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    July 30, 1885

    “Can the Old Testament Be Trusted? (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times 11, 29, p. 452.

    THE next point in the book of Second Kings is on the invasion of Samaria, by Shalmaneser (chap. 18:9, 10): “Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it; even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hosea, king of Israel, Samaria was taken.” The Bible chronology places this event “about 723 B.C.” And the tablets of Shalmaneser, from the ruins of Nineveh, assert that his reign was B.C. 727-722, and that the “chief event of his reign was the campaign against Samaria. The capture of that city, however, was reserved for his successor, Sargon, in 720.” This corresponds with the Scripture date exactly, as the attack was made about 723, and the siege continued three years, which gives the very date of the tablets of Shalmaneser.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.1

    Besides extending this article to an immoderate length, it would be too tedious a task to give in full all the accounts confirming the Scripture record; in fact it would be only to rewrite that record. Therefore we shall mention the names, and give references to the passages of Scripture with which they correspond. The inscriptions declare that, in 710 B.C., Sargon, king of Assyria, overran Judea, and razed Ashdod to the ground (Isaiah 20:1); that a year after the Judean war by Sennacherib, Merodach-Baladan was in command at Babylon (Isaiah 39:1; 2 Kings 20:12); that in 740 B.C., Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, overthrew the ancient kingdom of Damascus (2 Kings 16:9), and in his “inscriptions Ahaz of Judah appears among the names of those who acknowledged his sovereignty and paid tribute” (2 Kings 16:7-18; Enc. Brit., art. Ahaz; Rawlinson, Third Monarchy, chap. 9, par. 129); that in 730 B.C. he placed his vassal Hoshea on the throne of Samaria in the room of Pekah (2 Kings 15:30; 17:1); that Ben-hadad reigned in Damascus, while Ahab reign in Israel, and that Hazael succeeded Ben-hadad (2 Kings 8:7-15).SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.2

    No less accurate and circumstantial is the testimony of the “Moabite Stone,” discovered in August, 1868, and now familiar to many, which reads as follows:—SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.3

    “I am Mesha, king of Moab [2 Kings 3:4]; the Dibonite, my father, reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father. Omri was king of Israel [1 Kings 16:16]; and he afflicted Moab many days, because Chemosh [1 Kings 11:7; Jeremiah 48:7, 13, 46]; was angry with his land, and his son succeeded him [1 Kings 16:28]; and he also said, I will afflict Moab. In my days he spake thus: And I looked on him and on his house. [2 Kings 1:1; 3:4, 5.] And Israel kept constantly perishing. And Omri held possession of the land of Medeba, and there dwelt in it Omri and his son and his grandson, forty years. [1 Kings 16:23, 29; 2 Kings 3:1.] But Chemosh restored it in my days. And the king of Israel built for him Kiriathaim, and I fought against the city and took it, and brought from thence the altar of Jehovah, and put it before Chemosh in Kerioth. And Chemosh said to me, ‘Go and take Nebo from Israel.’ And I went in the night, and fought against it from the overspreading of the dawn till noon, and took it, and I utterly destroyed it, and I slew all of it, seven thousand, for to Ashtor-Chemosh had I devoted them. And I took from thence the vessels of Jehovah, and I presented them before Chemosh. And the king of Israel built Jahaz, and dwelt in it while he was fighting against me, and Chemosh drove him from before me; and I took from Moab two hundred men, all told, and I attacked Jahaz and took it, joining it to Dibon. Chemosh said to me, ‘Go fight against Horonaim.’”SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.4

    Here, then, are the facts, strictly in accordance with the Scripture account of Omri, his son Ahab, and his grandson Jehoram; and of Mesha, king of Moab, and his father’s servitude, and his own rebellion. Now it is utterly inconceivable how these statements of the Scripture could have been gathered from any other source than the actual events themselves. For there is absolutely no history of the Moabites, from which they could have been taken in later times. Therefore the perfect agreement between the occurrences as recorded in the Bible, and as recorded by Mesha, king of Moab, upon the enduring stone, proves, to a demonstration, that the records were made at the same time. This, then, carries us back 929 years B.C., as the date of this portion of the sacred word. However, we are not obliged to stop at this date for want of proofs of any earlier, for the decipherment of the inscriptions on the Egyptian monuments and tombs fully corroborates the record in the Pentateuch concerning Joseph and the exodus; so much so, in fact, that it is now considered as a most valuable auxiliary to the full understanding of the Egyptian history, and “Brugsch and Lepsius and Chabas and Mariette treat the Penteteuch as of prime historical importance.”SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.5

