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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : IV. WERE CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES MISTAKEN?

Concerning The Assumptions Of Destructive Criticism by S. E. Wishard

IV. WERE CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES MISTAKEN?

Christ said to his apostles:

|Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.| Acts i.8.

|I speak the truth in Christ and lie not.| Paul in 1 Tim. ii.7.

|Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.| The Apostle John in Rev. i.5.

|We know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him,| Nicodemus, in John iii.2.

|If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?| Christ, in John viii.46.

|I am the way, the truth and the life.| Christ, in John xiv.6.

The opinions and testimony of the apostles are certainly worth something. They had three years of instruction under our Lord, and the promise from him that the Holy Spirit should guide them into all truth. (John xvi.13.)

A study of the writers of the New Testament proves that they are in absolute harmony with the writers of the Old Testament as to the Mosaic authorship of the five books of the Pentateuch. Luke ii.22 informs us that the mother of Jesus, |when the days of her purification were accomplished according to the law of Moses,| brought the child |to present him to the Lord.| This was done, according to Leviticus xii.2-6, and accredits that book to Moses, and not to some imaginary author.

The Apostle John informs us that |the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ| (John i, 17). If he has misled us in reference to Moses and the law, can we trust him in reference to grace and truth by Jesus Christ?

When Peter made his address to the people who were surprised at the healing of the cripple, he said: |Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren,| (See Acts iii.22.)

This saying of Moses is recorded in Deut xviii.15, the contents of which book are introduced to us in these words; |These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red Sea| (Deut. i.1), referring to the whole books spoken by Moses, the learned man, mighty in words and deeds, but not recorded, the critics say, until after the exile, about a thousand years! This you are asked to believe on the basis of the professed or assumed acumen of the critics!

Further, in his great speech before the Sanhedrim at his martyrdom, Stephen quotes Moses as having received full and complete directions from God concerning the tabernacle. (Acts vii.44.) In the twenty-fifth chapter of Exodus, the book in which Moses was commanded to write and did write, these directions are recorded. We accept Stephen's testimony, added to that of Exod. xxv., rather than the testimony of the critics.

When Paul was writing to the Corinthians of the blindness of the Jews (2 Cor. iii.15) he said: |Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts.|

Moses must have written something if he was read. What has become of his writings? Is it not the Pentateuch which the Scriptures everywhere call the writings of Moses? Undoubtedly, yes.

In Paul's missionary sermon at Antioch in Pisidia, he declared to his audience that through Christ |all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses| (Acts xiii.39).

Why does Paul refer to the ceremonial of the Jewish ritual as the law of Moses? It must be answered that Paul was a Jew. He was familiar with the Jewish scriptures. He had read the following passages and believed them, and was grounded in the truth which they declare, that |by the hand of Moses| they were given to the people.

To satisfy the reader that they were |given by the hand of Moses| the following Scriptures are furnished:

1. |Aaron and his sons did all things which were commanded by the hand of Moses.| (Lev. viii.36.)

2. |That ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.| (Lev. x.11.)

3. |These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in Mount Sinai, by the hand of Moses.| (Lev. xxvi.46.)

4. |These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number, according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.| (Num. iv.37.)

5. |These ... whom Moses and Aaron numbered, according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.| (Num. iv.45.)

6. |According to the commandment of the Lord they were numbered by the hand of Moses.| (Num. iv.49.)

7. |They kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord, by the hand of Moses.| (Num. ix.23.)

8. |And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.| (Num. x.13.)

9. |Even all that the Lord hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses.| (Num. xv.23.)

10. |That no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord, that he be not as Kora and his company, as the Lord said to him by the hand of Moses.| (Num. xvi.40.)

11. |And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.| (Num. xxvii.23.)

12. |These are the commandments and the judgments which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.| (Num. xxxvi.13.)

13. |By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.| (Joshua xiv.2.)

14. |Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses.| (Joshua xx.2.)

15. |The Lord commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle.| (Joshua xxi.2.)

16. |And the children of Israel gave by lot unto the Levites these cities with their suburbs, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.| (Joshua xxi.8.)

17. |And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, ... according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.| (Joshua xxii.9.)

18. |And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.| (Judges iii.4.)

19. |Thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses, thy servant.| (1 Kings viii.53.)

20. |There hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.| (1 Kings viii.56.)

