The Holy Bible—the Book by Jehovah’s Witnesses
“The holy writings which are able to make you wise for salvation.”—2 Tim. 3:15.
1. What makes the greatest book on earth unique in its age, in the length of time for writing it and in its authorship?
WHICH is the greatest book on earth in this nuclear, space age? It is a book that began to be written before the Christian era, before the Buddhist era (563 B.C.E.), before the Japanese era (660 B.C.E.), before the Roman era (753 B.C.E.) and before the Grecian Olympic era (776 B.C.E.). However, its great age has not dimmed its value. In fact, its age has added to its priceless value. It has also been the longest in being written. Since its first chapter was written it was about 1,610 years till its final chapter was completed near the close of the first century of the Christian era. Yet the author of the book was but one person.
2. To what extent does the author’s name occur in the book, and what has this one authorship resulted in?
2 From first to last this book was written over the one author’s own name. In fact, the author’s name occurs throughout the book about seven thousand times. Really, just because of having that one author the book outranks every other book in value and it will yet reach fame greater than what it already enjoys.
3. How could such a book that took so long to write have but one author?
3 No man has lived more than one thousand six hundred years, and so how could such a book so long in writing have just one author? It is because the book’s author is not a man who dies. The name of the author shows that fact, because his name is Jehovah.
4. In what way does the author’s name occur close to the end and near to the beginning of the book?
4 In the fourth last chapter of this wonderful book we read four times the outcry of praise to its author, namely, Hallelujah! Translated into modern English, this means “Praise Jehovah!”a (Rev. 19:1, 3, 4, 6) That unique name is the name of the only living and true God, the Creator of the universe; and this is why, in the Ge second chapter, fourth verse, this famous book puts his name alongside his title, to read: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.”—AS.
5. What is that book called, why could the One it names throughout be its sole author, and what quality does his authorship give the book?
5 The one sacred book that thus from first to last declares its Author to be Jehovah God is The Holy Bible. It declares him to be immortal. In its thirty-fifth book, chapter one, verse twelve, it addresses him in these words: “Art thou not from eternity, Jehovah? Thou, my holy God, dost not die.”b Also its fifty-fourth book, chapter one, verse seventeen, blesses Him, saying: “Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hab. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:17) Being eternal, incorruptible, immortal, the only God Jehovah could easily be the sole Author. Because of his authorship the Bible is holy, sacred.
6. What does the derivation of its name show the Bible really to be, and why is it also called The Scriptures?
6 The Holy Bible is really a library of many books. Though each book today bears a different title, Jehovah God is the Author of them all. The very name Bible calls attention to this fact, for the name is drawn from the ancient Greek word biblía, which means “little books,” that is, a collection of them all together in one volume. The Bible itself speaks of its books as “the holy writings which are able to make you wise for salvation.” (2 Tim. 3:15) That is why they are also called The Scriptures, for “scriptures” means “writings.”
7. How at Mount Sinai did Jehovah God have a finger directly in the writing of the Bible?
7 Besides supplying the one unifying theme that runs throughout the entire library of books, God in a very remarkable way had a finger in the writing of the Book. The famous Ten Commandments are found written in the second book of the Bible. These Ten Commandments were delivered to Jehovah’s prophet Moses on Mount Sinai in Arabia in the sixteenth century before the Christian era, and were first written on tablets of stone. Concerning the writing and the delivery of the stone tablets the Bible record says: “Now as soon as [Jehovah God] had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai he proceeded to give Moses two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone written on by God’s finger.” “And the tablets were the workmanship of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved upon the tablets.” The people upon whom the Ten Commandments were laid disobeyed them, and so Moses in an outburst of anger broke the two tablets. “Then Jehovah said to Moses: ‘Carve out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I must write upon the tablets the words that appeared on the first tablets, which you shattered.’” Thus when Moses came down from Mount Sinai this time the two tablets with God’s own writing upon them were in his hand. (Ex. 31:18; 32:16; 34:1, 29) Afterward Moses copied the Ten Commandments upon other material for men to read.
