By Walid Shoebat (Shoebat Exclusive)
When I first read “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:15-17) I had thought that this meant the New King James Bible in my hand I purchased in 1993 for $10. Then two decades later, as I was perusing the web, I read the following:
“For if the just one be the Son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”— Wisdom 2:12-20
It was from the Book of Wisdom which I never heard of and was not easy for me to refute, that here in one verse, Wisdom was speaking of the “Son of God” being delivered into the hands of his enemies to be killed. I know of the prophecy of Isaiah 53 which speaks of the suffering servant, but this prophecy written way prior to the New Testament has it all in one verse, that besides a reference to a suffering servant, whom we debate constantly about with the Jew claiming that the suffering servant was Israel, yet here we have a single verse in which it clearly states that it was “the Son of God” who will be tortured and killed.
Which began my quest: what then is “All Scripture”? And why is this not in my Bible?
Eastern Orthodox and Catholics have 7 extra books from the Septuagint, so which one is “all Scripture” and what did Jesus and his apostles consider to be “All Scripture”?
The last question is not easy to dismiss. If the Holy Spirit breathed the prophecy about Christ in Wisdom and I denied it, it would be a major issue. If Jesus thought that by “All Scripture” He meant that Wisdom is included and if I say “no”, this would be an incredible denial, and if I say “yes”, this would entail that I obey what is written in the whole Book of Wisdom.
So my quest for truth which will never cease until the Lord takes me away began my search.
What I first found was that Protestants call the “extra” 7 books “apocryphal” meaning “doubtful”, “not genuine”, or even “not inspired”.
So they said “no” and if they are wrong, it would be an incredible denial, and if they are correct, it would mean that the Catholic and Orthodox would need to be exposed.
I found out that Luther said “no”.
But since I was a plain-Jane Christian and never was a protestant—I never liked Martin Luther—I wondered, should I or should I not use these 7 books?
Then I found out that the Early Church used the Septuagint as did Jesus Himself as I looked up Peloubet’s Protestant Bible Dictionary which says of the Septuagint:
“was manifestly the chief storehouse from which both Christ and the Apostles drew their proofs and precepts” (pp. 604-5).
Whoa, now thats a whopper!
And I began to ask; if Jesus used the Septuagint who am I to say no? Would one sit in a Bible study with Jesus and argue with Him that He should not quote it and that He should follow the Puritan and the Lutheran since they knew better than Him? That would constitute blasphemy, especially when the Boss, God in the flesh, has a Septuagint in His hand.
The chief Himself favored the Septuagint as the “chief storehouse”?
Indeed, He did. As I began to find out, for example, in John 10: 22-36 Jesus and the Apostles observed the key Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah), which celebrates events only recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees. By treating the Feast of Hanukkah and the account of it in the books of the Maccabees as an image or type of His own consecration by the Father. That is, He treats the Feast of Hanukkah from what we called “apocryphal” books of 1 and 2 Maccabees exactly as He treats accounts of the manna (John 6:32-33; Exodus 16:4), the Bronze Serpent (John 3:14; Numbers 21:4-9), and Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51; Genesis 28:12)— as inspired, prophetic, scriptural images of Himself.
By now my head was spinning, as if God hit me with a ton of heavenly bricks.
And then I began to ask myself; and what sort of history is the history of our faith without Hanukkah? And who is man to throw Maccabees as “doubtful” when Jesus referred to it? These are some very serious issues, not just for Jews, but also for the Messianic.
At Berit Hadashah Messianic Synagogue at Walnut Creek, we always would speak of Hanukkah, yet we denied the breath of the Holy Spirit in these books? Just who did we think we were?
And let me tell the world of Hanukkah.
It was Judas Maccabeus, a type of Christ who fought to liberate the Temple from Antiochus Epiphanies and thus preserved the faith and the faithful from utter destruction. Mattathias, the father of Judas Maccabeus, was a priest, and he did not hesitate to command Judas and his brothers to unsheathe their sword and slay the soldiers of Antiochus when they were forcing the people to worship their idols.
