The Bible as
a Divine Revelation
Viewed in the Light of Reason
Claims of the Bible and
its Surface Evidence of Credibility
--Its Antiquity and Preservation
--Its Moral Influence
--Motives of the Writers
--General Character of the Writings
--The Books of Moses
--The Law of Moses
--Peculiarities of the Government
Instituted by Moses
--It was not a System of Priestcraft
--Instructions to Civil Rulers
--Rich and Poor on a Common Level
Before the Law
with the Rights of the People
--The Priesthood Not a Favored
Class, How Supported, etc.
--Oppression of Foreigners, Widows,
Orphans and Servants Guarded Against
--The Prophets of the Bible
--Is There a Common Bond of Union
Between the Law, the Prophets and
the New TestamentWriters?
--Miracles Not Unreasonable
--The Reasonable Conclusion
A reasonable, thinking mind
| The Bible is the torch of
civilization and liberty. Its influence for good in society has been recognized by the
greatest statesmen, even though they for the most part have looked at it through the
various glasses of conflicting creeds, which, while upholding the Bible, grievously
misrepresent its teachings.
grand old book is unintentionally but woefully misrepresented by its friends, many of whom
would lay down life on its behalf; and yet they do it more vital injury than its foes, by
claiming its support to their long-revered misconceptions of its truth, received through
the traditions of their fathers.
Would that such would awake, re-examine
their oracle, and put to confusion its enemies by disarming them of their weapons!
printed 1452-1455 in Mainz, Germany, by Johannes Gutenberg
The Bible has been miraculously
The Tyndale Bible
| Since the light of nature
leads us to expect a fuller revelation of God than that which nature supplies, the
reasonable, thinking mind will be prepared to examine the claims of anything purporting to
be a divine revelation, which bears a reasonable surface evidence of the truthfulness of
The Bible claims to be
such a revelation from God, and it does come to us with sufficient surface evidence as to
the probable correctness of its claims, and gives us a reasonable hope that closer
investigation will disclose more complete and positive evidence that it is indeed the Word
The Bible is the oldest book in
existence; it has outlived the storms of thirty centuries. Men have endeavored by every
means possible to banish it from the face of the earth: they have hidden it, burned it,
made it a crime punishable with death to have it in possession, and the most bitter and
relentless persecutions have been waged against those who had faith in it; but still the
Today, while many of its foes slumber
in death, and hundreds of volumes written to discredit it and to overthrow its influence,
are long since forgotten, the Bible has found its way into every nation and language of
earth, over two hundred different translations of it having been made.
The fact that this book has survived so
many centuries, notwithstanding such unparalleled efforts to banish and destroy it, is at
least strong circumstantial evidence that the great Being whom it claims as its Author has
also been its Preserver.
Dead Sea Scrolls
100 B.C. to 100 A.D., the Dead Sea Scrolls were preserved in clay urns in the Qumran caves
until their discovery in 1948.
Every book in the Old Testament, except Esther, is represented.
St. Catherine's Monastery
parchments of the Sinaitic Manuscript, 4th c. A.D., were preserved within the
walls of St. Catherines Monastery in the heart of Sinai. Discovered
in 1859 A.D. by Count Tischendorf, the Codex Sinaiticus contains the New Testament and
parts of the Old Testament.
The Geneva Bible
| It is also true that the
moral influence of the Bible is uniformly good. Those who become careful students of its
pages are invariably elevated to a purer life.
Other writings upon religion and the various sciences have done good and have ennobled and
blessed mankind, to some extent; but all other books combined have failed to bring the
joy, peace and blessing to the groaning creation that the Bible has brought to both the
rich and the poor, to the learned and the unlearned.
Bible points and refers to one prominent character:
Jesus of Nazareth.
| The Bible is not a book to
be read merely: it is a book to be studied with care and thought; for God's thoughts are
higher than our thoughts, and his ways than our ways. And if we would comprehend the plan
and thoughts of the infinite God, we must bend all our energies to that important work.
The richest treasures of truth do not always lie on the surface.
This book throughout constantly points and
refers to one prominent character, Jesus of Nazareth, who, it claims, was the Son of God.
From beginning to end his name, and office, and work, are made prominent. That a man
called Jesus of Nazareth lived, and was somewhat noted, about the time indicated by the
writers of the Bible, is a fact of history outside the Bible, and it is variously and
That this Jesus was crucified because
he had rendered himself offensive to the Jews and their priesthood is a further fact
established by history outside the evidence furnished by the New Testament writers. The
writers of the New Testament (except Paul and Luke) were the personal acquaintances and
disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, whose doctrines their writings set forth.
Pool of Siloam
Jesus healed a blind man
at the Pool of Siloam. John 9:11.
The pool is
one of the few undisputed localities in ancient Jerusalem. Waters from the Spring Gihon
flow into the Pool of Siloam through a tunnel which was engineered by King Hezekiah in 715
BCE. Hezekiah's 1750 foot tunnel can still be traversed by foot today.
"And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a
skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha."
"Now in the place where he was crucified there
was a garden; and in the garden
a new sepulchre..."
to an unpopular cause.
| The existence of any book
implies motive on the part of the writer. We therefore inquire, What motives could have
inspired these men to espouse the cause of this person?
He was condemned to death and crucified as a
malefactor by the Jews, the most religious among them assenting to and demanding his
death, as one unfit to live. And in espousing his cause, and promulgating his doctrines,
these men braved contempt, deprivation and bitter persecution, risked life itself, and in
some cases even suffered martyrdom.
