Comparing New Testament verses with similar or cited ones in the Septuagint, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha provides context and clarification. The intellectual world we inhabit today is very different from that of Second Temple Judaism; as modern readers, we bring a number of assumptions to the text that can warp our understanding, and we also fail to bring other assumptions to the text that its writers took for granted. The power of tradition strengthens these assumptions in the course of time such that they can gain the force of canon. The influence of men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Derby, et al. is considerable. These men are great heroes of the Church, men who dedicated their lives to the work of the Gospel and the pastoral care of the faithful. Many of their ideas have had great, positive consequences for ethics, politics, and even science.

But they are men, fallible like the rest of us, and influenced by situations in which they lived. As Chalcedon says, it is right to “give a vote to the people of the past”. We would not be where we are today without the labour of such men (and women, e.g. the Blessed Virgin Mary, Priscilla, Hildegard von Bingen, et al.). But the believers and authors of the Intertestamental Period are also “people of the past”, and to them we also owe consideration. Like Augustine and Calvin, they too were fallible; but where their ideas are given approval by authors of Scripture (though not necessarily in entirety), we should stop and consider whether these ideas are what we normally hear on a Sunday or in our weekly homegroups. We have an obligation to the Truth, and we worship a God who willingly gives wisdom and illumination to His children. We are not all called to be scholars, but we are called to wear the “belt of truth” (Eph. 6:14) and to imitate the Bereans, who “searched the Scriptures daily to determine whether what Paul told them was true” (Acts 17:11).

There are implications that come from reading Second Temple literature. First and Second Maccabees tell us that the believers of the period considered the descration of the Temple carried out by Antiochus Epiphanes to be the “abomination of desolation” in the Book of Daniel. But Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, speaks of it as an event future to Him. Here a disjunct, a correction, is created in the New Testament.

Conversely, SS. Peter and Jude affirm the intertestamental understanding of Genesis 6:1-4.

Genesis 6:1-4 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and took as wives those whom they chose from among them. And the LORD said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These children were the mighty men of the ancient days, men of renown.

1 Enoch 6:1-2 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied, that in those days beautiful and comely daughters were born to them.  And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose wives for ourselves from among the children of men and have children by them.’ 

1 Enoch 10:4-6 And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azâzêl [a fallen angel] hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him into it. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire.

Jubilees 5:1-2, 6-7  And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took for themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bore to them sons and they were giants…And against the angels whom He had sent upon the earth, He was exceedingly angry, and He gave a command to root them out of all their dominion, and He bade us bind them in the depths of the earth, and behold they are bound in the midst of them, and are kept separate.

1 Peter 3:19-20 By which also [Christ] went and preached to the spirits in prison; which were disobedient in the past, at the time when the patience of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared…

2 Peter 2:4-5 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly…

Jude 1:6 And the angels which did not keep their own domain, but left their own habitation, these he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness till the judgment of the great day.

The intertestamental examples above show the affinity between the New Testament texts and the intertestamental ones, which add detail to the picture found in Genesis. Genesis does not mention God binding the fallen spirits with chains in Tartarus (a Greek equivalent to one of the prisons of Sheol). Note also that this theme is taken up by the Apostle John in Revelation, where Satan is bound with chains by an angel (possibly Michael), and cast into the Abyss, which is sealed, until his judgement after the Millennium, at which time he is cast into the lake of fire.

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