Apocrypha

Therefore, hear, O kings, and understand; learn, you judges of the ends of the earth, Listen closely, you who hold the attention of the crowds, and who please yourselves by disturbing the nations.

The Apocrypha, while being part of Catholic Bibles, is not part of Protestant Bibles. There could be a debate on why it was removed. Perhaps it was because of the Reformation. Perhaps it was to save money in printing Bibles. Perhaps it was for some other reason.

Information on the Apocryphra from Wikipedia.

Here is an article on Martin Luther, who included the Apocrypha in his German edition of the Bible (Martin Luther was German).

In any case, some Reformists, while not accepting it as part of scripture, did think it had valuable things to say.  Martin Luther, a Reformist, consider it “useful for reading“.

In preparing for this article, I had to do a bit more research than usual and read through some of Martin Luther’s quotes.  Frankly, I was stunned by some of them.  And question some of them.  He’s the gift that keeps on giving.   And I’ll leave it at that.

Here is something to consider.  Corrupt kings were probably happy that this was no longer being preached from the pulpit.

Wisdom 6
6:1 Wisdom is better than power, and a prudent man is better than a powerful one.
6:2 Therefore, hear, O kings, and understand; learn, you judges of the ends of the earth.
6:3 Listen closely, you who hold the attention of the crowds, and who please yourselves by disturbing the nations.
6:4 For power has been given to you from the Lord and strength from the Most High, who will examine your works and scrutinize your thoughts.
6:5 For, when you were ministers of his kingdom, you did not judge correctly, nor keep the law of justice, nor walk according to the will of God.
6:6 Horribly and quickly he will appear to you, because he will make a severe judgment for those who are in charge.
6:7 For, to the little, great mercy is granted, but the powerful will endure powerful torment.
6:8 For the Lord will not exempt anyone’s character, nor will he stand in awe of anyone’s greatness, because he himself made the little and the great, and he is equally concerned for everyone.
6:9 But a powerful torture pursues the powerful.
6:10 Therefore, O kings, these, my words, are for you, so that you may learn wisdom and not perish.
6:11 For those who have justly preserved justice will be justified, and those who have learned these things will find what to answer.
6:12 Therefore, desire my words, love them, and you will have instruction.
6:13 Wisdom is pure and never fades away, and is easily seen by those who love her and found by those who seek her.
6:14 She anticipates those who desire her, so that she first reveals herself to them.
6:15 Whoever awakens early to seek her, will not labor, for he will find her sitting at his door.
6:16 Therefore, by thinking about her, understanding is perfected, and whoever remains watchful for her, will quickly be secure.
6:17 For she goes about seeking such as are worthy of her, and she reveals herself to them cheerfully in the ways, and meets them with all foresight.
6:18 For the very true beginning of her is the desire for instruction.
6:19 Therefore, the zeal for instruction is love, and love is the keeping of her laws, and the keeping of her laws is the perfection of incorruptibility,
6:20 while incorruptibility makes us near to God.
6:21 And so, the desire for wisdom leads to an everlasting kingdom.
6:22 If, therefore, your delight is in thrones and scepters, O kings of the people, love wisdom, so that you may reign forever;
6:23 love the light of wisdom, all you who lead the peoples.
6:24 But what wisdom is, and how she was made, I will report, and I will not hide the mysteries of God from you, but I will investigate her from the beginning of her birth, and I will place the knowledge of her in the light, and will not pass over the truth.
6:25 Neither will I hold to the path that dwindles away with envy, because such a man will not partake in wisdom.
6:26 For the proliferation of the wise is sanity for the world, and a wise king is the mainstay of the people.
6:27 Therefore, receive instruction by my words, and it will benefit you.

 

But wait.  There’s more.  This is found in the sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible, which are also in the Catholic Bible.

Psalm 2:1 (KJV) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

 

Proverbs 17:23  A wicked man receives a bribe in secret, to pervert the ways of justice.

 

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

 

Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

 

Ecclesiastes 10:5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler

 

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 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.

5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

 

It needs to be pointed out that God is not against blessing people financially.  If people tithe and give offerings and alms, the Lord fulfills the promises of scripture and rebukes the devourer and pours out a blessing.  There has to be obedience to the law of the tithe and other scriptures on giving for that to occur in fullness.  Servants of the Lord God in the Bible, such as Abraham and Job, were blessed financially.

The question or issue is regarding any corruption or evil involved in gaining wealth; that is the problem.  Are people killed, murdered, destroyed, used in slave labor, and stolen from in ways evident and not so obvious (such as through the printing of fiat money or creating disasters and then going in afterwards to pick up the real estate through pennies on the dollar)?