Admitting that while he lived Jesus was
a remarkable person, in both his life and his teaching, what motive could there have been
for any to espouse his cause after he was dead?--especially when his death was so
And if we suppose that these writers
invented their narratives, and that Jesus was their imaginary or ideal hero,
--how absurd it would be to suppose that sane men, after
claiming that he was the Son of God, that he had been begotten in a supernatural way, had
supernatural powers by which he had healed lepers, restored sight to those born blind,
caused the deaf to hear, and even raised the dead
--how very absurd to suppose that they would wind up the
story of such a character by stating that a little band of his enemies executed him as a
felon, while all his friends and disciples, and among them the writers themselves, forsook
him and fled in the trying moment?
the writers of Scripture?
| The fact that profane
history does not agree in some respects with these writers should not lead us to regard
their records as untrue. Those who do thus conclude should assign and prove some motive on
the part of these writers for making false statements.
What motives could have prompted them? Could
they reasonably have hoped thereby for fortune, or fame, or power, or any earthly
advantage? The poverty of Jesus' friends, and the unpopularity of their hero himself with
the great religionists of Judea, contradict such a thought. The facts that he died as a
malefactor, a disturber of the peace, and that he was made of no reputation, held forth no
hope of enviable fame or earthly advantage to those who should attempt to re-establish his
On the contrary, if such had been the
object of those who preached Jesus, would they not speedily have given it up when they
found that it brought disgrace, persecution, imprisonment, stripes and even
Reason plainly teaches that men who
sacrificed home, reputation, honor and life; who lived not for present gratification; but
whose central aim was to elevate their fellowmen, and who inculcated morals of the highest
type, were not only possessed of a motive, but further that their motive must have been
pure and their object grandly sublime.
Reason further declares that the
testimony of such men, actuated only by pure and good motives, is worthy of ten times the
weight and consideration of ordinary writers. Nor were these men fanatics: they were men
of sound and reasonable mind, and furnished in every case a reason for their faith and
hope; and they were perseveringly faithful to those reasonable convictions.
Biblical writers were honest and faithful
to the Lord.
| And what we have here
noticed is likewise applicable to the various writers of the Old Testament. They were, in
the main, men notable for their fidelity to the Lord; and this history as impartially
records and reproves their weaknesses and shortcomings as it commends their virtues and
faithfulness. This must astonish those who presume the Bible to be a manufactured history,
designed to awe men into reverence of a religious system.
There is a straightforwardness about the Bible
that stamps it as truth. Knaves, desirous of representing a man as great, and especially
if desirous of presenting some of his writings as inspired of God, would undoubtedly paint
such a one's character blameless and noble to the last degree. The fact that such a course
has not been pursued in the Bible is reasonable evidence that it was not
fraudulently gotten up to deceive.
of the writings
| Having, then, reason
to expect a revelation of God's will and plan, and having found that the
Bible, which claims to be that revelation, was written by men whose motives we see no
reason to impugn, but which, on the contrary, we see reason to approve, let us examine the
character of the writings claimed as inspired, to see whether their teachings correspond
with the character we have reasonably imputed to God, and whether they
bear internal evidence of their truthfulness.
were acquainted first hand
with the facts
The first five books of the New
Testament and several of the Old Testament are narratives or histories of facts known to
the writers and vouched for by their characters. It is manifest to all that it did not
require a special revelation simply to tell the truth with reference to matters with which
they were intimately and fully acquainted.
Yet, since God desired to make a
revelation to men, the fact that these histories of passing events have a bearing on that
revelation would be a sufficient ground to make the inference a reasonable one, that God
would supervise, and so arrange, that the honest writer whom he selected for the work
should be brought in contact with the needful facts.
The credibility of these historic
portions of the Bible rests almost entirely upon the characters and motives of their
writers. Good men will not utter falsehoods. A pure fountain will not give forth bitter
waters. And the united testimony of these writings silences any suspicion that their
authors would say or do evil, that good might follow.
|| It in no way
invalidates the truthfulness of certain books of the Bible, such as Kings, Chronicles,
Judges, etc., when we say that they are simply truthful and carefully kept histories of
prominent events and persons of their times. When it is remembered that the Hebrew
Scriptures contain history, as well as the law and the prophecies, and that their
histories, genealogies, etc., were the more explicit in detailing circumstances because of
the expectancy that the promised Messiah would come in a particular line from Abraham, we
see a reason for the recording of certain facts of history considered indelicate in the
light of this twentieth century.
For instance, a clear record of the origin of the nations of the Moabites and of the
Ammonites, and of their relationship to Abraham and the Israelites, was probably the
necessity in the historian's mind for a full history of their nativity. Genesis 19:36-38
Likewise, a very detailed account
of Judah's children is given, of whom came David, the king, through whom the genealogy of
Mary, Jesus' mother, as well as that of Joseph, her husband (Luke 3:23,31,33,34; Matthew
1:2-16), is traced back to Abraham.
Doubtless the necessity of thoroughly
establishing the pedigree was the more important, since of this tribe (Genesis 49:10) was
to come the ruling King of Israel, as well as the promised Messiah, and hence the minutiae
of detail not given in other instances. Genesis 38
find a reason
| There may be similar
or different reasons for other historic facts recorded in the Bible, of which by and by we
may see the utility, which, were it not a history, but simply a treatise on morals, might
without detriment be omitted; though no one can reasonably say that the Bible anywhere
is well, furthermore, to remember that the same facts may be more or less delicately
stated in any language. While the translators of the Bible were, rightly, too
conscientious to omit any of the record, yet they lived in a day less particular in the
choice of refined expressions than ours.
The same may be surmised of the early
Bible times and habits of expression. Certainly the most fastidious can find no objection
on this score to any expression of the New Testament.
