OTHER MEANS OF VERIFICATION
Another remarkable means for preserving and verifying the New Testament writings is their copious quotation in other writings. Origen, who wrote in the early part of the third century, quotes 5745 passages from all the books in the New Testament; Tertullian (AD 200) makes more than 3000 quotations from the New Testament books; Clement (AD 194) quotes 380 passages; Irenaeus (AD 178) quotes 767 passages; Polycarp, who was martyred AD 165, after serving Christ 86 years, quoted 36 passages in a single epistle; Justin Martyr (AD 140) also quotes from the New Testament. These were all Christian writers; and in addition to these, the Scriptures were largely quoted by heathen and infidel writers, among them Celsus (AD 150) and Porphyry (AD 304).Indeed the entire New Testament, with the exception of about a dozen verses, has been found scattered as quotations through various writings that are still extant. And if every copy of the New Testament had been destroyed by its enemies, the book could have been reproduced from these quotations contained in the writings of the early Christians and their enemies.
While the means for the preservation of the Scriptures have been thus remarkably complete, and in view of the unparalleled opposition with which they have met give evidence of Divine care in their preservation, the means for their verification, and for arriving at an understanding of them in God’s due time, are found to be none the less remarkable. No other book in the world has ever had such attention as this book. The labor that has been spent in the preparation of complete concordances, indexes, various translations, etc., has been enormous; and the results to students of the Bible are of incalculable value. And while we recognize the providence of God in all this, we should and do appreciate these labors of His children and their great service to us, though we utterly repudiate as useless the labor that has been spent on many so-called theological writings, which are nothing more than miserable efforts to support the vain traditions of men, the accumulated monstrous volumes of which would indeed form a monument of human folly.
Just in “The Time of the End,” when the prophet (Dan. 12:9, 10) declares that “the wise [the meek and faithful children of God] shall understand,” we find these wonderful aids coming forward to our assistance. And parallel with these has happened the general spread of intelligence and education and the placing of the Bible in the hands of the people, thus enabling them to use the helps provided.
In view of these things, our only reasonable conclusion must be, that this wonderful book has been completely under Divine supervision in its preparation, and in its gradual and seasonable unfolding to the understanding; and yet it has all been accomplished through human agency. Those who are too careless, or too indifferent, or who permit themselves to be too much engrossed with the cares of this life to give it a studious examination, should not be expected to comprehend its weight of authority, and its full evidence of credibility. We are aware of the fact that in these days when the art of printing has flooded the world with literature of every description, good, bad, and indifferent, one might reasonably reply, We cannot examine everything. Very true, but this book has a claim superior to that of any other book in the world, and no man is as justifiable in laying it upon the shelf, as he would be in doing with the Koran or the Veda.
The very existence of such a book, animated with such a spirit of justice, wisdom, love and power, and disclosing such good tidings of great joy to all people, having such a history and authorship, and containing such varied information – historic, scientific, and moral; and so remarkably preserved for so many centuries, though so violently opposed, is sufficient to awaken at least a suspicion of its value, and to claim the attention and investigation of every reasoning mind. The claims of this book upon our attention are by far superior to those of any other, and these reasonable claims appear on its very surface, while every systematic and properly directed effort at investigation rewards the diligent student with copious and abundant proof, both of its truthfulness and of its value.
THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE
The Bible claims to be a book written under Divine inspiration. The word inspire signifies to breathe in, to infuse, to fill, to inhale – as to inspire the lungs with air. (See Webster’s Dictionary.) Hence, when it is said that certain scriptures, or writings of godly men, were given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), it signifies that those men were in some way, whether through miraculous or natural means, inspired by, or brought under the influence of God; so as to be used by Him in speaking or writing such words as He wished to have expressed. The prophets and apostles all claimed such inspiration. Peter says, “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 Pet. 1:21)
Through Moses we have the Law of God and the only existing credible history of mankind from the creation of Adam down to his own time, covering a period of about 2500 years. While Moses and the other Bible writers were holy men, inspired with pure motives and holy zeal, and while personal pride, ambition, etc., were no part of their spirit, we learn that Moses was inspired with the knowledge of God’s Law, both in its great principles and also in the minutiae of its typical ceremonials, by revelation from God at Mount Sinai, and of some points of duty at the burning bush at Horeb, etc.