    “It seemed, a few years ago, an almost incredible story told in Genesis of the campaign of the four kings of Elam and Babylonia—Chedorlaomer, Arioch, Amraphel, and Tidal—against the five kings of Sodom and the plain. The monuments confirm the story wonderfully. They tell us that at just this time [about 1900 or 2000 B.C.] there had been an Elamite (or Median) conquest of Babylonia; they tell us that Laomer was the name of an Elamite god, and that Chedorlaomer means worshiper of Laomer; and we find an account of this very Arioch mentioned on the monuments as king of Elassar, and we learn that his father’s name was Chedormabug, and his grandfather’s name was Simtisilhak; and we further learn that even earlier than this there had been Babylonian expeditions to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Every difficulty is completely removed, and confirmation supplied.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.6

    “Abraham, we are told, came from Ur of the Chaldees. Such a town had become utterly lost, except in this Biblical mention of it, and a pious tradition had put it in an impossible place. The present generation has rediscovered it, and read its record on the monuments. We find it was the second capital of Babylonia, and was distinguished for its worship of the moon-god. The names could be mentioned of half a dozen of its kings, one of whom was Cheformabug, father of the Arioch of the Bible. Two seals, worn by gentlemen of Ur before the time of Abraham, and bearing the names of the first two kings, are in the British Museum. The Bible geography is proved no fiction.”—Wm. Hayes Ward, D. D., in Sunday School Times, vol. 25, no. 42, article, “The Bible and the Monuments.”SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.7

    We shall add no more. These evidences, wholly from outside of the Bible, prove beyond any possibility of reasonable doubt, that the Scriptures are authentic records of the things of which they treat, and all the researches in archeology only serve to heap evidence upon evidence of their absolute truthfulness.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.8

    It is a law of evidence that—SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.9

    “Probable proofs, by being added, not only increase the evidence but multiply it.”—Butler’s Analogy, Part 2, chap. 7, par. 41.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.10

    “When two independent writers witness to the same event, the probability of that event is increased, not in an arithmetical, but in a geometrical ratio,” i.e., “Let it be ten to one that a certain fact is true upon the testimony of one witness, and likewise ten to one that the same fact is true upon the evidence of another, then it is not twenty to one, but one hundred and thirty to one, that the fact is true on the evidence of both. And the evidence to the same point, of a third independent witness of equal credibility with the others, would raise the probability [of its truth] to one thousand three hundred and thirty to one. ‘By the mouth of two or three witnesses,’ the word, to which such witness is borne, is ‘established.’SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.11

    “And the agreement is the more valuable, if it be (so to speak) incidental and casual—if the two writers are contemporary, and their writings not known to one another; if one only alludes to what the other narrates, if one appears to have been an actor, and the other merely a looker-on; if one gives events, and the other the feelings which naturally arise out of them; in these cases the conviction which springs up in every candid and unprejudiced mind, is absolute; the elements of doubt which hangs about all matters of mere belief being reduced to such infinitesimal proportions as to be inappreciable, and so, practically speaking, to disappear altogether.”—Rawlinson’s Historical Evidences, lecture 1, par. 22, note 52.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.12

    It is upon precisely such evidence as this that the Bible rests. Therefore, even though it be looked upon as merely a history of the times in which it was written, these evidences prove that the Bible is worthy of all acceptation as a faithful record of absolute facts as they actually occurred. So that it is verily true that he who, in these days, presumes to cast doubt upon the Scripture record, only thereby exposes his ignorance or his willfulness.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.13

    But this is not all. In the Bible are recorded not only the things that had occurred in the times when its respective books were written, but also things which should occur for ages to follow, even to the end of the world. And when we read that which was written in these books away in ancient times, concerning what should come in ages to follow; and then take up the history of these ages and find events occurring exactly as written hundreds and even thousands of years before; this again, not only confirms the absolute faithfulness of the Scripture but carries it beyond the human for the spring of the knowledge of the facts, the record of which is therein given.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.14

    Nor yet is this all—nay, it is merely the beginning. For there is a “scheme of doctrine bound up with these facts”—absolutely dependent upon them, inseparably connected with them, and “null and void without them”—which stands fully established, just as soon as the record of the facts is shown to be worthy of acceptance; that doctrine is the doctrine of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Therefore it stands proven to a demonstration that, “All Scripture,” whether doctrinal, prophetical, or historical, “IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD.”SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.15

    Having by these evidences, which might be greatly multiplied, demonstrated the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible record, we now propose to take our stand upon this “sure foundation,” and from it, as our point of observation, to trace, by the outline therein given, the course of the history of this world from the Babylonian ascendancy to our own day.SITI July 30, 1885, page 452.16

    A. T. J.

    “Notes on the International Lesson. 1 Kings 18:1-18. The Famine in the Land” The Signs of the Times 11, 29, pp. 454, 455.

    AUGUST 2—1 Kings 18:1-18

    HAVING learned in last week’s lesson that Elijah stood on the Mount of Transfiguration as the representative of those who shall be translated at the coming of the Lord, we turn now to a study of the times of Elijah just before his translation, and we shall find in them a representation of the times in the days just before the coming of the Lord and the translation of the righteous who shall then be alive.SITI July 30, 1885, page 454.1

    THAT there will be a company of people alive on the earth, when the Lord comes, who will hail him with joy and meet him with gladness, is abundantly shown in the Scriptures. Paul says plainly, “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [go before] them which are asleep [the dead] ... the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them ... and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Again he says, “We shall not all sleep [not all die], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; ... Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. Where is that “saying” written? Read Isaiah 25:8, 9. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”SITI July 30, 1885, page 454.2

    IT is plain, therefore, that there will be some righteous on the earth when the Lord comes, but compared with the wicked they will be but few. When the Lord comes, he will take vengeance on the wicked as well as save the righteous. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. And in Revelation 6:15, 17, we read, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and every bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:12, 13. Thus we see that the two classes, the righteous and the wicked, will be upon the earth when the Lord comes. The wheat and the tares “both grow together until the harvest”—“the harvest is the end of the world.” Matthew 13:30, 39.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.1

    WE see by the words of the present lesson that, through the drought, the streams of water and the vegetation had so dried up that the beasts were likely to perish. “And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks; peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it; Ahab went one way by them to pass throughout it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.”SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.2

    NOW READ what Joel says of the time that just precedes the day of the Lord: “Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, [yea], joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” Joel 1:15-20.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.3

    AND in view of it he says: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Joel 2:1.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.4

    ZEPHANIAH says of that time: “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord.” Zephaniah 1:14-16.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.5

    ZEPHANIAH tells exactly why the terrors of this great day come so upon men. It is “because they have sinned against the Lord.” This is what brought all the trouble in the days of Elijah. For when Ahab cried out to Elijah, “Art thou he that troubled Israel?” Elijah replied, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that thou has forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” And it was because Elijah had held up before the people the commandments of God, and had insisted on obedience to them that he was now accused of troubling Israel; and it was Israel’s persistent violation of the commandments that brought upon them all the trouble. Here then, in the days of Elijah, was a controversy over the commandments of God. On one side was Jezebel wielding all the power of the state in behalf of the violation of the commandments; on the other side was Elijah and a few others maintaining the honor of God by strict adherence to the precepts of his law.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.6

    NOW it is the truth that just before the Lord comes there is to be just such another controversy in regard to the commandments of God. The last message to men, that the Bible contains, is one that warns them against the transgression of the commandments, and calls them to “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This message is found in Revelation 14:9-12, and reads as follows:—SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.7

    “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.8

    THAT this is the very last message to men is shown by the fact that, following in direct connection with this, the prophet says, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe [the end of the world is come]. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Verses 14-16.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.9

    THESE scriptures show that when the Lord comes in the clouds of heaven, it is to reap the harvest of the earth; that which will fit a people to be gathered as wheat into the garner of God, is the keeping of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; and that by which men make themselves only to be accounted chaff to be burned in the fire, is the worship of the beast and his image. This shows also, that to worship the beast and his image is to violate the commandments of God, and so incur his wrath; and that to keep the commandments of God is to excite to oppressiveness the power of the beast and his image. Revelation 13:15.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.10

    WE are here making no argument as to what is the beast, nor what is his image, nor what it will be to worship them. We simply draw a parallel between the events of the times of Elijah and those which immediately precede the coming of the Lord. Now do we here present any argument to show that the coming of the Lord is near; we simply show by the Scriptures that, whenever his coming shall be near, then, as in the days of Elijah, the commandments of God will be the one subject of controversy between those who will serve the Lord, and those who will not.SITI July 30, 1885, page 455.11

    A. T. J.

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