Moses Leading Israel Out of Egypt
and the Laws Therein Promulgated
The first five books of the Bible
are known as the Five Books of Moses, though they nowhere mention his name as their
author. That they were written by Moses, or under his supervision, is a reasonable
inference; the account of his death and burial being properly added by his secretary.
The omission of the positive
statement that these books were written by Moses is no proof against the thought.
Had another written them to deceive and commit a fraud, he would surely have claimed that
they were written by the great leader and statesman of Israel, in order to make good his
imposition. See Deuteronomy
Of one thing we are certain,
Moses did lead out of Egypt the Hebrew nation. He did organize them as a nation under the
laws set forth in these books. The Hebrew nation, by common consent, for over three
thousand years, has claimed these books as a gift to them from Moses, and has held them so
sacred that a jot or tittle must not be altered--thus giving assurance of the purity of
"He stretcheth out the north
the empty place, and hangeth
the earth upon nothing."
| These writings of
Moses contain the only credible history extant, of the epoch which it traverses.
Chinese history affects to begin at creation,
telling how God went out on the water in a skiff, and, taking in his hand a lump of earth,
cast it into the water. That lump of earth, it claims, became this world, etc. But the
entire story is so devoid of reason that the merest child of intelligence would not be
deceived by it.
On the contrary, the account
given in Genesis starts with the reasonable assumption that a God, a Creator, an
intelligent First Cause, already existed. It treats not of God's having a beginning, but
of his work and of its beginning and its systematic orderly progress--
"In the beginning God created the heavens and
Then stepping over the origin of
the earth without detail or explanation, the narrative of the six days [epochs] of
preparing it for man proceeds. That account is substantially corroborated by the
accumulating light of science for four thousand years.
Hence it is far more reasonable to
accept the claim that its author, Moses, was divinely inspired, than to assume that the
intelligence of one man was superior to the combined intelligence and research of the rest
of the race in three thousand years since, aided by modern implements and millions of
Mosaic Law was unequaled.
Today we base our laws on the Law of Moses
Look next at the system of laws
laid down in these writings. They certainly were without an equal, either in their day or
since, until this twentieth century. The laws of this century are based upon the
principles laid down in the Mosaic Law, and framed in the main by men who acknowledged the
Mosaic Law as of divine origin.
Moses Teaching the People of Israel
Decalogue is a brief synopsis of the whole law. Those Ten Commandments enjoin a code of
worship and morals that must strike every student as remarkable.
If never before known, and
now found among the ruins and relics of Greece, or Rome, or Babylon (nations which have
risen and fallen again, long since those laws were given), they would be regarded as
marvelous if not supernatural. But familiarity with them and their claims has begotten
measurable indifference, so that their real greatness is unnoticed except by the few.
commandments do not teach of Christ; but they were given, not to Christians, but to
Hebrews; not to teach faith in a ransom, but to convince men of their sinful state, and
need of a ransom. The substance of those commandments was grandly epitomized by the
illustrious founder of Christianity, in the words:
Israelites lived under the government
The Levitical Priesthood
| The government
instituted by Moses differed from all others, ancient and modern, in that it claimed to be
that of the Creator himself, and the people were held accountable to him. Their laws
and institutions, civil and religious, claimed to emanate from God, and, as we shall
presently see, were in perfect harmony with what reason teaches us to be God's character.
The Tabernacle, in the center of the camp,
had in its "Most Holy" apartment a manifestation of Jehovah's presence as their
King, whence by supernatural means they received instruction for the proper administration
of their affairs as a nation. An order of priests was established, which had complete
charge of the Tabernacle, and through them alone access and communion with Jehovah was
in the center
of the Camp, had a manifestation of Gods presence in its Most Holy apartment.
Ark of Covenant in the Most Holy
of the priests
The first thought of some in this connection would perhaps be: "Ah! there we have the
object of their organization: with them, as with other nations, the priests ruled the
people, imposing upon their credulity and exciting their fears for their own honor and
But hold, friend; let us
not too hastily assume anything. Where there is such good opportunity for testing this
matter by the facts, it would not be reasonable to jump to conclusions without the facts.
The unanswerable evidences are contrary to such suppositions.
The rights and the
privileges of the priests were limited. They were given no civil power whatever, and
wholly lacked opportunity for using their office to impose upon the rights or consciences
of the people. This arrangement was made by Moses, a member of the priestly line.
Elders of Israel
God's representative in bringing Israel out of Egyptian bondage, the force of
circumstances had centralized the government in his hand, and made the meek Moses an
autocrat in power and authority, though from the meekness of his disposition he was in
fact the overworked servant of the people, whose very life was being exhausted by the
onerous cares of his position.
At this juncture a civil government was established, which was virtually a democracy. Let
us not be misunderstood: Regarded as unbelievers would esteem it, Israel's government was
a democracy, but regarded in the light of its own claims, it was a theocracy, i.e., a
divine government. The laws given by God, through Moses, permitted of no amendments:
they must neither add to nor take from their code of laws.
Thus seen, Israel's government
was different from any other civil government, either before or since.
"The Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me
seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be elders of the people and
officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the congregation, that they may
stand there with thee.
"And I will come down and talk with thee
there, and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee and will put it upon them, and
they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not alone."
See also verses 24 to 30
for an example of true and guileless statesmanship and meekness.
Moses, rehearsing this matter, says:
"So I took the chief of your tribes, wise
men, and known [of influence], and made them heads over you: captains
over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over
tens, and officers among your tribes."