As for his historical writings, Moses was evidently guided of God in the collation and presentation in its present complete and connected form of the history of the world down to his day, which was really in great part the history of his own family back to Adam with an account of the creation doubtless given by God to Adam while he was yet in fellowship in Eden. Nor does a correct handing down of family information, covering a period of over 2300 years, seem impossible, or liable, as it would now be, to have become polluted; for, aside from the fact that it was handed down through the God-fearing family line of Seth, it should be remembered that at that time the bodies, brains and memories of men were not so weak as they are now, and as they have been since the flood; and finally, because the long lives of two men link Adam with the family of Abraham, the family of covenant favor – with Isaac, the typical seed of promise. These two men were Methuselah and Shem. Methuselah was over 200 years old when Adam died, and had abundant opportunity, therefore, for information at first hands; and Shem, the son of Noah, lived contemporaneously with Methuselah for 98 years, and with Isaac for 50 years. Thus, these two living, God‑fearing men acted as God’s historians to communicate His revelations and dealings to the family in whom centered the promises, of which Moses was one of the prospective heirs.
In addition to these facts, we have the statement of Josephus that Methuselah, Noah and Shem, the year before the flood, inscribed the history and discoveries of the world on two monuments of stone and brick which were still standing in Moses’ time.
As for the writings of the prophets, their devoted, godly lives attest their sincerity; their lives were spent for God and in the defense of righteousness, and not for gain and worldly honor. And as for proofs that God acted through them and that they merely expressed His messages, as Peter declares, it is to be found in the fulfilment of their predictions. These we need not enumerate here and now, as they are elaborated in Studies In The Scriptures, Volumes I, II; and Vol. III.
This brings us to the examination of the inspiration of the New Testament. Of the four gospel narratives and the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which are merely historic narratives, it might with considerable force be argued that no inspiration was necessary. But we must remember that since it was God’s will that the important doings and teachings of our Lord and his disciples should be handed down, for the information and guidance of His Church throughout the Age, it was necessary that God, even while leaving the writers free to record those truths in their own several styles of expression and arrangement, should nevertheless exercise a supervision of His work. To this end it would appear reasonable that He would cause circumstances, etc., to call to the memory of one or another of them items and details which, otherwise, in so condensed an account of matters so important, would have been overlooked. And this was no less the work of God’s spirit, power, or influence than the more noticeable and peculiar manifestations through the prophets.
The Apostle Peter tells us that the prophets of old time often did not understand their own utterances, as they themselves also acknowledge (1 Pet 1:12; Dan. 12:4, 8‑10); and we should remember that the twelve apostles (Paul taking the place of Judas – Gal. 1:17; 1 Tim. 2:7) not only filled the office of apostles – or specially appointed teachers and expounders of the Gospel of the New Covenant – but they also, especially Peter and Paul and John, filled the office of prophets, and were not only given the spirit of wisdom and understanding by which they were enabled to explain the previously dark prophecies, but in addition to this we believe that they were under the guidance and supervision of the Lord to such an extent that their references to things future from their day, things therefore not then due to be fully understood, were guided, so as to be true to an extent far beyond their comprehension, and such consequently were as really prophetic as the utterances of the old‑time prophets. Illustrations of this are to be found in the Revelations of the Apostle John, in Peter’s symbolic description of the Day of the Lord (2 Pet 3:10‑13), and in numerous references to the same period by Paul also, among which were some things hard to be understood even by Peter (2 Pet. 3:16) and only partially then by Paul himself. The latter, however, was permitted to see future things more clearly than others of his time, and to that end he was given special visions and revelations which he was not allowed to make known to others (2 Cor. 12:1‑4), but which, nevertheless, influenced and colored his subsequent teachings and epistles. And these very items which Peter thought strange of, and called “hard to be understood,” are the very items which now, in God’s due time, for which they were intended, so grandly illuminate not only Peter’s prophecies and John’s Revelation, but the entire word and plan of God – that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17)
That the early church considered the writings and teachings of the apostles different from all others, in authority, is manifest from the early arrangement of these writings together and the keeping separate from these, as apocryphal, other good writings of other good men. And yet there were, even in the days of the apostles, ambitious men who taught another gospel and claimed for themselves the honors of special revelations and authority as apostles and teachers of no less authority than the twelve apostles.
