227) Torah Authenticates All Subsequent Word Of God

 “To the law [Exodus – Deuteronomy) and to the testimony (of the old ones compiled in Genesis): if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)

biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or “books”) which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word canon comes from the Greek κανών, meaning “rule” or “measuring stick”. Christians were the first to use the term in reference to scripture, butEugene Ulrich regards the notion as Jewish.

  • The books of Moses, consisting of Genesis – Deuteronomy, were preserved over the years by the priests.
  • The Psalms of David and other song leaders and wisdom writings of Solomon were authenticated as consistent with the Torah by the priests at the time they were written and likewise safeguarded.
  • The historical records known to us as Joshua, Judges, I&II Kings, etc. were written and safeguarded by official scribes (which, interestingly are making a comeback in the medical field where meticulous accuracy is of paramount importance), but there are other historical writings, e.g. Jasher, Enoch and others, that, while referenced in the Bible and included in the first edition of the King James Bible in 1611, aren’t included in later editions and other Bible translations for whatever reason.

The Prophets are the real question.  Who decided which of the many sermons and predictions were truly from God and which weren’t?

Apparently godly men following the ruling that any prophecy that did not come to pass was thereby proven to be not from God. On the other hand, there were the unmistakable proofs of prophecies that came to pass.

“if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee…

  • Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. 
  • The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young…
  • And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods… (Deuteronomy 28)

Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live for ever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.” (Zechariah 1:5-6)

Think of it like tough love. When I worked in a substance abuse program, the biggest obstacle to providing rehabilitation services to a drug addict was a parent who continued to enable an adult child in their drug use by allowing them to live at home, providing for all their financial needs, and turning a blind eye to the drug use and the antisocial means by which they obtained their drugs through stealing, dealing, and prostitution. It was only those who hit rock bottom on the streets who admitted their need and accepted rehab.

It is easy to condemn people who avoid taking personal responsibility to deal with moral, emotional, social, and financial problems by turning to socially unacceptable drug use. But other means of avoiding personal responsibility, while socially acceptable, lead just as much to destruction of one’s quality of life, and even more of the lives of those they touch.

Individuals who justify their negligence and outright abuse in family and social roles by cherry-picking “authoritative guidance” from religious leaders, psychologists, politicians, and financial advisors are making life harder for those who lives are inextricably interwoven with theirs, damaging necessary relationships for themselves and resulting in personal and social disruption for others. Can we not see this in the political debates over social issues?

At least we should be able to recognize the ultimate end game with historic power-crazed rulers, religious cult leaders, filthy rich capitalists impoverishing peoples to enrich themselves beyond any possible use of all that money beyond accumulating power, etc. These are the superstars who are empowered and enriched by the deluded who hold them in awe, ignore not just one but a pattern of blatant sin, and choose to believe the lie that they will benefit by putting their faith and giving their support, their money, their time, their votes in the claims made by these alternate gods to the true God. These are cruel task masters whose treatment of the defenseless runs utterly counter to God’s charter of a fair, just and considerate society written down by Moses.

Judaism…a concept that there is a single incorporeal God who gives commandments which constitute a moral law for all humanity.

This divine moral law is embodied in the codes set out in the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah…rules about justice, equality before the law, loving-kindness, social welfare, and the ideals of peace and political freedom…

The concepts of justice, righteousness and freedom come together in the vision of an ideal world articulated by the Prophets. This is expressed in the idea that each of us can make our contribution to making the world a better place. It is often evidenced by a strong Jewish involvement in advancing social justice and in protecting the rights of other minority groups.

And looking at the message of the prophets whose messages were documented and preserved in a canon of scripture, we find this to be the case.

  • Isaiah 3:15, 5:8, 10:1-2
    • What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the LORD God of hosts.”
    • Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place [for others], that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”
    • Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”
    • James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
  • Jeremiah 5:1, 7:5-11
    • Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.
    • “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?
    • Matthew 21:12-14 “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.”
  • Ezekiel 5:5-14 “Thus saith the LORD God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.
    • And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her…
    • therefore…I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.”
    •  Matthew 24 “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down…then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened….Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

These and hundreds of other prophecies came true.

There are a number of prophecies in the bible that describe the worldwide exile of the Jewish people.

Deuteronomy 28:64 “And G-d shall scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other…”

What is so astounding is how this unlikely prophecy was literally fulfilled through the Jewish people…

In history, the Jewish people were by far the most scattered people on earth, especially given their population. Since their forced exile from the land of Israel…the Jewish people over time established communities across the globe…and no other people could historically make a similar claim. The Gypsies, who were relatively widespread in many areas, came no where close to the Jewish dispersion across the earth…

the bible clearly predicted a number of times that the Jewish people would be spread out in communities around the globe…and this is precisely what happened. This worldwide dispersal was predicted long before it happened, it was not a likely occurrence, it was not self-fulfilled, and it was not foreseeable. This is a fulfilled prophecy.

