Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Prophetic Book of Tobit

Tobit is one of the seven books which Protestants omit from the Bible, and which they consider Apocrypha. But if you pay close attention, you'll see that the New Testament proves Tobit to be prophetic. If you're not familiar with the book, the short version is that the Archangel Raphael appears to Tobit disguised as a man. Eventually, he reveals himself in Tobit 12:15, saying,
"I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord."
Three verses prior, he explained that, "I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord." This is prophetic in at least two ways:
  1. Look to how Gabriel introduces himself in Luke 1:19. He begins:
    "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God."
    It's a remarkably similar structure: the angel's identity is defined by his standing before the Presence and Glory of the Lord. So Raphael is talking like an angel. But if this is uninspired Apocrypha, how would the writer know how angels described themselves? Tobit is the first example we have of this. It isn't like the author of Tobit was just mimicking the Old Testament. Heck of a good guess!

  2. Raphael describes himself as one of seven angels ministering before the Lord. Nothing in Scripture up to this point says anything of the sort: Raphael is the first to reveal this. Yet the Book of Revelation affirms this: yes, there are seven angels who serve before the Throne of God (Revelation 8:2). Again, if Tobit is Apocrypha, how the heck did the author know the most intimate details about the Throne of God in Heaven, when they hadn't been revealed previously?
So at two different points in the New Testament, we see confirmation of truths first revealed in the Book of Tobit. If that's not prophetic, it'd be hard to point to anything which was. Given this, on what grounds can anyone deny the inspiration of the Book of Tobit?

EDIT: Just couldn't help myself. Here's Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, claiming the seven angels are Spanish, and can turn dead people into angels. Theologically sound? Not quite. Great song? You bet.

1 comment:

  1. This was already one of my favorite books - for obvious reasons - and I appreciate having arguments to defend it. Thanks Joe!

    P.S. The song's not half-bad, either.

    ReplyDelete