A case in point would be the Ukrainian war.  By now it should be evident that this is not about some lofty idealistic purpose.  This is the enrichment of the military industrial complex at the expense of Ukrainians used as cannon fodder and should be condemned internationally.  The criminals who are behind it, including those in Washington D.C., and especially those in Washington D.C., should be brought before an international tribunal and tried for war crimes.  How many lies have been told regarding this war, and how much death and destruction has occurred, first and foremost, to the Ukrainians?  And there have been effects to other nations as well, but none have paid as severe a price as the Ukrainians, among whom hundreds of thousands have been killed.  Follow the money trail and who is profiting?

 

 

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The Ghost Marley Visits Scrooge

Jacob Marley Fred Barnard 1878

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the ghost of Marley, Scrooge’s business partner now dead for seven years, visits Scrooge. Marley comes chained with the chains he forged in life and now wears after death. He warns Scrooge of his impending fate if he does not change.

Quoting from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (in the public domain)

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain
and wrung its shadowy hands.

“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell
me why?”

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost.
“I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded
it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I
wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?”

Scrooge trembled more and more.

“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the
weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself?
It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven
Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since.
It is a ponderous chain!”

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the
expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty
or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see
nothing.

“Jacob,” he said, imploringly. “Old Jacob Marley,
tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob!”

“I have none to give,” the Ghost replied. “It comes
from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed
by other ministers, to other kinds of men. Nor
can I tell you what I would. A very little more is
all permitted to me. I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I
cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked
beyond our counting-house–mark me!–in life my
spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our
money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before
me!”

It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he became
thoughtful, to put his hands in his breeches pockets.
Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now,
but without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his
knees.

“You must have been very slow about it, Jacob,”
Scrooge observed, in a business-like manner, though
with humility and deference.

“Slow!” the Ghost repeated.

“Seven years dead,” mused Scrooge. “And travelling
all the time!”

“The whole time,” said the Ghost. “No rest, no
peace. Incessant torture of remorse.”

“You travel fast?” said Scrooge.

“On the wings of the wind,” replied the Ghost.

“You might have got over a great quantity of
ground in seven years,” said Scrooge.

The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and
clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of
the night, that the Ward would have been justified in
indicting it for a nuisance.

“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the
phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour
by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into
eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is
all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit
working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may
be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast
means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of
regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity
misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”

“But you were always a good man of business,
Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this
to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands
again. “Mankind was my business. The common
welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance,
and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings
of my trade were but a drop of water in the
comprehensive ocean of my business!”

It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were
the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it
heavily upon the ground again.

“At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said,
“I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of
fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never
raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise
Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to
which its light would have conducted me!”

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the
spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake
exceedingly.

“Hear me!” cried the Ghost. “My time is nearly
gone.”

“I will,” said Scrooge. “But don’t be hard upon
me! Don’t be flowery, Jacob! Pray!”

“How it is that I appear before you in a shape that
you can see, I may not tell. I have sat invisible
beside you many and many a day.”

 

Classics are classics because they go beyond the glitz and glimmer and drama of less important themes.  It is why certain works of literature are studied year after year.

The Scrooge/Marley theme above is also mentioned in the Apocrypha.

Luther (Martin Luther, that is) said this of the Apocrypha: “’These are books that, though not esteemed like the Holy Scriptures, are still both useful and good to read.’”   Source

Wisdom of Solomon
17:1 For your judgments, O Lord, are great, and your words are indescribable. Therefore, undisciplined souls have wandered astray.
17:2 For, while they managed to convince the unjust, so as to obtain dominion over the holy nation, they themselves were fettered with chains of darkness and of endless night, enclosed in their houses, fugitives of everlasting providence, lying in ruins.
17:3 And, while they thought to escape notice in their secret sins, they were scattered under a dark veil of oblivion, being horribly afraid, and having been disturbed with great astonishment.
17:4 For neither did the cave which enclosed them preserve them from fear, because descending noises disturbed them, and the sorrowful persons appearing to them intensified their fear.

 

Scrooge was totally unaware of his chains.  He did not see himself as God saw him until he went through the process of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future.

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge realizes that that final Christmas Eve was his night of decision.  He had been told by Christmas present that it was too late.  Christmas future pointed to his gravestone.  In Scrooge’s case, he repented.  If you have never watched A Christmas Carol, you should, as the message is timeless.

Jesus told a story of someone similar to Scrooge. It may not have been a parable, for it was “a certain rich man”. In any case, these stories and messages are timeless and apply every generation.

 

Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

 

 

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