The Word of God
How wayard men replaced Jesus Christ with a book
A Crafty Deception
Men of conspiring hearts have replaced our Lord Jesus with a book. That book is called "The Holy Bible." Yes you heard me right. It is a deception of deceptions in Christendom. Sound far-fetched? Well if you are an intelligent thinking person you won't think so by the time you are finished reading this article. Take the time to read it. Your life could depend on it - literally.
The final Word of God that God gave to us was not a collection of writings about God and Jesus Christ called "the Bible" but God's only Son himself, Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Today, the Word of God is not Jesus Christ but a book called "the Bible." The Bible is a very good book, a book of conceptual truths about God and written by men inspired by God. But it is not the final Word God gave us; the final Word God gave us was his only Son Jesus Christ and he is not a book.
Today Christian faith is widely and almost totally understood to be submission to ideas illustrated in a book and as such men rely on this philosophy (love of wisdom) about God that they read in the book. They do not fully understand that God's Word became flesh and what that really means. God intended for Christian faith is to be understood as submission to God's Word Jesus Christ and not sumbission to concepts about him. Yet the scales remain on their eyes and they cannot see.
There is a fact of life that many contemporary Christians do not fully realize, especially Protestants. The Holy Bible simply did not exist in any form until the fifth century and Christians went about their Christian faith quite handily without one for nearly the first 400 years of Christianity and another 1100 years more without a 66 book canon. In fact, when Jesus walked the earth and died on the cross, and even when the writings which are now in our New Testaments were being written by his disciples, the Jews did not have a collection of their writings resembling the Protestant Old Testament canon. We know for certain that the Jews at that time did not have the same canon of pre-Christian Jewish writings as they do today in their Hebrew Bibles which they call "the Tanakh." And the Jews did not demarcate the books which are now in their Hebrew Bibles until much later and this is an undeniable fact of history. They most certainly did not have a 39 book canon at the time of Jesus. And concerning the Christian writings, it would not be until around the year 400 A.D. that the authorities of Christendom, who had risen to power in Constantine's kingdom, canonized the books which are now in our Bible. Before that time, there were many more Christian writings in circulation than we have in our Bibles today and many of these such as the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Wisdom of Solomon and others were widely accepted as valid by many early church congregations. And while some Christian churches accepted these books as valid Christian writings, other Christian churches actually rejected such books as Revelation, James, Hebrews, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter and Jude. This does not and cannot constitute the existence of a Bible in the early church. A Bible is one compiled book of books of accepted canonized writings deemed to be inspired. Let me repeat. The Bible did not exist. A one book Bible did not exist either in paper or in the minds of men. Protestants tend to think in their minds that there is and always was only one Bible, their Bible, and Christians have used this Bible since the beginning but this is most certainly not the case. In fact, the 66 book Bible canon that is the definition of a Protestant Bible today was completely unknown to Christendom until at least the 16th century. So what were Christians doing for 1500 years without a 66 book Bible?
The "Old Testament" Canon
The Septuagint (LXX)
Now in order to understand the far-reaching ramifications of these facts we have to back up to a time in history to way before the time of Christ so we can see what really happened. The Pentateuch or the "Books of Moses" or "the "Torah" which are the first five books in Jewish and Christian Bibles were always recognized as the foundational books of the Jewish religion. Other Jewish writings such as the books of Joshua and 1 and 2 Kings or Psalms, for example, were not considered to be on par with the Pentateuch. Upon their return from the Babylonian Captivity at the time of Ezra (ca. 587 B.C.), the five Books of Moses were understood to be the official sacred books of Judaism. The Samaritans, who religiously separated from the Judeans (Jews) in 432 B.C., never did accept any other Jewish writing other than those five books. Now we must understand something else important here. This is not to say that at the time the Samaritans and Jews separated from each other, that the Jews totally disregarded the writings of the prophets and used only the five Books of Moses exclusively. They viewed the writings of the prophets much like we view the books of today's esteemed Christian theologians whose books sit right beside our Bible on our bookshelf.1 The prophetic writings outside of the Pentateuch were indeed valued but just simply not considered as esteemed and sacred as the five Books of Moses and their introduction into the Jewish canon was a long process over time which really did not end until long after Christ walked this earth. Of course this is also common sense. The prophets did not write something one day and then have it inserted into a Jewish canon the next day. For example, the book of Ezekiel was disputed until around 66 A.D. and the book of Esther was disputed until well into the 2nd century and beyond. On the other hand, the Samaritans simply chose to stick with the Pentateuch and used it exclusively. By the time Jesus was born, the Pharisees of Judea had fully accepted the writings of their prophets as sacred writings and Jesus obviously did not agree with the Samaritan viewpoint of Pentateuch exclusivity since he himself quoted frequently from the prophets as well as the Pentateuch. However, the books which are in the Hebrew canon today were still undecided.
