Tobit- Deception

Tobit 12:11-22

Raphael claims to not be acting according to his own will but God’s. According to Raphael, God instructs His angels to test people by deceiving them (v. 19) and heal people by showing them the mystic powers of fish innards (8:3; 11:11, 12). Raphael instructed Tobit and Tobias to praise God for Raphael’s deception and showing them the mystic arts, which transgress God’s Law (see notes on 6:1b-9).

There is one place in Scripture where we see people entertaining angels without knowing they are angels, Hebrews 13:2. In that passage, the angels are not described as deceiving people, lying to them, or leading them on a great journey. People simply don’t recognize the angels as angels. When the Lord does send deceiving spirits, they mislead people and God is not honored by those people’s actions (cf. 1 Kings 22:22, 2 Chronicles 18:21). These deceiving spirits are not described as angels of light in the text. All spiritual beings belong to God and are under His sovereign authority. Raphael, then, is what we see in the Old Testament as a demon or lying spirit meant to deceive and lead people away from God—though this isn’t the intent of the apocryphal author(s).

Whoever wrote this Hebrew epic was neither well versed in the Old Testament story nor Old Testament theology.

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