How the Bible Is Inspired
In the western world the majority of our people believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but they are at a loss to explain how it is inspired. Most people have not the slightest idea what makes the Bible to be inspired or how its teachings are authoritative for their lives. Normally, the laity simply let the ordained ministers of their churches decide for them what represents the Word of God and what does not. And look at the result of this. While some church hierarchies accept only the 66 separate books of the King James Version (or 49 in the proper number) as being the inspired Word of God, others receive an additional 11 (or 14) books of the Apocrypha as being equally inspired. Other denominations have accepted extra books such as the Book of Mormon or the visionary interpretations of people such as the Seventh-day Adventist E.G. White. What is the truth of these matters? Can we know what the inspired Word of God is? Can we know how all of it became inspired? And indeed, can we be sure the Bible is inspired in the first place?
In this Appendix we will begin with a principle of teaching that most Christians of the various denominations accept as a cardinal truth of God. That is their belief that Jesus Christ is the first-born Son of God; that he died for all our sins; that he rose from the dead at the precise time prophesied in the Old Testament scriptures and that he is coming to judge the world in a Second Advent in the not too distant future. I personally believe these things to be true.
Though some people accept that Jesus was a mere man (though of high prophetic rank) and that he only came into existence some 2000 years ago, such folk do not understand even the first principles of teaching in the Old or New Testaments on this vital issue. It is the easiest thing in the world to prove from the Old and New Testaments that Jesus fits into the Hebraic concept of the Godhead and that he was a member of the very family of God (the Elohim) when he came into this world with his messages in the first century. I have touched on this subject in chapter two of this book. Indeed, so certain of the divinity of Jesus in the eyes of the apostles Paul and John that Christ Jesus was reckoned by them to be the creator of heaven and earth under the rule of the Father (YHVH).
I also accept that Jesus Christ was the originator of the New Testament revelation and that those 27 books of the New Testament are as inspired as the 22 books in the Hebrew numeration of the Old Testament books. The combined number of books to the complete inspired Word of God comes to 49 in number (7 times 7 books) and that they are arranged in seven major divisions: 1) The Law of Moses, 2) The Prophets, 3) The Writings, 4) The Gospels\Acts, 5) The Seven General Epistles, 6) The Fourteen Epistles of Paul, and 7) The Book of Revelation. These Old and New Testament books combined together are the authorized Holy Scriptures for mankind.
When it is understood that Jesus Christ truly came into the world in the first century as the creator of heaven and earth and that he was the first-born son of the living God (the Father of all), then we can know that he had a mission to perform for mankind that would involve the entirety of those on earth throughout all ages in which mankind would exist. The New Testament is replete with teaching that completely backs up the fact that what Jesus did for mankind almost 2000 years ago has an effect on all factors of existence involving the human race. If this is the case (and it is), then Christ would have been derelict in his duty had he not provided for mankind a message from the Father regarding the redemptive role that he played in human history. All reasonableness demands that the significance of Christ’s mission had to be captured in written texts to secure its retention for future generations.
On the other hand, the creation of inspired literature would not have been necessary had Christ simply have continued to remain alive on earth and to have visibly manifested himself to all future generations. But Christ Jesus himself revealed that he would return to heaven and not come back to earth as a world sovereign until his Second Advent. This means, then, that it was necessary that sacred records should be engendered and maintained of those essential and complete teachings of Christ that all people in future generations would be able to read and understand. In the case of Jesus’ teaching, these written records were ordained of God the Father to be attached to the Old Testament books already accepted by the Jewish officials as their Holy Scriptures.
When one reads the teachings of Moses carefully it will be found that Moses himself spoke of a future individual to come on earth who would be like he was. He was to be an Israelite and a law-maker like Moses was (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). The words of this future Prophet were to be accepted by Israel in the same way they accepted Moses and his teaching. It is not usually understood by some Christians (or even the laity among the Jews) but Moses had upon him the highest rank that any human could ever have on earth. God placed on Moses the rank of “God.” That’s right, God told Moses that Aaron his brother was to be a spokesman of Moses (his “prophet”) but that Moses himself was to be reckoned as “God” himself (Exodus 4:17—read from verse 10 for the context). This means that Moses’ teaching was to be accepted as if it were from God himself.