Now during Jesus' time we can still see that controversies about the validity of these prophetic writings still continued. Like the Samaritans, the Jewish Sadducees of Judea did not accept anything but the Pentateuch whereas the Jewish Pharisees of Judea did indeed accept many of the other Jewish writings we now have in our Old Testament. However, the line between accepted books and those unaccepted was still very unclear even among the Pharisees. From what we know, it appears that even the Pharisees chose to see that it was not a black and white issue such that there was a definite line between the valid and non-valid books. The Pharisees also accepted the concept of the resurrection of the body but the Sadducees did not (as Paul tells us through the hand of Luke: Acts 23:8; cf. Mark 12:18). The Sadducees obviously did not accept the concept of resurrection which tells us that they most definitely did not accept the book of Daniel which explicitly refers to the resurrection of the body (Daniel 12:1-3). This is really the first explicitly clear reference to the resurrection of the body in the Bible. The Pharisees would eventually win the day since the Sadducee sect died out after the destruction of the temple. It is also interesting that the book of Daniel seems to have been first accepted by the Essenes of Qumran and not the Pharisees of Jerusalem. The Dead Sea Scrolls often seem to suggest that John the Baptist and Jesus may have been associated with this group in some manner. In Matthew 24, we can see that Jesus does indeed accept the book of Daniel as prophetic. In short, many evidences show us that the issue of which Jewish writings should be considered sacred and which should not was still very undecided among the Jewish people. And what transpired in years after the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 only reinforces this historical picture more plainly.
About 250 years before Christ was born, during the rule of Ptolomy Philadelphus in Eygpt (285 - 247 B.C.), 70 (or 72) Alexandrian Jews in Egypt began to translate their Jewish writings into Greek. This Greek translation of the Hebrew writings was called the "Septuagint" or the "LXX" which means "seventy." Essentially, this is the Old Testament you will find today in Roman Catholic Bibles. When Ptolomy ordered the Jewish sacred writings to be translated into Greek, these Jews assumed this meant the Pentateuch alone and simply translated the Pentateuch, the five Books of Moses, further evidencing to us today that this alone is what they considered to be their sacred writings and the writings of the prophets were considered to be somewhat peripheral. Over the period of about the next hundred years, the writings of the prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah and the Psalms of David were also added to this Greek translation collection. Before Christians began using the Septuagint for their own preaching, the Jews held this translation in very high esteem. Jewish writers around the time of Christ, such as Philo and Josephus, used the Septuagint almost exclusively. The Christian apostles and their followers also used the Septuagint almost exclusively which is obvious from quotations in the New Testament which are obviously taken from the Greek Septuagint translation and not the original Hebrew version of these Scriptures. The Septuagint was not always a word for word translation of the original Hebrew and it is easy to see when the New Testament writers were quoting from this Greek translation rather than the Hebrew. There are numerous notable examples in our New Testament writings where we know for certain that the Greek language Septuagint was being quoted as their source and not the original Hebrew language writings. Before the gospels and other Christian writings were written, the Septuagint were the Scriptures of the Christians and when Christianity was beginning to emerge as a contending force, the Jewish attitude toward the Septuagint decidely changed.
Sirach, the Book of Jubilees, Josephus, the Apocalypse of Ezra, and Athanasius
In the book of Sirach (ca. 200-100 B.C), we first find that the Jewish writings were classified into categories, the Law, the Prophets, and "other." We find Jesus referring to the Jewish scriptures in a similar manner. However, there is no mention in Sirach of the number of books in total or in any one category and which books would belong to each category. The book of Jubilees (135 B.C.) mentions 22 books accepted by the Jews. However, it does not list the books either. The Hebrew Bible today has 24 books.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote after the fall of Jerusalem and Masada. Around 94 A.D., he indicated there were 22 accepted books among the Jews,
"For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times… and of them, five belong to Moses…, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life" (Contra Apion VIII, 609.).
It seems likely that Josephus had the same books in mind as are mentioned in the Book of Jubilees. However, the books are not listed and we really do not know which 22 books he has in mind. 2 The Apocalypse of Ezra written around 100 A.D. mentions 24 books which happens also to be the number of books in the Hebrew canon today.
Athanasius (367 A.D.) later tried to harmonize this number by combining Jeremiah and Lamentations together and omitting the book of Esther to make it work out. He also rearranged the order of the books and placed Job after the Song of Solomon followed by the 12 minor prophets and ended the Old Testament with Ezekiel and Daniel. It seems rather obvious that Athanasius was trying to concoct a "made to fit" canon to make sure it equaled 22 books. Protestans commonly try the same tactic today as if they think they can create a truth for themselves.
The Council of Jamnia
After the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, a man by the name of Johanan ben Zakkai founded a rabbinical school at a place called Jamnia3 near present day Tel Aviv, to formulate what should become of Judaism now that they had lost their temple and their sacrifices had come to an end. The Jewish encyclopedia reports this school was a place of great Jewish scholarship even before the Temple was destroyed. This is poularly known today as the "Council of Jamnia" although it was not really a council in the same manner as the later church councils. These Jews were not Christian and indeed were overtly anti-Christian and as such, anti-Christ. These were the ruling noble class of the Jews and it was the ruling class of Jews who had conspired to have Jesus killed and who also afterward conspired to thwart Christianity, killed Stephen and had Paul thrown in prison. The men of Jamnia were the new Great Sanhedrin of Judaism and a force that most certainly did not appreciate Christianity.
Now we must fully comprehend something very important here. To appeal to these Jews as a source to determine which books should be in our "Old Testament" Bible canon is the epitome of intellectual insanity. What Christian in their right mind is going to appeal to a group of overtly anti-Christian Jews to determine their sacred writings over and above opinions of the early Christian church who follow Jesus Christ? Yet, Protestants appeal to these anti-Christian Jews all the time for the sake of their traditions and ignore the testimony of the early saints of Jesus Christ. These men of Jamnia were the disciples of those who conspired to have Jesus hung on a cross and persecute the Christians. To appeal to these anti-Christian Jews and their view of the canon, over and above the Christian church's opinion at that time, is downright crazy and is the height of self deceptive arrogance.
