The Old Testament

"For ever, O Jehovah, thy word is settled in heaven." (Ps. 119:89.)

"Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Ps. 138:2.)

In turning to the earliest books of the Bible, we read on one occasion that "Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah;" that Jehovah said unto Moses, another time, "Write this law for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua." Again, we read that Moses was commanded to write, and "Moses wrote this song according to the commandment of Jehovah, and taught it the children of Israel," and that he also "wrote their goings out according to their journeyings, by the commandment of Jehovah." (Ex. 24:4; 17:4; Deut. 31:19-22; Num. 33:2.)

Moreover, it is clear that Moses was conscious that the word he gave Israel had divine authority. He said, "It shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and do all the commandments which I command thee this day, that Jehovah thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth." His writings, therefore, are called "the book of this law," and "the covenant," and "his statutes which are written in this book of the law." "And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests." (Deut. 28:1, 61; 29:21; 30:10; 31:9.)

We find in the books of Moses such words as "Jehovah said unto Moses," over and over again. Sometimes it is added, "Speak unto Aaron thy brother," or "to the children of Israel," or to the priests; and afterward we read it was done, and it is frequently said, "as Jehovah commanded Moses."

Joshua also having been assured by direct communication from Jehovah of the divine origin and authority of the writings of Moses, was also taught that his own success in the service of God would be connected with his observing to do all that Moses commanded. He was told to "turn not from it, to the right hand or to the left." ". . . The book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to that which is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:7-9.) Thus the writings of Moses were not only authenticated by Jehovah, but Joshua was held responsible by God to obey them "according to all that is written therein." It was all the scripture that he had, and yet how careful he was to carry out its directions.

Joshua also was a writer. "He wrote upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel." It is added that, "afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law." (Deut. 27; Joshua 8:32-35.) It is scarcely possible to have a clearer testimony to the inspiration and divine authority of the books of Moses.

The prophet Samuel also was a writer. He "told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before Jehovah." (1 Sam. 10:25.)

Isaiah, too, was a writer. We read that "Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amos, wrote the acts of Uzziah first and last." (2 Chron. 26:22.)

"Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon." "And Jeremiah said unto Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words; then shalt thou say, O Jehovah, thou hast spoken against this place." (Jer. 51:60-62.)

Daniel had wonderful things revealed to him by God in dreams, and visions, and by the angel Gabriel. We read that "He wrote the dream." He also acknowledged the divine inspiration and authority of the ancient scriptures, for he tells us that he "understood by books the number of years, whereof the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem;" and he also recognised the divine authority of what is "written in the law of Moses," and "noted in the scripture of truth." (Chaps. 7:1; 9:2, 11; 10:21.) Let us not fail to observe that Daniel speaks of the prophecies of Jeremiah as the words of Jehovah.

The sweet psalmist of Israel said, "The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." (2 Sam. 23:2.) "My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." (Ps. 45:1.) The wise man also exclaimed, "Have not I written to thee excellent things?" (Prov. 22:20.) The prophet Hosea said, "I have written to him [Ephraim] the great things of thy law" (8:12); and Jehovah said unto Habakkuk, "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." (Chap. 2:2.)

Enough of quotations from the Old Testament we judge have been given to show that writing was a means ordained by God for communicating and treasuring up divinely-given truth, and that its authority was acknowledged by the faithful in all ages. The people, too, were taught by God's servants to give diligent heed to these writings. When the children of Israel should have a king, Moses said, "He shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God, to keep all the words of this law, and their statutes to do them." Joshua also taught the people to "take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of Jehovah charged you." We read also that in Nehemiah's day, Ezra the scribe, when the people were collected together, "read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the meaning." (Deut. 17:19; Joshua 22:5; Neh. 8:5-8.)

From all these various witnesses, we not only learn that God had ordered writing as a means of communicating His mind and will, but, as a fact, we also find preserved for us in a most marvellous way for nearly two thousand years a number of books written by various persons who had no communication with each other; written, too, at different times, and under different circumstances for a period extending over 1500 years, and all the books so agreeing together that a spiritual mind can trace all as being under the guidance of a master mind: books that were valued by other prophets, treasured up by faithful men, esteemed by many as of more value than thousands of gold and silver, and ministering words which were found and eaten to the joy and rejoicing of the heart. In these many books we find the prophetic words of some afterwards registered by others as fulfilled, and warnings unheeded, too, meeting with the predicted judgments; the depravity and utter ruin and wickedness of man set forth, and alas, manifested, while the nature of God, as love and light, His attributes and words of holiness, grace and truth, stand out in all their uncompromising perfection, and eternal excellence. Because of these things, the written word of the Old Testament brings such conviction to the soul of its divinity and eternal truth, when opened up and brought home by the Spirit, that the heart no more looks to men's opinions, or other external evidence, than a child, when gazing with delight on a photograph of his living mother, would inquire who it is.