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Section 2.. Reasons To Believe/The Bible/
Apocrypha, Lost Books, Gnostic Gospels

 

003white Section 2 ...   Reasons To Believe         >      A Remarkable Book Called The Bible       >         Apocrypha, Lost Books etc

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 The Canon of Scripture and The Apocrypha

Carol Brooks

Part I

Part II: The Councils and The Canon, Was The Apocrypha Added to, or Deleted from the Canon, The Apocryphal Books Were Not "God-breathed", The Apocryphal Books Were Never Authoritatively Quoted in The New Testament, Historical Errors in the Apocrypha, The Book of Baruch, Doctrinal Errors in the Apocrypha, The New Testament Canon... Guided and Preserved by The Holy Spirit, but Gathered In One Place By Man, The Reliability of the New Testament, The Canon... Complete or Incomplete?, Conclusion.
 

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Part I
Defining The Terms

Introduction
Lost Books?.... What Lost Books?

The Canon In Different Traditions

Divine Providence and The Canon

The Formation of the Canon... The Old Testament
The Law
The Prophets
The Miracle of Unanimity
Jesus and The Apostles' View of the Old Testament Scriptures

Limits and Importance of The Hebrew Canon
Order, and Number of Books
Why Consider the Hebrew Canon?
Jesus and The Canon of the Old Testament

 


Defining The Terms

Canon: The word canon comes from the Greek kanon, which means a reed, or measuring rod, probably used by carpenters and masons as a standard for testing straightness. The early church metaphorically used the word, initially to describe those doctrines that were accepted as the rule of faith, or standard of religious belief. Over the course of time "canon" came to be applied to those books of the Bible, considered to be inspired of God, and therefore, officially accepted as Holy Scripture.

Apocrypha: The word "Apocrypha", which means hidden, refers to several books written in the inter-testamental period, between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ, most of which were written in Greek, not Hebrew. While there is some disagreement about when some of these books were written, even Catholics agree that some of them were written between the Old and New Testaments. Those books, or passages of the Bible, that may imply or even claim, Biblical authority, are considered non-canonical by Protestants because, among other reasons, they never were part of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were however, included in the Vulgate, and are included in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, where they are often referred to as  "deuterocanonical" These books include... 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, (also titled Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, The Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

Deuterocanonical: comes from the Greek meaning 'belonging to the second canon'. In Catholicism the term is applied to those Old Testament books and passages that are not part of the Hebrew Bible, but which they accept as Scripture. The New Jerusalem Bible defines Deuterocanonical as those books which were "recognized by the church only after a certain hesitancy on the patristic period". [2]

Tanakh: is the appropriate term for the Hebrew scriptures. It is an acronym formed from the Hebrew names for three primary divisions.. Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Kethuvim (Writings). Hence TaNaKh. Modern versions of the Tanakh list 39 separate books just, like the Christian Old Testament.

Aramaic Targums: Are the Aramaic paraphrases, or interpretations, of some parts of the Old Testament.

The Masoretic Text: Sometime in the Middle Ages a group of Jewish scholars called Masoretes became concerned that the pronunciation of the words might be lost, since Hebrew was no longer a spoken language. They, therefore, became involved in developing a system for marking the vowels, and a way to mark punctuation, accents etc. Working between A.D. 500 and 950, "This monumental work was begun around the 6th century ad and completed in the 10th century ad by scholars at Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine, in an effort to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament. Their intention was not to interpret the meaning of the Scriptures but to transmit to future generations the authentic Word of God. To this end they gathered manuscripts and whatever oral traditions were available to them" [3], and used extremely meticulous and painstaking procedures to ensure that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transcribed.

Vulgate: The Latin translation of the Bible made by Jerome at the end of the fourth century a.d., now used in a revised form as the Roman Catholic authorized version. Jerome took the then unusual position that the Hebrew, not the Septuagint, was the inspired text of the Old Testament. [See The Septuagint]

The Septuagint, also called "LXX", is an ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible into Koine (common) Greek. It is believed to be the work of 72 Jewish scholars who undertook the translation at the request of Ptolemy II of Alexandria, but, due to numerous holes in the story, it is more likely that the first five books of Moses were  translated into Greek by Hellenistic Jews living in Alexandria, Egypt, during the time of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, with other books added later. These Jews were likely to have been losing touch with Hebrew and needed the Law in a language they probably used on a daily basis... Greek. [See The Septuagint]

