Does Hebrews 11 Imply that the Apocrypha is Inspired Writ?

The short answer to the question proposed is “No.” However, since the Romanists are fond of making the claim that Hebrews 11’s possible allusion to 1st and 2nd Maccabees implies that those books were considered to inspired writ, we are again forced to show them that they are, yet again, wrong. One may ask why the Romanists contend so strongly that the Apocrypha is inspired writ, and to this we give a very simple answer. The Romanist system of religion claims to rest upon an infallible basis; however, if that basis is shown to fallible, especially with respect to the canon of Scripture, then their entire religious system falls apart. Therefore, it is in their best interest to defend their view of the Apocrypha because by doing so they are implicitly defending the supposed infallibility of the pope and his lackeys. Therefore, it is this foundation that should be attacked vigorously, so as to show the foolishness of the papacy and all of the pope’s handmaidens. We will do this, then, by examining the claim and refuting it thoroughly.

I. Allusion Does Not Equal Canonicity

Romanist apologetes, when told that the Apocrypha isn’t once quoted in the New Testament as the Word of God, typically try to argue the point that “quotation does not equal canonicity” by  arguing that some inspired Old Testament books (e.g. Esther, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes) are nowhere identified as the Word of God in the New Testament. The irony of this is that the Romanist will profess loudly that “Quotation does not equal canonicity,” only to go on and attempt to prove the canonicity of Tobit from a few unrelated and scattered possible allusions to the book, as they do with the Hebrews 11 narrative, where Paul seems to allude to the history contained in 1st and 2nd Maccabees. Now, a simple question to ask the Romanist is: Even if it were the case that the New Testament quotations of the Old Testament in no way prove that those books are canonical writ, is it not more reasonable to believe that a direct quotation bears more weight than a possible allusion? One wonders how such a double standard is justified by the Romanists who recognize it, or if there are any Romanists who recognize it at all.

II. Are the Maccabees Included in “Sacred History”?

Ignoring the double standard mentioned in §I, we move on to examine the claim of some Romanist apologetes that the possible allusion to 1st and 2nd Maccabees in Hebrews 11 is proof that these books were recognized as canonical, seeing as their history is included in Scripture’s presentation of sacred history. To begin with, let’s stop the Romanist in his tracks and ask: How do you know that Paul is including the Maccabeean books in sacred history? To be sure, we know that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the people (i.e. Israel), Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephtah, David, Samuel, and the Prophets are all included in sacred history; however, their inclusion in sacred history is also their inclusion in the history of the Jews. This being the case, it is simply unwarranted to assume that just because the Maccabeean books are possibly alluded to in the context of sacred history that they are also included in sacred history. Rather, this is what we can conclude from Hebrews 11:

  1. The book is addressed to Jews.
  2. The Old Testament canon is both a sacred history of the Jews and a natural history of the Jews; this means that sacred history and the history contained in the Maccabeean books can occupy the same space, for both encompass natural history. Sacred history differs from merely natural history in that God has inspired prophets to inscribe the former, but He has not inspired prophets to inscribe the latter.[1]
  3. Therefore, the simple reason for alluding to the Maccabeean books is that Paul is writing to Jews, reminding them of their Jewish history.
  4. Therefore, the Romanist’s belief that the Maccabeean books are included in the canon because they are included in sacred history is false.

-h.


[1] This is evident from the following passages:

And they laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, till there should come a prophet, and give answer concerning them. (1 Maccabees 4:46)

And there was a great tribulation in Israel, such as was not since the day, that there was no prophet seen in Israel. (1 Maccabees 9:27)

And that the Jews, and their priests, had consented that he should be their prince, and high priest for ever, till there should arise a faithful prophet. (1 Maccabees 14:41)

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2 thoughts on “Does Hebrews 11 Imply that the Apocrypha is Inspired Writ?

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