I’ve read all the articles on your web-site regarding the Apocryphal Gospels, but I need some more insight. The Catholics believe our Bible is incomplete. I understand that 1 Maccabee 9:27 says there were no prophets, but so does Psalm 74:9. If God’s Word expands further than my Bible I need to know.
Reaching for the Stars
. . . We just completed VBS using the Operation Space program. It tied in so well to the Apollo 11 40th anniversary. From space probes to teaching to snack time the Word was given, and the music and skits all were so great for the children and adults alike—[I] wanted you to know that it was an awesome program to be the director of. We had over 40 adults each night helping out and had 40–50 kids each night. Our last night is always a picnic, and we had several parents and grandparents [who] attended! This was our second year using AiG material, and [we] are looking forward to next year’s materials. . . .
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Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis. As you surely know, the Roman Catholics have the same New Testament as Protestants. The issue is solely over the Old Testament books. Even then, the list given by the Roman church is different than that given by Orthodox churches, whose division with Rome occurred far earlier than later Protestant reformers.
When 1 Maccabees 9:27 says “prophets ceased to exist among them” at that time, that eliminates the book itself—as well as the second book, also by Maccabees—as Scripture. One may too quickly assume the same thing must be the case with Psalm 74; however, the styles of both are immensely different.
First and Second Maccabees are written as literal history, discussing events between Malachi and Christ, whereas Psalm 74 is a poetic piece written by Asaph. This psalm is also not necessarily referring to the time at hand, but a time when Israel will be cast off (verse 1) and a time when the temple sanctuary will be destroyed (verses 3–8). So it may not be wise to interpret this psalm as literal history of the day, but instead keep it as it was intended: a verse discussing a future event and the destruction of the Temple. (As a note, it was more likely the destruction of the second Temple, not Solomon’s, as prophets existed in the days of Nebuchadnezzar when the first temple was destroyed—e.g., Daniel.)
When the second temple was destroyed, the apostles spoke for God, no longer were there any prophets “in the sense” of the Old Testament to call that nation back to God. Also, the nation of Israel was “cast off,” fulfilling Psalm 74:1 with the new covenant in Christ, i.e. there is no longer any difference between Jew and Gentile (Romans 10:12; Galatians 3:28). Of course, this leads to a much deeper discussion about the biblical relationship between Israel and the Church, which is beyond the scope of this response.
The issue of the canon of the Old Testament ultimately comes down to Christ, though. Jesus came from heaven to earth and did not challenge the canon of the Jews, but affirmed it. The canon of the Jews is identical to the Protestant canon and even the Roman Church canon until 1546 with the Council of Trent. I discuss this in more detail in A Look at the Canon.
A good book on the subject is by Brian Edwards called Nothing but the Truth.
I pray this helps and God bless.