8. How was the rest of the Bible written, but throughout all its writing what remained the same in connection with it?
8 Was all the rest of the Holy Bible delivered to God’s people as the Ten Commandments were in the direct writing of God himself? No! Men, imperfect human creatures, were used to write the rest of the Bible. But this does not disprove that the entire Bible has but one Author, Jehovah God, and that it contains his thoughts and expressions rather than those of the many human writers who wrote the different parts of it. An invisible, active force was operating upon those human writers. This invisible, active force issued forth from the one Author of the Bible and was directed down upon these writers by Him. This unseen, active force is called spirit, and because its source is the God of holiness it is called “holy spirit.” Although the writers on earth changed from time to time, there remained the one, unchanged holy spirit, and its source remained the same, namely, the immortal God, Jehovah.
WRITTEN UNDER INSPIRATION
9. How do David and Peter show that the ancient prophets spoke or wrote under a driving force not their own, and in whose name did they write?
9 For example, take David, who became the first Israelite king of Jerusalem. He wrote many psalms in the eleventh century before the Christian era. In one of such sacred songs contained in the Holy Bible David explained that he did not write under his own driving force. He said: “The utterance of David the son of Jesse, . . . The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me, and his word was upon my tongue.” (2 Sam. 23:1, 2) Eleven centuries after David’s death, the Christian apostle named Peter wrote two letters that are contained in the Holy Bible. Peter reminded the Christians that the ancient prophets like David released prophecies that were not of their own private thinking or will but that were from a heavenly source. Peter said: “You know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private release [or, comes out of private disclosure]. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:20, 21, margin) Peter also said: “It was necessary for the scripture [writing] to be fulfilled which the holy spirit spoke beforehand by David’s mouth . . . God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.” (Acts 1:16; 3:21) Yes, indeed, the Bible writers wrote, but they wrote under the activating force of the one holy spirit of Jehovah God. They wrote as God’s earthly instruments and wrote in God’s holy name.
10. In curing a man, how did Jesus show that God’s spirit has enough driving force to drive a man to write a book?
10 God’s holy spirit can move a prophet to write just as easily as it can drive out a demon from a possessed man. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, showed that. He preached the kingdom of God to the people and also did many wonderful miracles. Once he drove out the demon from a possessed man, so that the dumb man both spoke and saw. But Jesus’ religious foes blasphemed the means by which he had cast out the demon. According to the apostle Matthew, Jesus said to them: “If it is by means of God’s spirit that I expel the demons, the kingdom of God has really overtaken you.” (Matt. 12:28) The disciple Luke quotes Jesus as saying at that time: “If it is by means of God’s finger I expel the demons, the kingdom of God has really overtaken you.”—Luke 11:20.
11. In view of the use of the word “finger,” how can the Bible be said to be by the finger of God and so what is the Bible a visible, tangible result of?
11 Jesus thus spoke of God’s spirit as God’s “finger.” In a direct way God’s finger wrote the Ten Commandments on the two tablets of stone. But when God used men to write the various books of the Holy Bible, God’s symbolic finger, his spirit, shoved the stylus or pen of these men. (Deut. 9:10) In Psalm 8:3 David says to God: “I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared.” Long before David, the prophet Moses was used by Jehovah God to bring the third of ten destructive plagues upon the land of Egypt. This was a plague that the magic-practicing priests of Egypt could not imitate. So they said to their ruler, Pharaoh: “It is the finger of God!” (Ex. 8:18, 19) In harmony with those uses of the word “finger” we today can say that the Holy Bible is by the finger of God, since the Holy Bible was written under the operation of God’s holy spirit or invisible, active force. Thus his finger wrote it, from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation. God’s holy spirit or active force is unseen, but it produces visible, tangible results. The Holy Bible is the visible, tangible result produced by God’s spirit, his finger in movement. He is therefore the heavenly Author of the Bible.
