The previous installment of this study considered the implications of the phrase “old testament” in 2 Corinthians 3:14, including Jesus’ acknowledgement of a closed catalogue of inspired books that began with Genesis and ended with Second Chronicles (Matthew 23:35). This installment will consider books outside of this catalogue that some have attempted to add to the canon—those books which measure up to the qualifications of being inspired, thus authoritative and to be included as part of God’s word.
While additional books, sometimes known as the Apocrypha, can be found in Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Bibles—each of these differ in what additional books they include—these were not considered inspired Scripture by Jesus or the Jews in general. Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, mentioned what the Jews considered to be from God:
For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them (Against Apion 1:8).
While Josephus mentions 22 books, he is referring to the same content of our 39 books of the Old Testament. The Minor Prophets were all one book known as “The Twelve”; First and Second Samuel were one book; so were First and Second Kings, as well as First and Second Chronicles. Ezra and Nehemiah were together as one book. Ruth was combined with Judges and Lamentations with Jeremiah.
The Apocrypha is not inspired of God. Apocryphal books have errors in them unlike inspired Scripture. Some of them also attest to not being divine. First Maccabees was written during an acknowledged time when God was providing no new revelation, “It was a time of great trouble for Israel, worse than anything that had happened to them since the time prophets ceased to appear among them” (9:27). What a contrast to the first-century apostles and prophets who were revealing the New Testament, inspired of God to replace His former testament. While NT writers often quoted from the OT, they never quoted from the Apocrypha to give any indication that those books were from God. As previously mentioned Jesus did not recognize the Apocrypha as part of God’s word and neither did His apostles.
The OT warnings about adding to God’s Word mentioned at the end of the first installment of this study are complimented by a similar admonition at the end of the last book of the New Testament, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19). It is clear that God has given us all the written revelation we need (2 Pet. 1:3), and we should not add to it.
02.03.19 PM – Mark Day – Jesus’ Antidote for Worry
Scripture Reading Nathan Adkins: Matthew 6:25-34
Upon reading the above title many will reply “Don’t be so silly, of course God exists.” There is no greater question of greater importance than whether or not God exists. The answer to that question affects all other questions. We, our children, relatives, and friends have been exposed to the General Theory of Evolution (a fiction that all matter and life came about by purely natural processes). If the God of the Bible exists, there is no need for the evolutionary hypothesis in accounting for all things that exist. So, the universe is here, it must be explained. At some point in everyone’s life, every sane, rational human is going to have to ask and answer this one question, “How did the universe get here?” There are three options to consider. That…
I. THE UNIVERSE (MATTER) IS ETERNAL. To be eternal would be, by definition, existing without beginning or end. However, we know that the universe will end. This is proven by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (Law of Increasing Entropy) which states that everything is running down or wearing out. Energy is becoming less and less available for use. The universe is running down like a clock. If the universe is running down like a clock, there had to be a time when it was “wound up” and is slowly winding down. The 2nd Law points to 2 things when applied to the universe: 1) A beginning and 2) An end in the future when no more energy is available (referred to by scientists as a “heat death”) If the universe had a beginning and looks toward an end, it cannot be eternal.
That is exactly as the Bible teaches. BEGINNING: Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”. END: 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Clearly the universe is not eternal according to science and the Bible.
II. THE UNIVERSE CREATED ITSELF OUT OF NOTHING. For this to be the case would contradict the 1st law of Thermodynamics which states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed in nature. It is a self-evident truth that if we start with nothing, we get nothing. Someone may question, “To say matter cannot be destroyed, what if I burn a piece of paper, have I not destroyed the paper?” Nothing has been destroyed, it has only changed form. The paper, just laying there has energy known as potential energy. When the paper burned the energy became Kinetic Energy. What happened to the paper? The paper is ash lying where it was burnt, some went into the air as smoke, and some was converted to heat and light. The paper did not go out of existence, it only changed form. Again, matter or energy cannot be created or destroyed in nature. The universe (matter) could not have created itself out of nothing.
III. THE UNIVERSE WAS CREATED. If matter is not eternal, and the universe did not come from nothing, the only option left is that the universe was created. It is absolutely certain that something has always existed; otherwise we would be forced to say that something came from nothing. (Point #2) Since it is an observed truth that something now exists, it demands that something has always existed. Otherwise one would be forced to argue that something came from nothing – a position that is illogical and irrational. Since matter is not eternal (Point #1) the only option left is that God created the universe and all things in it. The Bible tells us that God has always existed. Psalm 90:2, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” The Eternal God created the universe, just as the Bible affirms.
The unavoidable conclusion that can be drawn from the arguments of where the universe came from, is that it was created by God. Any other conclusion is irrational.
Psalm 33:6, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
- Jerry D. Sturgill