At Jamnia, the Jews rejected the gospels and disposed of the Septuagint that had been circulating as the unofficially accepted Jewish holy writings until that time and which also had been embraced and adopted by the Christians. It is here that we see a definite divergence between the Christians and the Jews as to the validity of many of the Jewish writings. Now it is claimed by some that the Council of Jamnia close the Hebrew canon around 96 A.D.. However, this is not totally clear since Jewish historical writings reveal that the debate went on for several centuries. The Mishnah mentions the existence of controversy in some Jewish circles during the second century A.D. relative to the canonicity of the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Esther (which does not once mention God). Doubts were expressed by some during the same period as to the book of Proverbs. Ezekiel had also, according to the Gemara, been under discussion as to its authority until the objections to it were settled in A.D. 66.
So we can clearly see that during Jesus' time on earth and during apostolic times, they did not have a firmly fixed canon of Jewish writings as we have today in the Old Testament sections of our Bibles. This is further evidenced by the fact that Jesus and his apostles did not quote from several books which are in our Old Testament. They only quoted from 24 of the books we now have in our Old Testament. And even more, Jesus and the apostles also DID explicitly quote from several sources that we DO NOT have in our Bibles today and they also implicitly allude to many other sources we also do not have.
Post Jamnia: Christians and Jews decidely diverge.
Now right about the time that the Council of Jamnia was debating the issue of the canonicity of their writings, Josephus writes,
"From the time of Artaxerxes to our own time, our history has been written down very accurately, but these books have not been considered worthy of the same credit as the books of earlier date, because there has not been an exact succession of prophets" (Contra Apion., I, 8.).
Here we can see that Josephus is ruling out some of the books of the Septuagint which are termed as "Apocryphal" by Protestants, after Jerome, and "Deuterocanonical" by Catholics. However, the Christians of that time did not reject these books as we shall henceforth see. And the Ethiopian Jews accept the Septuagint minus Ecclesiasticus to this day. Around A.D. 170, Melito of Sardis, writing to a friend, lists the accepted Jewish writings identical to the 24 books in the Hebrew Bible today, less Esther. However, about 150 A.D., Justin Martyr, who was a Palestinian, accepted the books which were in the Septuagint and rejected the Jewish list charging the Jews with trying to hide references to Christ. Yet again, the brilliant Christian man Origen of the early third century and who was himself an Alexandrian, but who also studied under Jews in Palestine when he was a refugee, preferred the Hebrew canon list early over the Septuagint with the addition of the Letter of Jeremiah. Tertullian early in the third century accepted the Septuagint list of books, and then some, such as the Book of Enoch. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria in 367 A.D. gave the same list as Origen but he included Baruch and omitted Esther and considered the other books from the Septuagint to be inferior. The list of Old Testament books given at Council of Laodicea (ca. 363 A.D.) is the same as the Athanasian list and has Esther in its list. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem in the mid fourth century used the Hebrew list but added Baruch to his list of preferred books. Jerome, who also studied under Jews, also determined the Hebrew canon to be the right list over the Septuagint early in the fifth century but then also translated the Septuagint into Latin (the Latin Vulgate). So we can see right here that Christians themselves were divided concerning which pre-Christian Jewish books should be considered inspired. And we can also see that those Christians who were influenced by non-Christian Jews were those who leaned toward the Jewish canon where the overwhelming majority of Christians did not and favored the Septuagint.
Now the problem only gets worse at this point. A Bible did not just appear out of nowhere divided into two parts called "Old Testament" and "New Testament." Irenaeus, who accepted the Septuagint over the Hebrew canon, first described the Christian holy scriptures about 180 A.D. as "Old Testament and New Testament" and unfortunately these labels later took hold and have remained with us to this day. However, the word "Old Testament" is falsely named although we can understand why Irenaeus gave those writings that name and he should not be faulted but it is very misleading nevertheless. The "Old Testament" is a synomym for "Old Covenant." But the Old Covenant is the Mosaic Law and it is this "old" covenant which has given way to the "new" covenant of Christ's blood. But everything prior to the Mosaic Law is not "old" covenant. To refer to all the writings which appear before the book of Matthew in Christian Bibles, as "the Old Testament," is extremely misleading. First, everything which occurs up to the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai is not "Old Covenant" or "Old Testament." Indeed, Paul makes it abundantly clear that while the covenant of the Mosaic Law has come to and end, the covenant God made with Abraham still stands. Indeed, the covenant God made with Noah also still stands. The New Covenant in Christ's blood did not replace the Abrahamic covenant, or the covenant God made with Noah, but it did replace the covenant God had made with Moses and Israel at Sinai and this is what the Christian writers of the New Testament themselves call the old covenant or old testament. So when we refer to all the books from Genesis onward as "Old Testament," we are implicitly misleading people. Secondly, the New Covenant is not really the 27 books in our Bibles but Christ's blood and our relationship with him. So when we divide these writings into two sections named "Old Testament" and "New Testament" we implicitly deceive people into thinking "the old covenant of writings to be observed" and "the new covenant of writings to be observed." This is undeniably misleading. Our new covenant with God is the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, not a collection of 27 books. He is our New Testament and he is most certainly not a collection of 27 books.
