WEDNESDAYintheWORD: "The Two Covenants” (INTRO) - Andrew Murray

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Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray was raised in South Africa. It was here, after his formal education in Scotland and three years of theological study in college in Holland, that he returned as a missionary and minister. As a preacher, he consistently drew large crowds and led many to trust Christ as their Savior. But Murray's life was not without testing. As a young man, an enduring sickness left him weak and exhausted. Later at the prime of his ministry, a severe illness resulted in his absence from the pulpit for two years. But God used each trial to remove all that hindered his devotion to Christ. Murray wrote, "That awful pride and self complacency which have hither to ruled in my heart." He fought an insidious battle with pride, but God had the victory. Murray wrote much about the deeper knowledge of the things of God and abiding in Christ.

He also served as the first president of the Young Men's Christian Fellowship (YMCA). Not only was he the author of over 240 books, he was also a man of great prayer. Through his private devotion with the Savior, he learned that laughter and fellowship were two of life's most important activities. He and his wife, Emma, had nine children.
Adapted from "Apostle of Abiding Love."

The Two Covenants
and
The Second Blessing

Table of Contents
 
 Introduction
I.A Covenant God
II.The Two Covenants: Their Relation
III.The First Covenant
IV.The New Covenant
V.The Two Covenants: In Christian Experience
VI.The Everlasting Covenant
VII.The New Covenant: A Ministration of the Spirit
VIII.The Two Covenants: The Transition
IX.The Blood of the Covenant
X.Jesus, The Mediator of the New Covenant
XI.Jesus, the Surety of the Better Covenant
XII.The Book of the Covenant
XIII.New Covenant Obedience
XIV.The New Covenant: A Covenant Of Grace
XV.The Covenant of An Everlasting Priesthood
XVI.The Ministry of the New Covenant
XVII.His Holy Covenant
XVIII.Entering the Covenant: With All the Heart
 
Note AThe Second Blessing
Note BThe Law Written in the Heart
Note CGeorge Muller and His Second Conversion
Note DCanon Battersby
Note ENothing of Myself
Note FThe Whole Heart

IT is often said that the great aim of the preacher ought to be to translate Scripture truth from its Jewish form into the language and the thought of the nineteenth century, and so to make it intelligible and acceptable to our ordinary Christians. It is to be feared that the experiment will do more harm than good. In the course of the translation the force of the original is lost. The scholar who trusts to translations will never become a master of the language he wants to learn. A race of Christians will be raised up, to whom the language of God's Word, and with that the God who spoke it, will be strange. In the Scripture words not a little of Scripture truth will be lost. For the true Christian life nothing is so healthful and invigorating as to have each man come and study for himself the very words in which the Holy Ghost has spoken.

One of the words of Scripture, which is almost going out of fashion, is the word Covenant. There was a time when it was the keynote of the theology and the Christian life of strong and holy men. We know how deep in Scotland it entered into the national life and thought. It made mighty men, to whom God, and His promise and power were wonderfully real. It will be found still to bring strength and purpose to those who will take the trouble to bring all their life under control of the inspiring assurance that they are living in covenant with a God who has sworn faithfully to fulfil in them every promise He has given.

This book is a humble attempt to show what exactly the blessings are that God has covenanted to bestow on us; what the assurance is the Covenant gives that they must, and can, and will be fulfilled; what the hold on God Himself is which it thus gives us; and what the conditions are for the full and continual experience of its blessings. I feel confident that if I can lead any to listen to what God has to say to them of His Covenant, and to deal with Him as a Covenant God, it will bring them strength and joy.

Not long ago I received from one of my correspondents a letter with the following passage in it:-"I think you will excuse and understand me when I say there is one further note of power I would like so much to have introduced into your next book on Intercession. God Himself has, I know, been giving me some direct teaching this winter upon the place the New Covenant is to have in intercessory prayer...I know you believe in the Covenant, and the Covenant rights we have on account of it. Have you followed out your views of the Covenant as they bear upon this subject of intercession? Am I wrong in coming to the conclusion that we may come boldly into God's presence, and not only ask, but claim a Covenant right through Christ Jesus to all the spiritual searching, and cleansing, and knowledge, and power promised in the three great Covenant promises? If you would take the Covenant and speak of it as God could enable you to speak, I think that would be the quickest way the Lord could take to make His Church wake up to the power He has put into our hands in giving us a Covenant. I would be so glad if you would tell God's people that they have a Covenant."Though this letter was not the occasion of the writing of the book, and our Covenant rights have been considered in a far wider aspect than their relation to prayer, I am persuaded that nothing will help us more in our work of intercession, than the entrance for ourselves personally into what it means, that we have a Covenant God.

My one great desire has been to ask Christians whether they are really seeking to find out what exactly God wants them to be, and is willing to make them. It is only as they wait, "that the mind of the Lord may be showed them," that their faith can ever truly see, or accept, or enjoy what God calls "His salvation." As long as we expect God to do for us what we ask or think, we limit Him. When we believe that as high as the heavens are above the earth, His thoughts are above our thoughts, and wait on Him as God to do unto us according to His Word, as He means it, we shall be prepared to live the truly supernatural, heavenly life the Holy Spirit can work in us the true Christ life.

May God lead every reader into the secret of His presence, and " show him His Covenant."

Wellington, South Africa
1st November 1898.
ANDREW MURRAY.

 


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WEDNESDAYintheWORD: "Pentateuch and Historical Books.” (INTRO 1) - Jamieson, Fausset, Brown

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The commentaries of Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset & David Brown were originally published in 1871. In accordance with Scripture, we have built carefully on the foundation of others, and have added links to the Blue Letter Bible.

