There are thirty nine books about which Jews and Christians agree form the text of the Tanak. There are also thirteen books about which they do not universally agree as to whether they should be in the canon of the Tanak or not. These books are known as the “Apocrypha”.
The “Apocrypha” are a group of books which seem to have been part of the canon of the earliest “Christians” but which were not adopted by Rabbinic Judaism into the Masoretic Text, and which were later rejected by the Protestant movement.
These books are:
Wisdom of Solomon
Letter of Jeremiah
Prayer of Manasseh
While these books were not incorporated into the Masoretic Text, that text was not compiled until the ninth century C.E.. These books (except for 2Esdras) did, however appear in the Greek LXX. And in the Aramaic Peshitta version of the Tanak (which excluded 1Esdras).
These books are clearly Jewish books, of Jewish origin. Also, while they did not come to be included in the canon of the Masoretic Text, the Talmud three times quotes Ben Sirach as “Scripture”.
These books were clearly used by the earliest believers in Messiah. While they are never quoted outright in the “New Testament”, they are often strongly alluded to.
The following comparisons are all taken from the KJV version for consistency.
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his
eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because
that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were
thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish
heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became
fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image
made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and
creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness
through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies
between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and
worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is
blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their
women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman,
burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that
which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of
their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain
God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do
those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all
unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,"
Clearly alluding to:
For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the
maker of them is seen. ... Howbeit neither are they to be pardoned.
...They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but
either one slew another traiterously, or grieved him by adultery....
For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the
cause, and the end, of all evil."
(Wis. 13:5, 8; 14:24,27)
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the
thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one
vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour. What if God, willing
to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much
longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he
might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy,
which he had afore prepared unto glory,"
Certainly alluding to:
"For who shall say, What hast thou done? or who shall withstand thy
judgment? or who shall accuse thee for the nations that perish, whom
thou made? or who shall come to stand against thee, to be revenged for
the unrighteous men?... For if thou didst punish the enemies of thy
children, and the condemned to death, with such deliberation, giving
them time and place, whereby they might be delivered from their
malice:... For the potter, tempering soft earth, fashioneth every
vessel with much labour for our service: yea, of the same clay he
maketh both the vessels that serve for clean uses, and likewise also
all such as serve to the contrary: but what is the use of either sort,
the potter himself is the judge."
(Wis. 12:12, 20; 15:7)
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens....
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for
that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be
swallowed up of life."
(2Cor. 5:1, 4)
No doubt Paul is alluding to:
"For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthy
tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things."
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against
the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able
to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand
therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the
breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above
all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which
is the word of God:"
Well it does not take much to figure out that Paul did not invent the
"full/complete armour" of Elohim , but drew the idea from:
"He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the
creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies. He shall put on
righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an
helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe
wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him
against the unwise."
"...he [Eleazar] conqured the besiegers with the shield of his devout
reason. ... Therefore let us put on the full armour of self-control. .."
(4Macc. 7:4; 13:16 RSV)
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God
waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein
few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.: The like figure
whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of
the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward
God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"
Kefa is alluding to the allegory in 4Maccabees:
"For like a most skilful pilot, the reason of our father Eleazar
steered the ship of religion over the sea of the emotions, and though
buffeted by the stormings of the tyrant and overwhelmed by the mighty
waves of tortures, in no way did he turn the rudder of religion until
he sailed into the haven of immortal victory....
Just as Noah's ark, carrying the world in the universal flood, stoutly
endured the waves, so you, O guardian of the law, overwhelmed from
every side by the flood of your emotions and the violent winds, the
torture of your sons, endured nobly and withstood the wintry storms
that assail religion."
(4Macc. 7:1-3 15:31-32 RSV)
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow
to speak, slow to wrath:"
A near quote from Sirach:
"Be swift to hear; and let thy life be sincere; and with patience give
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God
cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
Again Ya'akov (James) draws from Sirach:
"Say not thou, It is through the Lord that I fell away: for thou
oughtest not to do the things that he hateth. Say not thou, He hath
caused me to err: for he hath no need of the sinful man."
"Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields,
which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them
which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth."
Seems to allude to Tobit:
"Let not the wages of any man, which hath wrought for thee, tarry with
thee, but give him it out of hand: for if thou serve God, he will also
repay thee: be circumspect my son, in all things thou doest, and be
wise in all thy conversation. " (Tobit 4:14)
"And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were
given seven trumpets." (Rev. 8:2)
This concept draws from Tobit:
"I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers
of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy
One." (Tobit 12:15)
"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in
heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power,
unto the Lord our God:...
And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all
manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the
second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;:
The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the
eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the
eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.: And the twelve gates
were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the
street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." (Rev.
Again the idea draws from Tobit:
"And the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl and carbuncle
and stones of Ophir.
