Contained in the Catholic Bible, but omitted in the Protestant Bibles, is a set of books called the Apocrypha. One of those books is 2 Maccabees. This particular Apocryphal book is very important and often cited to justify the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory -- praying for the dead. According to a Catholic source, 2 Maccabees was written in Egypt."Its primary source and first author was Jason of Cyrene, a man steeped in orthodox Judaism and skilled in the Hellenistic art of rhetorical narration."(1)
Its intent is to "instruct and to edify. It is perhaps less political than 1 Mc and places more emphasis upon the importance of the Temple and religious themes ... The book tends also to propagate the doctrines dear to the Pharisaic heart -- e.g., the resurrection of the just (7:9; 14:46); how consciously the author pursues this aim it is difficult to say."(2)
Why does the Roman Catholic Church consider the Apocrypha canonical?"The Roman Church places these works in her canon of the Scriptures, pointing to an ancient tradition as she does so. First to cite them in antiquity is Clement of Alexandria. He is followed by Hippolytus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Eusebius, Aphraates, Jerome, Augustine and Theodoret. The provincial councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397 and 419) recognized the sacred character of 1-2 Mc, and the general councils of Florence (1441), Trent (1546), and Vatican I (1870) declared them to be inspired by God."(3)
What do non-Catholic sources say about the book of 2 Maccabees and the Apocrypha? 2 Maccabees was written at the same time as 1 Maccabees, first century, B.C. Also:It "is not a sequel to 1 Maccabees, but a parallel account, treating only the victories of Judas Maccabaeus. It is generally thought to be more legendary than 1 Maccabees."(4)
The Apocryphal "writings were not officially declared to be divinely inspired, and included in the Catholic canon of Scripture as such, until 1546 at the Council of Trent. Previous to that time, these book [typographical error] were included in the Latin Vulgate and in the Greek version of the Old Testament, which is known as the Septuagint, but not officially decreed to be divinely inspired writings."(5)
Why do non-Catholic authorities reject the Apocrypha as being Canon? Four reasons are:
- "They abound in historical and geographical inaccuracies and anachronisms."
- "They teach doctrines which are false and foster practices which are at variance with inspired Scripture."
- "They resort to literary types and display an artificiality of subject matter and styling out of keeping with inspired Scripture."
- "They lack the distinctive elements which give genuine Scripture their divine character, such as prophetic power and poetic and religious feeling."(6)
Some other reasons why we must reject the Apocrypha as being part of canon are:
- It is not included in the Hebrew canon of Scripture.
- The Apocryphal writers sometimes disclaim divine inspiration. For example, in 2 Maccabees 15:38,39 CT, we read, "So these things being done with relation to Nicanor and from that time the city being possessed by the Hebrews, I also will here make an end of my narration. Which if I have done well and as it becometh the history, it is what I desired: but if not so perfectly, it must be pardoned me."
- "In all of the New Testament there is not even one single reference or quotation, made by Christ or any of the Apostles, that would confirm all or any part of the Apocrypha as being divinely inspired."(7)
In 2 Machabees (another spelling) 12:43-46, we have the reference cited by the Catholic Church to support Purgatory. If one would read verses 40 through 46, he would learn that God killed these people because of idolatry. According to Catholicism, if you die in the state of mortal sin, which idolatry is, you'll go straight to Hell when you die! Therefore, according to Catholic doctrine, Judas Machabeus was WRONG in suggesting that the people should "pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (verse 46)!
For a person to believe in the doctrine of Purgatory, he/she would have to be totally misinformed about the Biblical doctrines of the Atonement, Redemption and even Salvation. Purgatory infers works for salvation, a soul-damning and devilish teaching. Augustine said, "there are some who have departed this life, not so bad as to be deemed unworthy of mercy, nor so good as to be entitled to immediate happiness."(8) This statement infers works for salvation which is refuted by Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; Rom. 4:4-6 and 2 Tim. 1:9. Consequently, one can therefore conclude that Augustine was NOT a Christian, but instead a minister and servant of Satan, 2 Cor. 11:13-15!
In summary, the Apocryphal books, which include 2 Maccabees, are NOT from God, NOT inspired and MUST NOT be placed on the same level of authority as Holy Writ. For the Catholic Church to do just the opposite shows:
Here is another quote from the Apocrapha:
- They are misleading people by filling them with FALSE hopes about a non-existent place (Purgatory). This in turn causes people not to make a real heart-felt commitment to Jesus Christ, a thing Catholics NEVER hear about anyway in their doctrines. The Gospel, according to the Catholic Church, is: baptism, communion, penance, good works, church membership and Mary. This, of course, places all who teach such (priests, nuns, monks, etc.) under the divine curse of Gal. 1:8,9. (By the Catholic Church's false directions to heaven, we therefore can identify it as NON-Christian and just as deadly as Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism and any other cult.)
- Those in authoritative positions in the Catholic Church, past or present, who hold to the Apocryphal books as being inspired are not led by the Holy Spirit, for He will guide into all truth (Jn. 16:13). Also, the same people can't be "of the truth" (Jn. 18:37), because they don't hear Jesus' voice.
- To believe the Apocryphal books are inspired means either ignorance or dishonesty to hermeneutical principles and processes.
- For a Catholic Council like Trent or Vatican I to declare inspiration for these books shows that God is not controlling these councils.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).That passage proves the Apocrypha has a dangerous FALSE plan of salvation, which can never produce true salvation and deliverance from sin addictions. Its false gospel centers around alms for: deliverance from death, purging away sins and enabling one to find mercy and everlasting life, which is never the message of the Lord Jesus or his apostles!
Considering all the adverse effects of tradition, of which the Apocrypha is a result, one can see why Jesus refuted tradition and error as He did, Mt. 15:1-14; Mk. 7:6-13; Lk. 11:37-52; Mt. 16:6,12! Christians who desire to please God first and not man should unhesitatingly give logical reasons why the Apocrypha is not inspired as they "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15) and "contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
- The Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1968, p. 463. Go Back
- Ibid. Go Back
- Ibid., p. 462. Go Back
- How We Got Our Bible, Ralph Earle, Baker Book House, p. 41. Go Back
- The Other Side of Purgatory, Paul Juris, Nystrom Publishing Co., pp. 82, 83. Go Back
- Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell, Here's Life Publishers, Inc., p. 33. Go Back
- The Other Side of Purgatory, p. 93. Go Back
- The Faith of Millions, John A. O'Brien, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1963, p. 346. Go Back
Former Roman Catholic
The KJV Only Cult
Contact Us Or Join Our Email List
PO Box 265
Washington, PA 15301