Deuteronomy 1:15; Exodus 18:13-26
This form of government was calculated
to cultivate the
spirit of true liberty
If Moses had been ambitious,
he would have
misused his power
Moses anointing Aaron High Priest
| Thus it
appears that this distinguished lawgiver, so far from seeking to perpetuate or increase
his own power by placing the government of the people under the control of his direct
relatives, of the priestly tribe, to use their religious authority to fetter the rights
and liberties of the people, on the contrary introduced to the people a form of government
calculated to cultivate the spirit of liberty.
The histories of other nations and rulers show no parallel to this. In every case the
ruler has sought his own aggrandizement and greater power. Even in instances where such
have aided in establishing republics, it has appeared from subsequent events that they did
it through policy, to obtain favor with the people and to perpetuate their own power.
Circumstanced as Moses was, any
ambitious man, governed by policy and attempting to perpetuate a fraud upon the people,
would have worked for greater centralization of power in himself and his family.
Especially as this would have seemed an easy task from the religious authority being
already in that tribe, and from the claim of this nation to be governed by God, from the
Tabernacle. Nor is it supposable that a man capable of forming such laws, and of ruling
such a people, would be so dull of comprehension as not to see what the tendency of his
course would be.
So completely was the government
of the people put into their own hands, that though it was stipulated that the weightier
cases which those governors could not decide were to be brought unto Moses, yet they
themselves were the judges as to what cases went before Moses:
"The cause which is too hard for you, bring
it unto me, and I will hear it." Deuteronomy 1:17
for a king
Samuel anointing Saul king
seen, Israel was a republic whose officers acted under a divine commission. To the
confusion of those who ignorantly claim that the Bible sanctions an established empire
rule over the people, instead of "a government of the people by the people," be
it noted that this republican form of civil government continued for over four hundred
It was then changed
for that of a kingdom at the request of "The Elders," without the Lord's
approval, who said to Samuel, then acting as a sort of informal president,
"Hearken unto the voice of the people in all
that they shall say unto thee, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me,
that I should not reign over them."
At God's instance, Samuel explained to
the people how their rights and liberties would be disregarded, and how they would become
servants by such a change. Yet they had become infatuated with the popular idea,
illustrated all around them in other nations. 1 Samuel 8:6-22
In considering this account of their
desire for a king, who is not impressed with the thought that Moses could have firmly
established himself at the head of a great empire without difficulty?
"Ye shall hear the small as well as the great..."
Breastplate of the High Priest which had the Urim and Thummim
The High Priest
Israel as a whole constituted one nation, yet the tribal division was ever recognized
after Jacob's death. Each family, or tribe, by common consent, elected or recognized
certain members as its representatives, or chiefs. This custom was continued even through
their long slavery in Egypt.
These were called chiefs or elders, and it was to these that Moses delivered the honor and
power of civil government; whereas, had he desired to centralize power in himself and his
own family, these would have been the last men to honor with power and office.
The instructions given those
appointed to civil rulership as from God are a model of simplicity and purity. Moses
declares to the people, in the hearing of these judges:
"I charged your judges at that time, saying,
Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his
brother, and the stranger [foreigner] that is with him.
"Ye shall not respect persons in judgment;
but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of
man, for the judgment is God's; and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me,
and I will hear it."
Such hard cases were, after
Moses' death, brought directly to the Lord through the High Priest, the answer being Yes
or No, by the Urim and Thummim.
In view of these facts, what
shall we say of the theory which suggests that these books were written by knavish priests
to secure to themselves influence and power over the people?
Would such men for such a purpose forge
records destructive to the very aims they sought to advance--records which prove
conclusively that the great Chief of Israel, and one of their own tribe, at the instance
of God, cut off the priesthood from civil power by placing that power in the hands of the
Does any one consider such a conclusion
the economic leveler
Blowing the Jubilee Trumpets
it is worthy of note that the laws of the most advanced civilization, in this twentieth
century, do not more carefully provide that rich and poor shall stand on a common level in
accountability before the civil law. Absolutely no distinction was made by Moses' laws.
As for the protection of the people from the
dangers incident to some becoming very poor and others excessively wealthy and powerful,
no other national law has ever been enacted which so carefully guarded this point.
Moses' law provided for a
restitution every fiftieth year--their Jubilee year. This law, by preventing the absolute
alienation of property, thereby prevented its accumulation in the hands of a few.
In fact, they were taught to consider
themselves brethren, and to act accordingly; to assist each other without compensation,
and to take no usury of one another. See Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36,37; Numbers
All the laws were
Gods government protected
| All the
laws were made public, thus preventing designing men from successfully tampering with the
rights of the people.
laws were exposed in such a manner that any who chose might copy them. In order that
the poorest and most unlearned might not be ignorant of them, it was made the duty of the
priests to read them to the people at their septennial festivals. Deuteronomy 31:10-13
Is it reasonable to suppose that
such laws and arrangements were designed by bad men, or by men scheming to defraud the
people of their liberties and happiness? Such an assumption would be unreasonable.
In its regard for the rights and
interests of foreigners, and of enemies, the Mosaic law was thirty-two centuries ahead of
its times--if indeed the laws of the most civilized of today equal it in fairness and
benevolence. We read:
Laws displayed love for the stranger
Ruth and Boaz
"Ye shall have one manner of law as well for
the stranger [foreigner] as for one of your own country; for I am the
Lord your God." Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22
"And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your
land, ye shall not vex him;
"But the stranger that dwelleth with you
shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were
strangers in the land of Egypt." Leviticus 19:33,34
Animals were not forgotten, but were protected by laws of kindness.
Animals were not to be unequally yoked.