Quoting Charles Spurgeon: "It is to some extent a compilation and condensation of other men's thoughts, but it is sufficiently original to claim a place in every minister's library: indeed it contains so great a variety of information that if a man had no other exposition he would find himself at no great loss if he possessed this and used it diligently."
 

Many thanks to Christian Classics Ethereal Library and The Online Bible.

The commentaries of Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset & David Brown were originally published in 1871. In accordance with Scripture, we have built carefully on the foundation of others, and have added links to the Blue Letter Bible.

Quoting Charles Spurgeon: "It is to some extent a compilation and condensation of other men's thoughts, but it is sufficiently original to claim a place in every minister's library: indeed it contains so great a variety of information that if a man had no other exposition he would find himself at no great loss if he possessed this and used it diligently."
 

Many thanks to Christian Classics Ethereal Library and The Online Bible.

Introduction to the Pentateuch and Historical Books

by Robert Jamieson

The Pentateuch, the name by which the first five books of the Bible are designated, is derived from two Greek words, pente, "five," and teuchos, a "volume," thus signifying the fivefold volume. Originally these books formed one continuous work, as in the Hebrew manuscripts they are still connected in one unbroken roll. At what time they were divided into five portions, each having a separate title, is not known, but it is certain that the distinction dates at or before the time of the Septuagint translation. The names they bear in our English version are borrowed from the Septuagint, and they were applied by those Greek translators as descriptive of the principal subjects--the leading contents of the respective books. In the later Scriptures they are frequently comprehended under the general designation, The Law, The Book of the Law, since, to give a detailed account of the preparations for, and the delivery of, the divine code, with all the civil and sacred institutions that were peculiar to the ancient economy, is the object to which they are exclusively devoted. They have always been placed at the beginning of the Bible, not only on account of their priority in point of time, but as forming an appropriate and indispensable introduction to the rest of the sacred books. The numerous and oft-recurring references made in the later Scriptures to the events, the ritual, and the doctrines of the ancient Church would have not only lost much of their point and significance, but have been absolutely unintelligible without the information which these five books contain. They constitute the groundwork or basis on which the whole fabric of revelation rests, and a knowledge of the authority and importance that is thus attached to them will sufficiently account for the determined assaults that infidels have made on these books, as well as for the zeal and earnestness which the friends of the truth have displayed in their defense.

The Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch is established by the concurring voices both of Jewish and Christian tradition; and their unanimous testimony is supported by the internal character and statements of the work itself. That Moses did keep a written record of the important transactions relative to the Israelites is attested by his own express affirmation. For in relating the victory over the Amalekites, which he was commanded by divine authority to record, the language employed, "write this for a memorial in a book" [Hebrew, the book], (Ex 17:14), shows that that narrative was to form part of a register already in progress, and various circumstances combine to prove that this register was a continuous history of the special goodness and care of divine providence in the choice, protection, and guidance of the Hebrew nation. First, there are the repeated assertions of Moses himself that the events which checkered the experience of that people were written down as they occurred (see Ex 24:4-734:27Nu 33:2). Secondly, there are the testimonies borne in various parts of the later historical books to the Pentateuch as a work well known, and familiar to all the people (see Jos 1:88:3423:624:26; 1Ki 2:3, &c.) Thirdly, frequent references are made in the works of the prophets to the facts recorded in the books of Moses (compare Isa 1:9 with Ge 19:1;Isa 12:2 with Ex 15:2; Isa 51:2 with Ge 12:2Isa 54:9 with Ge 8:21,22; compare Ho 9:10 with Nu 25:3Ho 11:8 with Ge 19:24Ho 12:4with Ge 32:2425Ho 12:12 with Ge 28:529:20; compare Joe 1:9with Nu 15:4-7; 28:7-14; De 12:6716:1011; compare Am 2:9 withNu 21:21Am 4:4 with Nu 28:3Am 4:11 with Ge 19:24Am 9:13 with Le 26:5; compare Mic 6:5 with Nu 22:25Mic 6:6 with Le 9:2; Mic 6:15 with Le 26:16, &c.) Fourthly, the testimony of Christ and the Apostles is repeatedly borne to the books of Moses (Mt 19:7; Lu 16:2924:27;Joh 1:177:19Ac 3:2228:23; Ro 10:5). Indeed the references are so numerous, and the testimonies so distinctly borne to the existence of the Mosaic books throughout the whole history of the Jewish nation, and the unity of character, design, and style pervading these books is so clearly perceptible, notwithstanding the rationalistic assertions of their forming a series of separate and unconnected fragments, that it may with all safety be said, there is immensely stronger and more varied evidence in proof of their being the authorship of Moses than of any of the Greek or Roman classics being the productions of the authors whose names they bear. But admitting that the Pentateuch was written by Moses, an important question arises, as to whether the books which compose it have reached us in an authentic form; whether they exist genuine and entire as they came from the hands of their author. In answer to this question, it might be sufficient to state that, in the public and periodical rehearsals of the law in the solemn religious assemblies of the people, implying the existence of numerous copies, provision was made for preserving the integrity of "The Book of the Law." But besides this, two remarkable facts, the one of which occurred before and the other after the captivity, afford conclusive evidence of the genuineness and authenticity of the Pentateuch. The first is the discovery in the reign of Josiah of the autograph copy which was deposited by Moses in the ark of the testimony, and the second is the schism of the Samaritans, who erected a temple on Mount Gerizim, and who, appealing to the Mosaic law as the standard of their faith and worship equally with the Jews, watched with jealous care over every circumstance that could affect the purity of the Mosaic record. There is the strongest reason, then, for believing that the Pentateuch, as it exists now, is substantially the same as it came from the hands of Moses. The appearance of a later hand, it is true, is traceable in the narrative of the death of Moses at the close of Deuteronomy, and some few interpolations, such as inserting the altered names of places, may have been made by Ezra, who revised and corrected the version of the ancient Scriptures. But, substantially, the Pentateuch is the genuine work of Moses, and many, who once impugned its claims to that character, and looked upon it as the production of a later age, have found themselves compelled, after a full and unprejudiced investigation of the subject, to proclaim their conviction that its authenticity is to be fully relied on.

