What is The Book of Jubilees?
The Book of Jubilees is an ancient Jewish religious writing. It offers detailed history of events of Genesis and Exodus. It is considered canonical by Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Beta Israel. The Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Churches consider it pseudepigrapha and in Judiasim, it is non-canonical. Today we will be testing it to see if it is scripture? Was it inspired by Yhwh, penned by man? Is it infallible?
From the extensive fragments of Jubilees found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ethiopic manuscripts it is safe to say that The Book of Jubilees was written at one time. There is no evidence, at all, to support any claim that latter chapters were added to the book after the book was written. This means that the book can be judged as a whole. For example chapters 40-50 weren't added at some later date and would then need to be judged independently of chapters 1-39.
Have Others Referenced The Book Of Jubilees?
Several "early Christians" (early christian time frame would have been between 100AD - 325AD) like Justin Martyr, Epiphanius, and Origen have been credited with referencing Jubilees. In Justin Martyr's "Second Apology", it is said that he is referencing Jubilees when he discusses angels mating with women. This is a reference to Genesis chapter 6 and Jubilees chapter 5. The thing to consider is Jubilees is not the only book outside of Genesis that discusses this account. The 1st Book of Enoch also describes this in Enoch chapter 6. Enoch was written in the 2nd Century BCE, and is believed to have been written before The Book of Jubilees, so it would have definitely been available to Justin Martyr. The point being this, Justin Martyr wrote about a topic that could have been pulled from several sources which shows that Jubilees may not have been taught from or accepted as scripture even during his lifetime.
How Will We Test The Book Of Jubilees?
Deuteronomy 13 Test
The first test we will apply is this, does The Book of Jubilees tell us to break Yhwh's commands? (Deuteronomy 13:5 NJV)
Add to/Take away from Torah
The second is found in Deuteronomy 13:1 NJV, "Whatever thing I command you, that you shall observe to do. You shall not add to it nor take away from it."
Contradict Cannon of 66
Finally, does The Book of Jubilees contradict anything we find in the cannon of 66, the Bible?
If Jubilees fails any one of these tests, it must immediately be labeled as the work of man and not regarded scripture.
Whenever we read the Bible or any book, we must establish and understand the context. To do this, we need to read the whole chapter and it helps to read the chapters before and after the one we are diving into. For this test, let's read Jubilees 50:12-13 which is discussing the weekly Sabbath.
"12 And every man who does any work thereon, or goes on a journey, or tills his farm, whether in his house or any other place, and whosoever lights a fire, or rides on any beast, or travels by ship on the sea, and whosoever strikes or kills anything, or slaughters a beast or a bird, or whosoever catches an animal or a bird or a fish, or whosoever fasts or makes war on the Sabbaths:
13 The man who does any of these things on the Sabbaths shall die, so that the children of Israel shall observe the Sabbaths according to the commandments regarding the Sabbaths of the land, as it is written in the caphire stones, which he gave into my hands that i should write out for you the Torah of the seasons, and the seasons."
If we apply the first test to these verses, do they break the Deuteronomy 13 Test? Consider this passage tells us to observe the Sabbath, as does Yhwh, I would say "no". This passage passes the first test.
Does it add to or take away from the Torah? I would say "yes". No where in Genesis through Deuteronomy, the prophets, or writings are we told to not "travel by ship on the sea" during Sabbath. Nor do we see anywhere in scripture where it says that you must not fast on the weekly Sabbath. Not only are these things not commanded in scripture but we do not see them being enforced in the writings of the "New Testament".
Exodus 20:8-11, Leviticus 23:3, Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Nehemiah 10:31 tell us what we are to do on the weekly Sabbath. We are to rest, study scripture, teach scripture, gather with fellow believers, not cause others to work, and we are not to buy or sell. We are told that if we break Yhwh's instructions for Sabbath we receive the death penalty and if we do keep the Sabbaths properly, it is a sign between us and Yhwh that we love Him and obey Him.
The third test was "does this passage conflict with the cannon of 66, the Bible"? The answer again is "yes", but let's take a step back and look at a few verses from the Bible first. Let's talk for a minute about Yeshua (Jesus).
1 John 3:5 NJV
"And you know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and no sin is in him."
The verse is about Yeshua having no sin of His own. 1 Peter 2:22, Isaiah 53:9, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and many others all teach that Yeshua lived a sinless life. I doubt anyone would argue that point. Why is this so important? Because as the book of Hebrews explains, it was this sinless life that qualified Yeshua to be both our atonement (1 Peter 1:18-19) and our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15) in Heaven. If Yeshua had sinned, he would not be able to make propitiation for our sins.
How does this relate back to Jubilees? Jubilees 50:12-13 says that if anyone fasts on the Sabbath, he shall die. That person is to die because he broke the Sabbath, the 4th commandment. In other words, if you fast on the Sabbath, according to Jubilees, you have sinned. Matthew 4:2 tells us that Yeshua fasted for 40 days. I can guarantee you that at least one of those days was a Sabbath. This means that if the book of Jubilees was in fact scripture, Yeshua was a sinner and his death was meaningless.
When I laid out the 3 tests that we would use on Jubilees, I said if it breaks one of the 3 tests, it fails immediately. Jubilees fails 2 out of 3 tests. The book of Jubilees is not scripture, which means it is not God breathed, it is not profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17)