Comparing New Testament verses with similar or cited ones in the Septuagint, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha provides context and clarification. The intellectual world we inhabit today is very different from that of Second Temple Judaism; as modern readers, we bring a number of assumptions to the text that can warp our understanding, and we also fail to bring other assumptions to the text that its writers took for granted. The power of tradition strengthens these assumptions in the course of time such that they can gain the force of canon. The influence of men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Derby, et al. is considerable. These men are great heroes of the Church, men who dedicated their lives to the work of the Gospel and the pastoral care of the faithful. Many of their ideas have had great, positive consequences for ethics, politics, and even science.
But they are men, fallible like the rest of us, and influenced by situations in which they lived. As Chalcedon says, it is right to “give a vote to the people of the past”. We would not be where we are today without the labour of such men (and women, e.g. the Blessed Virgin Mary, Priscilla, Hildegard von Bingen, et al.). But the believers and authors of the Intertestamental Period are also “people of the past”, and to them we also owe consideration. Like Augustine and Calvin, they too were fallible; but where their ideas are given approval by authors of Scripture (though not necessarily in entirety), we should stop and consider whether these ideas are what we normally hear on a Sunday or in our weekly homegroups. We have an obligation to the Truth, and we worship a God who willingly gives wisdom and illumination to His children. We are not all called to be scholars, but we are called to wear the “belt of truth” (Eph. 6:14) and to imitate the Bereans, who “searched the Scriptures daily to determine whether what Paul told them was true” (Acts 17:11).
There are implications that come from reading Second Temple literature. First and Second Maccabees tell us that the believers of the period considered the descration of the Temple carried out by Antiochus Epiphanes to be the “abomination of desolation” in the Book of Daniel. But Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, speaks of it as an event future to Him. Here a disjunct, a correction, is created in the New Testament.
Conversely, SS. Peter and Jude affirm the intertestamental understanding of Genesis 6:1-4.
Genesis 6:1-4 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and took as wives those whom they chose from among them. And the LORD said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These children were the mighty men of the ancient days, men of renown.
1 Enoch 6:1-2 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied, that in those days beautiful and comely daughters were born to them. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose wives for ourselves from among the children of men and have children by them.’
1 Enoch 10:4-6 And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azâzêl [a fallen angel] hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him into it. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire.
Jubilees 5:1-2, 6-7 And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took for themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bore to them sons and they were giants…And against the angels whom He had sent upon the earth, He was exceedingly angry, and He gave a command to root them out of all their dominion, and He bade us bind them in the depths of the earth, and behold they are bound in the midst of them, and are kept separate.
1 Peter 3:19-20 By which also [Christ] went and preached to the spirits in prison; which were disobedient in the past, at the time when the patience of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared…
2 Peter 2:4-5 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly…
Jude 1:6 And the angels which did not keep their own domain, but left their own habitation, these he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness till the judgment of the great day.
The intertestamental examples above show the affinity between the New Testament texts and the intertestamental ones, which add detail to the picture found in Genesis. Genesis does not mention God binding the fallen spirits with chains in Tartarus (a Greek equivalent to one of the prisons of Sheol). Note also that this theme is taken up by the Apostle John in Revelation, where Satan is bound with chains by an angel (possibly Michael), and cast into the Abyss, which is sealed, until his judgement after the Millennium, at which time he is cast into the lake of fire.
Hello Nicholas. I’ve hesitated to comment on this thread for a purposeful reason, but here is something I need to say. Your words:”The intertestamental examples above show the affinity between the New Testament texts and the intertestamental ones, which add detail to the picture found in Genesis.” The problem is the word “ADD.” For me, the Word of God found in Scriptures is complete, inerrant and unalterable. Nothing needs to be added to it or taken away. To do so, distorts the image of God that He wants us to see in His Word. His Message to us was completed as St. John penned the last few sentences of the Apocalypse. Nothing more is needed, nor should anything else be required than a sincere seeking heart and a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance and protection before reading the pages of our Bibles. The Church took great pains to ensure that our Canon of the New Testament was as God willed it to be as He inspired the authors of the texts to write it. Works that didn’t belong were weeded out. Some of those apocryphal works were written to alter both belief and practice among the early Church members and so were rightly condemned. Others proved helpful but were excluded from the full Canon of the Scriptures because they weren’t necessary for Salvation, etc. Such an example would be the Protoevangelium of James that gives us the names of Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna.
