APOCRYPHA

I remember the days of buying CD's, cassettes, and for us really old people, eight-track tapes of musicians whose music I liked. If you're old enough, like me, you'll remember doing so but we would wear out the track's that we knew best. At concerts, it's the songs that were more known that got the best response from the audience. I'm sure this still holds true today. We are a people who like familiarity.

At a recent church service the pastor was making a joking comment from the pulpit and said, "smite them oh mighty smiter". This is not a Biblical reference but rather a quote from the movie Bruce Almighty and was used for a humorous statement to bring across a point.

In Paul's speeches and letters he referenced several pagan authors and orators. In his speech, in Acts 17:28, Paul says, "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'" In his letter to Titus, Paul says, "One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.'" (Titus 1:12).

In his letter to Titus, Paul eludes to another "prophet", but not naming them, he's referring to Epimenides was a seer of Knossos or Crete from the 6th century BC. This is also who he quoted in Acts 17. It's from the poem Cretiga. King Minos claims that zeus is a mere moral but Epimenides wants to set the king straight with this poem that eludes to zeus' immorality. The poem reads as follows:

“They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one –
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.”


In his letter to the Corinthians, he writes, "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'"(1 Corinthians 15:33) was taken from a play by Menander in the 4th to 3rd century BC.

In Acts 17:26 Paul reminds the Athenians about God, saying, "For we too are his offspring." Here, Paul is quoting Aratus of Soloi from the 3rd century BC. Aratus was a poet who studied stoicism at Athens. In his poem "Phenomena" he writes:

“Let us begin with Zeus, whom we mortals never leave unspoken.
For every street, every market-place is full of Zeus.
Even the sea and the harbour are full of this deity
Everywhere everyone is indebted to Zeus.
For we are indeed his offspring ”


Paul's use of these quotes were for the purpose of familiarity for his pagan audiences. Paul wasn't, by any means, supporting pagan gods or promoting the listening to pagan philosophers and poets. He was using familiarity to draw his audience and to bring across a point.

It's believed the Messiah quoted from the book of Enoch when He corrected the pharisees in Matthew 22:29-30

“You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."

It's not really a quote but I could be a reference. The problem I'm having is that most who support the Apocrypha claim they were seen as "scripture" of those days, holy writings. If so, then the pharisees may have missed this point as they did not know that the book of Enoch said,
"But you were formerly spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling." (Enoch 15:6-7). If this book was Scripture then the pharisees, experts in the Scriptures, did not see concern in reading it.

The book of Enoch, unlike the other apocrypha, is actually part of the midrash. You'll see me refer to the midrash periodically but I don't see them as Scripture. The midrash is a series of books and writings that are considered Jewish folklore. They are not Scripture and often contradict themselves and Scripture. They are a good source to get insight on how to read Scripture in the way it was written, full of imagery, and they provide some resources in the way the people of the time thought in their folklores, but they are by no means Scriptural. As an example of this folklore, 1 Enoch claims that angels had sex with humans and created Nephilim whose height was three hundred cubits. This would make them 450 feet tall.

Enoch was written about 100-300 years BC. It's a collection of text by unknown authors. The Enoch collection is one of many other pseudepigraphic text that were circulating during that era. We know it was not written by Enoch because he lived about 3,000 years before the book was written.

It's believed that Jude quoted from Enoch 14-15.

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

While Jude referred to a prophecy of Enoch, he does not say it's a quote from the book. Many, dare I say most, of these many prophecies were passed by mouth more than through text. We must remember the context of the time.

Why was Enoch not included in the Old Testament Canon?

It's argued of when the Old Testament Canon was assembled but I believe it was during the Hasmonean dynasty in around 150 BC. I believe this because the canonization was already being accepted and referred to in New Testament times as Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (other writings). These sub-classifications collectively make up the TaNaK or Old Testament Canon. This means the book of Enoch was written very closely to the time of the Canon assembly and were not viewed as holy text.

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. Romans 3:1-2

Let's look at an error in the very passage I quoted from Enoch earlier,
"But you were formerly spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world."

This statement refers to humans as spiritual beings with eternal life and immortal. These are two different things. Eternal life is about quality but Immortal is about quantity. We are promised eternal life but we're never told we are immortal. The Bible makes it clear that we have never been nor will ever be immortal. Our "immortality" is dependent upon the tree of life.

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" Genesis 3:22

Likewise, in his letter to Timothy, Paul writes:

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 WHO ALONE HAS IMMORTALITY, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:13-16

The reason there are books missing from the Canon of Scripture is because they are folklore writings of unknown people which often times contradict the whole of accepted holy writings and the character of God. Even if they may have been quoted from, which there's no clear evidence, they would be no more accepted than the pagan poems quoted by Paul. I warn against reading the apocryphal writings because these writings can lead one to believe incorrect mythical beliefs.