"If thou meet thine enemy's ox or
his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
"If thou see the ass of him that hateth
thee lying under his burden, wouldst thou cease to leave thy business and help him?
Thou shalt surely leave it, to join with [assist] him." Exodus
Even the dumb animals were not
forgotten. Cruelty to these as well as to human beings was prohibited strictly. An ox must
not be muzzled while threshing the grain, for the good reason that any laborer is worthy
of his food.
Even the ox and the ass must not
plow together, because so unequal in strength and tread: it would be cruelty. Their rest
was also provided for. Deuteronomy 25:4; 22:10; Exodus 23:12
The Widow's Mite
Priesthood Not a Favored Class
The priesthood may be claimed by
some to have been a selfish institution, because the tribe of Levites was supported by the
annual tenth, or tithe, of the individual produce of their brethren of the other tribes.
This fact, stated thus, is an
unfair presentation too common to skeptics, who, possibly ignorantly, thereby misrepresent
one of the most remarkable evidences of God's part in the organization of that system, and
that it was not the work of a selfish and scheming priesthood.
Indeed, it is not infrequently
misrepresented by a modern priesthood, which urges a similar system now, using that as a
precedent, without mentioning the condition of things upon which it was founded, or its
method of payment.
The Priests had
in the land.
The High Priest
| It was,
in fact, founded upon the strictest equity. When Israel came into possession of the land
of Canaan, the Levites certainly had as much right to a share of the land as the other
tribes. Yet, by God's express command, they got none of it, except certain cities or
villages for residence, scattered among the various tribes, whom they were to serve in
times is this prohibition given, before the division of the land. Instead of the land,
some equivalent should surely be provided them, and the tithe was
therefore this reasonable and just provision. Nor is this all.
The tithe, though, as we have seen, a
just debt, was not enforced as a tax, but was to be paid as a voluntary contribution. And
no threat bound them to make those contributions. All depended upon their
conscientiousness. The only exhortations to the people on the subject are as follows:
"Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not
the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth." Deuteronomy 12:19
"And the Levite that is within thy gates,
thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee" [in
the land]. Deuteronomy 14:27
|| Is it,
we ask, reasonable to suppose that this order of things would have been thus arranged by
selfish and ambitious priests?--an arrangement to disinherit themselves and to make them
dependent for support upon their brethren? Does not reason teach us to the contrary?
Protection for widows
"Thou shalt rise up
and honor the face
of the old man,
and fear thy God:
I am the LORD."
harmony with this, and equally inexplicable on any other grounds than those claimed--that
God is the author of those laws--is the fact that no special provision was made for
honoring the priesthood. In nothing would imposters be more careful than to provide
reverence and respect for themselves, and severest penalties and curses upon those who
misused them. But nothing of the kind appears: no special honor, or reverence, or immunity
from violence or insult, is provided.
The common law, which made no distinction between classes, and was no respecter of
persons, was their only protection. This is the more remarkable because the treatment of
servants, and strangers, and the aged, was the subject of special legislation. For
"Thou shalt not vex nor oppress a stranger,
or widow, or fatherless child; for if they cry at all unto me [to God]
I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the
sword, and your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless." Exodus 22:21-24;
23:9; Leviticus 19:33,34
"Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant
that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of strangers that are in thy
land, within thy gates. At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go
down upon it, for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it; lest he cry against thee unto
the Lord and it be sin unto thee." Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14,15; Exodus
"Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head and
honor the face of the old man." Leviticus 19:32. See also Leviticus 19:14.
All this, yet nothing special for
Priests, or Levites, or their tithes.
sanitary arrangements of the law, so needful to a poor and long-oppressed people, together
with the arrangements and limitations respecting clean and unclean animals which might or
might not be eaten, are remarkable, and would, with other features, be of interest if
space permitted their examination, as showing that law to have been abreast with, if not
in advance of, the latest conclusions of medical science on the subject.
The law of Moses had also a typical
character, which we must leave for future consideration. But even our hasty glance
has furnished overwhelming evidence that this law, which constitutes the very framework of
the entire system of revealed religion, which the remainder of the Bible elaborates, is
truly a marvelous display of wisdom and justice, especially when its date is taken into
All this is evidence
of a wise, just
and loving God.
| In the
light of reason, all must admit that it bears no evidence of being the work of wicked,
designing men, but that it corresponds exactly with what nature teaches to be the
character of God. It gives evidence of his Wisdom, Justice and Love. And further, the
evidently pious and noble lawgiver, Moses, denies that the laws were his own, and
attributes them to God. Exodus 24:12; Deuteronomy 9:9-11; Exodus 26:30; Leviticus 1:1
In view of his general character, and his
commands to the people not to bear false witness, and to avoid hypocrisy and lying, is it
reasonable to suppose that such a man bore false witness and palmed off his own views and
laws for those of God?
It should be remembered also that
we are examining the present copies of the Bible, and that therefore the integrity for
which it is so marked applies equally to the successors of Moses. For though bad men
were among those successors, who did seek their own and not the people's good, it is
evident that they did not tamper with the Sacred Writings, which are pure to this day.
"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in
the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction and of patience." James
Elijah Reproves King Ahab
Prophets of the Bible
Glance now at the general
character of the prophets of the Bible and their testimonies. A rather remarkable fact is
that the prophets, with few exceptions, were not of the priestly class. In their day
their prophecies were generally repugnant to the degenerating and time-serving priesthood,
as well as to the idolatrously inclined people.
The burden of their messages from
God to the people was generally reproof for sin, coupled with warnings of coming
punishments, intertwined with which we find occasional promises of future blessings, after
they should be cleansed from sin and should return to favor with the Lord.
