Maccabees 1 and Maccabees 2 – any thoughts on the status of these books, love to hear your comments?
I have been doing some research on the history of the books Maccabees 1 & 2 – while they are accepted, in general, by Catholic and Orthodox churches; they are aggressively rejected by Protestant denominations, in terms of doctrinal value.
The usual Protestant rules of canonicity (how to determine if a book should be included in the Bible); if applied correctly, can hardly exclude Maccabees 2. God is mentioned throughout the book and the festival of Hannukkah (as described in Maccabees) is still celebrated today; as it was in Jesus’ day. [John 10:22-23 (NIV): “Then came the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.”
If Maccabees 2 is rejected because some use it to support the false doctrines of Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead, then those issues are easily addressed – and they should not be a reason to reject the book. The Jews, as diverse a group as any, did not believe in Purgatory and therefore would not be writing about it. The second point is that it’s stated in Maccabees that they did not have a Prophet, therefore there could be no new revelation at that time regarding practices, such as praying for the dead. The decision, to pray for the dead, was a case of political/religious expediency to handle the fears of God-fearing relatives whose relations had died in battle wearing pagan lucky charms. That is, it was a decision made by men – there’s no explicit claim that they made it after some revelation from God or one of His prophets.
God already knows our prayers before we pray – God’s judgement, in association with His mercy and compassion, of the dead is based on their relationship with Him, and it is final – and, no correspondence can be entered into – God does not change His mind. The examples, we have in the Bible – where it appears that His will is modified based on some one’s appeal (e.g. Moses), is from a human perspective. God knows what He was/is going to do – before He even created time – because His will – is perfect. He does not do anything, which is less than perfect and good. Do you agree?
I’ll write more – but just curious to see if anyone had any views on this subject.