The genuineness and authenticity of the Pentateuch being admitted, the inspiration and canonical authority of the work follow as a necessary consequence. The admission of Moses to the privilege of frequent and direct communion with God (Ex 25:22; 33:3; Nu 7:89;9:8); his repeated and solemn declarations that he spoke and wrote by command of God; the submissive reverence that was paid to the authority of his precepts by all classes of the Jewish people, including the king himself (De 17:1827:3); and the acknowledgment of the divine mission of Moses by the writers of the New Testament, all prove the inspired character and authority of his books. The Pentateuch possessed the strongest claims on the attention of the Jewish people, as forming the standard of their faith, the rule of their obedience, the record of their whole civil and religious polity. But it is interesting and important to all mankind, inasmuch as besides revealing the origin and early development of the divine plan of grace, it is the source of all authentic knowledge, giving the true philosophy, history, geography, and chronology of the ancient world. Finally, the Pentateuch "is indispensable to the whole revelation contained in the Bible; for Genesis being the legitimate preface to the law; the law being the natural introduction to the Old Testament; and the whole a prelude to the gospel revelation, it could not have been omitted. What the four Gospels are in the New, the five books of Moses are in the Old Testament."

Genesis, the book of the origin or production of all things, consists of two parts: the first, comprehended in the first through eleventh chapters, gives a general history; the second, contained in the subsequent chapters, gives a special history. The two parts are essentially connected; the one, which sets out with an account of the descent of the human race from a single pair, the introduction of sin into the world, and the announcement of the scheme of divine mercy for repairing the ruins of the fall, was necessary to pave the way for relating the other, namely, the call of Abraham, and the selection of his posterity for carrying out the gracious purpose of God. An evident unity of method, therefore, pervades this book, and the information contained in it was of the greatest importance to the Hebrew people, as without it they could not have understood the frequent references made in their law to the purposes and promises of God regarding themselves. The arguments that have been already adduced as establishing the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch prove of course that Moses was the author of Genesis. The few passages on which the rationalists grounded their assertions that it was the composition of a later age have been successfully shown to warrant no such conclusion; the use of Egyptian words and the minute acquaintance with Egyptian life and manners, displayed in the history of Joseph, harmonize with the education of Moses, and whether he received his information by immediate revelation, from tradition, or from written documents, it comes to us as the authentic work of an author who wrote as he was inspired by the Holy Ghost (2Pe 1:21).

Exodus, a "going forth," derives its name from its being occupied principally with a relation of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and the incidents that immediately preceded as well as followed that memorable migration. Its authorship by Moses is distinctly asserted by himself (Ex 24:4), as well as by our Lord (Mr 12:26Lu 20:37). Besides, the thorough knowledge it exhibits of the institutions and usages of the ancient Egyptians and the minute geographical details of the journey to Sinai, establish in the clearest manner the authenticity of this book.

Leviticus. So called from its treating of the laws relating to the ritual, the services, and sacrifices of the Jewish religion, the superintendence of which was entrusted to the Levitical priesthood. It is chiefly, however, the duties of the priests, "the sons of Aaron," which this book describes; and its claim to be the work of Moses is established by the following passages:--2Ch 30:16Ne 8:14Jer 7:22-23Eze 20:11Mt 8:4Lu 2:22Joh 8:5Ro 10:413:92Co 6:16Ga 3:12; 1Pe 1:16.

Numbers. This book is so called because it contains an account of the enumeration and arrangement of the Israelites. The early part of it, from the first through the tenth chapters, appears to be a supplement to Leviticus, being occupied with relating the appointment of the Levites to the sacred offices. The journal of the march through the wilderness is then given as far as Nu 21:20; after which the early incidents of the invasion are narrated. One direct quotation only from this book (Nu 16:5) is made in the New Testament (2Ti 2:19); but indirect references to it by the later sacred writers are very numerous.

Deuteronomy, the second law, a title which plainly shows what is the object of this book, namely, a recapitulation of the law. It was given in the form of public addresses to the people; and as Moses spoke in the prospect of his speedy removal, he enforced obedience to it by many forcible appeals to the Israelites, concerning their long and varied experience both of the mercies and the judgments of God. The minute notices of the heathen people with whom they had come in contact, but who afterward disappeared from the pages of history, as well as the accounts of the fertility and products of Canaan, and the counsels respecting the conquest of that country, fix the date of this book and the time of its composition by the hand of Moses. The close, however, must have been added by another; and, indeed, it is supposed by some to have formed the original preface to the Book of Joshua.

Joshua. The title of this book is derived from the pious and valiant leader whose achievements it relates and who is commonly supposed to have been its author. The objections to this idea are founded chiefly on the clause, "unto this day," which occurs several times (Jos 4:9;6:258:28). But this, at least in the case of Rahab, is no valid reason for rejecting the idea of his authorship; for assuming what is most probable, that this book was composed toward the close of Joshua's long career, or compiled from written documents left by him, Rahab might have been still alive. A more simple and satisfactory way of accounting for the frequent insertion of the clause, "unto this day," is the opinion that it was a comment introduced by Ezra, when revising the sacred canon; and this difficulty being removed, the direct proofs of the book having been produced by a witness of the transactions related in it, the strong and vivid descriptions of the passing scenes, and the use of the words "we" and "us," (Jos 5:1-6), viewed in connection with the fact, that, after his farewell address to the people, Joshua "wrote these words in the book of the law of God" [Jos 24:26]--all afford strong presumptive proof that the entire book was the work of that eminent individual. Its inspiration and canonical authority are fully established by the repeated testimonies of other Scripture writers (compare Jos 6:26 with 1Ki 16:34; compare Jos 10:13 with Hab 3:11;Jos 3:14 with Ac 7:45; Jos 6:17-23 with Heb 11:30Jos 2:1-24 withJas 2:25; Ps 44:2; 68:12-14; 78:54-55). As a narrative of God's faithfulness in giving the Israelites possession of the promised land, this history is most valuable, and bears the same character as a sequel to the Pentateuch, that the Acts of the Apostles do to the Gospels.

Judges is the title given to the next book, from its containing the history of those non-regal rulers who governed the Hebrews from the time of Joshua to that of Eli, and whose functions in time of peace consisted chiefly in the administration of justice, although they occasionally led the people in their wars against their public enemies. The date and authorship of this book are not precisely known. It is certain, however, that it preceded the Second Book of Samuel (compare Jud 9:35 with 2Sa 11:21), as well as the conquest of Jerusalem by David (compare Jud 1:21 with 2Sa 5:6). Its author was in all probability Samuel, the last of the judges (see Jud 19:1; 21:25), and the date of the first part of it is fixed in the reign of Saul, while the five chapters at the close might not have been written till after David's establishment as king in Israel (see Jud 18:31). It is a fragmentary history, being a collection of important facts and signal deliverances at different times and in various parts of the land, during the intermediate period of three hundred years between Joshua and the establishment of the monarchy. The inspired character of this book is confirmed by allusions to it in many passages of Scripture (compare Jud 4:2; 6:14 with 1Sa 12:9-12; Jud 9:53 with 2Sa 11:21; Jud 7:25 withPs 83:11; compare Jud 5:4, 5 with Ps 7:5; Jud 13:5; 16:17 withMt 2:13-23Ac 13:20Heb 11:32).

Ruth is properly a supplement to the preceding book, to which, in fact, it was appended in the ancient Jewish canon. Although it relates an episode belonging to the time of the Judges, its precise date is unknown. It appears certain, however, that it could not have been written prior to the time of Samuel (see Ru 4:17-22), who is generally supposed to have been its author; and this opinion, in addition to other reasons on which it rests, is confirmed by Ru 4:7, where it is evident that the history was not compiled till long after the transactions recorded. The inspiration and canonical authority of the book is attested by the fact of Ruth's name being inserted by Matthew in the Saviour's genealogy [Mt 1:5].

The First and Second Books of Samuel. The two were, by the ancient Jews, conjoined so as to make one book, and in that form could be called the Book of Samuel with more propriety than now, the second being wholly occupied with the relation of transactions that did not take place till after the death of that eminent judge. Accordingly, in the Septuagint and the Vulgate, it is called the First and Second Books of Kings. The early portion of the First Book, down to the end of the twenty-fourth chapter, was probably written by Samuel; while the rest of it and the whole of the Second, are commonly ascribed to Nathan and Gad, founding the opinion on 1Ch 29:29. Commentators, however, are divided about this, some supposing that the statements in1Sa 2:263:1, indicate the hand of the judge himself, or a contemporary; while some think, from 1Sa 6:18; 12:5; 27:6, that its composition must be referred to a later age. It is probable, however, that these supposed marks of an after-period were interpolations of Ezra. This uncertainty, however, as to the authorship does not affect the inspired authority of the book, which is indisputable, being quoted in the New Testament (1Sa 13:14 in Ac 13:22, and 2Sa 7:14 inHeb 1:5), as well as in many of the Psalms.

The First and Second Books of Kings, in the ancient copies of the Hebrew Bible, constitute one book. Various titles have been given them; in the Septuagint and the Vulgate they are called the Third and Fourth Books of Kings. The authorship of these books is unknown; but the prevailing opinion is that they were compiled by Ezra, or one of the later prophets, from the ancient documents that are so frequently referred to in the course of the history as of public and established authority. Their inspired character was acknowledged by the Jewish Church, which ranked them in the sacred canon; and, besides, it is attested by our Lord, who frequently quotes from them (compare1Ki 17:92Ki 5:14 with Lu 4:24-271Ki 10:1 with Mt 12:42).

The First and Second Books of Chronicles were also considered as one by the ancient Jews, who called them "words of days," that is, diaries or journals, being probably compiled from those registers that were kept by the king's historiographers of passing occurrences. In the Septuagint the title given them is Paraleipomenon, "of things omitted," that is, the books are supplementary because many things unnoticed in the former books are here recorded; and not only the omissions are supplied, but some narratives extended while others are added. The authorship is commonly ascribed to Ezra, whose leading object seems to have been to show the division of families, possessions, &c., before the captivity, with a view to the exact restoration of the same order after the return from Babylon. Although many things are restated and others are exact repetitions of what is contained in Kings, there is so much new and important information that, as Jerome has well said, the Chronicles furnish the means of comprehending parts of the New Testament, which must have been unintelligible without them. They are frequently referred to by Christ and the Apostles as forming part of "the Word of God" (see the genealogies in Mt 1:1-16; Lu 3:23-38; compare 2Ch 19:7 with1Pe 1:17; 2Ch 24:19-21 with Mt 23:32-35).

