The Signs of the Prophets
We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is
there among us any that knoweth how long.
|Purpose of the Prophetic Offices Cities under the Sea
||How God Credentialed the Prophet
||Evidence for the Work of Antediluvian Prophets
||The Stars and the Prophets
|The Prophet Moses and The Laws of God
||The Prophet and The Laws of God
||Christ as Prophet and the Chief Cornerstone
||Solomon's Temple: Prophetic : Picture of the Great Commission
|Ancient False Prophets
||Famous False Prophets of Old
||Modern False Prophets
||Ancient Religious & False Prophets
|False Prophet, Idolotry and the Occult
||Modern Phenomenon: What Does it Mean?
||Satan: the Paw of the Lion
The "Problem": How did we get our Bible?
Every year around Easter prominently displayed, nationally known magazines parade before an unsuspecting public, articles about ancient “books” which the magazines allege should, could or would have become books in the Bible.
But, somewhere along the way something went wrong, we’re informed. All sorts of allegations, designed to make people “question” the integrity of Scripture, are adduced. But, for all the “scholarship”, the real reason Christians have problems with such articles is due to ONE ISSUE:
The Churches – and Christians in general – do NOT know HOW they got their Bible. Hence, they haven’t answered… well… the challenges to its origins.
Irrespective of the-above-referenced magazines, the Church has a VERY serious problem. Unfortunately, the churches have historically given only simple answers in return. When answering the question concerning its foundations “How did we get the Bible?”- The Church of Christ does one of two things:
- Answers in unsatisfying generalities…or…
- Allows exasperating “inventions” and simple half-truths, such as:
- “A certain Council of the Church determined what books to include in the Bible.”
- “There are lost books of the Scriptures. So, the process of knowing for sure is not finalized.” Every Easter season, some national magazine regales us with tales of an ancient “gospel” manuscript. “Why”, they ask, “is it not in the Bible.” This continues, in part, because the churches don’t give any really satisfying answers
- The “originals” are lost, their history shrouded in the dimly lit past. But, we can be confident that we have the true Bible” …somewhere…
Their history shrouded in the dimly lit past. But, we can be confident that we have the true Bible” …somewhere
- “Israel and the early church somehow recognized the prophets and apostles by means not understood clearly to us today” (such as “Urim and Thummim”, “the Burden of the Lord”, the casting of “lots”, etc.)
- Prophets were recognized through prophecies that came to pass. If a prophecy did not come to pass, then the individual was not a prophet. (True…but what if a prophecy DID come to pass…Is that all that was necessary for a prophet to be recognized as one?)
- “Prophecy and miracles guaranteed who the true prophets and apostles really were.” Of course, there remain such embarrassing questions as “If that’s the standard for identifying who was and was not a prophet, then where are the miracles or prophecies or even one reference to “God” in the Book of Esther for example, “authenticating” that book’s inspired status?
…and a Very Big Problem that should not be one!
Here is a single “problem”, testing YOUR understanding of the Question
|So instead of attempting now to bring up all the problems, Let’s just illustrate one to help us see our way…
Rembrandt van Rijn
Detail of Ahasuerus, Haman and Esther. 1660. Oil on canvas. On Display in The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art
“How did we get our Bible?”
It's a Fact that the Book of Ester...
- never mentions “God” or the “Lord” once…and…
- Esther is placed in a position to do what is elsewhere forbidden, i.e., marry a non-believer (King Xerxes, the utterly contemptible Medo-Persian King)…and this works out for the temporal salvation of the Jews from persecution and slaughter…and…
- never uses the phrase “Thus saith the Lord” or “the burden of the Lord” or anything like it to denote the authority of a prophet…and…
- adds the Feast of Purim to the recognized holiday list of the Jews, which is nowhere recognized by Moses or the prophets in the Old Testament writings (before or after Esther’s lifetime)…and…
- never refers to a “prophet” …not even Moses… and…never refers to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, nor shows a First, let alone, a Second Advent…
How then did the people of Israel – and the churches later - (correctly!) deem this to be “Scripture” and thus, the work of a prophet? Are there internal signs WITHIN the book itself that show this to be the work of a prophet?
We believe the Book of Esther is, of course, SCRIPTURE, on a par with all the other books of the Bible. But, do YOU know HOW the people of Israel KNEW this was inspired Scripture? How did Israel KNOW it was Inspired? Did Israel have to know it? If not, HOW did it get into the books of the Bible?
The Bible is very clear as to what constitutes a legitimate prophet of the Lord that anyone claiming to be such a prophet could quite literally be challenged, “Show me your signs.”
King Jehoshaphat of Judah did just that when he heard the “prophets of the Lord” supported by the corrupt King Ahab of Israel. When he heard these false prophets, the King of Judah could question Ahab, saying…
“Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?”
It is obvious that the mere claim to be a prophet of the Lord was not enough. There was something which distinguished a real prophet like Micaiah from false prophets like the 400 false “prophets of the Lord.”
As you will see, what distinguished them were their signs. Without those signs, no man or woman could be called a prophet of the Lord.