These works can be studied IF, and this is a huge IF, the person studying has already been set upon the Rock in his faith life and practice and cannot be shaken by seeming evidence to the contrary that may be found in these ancient works. I find the works of Plato inspiring in some ways, yet I would rely on his works for clarity of vision in my Scriptural studies. The weak have been mislead deliberately by Scripture scholars who peruse ancient works seeking corroboration for their false doctrines in ancient works to prove that their latest theology is actually a return to some fabricated ancient, lost, forgotten and forsaken practice in its imagined purest form that existed before the world corrupted the Word of God. This is laughable in the light of the Gospel that states “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Thus said our Blessed Lord Himself when instructing His disciples as is found in Matthew 24:35. So If God Himself said His Words would last longer than both the heavens and the earth, how is it that we are supposed to believe that He allowed His Word to become corrupted through the ages so some new Scripture Scholars could restate in these later ages as He truly intended? My answer for that is to believe God, not men.
Nuff said. God bless. Ginnyfree.
P.S. The Septuagint is the “canon” of the Old Testament accepted by BOTH Jesus and His Apostles as well as the early Church and her Fathers. There wasn’t anything wrong or missing from it. That is why others sources are frivolous excursions into places unnecessary. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the entire Bible and it is He who gives light and meaning the wise who seek His counsel and understanding while reading prayerfully His works found in a Bible.
OOOOPS! I made a bad typo in one sentence! Yikes. ” I find the works of Plato inspiring in some ways, yet I would rely on his works for clarity of vision in my Scriptural studies.” That should read, “I wouldn’t rely on his works…..” It really was a mistake and I hope it makes you laugh instead of thinking I find Plato as inspiring as Scripture. LOL.
God bless. Ginnyfree.
Bosco the Great said:
Good sister ginny, good brothers Servus and chalcedon have both told me many times that everything we need for salvation ISNT in the bible. Im going to take it you don’t agree with them. You stated that…….For me, the Word of God found in Scriptures is complete, inerrant and unalterable. Nothing needs to be added to it or taken away.
That is also the position taken by every born again I know, and all protestants, not that protestants are all saved.
Bosco, Nice try. You know I’m Catholic. The facts I stated about the Bible are true, yet they aren’t all I believe and adhere to. The Bible itself clearly states it is incomplete as for all that our Lord did and said. You took what I said out of context as is expected for you in your own theological world view. You applied it in the absolute when in fact, it was said as it is meant: that the Dead Sea Scrolls and all other apocryphal works are not to be added to Scriptures, nor do they add to them, nor should they be used to substantiate alterations of Scriptures already made by others as the JW’s often do. God bless. Ginnyfree.
Real Talk said:
This comment is a little self serving, but I’ll go for it anyway. I’m a Catholic convert with an upstart blog of my own which, as could be expected, has sparse readership. I like to write for a purpose, and writing without a significant audience feels like throwing my words into the wind. How would one go about becoming a part of this blog?
As I’m currently finishing up my undergrad degree in catholic theology, I don’t post terribly often, but I would like it to count when I do post something.
Feel free to skim over some of my posts if you’d like; get back to me when you can!
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You would need to ask Chalcedon451, who runs this blog. I suggest addressing him in one of his posts. He also is a Catholic convert and would probably look favourably on your request. My posts tend to be focussed on biblical interpretation, whereas the other contributors often write about politics.
All self-serving aside, I just got back from a peek at your blog and might have a thing or two to say. As a mom, I’m obligated to say “Do your homework!” especially since it is a Monday morning. I’m off to Mass and will comment later. God bless. Ginnyfree.
Nothing wrong with being a bit self-serving, in my opinion. It’s when it obscures other things that it becomes offensive. I just had a quick look at your blog, and I like what I see. I don’t know if you’re correct on everything, or anything, for that matter.
I too run my own blog, at least for the present. It’s more political than here, but much the same basis, and you are correct, sometimes it is very hard when your readership is low, in fact, I’m having the same problem as you, after five years, part of that is that I hardly ever indulge in ‘clickbait’, and I suspect you’re that way as well.
But the point I want to make here is that Nicholas is correct, you will have to ask Chalcedon, but if I were asked, I would let you at least try. So do ask, I hope he agrees.
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