The Disciples of Jesus choose their "Old Testament" canon.
Now while the Jews who had rejected Jesus Christ went on to fix a canon of 24 books, the Christians themselves eventually came to a very different opinion of which books they should accept and they accepted those books which the Jews themselves had translated from Hebrew into Greek in the 3rd century before Christ and had been esteemed by Jews at that time and later quoted by Jesus and his apostles. At the Council of Rome, Council of Hippo (393 A.D.), Third Council of Carthage (397 A.D.) and Fourth Council of Carthage (419 B.C.), the early Christians of that time approved the books of the Septuagint as the canon of Jewish writings to be accepted by Christians, essentially consisting of the 46 books in Roman Catholic Bibles today.4 These councils were also the very selfsame councils that approved the 27 books in our New Testament. How any Protestant can say these men "got it right" and were moved by God concerning the New Testament books but "got it wrong" concerning the Old Testament books at the very same councils is terribly baffling and borders on the ridiculous. If they got it wrong with the Old Testament books then God was not with them and it is very likely that they got it wrong with the New Testament books too. Of course this is something Protestants conveniently do not want to entertain and they would rathe self deceptively pretend that the New Testament canon they formulated in the morning session was by the hand of God but the Old Testament canon they formulated in the afternoon was the work of conspiring men. It is nothing short of ridiculous. Christians had overwhelmingly accepted the Septuagint as their collection of sacred Jewish writings from the very beginning and it remained just this way in Christendom until Luther removed them and Protestants began to perpetuate the outrageous lie that the Catholics had actually "added" them to the canon at the Council of Trent in the 16th century when the truth is that the majority of the Christian church had really accepted them since the very beginning until Luther rejected them and his Protestant followers followed his misguided lead.
Protestant Devised Deceptions
Protestants often try to ridiculously claim that the Catholic church added the "Apocrypha" to the Bible canon during the 16th century at the Council of Trent since there was no truly ecumenical council which had canonized the Bible prior to that time. However, in making this declaration they do not realize ,it seems, how they royally stick their own foot in their mouth. If their was no Bible canon before the Council of Trent in the 16th century, how could anyone have known which books were canonical and have practiced Sola Scriptura ("Bible Alone")? The fact is that believers could not possibly have done so without a canon and the Protestant's foundational doctrine of Sola Scriptura disintegrates before his eyes. And if there was no canon prior to Rome's Council of Trent in the 16th century, the Protestant needs to tell us where in the world he got his canon and identify the church authorities who gave them that canon! That could be a fun and amusing ride. Or did God float this canon down out of heaven to Wittenburg perhaps? The truth is that the Catholic church never worried about ecumencially canonizing the "Old Testament" books prior to Luther since the church until that time had accepted the Septuagint books as the authoritative canon as recognized by the earlier councils and Christians from the beginning of Christianity itself. A 39 book Old Testament simply did not exist prior to the 16th century Reformation, the time when some Protestants amusingly and ridiculously seem to fancy the idea that true Christianity really began in Wittenburg, Germany in 1517.
The Absurdity of Sola Scriptura
And it gets even worse for the Protestant and his beloved doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Prior to 400 A.D. there simply was no Bible because there was no established canon in Christendom, Old Testament or New Testament. Although the Septuagint was the favored set of Jewish writings, the Christians did not always agree on this matter and the number of books it should contain varied. You simply cannot practice Sola Scriptura with an "Old Testament" in such an environment. It is totally impossible to do so without an accepted canon. Just ask any Protestant if it would be okay to use the Catholic Old Testament canon today to practice Sola Scriptura and you will discover very quick that they themselves believe that a canon must be known and accepted to practice this doctrine. Moreover, even IF we hypothetically supposed that Christians did have a Bible canon at that time, most people at that time could not read anyway and even those who could read would have an extrememly difficult time obtaining a set of Scriptures because there were no printing presses until the time of Luther and it took a very long time for one man to write out the Bible by hand on parchments. A set of Scriptures was very hard to come by for this reason. Today, Protestant Christians fail to appreciate this fact and how the printing press changed everything for the common man. For Protestants to claim that God expected all men to get to know Jesus by reading their Bibles and for individual Christians to have practiced Sola Scriptura as their authority concerning faith is patently absurd. Sola Scriptura could not have been practiced prior to 400 A.D. even if a Bible canon had existed, whether by the everyday Christian, or the the church leaders themselves.
The Hebrew Bible canon came to be after centuries of debate and was not finalized by anti-Christian Jews long after Christians had already accepted the Septuagint as their sacred books of Jewish writings. The Catholic Old Testament Bible canon came to be after 350 years of debating the issue. And the Protestant Old Testament Bible canon did not appear until the 16th century. These are undeniable facts with massive ramifications.