Indeed, if anyone did not hearken explicitly to the teachings of Moses and receive them as inspired doctrines, that person would come under the severe judgment of God (YHVH), and the same thing applied to the teachings of “the Prophet” who was to come who would be just like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-22).
Interestingly, no person in the period of the Old Testament after the time of Moses claimed to fulfill the role of this august and authoritative person called “the Prophet.” When Ezra the priest finally canonized the Old Testament in the fifth century before Christ, he added a portion to the Law of Moses to show that the individual of the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 had not yet come to Israel (Deuteronomy 34:10-12). Indeed, Jewish people were still looking for “the Prophet” to come in the time of Jesus (John 1:21,25). But when Christ Jesus began to do the great miracles associated with his ministry, many of the people began to proclaim Jesus as being “the Prophet” (John 6:14). Christ’s discourses were so powerful in content that many began to acknowledge him as “that Prophet.” “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, of a truth this is the prophet” (John 7:40). And certainly after the resurrection of Christ from the dead, some of the first teachings of the apostle Peter referred to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18 and stated that Christ had fulfilled it to a tee (Acts 3:22,23).
It is important to recognize that Christ was “the Prophet” to be like Moses, whose teachings were to be accepted by Israelites without question. This means that if Jesus could be identified with “the Prophet,” then the Jews at the time (as well as all of us today) are obliged to obey his words explicitly in order to obey Moses explicitly. That’s right! To obey Moses today means that one must obey Jesus if he is to be identified with “the Prophet.” And there was more to it than that. While Moses had been given the rank of “God” while continuing to be a man, there was a prophecy in Isaiah that said a future person was to arise whose name was to be “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”
The New Testament writers came to identify Jesus with not only being “the Prophet” (to be like Moses with the rank of “God” on him) but he was also identified with “Immanuel” (which meant he was “God” incarnate—“God with us”). This was the prophesied person who was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). The Jews in the time of Jesus certainly were aware of this prophecy of Isaiah. It stated no less than that someone with the rank of “God” on him would enter the world through a human birth.
As a matter of fact, for God to become a human like all the sons of Adam is nothing at all strange in the Hebraic concept of the Godhead. Since all names in Hebrew prophecies refer in some way to the characteristics of the person being born, to have the name “Immanuel” on such a person meant that the individual himself would be “God with us.” And that is who the early Christians said Jesus was.
Christ was God in the flesh. He was one of the members of the Family of God. The word “God” (Elohim) in Hebrew always has the significance of plurality associated with it even when it is governed by singular verbs and adjectives. Its plurality is often expressed as it was in the account of the blueprint of creation (Genesis 1:26—“Let us make man [the word “make” is also plural] in our image”). The plurality of the word is self-evident. The word Elohim is really what we call in English a uni-plural word like a “collective noun.” The word “family” is such a word. These kinds of words can take a singular verb or a plural one depending where one places the numerical emphasis.
So it is with Christ Jesus. He was a member of the God Family. He was not the Father (YHVH), but he was the first-born Son of the Father and one who had upon him the family name of Elohim. When he came into the earth and born of a young woman who was a virgin, he was accurately called Immanuel (“God with us”) because he certainly was one of the Elohim family who make up the single divine Group in heaven who creates and rules the heavens and the earth. It is one Family with one Father, not one individual like the English word “God” denotes. Indeed, it is the Greek Platonic doctrine of “God” (as a singular individual) that has got the world mixed up on what the Hebrew concept of “God” (Elohim) really means. Even Jews today have been influenced by the Hellenistic concept of a one, singular “God.” This belief is about as far away from the Hebraic understanding of the Godhead as one could get. Jews have got to wake up and start believing their own Holy Scriptures. When they do, they will then begin to understand how Jesus Christ can be “God with us” in complete compatibility to the teachings of the Old Testament and all the prophetical indications as well.
The rank that Jesus Christ had on earth makes him to be no ordinary person like Moses or the other prophets or apostles. As the Hebrew Scriptures attest, he was none other than a divine person of the Family of YHVH. He even came representing YHVH and could take upon him the very name of YHVH in his mediatorial role as the Savior of all mankind (John 5:43). This means that Jesus as Immanuel has the last word on any subject that we might classify as divine and holy. And this applies to what represents the Hebrew Holy Scriptures.
The opinion of Christ Jesus is important in showing what the Hebrew Scriptures entailed. In Luke 24:44 Christ rehearsed for his apostles after his resurrection that the Tripartite Divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures (that is, its three divisions called “The Law, The Prophets and The Writings or Psalms”) were to him “the Scriptures” (verse 45). In fact, over 40 times in the New Testament its authors (whether they are Christ or the apostles) referred to the Hebrew collection of divine books that had been deposited in the Temple for safekeeping simply as “the Scriptures.” All Jews in the first century were quite aware of what represented to them the divine canon of inspired Scriptures, but thankfully we also have those Scriptures defined in the New Testament by Christ in the verses of Luke cited above. And the apostle Paul showed that the Jewish people were the custodians of the “oracles of God” (Romans 3:1–2).
There is more to the divine Scriptures than the Old Testament alone. When Jesus gave what modern scholars call “the Sermon on the Mount,” he stated that he was not coming to do away with Moses. In no way did he intend to do such a thing. Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). The words “to fulfill” actually mean in Greek “to complete.” Christ was coming to complete the Word of God. The early Jews were quite clear what Jesus meant by this statement and they record it in the Talmud. The Jews knew Christ was saying: “I came not to destroy the Law of Moses but to add to the Law of Moses” (Shabbath 116b). And this is precisely what Moses had in mind when God gave him the prophecy about “the Prophet” to come in Deuteronomy 18. After all, anyone with the name of Immanuel describing him, meant that he had more authority than Moses.
Christ Jesus had his own teachings to add to the Law and the Prophets and he informed his apostles of these things. Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would be dispatched to each of the apostles so that all the truth in its complete fullness would be disseminated to people in the world. Notice what he said to his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you [plural, all the apostles he was addressing would be guided] into ALL the Truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13). Note: Christ told those early apostles that they would be given “ALL the Truth,” not a part of it. And one of those apostles was Paul. Paul stated that he was given a commission “to fulfill [that is, to COMPLETE] the word of God” (Col.1:25).
The finalization of the New Testament Scriptures was accomplished in two stages in the first century. The first was done by the apostles Peter and Paul in Rome about 67 AD. The full account of how this was accomplished is given in my book Restoring the Original Bible (see chapter 12). The second and last canonization was that of the apostle John during the last decade of the first century in Ephesus (and this is described in chapter 19 of my book). We now know, however, that the city of Ephesus in Western Asia Minor was not the final resting place of the official New Testament canon that was completed by the apostle John. The complete canon itself was deposited for safekeeping with the Christian authorities who had their headquarters on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and by extension it reached to Caesarea on the Mediterranean. Caesarea was simply the sister city (the port city) of Jerusalem. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Caesarea then became, politically, the central city of Palestine.
Eventually, with the final fall of Jerusalem in 135 AD at the end of the Bar Kokbha Revolt, most Christian activities in Palestine of a literary nature (especially those of Jewish Christians) retreated to Caesarea. In the early third century, the great Christian intellect named Origin came to Caesarea and progressively began to collect Christian manuscripts from all over the known world to supply the library of his school. By the end of the century, Pamphilus continued the process of bringing more important manuscripts to Caesarea. So many did he collect (and some he transcribed himself) that it was possible for him to open a major library in the city devoted exclusively to Christian works. The library came to house the most important manuscripts of the New Testament. When Constantine later asked Eusebius (who fell heir to the Library of Caesarea in the early fourth century) to supply the Christian world with fifty official manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures (both testaments) in the Greek tongue, Eusebius was able to expedite his request without difficulty. Though great quantities of manuscripts containing the Holy Scriptures had been destroyed in other parts of the Roman world in the Diocletian persecution which started in 303 AD and lasted for about ten years, the manuscripts at the Library of Caesarea to a greater extent were preserved. This must be the case because when Constantine wanted the fifty copies to be made, he appealed directly to Eusebius and the Library of Caesarea, not to the libraries in Rome, Carthage, Alexandria, Antioch or other important Christian areas. By the time of Eusebius, Caesarea had become the center for most of the authoritative New Testament manuscripts. Thus, it was Palestine that really gave the world the complete New Testament. The New Testament had been finalized by the apostle John and passed on down through the Jerusalem congregation, then to that of Caesarea, to the School of Origin, to the Library of Pamphilus and then to Eusebius, the preserver of the Caesarean Library.
In Deuteronomy 31:9 Moses informed the priests of the family of Aaron that they were the legal custodians of the Law of God. They were to place the inspired documents that made up the first five books of the Bible in specially designed sleeves on the side of the Ark of the Covenant that were confined to the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (later, the Temple) (see verse 25). Since only the High Priest could officially enter this area of the Sanctuary, it remained for the family of the priests under the direction of the High Priest to supervise the retention of and the duplication of the sacred scrolls that made up the divine library.
The Temple to the Jews became the repository of all things holy. Much later than Moses (indeed, about 1000 years later) a priest by the name of Ezra came to be in charge of all priestly and Temple affairs in Jerusalem. Jewish historical records show that it was this Ezra (whose book we have in the Bible) who was responsible for canonizing the Old Testament Scriptures which the Jews came to call the Tanak after the three divisions of the Old Testament referred to by Christ Jesus himself (Luke 24:44,45).
As explained in my book Restoring the Original Bible, Ezra had power not only to select which books would enter the divine canon of the Hebrew Scriptures, but he had authority to alter or add to any of the books as he felt necessary. For the extraordinary power that Ezra possessed, later Jews came to consider him as a “Second Moses,” and this title was most appropriate. Ezra not only went over the entire Law of Moses by adding and deleting (or making plainer) the Law, he also did the same with all the later books of the divine canon. An example of how this was done is found in the writings of Jeremiah (who was also a priest and one authorized to canonize Scripture).
When Jeremiah wrote a long prophecy on a scroll and sent it to the people of Jerusalem, and finally to the king himself, the prophet was aghast that the king so despised his writings that he cut the scroll in pieces and destroyed them in a furnace of fire. Upon hearing what King Jehoiakim had done, Jeremiah simply composed another long prophecy “and there were added besides unto them many like words” (Jeremiah 36:32).
Ezra the priest had similar authority to do the same thing. He could add to the divine documents that had come down to him in the fifth century BC. Not only did Ezra select various books to be placed along side the Law in the Holy of Holies of the Temple (thus officially canonizing them) but he changed the wording of them to suit his purpose at the time. He even selected books to go into the divine canon of the Hebrew Scriptures that many people (even Jews) have been puzzled about. Take the Song of Solomon. Not only is the name of God absent from the text of that document (or any reference to religious beliefs whatever), but it appears on the surface as an erotic book that most Sunday School teachers still find difficult to teach from. But Ezra put that book, along with Esther (another book without the name of God once appearing in its pages in an outward sense) into the divine canon of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Why do both of those books plus all the twenty-two books in the original Hebrew numbering of the books belong in the Tanak—that is, the Old Testament? There is a plain and simple answer: because Ezra placed them there! But the greater question is this: Did Ezra have authority to do such a thing? Here we come back to the testimony of Jesus Christ (who was simply reiterating what the Jewish authorities of the time believed). He said the three divisions of the Old Testament established by Ezra and maintained by the Jews in the Temple at Jerusalem represented the “Holy Scriptures” (Luke 24:44,45). This means that Christ backed up Ezra’s work. In fact, Christ said not a jot or tittle will be taken away from Ezra’s work (in a canonical sense) as long as heaven and earth exist (Matthew 5:18).
The simple answer to the matter of “inspiration” for the Old Testament is this: If the documents with their words are found within the divine canon which Ezra gave to the care of the priests of Israel and deposited in the Temple, then the very words themselves including those jots and tittles are inspired. Take for example the Song of Solomon. Before Ezra the priest selected that book to enter the canon of books in the Temple, the Song of Solomon was as secular and non-holy as any other ordinary book. But once Ezra placed it within the canon in the Temple, every word in the book became holy including its so-called erotic language.
