I introduced this short series in a previous segment (link). In brief, I'm responding to a Roman advocate who wrote under the handle or nick, "dgor." In this segment, I'm responding to the issue of whether Jesus quoted from the Apocrypha.
Up front, I should note that there are two reasons that this argument is really a secondary argument. On the one hand, even if Jesus had quoted from them, simply quoting from something doesn't mean that one is placing that thing within the canon. What would matter is if Jesus had said, "As the Scriptures say ..." followed by a quotation from the Apocrypha. That he never does.
On the other hand, simply failing to quote from something doesn't (in itself) mean that the thing is outside the canon. For example, we may not be able to find any places where the New Testament (much less Jesus himself) quotes from Esther - yet Esther is canonical.
With those caveats, still it is the case that Jesus never quoted from the Apocrypha, as I explain below. This lessens the chances that the Apocrypha are Scripture, although obviously it falls short of absolute proof.
Moreover, there is some merit in providing this response in that the Roman advocate wasn't being original. He was just cutting and pasting a typical list one can find on various websites, such as the following (example 1)(example 2).
dgor wrote: "In fact, Jesus quotes from deuterocanonical books (books that you call Apocrypha, but which Catholics accept) numerous times:"
This is a common myth, but as we will see below, it is just a myth.
Let's examine the alleged evidence:
(1) "Matt. 6:19-20 – Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 – lay up your treasure."
This is probably the strongest example that we will see in the list. Moreover, there may be a similarity of expression in that "lay up" and "treasure" (and even "rust") are present, but in Sirach 29 the "treasure" is literal treasure, whereas in Matthew 6 there is a contrast between carnal and spiritual treasure. Compare:
Help the poor for the commandment's sake, and turn him not away because of his poverty. Lose thy money for thy brother and thy friend, and let it not rust under a stone to be lost. Lay up thy treasure according to the commandments of the most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold. Shut up alms in thy storehouses: and it shall deliver thee from all affliction. It shall fight for thee against thine enemies better than a mighty shield and strong spear.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
It's neither a quotation nor a clear allusion.
Moreover, Sirach's comment about obedience to God's commandments being better than gold is itself derivable from the canonical Scriptures:
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
And the command referenced in Sirach is found in the canonical Scriptures as well:
If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
Moreover, the principle expressed can be found in the canonical Scriptures as well:
Proverbs 10:2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
(2) "Matt.. 7:12 – Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 – what you hate, do not do to others."
First, of course, this is definitely not a quotation, since, as dgor acknowledged, it is a sort of mirror image approach to the question.
Tobit 4:15 Do that to no man which thou hatest: drink not wine to make thee drunken: neither let drunkenness go with thee in thy journey.
Second, the source of Jesus' words is explained - it is a summary of the law and the prophets:
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
(3) "Matt. 7:16,20 – Jesus’ statement “you will know them by their fruits” follows Sirach 27:6 – the fruit discloses the cultivation."
Again, this is not a quotation. Moreover, while it is a similar idea, it is not same idea.
Sirach 27:6 The fruit declareth if the tree have been dressed; so is the utterance of a conceit in the heart of man.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Notice the difference. Jesus is not referring her to how the tree has been cultivated, but to what sort of plant it is. A more similar thought is found in the canonical Scriptures:
Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
(4) "Matt. 9:36 – the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” is same as Judith 11:19 – sheep without a shepherd."
The shepherd-less sheep imagery isn't being quoted from Judith, and the imagery has multiple canonical examples:
Numbers 27:17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
1 Kings 22:17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
2 Chronicles 18:16 Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.
By way of contrast:
Judith 11:19 And I will lead thee through the midst of Judea, until thou come before Jerusalem; and I will set thy throne in the midst thereof; and thou shalt drive them as sheep that have no shepherd, and a dog shall not so much as open his mouth at thee: for these things were told me according to my foreknowledge, and they were declared unto me, and I am sent to tell thee.
But the passage in Matthew states:
Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
And, of course, this is not Jesus speaking, much less quoting. And yet the most clear canonical reference is this:
Ezekiel 34:5-10 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; as I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
(5) "Matt. 11:25 – Jesus’ description “Lord of heaven and earth” is the same as Tobit 7:18 – Lord of heaven and earth."
Like the "sheep with no shepherd" them, the theme of God being the Lord of heaven and earth is similarly a widespread theme.
Psalm 115:15 Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Isaiah 37:16 O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
Moreover, one not only finds this theme in Tobit 7:18:
Tobit 7:18 Be of good comfort, my daughter; the Lord of heaven and earth give thee joy for this thy sorrow: be of good comfort, my daughter.
But one also finds it in Judith 9:12:
Judith 9:12 I pray thee, I pray thee, O God of my father, and God of the inheritance of Israel, Lord of the heavens and earth, Creator of the waters, king of every creature, hear thou my prayer:
And in Matthew 11:25, it is clearly not a quotation of either of those passages of the Apocrypha:
Matthew 11:25-26 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
(6) "Matt. 12:42 – Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books."
No. He refers to the actual wisdom of Solomon, not the book given the name "the wisdom of Solomon."
Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
The account of this can be found in the canonical Scriptures:
1 Kings 10:1-13
And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.
