Ask Your Preacher
In your post titled "Cross-Referencing", you mentioned that some Catholic printers do reference apocryphal books. My original 1611 King James also has multiple cross-references to the apocryphal books… also, my Geneva Bible printed fifty years earlier. The reason for this was that the New Testament authors were quoting the Septuagint. Greek-speaking Jews in the Diaspora, and therefore, also the ancient church, used the Septuagint as authoritative Scripture. The New Testament writers used and quoted the Septuagint, which included what modern Protestants call apocryphal books. If a person says, “Our church is just like the first-century church,” then for that to be true, they’d have to use Bibles that include the Apocrypha. My question is: under what authority did printing companies remove the apocryphal books found in all christian Bibles up to the 1800's?
Dear Book Worm,
The Greek-speaking Jews never treated the apocryphal books as divinely inspired Scripture. Even though some apocryphal books were included in the Septuagint, they were never considered God-breathed Scripture. Printed Bibles include maps, commentaries, and footnotes… and yet, we don’t consider those things to be Scripture; in the same way, the Septuagint included apocryphal books that were never viewed as the Word of God.
It is well documented that Jews didn’t consider the apocryphal books to be authored by God. Josephus, a venerated Jewish historian, specifically stated that the apocryphal books weren't from God in his writing Against Apion. The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls stated that the Apocrypha wasn’t inspired. To further prove the point, the Apocrypha itself says that it isn’t Scripture! The apocryphal book, 2 Maccabees, specifically says that it isn’t inspired by God in 15:38-39, and the author apologizes for any inaccurate information he might have provided. Though the apocryphal books are unique historical accounts, they are never quoted in the New Testament, and they were never accepted by the church or the Jewish community as divinely inspired text. That is exactly why it isn’t necessary that they be included in modern translations of the Bible – they aren’t Bible, just secular history.
Are Jews Jesus' chosen people? And why?
Yay For Yarmulke
Dear Yay For Yarmulke,
The Jews are not Jesus’ chosen people; the church is. Jesus says that christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9). Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deu 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those that love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they would rather have their traditions than God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
Is the leviathan in Isaiah 27:1 really Satan?
Dear Asking Literally,
Isaiah 27 is dealing with the same topic as the proceeding three chapters – the blessings that exist in Christ and His victory over sin. To be fair, the language used in this section of Isaiah is some of the hardest and most apocalyptic language found in all the Bible, so there is room for disagreement amongst good brethren. Having said that, we believe that since the topic is Christ’s victory and the blessings found in the church – Satan is mostly likely the serpent that was slain in Isa 27:1. If it doesn't represent Satan himself, it probably stands for the world powers that Satan would use to try and defeat God's plans to make Christ's church to flourish. The language of Isaiah 27:1 is very similar to what is said in Rev 12:9-11.
What does Ezekiel 16:6 mean? My grandmother always used to read this when someone was bleeding or cut themselves, and the blood wouldn't stop.
That is a rather odd verse for your grandma to quote, but I guess most grandmothers have funny sayings that make us scratch our heads! Ezek 16:6 is part of a discourse from God on how bad Jerusalem had become (Ezek 16:1-2). God metaphorically refers to Jerusalem as if it were a baby that He had found abandoned in a field (Ezek 16:3-5). When no one else loved them, God cleaned them (Ezek 16:9), clothed them (Ezek 16:10-11), and nourished them (Ezek 16:7). After all God had done for the Jewish people, they had turned their back on Him (Ezek 16:15). Ezek 16:6 is the part of the speech that personifies Jerusalem as a baby born and helplessly left in its own blood.
Why do some religions go by the laws of the Old Testament and others the New? I can't understand why there is so much confusion. Could you please tell me what verses they use to back up both views?
Of Two Minds
Dear Of Two Minds,
The confusion happens because people don’t understand the purpose of the Old Testament. Since God wrote the Old Law, why would He all of a sudden discard it? The key to why the Old Testament laws are no longer applicable is to realize that the Old Law was supposed to lead the Jews to Christ (Gal 3:24). The Old Testament prophesied of Jesus, and it prepared people for Jesus’ coming. When Jesus came, He didn’t discard the Old Testament – He fulfilled it (Matt 5:17). Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the fulfillment of everything of which the prophets of old spoke (1 Pet 1:10-12, Acts 3:20-21). Moses said that there would come a day when a Messiah would come… and that when He came, the Jews were to follow Christ instead (Acts 3:22-24). Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament by being the Messiah and paying the price for mankind’s sins. The Old Testament was a tutor to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24), but now that Christ is here, He has fulfilled the law, and we are no longer bound by its laws (Gal 3:25). The Old Testament still provides many wonderful examples and lessons of morality (1 Cor 10:11), but its specific laws no longer apply.