And all her streets shall say, Alleluia; and they shall praise him,
saying, Blessed be God, which hath extolled it for ever." (Tobit 13:17-18)
The early “Church Fathers” also used these books and called them “Scripture”:
During the early Christian centuries most... Church Fathers such as Irenaeus; Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Cyprian... quoted Passages from the Apocrypha as ‘Scripture,’ ‘divine scripture,’ ‘inspired,’ and the like.
(Oxford Annotated Bible; Apocrypha; p. xiv)
These books are regarded as canon by all those churches with ancient roots:
Roman Catholics (except 3&4 Maccabees)
Church of the East (except for 1Esdras)
Syrian Orthodox Church (except for 1Esdras)
So what were these books?
The first of these books is the book known commonly as 1Esdras which might better be known in Messianic terminology as 1Ezra. The first portion of this book is synoptic (parallel) with 2Chron. 35:1-36:23 followed by a section synoptic to most of Ezra, followed by a section synoptic to Neh. 7:38-8:12. In the midst is one additional story (1Esdras 3:1-5:6) about three men in the court of Darius.
The second of these books is 2Esdras which might better be known in Messianic terminology as 2Ezra, or as the Apocalypse of Ezra. The first two chapters of this book are not found in the Aramaic Peshitta Version, but only appear in the Latin. These first two chapters appear to be a Roman Catholic addition and advocate replacement theology.
Next is the Book of Tobit which in Messianic terminology is the book of Tovi. Fragments of one Hebrew and four Aramaic manuscripts of this book have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This book deals with a Righteous Ephraemite living in Assyria in the Exile of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Next is the Book of Y’hudit (Y’hudit). This book uses Euphemisms to tell the story of a Maccabean Heroine. For example the book of Y’hudit uses Nebuchadnezzar as a euphemism for Antiochus Epiphanies, because both names have a gematria (numerical value) of 423.
Next is the Wisdom of Solomon, a sod-level piece of Wisdom literature attributed to Solomon. If we accept Wisdom of Solomon then there are four books of Solomon giving all four levels of understanding [PaRDeS] as follows:
Ecclesiaties gives the PASHAT (literal)
Proverbs gives the REMEZ (implied)
Song of Songs gives the DRASH ( efiniti)
Wisdom of Solomon gives the SOD (secret, mystical)
The book of Ben Sirach follows next. This book is quoted as “Scripture” three times in the Talmud. Hebrew fragments covering most of the text have been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and at the Cairo Geniza.
Next is the Book of Baruch. This book was said to have been written during the Babylonian captivity by Baruch (the scribe of Jeremiah) and sent to Jerusalem to be read on feast days. It appears to be written to be read at Yom Kippur.
The Letter of Jeremiah follows, a letter written by Jeremiah to those going captive into Babylon. Although a fragment of this book was found at Qumran, this was only a fragment of the Greek translation.
The Next book is the Prayer of Manasseh (see 2Chron. 33:11-13; 18-19)
The next four books are the Four Books of the Maccabees. These give the story of Channukah. Channukah is the Jewish holiday which celebrates the rededication of the Temple after it had been efiniti by Antiochus Epiphanies. This festival celebrates the victory of the Jewish rebels known as the “Maccabees” over the Greco-Syrians who had outlawed Torah observance and were attempting to force all Jews to embrace Greek Paganism and Greek customs. The exploits of the Maccabees are to be found in the four Books of the Maccabees.
These four books give the Channukah story on each of the four levels of understanding known as PaRDeS:
PASHAT 1st Maccabees gives the plain simple account.
REMEZ 2nd Maccabees digs into the details.
DRASH 3rd Maccabees tells a related story of another
persecution under Ptolomey to illustrate the same point.
SOD 4th Maccabees is a treaty making the case that the
Torah is divine reason, and as such is supreme.
We as Nazarenes and Messianics have been missing out on a great many nuggets of understanding because we have neglected these books used by our forefathers. Most people in this movement came out of Protestantism, a few like myself came out of Rabbinic Judaism. As such it has simply not occurred to us to even look at these books used today by Catholics. Let me assure you, these books are 100% Jewish, they are not “Catholic” books. They promote Torah Observance and the keeping of Jewish feasts.
Like the books of the New Testament these books are of Jewish origin, but have been preserved only by Christians and not by Rabbinic Judaism. As a result they have been preserved primarily in Greek and Latin versions.
This ministry is reaching Rabbinic Jews, Christians and even Muslims with this message of Torah and Meesiah. You who send us contributions, tithes and offerings are those who make it possible for us to do this job of getting out the truth. Thank you for allowing us (all of us together) to do our Father’s business. This is the time to help the lost of this world with the real truth and the time is shorter each day.
You make this work possible. Don’t forget to do your part, we are in this together.