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The Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Church

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    The Scriptures Comprise Several Divine Revelations

    There are well-recognized divisions of the Holy Scriptures. These apply particularly to the Old Testament, which through the ages has been divided by the Jews into three sections—the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. This can be seen in any Jewish Bible at the present day. A casual glance at one of the latest editions will enable the reader to see the following, which appears on the introductory page to each section:BSPC 118.1

    Section 1. The Law:

    Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.BSPC 118.2

    Section 2. The Prophets:

    Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.BSPC 118.3

    Section 3. The Writings:

    Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles.BSPC 118.4

    This accounts for the thirty-nine books comprising the Old Testament oracles. Jesus endorsed these three parts of the Scriptures of truth. In His talk to the disciples as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, He said, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” Luke 24:44. In this instance the word “psalms” is a representative term for the third section of the Scriptures, namely, the Holy Writings.BSPC 118.5

    Now that we have the New Testament we might say that the Holy Scriptures are divided into four recognized divisions.BSPC 118.6

    These four sections of Holy Writ are intimately and harmoniously related. They are not disjointed parts of independent thought and teaching; each one is closely and doctrinally united to the others.BSPC 118.7

    Through the patriarchal age God maintained contact with His chosen ones through the ministry of angels and also through the visions of His servants the prophets. In later days, as the plan of God for the worship of His people opened out more fully, the sanctuary service was established with its priesthood, its system of sacrifices, and its full round of festivals. This development called for special direction, for something in written form, covering not only the offering of sacrifices but also laws governing the sanitary and civil life of the people. There had to be laws governing their relationships one to the other in the matter of property, land, labor, and many other phases of community life.BSPC 119.1

    Growing out of this need came what we know as “the law of Moses.” This is comprised in the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch, which means, the five books. The word pentateuch comes from two Greek words, pente, meaning “five,” and teuchos, meaning “book.”BSPC 119.2

    It will readily be appreciated that this series of volumes would never have been necessary had not sin entered our fair world. But as sin came, and the law of God, the first divine revelation, had been transgressed, God in His mercy and loving-kindness gave to man a blueprint, a series of detailed data and information as to how he could now get free from the sin that the law of God revealed. In other words, the Pentateuch emphasized the law of God; it explained it; it simplified it. It showed not only the sacredness of the divine precepts but also a way out. It pointed to the sacrifices, which, when the worshiper entered into them intelligently, would lead him to exercise faith in the “Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”BSPC 119.3

    This revelation from God through Moses, as comprised in the five books that bear his name, was in itself for the time being a complete revelation. This was made plain by the Lord to Moses, and by him to the leaders and people of Israel, for we read:BSPC 119.4

    “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers gives you. You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:1, 2.BSPC 119.5

    “What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Deuteronomy 12:32.BSPC 120.1

    Later in the providence of God, prophets arose in Israel, and through them God continued to speak to men. Careful study of the prophetic writings will reveal that the prophets repeatedly called the attention of the people to the “law of Moses.” In other words, God laid upon them the burden of calling their attention to the revelation which they already had but which they had neglected to follow. They had what was necessary in the Pentateuch, but they had spurned its teachings. They had become so familiar with it that it ceased to make any appeal to their hearts. So God, in His compassion for men and in His earnest longing for their salvation, sent them His servants the prophets. They came, however, not with any new message, only of course as certain pronouncements they made were predictive and pertained to the coming Messiah and the glories of His everlasting kingdom. But the messages of warning, of entreaty, of counsel, and of exhortation all called their attention to that which God had already revealed in the five books of Moses. The following texts with short extracts from the verses referred to will illustrate this thought:BSPC 120.2

    “Whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.” Judges 3:4.BSPC 120.3

    “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you.” Joshua 1:13.BSPC 120.4

    “Keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses.” 1 Kings 2:3.BSPC 120.5

    “According unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses.” 2 Kings 14:6.BSPC 120.6

    Not only so, but we find the prophets of later days referring to the messages of the prophets of former years. Examples of this can be seen in such scriptures as Daniel 9:10, Zechariah 1:6, 7, 12; Jeremiah 29:19; Hosea 6:5; 12:10; Amos 3:7.BSPC 120.7

    It seems that when the writings of the prophets had been gathered into the collection as referred to in the section entitled “The Prophets,” on page 118, this revelation was also regarded as complete. This can be seen in Paul’s letter to Timothy, in which he refers to the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures, including the prophetic writings, in 2 Timothy 3:15-17. He writes:BSPC 120.8

    They “are able to make thee wise unto salvation.”BSPC 121.1

    They are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”BSPC 121.2

    They will make “the man of God ... perfect.”BSPC 121.3

    They will “thoroughly” furnish (perfect) him “unto all good works.”BSPC 121.4

    That the list of the prophetic books as given on page 118 under the title “The Prophets” was complete, is further seen in the Savior’s endorsement of these Sacred Writings. (See Matthew 5:17; 17:10, 11; Luke 18:31.) Hence in the writings of these messengers of God we find them referring not only to the revelations given to the prophets who preceded them in service but in a special way to the revelation God had made through His servant Moses. They directed attention to it; they urged the people to obey the divine precepts contained therein; they reminded them of the penalty that would inevitably follow if they persisted in disobedience. One complete revelation followed the other, the latter amplifying, enlarging, and making clear the former revelation.BSPC 121.5

    In the study of God’s revelation in the New Testament we return to an important consideration that was discussed in earlier chapters of this book, namely, the relation of the New Testament to the Old Testament. But brief mention will be made of this at this time.BSPC 121.6

    The New Testament is God’s divine commentary on the Old Testament. In this section of Holy Scripture we are enabled to see the teaching of Old Testament days through the divine magnifying glass. It was said concerning the Savior at His advent that He would “magnify the law.” (Isaiah 42:21.) Beholding the truth of the Old Testament through Christ Jesus the Lord, we are able to see so many of its beauties, which without Him we should never be able to see. He does for the Old Testament what the magnifying glass does for our poor limited vision when we look through the lens and gaze at some of the minute, almost invisible things in nature. He does not add anything to the word; on the other hand, He reveals that which without His aid would be hidden from our gaze.BSPC 121.7

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