The request has come to us that we offer a treatise on the Bible, and it is our fond hope that all our readers may benefit from the effort. We have acted upon the suggestion because we believe a clear understanding about the Bible is perhaps as confused and misleading with the majority in Christendom as an understanding of the things taught in the Bible. The word Bible is from the Greek biblia, meaning little books, of which there are 66 in the Protestant Bible - and 80 in the Catholic Bible, which includes the 14 Apocryphal books. Thus, when it states in Revelations 20:12 “The books were opened,” it may just as properly be said, “The Bible was opened” - that is, the Bible was explained, made clear.
The most popular work among English-speaking people of Christendom is what is commonly designated the King James Version, which is an elegant piece of work from a literary standpoint, but is admitted by scholars to have about 20,000 mistakes in it. Therefore, it is not the Bible, but a translation of the Bible; and this conclusion may be recorded of every other translation, although some translations show much less defect than others. It was about 1610 that King James of England (whose name attaches to the King James Version) selected 56 outstanding scholars in England, divided them into seven or eight groups, and assigned to each group a certain section of the Bible for translation. Before they had finished seven or eight of them had died, but the work was finally completed. And, considering the material at hand, the difficulties of the times, the deep-rooted errors in the minds of the men involved in the work (such as eternal torment as the wages of sin, the immortality of the soul, etc.), we would conclude that they did a commendable piece of work. The King James version of the Bible is yet today the world’s best seller of all publications.
The decree of King James was probably instigated by the effort of the Roman Catholics to introduce a Bible of their own - known as the Douay (France) Version - the first edition of which appeared in 1582, reprinted at Antwerp in 1600, and again in 1621, with a fourth edition coming off the press in 1633 at Rouen. The fifth edition - much the same as the previous four - appeared in 1728; but a sweeping revision was attempted by Bishop Challoner in 1749-52. His purpose was “to meet the practical want felt by the Catholics of his day of a Bible with notes more suitable to the time.” His changes were so many and so much different than the original Douay attempt, that Cardinal Newman declared it to be almost a new edition entirely - no longer sensible to refer to it as the Douay Version. Said he: “It has been altered and modified until scarcely any verse is as it was when originally published.” And in all of their editions there are copious footnotes to give the Catholic interpretation of the Scripture involved; but these, too, have had to be revised along with their translation of the text itself.
Akin to the foregoing is the course of Jehovah’s Witnesses with their Bible, which they have translated to fit their own ideas of what they wish the text to say. A classic example of this is their book copyrighted in 1963, and titled All Scripture Is Inspired of God And Beneficial - a pseudo-translation of 2 Timothy 3:16,17. Even the veriest novice should know that the word is is not in the original text at all - because the word is is in italics, indicating no corresponding word in the original. Furthermore, Webster’s first definition of scripture is “anything written”; and in later detail he says “Any sacred writing; as Buddhist scripture.” We assume the Witnesses would in no sense consider the Buddhist scripture as “inspired of God and beneficial,” yet their caption on the 1963 book would indicate they do believe it. A proper translation of 2 Timothy 3:16,17 is this: “All Scripture that is God-inbreathed is beneficial.” That is, inspired Scripture - that which results from the Holy Spirit in the sense given by St. Peter, “Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” is profitable. This leaves no doubt about the real meaning and purpose of St. Paul’s words.
There are very many translations of the Bible, some much better than others. Many of them have fewer mistakes than the King James Version, but none of them equal the King James in literary style and fluency of reading. The best of modern translations for both the Old and the New Testament is probably the one by Dr. Joseph Bryant Rotherham. The honesty and humility of the learned Doctor are revealed beautifully in his prefaced statement: “It must be obvious to all, that just in proportion to the importance of these documents must be the obligation to translate them as accurately and adequately as possible; and since in the very nature of things no translation can be perfect, improvement is always possible… It remains only to render in hearty thanks to the scholars whose labors have made this work possible… but first and last - especially in view of preserved life and eyesight and mental freshness - to Him from whom all blessings flow.”
