By James H. Brookes
THE GREATER PROPHETS.
If Isaiah told the truth, “God spake all these words,” that are contained in his prophecy. “Hear the word of the Lord,” Isa. i. 10; “Therefore saith the Lord,” Isa. ii. 24; “Moreover the Lord saith,” Isa. iii. 16; “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,” Isa. vi. 8; “The Lord spake also unto me again, saying,” Isa. viii. 5; “Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts,” Isa. x. 24; “This is the word that the Lord hath spoken.” Isa. xvi. 18; “At the same time spake the Lord by the hand of Isaiah,” Isa. xx. 2; “It was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts,” xxii. 14; “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. . . . The word of our God shall" stand forever,” Isa. xl. 1, 8; “And now, saith the Lord. . . . And He said. . . Thus saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, . . As I live, saith the Lord. . . . Thus saith the Lord God. . . . But thus saith the Lord,” Isa. xlix. 6, 7, 8, 18, 22, 25; “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth,” Isa. lv. 11.
We find the same declaration 150 times, and one who accepts the credibility of the witness is obliged to believe his testimony. The same testimony pervades the entire prophecy, although Higher Criticism affirms that the last twenty-seven chapters are a wretched forgery, tacked on to Isaiah. This it does chiefly because in the last part Cyrus is mentioned by name long before his birth, Isa. xliv. 28; xlv. 1; and because it claims that these chapters were written from the standpoint of one who lived in the Captivity. But this would make Cyrus a fool, if he could be gulled by a man who wrote in his own reign, pretending to cite, ancient prophecy as divine authority for the rebuilding of the temple and the restoration of the Jews, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 28; Ez. i. 1-3. If this shallow infidelity, borrowed wholly from Tom Paine, asserts that in the latter part of Isaiah Jerusalem is viewed as ruined, and Judah as fallen, so it is in the first part: “Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen,” Isa. iii. 8. The foolish theory is rejected by all the best and most devout Biblical scholars.
“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou earnest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee; and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah! Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shaft go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. . . . More over, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying. . . Then said the Lord unto me. . . The word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying. . . Then the Lord said unto me. . . Speak unto them all that I command thee. . . I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee,” Jer. i. 4-9, 11-14, 17, 19.
The same testimony is borne by the prophet 522 times; and not only is it true that “God spake all these words,” but provision is made that they should be written. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book,” Jer. xxx. 1, 2. This word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee. . . . Then Jeremiah called Baruch, the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which He had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book,” Jer. xxxvi. 1-4.
This roll the princes sent Jehudi to read in the presence of Jehoiakim, the infidel King of Judah, and “when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with a pen knife, and east it into the fire that was on the hearth. . . . Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,; take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the King of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the Lord,” Jer. xxxvi. 23, 27-29. According to the evidenee of the witness we have the word of the Lord spoken, and the word of the Lord written. Yon may cut it with a pen knife, as Higher Criticism does, and cast it into the fire, but you cannot destroy it, for ‘‘the word of the Lord endureth forever,” 1 Pet. i. 25.
“The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest,” Ezek. i. 3. He said unto me, Soil of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the Spirit entered into" me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me. . . . I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God. . . . And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear,” Ezek. ii. 1, 2, 4, 7; “Moreover, He said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee, receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. . . . When I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God,” Ezek. iii. 10, 27; “Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God,” Ezek. vii. 1, 2.
The same testimony is found 348 times in the book; and it is obvious that we must believe the prophets when they say, “God spake all these words,” or we must believe that they were incorrigible liars, or crazy fanatics. As their writings, the minute fulfillment of their predictions, their sublime descriptions of God’s character, their stern denunciations of falsehood and hypocrisy and all manner of sin, show that they were not liars nor fanatics, the only logical and sensible conclusion to reach is that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Pet. i. 21 Bad men could not, and good men would not, have composed their wonderful writings.
Daniel evidently studied the older prophets and believed them, for he “understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem,” Dan. ix. 2. Afterwards he tells us that he saw a vision of a glorious Being; “and there remained no strength in me; for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of His_ words, and when I heard the voice of His words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. . . . And He said unto me, O Daniel, ' a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee. . . . And when He had spoke n unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my Lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. Then said He, I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth,” Dan. x. 5-21.
Higher Criticism denies that Daniel wrote his prophecy, and ascribes it to some shameless liar who forged it about 400 years later but he who will take the pains to read Hengstenberg on the Genuineness of Daniel, or Auberlen, and especially the masterly treatise of Tregelles in his “Defence of the Authenticity of the Book of Daniel,” must soon see the stupendous folly of the denial. Ezekiel, who succeeded Daniel by a brief interval, speaks of him as a man eminent for his piety and wisdom: “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls, by their righteousness, saith the Lord God,” Ezek. xiv. 14; “Behold, thou art” wiser than Daniel,” Ezek. xxviii. 3. The Lord Jesus Christ settles the authenticity and genuineness of the book: “When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of through Daniel the prophet,” Matt. xxiv. 15; and He was charged with blasphemy for an application of a prophecy of Daniel to Himself, saying,
‘‘Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Matt. xxvi. 64, taken from Dan. vii. 13. The professed Christian, be he the most pompous professor or popular preacher of the day, who disputes the divine authority or unerring truthfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ, “hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel,” 1 Tim. v. 8.