IDENTITY OF EARTHLY BIBLE WRITERS
12. Who, then, really made the Bible, but what do religionists of the Catholic church claim?
12 It goes without contradiction that Jehovah God made the Holy Bible by means of earthly servants whom he used as his controlled secretaries, scribes or penmen. Hence it strikes one as quite shocking to read what the Toledo (Ohio) Blade reported in its issue of March 1, 1943. It reported a priest of a religious organization as having said the following in the Immaculate Conception Church the preceding day: “It is not generally realized, as it should be, that the Bible belongs exclusively to the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church made the Bible; she has preserved it; and she interprets it. Others may read Holy Scripture—and they are urged to do so—but beyond this they have no right whatsoever in regard to it. Almighty God has placed this precious heritage exclusively in the hands of his Catholic Church. It may seem strange to say that the Catholic Church made the Bible, for we know that this volume is the word of God, every word in it was authorized ultimately by him. But we must recall the manner in which God did this. . . . The Catholic Church not only made the Bible; she also preserved it. . . . Almighty God. . . , too, set up a supreme court—the Catholic Church, to determine just what his constitution—Holy Scripture, means.” In agreement with that many pamphlets and many magazine and newspaper advertisements have appeared with the bold heading: “The Bible is a Catholic Book.”
13. How many men were used during the sixteen centuries to write the complete Bible, and who are included among those writers?
13 The general public to whom such religious statements and claims are published are entitled to the facts. What are the basic facts? Some of the books of the Holy Bible today bear the names of their writers. As far as can be determined there were more than thirty men used during the sixteen centuries involved in writing the complete Bible. These writers include Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Gad, Nathan, Jeremiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, David, Solomon, Agur, Lemuel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John the apostle, Paul, James the half brother of Jesus, Peter, Jude the half brother of Jesus.
14. What fact stands out sharply regarding all those Bible writers, and, spiritually speaking, what may all of Jesus’ footstep followers be called?
14 As we examine the origin and background of these reputed Bible writers, a startling fact stands out sharply. They were all natural-born Hebrews, Israelites or Jews. There are men who believe, though, that Luke was a Greek. None were Latins. They descended from Abraham, in whose Seed Jehovah God promised to bless all the families of the earth. Abraham was a Hebrew. (Gen. 12:1-3; 14:13) His descendants through Isaac and Jacob were called Hebrews. (Gen. 39:14, 17; 41:12; Ex. 1:15, 16, 19; Jon. 1:9) God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and hence the twelve tribes of his offspring were called, not Jacobites, but Israelites. (Ex. 9:7) The dying Jacob or Israel bestowed the blessing of future kingship upon his son Judah; and hence the Israelites who stuck to the royal tribe of Judah and to the king of that tribe were called Judeans or Jews. (Gen. 49:10; 2 Ki. 16:6; Zech. 8:23) Jesus Christ was of the tribe of Judah. All his footstep followers who hold to him as God’s promised King are therefore Judeans or Jews in a spiritual sense, whose hearts have been circumcised from impurity.—Rev. 5:5; Heb. 7:13, 14.
15. What did the writer Paul call himself in his letters?
15 The apostle Paul, who wrote fourteen of the books of the Bible, said: “I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham.” (Rom. 11:1) “Circumcised the eighth day, out of the family stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born from Hebrews.”—Phil. 3:5.
16. What kind of book could the Bible therefore be called, and what did Paul write concerning the “superiority of the Jew”?
16 From this standpoint the Bible could be called, no, not a Catholic book, but a Hebrew book, an Israelite book, a Judean or Jewish book. In agreement with that, the Jewish Christian Paul wrote Christians at Rome: “He is not a Jew that is one on the outside, nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh. But he is a Jew that is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code. The praise of that one comes, not from men, but from God. What, then, is the superiority of the Jew, or what is the benefit of the circumcision? A great deal in every way. First of all, because they were entrusted with the sacred pronouncements of God.”—Rom. 2:28 to 3:2.
17. (a) Were all writers of the Holy Bible Christians? (b) What bound their writings together in unity and showed the operating of one spirit on them?
17 All the Jewish prophets pointed forward to God’s Anointed One, Messiah or Christ. Their hoping for him bound all the ancient prophetic writings together in a unity. But not all the Bible writers were Christians, in the sense of being men who followed after Christ as King. The Bible writers that preceded Jesus Christ could not, of course, be his followers. No, says the apostle Peter: “They kept on investigating what particular season or what kind of season the spirit in them was indicating concerning Christ when it was bearing witness beforehand about the sufferings for Christ and about the glories to follow these.” (1 Pet. 1:10, 11) The last of the pre-Christian writers was Malachi, whose book closes the canon or official catalogue of the Scriptures written in Hebrew and Aramaic. After Malachi the eight writers who wrote the remaining books of the Holy Bible were all Jewish Christians. In their writings in the common Greek language of their day they pointed out how many of the prophecies of Jehovah’s ancient writers were fulfilled in Jesus Christ the promised King of the tribe of Judah; they themselves also foretold things to happen in connection with him. All writers were thus in full sympathy and agreement with one another regarding God’s kingdom by Messiah or Christ. This proves the operating of the one spirit of God as Author upon them all.
