The Gospel Truth

The Gospel Truth

The Gospel Truth

From time
to time, a new attack always arises on the Word of
God. In a variety of ways, the Bible is maligned for perceived
historical innacuracy, sneered at because of its version of
Creation, disempowered as being seen as just another holy book,
and discredited as a collection of allegory and fables. We should
be very worried if this were not so, because satan is a deceiver
and a counterfeiter. Because of his nature, he cannot help but to
denigrate the authority of the Bible and present an alternative
to that which is pure and true and comes from God Himself. We
must always remember that for a counterfeit to exist, there must
first be a real!

The composition of the Bible is also frequently brought into
question. It’s not just the Gnostic gospels, the Apocrypha
and the recently contrived documentary on the "Lost Gospel of
Judas" that try to place question marks in our minds. It’s
a lot worse than that! The battlefield is huge. The contest is
life and death. After the tumult of conflict there will only be
one victor.

Many major religions, and some "wanna-be’s" have their
doctrines and belief system based on a holy book. On the opposite
page there is an incomplete list to illustrate the diversity of
religious Scripture. Most people have no idea of the variety of
writings which are ascribed as "holy" to their particular
devotees.

This huge list of "Divine" writings has already divided the
world into hundreds of splinter groups, who zealously believe in
their holy book and the instructions contained within.

In the Western world the greatest confusion comes from
writings which are close to the authorised Word of God. For
instance the Talmud, the Book of Enoch, the Apocrypha and the
above mentioned Gospel of Judas are the vines which will choke
truth if we are not careful. Yet each of these have validity in
the sense that they give illumination in various ways to history,
lifestyle and spiritual thought without being Divine writ.
Therein lies the danger.

We must be certain in our own mind what is inspired writing.
When we are content in that, we become bulletproof to all the
confusion that other writings bring in claiming they are Divine.
Is it possible to come to that place of knowing absolutely what
was authored by God and what wasn’t? Absolutely! Let me lay
some of that foundation for you.

IS THE COPYING CORRECT

In today’s world of Computers, photocopiers and printing
presses we know that literally millions of the same document or
book can be produced without a single mistake. It would only seem
fair to ask then two very valid questions regarding the
duplication of Scripture.

  1. How accurate were the copyists?
  2. What guarantee have we got against mistakes ?

With regard to the Old Testament, the copyists were Jewish
officials called ‘Massoretes.’
Fortunately today, we just happen to know the process and the
rules by which they worked to, which were incredibly
painstaking.

Accuracy was of the greatest importance, and to make sure that
each book was reproduced in perfect fashion, a set of tables was
devised for each book, showing how many times each alphabetical
letter occurred in each book. When the scribe had finished
copying a book, he then had to count up each individual
alphabetical letter and compare his result with the Master List.
One can only imagine what a laborious and time consuming task
this was.

Only mistake free copies were allowed to replace the
‘standard’ copies when they wore out. Because of the
painstaking method employed, the accuracy of the Hebrew copyists
is proven to be outstanding.

Archaeology has since brought modern day proof to support the
accuracy of Hebrew Scripture. In 1947, at Qumran, high in the
Judean hills overlooking the Dead Sea, scrolls were discovered
which contained much of the original Old Testament Scripture.
When these were compared to the new Standard they were found to
be as close to the original Massoretic text as to make no
practical difference.

Although the New Testament copyists were nowhere near as
accurate as their Jewish counterparts, the comparative accuracy
of their copying has been protected by the sheer volume of
manuscripts which exist today. Do we disbelieve Aristotle? Is
Plato’s writ ings suspect? Of course not! When we look at
the following list of existing manuscripts, we can see how much
more we can believe in the accuracy of translation of the
Bible.