21. |So that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.| (2 Chron. xxxiii.8.)

22. |To kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord, by the hand of Moses.| (2 Chron. xxxv.6.)

23. |Thou ... madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst unto them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.| (Neh. ix.14.)

24. |Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.| (Psa. lxxvii.20.)

Paul was familiar with these statements of the Jewish Scriptures. He believed them. (2 Cor. iv.13.) He believed that God gave |the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses| (2 Chron. xxxiii.8), who was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Acts vii.22.) Hence he called the Scriptures |The Law of Moses.|

Some of the critics will concede that many things were done by Moses, but not recorded until after the exile. Think of it! The laws, statutes, and ordinances which were vital to the life of the Jewish nation, which had been given at Sinai, and were announced with the sanctions of life or death, were not recorded by God's appointed leader, whom he had trained in all the learning of the times, but were left for almost a thousand years to uncertain tradition!

Paul had not forgotten the above statements concerning Moses' personal connection with the giving of the law. Before Felix he was arraigned, and testified |what the prophets and Moses did say.| (Acts xxvi.22.)

To the Jews at Rome |he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the laws of Moses and out of the prophets.| (Acts xxviii.23.)

In his Epistle to the Roman Christians he says (quoting from Lev. xviii.5): |For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby.| (Rom. x.5, R.V.)

To the Corinthian Christians he says: |It is written in the law of Moses. Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox when he treadeth out the corn.| (1 Cor. ix.9.) Here again he quotes from Deut. xxv.4, and repeats the quotation in 1 Tim. v.18. But the critics deny that it was written until after the exile, at least nine hundred or one thousand years later.

The Apostle James adds his testimony to that of Paul, while addressing the assembly of the apostles at Jerusalem, saying: |For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.| (Acts xv.21.)

We have learned in these quotations from Matthew, Luke, John, Stephen, Peter, and Paul, their repeated testimony, their unvarying faith that Moses both spoke and wrote the scriptures contained in the Pentateuch. We have seen that their faith was founded on twenty-four inspired declarations that these five books were given |by the hand of Moses.| These statements are found in the books themselves, from Leviticus to the Psalms. If inspired testimony is worth anything, the case is closed, and the critics' case goes out of court, more than disproved.

WAS CHRIST MISTAKEN?

The reader will be interested to know what Christ has to say of the critics' denial of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. For he who |spake as never man spake,| he of whom the Father said, |This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him,| this same Jesus had some very positive opinions on the subject before us. He has spoken clearly and definitely. We may not turn away from his testimony.

1. After healing the leper, our Lord said to him: |Go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them.| (See Matt. viii.4, Mark i.44, Luke v.14.)

Our Savior here quotes from Lev. xiv.2-8. Moses had been commanded to write the words that God had given him. (Exod. xxxiv.27.) |And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord| (Exod. xxiv.4), hence our Lord quotes the passage in Leviticus from Moses.

2. The Pharisees, always captious and controversial, sought to entangle the Savior in a discussion on the subject of divorce. Replying, |He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives.| (Matt. xix.8.) Our Lord here quotes from the Mosaic law (Deut. xxiv. I-4), recognizing Moses as the author of the same.

3. He rebuked the scribes and Pharisees also for turning from the word of God to the traditions of men. |For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother.| (Mark vii.10.) This quotation is from Exod. xx.12, and Deut. v.16. They had made the command of Moses of no effect, had violated the law which Christ taught had been given by Moses.

4. The Sadducees came to him with their controversy concerning the resurrection. They presented to him an unanswerable argument, as they supposed, against the doctrine, questioning as to whose wife she should be in the resurrection, who has had seven husbands in this life. Christ replied (Mark xii.26, 27): |As touching the dead, that they rise; have ye not read in the book of Moses how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.|

This quotation by our Lord is from Exod. iii.6, and he calls the book from which it is made |the book of Moses.| Did Christ know whether it was the book of Moses or of some unknown author who had so artfully palmed it off under false colors as to deceive the entire Jewish nation?

Or, as certain of the critics teach, did Christ know that the pretense that it was the book of Moses was a fraud, but, in view of public opinion, was unwilling to expose the deception? To ask these questions is to uncover the animus of the critical assumptions which logically attack the character of Christ himself.

