1. How close was man’s earliest fellowship with God?
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day … And the Lord God called unto Adam.” Gen 3:8, 9.
2. By what tragedy was this intimate communion broken?
“Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you.” Isa 59:2.
3. After the entrance of sin what modified method of communication did God adopt?
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manner spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets:” Heb 1:1.
4. In process of time what nation did God single out to be the special medium of His revelations?
“What advantage then hath the Jew?… Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Rom 3:1, 2. (See also Rom 9:4)
5. What further provision did God make in order to keep a knowledge of His will before His chosen people?
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book.” Ex 17:14. (See also Ex 24:4.)
In His providence God gathered up the record of the past and communicated it to Moses, instructing him to write it in a book to form the nucleus of a written revelation which could be handed down from generation to generation without fear of corruption. By inspiration Moses wrote the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which became known as “the book of Moses” (2 Chron 25:4), “the book of the law of Moses” (Joshua 23:6), and in later times the Pentateuch. Moses undoubtedly also wrote the Book of Job.
6. Who was commissioned to continue the sacred record after the death of Moses?
“And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God.” Joshua 24:26.
7. When Israel settled in Canaan through whom did God give further guidance and reproof to His people?
“The Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the Prophets, and by all the seers.” 2 Kings 17:13.
During the period of the monarchy there were added to the books of Moses and Joshua, the books of Samuel, the earlier parts of Kings and Chronicles, the psalms of David, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and the writings of the earlier prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, and Amos.
8. During the captivity of Israel and Judah or immediately after the return what new books were incorporated into the Scriptures?
Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and perhaps the latter parts of the books of Kings and Chronicles.
9. How did the returned captives indicate their desire to understand the words of the Lord?
“And all the people gathered themselves together; … and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.” Neh 8:1 (Read verses 1-8)
10. What remaining books were added in post-captivity days to complete the Old Testament as we now have it?
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
With the Book of Malachi, written about 400 B.C., the canon of the Old Testament was completed, having been in process of formation for over 1,000 years.
11. How did Jesus refer to the Scriptures in His day?
“These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.” Luke 24:44.
This threefold division was the customary classification of the Old Testament books in the days of Jesus, the “law of Moses” including the five books of the Pentateuch; “the prophets” comprising Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets; while the third division was called “the psalms” because these were first in order, but it included also Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra (including Nehemiah), and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
12. What form did the earliest writings of the New Testament take?
“I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” 1 Thess 5:27. (See also Col 4:16.)
As time passed it became more and more difficult for the apostles personally to visit all the groups of Christian believers which were springing up. So in order to meet the need of further instruction in -the faith, to combat prevailing error, and to warn against strange and heretical teachers, they were led to send forth messages of warning and exhortation. (See 1 Cor 1:1, 2; Gal 1:1, 2; Eph 1:1; James 1:1; I Peter 1:1, etc.)
13. What portions of the New Testament were next written?
“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us … it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” Luke 1:1-4.
Some thirty-five years had passed since Jesus was taken away, and persecution was decimating the ranks of the disciples. Soon there would be no one who had been with Jesus to tell the story of His life and teachings. So several were led to prepare authoritative accounts, and the Gospels came into being. The earliest was written by Mark; Matthew wrote his Gospel soon after, followed by Luke. John’s Gospel came much later, and was perhaps the last of the New Testament books to be written.
14. In addition to his Gospel what further record was Luke inspired to set down in writing?
The “Acts of the Apostles” as they went forth to fulfil the great commission given them by Jesus. (See Acts 1:1.)
15. With what wonderful prophetic communication was the New Testament completed?
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John.” Rev 1:1.
By A.D. 100 all the books of our present New Testament had been written. That this was in the providence of God is clearly evident, for not one of the apostles, save perhaps John only, lived to see the beginning of the second century. The believers now began systematically to copy out and circulate the apostolic writings with the Old Testament Scriptures. From the middle of the second century, testimony is forthcoming from every part of the Roman Empire to the general acceptance of the whole Bible, as we know it, as the inspired Word of God.