And ambitious men of the same sort have from time to time since arisen – Emanuel Swedenborg and many less able and less notable – whose claims, if conceded, would not only place them in rank far above Paul, the prince of the apostles, but whose teachings would tend to discredit entirely, as “old wives’ fables,” the whole story of redemption and remission of sins through the blood of the cross. These would‑be apostles, boastful, heady, high‑minded, have “another gospel,” a perversion of the gospel of Christ; and above all they despise and seek to cast discredit upon the words of Paul who so clearly, forcibly and logically lifts up the standard of faith and points to the cross – the ransom – as the sure foundation, and who so clearly showed that pseudo‑apostles, false apostles, would arise and deceive many.
It not only required an inspiration to write God’s plan, but it also requires an inspiration of the Almighty to give an understanding of that revelation; yet this inspiration is of a different sort. When any one has realized himself a sinner, weak, imperfect and condemned, and has accepted of Christ as his Redeemer, and full of love and appreciation has consecrated his heart (his mind, his will) to the Lord, to henceforth please not himself but his Redeemer, God has arranged that such a consecration of the natural mind brings a new mind. It opens the way for the Holy mind or will of God, expressed through His written word, to be received; and as it is received into such a good, honest, consecrated heart, it informs that heart and opens the eyes of the understanding, so that from the new standpoint (God’s standpoint) many things wear a very different aspect, and among other things the Scripture teachings, which gradually open up as item after item of the Divine Plan is fulfilled, and new features of the unfolding plan become due to be understood, and from the new standpoint appreciated and accepted.
Just as with astronomers, the close observation of facts and influences already recognized often leads them to look in certain directions for hitherto undiscovered planets, and they find them, so with the seekers after spiritual truths; the clear appreciation and close study of the known plan lead gradually, step by step, to the discovery of other particulars, hitherto unnoticed, each of which only adds to the beauty and harmony of the truths previously seen. Thus it is that “The path of the just is a shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18)
Of course the writings of all such as have their wills fully subjected to the mind of God, as revealed in His Word, must be also somewhat inspired by God’s spirit, received from His Word by their complete subjection to its leading. The spirit of the truth inspires and controls to a greater or lesser extent not only their pens but their words and thoughts, and even their very looks. Yet such an inspiration, common to all the Saints, in proportion to their development, should be critically distinguished from the special and peculiarly guided and guarded inspiration of the twelve apostles, whom God specially appointed to be the teachers of the Church, and who have no successors in this office. Only twelve were “chosen,” and when one of these, Judas, fell from his honorable office, the Lord in due time appointed Paul to the place; and He not only has never recognized others, but clearly indicates that He never will recognize others in that office. (Rev. 21:14)
With the death of the Apostles the canon of Scripture closed, because God had there given a full and complete revelation of His plan for man’s salvation; though some of it was in a condensed form which has since expanded and is expanding and unfolding and will continue to expand and shine more and more until the perfect day – the Millennial Day – has been fully ushered in. Paul expresses this thought clearly when he declares that the Holy Scriptures are able to make wise unto salvation, and that they are sufficient.
As we consider, then, the completeness, harmony, purity and grandeur of the Bible, its age and wonderful preservation through the wreck and storms of six thousand years, it must be admitted to be a most wonderful book; and those who have learned to read it understandingly, who see in it the great Plan of the Ages, cannot doubt that God was its inspiring Author, as well as its Preserver. Its only parallel is the book of nature by the same great Author.(Pastor Russell, Reprints 1144-1149, September 1889)
QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION – Are Consecrated Epiphany Campers represented in any way in Noah’s Ark?
ANSWER – No! And it would be essential for them to be shown in the Ark in some clear manner if they are a genuine class, because that Ark is a “Type of Christ and the power in Him which will replenish and reorganize society.” (See the Berean Comment on Genesis 6:19.) In other words, the Ark portrays the embodiment of God’s Plan.(Nor does Noah’s Ark portray the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Great Crowd.)
In elaborating this statement Brother Johnson gives us this in E-5-62 (59):”It will be noticed that there were four human pairs who went into the Ark, as well as at least one pair of every clean and unclean kind of animals. We know that there are four elective classes who in this life obtain a good report thru faith in the Abrahamic Covenant:(1) The Christ, (2) the Ancient Worthies, (3) the Great Company, and (4) the Youthful Worthies. Noah undoubtedly types our Lord, who is the Heir of righteousness which comes to us by faith (Heb. 11:7).These classes we understand to be typed in their respective order by Noah and his wife, Shem and his wife, Japheth and his wife and Ham and his wife, the males apart from Noah representing all the leaders of their respective classes, and the females the rest of these classes. We understand the animals in the Ark to represent the non-elect who will ultimately be saved, the clean animals to represent the Jews, as typically clean, who will be saved, and the Tentatively Justified as tentatively clean, who will be saved, and the unclean animals represent those of the present unclean world who will be saved; while those who perished in the Flood we understand to represent from one viewpoint those who have perished under the Adamic curse, and from another standpoint, the movements and systems of Satan’s Empire and the Second Death Class. Just as in the type the clean and the unclean animals occupied altogether different positions in the Ark from those of Noah and his family, so in the antitype, the Jews and the Tentatively Justified on the one hand, and the prospectively saved of the rest of mankind on the other hand, are quite differently related to the Abrahamic Covenant from antitypical Noah and his family. These animals were placed in the Ark to type that anticipatorily their antitypes would be included in the Abrahamic Covenant.”
From the foregoing, it is clear enough that the clean animals typed the quasi-elect – those “truly repentant and believing, but not consecrated, Jews and Gentiles.” (See E-10-209.)They are those who have “adhered to righteousness” and who accept Christ as their Savior – anticipatorily in the Jewish Age, and actually so during the Gospel Age. Note we have underscored the words “adhered to righteousness,” because this feature of the quasi-elect is definitely portrayed in the clean animals by all of them having the split or divided hoof, such hoofs typifying that their conduct has been acceptable to God and to man – they have practiced righteousness – have made “straight paths for their feet” – adhered to the Mosaic Law to the extent of their ability (even perhaps more so than the “measurably faithful” Great Company Class, and the “measurably faithful” of the Youthful Worthies – although “adherence to righteousness” does not admit the quasi-elect as one of the fully elect classes).Thus, it is apparent that the quasi-elect are clearly shown in the Ark; and it is equally apparent that the same Ark is completely silent about a consecrated segment of this class at any time during the Gospel Age in the embodiment of God’s Plan. Clearly enough, a consecrated division of the quasi-elect is an Azazelian perversion by uncleansed Levite leaders – whether they be designated Consecrated Epiphany Campers, Quasi-elect Consecrated or the Great Crowd. It is an arbitrary addition to “that which is written,” and without Scriptural foundation in the Ark, which reveals the “Whole counsel of God” in its generalized features – emphasizing the same six classes as are found in Joel 2:28, 29, but no more.
The LHMM tells us that their Consecrated Campers are so much like the Youthful Worthies that they can hardly tell the difference, we would present the logical question respecting the type: Did Noah and family have any difficulty whatever in noting the difference between themselves and the clean animals in the Ark?
(Our Reprint No. 359, July 1985)
QUESTION – Are we to regard the Worthies as Restitutionists, and the first Restitutionists to be blessed under the New Covenant?
ANSWER – We are not to regard any of the elect as Restitutionists, including the Worthies. They are the first to be blessed under the New Covenant, as they will experience the “better resurrection” before any blessing can go to others. The first Restitutionists to be blessed under the New Covenant are the faithful covenant-keeping Jews. As we have repeatedly quoted from our faithful Messengers’ teaching and from the Scriptures, the New Covenant is Israelitish, and would naturally come to the Jew first.
We have also repeatedly contended that the salvation of the elect is in the Faith Age, and the salvation of the world of mankind is in the Mediatorial Kingdom. There are two salvations, and they are not to be mixed. Just as there won’t be any opportunity for the elective salvation in the New Covenant arrangement, so there is no opportunity for the non-elect, including the quasi-elect, Consecrated Campers and the Great Crowd to make an acceptable consecration to God during the Faith Age.
At one time JFR taught the truth on the two salvations being separate and distinct, but revolutionized against that truth when he invented a new class – Jonadabs or the “Great Multitude”; and the same is true about the LHMM. It was after they invented a new class – Consecrated Epiphany Campers – that they, too, revolutionized against the truth on the two salvations.
“The Youthful Worthies as a class are pointed out in various Scriptures... 2 Tim. 2:20 that ‘in a great house [the great house of the typical Aaron, Lev. 16:6; Num. 17:2, 3; 3:6-9, 17-20, consisted of his sons and three typical classes of Levites – the Kohathites, Merarites and Gershonites; accordingly, in the great House of our Great High Priest, there are four classes antitypical of these] there are not only vessels of gold [the Little Flock, Mal. 3:3], and of silver [the Great Company, Mal. 3:3], but also of wood [the Ancient Worthies] and of earth [the Youthful Worthies, who with the Ancient Worthies will be, during the Millennium, the human or earthly members of the antitypical Aaron’s House, as they were or are of the human nature also before the Millennium];and [additionally] some to honor [the faithful Restitutionists, the ‘sheep’ of Matt. 25:31-40], and some to dishonor [the ‘goats’ of the next Age, Matt. 25:41-46].” (E-17-39,40)
So when the LHMM groups the Youthful Worthies with the Restitutionists in their contention for the Consecrated Campers, by saying, “If God can make an exception of the Youthful Worthies, who are made up largely of Gentiles, in regard to ‘the Jew first,’ then He can make an exception of another class – Consecrated Epiphany Campers.” God makes an exception of all the elect. The Jews will be the first of the Restitutionists to be blessed under the New Covenant. As repeatedly said, the New Covenant is Israelitish, and simply replaces the Old Law Covenant, which also is Israelitish.
(Our Reprint No. 360, August 1985)
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
To Epiphany Bible Students,
Forgive me for not responding to your post card earlier. I have been traveling. Please retain me on your mailing list. I receive and read each issue of the papers you send me for which I am most grateful. Thank you.
Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Department of Religious Studies(CALIFORNIA)
“IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW”
SISTER MINNIE CONDELL, Kingston, Jamaica, finished her course Sunday, February 19, 1995.Her funeral was conducted in Crofts Hill Sunday, February 26, by Brother Roy Mahoney. She was buried next to Sister McNeil in a family plot marked by Sister Minnie’s father, Brother Condell.
She believed in God and His promises, and was loved by all who knew her. This was attested by those who attended her funeral. Some of her friends came from the University of Kingston, and several of her nieces and nephews came from the USA to pay their respect and love for her. We mourn with her family and friends, but we rejoice with them in the blessed memory she left us. She had been ill for quite some time after several strokes which left her paralyzed so she couldn’t move herself without help. But her niece, April, gave her good care. We are comforted with the thought that she will have no more pain. She is now “asleep in Jesus,” awaiting that glorious Kingdom when she will receive the resurrection of the Just.