The "New Testament" Canon
Now when we turn to the issue of the New Testament canon it is no better. About 50 Christian writings circulated in early Christendom as scrolls. Of those 50, only 27 were finally deemed to be "Holy Scriptures." Before 400 A.D., many Christians considered books such as the Didache as inspired Holy Scripture. When we explore the writings of early Christians it is very obvious they had a wide variety of opinion on the matter. The Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Wisdom of Solomon and others were widely accepted as valid by many early church congregations. And while some Christian churches accepted these books as valid Christian writings, some of these same Christian churches actually rejected such books as Revelation, James, Hebrews, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter and Jude. The issue was widely debated and it would not be until the 4th century when bishops rose to power in Constantine's kingdom that Athanasius would compose a list of New Testament books in 367 A.D. that finally came to be accepted by the church about 30 years later as "the Holy Scriptures." It took nearly 350 years to decide the matter. You simply cannot practice Sola Scriptura under those conditions. And if you need a 66 book canon to practice Sola Scriptura, as Protestants themselves insist by their incessant objections to the Catholic canon, then you would also have to confess that no Christian could possibly have done so for the first 1500 years of Christianity and these believers were left without the main means to practice their faith. Absurd. Totally absurd.
Now when it is pointed out to Protestants that Christians could not possibly have practiced Sola Scriptura prior to 400 A.D. (much less before the 16th century), they quickly deny it by insisting that these Christians "used the Old Testament" as if to imply those Christians actually had something called "the" Old Testament and every Christian was equipped with one of these Old Testament Bibles. They didn't have one much less an accepted list of books and its quite ridiculous to suppose they had either of those. And to practice "Bible alone" you must have a canonized Bible and they did not have one much less a 66 book Bible which did not appear until the 16th century. Now let us suppose that we want to claim that the Christians in A.D. 600 could or should practice Sola Scriptura since the church councils had canonized the Scriptures. What Bible are they going to use? Well there is really only one available and that was essentially the very same one Catholics use today. Will the Protestant claim this was sufficient to practice Sola Scriptura? If so, then he should also completely shut his mouth in his objections to the Catholic canon today. Now some of the Eastern Orthdox and Coptic churches have a slightly different canon but these canons contain books no Protestant would ever dream of using much less than the Catholic canon. And worse yet, the Protestant who likes to falsely claim that the Catholic church "added" the Apocrypha in the 16th century when they canonized the Bible for the first time does not realize that he just painted himself in a corner by demanding no canon at all existed prior to the 16th century! No canon, no Sola Scriptura!
Ridiculous Protestant Claims and Deceptions
When Protestants read 2 Timothy 3:16 where it says "all Scripture is God-breathed" they wildly imagine things that Paul never intended. The Protestant mind desires to think that Paul meant, "the 66 book Bible is God-breathed." Nothing could be further from the truth and this claim is so ridiculous one wonders how informed Protestant scholars continue to do it with a straight face. They are simply deceiving people. First of all, Paul was obviously referring to the Jewish writings and most likely the Septuagint as any thinking mind can see. How could he have been referring to a 66 book canon that did not yet exist not to mention the fact that many of those books which are now in that 66 book canon were not yet written! And it is outrageously ridiculous to believe that Timothy assumed the very letter he was reading from Paul was part of the very inspired Holy Scriptures Paul was telling him to read! Such obvious facts of life are far from the conspiring Protestant mind.
Another ridiculous claim made by Protestants concerns a statement made by John in Revelation where he warns about "adding or taking away from this book." Many Protestants foolishly assume John was referring to the book they are reading called "the Bible." Even scholarly informed Protestants make this ridiculous claim. They need to stop and think for once and be true to God and themselves instead of creating overzealous deceptions in a "let us do evil that good may result" fashion. Do they think John had a Bible open in front of him that ended with Jude and had some empty pages at the back and he was filling in those empty pages when he wrote Revelation? Of course not. No one in the first few centuries of Christianity who read the Revelation scroll would have assumed John was referring to anything more than the scroll of Revelation itself.
Who told the Protestant that the book of Jude was inspired? Especially with its references to Apocryphal books, the Assumption of Moses and the Book of Enoch? Or the book of Esther that never mentions God even once? These books existed as independent scrolls along with all the others until the Bible was formed and no other Christian writings in our current canon refers to these books as inspired Christian writings. So why should anyone believe they are inspired writings then? There is only one reason. Some men said so and people have believed them. The men in power in 4th century Christendom decided these books were inspired and there is really no further intellectual reason to accept them as inspired. God didn't decide this; men did. Did those men who canonized the 27 New Testament books get that portion right just before the Holy Spirit took flight from them and they messed up on the Old Testament canon at the same council? Let's not be absurd because that is what such a claim is: absurd. And it was the followers of Luther and Calvin who determined the 66 book canon in the 16th century. Before then no such canon was known in the church despite lame Protestant claims to try and demonstrate otherwise. If such a canon did exist, and not just an opinion of one isolated individual such as Jerome who Luther followed on this matter instead of the voice of the entire early church, Luther or Calvin could have easily pointed to it. As it was, they couldn't because no such evidence existed. And it was even worse. Luther also disliked Esther and did not like the book of James, Jude, Hebrews and Revelation much when he first translated his canon into German and stuck those four books in the back and treated them much like Protestants today treat the Catholic Bible Old Testament "Aprocrypha" known by Catholics as the "Deuterocanonicals." Those who know their history well also know that Luther did not like these four New Testament books and the Old Testament "Apocrypha" simply because these books supported the teachings of Rome and he finally dispensed with these Old Testament books that had been accepted by Christians from the birth of the church. As for the New Testament books he disliked, his followers convinced him to retain them in his Bible "canon" if one can stoop to such lengths to call Luther's list a canon, the opinion of one solitary man.