16. How did God intend that the Bible should be used?
a. It was to be read publicly in the assemblies of God’ people. “Go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from My mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house.” Jer 36:6. (See also Neh 8:8.)
b. It was to be earnestly studied by the individua believer. “Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” 2 Tim 2:15.
17. What blessed result would follow the whole-hearted acceptance of the Word?
“These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31.
How We Got Our Bible (Septuagint)
& the Apocrypha
WHAT ABOUT THE APOCRYPHA?
The word Apocrypha comes from the Greek which means secret or obscure. This term was used in connection with the additional books that were included in the first edition of the Septuagint, which Jerome translated into Latin. He was the first to reject the Apocrypha, hence this was left out from the Vulgate in latter editions.
The sixty six books of the Bible which we have today are the inspired Holy Scriptures recognized by the early Christians as well as by most of the modern Christians. The Jewish people considered the books of the Apocrypha as non‑inspired, therefore they were not included in the Hebrew canon. The early Christians allowed the reading of the Apocrypha, up to the Middle Age, but never accepted it as a part of the sacred canon.
The Roman Catholic church at the Council of Trent, April 8, 1546 recognized the Apocrypha as a part of the canon of the Scriptures, and placed it on an equal basis with the inspired books of the Bible. They put forth the following decree:
“Whoever shall not receive, as sacred and canonical, all these books and every part of them, as they are commonly read in the Catholic Church, and are contained in the Old Vulgate Latin Edition or shall knowingly and deliberately despise the aforesaid traditions; Let Him Be Accursed.” Council of Trent, Fourth Session.
The reasons why we do not accept these books as inspired are because they contain contradictions to the Holy Scriptures. Neither Christ, nor the apostles had ever quoted from the Apocrypha. If all the teachings of the Apocrypha were in harmony with the Bible writers, we would accept them as true. If we put them to the test we find many errors and heresies taught in the Apocrypha. Hence their inspiration is doubtful.
UNCERTAINTY OF THE WRITERS of the Apocrypha
In the Prologue to the Ecclesiasticus the writer says:
“My grandfather Jesus, after he had much given himself to a diligent reading of the law, and the prophets, and other books, that were delivered to us from our fathers, had a mind also to write something himself pertaining to doctrine and wisdom: that such as are desirous to learn, and are made knowing in these things may be more and more attentive in mind, and be strengthened to live according to the law. I entreat you therefore to come with benevolence, and to read with attention, and to pardon us for those things wherein we may seem, while we follow the image of wisdom, to come short in the composition of words: for the Hebrew words have not the same force in them when translated into another tongue.” (Emphasis supplied)
Notice that the translator of this book says that his grandfather “had in mind also to write”. It was not a revelation from God, but he did it by his spontaneous desire to write.
That this book was not inspired and not accepted by the Jews is confirmed in the introduction, as follows:
“The Book is so called from a Greek word that signifies a preacher; because, like an excellent preacher, it gives admirable lessons of all virtues. The author was Jesus the son of Sirach of Jerusalem, who flourished about two hundred years before Christ. As it was written after the time of Esdras, it is not in the Jewish canon: but it received as canonical and divine by the catholic church, instructed by apostolic tradition, and directed by the Spirit of God. It was first written in the Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek by another Jesus the grandson of the author.” (Emphasis supplied).
It is worthwhile to notice again that it was the Catholic Church that canonized this book. It was not recognized as such by the Jewish people, neither by Christ, nor by the apostles.
At the end of the II Book of Machabees the writer manifests some uncertainty as far as the accuracy of historical facts. He says:
“So these things being done with relation to Nicanor, and from that time the city being possessed by the Hebrews, I also will here make an end of my narration. Which if I have done well, and as it becometh the history, it is what I desired: but if not so perfectly, it must be pardoned me.” 2 Machabees 15:38, 39.
No writers of the Old or New Testaments apologize for writing the messages of God, whether referring to the accuracy of history or the style in which it was written.
WITCHCRAFT IS TAUGHT in the Apocrypha
In the book of Tobias we read the following:
“Then the Angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. Then Tobias asked the Angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? And the Angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from men or from woman, so that they come no more to them. And the gall is good for anointing the eyes, in which there is a white speck, and they shall be cured.” Tobias 6:5, 7‑9, 19.