Another way of looking at “holiness” or the “inspiration” of any material object is Christ’s teaching that it was the Temple itself that made the gold of the Temple “holy,” and it was the Altar in the Temple that made the gift on the Altar “holy” (Matthew 23:17–19). Indeed, from the same quarry in Jerusalem some stones may have gone to build ordinary buildings or houses for the people to live in, but while the stones that made up the Temple became “holy,” the other stones were not holy, though one could not tell any material difference between them.
Christ even said that an “imperfect stone” that the Temple builders rejected finally became the Head of the Corner (an illustration that suggests a “top” stone located at a corner area of the Temple). Such a “top” (a Rosh in Hebrew) was located at the summit of the Mount of Olives where there was a place of worship called “Rosh” in the period just before Christ (see the Greek translation of II Samuel 15:32; 16:1 LXX). This “Rosh” (Head) was located at a “corner” of the Temple apparatus where the Red Heifer Altar was situated just east of the regular Temple. It was called in Ezekiel 43:21 “the house without the sanctuary.” This was the region called “the Head (Rosh)” which was the equivalent name of “Golgotha” or “Calvary” (which also means “Head” or “Skull”). It was in that area where Christ was crucified and resurrected from the dead.
That “imperfect stone” that became the “Head of the Corner” of a new Temple was a reference to Christ himself (Matthew 21:42). It was at this very spot (the “Rosh” or “Head”) where a new “Temple of God” was erected because this is where Christ began to “build his ekklesia” which had its foundation associated with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ on the Mount of Olives (which is “the Rosh of the Corner”). And note this. The Shekinah (a form of the Holy Spirit) left the old Temple on Mount Moriah and went to the top (the Rosh) of Olivet which was prophesied by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 11:22,23). Eusebius said in the fourth century that the Shekinah did in fact retreat to Olivet and that the Mount of Olives became the new “Mount Sion” for Christians and that the “Mother Congregation” for all Christendom was established there. This is because that is where the crucifixion of Christ took place and the spot where the Shekinah went with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
It was with the congregation of Jewish Christians established on Olivet that the apostle John left his completed canon of the 27 New Testament books. John had full authority to canonize the New Testament (like Ezra in the Old Testament) because we now know that he was of priestly ancestry through both his father and mother and he was selected specifically by Christ to canonize the New Testament. See my two books Restoring the Original Bible and Secrets of Golgotha for details.
What we find is the fact that even an “imperfect stone” can become the Head of the Corner. This was a reference to Christ himself (Matthew 21:42). What men consider “marred stones” can be reckoned as “holy.” The same is true with biblical books. For example, the Book of Revelation has a number of grammatical mistakes in it, and yet the book claims to have been written by Christ himself (Revelation 1:1). Those mistakes, however, give the interpreter no real problem in figuring out what the text means. The Father and Christ know that Revelation has those grammatical “mistakes” and they wanted them left in the text. Every word in Revelation is “holy” and “inspired” and one is warned not to touch one word of that book or judgment will be given by God (Revelation 22:18,19).
But no texts in the Holy Scriptures are so marred that one cannot make out the will of God for the people to whom the texts pertain. But why are such renditions there in the first place? They are there to see what Christians will do with the text. Will they accept the totality of the Bible as God’s holy word (as it is), or are they willing to dissect it and put some scriptures higher than others? This is a way God can judge his people.
It is the Temple and God’s Shekinah that made the gold or the books in the Temple “holy.” And it is the whole Bible itself that makes every book, every chapter, every sentence, every word, and even the very letters themselves to be “holy.” Whether a person feels a book or a part of a book is “marred,” has no bearing on the issue. All the words of the Bible are God’s inspired words because they have found an inclusion in “the Holy Scriptures.” For more information and greater documentation on this vital subject, read my book Restoring the Original Bible.
Click here to order the print version of: 101 Bible Secrets That Christians Do Not Know
© 1976-2023 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions