Inner Harmony—Proof of the Bible’s Divine Authorship
“Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, even as it is written: ‘That you might be proved righteous in your words and might win when you are being judged.’”—Rom. 3:4.
1. Why do many have little respect for the Christian religion and the Bible?
MANY people in many lands know little or nothing of the Bible. This is often because they have never read it, not having been brought up in the Christian faith. Instead, they have their own religion, with its sacred writings, which they have been taught to accept as true. Hence, their knowledge and judgment of the Christian religion and its sacred writings, the Bible, are based on what they see and know of the conduct of those who claim to be Christian, whether the so-called Christian nations, or, perhaps, a Christian community in their own country. When they see how deeply divided Christendom is, when they see how warlike she is, when they see her practices and principles in matters of commerce and morals, no wonder they have little respect for the Christian religion and form a poor opinion of its book, the Bible. But is that the extent of the reproach, or the worst kind of reproach, that the Bible has to suffer?
2. In what way do many in Christendom feel superior to others, and is this justified?
2 Many people in many churches of Christendom would begrudgingly acknowledge the bad impression given by Christendom in her various theaters of activity. They sadly shake their heads over the ignorance of those who know nothing of the Bible, feeling conscious of the big advantage they enjoy in belonging to a Christian community. “Of course we believe in God,” say they, “and we accept the Bible as God’s Word and respect it accordingly.” This magazine is not doubting their sincerity, but we think it is appropriate and well worthwhile to ask one or two questions as to their real opinion of the Bible.
3. (a) How do the majority view the Bible, and what has caused this? (b) What weakness is apparent respecting this viewpoint?
3 Do such people really accept, without qualification, that God is in fact the Author and is fully responsible for all that is written in the sixty-six books comprising the true canon of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation? Few, indeed, would go as far as that, or anywhere near that far. The great majority, following the general trend, make a distinction between what they call the Old Testament and the New Testament, pinning their faith almost entirely on the latter, but having little use for and still less trust in the former, except for its historical and literary interest. Many, brought up to attend Sunday school as children, were told the Bible stories of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and other happenings and miracles of those ancient times. What happens when they grow up? Still following the general trend, they mentally put those things in the same category as their childhood fairy stories and dismiss them. But can they then say that they believe in what they call the New Testament, when its many quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures are always given as unquestionably true and authoritative, and when Jesus, the Son of God, said emphatically of those writings (the only part of the Bible then in existence): “Your word is truth”?—John 17:17.
4. How do many view the inspiration of the Scriptures?
4 This brings up the important question of the inspiration of the Bible. Most people in Christendom view the Bible as a good book, The Book, as far as religion is concerned, and to be treated with utmost respect because of its great age. And they often say it is inspired. But in what way? Only in the same way as poets and musicians are said to be inspired. They think of a Bible writer, say Isaiah, or David, as being like a talented poet, completely immersed and carried away by some grand theme, drawing on and exciting his creative abilities, so that, as it is said, he surpasses himself and is inspired to produce a monumental and immortal masterpiece.
5. How does the Bible’s own claim to inspiration contrast with the general opinion respecting the Bible writers and their work?
5 This means in actual fact that many look upon the Bible as a collection of books written by devout men, rather than as a single, though composite, work written under the direction of a single, divine Author, by the inspiration of his holy spirit, or invisible active force. It is the latter view that the Bible itself claims, saying that “all Scripture is inspired of God,” and that “prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21) But very few in Christendom would agree with such a claim. Rather, they say they think of the Old Testament writers as men who were groping after God, and hastily add that we have come a long way since then. No, they do not say we have come a long way since the days of Jesus and the apostles, but their attitude toward the Bible and their treatment of it amount to that. They certainly do not consider it as a modern guide for modern problems, but, rather, as something to use for its moral lessons and as an excellent source of apt quotations.
6. In what way do many put themselves in a false position, and how is this illustrated?
6 Thus, though probably possessing a Bible and freely speaking of it as God’s Word, in reality these professed friends of the Bible are in a false position and, in effect, contradict themselves. This is well illustrated by the following quotation from a Roman Catholic publication.a Under the heading, “How Catholics Regard the Bible,” we read: “Catholics . . . cherish the highest esteem and veneration for the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and regard it as a treasure of unique value.” What finer expression of confidence could you want? But wait! The next sentence reads: “But they [Catholics] consider that the Bible was never intended to be the sole and adequate Rule of Faith, partly because it is not a sufficiently exhaustive account of all Christ’s teaching, partly because its expressions of doctrine are not always clear and need authoritative interpretation.” With your confidence in the Bible now undermined, you are then told that the authority of the Catholic church is the divinely provided means for preserving Christ’s full teaching for all time. In other words, it is not the voice of God’s Word, but, rather, the voice of the Catholic church that should be heeded as having full and final authority.
7. What undermining influence is at work in Christendom, resulting in what?
7 We have discussed this at some length so that our many readers might clearly appreciate the true position of so many who speak of the Bible as God’s Word, yet, by their actual lack of faith and acceptance, cause more harm and reproach to come against the Bible than even on the part of those who are openly non-Christian or avowed atheists. This undermining influence is surely one of the main causes for the indifference that Jehovah’s witnesses often encounter when endeavoring to arouse interest in mankind’s only hope, the Bible message of God’s kingdom, the one remedy for all the fierce problems of our day. This indifference stems from the lack of real confidence in that which is the sole basis and foundation of the Christian’s faith, that is, God’s true and righteous Word, the Bible.
8. How is the Bible’s divine Authorship well substantiated, involving what aspects?
8 We therefore propose to examine certain lines of evidence that give substantial proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible, pointing irresistibly to a single, divine Authorship. One of the main lines of evidence is the wonderful way in which hundreds of Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled and are being fulfilled before our very eyes in these “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Tim. 3:1) What is remarkable in this field of study is the fact that Jehovah foresaw and foretold so much, not only concerning his own people, those in harmony with him, but also concerning those out of harmony with him. This includes prophecies telling of the march of the world powers, their rise and fall.b Added to this is the fact that Jehovah has caused these prophecies to be fulfilled without coercion, without interfering with the free will of even his enemies. Add to this the astounding accuracy of the various time features involved.
9. What other line of evidence can be considered, enabling us to meet what challenge?
9 These things form what might be termed an objective study of God’s Word, and time and again they have been the main subject of the articles in this magazine, and doubtless will continue to be so, if it is Jehovah’s will. In this present discussion, however, we purpose to examine certain subjective evidence, that is, as found in the contents of the Bible itself. The big question is, Can we possibly say that the Bible is in reality no more than a collection of human documents, written under the influence of human inspiration? Is that theory tenable, does it hold water? Or shall we find, taking it to its logical conclusion, that such a theory is absolutely untenable, and no more capable of holding water than a night watchman’s brazier filled with burning coals? In other words, can it be proved that there is an inner harmony throughout the entire Scriptures, a harmony and a conception of things so strong and beyond human originality as to defy the possibility of these writings being credited to mere men, however devout?
10. (a) In the writing of the Scriptures, what important factors arise? (b) Can the Bible writers be properly accused of collusion?
10 Before taking up our first line of evidence, we want to point out three important factors regarding the Scriptures. First, the time factor. Moses, the first of the inspired writers, started writing no later than 1513 B.C., and John, the last writer, completed the Bible canon about A.D. 98. Thus the Bible took about 1600 years to write. Keep that in mind. Secondly, there were more than thirty-five men, all Hebrews, who were used to write the collection of the Bible’s sixty-six books. Thirdly, much of their writing, especially when recording prophecy, was expressed in highly figurative and symbolic language, often beyond the comprehension of the writers themselves. As Daniel said on one occasion: “I heard, but I could not understand,” and, on inquiry, was told: “The words are made secret and sealed up until the time of the end.” What do we conclude from these three factors, namely, that it took about 1600 years for thirty-five men to complete their writings, often couched in figurative language? Why, this: that those men could not possibly have put their heads together so as to make it all fit in. There could have been no collusion, but, rather, every possibility of a collision, especially since, as we shall see, they did not all write from the same viewpoint.—Dan. 12:8, 9. (See also 1 Peter 1:10-12.)
THE FIRST PROPHECY—HOW KEPT ALIVE
11. (a) From what angle is it proposed to examine Bible prophecy? (b) Relate the circumstances and wording of the first prophecy.
11 The first line of evidence we wish to examine is with regard to the way by which prophecy, especially the first one, was kept alive throughout the Bible. Remember, we are not so much looking at the fulfillment of prophecy as the way in which the Bible writers, from beginning to end, maintained their theme and conception of things, as related to God’s purpose. The first prophecy is a short one and, by its very wording, it obviously holds a key position. It was given when Jehovah God pronounced judgment, following the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve when in Eden, at the instigation of the serpent, who was used as the mouthpiece of someone unseen. After expressing judgment on the serpent itself, God went on to say: “And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Gen. 3:15.
12. What characters were involved in that prophecy and, humanly speaking, how only could it be kept alive?
12 There are four characters mentioned in that prophecy, namely, (1) the serpent, (2) its seed, (3) the woman, and (4) her seed. Nothing was said as to how or when it would be fulfilled, or who would ultimately be identified as corresponding to those four characters. Now, if the Scriptures were of no more than human authorship, it would necessarily follow, without question, that the only way to keep that initial prophecy alive would be by succeeding Bible writers repeating it, and enlarging on it, until they could show how the whole thing was worked out. Surely we are agreed that such a conclusion is only logical.
13 Very well. Let us put that theory to the test. Where, either in the rest of Moses’ writings or in those of the next Bible writer, or the next, do you find another prophecy mentioning those four characters? Search throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and you will not find such a prophecy. Continue searching through the Christian Greek Scriptures, and again you will not find one, no, not until you reach the last book, Revelation. There, in chapter twelve, we find a prophecy that clearly ties in with that first one given about sixteen hundred years previously. There we read about the serpent, now grown, as it were, into a “great fiery-colored dragon,” though later in the same chapter identified with the “original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan.” As we shall find, the seed of the serpent is also mentioned. There, too, most vividly described, is the woman of the Edenic prophecy, and, behold! she is actually seen giving birth to the promised seed. The bruising of the serpent, in part, is also described, in his being violently “hurled down to the earth,” and his angels with him. Finally, in the last verse (Re 12:17), there is reference to the serpent’s (or dragon’s) determined effort to bruise, in a secondary way, the heel of the woman’s seed.—Rev. 12:1-3, 5, 9, 17.
14. Can it be said that John himself was attempting to clear up the mystery of that first prophecy?
14 Now our attention is drawn to another remarkable thing. Though this vision matches closely the prophecy given in Eden, it cannot possibly be said that John, who recorded the vision, was deliberately showing how it was being worked out and giving the understanding thereof. How could that be, when this vision, like the rest of this book, is in highly symbolic language? As stated in the opening words, it was a revelation given by God to Jesus Christ, who “presented it in signs . . . to his slave John.” (Rev. 1:1) If we took the theory of the Bible’s human authorship to its logical conclusion, we would have to say that John must have thought to himself, ‘Ah! that first prophecy has never been cleared up; I must have a vision about that!’ Of course not. No suggestion could be more absurd.
15. In what respects can the Scriptures be likened to a detective story?
15 The truth is, the Bible can well be likened in some ways to a detective story. You are probably familiar with the method frequently used in that kind of literature. The big problem is posed early, usually a crime by some unknown person; then, as you read, your mind is alert to every possible clue, true or false. At the conclusion the problem is solved and, through the medium of the detective, you are taken back, as it were, and shown all the clues that the author had carefully planted and skillfully hidden in the development of the plot. As a result you marvel at the ingenuity of the author in being able to construct the entire framework, yet keeping the solution so well hidden until the end.
16. How can such illustration be used regarding the Bible, leading to what results?
16 We can do the same with the Bible on this very theme we have been discussing. We can, so to speak, pick up some of the clues planted throughout the Bible, proving beyond a shadow of doubt that there could be only the one Mastermind behind all those sacred writings. We mention only a few at this time, but the more we study the evidence in detail, the more we marvel at the ingenious way by which the Author kept that first prophecy alive, though hidden from general view. Still more do we marvel at the wonderful and glorious outcome determined on for that first prophecy, calling forth our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude.
IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERS
17. (a) Who is identified as the seed of the woman? (b) In what ways is this One further identified, resulting in what?
17 Of the four characters in that initial prophecy, it has been the seed of the woman that has received most attention. This is not surprising, since the Scriptures themselves give this the most prominence, also when we learn who the promised seed really is. Yes, he is none other than the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is not only the foretold Seed of that Edenic prophecy, but is also the Seed promised to Abraham, through whom “all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” He is also the One foretold to come through David’s line and inherit his throne and even a greater one, a heavenly throne. Jesus’ actual genealogy is traced right back to Adam by the Gospel writer Luke, tracing it through Judah, to whom the promise was given that from him the “scepter [kingdom rule] will not turn aside . . . until Shiloh comes.” The way that line was preserved and can be traced right down to the coming of Jesus at his first advent and then, as shown at Revelation, chapter twelve, takes us on to the second advent for the major fulfillment of the Edenic prophecy forms one of the most fascinating studies of God’s Word. It builds up confidence, too, in its glorious outcome, not only in the crushing out of all evil in heaven and earth, but in the certainty of that Kingdom rule, “a new heaven and a new earth,” when all can bless themselves by learning how to render full obedience, and when even “death will be no more.”—Gen. 22:18; 49:10; Luke 3:23-38; Acts 2:34-36; Gal. 3:16; Rev. 21:1-4.
18. (a) Who first identified the serpent and its seed, and when? (b) What important principle was disclosed and applied at that time?
18 The next two characters, the serpent and its seed, were not identified by name until more than four thousand years after God had pronounced judgment in Eden. That is a long time to keep a secret in suspension. It was Jesus himself who disclosed it. Some might say it was not difficult to surmise who was the one using the serpent as a mouthpiece, but who would have rightly guessed the identity of the serpent’s seed? Jesus revealed this, not by guesswork, but by disclosing a very important principle on which God works. Men always reckon the family, or people, to which they belong as governed by actual descent through birth. They know of no other way. The Jews did this when their leaders, the Pharisees, were disputing what Jesus said, and claimed: “We are Abraham’s offspring and never have we been slaves to anybody.” Jesus replied: “I know that you are Abraham’s offspring; but you are seeking to kill me.” Pursuing the argument to its logical conclusion and showing that the heart attitude is the prime factor, Jesus finally said to them: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began [in Eden].”—John 8:33-44.
19. Following this principle, how does the Bible further help us to trace and identify the seed of the serpent?
19 Having this knowledge, or clue, we can now go back through the Hebrew Scriptures and see how the Devil has, from the beginning, developed his seed, those whom he could use as his tools, with the spirit of murder in their hearts. The first one on earth was “Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother.” The development continued right on to those religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and again carries right on to our own day, when the same spirit of murderous hostility is often shown by the same class toward those followers of Jesus who are obediently preaching the “good news of the kingdom.” We must also appreciate that Satan the Devil built up his organization and developed his seed from among those angels in heaven who copied his example of disobedience. As Peter discloses: “God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned.” These are the ones referred to at Revelation 12:9, who were hurled down to the earth with their leader, after the battle in heaven.—1 John 3:12; Matt. 24:9, 14; John 16:2; 2 Pet. 2:4.
20. In view of this principle, what vital lesson is thereby taught?
20 We pause here to take the lesson home to ourselves, that one’s having God’s favor does not depend on any accident of birth, or joining some earthly organization, even if claiming to be of the Christian religion. Jesus stated the simple rule: “He that has my commandments and observes them, that one is he who loves me. In turn he that loves me will be loved by my Father.” John commented in line with this when he wrote: “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother.”—John 14:21; 1 John 3:10.
THE WOMAN OF THE EDENIC PROPHECY
21. Who might we naturally think was the “woman” at Genesis 3:15, and how is this borne out?
21 There is one more character to discuss in that original prophecy, namely, the woman, the mother of the promised seed. Who is she? Or, as the French say when a problem is posed involving some unknown person: “Cherchez la femme” (Find the woman). Humanly speaking, this is the most intriguing character to identify. There are no obvious clues. In fact, when judgment was pronounced there was only one woman in the picture in the earthly scene, and that was Eve herself. So, not surprisingly, though quite unworthily, she evidently thought she was the woman referred to, indicated by her words when she gave birth to her firstborn son, Cain: “I have acquired a man with the aid of Jehovah.” But, no, we must look in another direction for a woman who is holy, whom Jehovah would be glad to use as a worthy means for such a sacred purpose.—Gen. 4:1.
22 Turning again to Revelation, chapter twelve, we find that this woman, though not named, is given a description that does indeed turn our attention in a different direction. Even in the first verse of that chapter Re 12:1, where she is seen ‘arrayed with the sun, and the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars,’ our minds are at once lifted far above any thought of an earthly woman of humankind, including Mary, the mother of the human babe Jesus. Further, the fifth verse Re 12:5 indicates the time of the actual birth as being the time of the enthronement of the promised seed, which this magazine has often proved in its pages took place in heaven in 1914 (A.D.). Additionally, Re 12 verse seventeen of this chapter shows that this woman is also the mother of the “remaining ones of her seed,” that is, the remnant of the true church yet on earth after the Devil and his angels are hurled out of heaven. This identification of the “remaining ones” is confirmed by Paul when he explains that the members of the true church are part of Abraham’s seed, saying: “If you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed.”—Gal. 3:29.
23. How does Paul’s illustration and analogy at Galatians 4:21-31 help us, leading to what conclusion?
23 Are these true Christians spoken of as having a mother? Yes, and here is a vital clue. Shortly after making the above statement in his letter, Paul goes on to explain a “symbolic drama,” involving two women and two covenants and two cities. You might think, The plot thickens! but when we once grasp Paul’s analogy, we are well on the way to solving our problem. First, he mentions the servant girl Hagar, the mother of Abraham’s son Ishmael. Hagar corresponds to the law covenant inaugurated at Mount Sinai, made with fleshly Israel, and which covenant ‘brought forth children for slavery,’ under its binding terms. Mount Sinai, Paul says, corresponds with the city of Jerusalem of his day, “in slavery with her children [the Jews].” In contrast, the other woman, “the free woman,” is Sarah, the mother of Isaac. Sarah corresponds with the Abrahamic covenant, that produces the true church, spiritual Israel, the head of which is the Lord Jesus Christ. The church, which is the “body of Christ,” began to be brought forth at Pentecost, as part of “Abraham’s seed,” by means of whom all nations of the earth will bless themselves. So Paul, writing as a member of Abraham’s seed, says to his fellow members: “The Jerusalem above is free [like Sarah], and she is our mother.”—Gal. 3:16-18, 26-29; 4:21-31; Gen. 22:18.
24. When a woman is linked with a city in prophecy, what is signified?
24 Did you notice that Paul linked those two women with two cities? This is important. When a woman is linked with a city in prophecy, it indicates that what is symbolized thereby is something far greater than a creature, either earthly or heavenly. It indicates an organization, for a city is an apt symbol of a people living together under a closely organized arrangement. This is particularly true when it is a capital city, as in the case of Jerusalem, or Zion, which was the national center of government and true worship, with the throne and temple situated there. Thus we can appreciate that the “Jerusalem above,” the “Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem,” is in reality the theocratic, universal organization of Jehovah, which organization was also symbolized by the “woman” of the Edenic prophecy.—Heb. 12:22.
25. How is the same thing seen relative to Satan’s organization?
25 Incidentally, and in strong confirmation of the above, the linking of a woman with a city is also used in the Bible to picture Satan’s organization, when we read of a woman, described as the “great harlot,” and who is named “Babylon the Great,” and in the vision John is specifically told: “The woman whom you saw means the great city [Babylon].” (Rev. 17:1, 18) However, Genesis 3:15 does not mention any woman for the Serpent.
26, 27. (a) What further helpful references are found in Isaiah’s prophecy? (b) What important information is given therein, completing what picture?
26 Though many of the references, or clues, are found in the Christian Greek Scriptures, they all have their roots in the Hebrew Scriptures. In proof of this, we find that Paul, after explaining the foregoing “symbolic drama,” makes a supporting quotation from Isaiah’s prophecy, which was written about 800 years before Paul’s day. At Galatians 4:27, Paul says: “For it is written: ‘Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; . . . for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.’” He is quoting from Isaiah 54:1. Looking at the context, we find that Isaiah, after telling how Zion would be set free and restored to Jehovah’s favor, then likens that city to a woman who had been barren, but is called on to rejoice greatly, for she is promised many sons. Who is her husband, the father of these many sons? This is most important. The prophet is inspired to write: “For your grand Maker is your husbandly owner, Jehovah of armies being his name . . . For Jehovah called you as if you were a wife.” Then the prophet again forges that same link, and likens that “woman afflicted” to a city whose “foundation” and “boundaries” are relaid with “glowing . . . delightsome stones,” and he climaxes with the grand promise: “And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.”—Isa. 52:1, 2; 54:1-6, 11-13.
27 Thus we now have before our mental vision a complete and fine picture of what was portrayed by the prophecy announced in Eden, with its four characters, and with the addition of the Holy One, Jehovah himself, who fulfills the role of husband in relation to the woman, the mother of the promised seed.
28. What can now be said as to the Scriptures being merely human documents, and how can we answer Christendom’s critics?
28 Who is going to say that Isaiah, in writing as he did, was knowingly planting a hidden clue that would form a vital link in identifying one of the main characters of the Edenic prophecy when naming the “husbandly owner” of the woman, or city? In fact, we might ask, How many of those who think of the Scriptures as merely human documents written under human inspiration, at all realize the significance of the things we have been discussing? Of all the brilliant scholars and commentators of Christendom, is there even one who has been able to unravel this matter and identify that prophetic woman who gives birth to the promised seed? If not, then we need not be at all disturbed by the adverse criticisms and judgments expressed by Christendom’s spokesmen as to the authenticity and divine origin of the Holy Bible. Fearlessly we can say: “Let God be found true,” being supremely confident that he will be ‘proved righteous in his words and will win when being judged.’—Rom. 3:4.
29. (a) To whom is all credit due for the understanding of the Bible? (b) Who are used by Jehovah to dispense spiritual truths, and how is this done?
29 Our understanding of these things is not due to ourselves. All the credit is due to Jehovah, through Christ Jesus. The apostle stresses this when he says to his Christian brothers: “Not many wise in a fleshly way were called, . . . but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame . . . But it is due to him [God] that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God.” As Jehovah, through the angel, promised Daniel, at the “time of the end . . . no wicked ones at all will understand; but the ones having insight will understand.” In agreement with this, and acting as his Father’s representative, Jesus promised in his prophecy concerning the “time of the end,” that he would make manifest the “faithful and discreet slave,” speaking collectively of the remnant of his true followers of the heavenly class, and that he would “appoint him over all his belongings.” In other words, this faithful slave class, accepting without reservation the entire Bible as the inspired Word of God, and the members thereof themselves filled with God’s spirit and guided by it, are used by God, acting through Christ Jesus, to dispense the spiritual truths, the “food at the proper time.”—1 Cor. 1:26-31; Dan. 12:9, 10; Matt. 24:45-47.
a What the Catholic Church Is and What She Teaches, by E. R. Hull, S. J.
b For proof read “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” published by the Watch Tower Society in 1958.