Today, one can find many, many extremely dishonest and misleading claims made by Protestants concerning this issue. They pick and choose facts from history as if it were a grab bag with which to create their own revisionist version of church history. Having grown up in a Protestant church, I find it nothing less than downright disturbing that people could do such things in the name of our Lord Jesus. Paul was not kidding when he talked about men who thought they could do evil that good may result. For example, anti-Catholic writer Loraine Boettner wrote that the writers of the Apocryphal books did not claim inspiration and some even deny it in order to appeal to a zealous anti-Catholic audience. But what he failed to do was remind everyone that the same is true for many books in his own Protestant canon. He also tried to point to some historical inaccuracies in the Book of Judith but fails to remind his readers that even more serious historical inaccuracies are often discussed in Protestant circles concerning the book of Daniel which is in his own Protestant canon.
Former Catholic William Webster is also on a very dishonest anti-Catholic rampage. He writes that Athanasius and Cyril did not include the Apocrypha in their list of books. However, this is extremely misleading because Athanasius did include Baruch and Cyril included the Letter to Jeremiah. He also claimed that Melito's list agrees with the current Protestant Old Testament canon which is completely dishonest since Melito did not include Esther. He made similar false claims about Origen's list.
What all these Protestants do is search for evidence they want to find and ignore the evidence they don't like and wrench these facts from history and create a very distorted picture. So they appeal to those early writers who somewhat agree with them (although none really do agree with the Protestant canon). And they dishonestly and conveniently forget to tell their readers the rest of the story concerning what all the other early Christians had to say on the matter. And its even worse than that. They write in such a way as to use well turned words to deceive the reader. This deceptive tactic is very prevalent and widely accepted in Protestantism. For example, someone might say, "Athanasius did not accept the Apocrypha." This is technically true but extremely deceptive because the Apocrypha was not a "set" of books Athanasius ever perceived in his own mind even though he knew about all the books that would be later called the Apocrypha as a set. The Apocrypha was defined much later by Jerome. And it is extremely misleading to say this because although it is true Athanasius did not accept this "set" of books he did indeed accept the book of Baruch. It is nothing short of deceptive word trickery and it is very commonly employed by these writers. It is much like saying "Paul never accepted the New Testament." This is absolutely and technically true but very deceptive. And why do these Protestant "scholars" not tell anyone such facts as the fact that the book of Esther was not found among the Dead Sea Scrolls but all the other books in their canon were found? Protestants devise all kinds of schemes to support their doctrines and protect these idols. Why do they do it? The answer is simple. If it does not suit their traditions to accept the facts they devise their own "truth" and they commit idolatry and nullify the truth.
The Catholic Deceptions
Now that we have the Catholic gloating and swelling with pride it is time to reveal the deceptions employed by Rome because their original deceptions are the real origins of the lie. The Catholic church is far more clever than Protestant, although few Protestants realize the strength of Catholic theology against their own, perceiving the uninformed lax Catholic neighbour down the street to be typical of the Catholic faith.
When Irenaeus wrote Against Heresies around 180 A.D., he indicated that the Catholic church was the true church because the bishops in this church had something called "Apostolic Succession" and then he goes on to list the bishops of Rome from Peter to the present day (3:3:1-4). It is obvious that Irenaeus recognized that the bishop of Rome held a special seat of authority which of course Protestants conveniently ignore.
However, what Catholics do not tell you is what Irenaeus really intended. He was combatting the Gnostics and their religious traditions were not handed down from the apostles but from elsewhere. Irenaeus does not have the notion that the bishops of the church taught the truth by virtue of their offices as bishop but because these bishops were the men who had the teaching of the apostles handed down to them, a claim the Gnostic teachers could not provide. To Irenaeus, Apostolic Succession did not mean that the church authorities taught true teaching due to the authority of their office as bishop (binding in heaven and earth) but because they had the true teaching of the apostles handed down to them. Irenaeus is not appealing to apostolic succession as Catholics dishonestly define it today but is appealing to the teaching of the apostles as the authoritative teaching and demonstrating the bishops of the church have had these teaching handed down to them. In other words, a bishop was not "right" simply because he was a bishop in ordained succession from Peter and the apostles but because he was a bishop who could trace the succession of teaching back to Peter and the apostles.
Now this fact becomes very important because soon after Irenaeus wrote his work, serious problems began to erupt in the Christian church. Apostolic succession was no longer working. Many of these selfsame bishops were soon disagreeing with each other on very important matters and several heretical groups started to form within Christendom over the next hundred years. And then persecutions made the matter worse because many learned and esteemed church leaders were being martyred and more problems such as the Donatist controversy that arose at the turn of the 4th century. Now right about this time a savior appeared: Constantine. Jesus was about to be replaced by a book that arrogant men blinded by their lust for power would proudly and piously call "the Holy Bible."
In 313 A.D. the Edict of Milan by Emperor Constantine made Christianity an accepted religion in his kingdom. It would soon after become the official religion but at first it simply meant that Christianity was accepted and all persecutions were to immediately cease. Almost immediately, bishops were recognized as persons of power and authority in Constantine's kingdom and their opinions on doctrinal matters were very important to Constantine's emerging kingdom religion. That very year, a church leader in Alexandria called Arius got into a testy debate with another church leader called Alexandrius concerning the nature of Christ and this debate spread among the whole Christian population and continued for the next 30 years, long after the Council of Nicea, and even afterward into the 7th century, especially in Germanic territories. Arius would later be shown to be wrong but as we shall see that issue is quite beside the point. Now Christianity very much appealed to Constantine although he was a very nominal Christian and he wanted to settle all these disputes so that this religion of his could stand the test of validity in the face of the pagan antagonists in his kingdom. One of the first things he did in 322 A.D., just three years before he convened the Council of Nicea, was to order up a "Bible" so that these writings would be available to evaluate these debates at hand and 50 copies were produced. This was not the Bible canon which came several years later but a collection of bound books and the first time in history that something existed which we could call a "Bible". We do not know which books these Bibles contained but they most certainly did not contain the same books which are in Protestant Bibles today and likely not the same list of books in Catholic Bibles either.
