Integrity Of The Bible Canon (Johnson C. Philip)

While radicals and atheists attacked the accuracy (purity) with which the Canon was transmitted, another group was busy in attacking the integrity of it. They claimed that not all books in the Canon are canonical, while many books that are canonical have been excluded from it. Ahmadiya Muslims are one group that would want some books of their interest (such as the Apocrypha book falsely labeled The Gospel Of Barnabas). These claims have resurfaced at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and many are innocently swept by such baseless argument. Part of the reason is the ignorance of the layman concerning the Canon and how it was formed.

THE NEED TO FIX THE CANON: There was no need to fix the Canon in the period before 400 BC because people generally knew which books came from divine source. However, after the last book of the Old Testament was written, many Jewish people felt the need to clearly spell out the books that were part of the Canon.

The first reason was distance from the original events. People who lived during the times of Prophets and great High Priests recognized the way God communicated with them. However, as new generations came up there was a great time-gap between them and the original revelation. This gap would automatically make them less familiar with the Scriptures, specially if these books were not introduced properly to the posterity.

Further, this distance would also enable forgers and cheats to advance their writings as Scriptures. Thus it was necessary for the posterity to know the boundary. Thus the Jewish fathers were alert to recognize and organize the Canonical books. Of course the correct order of their actions should be realized: these books did not become Canonical by the recognition of the fathers. Rather, when non Canonical books started to claim divine authorship, the Jewish fathers felt it necessary to recognize the books that demonstrated Canonicity. Thus it is not the recognition that brought Canonicity, but it is their Canonical nature that brought recognition to them. The fact that Lord Jesus and the Apostles honoured this Canon demonstrates that the Jewish Fathers were spiritually competent to recognize the Canonical books.

Recognizing Canonical books was necessary also for protecting them from being lost accidentally or through deliberate destruction. People attacked divine revelation both in the Old as well as in the New Testament period. The rationalist Porphyry wrote more than 12 volumes to attack the Bible. In 320 AD the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered that all religious books be destroyed. In all such cases it became necessary for the children of God to know which books to hide and protect from destruction.

Many other practical considerations also contributed to the demand to spell out the Canon. Thus when the Jews who adopted Greek as their mother-tongue wanted the Scriptures in this language, it was necessary to know which books to translate. With the easy availability of writing materials and the wider dissemination of the Scriptures, the demand to spell out the Canon became all the more important.

As mentioned above, the recognition of the Canonical books was not done randomly or arbitrarily. Rather, the people of God used very strict criteria for recognizing which books were divine. Further, many of these books were given to the children of God under such circumstances that they were recognized as inspired Scriptures soon after these books were written. The divinity of these books helped them to be included in the Bible.

OLD TESTAMENT CANON: The earliest books of the Old Testament were written almost 1400 years before the Christ, while the last book Malachi was written about 400 years before Christ. Since these books came from authoritative sources, people were quick to recognize their divine origin. The sacred books of divine origin were given special honour and protection by the Jews. The priest as well as the people of God always stood up when a public reading of the Scriptures was done.

Many spurious books began to claim divine authorship for them about a hundred years after the completion of Malachi. The Jewish leaders were quick to realize that these writings are not from God, and thus they guarded the books of Bible against all kind of infiltration.

The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha books are not part of the Canon. Thus none of the things said in this chapter are applicable to them. These books are neither inspired by God, nor are they in any sense a part of the Bible.

There is a mistaken belief among some that the Apocrypha books were part of the Bible, and that these were rejected by the Protestant Reformers. On the contrary, the Apocrypha books were never a part of the Old Testament Canon. Thus there is no question of the Reformers dropping out some books from the Canon. Rather, it is the Roman Catholic Church which ADDED these books to the Canon by a proclamation made at the Council of Trent. The story is something like the following.

When the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Hebrew, a number of other books were also translated. These were translated as a help to the Jews who did not know Hebrew or Aramaic. Many of the translators felt that the additional books would benefit the readers by providing them historical and background information about the Jews and their culture. Some of these books were appended to the Septuagint by them. The addition was not as part of the Canon, but as study helps. This is similar to the large number of articles often added at the end of study Bibles like the Scofield, Thompson Chain Reference, Dake’s Bible, or The Ryrie Study Bible. Though these articles are placed within the same Cover, and though the outer cover contains the word “Bible”, none of the modern readers confuses them with the Scripture.