Author Surviving MSS
Caesar
Plato
Tacitus
Sophocles
Suetonius
Heroditus
Thucydides
Aristotle
New Testament
10
7
20
193
8
8
8
49
24,633

This shows an overwhelming number of manuscripts of the New
Testament which have survived to the present day, compared with
other contemporary writings of the day. The sheer size of the
quantity involved has allowed tremendous comparisons to be made
with reference to the accuracy of translation.

Consequently, we can conclude the following. Both the Old and
New Testaments, by virtue of the stringent rules regarding the
copying of the Old, and the sheer volume of copies of the New,
come to us with a measure of accuracy unmatched in any other
composite group of writings over the whole period of recorded
history.

THE APOCRYPHA

We cannot proceed further without referring to a group of
books known as the ‘Apocrypha’. These are a group of
Old Testament books which have for centuries been argued about as
to their Divine inspiration - in other words, should they be
included or excluded from the Bible as we know it.

In 1546 the matter was settled for Catholics at the Council of
Trent, where the books involved were declared to be inspired, and
therefore, Holy writ. The Protestant Churches never accepted this
view and at the Reformation, returned to the Hebrew canon which
is the Jewish Old Testament. The reasons to accept this view are
overwhelming.

  1. The 1st Century AD historical writers had all long regarded
    the canon of Scripture as closed.
  2. The New Testament writers refer to the Old Testament as
    Scripture’ or ‘as it is
    written’
    more than 200 times, but not one mention is
    made by them of any writing in the Apocrypha!
  3. Although Jesus Himself made much mention of the Old Testament
    Scriptures, He never once mentioned an Apocryphal book or
    reference.
  4. The Apocrypha abounds in historical and geographical
    inaccuracies, teaches false doctrine and advocates practices
    which are at variance with inspired Scripture. For instance in 2
    Maccabees 12.45-6, praying for the dead is advocated. (refer to
    Luke 16:25-6 and Hebrews 9:27) Tobit 1.3-5 & 14.11 says that
    Tobit lived 158 years, but quotes him as being alive when
    Jeroboam staged his revolt in 931 BC and also alive in Assyrian
    captivity in 722 BC, which is clearly an impossibility. In Judith
    9.10 & 13, the story has God assisting Judith in a lie, an
    event which just does not line up with the revealed character of
    God as displayed throughout the rest of Scripture.
  5. There are no discernible numerical patterns to be seen in the
    Apocrypha. (or the Gnostic gospels for that matter.) This is the
    icing on the cake in terms of real proof. So much so, that
    comment in fuller form must be made here.

NUMERICS

So often we find that fact is stranger than fiction and this
is certainly the case with the discovery of numerics as an
irrefutable proof of the Bible being the Word of the Living God.
Dr Ivan Panin (1855-1948) was a Russian-born agnostic and a
mathematician. He discovered an amazing mathematical structure
interwoven in the text and vocabulary of the Greek New Testament.
In reading the first verse of the Gospel of John in the original
Greek, Dr Panin was curious as to why the Greek word for
`the’ preceded the word for
`God’ in one case but not in the
following. In examining the text he became aware of a number
relationship which led to the beginning of discoveries that in
turn led to his conversion and the uncov ering of an extensive
numeric code beneath the original texts of the Bible.

Of his work Dr Panin once said: `If human logic is worth
anything at all we are simply driven to the conclusion that if my
facts I have presented are true, man could never have
done this.
Panin tried for a month to create writings
containing a numeric pattern but gave up trying. Bible numerics
is God’s seal of authenticity and his seal of authorship.
It is His perfect signature! Just as a thread runs through paper
money to prevent forgery, so does this complex and interlocking
series of numeric sequences run through the Bible as God’s
divine act against counterfeit.

This complex system of Divine numbering invisibly saturates
every book of the Bible and when one considers the diverse
authorship of the Bible (36 different writers) then the laws of
probability are stretched to breaking point if we try and
rationalise the authorship of the Bible as the work of man.

Simply put, if even one letter or word is added or taken away
from the Bible, the whole numeric sequence breaks down.

UNDERSTANDING THE NUMERICS

In English, we express numbers by using the Arabic set of
symbols or digits which of course run from 0 - 9. Every
progression of 9 numbers results in the tenth having another
number precede the first number in the same progressive way, so
we have 20, 30, 40, etc.

The ancient Romans used alphabetical letters to denote numbers
and so V=5 and X=10 while C=100. Even today we sometimes see
Roman numerals used on the face of an analogue watch or clock as
an alternative means to display the time rather than using the
Arabic type symbols.

The two main languages the Bible was written in were Hebrew
for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament.
Interestingly, both Hebrew and Greek not only used alphabetical
letters as numbers, as in the Roman system... but EVERY
alphabetical letter represented a number!

The number 7 is the most prolific of all the numbers which
bind Scripture together. It appears nearly 600 times. Seven is
known as God’s seal or watermark, or the number of
spiritual perfection.

The very first verse of the Bible, found in Genesis 1:1 is
where Panin found the first of innumerable series of groups of
sevens.

"In the beginning God created heaven and the earth"
contains over 30 different combinations of 7 beneath the surface.
The verse itself is made up of 7 Hebrew words which total 28
(7x4) alphabetical letters. The numeric value of the three nouns,
God, heaven, earth, total 777. Any number multiplied by itself or
triplicated as this one is expresses fulness, the ultimate, or
strong emphasis.

NEW TESTAMENT

The early Christian Church was busy building up its own
collection of sacred books which they added to the Old Testament,
already accepted by them as the Word of God. The last word of
decision as to what should be included was not spoken until about
393 AD at the synod of Hippo, and the decision was confirmed by
the 3rd synod of Carthage in 397 AD.

The bulk of the New Testament was written by the disciples and
the Apostle Paul. Some authorship is still in doubt, such as the
book of Hebrews and the book of James, although we could take an
educated guess as to their writers. However, once again the
individual human element is not as important as the fact that God
had used man as a channel to speak to all mankind.

Once again the writers used the same expressiveness as the Old
Testament writers to show that they knew of God’s hand of
inspiration in what they were writing. Some examples to show the
continuity of this theme are listed....

‘If any man think himself to be a prophet, or
spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto
you are the commandments of the Lord.’
1 Corinthians 14:37
(In other words, when a person has been inspired by God,
he will know it)

‘For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the
ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his
reward.’
1 Timothy 5:18 (These two references come in
like form from Luke 10:7, and Deuteronomy 25:4 which shows the
recognition of Holy writing by the use of the word
‘Scripture.’)

1 Corinthians 12:7-10 and Hebrews 1:1 show us that God’s
miracle power of discernment has amongst other things been made
available to man to recognize new Scripture.

Alongside the reality of ‘inspiration from God’ as
a means of recognition of new Scripture, lies the important test
of apostolic authority. The Church was built on the foundation of
the Apostles and Prophets and Christ had left them with the
promise that He would, by The Holy Spirit, guide them into all
truth !

GOD’S WATERMARK

If God has placed a watermark on His Scriptures and godly men
down through the ages have received His inspired Word, knowing it
to be Godbreathed, then we need to take stock of what this means
to us personally. We also need to run our own measuring rod over
any other so-called inspired book in the light of what we have
learnt, for the Bible clearly teaches that we face an adversary
who is called ‘the father of lies.’ His job is to
deceive and to lead as many as he can into error, and sadly
today, this is the case for so many sincere people who have not
rightly ‘separated the truth from error’ and are
following the doctrine of demons, and the ideas of man.

Our only measuring rod is the inspired Word of
God
, which rings with a clear sound of truth.

I was taken to task by a reader about 18 months ago for
criticising the various Bible versions. You can make your own
mind up after reading the article, "New Bible Promotes
Fornication" in this issue.

Article contains excerpts
from
"The Ultimate Question"
by Allan Rasmussen.