness. But considering that even my father, at what time he led an army into the high countries. appointed a successor, To the end that, if any thing fell out contrary to expectation, or if any tidings were brought that were grievous, they of the land, knowing to whom the state was left, might not be troubled: Again, considering how that the princes that are borderers and neighbours unto my kingdom wait for opportunities, and expect what shall be the event. I have appointed my son Antiochus king, whom I often committed and commended unto many of you, when I went up into the high provinces; to whom I have written as followeth: Therefore I pray and request you to remember the benefits that I have done unto you generally, and in special, and that every man will be still faithful to me and my son. For I am persuaded that he understanding my mind will favourably and graciously yield to your desires. Thus the murderer and blasphemer having suffered most grievously, as he entreated other men, so died he a miserable death in a strange country in the mountains. And Philip, that was brought up with him, carried away his body, who also fearing the son of Antiochus went into Egypt to Ptolemeus Philometor’ (2 Macabees 9:1-29).

We have showed some of the numerous mistakes which are present in the Apocryphal Books, which prove that the writers of those books were not inspired by the Holy Spirit. In the Apocryphal Books there are also some stories which are useful to the Roman Catholic Church to support some of her perverse and diabolical doctrines. For instance, we find some prayers for the dead and an expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, as it is written in the second book of Macabees: ‘So Judas gathered his host, and came into the city of Odollam, And when the seventh day came, they purified themselves, as the custom was, and kept the sabbath in the same place. And upon the day following, as the use had been, Judas and his company came to take up the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen in their fathers' graves. Now under the coats of every one that was slain they found things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain. All men therefore praising the Lord, the righteous Judge, who had opened the things that were hid, Betook themselves unto prayer, and besought him that the sin committed might wholly be put out of remembrance. Besides, that noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forsomuch as they saw before their eyes the things that came to pass for the sins of those that were slain. And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin’ (2 Macabees 12:38-45), and we find also some prayers made on behalf of the living by a dead priest and by the prophet Jeremiah after his death, as it is written: ‘Thus he armed every one of them, not so much with defence of shields and spears, as with comfortable and good words: and beside that, he told them a dream worthy to be believed, as if it had been so indeed, which did not a little rejoice them. And this was his vision: That Onias, who had been high priest, a virtuous and a good man, reverend in conversation, gentle in condition, well spoken also, and exercised from a child in all points of virtue, holding up his hands prayed for the whole body of the Jews. This done, in like manner there appeared a man with gray hairs, and exceeding glorious, who was of a wonderful and excellent majesty. Then Onias answered, saying, This is a lover of the brethren, who prayeth much for the people, and for the holy city, to wit, Jeremias the prophet of God. Whereupon Jeremias holding forth his right hand gave to Judas a sword of gold, and in giving it spake thus, Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with the which thou shalt wound the adversaries’ (2 Macabees 15:11-16).

All the quotes of the Apocryphal Books were taken from this site http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/apo/.

It is true that in the Book of Wisdom and in the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), for instance, there are some things which are true which cannot be refuted, but this is not sufficient to accept the apocryphal books as canonical books.

 

The Spirit of truth, who dwells in us sons of God, does not bear witness that those books are Word of God, for He makes us feel unequivocally that they must not be accepted as Word of God.

The sheep of the Lord know His voice and His voice cannot be mistaken for another voice; and the voice of the apocryphal books is not the voice of the Shepherd of our souls.

 

Neither Jesus Christ nor the apostles quoted anything from the apocryphal books

Their silence shows that they did not regard them as Word God. We can say also this: if the Jews had taken those books – which according to the Roman Theologians are canonical – away from the canonical books, they would have been guilty before God, and Jesus Christ, the One by whom are all things, would have surely rebuked them also for that sinful act.

 

The Jews first and then also the Christians who lived in the first centuries after Christ never accepted them as canonical.

The Jews, unto whom (let’s never forget this) “were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2), did not accept them as canonical books, nor did they accept the additions to Esther and to Daniel as Word of God; that’s why they are not in the Hebrew Bible (which contains only the books of the Old Testament). The early Church denied the canonicity of those books, for she never put them on the same level with the Holy Books. Since the Roman Catholic Theologians found many of their doctrines on the writings of the so called Church fathers, I would like you Roman Catholics to know that there are several statements made by some of these so called Church fathers, who lived in the first centuries after Christ, according to which those books in their days were not accepted as canonical. One of them, Jerome, whom you esteem so much, did not accept them as canonical. He stated in his Prologus Galeatus and his Introduction to the books of Solomon certain things concerning these books that are very clear.

In the book written by G.L. Archer titled A survey of Old Testament Introduction (published in English by The Moody Press – Chicago – USA - in 1964) translated in Italian under the title La Parola del Signore; Introduzione all’Antico Testamento (published by ‘Voce della Bibbia’, Modena, in 1972), we read: ‘The quote of the Prologus Galeatus sounds like this: This prologue is like a helmet that defends (principium) the Holy Scriptures and can refer to all the books that have been translated from Hebrew into Latin, so that all that is out of it must be regarded as belonging to the apocrypha. Thus the Wisdom commonly called of Solomon, the book of Jesus son of Sirach, Judith, Tobias and the Shepherd (probably the Shepherd of Erma) are not in the canon. I discovered the first book of Macabees in Hebrew; the second book of Macabees is Greek as it can be demonstrated by its verbal construction’. In the Introduction to the books of Solomon prepared by Jerome himself, he affirms that he found the Ecclesiasticus in Hebrew, but he shows his conviction that the Wisdom of Solomon was composed in Greek and not in Hebrew, since the book shows a Greek kind of eloquence. ‘And so – he continues – it is true that the church reads Judith, Tobias and the Macabees (during the public worship), yet she does not accept them as canonical books of the Scriptures; thus we read also these two writings for edification but let us not use them to establish authoritatively the doctrines of the Church’ (page 78 – Translated by myself).

Your theologians tell us with sorrow that besides Jerome also Hilary of Poitiers and Origen did not accept those books as inspired books. Therefore, the Council of Trent, by accepting the apocrypha as canonical books opposed also Jerome, who is the author of the Latin version of the Bible called Vulgate, that the Council of Trent declared that must be accepted as the only true Bible version among all the versions.

In conclusion I want to quote some passages of the Scriptures which state that it is forbidden to add to the Word of God and to take away from it:

● “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).

● “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

● “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life [the tree of life], and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Therefore, those who have made those additions to the Word of God will bear their sin forever, for they dared to pass off human words and fables as Word of God.

 

 

 

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