All the contemporary readers know that the study-helps and articles are not part of the Canon. In the same way the readers of Septuagint also knew that these books in the appendix are not part of the Canon. These books found a place in the translation known as Vulgate, which was commonly used by Roman Catholics. In spite of its presence in the Vulgate, the Catholics did not accept the Apocrypha as part of the Canon.

With the Protestant Reformation, many of the Reformers challenged the Catholic church to prove their doctrine by supporting these from the Canon. To their dismay the Roman Catholics discovered that many of their doctrines are not derived from the Canon. At the same time they realized that at least some of these erroneous doctrines are supported by the Apocrypha. Thus for their survival it became necessary to add the Apocrypha to the Canon.

In 1545 the Roman Catholic Church convened what is called the Council Of Trent. Here they passed numerous resolutions, including many curses against the Protestant Believers. In April 1545 the Council declared that the Apocrypha are also part of the Bible. Thus for the first time in history the Apocrypha books were ADDED by the Roman Catholic church to the Bible. This was done in order to justify their doctrinal errors (for which support was available only in the Apocrypha), and also to oppose the Protestant believers. The first Vatican Council held 1869-70 reaffirmed the decision of the Roman Catholic Church to add the Apocrypha to the Canon.

Historically and theologically the Apocrypha was never part of the Canon. Protestant Reformers were very zealous about the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Everything is to be tested in the light of Bible, and Bible alone). Thus they did not allow any kind of leaven to be mixed with the Bible.

The Apocrypha books contain numerous historical, chronological, and doctrinal errors. Some of these are:

1-Prayers And Offerings For The Dead: The Apocrypha encourages prayer for the dead and also the offering of money for the souls of the dead people. It should not be forgotten that the Roman Catholic Church collects millions in money every year on the pretext of praying for the dead that they might be transferred to heaven.

The Catholic Church needed the non-canonical Apocrypha in their Bibles to support such practices that are actually not found in the Canon. 2 Maccabees 12:41-46 is the passage that supports this. Verse 46 says, “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sin”. This is a blasphemous idea.

2-Atonement And Salvation By Almsgiving: Salvation is by grace alone and through faith alone (Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; 1 John 1:9). However, the Roman Catholic Church adds “good works” as a condition, and collects billions in money worldwide from gullible people seeking salvation. Apocrypha books support this (Ecclesiasticus 3:33. Ecclesiasticus of the Apocrypha is different from Ecclesiastes in the Bible). According Tobit 4:11 of the Apocrypha, “For alms deliver from all sin, and from death and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness”.

3-Preexistence Of Souls: The doctrines that souls have always existed and that the human body receives a preexisting soul is taught in Apocrypha (Wisdom of Solomon 8:19, 20). This is contrary to what is taught by the Canonical books.

4-The Doctrine Of Emanations: Emanation is the theory that just as the web used by the spider comes out of the spider’s own being, the Universe and everything in it is an emanation from God. This idea is contrary to what the Bible teaches, but the Apocrypha teaches it (Wisdom Of Solomon 7:25).

5-Suicide Justified: Bible is totally opposed to suicide, and warns believers against contemplating such activities. The Apocrypha justifies it (2 Maccabees 14:41-46).

6-Cruelty To Slaves Justified: While the Canon asks believers to be merciful to slaves (Deu. 23:15,16), the Apocrypha says that the best way to treat a slave is to pile work upon him. It also justifies cruelty to them when needed (Ecclesiasticus 33:25-29).

7-Other Fallacies And Blasphemies: There are numerous historical errors, doctrinal errors, and even blasphemies. Hatred for Samaritan people, sanction for lying, encouragement for magical incantations, assassination, the power of angels to intercede for man, and many other s are found there.

Worse of all, the doctrine of Purgatory has also come from Apocryphal sources. This is a doctrine totally opposed to all what the Bible says.

Summary

Though many people claim that books of the Bible have been altered and manipulated, the historical data opposes this idea. Right from the beginning the Canonical books received special preservation and protection from the Jews as well as the Christians.