As an example of Doctor Rotherham’s intention to be scrupulously honest in his work, we cite his translation of the word Hell. This word occurs 31 times in the Old Testament of the King James Version. Each time it is translated from the Hebrew Sheol; but this same word Sheol is also translated 31 times by the word Grave, and three times by the word Pit. Thus, Sheol occurs 65 times in all in the Old Testament. In the New Testament the word Hell occurs 23 times - eleven times from the Greek Hades, eleven times from the Greek Gehenna, and once from the Greek Tartaroo. The Hebrew Sheol is the exact equivalent of the Greek Hades; and recognizing the prevailing confusion about the meaning of the subject of Hell (his translation was copyrighted in 1897, after about twenty years of work in its preparation), he did not attempt to provide and English word for it in his Bible. Thus, in the 65 times that Sheol occurs in the Old Testament the Doctor simply uses the Greek word Hades, which is exactly the same in meaning as the Hebrew Sheol; it means oblivion, or the death state. In the New Testament he leaves the eleven occurrences of Hades just as it is in the original, as he also does with Gehenna; although he does give some English words for the Greek Tartaroo: “pits of gloom in the lowest Hades.” (2 Peter 2:4) From this example it will be noted that he did not attempt to read his own beliefs into his translation, and this tends to make it a superior piece of work.
THE BIBLE WRITERS — OLD TESTAMENT
For the 39 books of the Old Testament (not counting the 14 apocryphal books, which are not in the King James, but are included in the Douay version) there are 24 writers, the same being styled the “24 elders” in Rev. 4:4, etc. St. Peter says of them that they were “holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) It should be noted that all of them were Jews, and some of them were among the finest intellects ever to appear among the entire human race. We shall consider only a few of them:
MOSES - Just a little reflection should convince us that he was one of the greatest intellects of all time. He spent forty days in Mount Sinai with God, receiving instructions of a wide variety. He could be counted remarkable if we consider only the tabernacle construction, the dimensions, style, construction and material with which the different items of furniture were to be made; and all of these Moses remembered in finest detail — did all exactly according to "the pattern showed him in the Mount." We need but to read those instructions in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; then reflect how long it might require of us to fix those things clearly in mind after having them before us on the written page. But Moses remembered all without anything written out for him. As an executive, a law‑giver, and administrator he was also among the foremost of all time. And even in his death he was phenomenal. "Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." (Deut. 34:7) And the poet gives sublime expression to that final event in his life:
By Nebo’s lonely mountain,
On this side Jordan’s wave,
In a vale in the land of Moab
There lies a lonely grave;
And no man knows that sepulcher,
And no man saw it e’er;
For angels of God upturned the sod
And laid the dead man there.
That was the grandest funeral
That ever passed on earth;
But no man heard the trampling
Or saw the train go forth;
Noiselessly as the daylight
Comes when the night is done,
And the crimson streak on ocean’s cheek
Grows into the great sun.
This was the truest warrior
That ever buckled sword;
This the most gifted poet
That ever breathed a word;
And never earth’s philosopher traced,
With his golden pen,
On the deathless page, truths half so sage
As he wrote down for man.
God hath His mysteries to grace,
Ways that we cannot tell,
He hides them deep like the hidden sleep
Of him He loved so well.
He may well be regarded as perhaps the grandest character that ever lived, and the Jews have a saying that God kissed him there that final night.
DAVID - He is the greatest religious poet ever to be found in Israel and probably in the entire world. The Psalms which he wrote are in poetry in the Hebrew. Next to Moses, he is probably the greatest intellect among the Jewish race - a great general, a gifted ruler and administrator - a very versatile man. And this is all the more remarkable when we consider his humble boyhood and his phenomenal rise to power. "I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel... and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth." (2 Sam. 7:8,9) Unlike Moses, who was reared in the palatial surroundings of the Egyptian court, David's early life was spent in the peaceful hills of Israel as a lowly sheep boy. To arise from such surroundings to the pinnacle of his nation would self evidently place him head and shoulders above his fellows, many of whom had greatly superior advantages of physique, birth, family, wealth, etc. He is one not to be easily discounted from whatever angle we view him.