The Bible teaches that evil spirits can be driven away only by prayer and fasting, but never by the smoke of the heart of a fish.
“Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:17‑21.
Evil spirits can be cast out only in the name of Jesus:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” Mark 16:17.
“And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” Acts 16:18.
GIVING ALMS SAVES US in the Apocrypha
This is another heresy found in the book of Tobias, where the writer declares that giving alms delivers us from sins and death.
“Prayer is good with fasting and alms more than to lay up treasures of gold; for alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting.” Tobias 12:8, 9.
In Ecclesiasticus the same heresy is repeated:
“Water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms resisteth sins.” Ecclesiasticus 3:33.
The Bible declares that sins are forgiven by Jesus Christ when we confess them, and giving alms means nothing without the love of God in the heart which is manifested in the obedience to all His commandments:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7, 9.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD in the Apocrypha
In the book of 2 Machabees we read:
“And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered to the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. (For if he had not hoped that they were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” 2 Machabees 12:43‑46.
The Bible emphatically tells us that at death a person ceases from all affairs, and his destiny is sealed for ever.
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10.
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalms 146:3, 4.
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.
“For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” Isaiah 38:18.
“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Luke 16:26.
THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY in the Apocrypha
The Catholic Church bases its beliefs in the Purgatory on the following verses from the book of Wisdom:
“But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery: and their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace. And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality.” Wisdom 3:1‑4.
A Catholic publication states the following about Purgatory:
“Could we see these dear souls in purgatory we could not forget them. They cry out in thirst while we sit and drink. They are weary restlessness while we do be sleeping. They are sore with grievous pain while we are playing. They are eaten up by burning fire while we are feasting. They cry out for help from those who once held them dear. They plead that you have the pity, the prayers, and sacrifices that you promised.
“By prayer we temper the agonies of the souls in purgatory. We hasten their liberation by sacrifice. What are we as individuals doing for our dead? It is one of the mysteries of life that we forget so easily those who have gone before us, when to remember them where remembrance is most efficacious is at the disposal of us all. In the words of the Council of Trent, `there is a purgatory and the souls there detained are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, especially by the most acceptable sacrifice of the altar.’ Let us remember our dead at mass. Let us have masses said for them.” ‑ The Jesuit Seminary News, Vol. 3, No. 9 (November 15, 1928,) p 70.
The Bible teaches that the living cannot do anything in behalf of the dead, nor have the dead any memory or feeling:
“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19, 20.
“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth: in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalms 146:4.
“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts: even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20.
“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” Job 14:12, 21.
A LIFE‑LONG FASTING in the Apocrypha
Another impossibility is recorded in the book of Judith:
“And she made herself a private chamber in the upper part of her house, in which she abode shut up with her maids, and she wore hair‑cloth upon her loins, and fasted all the days of her life, except the sabbaths, and new moons, and the feasts of the house of Israel.” Judith 8:5, 6.
The fasting recorded in the Bible was not like the fasting prescribed by the Catholic Church, to abstain from flesh food on Good Friday. Those who fasted did not eat or drink anything.
“And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.” Deuteronomy 9:18.
“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16.
“And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Niniveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water.” Jonah 3:7.
Jesus, the divine Master, fasted 40 days, and so did also Moses and Elijah. But the idea of fasting one’s whole life is just inconceivable.
AN “ANGEL” TELLING A LIE
“And the Angel said to him: I will conduct him thither, and bring him back to thee. And Tobias said to him: I pray thee, tell me, of what family, or what tribe art thou? And Raphael the Angel answered; Dost thou seek the family of him thou hirest, or the hired servant himself to go with thy son? But lest I should make thee uneasy, I am Azarias the son of the great Ananias. And Tobias answered: Thou art of a great family. But I pray thee be not angry that I desired to know thy family.” Tobias 5:15‑19.
When angels were asked about their identity they told the inquirers who they were, or they did not tell them anything; but never used falsehood. Examples:
“And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” Luke 1:19.
“And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talketh with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee, And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lod put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.” Judges 6:17‑22.