Their experiences, for the most
part, were far from enviable. They were generally reviled, many of them being
imprisoned and put to violent deaths. See 1 Kings 18:4,10,17,18; 19:10; Jeremiah 38:6;
In some instances it was years after
their death before their true character as God's prophets was recognized. But we speak
thus of the prophetic writers whose utterances claim to be the direct inspiration of
| It is
well in this connection that we should remember that in the giving of the law to Israel
there was no priestly intervention It was given by God to the people by the hand of
Moses. Exodus 19:17-25; Deuteronomy 5:1-5 Furthermore, it was made the duty of every man
seeing a violation of the law to reprove the sinner. Leviticus 19:17
Thus all had the authority to teach and
reprove. But since, as in our own day, the majority were absorbed in the cares of
business, and became indifferent and irreligious, the few comparatively fulfilled this
requirement by reproving sin and exhorting to godliness. These preachers are termed
"prophets" in both the Old and New Testaments.
The term prophet, as generally
used, signifies public expounder, and the public teachers of idolatry
were also so called. For instance, "the prophets of Baal," etc. See 1
Corinthians 14:1-6; 2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 7:15; 14:5; Nehemiah 6:7; 1 Kings 18:40; Titus
Exhorting the Israelites
Reproving and Warning
Daniel in the Den of Lions
the prophecy came not
in old time
by the will of man:
but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
2 Peter 1:21
| Prophesying, in the
ordinary sense of teaching, afterward became popular with a certain class, and degenerated
into Phariseeism-- teaching, instead of God's commandments, the traditions of the
ancients, thereby opposing the truth and becoming false prophets, or false teachers.
Out of the
large class called prophets, Jehovah at various times made choice of some whom he
specially commissioned to deliver messages, relating sometimes to things then at hand, at
other times to future events. It is to the writings of this class, who spoke and wrote as
they were moved by the holy Spirit, that we are now giving attention. They might with
propriety be designated
Prophets of God
When it is remembered that these
prophets were mainly laymen, drawing no support from the tithes of the priestly tribe, and
when, added to this, is the fact that they were frequently not only the reprovers of kings
and judges, but also of priests (though they reproved not the office, but the personal
sins of the men who filled it), it becomes evident that we could not reasonably decide
that these prophets were parties to any league of priests, or others, to fabricate
falsehood in the name of God. Reason in the light of facts contradicts such a suspicion.
If, then, we find no reason to
impeach the motives of the various writers of the Bible, but find that the spirit of its
various parts is righteousness and truth, let us next proceed to inquire whether there
exists any link, or bond of union, between the records of Moses, those of the other
prophets, and those of the New Testament writers.
Old and New Testaments
| If we shall find one
common line of thought interwoven throughout the Law and the Prophets and the New
Testament writings, which cover a period of fifteen hundred years, this, taken in
connection with the character of the writers, will be a good reason for admitting their
claim--that they are divinely inspired -- particularly if the theme common to all of them
is a grand and noble one, comporting well with what sanctified common sense teaches
regarding the character and attributes of God.
one aim, and
The Wycliffe Bible
The Bible contains more than
morals, maxims, and words of comfort.
The Bible was written
by many pens
at various times
under different circumstances.
This we do find: One plan,
spirit, aim and purpose pervades the entire book. Its opening pages record the creation
and fall of man. Its closing pages tell of man's recovery from that fall. Its
intervening pages show the successive steps of the plan of God for the accomplishment of
The harmony, yet contrast, of the
first three and the last three chapters of the Bible is striking.
--The one describes the first creation, the other the
renewed or restored creation, with sin and its penal-curse removed.
--The one shows Satan and evil entering the world to
deceive and destroy, the other shows his work undone, the destroyed ones restored, evil
extinguished and Satan destroyed.
--The one shows the dominion lost by Adam, the other shows
it restored and forever established by Christ, and God's will done in earth as in heaven.
--The one shows sin the producing cause of degradation,
shame and death, the other shows the reward of righteousness to be glory, honor and life.
Though written by many pens, at
various times, under different circumstances, the Bible is not merely a collection of
moral precepts, wise maxims and words of comfort.
It is more. It is a
reasonable, philosophical and harmonious statement of the causes of present evil in the
world, its only remedy and the final results as seen by divine wisdom, which saw the end
of the plan from before its beginning, marking as well the pathway of God's people, and
upholding and strengthening them with exceeding great and precious promises to be realized
in due time.
is the redemption theme...
"...with his stripes we are
| The teaching of
Genesis, that man was tried in a state of original perfection in one representative, that
he failed, and that the present imperfection, sickness and death are the results, but that
God has not forsaken him, and will ultimately recover him through a redeemer, born of a
woman (Genesis 3:15), is kept up and elaborated all the way through.
The necessity of the death of a redeemer
as a sacrifice for sins, and of his righteousness as a covering for our sin, is pointed
--in the clothing of skins for Adam and Eve;
--in the acceptance of Abel's offerings;
--in Isaac on the altar; in the death of the various
sacrifices by which the patriarchs had access to God, and of those instituted under the
law and perpetuated throughout the Jewish age.
The prophets, though credited
with understanding but slightly the significance of some of their utterances (1 Peter
1:12), mention the laying of the sins upon a person instead of a dumb animal, and in
prophetic vision they see him who is to redeem and to deliver the race led "as
a lamb to the slaughter," that "the chastisement of our peace
was upon him," and that "by his stripes we are healed."