SOLOMON - Solomon is familiarly known as “The wise man,” and for good cause. “God said, Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much… Solomon’s wisdom exceeded the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men… his fame was in all the nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees… of beasts, and of fowl, of creeping things, of fishes. And there came all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” (1 Kings 3:12; 4:29-34) While the Proverbs of Solomon are most familiar to the general public, his masterpiece of expression is to be found in the Book of Job, which many scholars regard as the finest piece of poetry in existence. Even Gibbon, an unbeliever, ascribes the supreme place of all literature to the book of Job. It is so superb in the Hebrew that it cannot be properly translated into English; therefore, the poetic force of Job is lost to the English reader. Thus, in some respects Solomon outshone his illustrious father David.
ISAIAH - He is regarded by many as the gentleman of the Old Testament, which is reflected in his scholarly writings. According to tradition, he was of royal blood - at least of noble descent, but there is no certainty about this. However, the quality of his writings reflects a finely tuned intellect. Some of his statements offer proof apparent that he was indeed one of those “holy men of old who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit,” as evidence Isaiah 44:28: “Cyrus, he is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” This Scripture was written about 200 years before King Cyrus was born; therefore, it can only be attributed to inspiration. And the same may be said about the 53rd chapter of the book, which offers the very minute details of Jesus’ experiences when He was on earth - even forecasting that he would die in company with criminals. “He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors.” This was written about 800 years before Jesus’ appearance on earth, and could have been predicted only through inspiration, as the writer was “moved by the Holy Spirit.” Isaiah, too, must be counted with the great intellects of all time.
THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS
As stated, the 39 books of the Old Testament were all written by Jews; and all of the 27 books of the New Testament were also written by Jews - excepting only the Gospel by Luke. And when we consider that St. Paul dictated that book to Luke, then we may say with assurance that all 27 of the books were written by Jews. Thus, the entire Bible of 66 books has come to us through Jewish writers. And this poses an intriguing theory: Either the New Testament writers also "spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," or they were rank frauds. As we examine the record, it is not too difficult to determine which supposition is the correct one. While it is true, that most of the Apostles were "ignorant and unlearned men" (Acts 4:13), there is no evidence of this at all in their writings. Thus, their coarse exterior must have received a speedy overhaul, or they wrote what they did by inspiration. But the question logically arises, if they were frauds, what benefit did they receive from their knavery? We know that all of them suffered much privation, and most of them came to a violent end - extremely so in the case of Peter, who is reported to have been crucified head down; Paul who had his head chopped off in Rome; and James was killed with a sword in Jerusalem. It is also rumored that John was thrown into a kettle of boiling oil. However, we shall offer detail on only two of the Apostles:
ST. PAUL - This Apostle was a master logician, a lawyer, a Pharisee, from a wealthy and influential family in Israel - a man who had everything according to the standards of this world. Hear, then, his own statement of his estimation of it: "I esteem all things to be a loss, an account of the excellency of the knowledge of the Anointed Jesus my Lord; on whose account I suffered the loss of all things, and consider them to be vile refuse, so that I may gain Christ." (Phil. 3:8, Dia.) If this statement be true - and even his critics do not dispute it - then his sincerity is not to be doubted. It is contrary to all human logic and thinking that a man should perpetrate fraud to bring great loss upon himself; so we are forced to the evident conclusion that Paul must be classed with those "holy men of old who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
ST. JOHN - He is described as “that disciple whom Jesus loved” because of his warm affability and open sincerity. Next to St. Paul, he is the most copious writer of the New Testament - although the Gospel that bears his name, and the Revelation are presumed to have been written during the last ten years of the first century A.D. That would be about sixty years after Jesus had died and would put John close to 100 years of age. Yes, even at that advanced age he has given us in minute and fluent detail the happenings of the last night before Jesus died - chapters 13 through 19 of the Gospel bearing his name; and he provides in those chapters an exact reproduction of the prayer given by Jesus that night, along with some of the most sublime and appealing of all Scripture. This, too, we conclude would have been impossible at his advanced age had he not written by inspiration.
