The books of Maccabees are not included in the Hebrew Bible (nor in the Protestant Bible.) The Catholic traditions included the first two books of the Maccabees because of their presence in the Greek Bible. It is in these books that there is clear evidence of a belief in the blessing of eternal life. “The Creator of the universe … will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.” For most of Israel’s history one’s hopes were for this life only — after death the souls went to sheol for some sort of shadowy existence. The development of a belief in heavenly bliss is a reminder that faith grows as we enter more deeply into God’s mystery.