They pictured him as "despised
and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," and
declared that "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
They told where this deliverer would be
born (Micah 5:2), and when he should die, assuring us that it would be "not
for himself." Daniel 9:26
They mention various
peculiarities concerning him
--that he would be "righteous," and free from
"deceit," "violence," or any just cause of death (Isaiah 53:8,9,11);
--that he would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver
--that he would be numbered among transgressors in his
death (Isaiah 53:12);
--that not a bone of him should be broken (Psalms 34:20;
--and that though he should die and be buried, his flesh
would not corrupt, neither would he remain in the grave. Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:31
|| The New Testament
writers clearly and forcibly, yet simply, record the fulfillment of all these predictions
in Jesus of Nazareth, and by logical reasonings show that such a ransom price
as he gave was needful, as already predicted in the Law and the Prophets, before the sins
of the world could be blotted out. Isaiah 1:18
They trace the entire plan in a most logical and forcible manner, appealing neither to the
prejudices nor to the passions of their hearers, but to their enlightened reason alone,
furnishing some of the most remarkably close and cogent reasoning to be found anywhere on
any subject. See Romans 5:17-19, and onward to the 12th chapter.
| Moses, in the Law,
pointed not alone to a sacrifice, but also to a blotting out of sins and a blessing of the
people under this great deliverer, whose power and authority he declares shall vastly
exceed his own, though it should be "like unto" it. Deuteronomy
18:15,19 The promised deliverer is to bless not only Israel, but through Israel "all
the families of the earth." Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4
And notwithstanding the prejudices of the
Jewish people to the contrary, the prophets continue the same strain, declaring that
Messiah shall be also "for a light to lighten the Gentiles"
(Isaiah 49:6; Luke 2:32); that the Gentiles should come to him "from the ends
of the earth" (Jeremiah 16:19); that his name "shall be great
among the Gentiles" (Malachi 1:11); and that "the glory of the
Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
Isaiah 40:5. See also Isaiah 42:1-7.
a "little flock"...
The New Testament writers claim a
divine anointing which enabled them to realize the fulfillment of the prophecies
concerning the sacrifice of Christ. They, though prejudiced as Jews to think of every
blessing as limited to their own people (Acts 11:1-18), were enabled to see that while
their nation would be blessed, all the families of the earth should be blessed also, with
and through them.
They saw also that, before the
blessing of either Israel or the world, a selection would be made of a "little
flock" from both Jews and Gentiles, who, being tried, would be found worthy to be
made joint-heirs of the glory and honor of the Great Deliverer, and sharers with him of
the honor of blessing Israel and all the nations.
|| These writers point
out the harmony of this view with what is written in the Law and the Prophets; and the
grandeur and breadth of the plan they present more than meets the most exalted conception
of what it purports to be
"Good tidings of great joy, which shall be
unto all people."
Bible tells of Messiah and his kingdom...
And how death and sorrow will be
| The thought of
Messiah as a ruler of not only Israel, but also of the world, suggested in the books of
Moses, is the theme of all the prophets. The thought of the kingdom was uppermost also in
the teaching of the apostles; and Jesus taught that we should pray, "Thy
Kingdom come," and promised those a share in it who would first suffer for
the truth, and thus prove themselves worthy.
This hope of the coming glorious kingdom gave all the faithful ones courage to endure
persecution and to suffer reproach, deprivation and loss, even unto death. And in the
grand allegorical prophecy which closes the New Testament, the worthy "Lamb
that was slain" (Revelation 5:12), the worthy "overcomers"
whom he will make kings and priests in his kingdom, and the trials and obstacles which
they must overcome to be worthy to share that kingdom, are all faithfully portrayed.
Then are introduced symbolic
representations of the blessings to accrue to the world under that Millennial reign, when
Satan shall be bound and Adamic death and sorrow wiped out, and when all the nations of
earth shall walk in the light of the heavenly kingdom--the new Jerusalem.
Bible gives the hope of the resurrection...
"...in Christ shall all be made alive"
| The Bible, from
first to last, holds out a doctrine found nowhere else, and in opposition to the theories
of all the heathen religions--that a future life for the dead will come through a RESURRECTION
OF THE DEAD.
the inspired writers expressed their confidence in a redeemer, and one declares that "in
the morning," when God shall call them from the tomb, and they shall come
forth, the wicked shall no longer hold the rulership of earth; for
"The upright shall have dominion over them,
in the morning." Psalms 49:14
The resurrection of the dead is
taught by the prophets. The writers of the New Testament base all their hopes of
future life and blessing upon it. Paul expresses it thus:
"If there be no resurrection of the dead,
then is Christ not risen;
"And if Christ be not risen, then is our
preaching vain and your faith is also vain;
"...Then they which are fallen asleep in
Christ are perished.
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and
become the firstfruits of them that slept;
"...For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15:13-22
Old Testament is confirmed by the
New Testament writers, written 2,000 years apart, as well as by other Old Testament
Dead Sea Scrolls
| Like a watch, whose
many wheels might at first seem superfluous, but whose slowest moving wheels are
essential, so the Bible, composed of many parts, and prepared by many pens, is one
complete and harmonious whole. Not a single part is superfluous, and though some parts
take a more active and prominent place than others, all are useful and necessary.
It is becoming popular among the so-called
"advanced thinkers" and "great theologians" of the present day to
treat lightly, or to ignore if they do not deny, many of the "miracles" of the
Old Testament, calling them "old wives' fables."
Of these are the accounts of
Jonah and the great fish, Noah and the ark, Eve and the serpent, the standing still of the
sun at the command of Joshua, and Balaam's speaking ass. Seemingly these wise men overlook
the fact that the Bible is so interwoven and united in its various parts that to tear from
it these miracles, or to discredit them, is to destroy or discredit the whole.