THEIR COMMON VOCATION
18, 19. (a) Besides Jewish nationality, what bound all Bible writers together? (b) In learning what God declared in answer to the question, what scroll becomes of special interest to us?
18 Whereas not all the inspired Bible writers were Christians, there was one thing besides Jewish nationality that bound them all together. What was that? Their common calling. What was their calling? Let us listen to what Jehovah God himself declared to be their calling. In the year 1947, in the midst of the Palestinian War, world-wide interest in the Holy Bible was excited by the discovery of certain ancient manuscripts, no, not in the city of Rome, but near the northwestern end of the Dead Sea in Palestine. These manuscripts came to be called the Dead Sea Scrolls. No, they were not in Latin. They were in Hebrew; and according to the study of archaeologists they were written more than a century before the Christian church or congregation was founded in Jerusalem in the year 33 (A.D.). The most outstanding of these scrolls was that containing a practically complete Hebrew manuscript of Isaiah’s prophecy.
19 Says Harper’s Bible Dictionary (1952), on page 654a: “The Scrolls had been placed in the Dead Sea Cave before Jesus was born, and were not all discovered until nearly 2,000 years after his death. The Isaiah Scroll found in the Cave probably resembles the one from which he read Isaiah as a young man at Nazareth. (Luke 4:16-19) It has few variations from the prophecy we read today, except minor differences in spelling and errors of the copyists.”
20, 21. (a) On page column 36 what does this Dead Sea Scroll say God declares to be the calling of his chosen people? (b) How is Isaiah 43:10 commented on in The Soncino Books of the Bible (1949)?
20 This Scroll is one of very many not preserved by the Roman Catholic Church. In its page column 36 the Scroll gives the Hebrew text of Isaiah 43:1, 10-12, which, translated into modern English, reads: “And now this is what Jehovah has said, your Creator, O Jacob, and your Former, O Israel: ‘Do not be afraid, for I have repurchased you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.’” “‘You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and have faith in me, and that you may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.’ ‘I myself have told forth and have saved and have caused it to be heard, when there was among you no stranger. So you are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I am God.’”
21 In these plain words Jehovah God declared the calling of his chosen people Jacob or Israel was to be that of his “witnesses.” In commenting on Isaiah 43:10 here, in The Soncino Books of the Bible (1949), the Jewish Dr. Israel W. Slotki says, on page 207: “The nations and their gods being unable to prove their contention, God calls upon Israel, who is described as My witnesses and My servant, to bear testimony to the uniqueness of His Divinity, that there neither was nor ever would be a God like unto Him.”
22. (a) Who was Moses, and from when on did he become an outstanding witness? (b) What proves that Moses was such a witness of Jehovah?
22 The first of the inspired Bible writers was the prophet Moses. He was of the tribe of Levi of the nation of Israel. Accordingly, in view of Jehovah’s own declaration in Isaiah 43:10-12, Moses was one of His witnesses. By his holy angel in the miraculously burning bush “God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt they say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3:2, 14, 15, AS) From then on Moses became an outstanding witness of Jehovah. In the first five books of the Bible which he wrote, from Genesis through Deuteronomy, he used the name Jehovah (יהוה)c 1,833 times. Who, then, can truthfully deny that Moses was a witness of Jehovah and was true to his calling? No one but religious hypocrites, prevaricators and hiders of the truth could do so! The Christian writer of the inspired letter to the Hebrews, chapters eleven and twelve, lists Moses among the witnesses of Jehovah. But Moses was not the first witness of Jehovah.
23. Who was the first faithful witness, and what did the end of his career mark the start of?
23 The writer of Hebrews lists Abel, the second son of Adam, as the first faithful witness of Jehovah, saying: “By faith a fuller sacrifice did Abel offer unto God than Cain,—through which he received witness that he was righteous, there being a witnessing upon his gifts by God; and through it though he died he yet is speaking.” (Heb. 11:4, Ro; NW) As it is written, in Genesis 4:4, 5 (AS): “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” In religious jealousy Cain murdered his brother Abel for being a faithful, acceptable witness of Jehovah. This was the start of all the violence that religionists have inflicted upon the true witnesses of Jehovah from Abel’s ancient time till today.
24, 25. (a) Whom does Hebrews chapter eleven name in its list? (b) How does the writer of Hebrews indicate that the aforenamed were witnesses of Jehovah?
24 After Abel, chapter eleven of Hebrews goes through the list of witnesses of Jehovah, naming the prophets Enoch and Noah; the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Abraham’s wife Sarah; Jacob’s son Joseph; the prophet Moses; Rahab the harlot, who survived the destruction of walled Jericho; judges Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah; King David and the prophet Samuel. The writer finds no time to name the other prophets; but when he refers to ‘stopping the mouths of lions,’ whom could he also have in mind but the prophet Daniel who came out of the lions’ den safely? When he spoke of witnesses of Jehovah dying by slaughter with the sword, he could have had in mind John the Baptist, who was beheaded. After describing the rough treatment that they received, chapter eleven of Hebrews closes, saying: “And these all, though they obtained witness through their faith, yet bare not away the promise: God for us [Christians] something better providing, that not apart from us should they be made perfect.” (Heb. 11:39, 40, Ro) But how does the writer of Hebrews indicate that they were witnesses of Jehovah God? He does so by saying in the very next two verses:
25 “Therefore, indeed, seeing that we also have encircling us so great a cloud of witnesses, stripping off every encumbrance and the easily entangling sin, with endurance let us be running the race that is lying before us, looking away unto our faith’s Princely leader and perfecter, Jesus, who in consideration of the joy lying before him endured a cross, shame despising, and on the right hand of the throne of God hath taken his seat.”—Heb. 12:1, 2, Ro.
26. What shows whose “cloud of witnesses” they were, and so who authored the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures, and by means of whom?
26 Note that the writer of Hebrews calls those whom he named or described in Heb chapter eleven and who preceded Jesus Christ, a “cloud of witnesses.” But whose witnesses? There is only one answer: Jehovah’s. Why, the last one of the Bible books written before Jesus Christ, namely, the prophecy of Malachi, mentions Jehovah forty-eight times. Jesus Christ him. self quoted from this prophecy of Malachi to show its inspiration and genuineness as part of Jehovah’s Word. (Matt. 11:7-15; Mal. 3:1; 4:5, 6) Thus from Moses to Malachi all the writers of the canonical Scriptures were witnesses of Jehovah; and all those inspired Scriptures in Hebrew and Aramaic were of Jehovah’s authorship and were by his witnesses.
CHRISTIAN WITNESSES OF JEHOVAH
27, 28. (a) What was Jesus born to be, and how so? (b) To what political ruler did he confess that fact, and so what title did he earn?
27 The Hebrew Christians to whom the writer of the letter wrote were surrounded by such a “cloud of witnesses” and were told also to look away to “faith’s Princely leader and perfecter, Jesus,” who died a martyr’s death. Does this mean that Jesus also was a witness of Jehovah? Yes, Jesus the Son of God from heaven was born in the family line of King David, in the tribe of Judah, in the nation of Israel. By birth Jesus was one of the nation of Israel to whom Jehovah God said, in Isaiah 43:10-12: “‘You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” So Jesus was born on earth to be Jehovah’s witness. This fact he refused to deny, even before the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, who sentenced Jesus to death. In answer to Pilate’s question, “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus said: “It is for you to say that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born and for this purpose I have come into the world, [why?] that I should bear witness to the truth.”—John 18:37.
28 To emphasize that Jesus was a witness the apostle Paul speaks of “Christ Jesus, who as a witness made the right public declaration in the audience of Pontius Pilate.” (1 Tim. 6:13) Likewise, the apostle John, writing to seven congregations in the province of Asia, says: “May you have undeserved kindness and peace from . . . Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘The firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘The Ruler of the kings of the earth’.”—Rev. 1:4, 5.
29. How did Jesus confess to being a witness when speaking to Nicodemus?
29 Further, out of Jesus’ own mouth we hear his confession to being Jehovah’s witness, when he says to Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher in Israel: “What we know we speak and what we have seen we bear witness of, but you people do not receive the witness we give. If I have told you earthly things and yet you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”—John 3:11, 12; Ro.
