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    1893

    November 13, 1893

    “One Book” The Signs of the Times, 20, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A great many people who would be shocked at the suggestion that they are infidels, imagine that faith is entirely consistent with a disbelief of many of the records of the Bible, especially of the Old Testament. They think that they believe the gospel, yet they make no scruple of pulling the Old Testament record of that gospel to pieces. There are many portions of the Bible that they are very doubtful about; and as for the story of Jonah, and the account of the flood, they can scarcely have patience with anyone who professes to believe them. The Bible account of the creation of the earth they regard as at the best only a beautiful fable.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.1

    Can one believe the gospel and disbelieve the Old Testament? Let us see. The apostle Peter speaks about the salvation of our souls, and says: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” 1 Peter 1:10-12.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.2

    Read the above text carefully, and you will see that it states that the prophets of old ministered the very same things that are announced by those who preach the gospel. Then the prophets must have written the gospel. When Peter was preaching Christ in the house of Cornelius, he said, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43. And the apostle Paul said: “Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand unto this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses did say should come; how that Christ must suffer, and how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light both to the people and to the gentiles.” Acts 22:22, 23, R.V. Therefore whoever says that the Old Testament does not contain the gospel, says that the apostle Paul did not preach the gospel.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.3

    Suppose the position be taken that the story of the creation, and of the fall of man, is only a fable. If that were so, then there would be no gospel at all. For if there were no fall of man, there need be no redemption. So that if the account of the fall were imaginary, then we have the entire gospel built on a fable, which would make it also a fable. And, besides, if the story of creation and the fall of man be a fable, how can we know that the whole Bible is not the same? We must either accept the whole Bible, or reject it all. We cannot pull it into pieces.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.4

    Take the account of the prophet Jonah. Many people would feel almost insulted if it were intimated that they were so simple as to believe it. They say that it never really happened; that the great fish never swallowed Jonah, and that it would have been impossible for him to live three days in its belly. But Christ said, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40. Now if Jonah was never in the whale’s belly, and could not have been, then we have the Saviour likening his death and resurrection to an impossibility. Therefore to deny the story of Jonah is to deny the foundation of the gospel.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.5

    It will not do in this case to say, as so many of the “higher critics” do, that the Saviour spoke of the things that were currently reported among the Jews as illustrations, taking the people on their own grounds without stopping to explain that those things were really fables. If the story were not true, the Lord knew it; yet he said that just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale, so he should be in the heart of the earth. If the story of Jonah were not true, then we have Christ saying that he would not be in the heart of the earth at all. Is it not better to believe a thing that we cannot understand, than to throw away the entire gospel? Who dare say that it is of no importance whether or not we believe all the records of the Old Testament?SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.6

    The saddest part of this matter is that the people have not been led into this loose way of regarding the Bible by professed infidels, but by professed ministers of the gospel. It is they who are responsible for the current of unbelief that is carrying so many away. Indeed, one can scarcely pick up a religious journal without seeing more or less about the controversy that is now going on over the Bible. There is a controversy, for there are many ministers who stand for the truth of the Bible; yet there are so many ministers of high standing and influence who seem to be actuated by intense fear that the people will really believe too much of the Bible, that it is necessary to raise a voice of warning. We need not pass sentence of condemnation upon those ministers, but simply warn the people to leave them as false teachers.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.7

    LESSONS FROM THE FLOOD

    We have just seen a sermon on the flood which, instead of seeking to strengthen the faith of the weak, is almost wholly devoted to an attempt to prove that there never was any such thing. Here are some of the statements. We give them because doubts in regard to the flood are becoming quite common. The preacher says: “No student of science is able to believe that any such flood as that recorded in the early chapters of Genesis ever took place in the history of the human race.” “We are not to take the account of the deluge for history infallibly inspired and rigidly accurate in all its details.” “That view,” he tells us, “is no longer held by persons of ordinary education.” How easy it is to brush aside a proposition with the statement that no one of ordinary education believes it. A false fear of being called ignorant is at the bottom of a large part of the infidelity of these days.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.8

    But what about the flood? May we throw it aside as a myth, and still hold fast our faith in the gospel, and in the Bible in general? Let us see. Christ used the flood and its time as an illustration of the last days. “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26, 27. In the book of Hebrews we are informed who the “all” were who were destroyed by the flood: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7. It was the world that was condemned by the preaching of Noah, because they did not believe it; and it was the world that was destroyed by the flood. Christ in person, and also through his chosen apostle, bears witness to this.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.9

    Again, the flood is put in the same list as the creation of the world and the general judgment. The apostle Peter says that they who scoff at the promise of the coming of the Lord are willingly ignorant of the fact that “by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:5-7. Whoever discounts the story of the flood, thereby discounts the story of creation, and also the promise of the coming of the Lord to judge the world. The same word that brought the flood upon the earth, created the earth, and will make it new again. The Scriptures, from Moses onward, testify of Christ, and they cannot be rejected without rejecting Christ.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.10

    Still further; if the story of the flood is a myth, then there is no comfort in the gospel. It is upon that fact, and the things connected with it, that the Lord gives us assurance that he will not forget us. Speaking to Jerusalem which is above, and is the mother of us all, which is now desolate, mourning the absence of her children, God says: “For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” Isaiah 54:9. Her joy and glory will be the restoration of her children, by the salvation of the righteous; therefore the assurance that God will save his people is no greater than the assurance that there was a flood in the days of Noah. “As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee.” But if there were no flood, then the Lord did not swear that the waters of the flood should no more go over the earth; and so in that case we have no assurance that he will remember to save his people.SITI November 13, 1893, page 21.11

    Again, we read the words of inspiration through the apostle Peter: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; ... the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2 Peter 2:4-9. If the Lord did that, he knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations; but if he did not do that, what then?-The only conclusion is that he does not know how to deliver the godly out of temptations. And so those who deny the story of the flood throw away all the consolations of the gospel.SITI November 13, 1893, page 22.1

    More might be said in the same line, but this is sufficient to show that no one can lightly deny any part of the sacred record. It all stands or falls together. No, that is not correct; it all stands together; it does not fall, notwithstanding the assaults of men. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89. “Thy word is true from the beginning; and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever.” Verse 160. We have written this to call attention to what is involved in setting aside any portion of the Bible, and to enable the reader more clearly to see that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that that man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. It is all profitable, and all necessary.SITI November 13, 1893, page 22.2

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