For if the original accounts are
false, those who repeated them were either falsifiers or dupes, and in either case it
would be impossible for us to accept their testimony as divinely inspired. To eliminate
from the Bible the miracles mentioned would invalidate the testimony of its principal
writers, besides that of our Lord Jesus.
--The story of the fall is attested by Paul (Romans 5:17);
--also Eve's beguilement by the serpent (2 Corinthians
11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14). See also our Lord's reference to the latter in Revelation 12:9 and
--The standing of the sun at the overthrow of the
Amorites, as an evidence of the Lord's power, was evidently typical of the power to be
displayed in the future, in "the day of the Lord," at the hand of him whom
Joshua typified. This is attested by three prophets. Isaiah 28:21; Habakkuk 2:1-3,13,14
and 3:2-11; Zechariah 14:1,6,7
--The account of the speaking ass is confirmed by Jude
(verse 11), and by Peter. 2 Peter 2:16
--And the great teacher, Jesus, confirms the narratives of
Jonah and the great fish and of Noah and the flood. Matthew 12:40; 24:38,39; Luke 17:26.
See also 1 Peter 3:20.
Really these are no greater
miracles than those performed by Jesus and the apostles, such as the turning of water into
wine, the healing of diseases, etc.; and as a miracle, the awakening of the dead is most
wonderful of all.
To eliminate the miracles
from the Bible
the testimony of its principal writers.
Genesis 6 and 7 -
Jonah 1:17 -
ADAM AND EVE
Genesis 2:7,19 -
1 Corinthians 15:45
Joshua 10:12 -
Isaiah 28:21, Habakkuk 3:11,
Numbers 22 and 31:16 -
2 Peter 2:15,16 & Jude 11
we cannot tell how...
nor can the wisest philosopher
explain the miracle.
| These miracles, not
common to our experience, find parallels about us every day, which, being more common, are
passed by unnoticed. The reproduction of living organisms, either animal or vegetable, is beyond
our comprehension, as well as beyond our power--hence miraculous. We can see the
exercise of life principle, but can neither understand nor produce it.
We plant two seeds side by side; the
conditions, air, water, and soil, are alike; they grow, we cannot tell how,
nor can the wisest philosopher explain this miracle. These seeds develop organisms of
opposite tendencies; one creeps, the other stands erect; form, flower, coloring,
everything differs, though the conditions were the same.
Such miracles grow common to us,
and we cease to remember them as such as we leave the wonderment of childhood. Yet
they manifest a power as much beyond our own, and beyond our limited intelligence, as the
few miracles recorded in the Bible for special purposes, and as intended illustrations of
omnipotence, and of the ability of the great Creator to overcome every obstacle and to
accomplish all his will, even to our promised resurrection from the dead, the
extermination of evil, and the ultimate reign of everlasting righteousness.
|| Here we rest the
case. Every step has been tested by reason.
We have found that there is a God, a supreme, intelligent Creator, in whom wisdom,
justice, love and power exist in perfect harmony.
We have found it reasonable to expect a
revelation of his plans to his creatures capable of appreciating and having an interest in
We have found the Bible, claiming
to be that revelation, worthy of consideration.
We have examined its writers, and their
possible objects, in the light of what they taught; we have been astonished; and our
reason has told us that such wisdom, combined with such purity of motive, was not the
cunning device of crafty men for selfish ends.
Reason has urged that it is far more
probable that such righteous and benevolent sentiments and laws must be of God and not of
men, and has insisted that they could not be the work of knavish priests.
We have seen the harmony of
testimony concerning Jesus, his ransom-sacrifice, and the resurrection and blessing of all
as the outcome, in his glorious kingdom to come.
Reason has told us that a scheme so
grand and comprehensive, beyond all we could otherwise have reason to expect, yet built
upon such reasonable deductions, must be the plan of God for which we seek. It cannot be
the mere device of men, for even when revealed, it is almost too grand to be believed by
own testimony convinces us that
God is its Author
| When Columbus
discovered the Orinoco river, some one said he had found an island. He replied: "No
such river as that flows from an island. That mighty torrent must drain the waters of a
continent." So the depth and power and wisdom and scope of the Bible's testimony
convince us that not man, but the Almighty God, is the author of its plans and
We have taken
but a hasty glance at the surface claims of the Scriptures to be of divine origin, and
have found them reasonable. Succeeding chapters will unfold the various parts of the plan
of God, and will, we trust, give ample evidence to every candid mind that the Bible is a
divinely inspired revelation. That the length and breadth and height and depth of
the plan it unfolds gloriously reflect the divine character, hitherto but dimly
comprehended, but now more clearly seen in the light of the dawning Millennial Day.
truths are dearly bought.
The common truth,
Such as men give and take from day to day,
Comes in the common walk of easy life,
Blown by the careless wind across our way.
Great truths are
Not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream;
But grasped in the great struggle of the soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.
conflict, turmoil, fear and grief,
When the strong hand of God, put forth in might,
Ploughs up the subsoil of the stagnant heart,
It brings some buried truth-seeds to the light.
the general mart, 'mid corn and wine;
Not in the merchandise of gold and gems;
Not in the world's gay hall of midnight mirth,
Nor 'mid the blaze of regal diadems;
Not in the general clash of human creeds,
Nor in the merchandise 'twixt church and world,
Is truth's fair treasure found,
'amongst tares and weeds;
Nor her fair banner in their midst unfurled.
Truth springs like harvest
from the well-ploughed fields,
Rewarding patient toil, and faith and zeal.
To those thus seeking her, she ever yields
Her richest treasures for their lasting weal.
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