CONCLUSION - With this sort of evidence to guide us, we ask in wonder why the Jews have not raised the same questions. With the many keen and brilliant men in their nation since the dispersion in A.D. 70, it is one of the marvels of the Age that such overwhelming logic should not have persuaded them to inquire into the matter. St. Paul did recognize this situation, and he offers the proper answer: “Brethren [addressed to the Gentiles], that you may not be conceited with yourselves, I wish you not to be ignorant of this secret, that blindness in part is happened to Israel." (Rom. 11:25) In Psalms 107:17 David has offered a proper appraisal of their situation: “Fools because of their transgression [they crucified the Lord of Glory], and because of their iniquities [sins against the Mosaic Law Covenant], are afflicted.” All plainly in evidence during this entire Age since A.D. 70.
THE BIBLE’S AUTHENTICITY
There is no original text of the Hebrew Old Testament. The originals had been scrupulously preserved by the Jewish priests, so much so that they would have given their lives to preserve them; but Nebuchadnezzar and his army were more than the priests could withstand. Therefore, when he overcame Jerusalem in the Fall of 607 B.C., the sacred writings suffered at his hands, as did also the sacred vessels of the temple. "He broke down the walls of Jerusalem... And took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door, and the principal scribe... and three‑score men of the people... and slew them at Riblah." (2 Kings. 25:9‑21) This account tells what was done with the sacred vessels: they were demolished and carried away to Babylon for their intrinsic value. But nothing at all is said about the sacred writings.
However, it would seem reasonable that some zealous keeper of those writings did succeed in preserving them, because the Massoretes, who were Hebrew scholars during the years A.D. 450 to 900, worked on the writings then in existence and produced what is commonly known as the Massoretic text. After they completed their work, they destroyed all other texts, leaving only the product of their own minds. But it seems they did a commendable job, so much so that Dr. C. D. Ginsberg used their work in his recension of the Hebrew Bible, the latter being one of the foremost of Old Testament translations.
Then there is also the Septuagint, which is a Greek version of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. It is so‑called because 70 (actually 72) learned Hebrews at Alexandria, Egypt, undertook in 285 B.C. to produce the Greek copy. All things considered, it is the most valuable of all translations of the Old Testament - with many marginal notes, some of which are valuable, but some self‑evidently wrong, in view of information now available. Jesus and the Apostles quoted from the Septuagint, but they corrected it when necessary - when it contradicted well‑established teachings.
As for the New Testament, the three oldest manuscripts are the Vatican, the Sinaitic and the Alexandrian. The Vatican (dating about A.D. 250) is in the Vatican Library in Rome and considered the Roman Church's richest treasure. The other two (about 100 years later than the Vatican) are both in England. There is also the Vulgate (about A.D. 400), which is the Latin translation, by Jerome. Another very influential translation is the one by Martin Luther. There are many others, of course, but we shall not now detail them.
THE BIBLE’S VERACITY
In view of the foregoing, the question properly arises, What are we to believe? Admitting that the originals were by inspiration, they are now lost, so we know not definitely what the originals contained. Some atheists, scoffers, etc., attempt to make capital of this, which offers the conclusion that men usually believe what they want to believe. Jesus gave us the "Golden Rule": "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." (Matt. 7:12) Today we find this high ideal so little practiced that the scoffers attempt to discount it because of human frailty; but the fact still stands: A universal practice of this teaching would make immeasurable improvement in human relations. It would indeed end all wars, all violence, robbery, rapine, etc. Thus, the critics must admit the sound philosophy and the general good that it contains.
This Rule by Jesus is the only all‑embracing teaching of known religions. Confucius offered a negative in the same direction: Whatsoever ye would not that men do to you, do not to them. But a little analysis reveals the weakness of the statement. In Luke 10:25‑37 is given the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which it will be noted that the Priest and the Levite passed by the man that had been beaten and robbed. The rule of Confucius would absolve them; they did not attempt further abuse upon the victim, which was a negative attitude. But the Rule by Jesus demands a positive response when distress is in evidence, which the Samaritan indeed did proffer.
