Friday, April 30, 2021

Bible Study Resources: Foreshadowings of Christ in the Apocrypha

The Apocrypha is a collection of Jewish religious books written in the period between the Old and New Testaments. Protestants do not view them as being part of the Bible, nor inspired by the Holy Spirit. However, they are the reflections of the chosen people of God during the years before Christ’s first coming, and as such, they offer many lessons about how God was preparing the hearts of the Jews to receive their Messiah. The following passages, which I selected from my reading of the texts, hint in various ways at the coming of Jesus, from his birth to Mary to his crucifixion and resurrection.

Tobit 13:11 – A bright light will shine to all the ends of the earth; many nations will come to you from far away, the inhabitants of the remotest parts of the earth to your holy name.

Judith 16:5 – The Lord Almighty has foiled [his enemies] by the hand of a woman.

Wisdom of Solomon, ch. 7-10: Descriptions of “Wisdom” (compare to 1 Cor. 1:24, 30 – “Christ [is] the wisdom and power of God,” “Christ…has become for us wisdom from God.”)

                Wisdom…pervades and penetrates all things. It is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty…It is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Though it is but one, it can do all things. (Wis. Sol. 7:24-27)

                Wisdom is a partner in the knowledge of God, and an associate in his works… [It is] the active cause of all things…[and] the fashioner of what exists. (Wis. Sol. 8:4-6)

                Wisdom delivered [Israel] from a nation of oppressors…It guided them along a marvelous way, and became a shelter to them by day, and a starry flame through the night. It brought them over the Red Sea, and led them down through deep waters. (Wis. Sol. 10:15, 17-18)

Wisdom of Solomon 14:7 – Blessed is the wood by which righteousness comes!

Wisdom of Solomon 16:12-13 – It was your Word, O Lord, that heals all people. For you have power over life and death; you lead mortals down to the gates of Hades and back again.

Baruch 3:35-37 – This is our God; no other can be compared to him. He found the whole way to knowledge, and gave Wisdom to his servant Jacob and to Israel, whom he loved. Afterward, Wisdom appeared on earth and lived with humankind.

Baruch 4:22 – I have put my hope in the Everlasting to save you, and joy has come to me from the Holy One, because of the mercy that will soon come to you from your everlasting savior.

2 Maccabees 7:9, 23 – The King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws….The Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of humankind and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again.

2 Esdras (4 Ezra) 7:28-33 – For my son the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him, and those who remain shall rejoice four hundred years…After those years my son the Messiah shall die, and [then] all who draw human breath….The earth shall give up those who are asleep in it, and the dust those who rest there in silence; and the chambers shall give up the souls that have been committed to them. The Most High shall be revealed on the seat of judgment.

2 Esdras (4 Ezra) 8:52-54 – It is for you that paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the age to come is prepared, plenty is provided, a city is built, rest is appointed, goodness is established and wisdom perfected beforehand. The root of evil is sealed up from you, illness is banished from you, and death is hidden; Hades has fled and corruption has been forgotten; sorrows have passed away, and in the end the treasure of immortality is made manifest.

2 Esdras (4 Ezra) 12:31-34 – As for the lion [which you saw in the vision]…this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the offspring of David, and will come and speak with [Israel]. He will denounce them for their ungodliness and wickedness, and will display before them their contemptuous dealings….But in mercy he will set free the remnant of my people, those who have been saved throughout my borders, and he will make them joyful until the end comes, the day of judgment.

2 Esdras (4 Ezra) 13:25-26, 32, 37, 39 – As for your seeing a man come up from the heart of the sea, this is he whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages, who will himself deliver his creation….When these things take place and the signs occur that I showed you before, then my Son will be revealed, whom you saw as a man coming up from the sea….Then he, my Son, will reprove the assembled nations for their ungodliness….and gather to himself another multitude that is peaceable.


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