Ezra was, along with Nehemiah, reckoned one book by the ancient Jews, who called them the First and Second Books of Ezra, and they are still designated by Roman Catholic writers the First and Second Books of Esdras. This book naturally divides itself into two parts or sections, the one contained in the first six chapters, and which relates the circumstances connected with the return of the first detachment of Babylonish exiles under Zerubbabel with the consequent rebuilding of the temple and the re-establishment of the divine service. The other part, embraced in the four concluding chapters, narrates the journey of a second caravan of returning captives under the conduct of Ezra himself, who was invested with powers to restore, in all its splendor, the entire system of the Jewish ritual. The general opinion of the Church in every succeeding age has been that Ezra was the author of this book. The chief objection is founded on Ezr 5:4, where the words, "Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building?" have occasioned a surmise that the first portion of the book was not written by Ezra, who did not go to Jerusalem for many years after. But a little attention will show the futility of this objection, as the words in question did not refer to the writer, but were used by Tatnai and his associates [Ezr 5:3]. The style and unity of object in the book clearly prove it to have been the production of but one author. The canonical authority of this book is well established; but another under the name of Ezra is rejected as apocryphal.

Nehemiah appears to have been the author of this book, from his usually writing in his own name, and indeed, except in those parts which are unmistakably later editions or borrowed from public documents, he usually employs the first person. The major portion of the book is occupied with a history of Nehemiah's twelve years' administration in Jerusalem, after which he returned to his duties in Shushan. At a later period he returned with new powers and commenced new and vigorous measures of reform, which are detailed in the later chapters of the book.

Esther derives its name from the Jewess, who, having become wife of the king of Persia, employed her royal influence to effect a memorable deliverance for the persecuted Church of God. Various opinions are embraced and supported as to the authorship of this book, some ascribing it to Ezra, to Nehemiah, or to Mordecai. The preponderance of authorities is in favor of the last. The historical character of the book is undoubted, since, besides many internal evidences, its authenticity is proved by the strong testimony of the feast of Purim, the celebration of which can be traced up to the events which are described in this book. Its claim, however, to canonical authority has been questioned on the ground that the name of God does not once occur in it. But the uniform tradition both of the Jewish and the Christian Churches supports this claim, which nothing in the book tends to shake; while it is a record of the superintending care of divine providence over his chosen people, with which it is of the utmost importance the Church should be furnished. The name of God is strangely enough omitted, but the presence of God is felt throughout the history; and the whole tone and tendency of the book is so decidedly subservient to the honor of God and the cause of true religion that it has been generally received by the Church in all ages into the sacred canon.


 


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WEDNESDAYintheWORD: "History & Authenticity of the Bible.”(preface 1) -David Hocking

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Mr. Hocking has been preaching and teaching for 40 years. David has pastored churches in Ohio and Southern California, and has been teaching on the radio since 1970.

History & Authenticity of the Bible

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The course description says that we are going to talk about how the Bible came into existence, the manuscript evidence behind the Bible, and the problems relating to the English translations of the Bible and leading the student to a position of complete confidence and dependency upon the Bible as the inspired, inerrant word of God. Now if you don’t think that is an issue, you are not up to date.

In the paper there was an article from Canada in which there was a television talk show where a fundamentalist preacher, who said he knew the Bible, went on with some of the guys from that Jesus Seminar. They [verbally] slaughtered him. He not only did not know the Bible—he didn’t know what he was talking about. The result was the program concluded that if you are educated and you know the evidence behind the Bible, you know that it is not the word of God. It can be appreciated, but it is not the Bible, for sure. This had quite an impact; in fact, there were more callers than ever before. And this so‐called “fundamentalist” was laughed at and mocked at. He didn’t know what he was talking about. He didn’t know one thing about what we are going to teach you in this course. Yes, it is important to know what you believe and why.

When I was in Sunday school, we used to sing the little chorus: “The B‐I‐B‐L‐E, yes, that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God the B‐I‐B‐L‐E.” So, if this is not in your heart, then hopefully by the end of the semester there will not be any doubt in your mind.

Course Objectives

Now, our course objectives, we have five of them. One is to inform you as to the facts behind the Bible’s existence and accuracy. Two is to explain the problem of manuscript evidence and the reliability of the written record of the Bible. Three is to build your confidence in the inspiration, authority, and accuracy of the Bible. And four is to help you answer objections to the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. And five is to encourage you to trust the power of the Bible itself to change the hearts and lives of people.

What makes this study more distinct is the systematic teaching of the Bible in which our pastors, though maybe not as educated as some, yet were educated in the Bible. And we learn the Bible. And we teach that this is the Word of God. We tell you why it is. But we believe it is the Word of God and we are going to show you why in this course. So that when you leave, you will always proclaim the word of God in its power and in its authority. So, it is a very important thing.

Now the textbook is Don Stewart’s, What Everyone Needs to Know about the Bible. You have to read it in its entirety. It’s an important book because it was organized on this subject. Now some of the material in there needs to be updated which you will get in this course. For instance, I taught this before under a bibliology theme and we now have—this whole thing is brand new. That’s how fast things change in terms of manuscript evidence. So we will update it. I recommend it highly and of course want you to read it.