Now as we have seen, the church authorities of Constantine's kingdom debated which books were to be accepted and which were to be rejected for at least the next fifty years. During this time, the huge controversies involving the nature of Christ continued until about 381 A.D. when the matter was finally sealed and settled. It was during these prideful debates that men appealed to the Scriptures in support of their beliefs. Of course, a serious problem was the fact that some men accepted some Scriptures and other men accepted other Scriptures. Although this problem was not central to the debate, the church began to believe that it needed an authoritative canon of the Scriptures as an authoritative rule of faith. Essentially, the true concept of Apostolic Succession was about to be replaced by the authority of a book and the subsequent Canon Law made by those men appointed to interpret that selfsame book. And so, they made one. We have a Bible today because prideful men fought.
Here we see the conclusion of Apostolic Succession beginning to fail to keep the Christians of the church on the path of truth and another authority had to be found. That authority was the Bible and so men created this authority for themselves. Catholics should take note. It was they themselves that planted the seeds and watered the soil for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. It was Athanasius himself who in 367 A.D. made the list of the New Testament books which are accepted by all Christians today. This is the selfsame Athanasius who spent many years combatting his archrival Arius. The battle between Arius and Athanasius was intense and men on each side lusted to seize power and control in the church to ensure their views would prevail. Long after the Council of Nicea had passed judgment on the matter, factions still continued to support both sides in this debate, a fact of history most Christians do not seem to appreciate or acknowledge. Arius was exiled and then Constantine recalled him and exiled Athanasius. Then Athanasius was later recalled and Arius denounced. This routine continued until Constantine died in 337 A.D. and his successor chose the side of Athanasius once and for all and the battle over the nature of Christ was essentially over. It was not a nice little discussion of charming pious men talking about their sweet Jesus. It was an alarmingly violent situation.
But there is much more to this story. In 336 A.D., the year before Constatine died, Arius was on his way to have communion with the Athanasian party. The Athanasians were under pressure from Constantine to accept Arius into communion and make Christian peace. Now the Athanasians were becoming resentful of Constantine because on one day he would side with Athanasius and then side with Arius on the next, as did many of the people of that time. But something strange happened that day. On his way to communion with the Athanasians who loathed his presence, he "suddenly" died. Now the victors always write history for us and we get their version of the "truth." Indeed, it was Athanasius himself who wrote for us the history of the Arians and not only so he provides for us just how it was Arius came to die and of course we discover from Athanasius that Arius came to "suddenly" die because God judged him for his false beliefs. And we are to believe his version of the story? I think not. Only a fool would believe the testimony of a hostile witness. His version of Arius' death is so obviously contrived that it is almost pathetic to read. He despised Arius and Athanasius was not the pious Christian modern day writers make him out to be. Many of his tactics resembled that of a modern day mobster. Arius' followers claimed he was poisoned and the facts do seem to suggest this was highly likely. First of all his death was very "sudden" and occurred on his way to have Communion with his arch rivals who did not want him there and this fact alone should make us immediately very suspicious. Now when telling a lie it is always advantageous to tell the lie as close to the truth as possible and this is precisely what Athanasius did. He recounts that Arius had an apparent case of dysentry while ranting on in public view at the church gates and while he was on his way to relieve himself he suddenly died. Of course it is obvious to a thinking person that a poisoned man could very likely either need to vomit or have a case of dysentry just before he dies due to the poison in his bowels. With Arius removed from the equation and then Constantine, Athanasius had his way.
From this time onward, one who did not conform to the Athanasian concept of Christ was deemed, like Arius, to simply not be a Christian. Christians had no such notions prior to the Arian controversy and now the doctrine of the Trinity would become the core of Christian faith and the deception that the Trinity was "the" test of true Christianity has remained until this day, a deception of deceptions. Trinitarians themselves completely ignore the true test of true Christianity described by John in his epistles (1 John 4:2; 2 Jn 1:7) which is to confess Christ coming in the flesh, not to confess Jesus Christ coming as God. And not only so, while on one hand Trinitarians claim they fully accept that God came in the flesh when discussing his incarnation, this is something which they themselves turn right around and totally deny when discussing his death, since they themselves deny that the body which hung dead on the cross was the person Jesus Christ. Since Jesus Christ was God the Son and since it would be insane to claim God was dead on the cross they determined that the dead flesh on Calvary was not and could not be the person Jesus Christ who was elsewhere while that body was hanging dead on that cross. Unless they resorted to dividing him into two persons in a pseudo-Nestorian fashion, one God the Son plus one man Jesus, which they often do to this day when it is convenient for them, they would have to confess that the body that hung on the cross was not the person Jesus Christ since that person Jesus Christ was God and this would mean that God hung dead on the cross which is simply an insane proposition. So they decided that the Word did not really become flesh but assumed it and simply came alongside flesh and when that flesh died, the person did not die since that person was God and in the end no person died at all. A horrible deception of deceptions. "You will not surely die" (Gen 3:4). And so by the hand of Athanasius, the church embraced the spirit of the anti-christ.