30, 31. (a) How does John then comment on Jesus as a witness? (b) How did Jesus speak the sayings of God in the Nazareth synagogue?
30 Some verses later the apostle John comments on this, saying: “He that comes from heaven is over all others. What he has seen and heard, of this he bears witness, but no man is accepting his witness. He that has accepted his witness has given his seal to it that God is true. For the one whom God sent forth speaks the sayings of God, for he does not give the spirit sparingly.” (John 3:31-34; Ro) Jesus truly spoke the sayings of God on the sabbath day when he was in the synagogue in his home town Nazareth, and he read from God’s Word. An Isaiah scroll, like the one found near the Dead Sea in 1947, was handed him by the attendant, and Jesus unrolled it to Isa chapter sixty-one, verses one and two, and read:
31 “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor.”—Isa. 61:1, 2, AS; Luke 4:16-19.
32, 33. (a) What did Jesus then say to show himself Jehovah’s witness? (b) In the temple at Jerusalem what prophet did Peter declare Jesus Christ to be?
32 Then Jesus commented: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” To show its fulfillment, he now proceeded to “proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor,” which Jehovah had anointed him to proclaim. Jesus was thus proving himself Jehovah’s witness. (Luke 4:20-22) After Jesus had proved himself a witness faithful to a martyr’s death, the apostle Peter publicly told a crowd of worshipers of Jehovah in the temple of Jerusalem that Jesus was the prophet whom Moses had foretold in these words to Israel:
33 “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; . . . And Jehovah said unto me, . . . I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee [Moses]; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name [Jehovah], I will require it of him.”—Deut. 18:15-19, AS.
34. In being a prophet like Moses, what was Jesus Christ obliged to be, and thus in imitating Jesus what must his followers be?
34 Moses as prophet was a prominent witness of Jehovah, and he declared the name of Jehovah even to the mighty Pharaoh of Egypt. Not only the apostle Peter but also the Christian martyr Stephen declared Jesus to be the foretold prophet who was to be raised up, one like Moses but greater than Moses. (Acts 3:20-23; 7:37, 52, 53) In fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy, Jesus Christ was a witness of Jehovah as Moses had been but was a witness greater than Moses. It is to Jesus the Greater Moses that all the runners in the Christian race toward eternal life in God’s new world are told to look, for the purpose of imitating Jesus Christ. (Heb. 12:1, 2) Said the apostle Paul: “Become imitators of me, even as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Thess. 1:6) The truth becomes plain, therefore, that true Christians, true followers of Christ, must imitate him in being Jehovah’s witnesses. True Christians are Jehovah’s witnesses.
35. (a) Till whose conversion were natural Jews born to be witnesses? (b) What did Jews leaving Judaism for Christianity become, but what did Jews refusing Christianity cease to be?
35 The Jewish apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ were proof of the fact that genuine Christians are witnesses of Jehovah God. In the face of Jehovah’s own words to the nation of Israel in the Isaiah scroll, Isa chapter forty-three, verses ten through twelve, all natural Jews who were born prior to the conversion of Cornelius, the first non-Jew, to Christianity were born to be servants and witnesses of Jehovah. When such natural Jews left Judaism with its traditions and became Christians in the days of the apostles, they did not cease to be Jehovah’s witnesses. No; they became the Christian witnesses of Jehovah, like their Leader Jesus Christ the Greater Moses. The natural-born Jews who refused to accept Jesus Christ as the Greater Moses were the ones who ceased to be Jehovah’s witnesses as well as Jehovah’s national “servant” class. On the other hand, the Christians were the ones who recognized Jehovah’s words in the Isaiah scroll, Isa chapter fifty-five, verse four, to apply to Jesus Christ: “Lo! As a witness to the peoples have I given him, as a leader and commander to the peoples.”—Ro; AS.
36. On Pentecost what did the anointed Jews become?
36 On the day of the festival of Pentecost A.D. 33 the Jewish followers of Jesus were anointed with Jehovah’s holy spirit the same as Jesus had been. By this they now became spiritual Jews, specially anointed to be the new nation of spiritual Israel, the new nation of Jehovah’s servants and witnesses.—1 Pet. 2:9.
37. (a) On Pentecost what Hebrew scriptures did Peter quote and what concluding comment did he make on them? (b) What did Peter thus show himself to be?
37 When explaining that outpouring of holy spirit upon the Jewish Christians that day, the apostle Peter quoted the following words from the scroll of Joel’s prophecy: “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; . . . The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered.” (Joel 2:28-32, AS) Peter next quoted Psalm 16:8-11, which says: “I have set Jehovah always before me: . . . For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; . . . ” (AS) Peter also quoted Psalm 110:1, which says: “Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (AS) Then, in comment on these inspired scriptures, Peter said: “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.” (Acts 2:14-36) In this unmistakable way Peter showed right at the start that he as a spiritual Jew or Israelite was an anointed witness of Jehovah, this Jehovah who had resurrected his Son Jesus Christ from death in Sheol and who had poured out his holy spirit by means of Jesus Christ seated at His right hand.
38. In his first epistle how did John classify himself as a witness, and how to the end of the Bible did John show Jesus to be one?
38 The apostle John was there with Peter at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. John plainly classified himself as a witness of the one God whose name is Jehovah. In 1 John 4:14 the apostle John writes: “In addition, we ourselves have beheld and are bearing witness that the Father [Jehovah] has sent forth his Son as Savior of the world.” And in the very last book of the Bible John quotes the glorified Jesus Christ as saying to him in a vision: “These are the things the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God.” “He that bears witness of these things says: ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’” To this latter announcement John responds: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 3:14; 22:20) So to the very end of the Holy Bible John emphasized that Jesus Christ was a witness of his heavenly Father Jehovah. John also testified that he himself was such a witness of Jehovah God.
39. (a) By whom and how were the last twenty-seven books of the Bible supplied to us? (b) How did Peter rank apostolic writings with the inspired Holy Scriptures?
39 John, Peter and the other first-century witnesses of Jehovah bore testimony not only by word of mouth but also by writing. As a result the Christians were supplied with the last twenty-seven books of the Bible, these books being written, not in the ancient Hebrew nor in Latin, but in the common Greek, the international language of the first century. Jehovah God inspired eight men of his new nation of spiritual Israel, eight anointed Jewish Christians, to complete the Holy Bible for us by the end of the first century. Hence, for example, the apostle Peter ranks the inspired writings of the apostle Paul with the “rest of the Scriptures” when he writes: “Consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his other letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, the meaning of which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”—2 Pet. 3:15, 16; AT; Mo.
40. By means of whom was the Holy Bible begun and by means of whom completed, and so a book by whom may it be said to be?
40 Thus the Holy Bible of which Jehovah God is the one Author was completed by means of his witnesses, even as it had been begun by means of them. Consequently, with no room allowed for Scriptural contradiction, it may be said that The Holy Bible is the Book by Jehovah’s witnesses. As Revelation 19:6 exclaims, “Hallelujah!”
a See also Psalms 135:1; 146:1, AS, footnote. Says McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia, Volume IV, page 32a: “Hallelujah (Heb. halleluʹ-yahʹ, הללו־יה, Praise ye Jah, i.e. Jehovah!) or (in its Greek form) ALLELUʹIAH (’Αλληλούϊα), a word which stands at the beginning of many of the Psalms. . . . In the great hymn of triumph in heaven over the destruction of Babylon, the apostle in vision heard the multitude in chorus like the voice of mighty thunderings burst forth ‘Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth,’ responding to the voice which came out of the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.’ (Rev. xix, 1-6).”
b Quoted from the Westminster Version of the Sacred Scriptures (1937). See also Rotherham, An American Translation, Moffatt, and the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
c Some Hebrew scholars would pronounce the name Jahveh or Yahweh. See page 25 ¶1 of the Foreword of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures.
[Picture on page 589]
The above photostat of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (DSIa) is the first of its fifty-four columns of well-preserved Hebrew writing, read from right to left. It contains chapter one of Isaiah, from verse 1 to part of verse 26. This opening page contains 29 lines, and the tetragrammaton of the divine name יהוה is still legible in full seven times, on lines 3, 10, 12, 13, 21, 27, and the first two letters thereof on line 5.