Now on your general outline, to show you where we’re going with the course on the History and Authenticity of the Bible, we are going to hit five subjects. First, we are going to talk about “The Importance of this Study” as it relates to three different issues concerning the Bible. One would be the reliability of the Bible. Two, what we call revelation—which we will describe what that means—and the results that you can expect by trusting the Bible. So that is kind of the initial deal called, “The Importance of the Study.”

Secondly, we give you information about the Bible: the Old Testament, the New Testament, as well as the Apocrypha. You will know all of the basic information regarding that, so you are able to give an answer to those who ask a reason for the hope that is in you.

A third issue is the inspiration of the Bible. Now that becomes a little detailed. We give you a definition that we will want you to know. And we will also present the difficulties. We do not run away from them here. We do not put our head in the sand and act like it will all go away. We don’t do that. We deal with the problems here. And when there are problems, serious problems, we will admit them. We will talk about them and I will give you a multitude of problems related to “inspiration.” Not to shake up your confidence—on the contrary—but to build it so that you are able to give an answer to critics.

The cults love to tear evangelical Christians apart on the authority of the Bible. They do it over and over again. And many Christians are not prepared to answer a thing because they have never studied it. Hopefully you will have enough material to be ready.

The fourth issue is a tough one. It is called “inerrancy.” The majority of evangelicals, unfortunately, no longer believe in inerrancy. We are sorry to hear that. We do. We believe that. What does that mean? That means we believe the Bible in its original autographs is totally without error. Well, today that is just being ripped everywhere. Even among good people who say they love the Bible and believe in inspiration. But as you will learn in this course, you’ve got to watch people. Because they say they believe the Bible is inspired does not mean they believe what they should. We will tell you all the differences relative to “inspiration.” Inerrancy is another subject, although sometimes they are put together and that becomes deceiving.

Many seminaries now are no longer having a statement on inerrancy. They are pulling it out. They have had it for years but are pulling it out because they do not want to deal with the problem. So they think that if you take a stand you aren’t going to get many people. Well, I can tell you right now, we are not interested in large numbers here. We really aren’t. We are not trying to have the biggest school ever in America. We are going to stand for what is right no matter what. We know what we believe. We are standing for that and there is no compromise here. The truth of the matter is, what’s important is the word of God. That’s what is important. It’s the heart and soul of this ministry.

We are going to give you what I call the twelve basic principles of the interpretation of the Bible. That’s to help you get started so you know how to interpret, know how to deal with the problems of interpretation. Because you and I both know that even in the average church there are people saying, “Well there are many ways to interpret the Bible.” We will talk about that before we’re done in this course. So that is where we’re headed and we’ll start with the importance of this study.

Homiletics deals with preaching. Hermeneutics deals with the art of interpretation. Hermeneutics is a biblical word, for instance, the spiritual gift of interpretation is the word hermeneutic. It is a Greek word set into English and it simply means the art of interpretation. We will be giving you twelve principles relating to it that are basic to take what we have studied in the course and be able to apply it.

Also for your library, especially you pastor-types, you will want to pick up a number of books on inspiration and inerrancy. There are a lot of them. The textbook is Don Stewart’s. That is the only one and I personally still like Josh McDowell’s. They are kind of standards, New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volumes One and Two. That is where it gets into the details of manuscript evidence. And it is still very, very good, that two‐volume set by Josh McDowell.

All right class, if you have your outline it’s “The Importance of This Study.” And considering the importance of the study, we are going to start right away with reliability. Probably the most important thing about this whole subject because people will say right off the bat: “Well, that’s just like any other book. Men wrote that like any other book.” Actually, they don’t even believe that. How do I know? Well, they believe in George Washington but that’s just in a book. So you understand, the attack which the enemy has made against the Bible and infiltrated the secular mind (who does not even know about the Bible) is worse than, “Oh, that’s just a book.”

See, as an apologist, I could very definitely deal with that if you would just treat it like a normal book. If we could just apply those simple principles of a normal book to the Bible, we would still come out fine. But they don’t do that. It is not just another book to them, it’s worse than that. They believe it’s a book of myths and fables that they don’t agree with, or that contradicts their lifestyle. They don’t want anything to do with it. There is an attack mode. Have you ever noticed it? You see, the enemy is out to destroy your confidence in the Bible. He started in the Garden of Eden. He said, “Hath God said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, or you’ll surely die?” Eve added that little phrase “touch it.” God didn’t say “don’t touch it.” He said “don’t eat it.” And he started planting doubts into Eve’s mind about the authority and reliability of what God says.

Reliability is extremely important. In fact, there are two issues that you should know about reliability. How reliable is the Bible? How trustworthy is it? Two things: First we’ve got to know how accurate its statements are. You cannot have reliability without accuracy. And secondly, we have to know how authoritative is its message? Why do I have to listen to it? I don’t care if it is accurate. It could be accurate and be stupid, foolish, ridiculous message. And it may be accurately reported. So those two issues are a part of reliability.

Why should you build your whole life on the Bible? Why should you trust the Bible to guide you in everything that you do and say until Jesus comes again? One issue is accuracy. The other issue is authority.

Now how accurate are its statements? Let’s go to Matthew 5. Behind the issue of accuracy is the veracity of Jesus Himself. We try to give you in the notes a lot of space so you can write different things in. But behind accuracy is the veracity of Christ. Meaning He’s either saying the truth here or He’s not. We are basing what we believe about accuracy on a statement Jesus said in Matthew 5:18.