As presently composed, the normal man is possessed of four appetites: (1) The alimentive, the desire for food and drink; (2) The procreative, the desire for the opposite sex; (3) The acquisitive, the desire to accumulate, to add house to house and field to field; (4) The religious, the desire to worship something higher than himself. All of the brute creation possess the first two of these appetites, some of them possess the third, but none of them possess the fourth. All normal men have an inherent desire to some form of religion, and this is apparent even among the lowest forms of heathen. It has been so since the dawn of history, but without the Bible we would have nothing more to guide us than what our five senses might reveal. Thus, the need for our Bible, which gives us much of the past, foretells much of the future, and offers elaborate laws for man's physical, mental, moral and religious guidance. Its inherent strength is apparent by its gripping force upon any who come within its influence. This is noticeable even among the lowly and unlearned, who gain some uplift of heart and mind merely from reading it, which demonstrates its inherent magnetic force. It is the product of the Holy Spirit, operating through the finest minds in history, and its Divine origin is evident in that it inspires and enables men to rise above themselves, an attribute not apparent among the heathen.
One of the outstanding reasons for Christendom's superiority over the heathen is the help received from the Bible. The laws of Moses were far superior to anything then in existence anywhere else on earth, and can logically be said to have been far ahead of their time. In the case of Jesus Himself, He arose far beyond His natural ability after He received the Holy Spirit at Jordan when He was thirty years of age. Before that time He could not heal the sick, raise the dead, turn water into wine, etc., all of which He did after He received the Holy Spirit. And the same may be said for the Apostles. They, too, arose far above their inherited strength and ability after they were "endowed with power from on high." Viewed from this standpoint, the words of David are given added force: "The entrance of thy word giveth light"! (Psa. 119:130) Thus, in addition to forecasting events many years in advance of their occurrence, we have here a second reason for believing the Bible to be of Divine inspiration — a superhuman revelation. Its immediate effect upon those who accept it is far beyond the influence of any other religious or secular writing.
THE BIBLE PLAN
A third proof of the Bible's Divine inspiration is the "plan of the ages," which it has contained since the year A.D. 100, which plan has been working according to outline before and since that date. In Eph. 3:9‑11 St. Paul offers a clear reference to this: "To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God... according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." This is much clearer in the Emphatic Diaglott: "To enlighten all as to what is the administration of that secret, which has been concealed from the ages... according to a plan of the ages, which He formed for the Anointed Jesus our Lord."
It should be noted that St. Paul says this “plan” has been a “secret” during the ages, and none can dispute this statement. The Bible itself is a book of very moderate size, as small or smaller than most textbooks in any university. Yet the brightest minds have been unable to master it until the “due time” arrived for it to be understood. That is because it is “here a little, and there a little” (Isa. 28:10), with the “secret” expertly kept until it should be made plain. Without offering great detail, we notice that the “plan” embraces three “worlds” (from the Greek Kosmos, meaning order of affairs), the first one described in 2 Peter 3:6 as “the world that was” - that Kosmos, or order of affairs, that existed from creation until it “being overflowed with water, perished.” The world that was lasted for 1656 years.
The second world, or order of affairs ("this present evil world" - Gal. 1:4), began with Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives (a total of eight persons), who emerged from the great deluge, and has been continuing to the present time. According to 2 Peter 3:7, Dia., "the present heavens and the earth [this Kosmos, or order of affairs], by the same word [The Bible], are treasured up, being kept for fire [destruction] to a day of judgment and destruction of impious men" - this "destruction" being now in progress, as is evidenced on every hand.
Then 2 Pet. 3:13, Dia.: "We, according to His promise, are looking for new heavens and a new earth [a new Kosmos, or order of affairs, the third world - the Kingdom] in which dwells righteousness" - just the opposite of "this present evil world." Of that third world it is written (Rev. 21:4, Dia.): "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor mourning, nor crying; neither will there be any more pain; because the former things passed away." This third world we now "see dimly, as through a dark glass"; and it is beyond belief except by those who now have the faith to believe it. The forecast is clear enough: If there be no more death or pain, then there must be perpetual youth, with ideal food, water and climate. "And there shall be no more curse... no night [ignorance, error, superstition] there." (Rev. 22:3‑5) In this "present evil world" it is easier to do wrong than right; in the world to come it will be easier to do right than wrong. It is well to keep in mind that all of the Bible was written at some time during "this present evil world"; yet it is the only book that gives a clear and logical record of the happenings of the "world that was" before the flood - just one more proof of its Divine inspiration. Also, skeptics may declare the "plan" briefly discussed herein is too good to be true; but we answer that it is too good not to be true. No secular fiction writer has ever imagined anything half so good; such a plan could result only from Divine inspiration.