Christ knew who was the author of the book, and knowing, he affirmed that it was |The Book of Moses.|

5. In our Lord's parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Dives is represented as pleading that some one be sent from the dead to warn his brothers, lest they also come into this place of torment. The reply to his request was: |They have Moses and the prophets.... If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.| (Luke xvi.29, 30.) |Moses and the prophets| was the name for the Jewish Bible. If Moses did not write the Pentateuch, the name of their Bible was false, and the Savior indorsed a falsehood. We believe |the faithful and true Witness,| and reject the critics who dishonor his character.

6. After Christ's resurrection he walked and communed with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. He instructed them concerning the Messiah's death, and, |beginning at Moses| (Luke xxiv.27), informed them that it was God's plan, foretold in the Old Testament. He appeared to his apostles and declared to them that |all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and the prophets.| (Luke xxiv.44.) The critics deny Moses' authorship, but Christ affirms it, using the language that means the Pentateuch. We believe him.

7. In our Lord's conversation with Nicodemus he recognizes Moses in connection with the book of Numbers. He refers to the historical incident, if our critical friends will leave us any Biblical history, in Numbers xxi.8, 9. He says: |As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up,| (John iii.14.)

Recurring to the passage in Numbers, we learn that, in the dire distress of the people for their sins, God commanded Moses to make a brazen serpent, and lift it up before the people, that they might look and live.

Certain of the critical school consent that Moses, was connected with the event, but did not record it. Indeed! And what proof that he failed to make the record? It was personal to himself. It was symbolically prophetic of the crucifixion of Christ, as our Savior used it, an event toward which all prophecy moved. And we have already learned that nine times it has been stated in the book of Numbers that the acts, precepts, and statutes of this book were done and given by |the hand of Moses.|

8. To the Jews, seeking to murder their Messiah, he said; |Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me.| (See John v.45, 46.)

When and where did he write of Christ? He wrote of him in the five books which are ascribed to Moses by all the Old Testament Scriptures, and by Christ and his apostles. He wrote of him in Gen. iii.15, when God promised that |the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.| He wrote of Christ in Gen. xii.3, when God promised Abraham: |In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.| He wrote of the Messiah when he recorded Jacob's prophecy in Gen. xlix.10: |The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come.| Moses wrote of Christ, when under divine direction he instituted the passover, as recorded in the twelfth chapter of Exodus.

He wrote of Christ in the Levitical ritual, when under God's instruction he set up the system of types, for the tabernacle and the temple service, which taught the fundamentals of the New Testament gospel -- redemption by the blood.

The whole tabernacle and its furniture was necessary to complete the symbolism that should represent the Messiah. The altar, the laver, the shew bread, the golden candlestick, the mercy seat, and the officiating high priest. For |Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle,| and received positive direction as to how he should construct it, that redemption should echo from every part of the service. Beautiful and glorious was the service that proclaimed |Christ and him crucified.| Christ's testimony here is twofold: That |Moses wrote,| and that he |wrote of me,| of Christ, the witness of these things.

9. It was at the feast of tabernacles, in the year 29 A.D., that the Jews attacked the Savior in a fierce controversy, because he healed on the Sabbath day. He was teaching in the temple when they charged him with violating the Sabbath.

To that charge he replied: |Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keepeth the law.| (See John vii.19.) He affirms in most positive terms, that can not be twisted into the shadow of a negation, that Moses gave them the law. The interrogative form of his statement is rhetorically the strongest possible affirmation.

10. Once more, in the twenty-third verse of the same chapter, Christ refers to the fact that their children received circumcision on the Sabbath day, that |the law of Moses be not broken.|

The sum of Christ's testimony to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is before us. Ten times our Lord asserts in the passages quoted that the law given in the Pentateuch was the |law of Moses.| He affirms that in that law |he wrote of me.| From Genesis to Revelation there is continued affirmation by prophets, apostles, and by Christ, who can not lie, that the five books of the Pentateuch are the books of Moses, under the guiding hand of the Spirit of God.

A recent writer, who has gone over the testimony of the Bible itself against the critics, says: |We find in them (the writers of the Old Testament) more than eight hundred quotations from, or references to, the first five books of the Bible, and not a hint is given that Moses is not their author,| but he is everywhere recognized as the author, under God.

Witnesses multiply with every restudy of the book, proving the Mosaic authorship of the first five books of The Book. |What shall we say, then, to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?|

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