For verily I say to you, [Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount] ‘til heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, til all be fulfilled. (KJV)

That sounds pretty reliable to me. That is a very, very strong statement dealing with the accuracy of the Bible. Everything that it predicts will be fulfilled. And not one jot or one tittle will pass away until it does. So you can count on the Bible doing everything it says.

Now the word jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew language. Technically it’s the yodh. You write it in English Y‐O‐D‐H. It is called ajot. It is like the English apostrophe, it looks just like that. It’s the smallest of the 22 letters in the Hebrew language. So, how interesting that Jesus would say, not one letter, the very smallest letter will ever pass away. Now right away you are getting a view of inspiration and inerrancy that is a little deeper than the average evangelical church believes. It isn’t just the thoughts of the Bible. It isn’t just the words of the Bible. It’s the letters also.

Do you understand that just slight mistakes here, changes the meaning of words? Now He also said, “not one tittle.” What is a tittle? A tittle is a marking on a Hebrew letter that distinguishes it from another letter when the two look alike. For instance the letter that is like our English D, daled, looks very much like the R, the resh. It looks very much like the same. It’s just kind of at a right angle. But on the daled, the D, the line at the top goes out just a small tad beyond the line that goes perpendicular to it. The little extension is called a tittle. A tittle is simply a marking on one letter to distinguish it from another letter when the two letters look alike. So talk about a view of inspiration. Jesus said, “not one yodh—not one smallest letter in the Hebrew language, and not one marking on those letters will ever pass away until all be fulfilled. That is a pretty detailed view of inspiration.

Go to Revelation 19. Every time I turn to this book, I always think in my heart, “Wouldn’t it be great to be looking at this when He comes!”Revelation 19:9. “He saith unto me…” John is being told to write.

Write. “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, ‘These are the true sayings [of Whom?] of God.’”

Now that is either true or it is not true. Either these are the true sayings of God or they are not the true sayings of God. The Bible says they are absolutely what God said, accurately reported.

People say to me, “Well, there are lies in the Bible.” Well, of course there are because every time Satan speaks, it is usually a lie. And by the way, men are recorded and they speak lies. But inspiration does not refer to whether there is a lie in the Bible. Inspiration refers to whether it is accurately reported as it was told. Whenever God speaks, it is the truth of course. But it is all accurately reported—that’s what it means— true, genuine, totally dependable and reliable sayings of God.

Look at Revelation 21:5. I like to use these in Revelation because Revelation is a much debated book as to whether to take it literally or not. Revelation 21:5.

He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.” And He said unto me, [He’s reporting what was said to him by God the Father on the throne.] ‘Write, for these words are true [they’re genuine] and faithful [totally reliable].’”

You say, “Well, how do I know that the guy accurately reported that?” That is part of the problem that is discussed in this course.Revelation 22:6. I just want you to understand the importance of this study at this point and what the Bible actually says. You may not agree with what the Bible says but at least be honest enough to admit that this is what it says. In chapter 22, verse 6, “He said unto me these sayings are faithful and true.” There it is again. We have a totally reliable record given to us.

Now we are going to deal with that issue in a moment before we are done. We are simply just starting out. What is reliability? What does that mean? How trustworthy is the Bible? It deals with the accuracy of its statements. Are they reliable? Are they genuine? The Bible says they are. You say, “That is the Bible talking about itself.” And that is a funny thing to me about people. In their attacks on the Bible, they are scared of internal testimony. They are scared of it. They say, “Oh, the Bible is saying that about itself. How do you know that’s true?” Oh well then, we can’t apply internal evidence to any book can we, under those terms? If that is so, then we have to apply external evidences to the accuracy of the Bible. Would you like to know what the external evidences are to the accuracy of the Bible? The answer is “no,” they don’t want to know it. Why? Because there is no book in the entire world that can stand the test that the Bible can on external evidences. And we will show that to you before we are done with this course.

So you see, the very testimony of the Bible itself is clear. It is telling you “this is totally reliable.” It reports God saying it. The veracity of Jesus is here. He said that none of it will pass away. It will all be fulfilled. In Matthew 24, He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Now, how authoritative is its message? I was witnessing to a guy on the Bible and he was so hostile I said to him, “You know I’m learning in old age to be a little more relaxed, but I do get uptight. I love this Book.”

So anyway, he is just telling me all that is wrong with it and I said, “Can I ask you a personal question?

He said, “Sure. What?”

I said, “What have you got against this Book?” I mean he was waxing so eloquently about what he thought was wrong with the Book. You know, I had not done that tactic before, but I was just kind of frustrated. I didn’t want to get any angrier than I already was. So I just said to him, “What is it that you have against this book?”

He thought for a minute and he said, “I have read it.”

I said, “I’m glad you have, but you are certainly against it.”

He says, “It is the way the Book writes.”

I said, “What do you mean the way?”

He says, “It acts like it is the authority, like you’ve got to do what it says.”

And I smiled at him and I said, “You know I cannot find a finer testimony for the authority of the Bible than what you just gave. I want to thank you for that.”

“I don’t want to give any testimony,” he said.

I said, “Well, you just did.”

Yeah, I can understand that very, very much. The Bible tells you what to do and acts like it is the authority and you are not. And you see the carnal nature that we have, the depravity that we have, we fight that, man. “I don’t want anybody telling me what to do.” But just to emphasize that for you, when it [the Bible] says: “Thus saith the Lord.” Now some book I read had [listed] five thousand times that this was said. Please be accurate. Don’t say that to people. Anybody can get the trusty computer out and find what it is. It actually says it 415 times.