Now this is not the whole picture. There is so much more to the truth of the matter. The tangled webs of deceit are not easy to simply depict. In the early church, Christians had used the Scriptures to appeal to non-Christians and bring them to the faith. In the second century, Alexandrian Platonism emerged as a very predominant philosophical force and human wisdom itself began to come to the forefront ahead of Christ in order to defend and explain the philosophy of the Christian faith. In the beginning, this was a means of describing Christianity to and appealing to the non-Christian but was never intended to be the foundation of the Christian faith since that foundation was Christ. But in time, men came to be proud of the wisdom they knew about God and this type of thought would become the basis of the faith itself and this is the real core of the deception. Slowly but gradually something terrible happened in the Christian church. The Word of God who was Jesus Christ became replaced by a book.
Now Catholics today are following a belief based on a very ignorant interpretation. Appealing to Matthew 16:18-19, they believe that passage indicates that Jesus promised the church authorities would always be teaching "truth" as regards their doctrines and this is what he meant when he said the gates of Hades would not prevail against the church. Obviously, these Catholics seem to think that human concepts about God and his works are what the gates of Hades will not prevail against. This typifies completely the deception we are here discussing.
Firstly, Matthew 16:18-19 is not about the church having right doctrine. Jesus is referring to the keys of death and Hades which we find in Revelation and that Peter and his apostles when they baptized people and converted them into the life of Christ would loose people from death and bind them to the power of heaven as we see them doing in Acts and which Jesus commanded at Matthew 28:18-20 fulfilling what he had spoken at Matthew 16:18-19. The same concept is true of John 20:23. This passage is not about intellectual doctrines but about having the authority to bring people into the life of Christ through baptism because these apostles confessed his name and were to build his church by baptizing all nations in his name.
The True Word God gave to us
The devil has kept Protestants and Catholics so busy and occupied fighting against each other they have forgotten to look upward to God who is truth and they have not been able to see the forest for the trees. The subtle serpent was more wise than the other beasts of the field and has easily deceived these men in their pride. The deception has so blinded them that it is near impossible to show them their error. Their very own Bible show them the error of their ways but the scales on their eyes prevent them from seeing the truth. In 1 Corinthians chapters 1 to 4, the apostle Paul explains that the intellectual wisdom found in the human words of the Bible, the teaching of Apollos, the teaching of Peter, and the teaching of he Paul himself, is not our wisdom from God and is not the foundation of our faith. Our wisdom from God is Jesus Christ himself who lives in our hearts and to build on any other foundation than Christ himself is nothing but straw that will be burned up on the day of reckoning.
1. We see a very similar phenomena today. While Protestant Christians maintain they adhere to Sola Scriptura they do not really practice it and it is really a farce. For example, a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod seminarian must bind himself to the 16th century Lutheran confessions in the Book of Concord as "truth," just as much as the Bible is true, if he wants to serve as a pastor in that denomination. Thus, the Book of Concord sits beside these Lutheran pastors Bibles on their shelves, not quite on par with the Bible but highly revered as truth approaching the inspiration of the Bible. Charles Taze Russell's books sit alongside the Bible in Jehovah's Witnesses homes. Institutes of the Christian Religion written by John Calvin sit beside the Bible in Calvinist homes. In Evangelical Protestant homes, books by revered theologians and evangelists such as Billy Graham or Max Lucado are themselves revered alongside the Bible. In Catholicism, the Catechism of the Catholic Church sits alongside their Bibles and one is as true as the other. While no one officially declares these writings to be on par with the Bible, all parties consider these writings to be just as true as the Bible is true and written by inspired men. The truth of the matter is that the writings of these theologians is valued as much as the Bible itself which is why each group so zealously protects its belief system as defined by those same writings. Indeed, many King James Bible zealots go so far as to make the outrageous claim that the KJV translation is inspired (the translators were inspired to make a perfect translation into English as opposed to a less than perfect translation).
2. It seems highly likely from all the evidence that Josephus most certainly did not include Esther in his count. It seems the other book in question was likely the Song of Solomon.
3. Also known as Jabneh or Yavneh or Yabneh where some interesting events erupted a few years earlier. In A.D. 37 the Gentile inhabitants of this place erected an altar to the insane megalomaniac Caligula, emperor of Rome, who perceived himself to be a god. The Jews tore down the altar and when Caligula heard the news he became furious. Caligula then ordered Petronius, Legate of Syria, to set up a large statue of himself in the form of Zeus in the Temple of Jerusalem and to put any resistors to death. When Petronius entered Jerusalem, massive Jewish protests and pressures caused him to intentionally delay his work to try and keep the peace. He deceptively sent word to Caligula that it would take time to do a job appropriate enough to truly display the emperor's magnificence. This went on for over a year. During this time Herod Agrippa also went to Rome at very high risk to convince Caligula to drop the project and Herod succeeded. Caligula was assassinated shortly thereafter.
4. The Septuagint Old Testament books accepted at these church councils and not in the Protestant canon are: Tobith, Judith, Baruch (with letter of Jeremiah), Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.
Also see: Canon of The Old Testament