SUMMARY: The Plan of the Ages mentioned aforegoing has its introduction in the first three chapters of the Bible, and its conclusion is given in the last three chapters. In the first three chapters of Genesis we are told what man was, what he had, and why and how he lost it. In the last three chapters of Revelation we are given man’s ultimate destiny, and how that is to be accomplished - the grand finale being the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19-23), restoration of what was lost in Eden.
In between the introduction and conclusion of the Plan we find seven lines of thought: doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types. And St. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:15 that these teachings properly understood “are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” He continues in verse 16 to state that these seven lines of thought serve four teaching purposes: “Doctrine, reproof [refuting], correction and instruction in righteousness.” When clearly understood, it becomes apparent that the Apostle has itemized all the essentials in teaching and character development that man needs for his religious welfare. Doctrine is what we believe; refuting (of error) reveals what we should not believe; correction, when properly received, rids the faults from our character (tells us what we should not do); and instruction (training) in righteousness informs us of the good things we should build into our character (what we should do). And all of this is “profitable… that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” It is elemental that religion should make us better; otherwise it fails in purpose and becomes merely a ritualistic waste of time.
Of the foregoing Bible subjects, some of them are relatively easy to understand in certain of their parts, while others are intensely difficult of comprehension. In this respect the Bible allows excellent comparison with the ocean, which is deep enough for a whale to swim in it, and shallow enough for a child to wade in it. It is also pertinent that the Bible is not a textbook; it is rather a book of texts. Thus, no subject of importance finds complete clarification in any one section; but it is rather “here a little, there a little.” (Isa. 28:10) This has resulted in the apparent confusion evident in the different Christian organizations - a situation akin to the poem:
It was six men of Hinduston,
To learning much inclined,
Went to see the elephant
Though all of them were blind.
Therefore, they had to rely upon their sense of touch; one touched the leg, on the side, one the tail, etc., which resulted in six vastly different opinions of what the elephant was really like, which produced the result:
They argued loud and long,
Though each was partly in the right,
But all of them were wrong.
A safe rule to proper understanding of the Bible is that it cannot contradict itself. It speaks of itself as “the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15); and, if this be correct, then it must be truth, and not falsehood. If our opinion of any Scripture is contradicted by other Scripture, then one of three things is wrong: We do not have the right interpretation; or we may have a mistranslation; or the text may even be spurious. It is certain that ambitious men have attempted to impose their own opinions in some places, which has resulted in much mischief and erroneous beliefs. It is well also to note that manifold schemes of mice and men have tried in vain to destroy the Bible, or to distort its meaning; but all of them have failed. The Bible is still a living book, and as sturdy in its application today as it has been over the past. There is very good reason for this: Its Author, who is perfect in Justice, Wisdom and Power, has been its Preserver; and the promise to those who rely upon it, and who have full faith in it, applies with equal force to the book itself: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” (Isa. 54:17)
It might be well here to note how foolish some of the scoffers of this Sacred Book have been, while those who had faith in its Divine inspiration and truthfulness were not so foolish. Sir Isaac Newton, the celebrated astronomer of the seventeenth century, was greatly interested in the words of Daniel: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Dan. 12:4) He declared his belief that in fulfillment of it, human knowledge would so increase that men would possibly travel at the rate of fifty miles an hour. When Voltaire, the noted French infidel, got hold of this statement he scornfully remarked:
“Now look at the mighty mind of Newton, the great philosopher who discovered the law of gravitation; when he became an old man and got in his dotage, he began to study the book called the Bible, and in order to credit its fabulous nonsense he would have us believe that the knowledge of mankind will yet be so increased that we shall by-and-by be able to travel fifty miles an hour! Poor dotard.”
Both of these men died long before the “Time of the End” had brought its wonderful increase of knowledge, which more than fulfils the prediction of the Christian philosopher, based upon the Divine revelation. Fifty miles per hour is merely snail’s pace today.
The subject matter herein has been treated very briefly, perhaps too much so, yet it is our hope that enough has been said to generate interest by our readers; and to such we would quote the words of St. Paul: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)
(By John J. Hoefle, Reprint No. 433, June 1992)