You see how we lose credibility when we do not say what is true. We are quoting somebody and all this business of what the Bible is or it isn’t. Please quote accurately and don’t quote something from somebody that you haven’t also seen the evidence for. This is very important.

All I am trying to say is that these are phrases that are used in the Bible to indicate its authority. In other words, God said this, you do this. “The word of the Lord said…it is spoken…it is written.” That is how authority is developed.

What I want you to understand is be accurate. Don’t quote those figures that you read in some books on this. And it is done constantly. Look it up yourself. You do not need to trust the notes in the syllabus, look it up yourself. And who cares whether it is one or two off, but just do not say “five thousand.” Bad mistake!

Now when you talk about authority, authority in this Book, why is it authoritative and therefore totally reliable? And the answer is: “because it is the word of God.” Flat out. Do you know that if it is the word of God and God is who He is, according to this word, then He would not make a mistake? He could not. It would be impossible for Him to do so. The next argument is: “Well, but the guys who wrote it down could make mistakes.” And do you know something? That is true. So in our course, we have to look at all of that.

There is not a book that is extant, which means it was not printed or published before we had the printing press. Those extant copies of other manuscripts are far more error‐filled than the Bible ever was by hand copying it. Some people quote things like, “Oh there’s over 500,000 variations of the original text of the New Testament.” No, there is not. But people say that. I had a guy throw that up to me and he listed them all. So I went back and looked them all up myself. First of all, half of what he put down was not true at all and the other half were simply repeating the same error in multiple copies of the same passage. So you understand that if a guy made a mistake—wrote down one letter different than another letter—and all the copies that were made off of his copy, that would repeat the same error, wouldn’t it? If there were 50 copies, so are there 50 errors? No, there is just one. Are you following me? So the total number of those things is so ridiculously low, there is no document in all of ancient history that can even compare with the accuracy of the Bible. And it is amusing to me how we allow this argument to go on and on. It is like, “Oh boy, yeah, he’s into that human author thing. I don’t know what to say now.” “Well, they were unusual men, you know.” No they weren’t. They were just as crummy as you are. You know, they are fallible. They can make mistakes. And so we have to deal with that. We have to deal with the transcribing of the documents. You know, that is very important.

I hear people say, “Well, the Jews did not make any mistakes.” Yes they did. They made fewer mistakes than Gentiles because they had a reverence for the Bible that maybe the Gentile did not have and the Jew had a fear of making a mistake. But they still made some mistakes. In the manuscripts there are some differences. Not many. But there are some.

Now I don’t know whether you are getting shaky or not right now. But I have found something in my life: “the truth will set you free.” Don’t hide from the truth. We are going to expose probably a lot of myths that you have heard from preachers. All well‐meaning, but we are going to have to deal with them because they are not always the truth. So, if I ask you, “what’s the key to the reliability of the Bible?” There are really two issues: The accuracy of its statements and the authority of its message. There is no book that has ever been written—and I have read a lot of religious statements, I’ve read cult books too—but there is no book that talks like the Bible. You talk about authority. There aren’t any options here. There aren’t creative alternatives and suggestions. He just says, “Do it. This is My word, now do it.” The Bible expects us to obey it. Why?—because it is God’s word!

Now, listen carefully. I don’t make it the word of God. It already is the word of God. It doesn’t become the word of God by the way I teach it. It already is the word of God. You can shout and scream and yell and say “I really believe this with all my heart.” Well, we are glad you do, but that has nothing to do with whether it is the word of God. “But I believe it and that settles it.” No, it doesn’t. The guy who believes in Buddha could say the same thing. “I believe that Buddha lives. He lives within my heart.” Well, I am glad you feel that way, but I don’t believe he does. I may believe you believe it, but I don’t believe what you believe.

Is everybody following that? Okay, you understand this? This is a very important issue. We will not run away from the problems and the details of this. It is no threat at all, none whatsoever. But it is to a lot of Christians because they do not know how to handle it. One thing is for sure: the Bible claims to be accurate in its statements. One thing is for sure: the Bible claims to be authoritative in everything it says. This is God’s word and you better shape up!

The carnal man does not want to hear that. We want to do what we want to do. We don’t want anybody telling us what to do. Well, the Bible sure tells us what to do. And that is the reliability issue. I trust it because it is the word of God. If I did not believe this was the word of God I would not be sitting here teaching this course. I’ll tell you that right now, I would not waste the time with it. I would not want to preach anymore either. I would not want to go into the pulpit doubting that this is the infallible word of God. That is the key to biblical preaching and teaching—what a man believes that Book is really all about. I believe it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. I do not make it powerful. It already is the power of God. That is a wonderful Book, isn’t it? I love that Book. And it is so important that we get this straight.

Let’s Pray,

Father I thank You for Your word. I thank You that we can have confidence in this Book. It is the word of God that liveth and abideth forever. And I pray that You will help us as we go through this course. Lord, it breaks our hearts to see how the enemy in his strategy has blinded the minds of them that believe not. It breaks our hearts to see friends and relatives and loved ones who simply will not open their minds to the truth. God You must do that. You opened the heart of Lydia long ago (Acts 16:14). You can open anybody’s heart. You have the power Lord. We need You. Salvation is of God and not of man. We are born of the Spirit of the living God and Lord I pray that You would teach us throughout this course to trust You to break the bondage of blindness that is on the unbelieving heart. Thank You, Lord, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


 


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