1Ki 10:12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day. And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
(7) "Matt. 16:18 – Jesus’ reference to the “power of death” and “gates of Hades” references Wisdom 16:13."
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18 does indeed use the expression the "gates of hell" which is the same as in the passage that dgor identified:
Wisdom 16:13 For thou hast power of life and death: thou leadest to the gates of hell, and bringest up again.
But the "power of ... death" is only in Wisdom 16. While I agree that the gates of hell actually refer to the same concept in both cases (the "gates of hell shall not prevail" refers to the resurrection, not the conquering of anti-Christian forces), it's amusing to observe how often the passage is used in the wrong way (especially by our Roman friends).
However, while the concept of "gates of hell" (meaning the power of death) may be the same, and while Jesus is making a similar claim to be able to raise the dead, still it seems a stretch to allege that Jesus is "quoting" from Wisdom 16:13 simply by using the same two-word phrase the same way.
(8) "Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 – Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers."
No. This is way off. First, here is the account (in each of the three versions).
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, "Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her." Jesus answered and said unto them, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, "Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife." And Jesus answering said unto them, "Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err."
Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, saying, "Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife." And Jesus answering said unto them, "The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him."
Obviously, the reference to the seven husbands is not from Jesus at all, but from the Saducees. Moreover, it should be noted that the woman is not the same as the woman of Tobit 3:
Tobit 3:8 Because that she had been married to seven husbands, whom Asmodeus the evil spirit had killed, before they had lain with her. Dost thou not know, said they, that thou hast strangled thine husbands? thou hast had already seven husbands, neither wast thou named after any of them.
And interestingly, the woman of Tobit 7 (no need to decide if it is the same one, though it seems to be) was married to an eighth husband:
So he communicated the matter with Raguel: and Raguel said to Tobias, Eat and drink, and make merry: for it is meet that thou shouldest marry my daughter: nevertheless I will declare unto thee the truth. I have given my daughter in marriage to seven men, who died that night they came in unto her: nevertheless for the present be merry. But Tobias said, I will eat nothing here, till we agree and swear one to another. Raguel said, Then take her from henceforth according to the manner, for thou art her cousin, and she is thine, and the merciful God give you good success in all things. Then he called his daughter Sara, and she came to her father, and he took her by the hand, and gave her to be wife to Tobias, saying, Behold, take her after the law of Moses, and lead her away to thy father. And he blessed them; and called Edna his wife, and took paper, and did write an instrument of covenants, and sealed it.
(9) "Matt. 24:15 – the “desolating sacrilege” Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17."
No. It is taken from Daniel, and 1&2 Maccabees would contradict Jesus' words, if taken to refer to Daniel.
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
In fact, to the extent that 1&2 Maccabees aim to make reference to Daniel's account, they appear to contradict the words of the Lord:
1 Maccabees 1:54-55
Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side; and burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets.
2 Maccabees 8:16-18
So Maccabeus called his men together unto the number of six thousand, and exhorted them not to be stricken with terror of the enemy, nor to fear the great multitude of the heathen, who came wrongly against them; but to fight manfully, and to set before their eyes the injury that they had unjustly done to the holy place, and the cruel handling of the city, whereof they made a mockery, and also the taking away of the government of their forefathers: for they, said he, trust in their weapons and boldness; but our confidence is in the Almighty who at a beck can cast down both them that come against us, and also all the world.
(10) "Matt. 24:16 – let those “flee to the mountains” is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28."
Again, no. Let's first examine the text:
Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Then compare the section from the Apocrypha:
1 Maccabees 2:27-28 And Mattathias cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintaineth the covenant, let him follow me. So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that ever they had in the city.
So, it is not a quote - simply advice to do something similar to what Mattathias did, without referencing Mattathias in any way.
If you're looking for an Old Testament reference, perhaps a better one would be:
Isaiah 30:17 One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.
At least in that case, there is mention of fleeing and a mountain top, and it is not simply descriptive of a past event.
But fleeing to the mountains was a pretty common theme:
Genesis 14:10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
Psalm 11:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?
Song of Solomon 4:6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
Zechariah 14:5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
(11) "Matt. 27:43 – if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18."
Again, these are unbelievers speaking, but let's examine whether they seem to be quoting from Wisdom:
Matthew 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
Wis 2:18 For if the just man be the son of God, he will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies.
There is some similarity there. It's not a quotation, but it is somewhat close.
The words of the wicked here, however, actually were prophesied in the canonical scriptures:
Psalm 22:8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
(12) "Mark 4:5,16-17 – Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15."
There is a similar simile used, but it is not the same simile nor is it given in the same words nor used to make the same point.
Sirach 40:15 The children of the ungodly shall not bring forth many branches: but are as unclean roots upon a hard rock.
Notice that in the example in Sirach, the simile relates to the physical offspring of wicked people. In contrast, the point in Mark 4 is about the nature of the faith of certain men.
And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, "Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred." And he said unto them, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." And he said unto them, "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
(13) "Mark 9:48 – description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17."
Judith 16:17 Woe to the nations that rise up against my kindred! the Lord Almighty will take vengeance of them in the day of judgment, in putting fire and worms in their flesh; and they shall feel them, and weep for ever.
A better, and canonical, comparison (and presumably the source for Judith's comments) would be this:
Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.