They Apocrypha are not part of the Canon. These books were never considered by the Jews or by Christians as part of the Canon. It is the Roman Catholic Church which ADDED these non-canonical books to the Canon in 1545 as a reaction against the Protestant Movement. They needed to do this to justify their doctrinal errors.

The Canon of God is pure, free from error, and preserved for our instruction and edification.

Dr. Johnson C. Philip is a scientist and an acknowledged blogging guru having a worldwide following.

Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com


[donotprint]



[/donotprint]

Jeremiah 31

Jeremiah 31:1 At that time, says Yahweh, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

This scripture refers back to the “time” mentioned in Jeremiah 30:24, which reads: “The fierce anger of Yahweh shall not return, until he has executed, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days you shall understand it.”

At that time — refers to the “latter days” just spoken of in Jeremiah 30:24, specifically the time when Israel will understand. Before Israel understands, however, Yahweh’s anger will have passed. That time of understanding is in the age to come, in the days of regeneration, that Jesus spoke of. (Matthew 19:28) Today, it is still true that ‘Yahweh has poured out on Israel the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed Israel’s eyes.’ (Isaiah 6:9; 29:10; Matthew 13:14,15; John 12:39,40; Acts 20:25-27; Romans 11:7-11) However, Isaiah prophecies: “In that day [the age to come] shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.” (Isaiah 29:18) And while those of Israel who murmur in this age are kept in darkness, in that age to come, we read: “They also who err in spirit shall come to understanding, and those who murmur shall receive instruction.” — Isaiah 29:24.

“I will be the God of all the families of Israel” — Yahweh will, in that age to come, be God of all the tribes, not just the two tribes of Judah. Indeed, he will be God of all Israel who have died, since they will be raised in that day of regneration due to the application of the blood of New Covenant on their behalf. It will in that age to come that “all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, ‘There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, And he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” — Romans 11:26.

Jeremiah 31:2 Thus says Yahweh, The people who were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

This refers back to the time when Israel left Egypt, in the aftermath of the time when Israel’s sons were being killed and Pharaoh endeavored to kill the Israelites as they left Egypt (Exodus 1:16,22; 2:23; 5:21; 12:37; 14:8-12; 15:9,10; 17:8-13; Acts 13:17), and Yahweh brought Israel out of Egypt, after which they were in the wilderness for forty years. — Numbers 10:33; Deuteronomy 1:30,33; 2:7; 8:2,3,16; 12:9; Nehemiah 9:12-15; Psalms 78:14-16,23-29,52; Psalms 95:11; Psalms 105:37-43; 136:16-24; Isaiah 63:7-14; Jeremiah 2:2; Ezekiel 20:14-17; John 6:31.

Jeremiah 3:3 Yahweh appeared of old to me, [saying], Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you.

This begins with a declaration attributed to Israel, carrying forth the same thought of verse 2. Israel says: “Yahweh appeared of old to me.” — Deuteronomy 7:7-9; 10:15; 33:3,26; Hosea 11:1,4; Malachi 1:2; Romans 3:1,2; 9:13; 1 John 4:19.

In Jeremiah 31:3 we have a beautiful statement of Yahweh’s everlasting love for his people, Israel. How is Yahweh’s love for Israel “everlasting?”  We should note that the “everlasting love” is between Yahweh and the covenant people of Yahweh, the children of Israel. Although Israel, as a whole, went into apostasy time and time again, and remains in apostasy to this day, Paul tells that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) Thus, Paul tells that the present blindness of Israel is only temporary:

Romans 11:25 – that a hardening in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,
Romans 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, And he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
Romans 11:27 This is my covenant to them, When I will take away their sins.”
Romans 11:28 Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.”

Yes, even though God has “given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day” (Romans 11:8), Israel is still beloved in the eyes of Yahweh “for the fathers’ sake.” Yahweh has not stopped his “everlasting love” for Israel, but Paul relates that their blindness will continue until fullness [full amount, number, plentitude, enough] of the Gentiles are come in (Romans 11:25) Then, the apostle tells us, “All Israel will be saved,” and that this will fulfill the prophecy: “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, And he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. This is my covenant to them, When I will take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26-28) Thus, Yahweh’s love has not ceased toward Israel, for there is still that future time when Israel will receive her Savior, Jesus, and will say, “Blessed in he who comes in the name of Yahweh.” — Matthew 23:39.