It is also what the Father in heaven will tell the Son when He defends Jerusalem in order to defeat yet another Antiochus, the Antichrist who will force people to bow to his image.
And we think that such incidents are isolated from Christian history? We think that the God of love ceased to defend the faith from being annihilated without more of the types of Judas Maccabeus? I always used to ask, where is Church history that matches Israel’s? O what a blind man I was. It was right in front of my face.
I will start with Joshua, another type of Christ:
“Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times,” (Joshua 6:15)
“early on the dawning of the day” on the “seventh day” before the sun arose is six days. This parallel is unlike anything in history by another like-figure of Judas Maccabeus: Charles Martel who had a Six Day encounter in defense of the Church just as Israel had a Six Day War in defense of its survival.
Most of my evangelical friends by large had little interest in carefully examining the history of the Christian-Muslim wars, an issue I knew better since I grew up in the Middle East and have had some knowledge concerning wars that spanned for fourteen centuries. When such wars are brought up, most evangelicals would quickly sprint apologizing to the Muslim about the Crusades as if that was all Christian history had provided regarding war were Constantine and the Crusaders which they viewed as dark. They never spoke of the millions of martyrs who gave their lives for our freedom from Islam, which we enjoy today thanks to them winning the Battle of Tours in France led by the great Charles Martel.
The Catholics, in that fateful day, stood ground to defend Christian France on the hills and never even attacked. The Battle of Tours (often called the Battle of Poitiers, but not to be confused with the Battle of Poitiers, 1356) was fought on October 10, 732 between forces under the Frankish leader Charles Martel and a massive invading Islamic army led by Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, near the city of Tours, France. For Six days the Muslim leader, Al-Ghafiqi, stood hoping the Catholics will attack first, they didn’t, they had hoped that the Muslims would retreat and leave them alone. On the Seventh Day, Al-Ghafiqi attacked and the battle was similar to the Six Day War in which good triumphed over evil.
Ninth-century chroniclers, who interpreted the outcome of the battle as divine judgment in Martel’s favour, gave Charles the nickname Martellus (“The Hammer”), possibly recalling Judas Maccabeus (“The Hammerer”) of the Maccabean revolt. As later chroniclers praised Charles Martel as the champion of Christianity, pre-20th century historians began to characterize this battle as being the decisive turning point in the struggle against Islam, a struggle which preserved Christianity as the religion of Europe:
“Most of the 18th and 19th century historians, like Gibbon, saw Poitiers (Tours), as a landmark battle that marked the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe.” (Hanson, 2001, p. 166.)
Leopold von Ranke felt that:
“Poitiers was the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world.” (Ranke, Leopold von. “History of the Reformation”, vol. 1, 5)
French historian François Pierre Guillaume Guizot observes:
“… it was a struggle between East and West, South and North, Asia and Europe, the Gospel and the Koran; and we now say, on the general consideration off events, people and ages, that the civilization of the world depended upon it.” (M. Guizot and Mme. Guizot De Witt, A History of France (New York,1869),1:154.)
Can Christians easily dismiss God’s hand in that battle, that the Holy Spirit ceased to turn the tide of history for the Christians just as He turned the tide for Israel by the hand of Judas Maccabeus? It was as it still is; impossible for Muslims to Islamize Europe since the prophet John in Revelation 13 describes this Islamic threat (the beast) historically ravishing (Daniel 7) and coming out of composite from three previous empires (Revelation 13:2): Leopard (Grecian), Lion (Babylonian), and Bear (Medo-Persian). It was never and will never be European or Russian.
John was not only referring to the time of the end, but to the seventh kingdom which will re-arise as the eighth, in the end.(Revelation 17:10-11) Prophecy was for all of Church history and not just the apocalypse.
We have so much to learn as to why the Apostles and New Testament writers quoted principally the Septuagint. In fact, of the three hundred and fifty Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament, about three hundred are taken straight from the Septuagint.
In fact, the Book of Wisdom was St. Paul’s favorite volume. The Epistle of St. James – to take another example – shows an acquaintance with the Book of Sirach. If the Apostles and New Testament writers used some of the additional books, did they not thereby approve the entire Septuagint collection?
The oldest Christian Bibles in existence, the Codex Vaticanus and others contain the additional 7 books.
Even the Christian art of the first four centuries – especially that found in the catacombs and cemeteries – furnishes among others the following illustrations from the additional books:
1—Tobias with the fish is from Tobias 6.
2—Susanna is from Daniel 13, which is removed from Protestant bibles.
3—Daniel and the dragon (Daniel 14) and Habakkuk and Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 14:35), both chapters 13 & 14 of Daniel removed from the Protestant bibles.
And to anyone who thinks of scoffing I ask; who is Luther that I may serve him? The moment I was introduced to Luther’s “The Jews and Their Lies” I spewed him out.
Martin Luther showed great hostility to St. James’s Epistle because of its doctrine of the necessity of good works and contemptuously called it an “epistle of straw”.
Protestants have always argued that these 7 books were neither prophetic or are inspired. However, this is not true. For example, the Book of The Wisdom of Solomon, in less than fifty words, sums up the entire purpose of the Incarnation of the Son of God and why God became man:
“While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her swift course,
Thine almighty Word leaped out of Heaven out of Thy royal throne, as a fierce man of war, into the midst of a land of destruction.” (Wisdom of Solomon, 18:14-15)
Here is the Word who was with God who became God and then leaps from heaven to earth in His second coming to fight. I was dumbstruck. How could a manmade declaration like this be void of the breath of God?
Other classic examples in support for the 7 books;
1—Herod’s decree of slaying innocent children (Matt. 2:16) was prophesied in Wis. 11:7.
2—The ‘desolating sacrilege’ (Mt 24:15) Jesus refers to is taken from 1 Mac 1:54 and 2 Mac 8: 17.
3—Elizabeth’s declaration of Mary’s blessedness above all women (Luke 1:42) follows Uzziah’s declaration in Judith 13:18.
One main objection I read is this flimsy argument; that both Jews and Protestants have rejected the seven books as Holy Scripture.
But this is not exactly true, today’s Ethiopian Jews still use the Septuagint version (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147), not the shorter Palestinian canon settled upon by the rabbis at Yavneh, which is not identical to the Bible used by Jesus and the Apostles.
Here is how all this happened. When the Jews in the wake of the destruction of the Temple, they abandoned the Greek Septuagint and adopted the mid-sized Pharisaic Hebrew canon and eventually the vast majority of Jews adopted this version.
The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia says:
“When the Canon of the Bible was established, in the 2nd century, Akiba played a large part in determining its final form … He declared that he who reads aloud in the synagogues from the non-canonical book [Septuagint], as if it were canonical, would have no share in the world to come” (Vol. I., p. 148).
It is a shame that we follow someone who believed in a false Messiah be one who dictates what volume of Scripture we read. Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, the father of Rabbinic Judaism of the Christian era, which centered against accepting Jesus as the predicted Messiah preferred a Messianic pretender, Bar Kokba who was also nicknamed Bar Koziba (son of the liar) (Vallentine’s Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 20); whom he hailed as “King Messiah,” which the Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge praises Rabbi Akiba for “having had the courage to accept Bar Kokba as military leader and the Messiah” which resulted in the razing of Jerusalem (foretold by Daniel). Thus Bar Kokba, assisted by Rabbi Akiba, became a famous, or rather an infamous, fulfillment of the prophesy of Jesus, that “false Messiahs and false prophets will arise” (St. Mark 13:22).
Is this whom we follow? Do we follow the man whom Christ predicted as the false Messiah? This is a question that no Christian should or can ignore lightly after reading this.
Vallentine’s Jewish Encyclopedia says, in an article written by Dr. Joseph Reider, professor of Biblical Philology, Dropsie (Jewish) College, Philadelphia:
“The definitive act of canonization of the complete Scriptures is known to have taken place at the Synod of Jabneh [Yavneh] (near Tel Aviv), soon after the destruction of the Temple, at the instigation of Rabbi Akiba” (p. 94).
So the question becomes is this: can councils of non-Christian religions like Judaism have the authority to define the Christian canon?
The Old Testament canon recognized by Ethiopian Jews is identical to the Septuagint, which included the seven books deleted by Martin Luther.
Another main objection is that Jesus and the Apostles never quoted from the seven books or mention them and neither are they prophetic or inspired.
But this is also blatantly false. In Matthew 27:42-43:
“He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God'”.
This came from what was prophesied in Wisdom 2:12-20, reads in part:
“For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
That plus, it was the same councils Protestants point to as authoritative (Rome 382 A.D., Hippo 393 A.D., and Carthage 397 A.D.) in settling the New Testament were also used and considered authoritative to settle the Old Testament canon; the Septuagint. “All Scripture” then includes the 7 missing books.
Also, where in the Bible does it say that Christ or the Apostles have to quote from a book of the Old Testament in order to mark the book as inspired scripture? If this is the measure of canonicity then many of the books of the Old Testament would need to be discarded; Christ and the New Testament writers didn’t quote all of the Old Testament books that even the Protestants regard as canonical. Additionally, using such reasoning we would need to add the books of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses (they are quoted in Jude) to the Old Testament canon.
What I found out was that at the time of Christ there was no consensus on a canon of scripture. Instead there were competing Jewish communities with different lists of books they regarded as inspired. In other words, no Jewish council had defined a canon of books. The Pharisees revered 39 books, the same 39 found in Protestant Bibles today. Two other groups, the Sadducees (1) and the Samaritans recognized only the first 5 books of Moses known as the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy). The Essenes were a Jewish sect that held to a third list. The complete list of their revered books is not known; we only know that the list was different (2).
It should be noted that the groups mentioned here, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans and the Essenes were geographically centered in Judea. This is in stark contrast to our last Jewish group that was not only located in Judea, but also dispersed throughout the known world. They therefore had a more far-reaching influence in their practices. This group was known as the Hellenists, the Greek speaking Jews dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. The Scriptures revered by this group were in the books contained in the Greek Septuagint.
The Septuagint was the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. It was transcribed by 72 translators in Alexandria, Egypt and completed about 150 B.C. This Greek translation of the scriptures was needed, as over the centuries the Hebrew language had become a dead language. And as such the Jews of the dispersion needed the scriptures in their vernacular language, namely Greek. The result was a new translation of the Bible known as the Septuagint. This Greek Bible contains all of the books found in the Catholic Old Testament with some additional books (3).
I read a comment yesterday on my website of one Evangelical responding to a Catholic with a litany of accusations, one of which “you added 7 books” when in reality he should have asked: why is our Bible minus seven books that formed part of Israel’s Canon of Scripture during nearly three centuries of pre-Christian Jewish history? When one see another firing accusations, they do not realize that every bullet needs a scholar to explain. The lazy fool always shoots the lip while it takes ten wise men to correct him.
Calvinist theologian R.C. Sproul summarizes the issue in the following manner:
“The Catholic Church believes in an infallible list of infallible books while the Protestant churches believe in a fallible list of infallible books”. (4)
“Fallible list” of “infallible books”? What then becomes of God’s declaration when He says “all Scripture,” the collection of which is “fallible”?
I rest my case.
1 Josephus Antiquities 18.16.
2 The Book of Enoch (quoted by Jude in the New Testament) and the Book of Jubilees are believed to have been included in the canon of the Essenes. You can go to http://www.answers.com/topic/dead-sea-scrolls for more information.
3 In addition to the Deutercanonical books found in the Catholic Bible, the books of 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, the Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151 are found in the Septuagint. It should be noted that no new doctrines are introduced in any of these books. Orthodox churches hold that these books (minus 4 Maccabees & Psalm 151) are scripture as most Orthodox regard the Septuagint as inspired.
4 See R.C. Sproul’s book, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, page 22.