There are also Old Testament promises of redemption and reconciliation by a merciful God.

when all these things are come upon thee…and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations...And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-6)

When, after the priests returned to Jerusalem for the express purpose of reestablishing the center of worship of the God of Israel, the work was blocked through one administration after another. The prophets Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah / Zacharias were instrumental in energizing the leaders to resume the work, but it wasn’t until Ezra, a priest with peerless credentials, joined the effort that the work of reestablishing the worship of Jehovah really took off. Ezra spurred a Great Awakening in Judaism which can best be understood as the equivalent of the Protestant Reformation.

“Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of…Aaron the chief priest…went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given…For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:1-10

Like King David before him, Ezra, organized the service of worship to fit current circumstances and ensure the learning and practice of the law by the general population. But it is not enough to attend a communal gathering on holy days – the Word / doctrine should be read / heard / recited daily be so integrated into one’s thoughts that decisions and actions automatically fall into line with God’s thoughts and ways.

The desire to accomplish this led to the practice of gathering for instruction outside the temple in conveniently located local assemblies, known at this time in the local language as “bet ha-keneset (also spelled knesset),” i.e. “house of assembly”. This term was carried forward from the time of Moses and can be recognized in the New Testament letter where the writer warns the Hebrews “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…but exhorting one another…” (Heb 10:25).  Knesset translates in the Greek and thence to English, as “synagogue.”

The Great Knesset/Assembly was Ezra’s legacy. This consisted of 120 Jewish scribes, sages, and prophets who were the theocratic rulers.  The current Israeli secular governing body derives its name “Knesset” and composition directly from this historical body.  The religious Great Knesset ruled on matters such as authenticity of scripture and so canonized inspired writings for Judaism.

The Great Knesset canonized the Jewish writings’ necessary evidence required to prove that Jesus was “the Christ”, i.e. the promised redeemer, in “the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms.” This is “the faith that was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3), called The Old Testament by Christianity and the Tanakh by Judaism.

The canonization of scripture was unique to Judaism, and became integral to the strengthening and expansion of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not only among the Jews but among the nations where the Jews were scattered.

The significance of the singular Jewish practice of assembling locally and regularly for study of authorized scripture can be measured by the equivalent torrent of conversions to the God of the Bible during the Protestant Reformation after the translation of scripture into vernacular languages allowed Europeans to do so. As well as the determined resistance to this practice by the religious establishment in order to stem the draining of their power base, continuing to this day.

The Old Testament Scriptures of the Hebrew Bible were brought into other common languages for centuries before the coming of Jesus Christ, and indeed were a great help to the early church. [Emphasis added.] After the time of Alexander the Great, Greek became the common language of much of the ancient world…Many Jews dispersed throughout that world began to speak Greek as their primary language. This eventually led to the need for a Greek translation [the Septuagint].

The Septuagint is often quoted verbatim in the New Testament and was very important to the early church. Gentile Christians knew nothing of Hebrew, and so the Septuagint was their Bible…The Early Church used the Old Testament, namely the Septuagint (LXX) among Greek speakers…The Apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures...[Emphasis added.]

“And they crucified him…And set up over his head his accusation written, This Is Jesus The King Of The Jews….

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold,

  • the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom;
  • and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
  • And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the [obviously Pre-Pentacost Old Testament] saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Mark 15:37-38)

How was this validated by the Jews as being an act of God / YHVH?

From prophecy “coming to pass” in one turning of the cycle of time. Not the fulfillment with time coming to an end, but one evidence of the truth of this scripture.

at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” (Daniel 12:1-2)

“Now when the [Roman] centurion, and they [other Romans]  that were with him [managing the crucifixion], watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)

The text is very clear that the basis for the Roman observers’ conviction / faith that Jesus was the Son of God was based on the associated signs of hyperdimensional power over the natural order at his death.

This is not saving faith.

The end game of biblical saving faith is not power for power’s sake. It is power for righteousness’ sake. 

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)

Christian writers before 100 quote the Old, but never the New, Testament.

Take the last book of what we call the New Testament.

In the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic hopes of the early Christian community find their clearest and most complete expression…

In writing Revelation, John follows the pattern that was used in older apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament (such as the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament…sections of the Book of Ezekiel…

John addressed Revelation specifically to seven Gentile churches established by the Apostle Paul. Although it would have been a good way to establish his leadership credentials to these churches  he never quotes Paul’s letters to these churches. Instead, both John and Paul establish their credentials by only quoting from the Jewish canon of scripture.

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