Jeremiah 31:4 Again will I build you, and you shall be built, O virgin of Israel: again shall you be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who make merry.

Again will I build you, and you shall be built – Some have claimed that this refers to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Israelites returned from their captivity in Babylon. However, that restoration was only temporary, whereas this prophecy goes on to say in Jeremiah 31:40, that this building “shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever. ” We know that in 70 AD Jerusalem was destroyed.

Some claim that this applies to the church, the ones called out of the world as “God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9) made up of “living stones.” (1 Peter 2:5) We believe that Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the building again of Israel may possibly have a partial application antitypically, but unless one realizes this, the full application of Jeremiah’s prophecy may be lost. By saying “again,” however, this prophecy is shown to apply directly to Israel, for such an expression cannot directly apply to the building of church, for it would imply that the church itself was in need of being rebuilt after some kind of destruction. 1 Corinthians 3:9 and 1 Peter 2:5 do not refer to a rebuilding “again” of the church, but they speak of the first building of the church, which in reality is the only building of the church. The only exception that we can think of is that could possibly apply to the resurrection of the church, but we do not know of any scripture that speaks of the resurrection of the church as a building “again “of the church.

O virgin of Israel – Some have thought the “virgin” here refers to Jesus; however, Jeremiah 18:13 tells us that the “virgin of Israel has done a horrible thing.” Did Jesus ever do a horrible thing?

Actually, Jeremiah 18:13 lets us know that “virgin of Israel” is speaking figuratively of Israel as a virgin. Israel had forgotten Yahweh by burning incense to false gods, walking in the byways of the nations.  –Jeremiah 18:15,16.

******More to follow, Yahweh willing.

5 Again shall you plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy [the fruit of it]. 6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen on the hills of Ephraim shall cry, Arise you, and let us go up to Zion to Yahweh our God. 7 For thus says Yahweh, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the chief of the nations: publish you, praise you, and say, Yahweh, save your people, the remnant of Israel. 8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, [and] with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her who travails with child together: a great company shall they return here. 9 They shall come with weeping; and with petitions will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10 Hear the word of Yahweh, you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off; and say, He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as shepherd does his flock. 11 For Yahweh has ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. 12 They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow to the goodness of Yahweh, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. 13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. 14 I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says Yahweh. 15 Thus says Yahweh: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. 16 Thus says Yahweh: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says Yahweh; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. 17 There is hope for your latter end, says Yahweh; and [your] children shall come again to their own border.

18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself [thus], You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as a calf unaccustomed [to the yoke]: turn you me, and I shall be turned; for you are Yahweh my God. 19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I struck on my thigh: I was ashamed, yes, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. 20 Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a darling child? for as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says Yahweh. 21 Set up road signs, make guideposts; set your heart toward the highway, even the way by which you went: turn again, virgin of Israel, turn again to these your cities. 22 How long will you go here and there, you backsliding daughter? for Yahweh has created a new thing in the earth: a woman shall encompass a man. 23 Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel, Yet again shall they use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities of it, when I shall bring again their captivity: Yahweh bless you, habitation of righteousness, mountain of holiness. 24 Judah and all the cities of it shall dwell therein together, the farmers, and those who go about with flocks. 25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and every sorrowful soul have I replenished. 26 On this I awakened, and saw; and my sleep was sweet to me.

27 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of animal. 28 It shall happen that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, says Yahweh. 29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. 30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. 31 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: 34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

35 Thus says Yahweh, who gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea, so that the waves of it roar; Yahweh of hosts is his name: 36 If these ordinances depart from before me, says Yahweh, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. 37 Thus says Yahweh: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says Yahweh. 38 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that the city shall be built to Yahweh from the tower of Hananel to the gate of the corner. 39 The measuring line shall go out further straight onward to the hill Gareb, and shall turn about to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields to the brook Kidron, to the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy to Yahweh; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever