From Abel to Zacharias: the OT canon

I have read the claim that Jesus set the OT canon in Luke 11:47-51 when Jesus was speaking about the murders of Abel to Zacharias. The argument is that only books written between these two time periods could possibly be included in the OT. There are a few that come after the murder of Zacharias, but the argument goes that they were contemporaneous to Zacharias, so Zacharias would have condemned them prior to his murder, so those books and prophets must count.

How do I respond to this argument? The several hundred references in the NT to the Deuterocanonical books does not seem to be a good enough argument here.

thanks for your help.

In Christ,


Context. Context. Context. This has got to be some of the worst Scriptural twisting I have ever seen!

These passages have NOTHING to do with the OT Canon and EVERYTHING to do with the murderous ways of evil men… and Jesus is lumping the Pharisees in with these evil, murderous men.

Read the passages one more time.

Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. 48 Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. 49 Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ 50 in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!

Good Lord your friends are bending the Scriptures to do their Will!!!

Wow, I don’t know where you read that, but it’s a huge stretch! I wouldn’t even bother to enter into that argument, I don’t think. Anyone who would force meaning into the text that egregiously is not going to have a rational discussion.

I think that’s part of the “Spandex” bible!:stuck_out_tongue:

There ain’t no spandex that can handle THAT much stretching.

Unfortunately, I have found this on several apologetics sites (e.g., ) and comes from a fairly well known protestand apologist (Norman L. Geisler). Reading it more, I am unsure if the Zacharias mentioned here is the Zacharias they claim it is – I looked up and saw at least two different Zacharias’ murdered in the Bible, plus there is the tradition that John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias was murdered in the temple. They also claim that the Zacharias murdered in 2 Chronicles is the same Zacharias who wrote the Book of Zacharias, which I do not know to be true.

But to your point, I think that you are right. I cannot understand how anyone could twist things so much just to discredit the Catholic Church.

This Zecharias is the son of Barachias. If you will look at Matthew you will get that part not in Luke.
This is the same Zachariah of Zechariah1.1

Zec 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

Thus the question of when prophets or prophecy ceased. Granted it may be a general timeframe but I would say we should take it at face value.

Is the Zacharias in the Book of Zacharias the same Zacharias murdered in 2 Chronicles?

Being that John the Baptist is considered an Old Testament prophet, I think the point is moot.

Good point and to top it off, Jesus even says John the Baptist was a prophet:

“For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. But he that is the lesser in the kingdom of God, is greater than he.” [Luke 7:28]

But he does not say Abel to John the Baptist. That is intentional. Everything Jesus said was perfect and intentional. John was a prophet. That would not even need stating for anyone who has read the New Testament. But why did Christ say what he did? It was the cessation of prophecy. No Christian denies it returned. Some think they still have it now even.

No, because John prophecied the coming of Christ just as the OT prophets did. John was an OT prophet.

That is correct. True prophecies are revealed to people from time to time. But just as in ancient Israel, there is an abundance of false prophets.

I do not see how this is authoritative that prophecy stopped. how can that passage to be interpreted from “there are murdered prophets, from Abel to Zacharias who want justice” to “This is the list of phophets.” and is used to explain which books of the OT are canon.

There are a few prophetic books written after Zacharias, how are these explained? And in the beginning of the new testament there are serveral “new” prophets named – Anna, for one.

I understand and believe that everything recorded that Jesus says has a purpose, but couldn’t it be “I know that this will be translated into the latin alphabet and the first letter is A (Abel) and the last is Z (Zacharias), which are the first and last letters in the latin alphabet. So, just like Alpha and Omega in the greek alphabet I’m going to use those two names to represent the totality of all murdered prophets”? Granted, this is just something that I made up on the spot and I think it is a pretty spurious claim, but from what has been presented thus far, it is just as valid as the argument that this proves which books of the OT are cannon.

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