I'm working on a survey and study of the apocrypha right now. I'm very interested in wading through the weeds of those documents to find the best way to reveal that which is useful from the apocryphal texts and that which is misleading and or heretical.
I will say this much for now about what I've learned from studying the apocryphal texts:
They are, for the most part, chronologically, much later documents than the accepted canonical texts of the Received Texts.
Another point is that when reading some apocryphal texts, for example the text known as The Gospel of Peter, reveals very clearly a type of legendary storytelling that is not found in the canon. Specifically, when reading about the death and resurrection of Jesus in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter we read a very different kind of account that just screams of embellishment. In other words it's reads like a legend rather than truth. When we read the accounts of the Passion in the canonical texts of the New Testament the story is matter of fact and actually quite stark in its description. The point being that we often see grandiose descriptions of events in the apocrypha where the canon is very much straight forward and simply describes what happened in as few words as needed to make the events clear. An example of legendary writing from the apocrypha would be in the Gospel of Peter where upon Jesus' rising there is an account of angels who walk beside Jesus and their heads extend out of sight into the heavens while the cross 'magically' follows them and speaks. THIS is what a legend sounds like. The Passion accounts of the canonical Gospels is pure, straight forward and in the word ol' Joe Friday give "just the facts."
Then we have apocryphal texts like the Book of Enoch that read much more like the canonical texts and have many interesting elements to consider.
There are apocryphal texts that support the canon. But, for those of us who trust in God's promise to preserve His Word for us and hold the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God we should always defer to the canon. Always keep in mind when non-believers attempt to claim that 'you can't use the Bible to prove the Bible' you can point out to those folks that the texts that make up the canonical scriptures were all individual scrolls, codices and writings that case from various places, were written by 40 different authors over a period of more than 1500 years! The Bible was not produced by one small group of men at one council meeting. The Bible is an amazing collection of texts from many different sources that all say the same thing! There is no other religious text on the planet like the Bible. There are no other ancient writings that compare in authenticity, historicity and accuracy between manuscripts. You can trust the Bible based on reason and evidence and of course, you can trust God's Word based on its spiritual significance and TRUTH!
I look forward to sharing more regarding the apocryphal texts soon!
Since we discussed this question via email I won't repeat it all here again. I will say this much:
It's always wise to keep in mind that our brothers and sisters in Christ are not inerrant. We often get things wrong and when it comes to eschatology (study of the end times and end times prophecy) we will find many different interpretations of the same text. We don't have access to God's omnipresence and omniscience therefore we are not able to see the beginning and the end as He does. That said, Bible scholars seem to be in harmony that it is expected and perfectly reasonable that studies of eschatology will continue to be mysterious quite simply because we are dealing with events that are yet to come and well beyond our own immediate perception.
The reason God has given us prophecy is so that we could trust His Word, not necessarily so that we could chart the future as an exact science. The reason for this is because prophecy is conditional. As we see with Jonah and the Ninevites, the prophecy of their destruction was conditional upon their repentance. This is not to say that the end times events prophesied in the Bible might not happen at all, rather, the point is that these events are prophesied allegorically because they are subject to mankind's own actions. In other words, we play a role in the prophecies, and although the events WILL occur, the exact timing and sequencing of events is dynamic and as always in God's hands.
So, to respond more directly to your very good question and your justified concerns, it is true that Satan abs his minions (demons) will mislead God's own whenever and however they can. Our brother at E511 ministry is right on point with that notion. Therefore it is crucial to stand on Biblical truth at all times and to always be growing our relationship with our Lord every day. There is no other way to avoid demonic interference. When we live according that standard and always allow the Holy Spirit to lead our studies and stand in the Bible an the Bible alone we need not fear demonic interference. Seeking truth in God's Word and speaking truth according His will cannot be qualified in any way as demonic. I'm not sure how anyone could justify the notion that someone who seeks to expose various details of current evil in the world is being deceived by demonic activity. That doesn't make a lot of sense. And I'm not sure that's what E511 is actually saying. But I also have not read all of his e-book, so I must withhold my judgement on that issue. I do see him as a faithful follower and brother is Christ.
Now, it also very important to note that for those of us who do choose to take up the practice of parsing the minutest details of eschatology, we must be humble enough to change our outlook regarding those details when the evidence presents.
In other words, we are all limited in our perspective and fallible but God is not. Eschatology is a very important study, however it is often a difficult study to be dogmatic about - that is to say we should not hold our personal interpretations of end times events to be infallible. There is a reason that God has given us prophecies and a reason why they are presented allegorically and without exact names and dates - it is conditional.
The way I see the issue is thus:
Let us make sure that we hold the prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ's promise to return to take us home with Himself as primary and rejoice in that knowledge.
Likewise, let's be careful to treat our interpretations and discussions of the various details of the end times events as non-dogmatic and subject to change. I have had to change my views on prophecy many times, which is, in fact, the nature of sincere study.
In fact, for the follower of Jesus Christ, it is wise to always be humble and careful to not allow ourselves to be consumed with the details of the events, rather to simply remain faithful to God, follow Jesus' lead via His Holy Spirit and always keep Jesus central in all our work.
We know He is coming. We do not know when. We know He will defeat ALL evil at once. We do not know exactly how other than, "...the Lord shall consume (the Wicked) with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming..." and various other descriptions from the Book of Revelation.
We can't know how that might actually look when the supernatural descends physically on the creation. Nor can we be dogmatic about the current details of the evil of man's heart. Satan is a master of deception. We can only humble ourselves and stand behind Jesus Christ.
I do believe that our brother at E511 ministry is sincere with his desire to guide Christians away from deception and evil. That is also my own prayer for my own ministry. Let us always stand on God's Word as the final arbiter of truth and where there are mysteries, let us be humble in our speculations and always ready to first preach the Gospel of God's offer of salvation to eternal life for whosoever will trust in Him, accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and master and follow Him into repentance and sanctification.
There is no truth greater than that!
Thank you, Josh! and God bless you my brother.
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