It is believed that the Septuagint incorporates not only all the books of the Hebrew Bible, but books later considered apocryphal or deuterocanonical. However, we cannot be sure of this, since no copy of the original translation of the LXX exists. The oldest manuscripts of the LXX include 1st century BC fragments of the Pentateuch and the Minor Prophets, and 2nd century BC fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The three oldest surviving, nearly complete, manuscripts of the LXX are the Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century, and the Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th century. In fact, these are the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament in any language. Comparatively, the oldest extant complete Hebrew texts date some 600 years later, from the first half of the 10th century.

The Codices:
As opposed to a scroll, a codex (plural codices) is an unbound, hand-written, manuscript, in book form, usually made from papyrus, a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, or vellum, mammal skin prepared for writing or printing. Although, technically, any modern paperback is a codex, the term is now reserved for manuscript books produced from late antiquity through the Middle Ages. Examples include all the texts in the Nag Hammadi "library", secreted about AD 390, and the Rylands Library Papyrus (the St John's fragment), the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text (117 to 138 AD).

Codex Vaticanus, is named so because it is the most famous manuscript in the Vatican library, stored there since at least the 15th century. Vaticanus is generally believed to be from the fourth century, which would make it the oldest, nearly complete, surviving manuscript of the Greek Bible. Vaticanus originally contained a virtually complete copy of the Septuagint ("LXX"), lacking only 1-4 Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasseh

Codex Alexandrinus, a 5th century manuscript of the Greek Bible, derives its name from Alexandria where it resided for a number of years before it was brought from Alexandria to Constantinople, by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Cyril Lucaris. who then sent it as a gift to King James I of England (the same James who commissioned the King James version). It reached England in 1627. Along with Codex Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus has its home in the Ritblat Gallery of the British Library. It contains almost a complete copy of the LXX, including the deuterocanonical books 3 and 4 Maccabees, Psalm 151, and the 14 Odes (a book of the Bible found only in Eastern Orthodox Bibles).

Codex Sinaiticus was originally discovered in the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai. Eventually the manuscript wound up in Saint Petersburg, and was later sold to the British Library where, except for a few leaves, most of it calls home. Like Codex Vaticanus, it is also believed to be from the fourth century, but usually dated a little later than Vaticanus. Sinaiticus lacks II Maccabees and Baruch, but includes the Epistle of Barnabas, and portions of The Shepherd of Hermas. This Codex omits a large number of words, scribal errors which seem to have occurred because the scribe's eye jumped from the first, to the second occurrence of a phrase, completely passing over the text in between, which was therefore not copied. These common copyist mistakes are usually easily recognized.

The Masoretic Aleppo Codex is a medieval bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, dating back to about to A.D. 930. It was named after the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria, where it was stored for hundreds of years. However, in 1947, after the United Nations Resolution established the state of Israel, the Codex was damaged in riots that broke out in Syria. At first people thought that it had been completely destroyed, but it was later discovered that most of the manuscript had been hidden away. In 1958, the Aleppo Codex was smuggled out of Syria, into Israel, where it now resides in The Shrine of the Book, a wing of the Israel Museum near Givat Ram, an area in Jerusalem where many of Israel's most important national institutions are located. [For more information see http://www.aleppocodex.org/]

The Leningrad Codex, is the oldest surviving complete Hebrew Scriptures, and is considered one of the best examples of the Hebrew Masoretic text. It has been in the Russian National Library in the Russian city of St. Petersburg (originally namedLeningrad), since the mid-1800's. It is dated AD 1008 (or possibly AD 1009) according to its colophon [an inscription placed usually at the end of a book, giving facts about its publication]. The Aleppo Codex is several decades older that the Leningrad Codex, but since parts of Aleppo have been missing since 1947, the Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete codex, that has survived intact to this day.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many to be the single most important archaeological find of the twentieth century. Although scrolls have been discovered at several locations north and south of Qumran, the most famous were found between the years 1947 and 1956, in eleven caves in Qumran, a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Qumran was home to a community, believed to be the Essenes, a Jewish sect in existence during the Second Temple period, which is the same time period as Jesus.

The Scrolls can be divided into two categories—biblical and non-biblical, and include the oldest copies of the Bible in existence. These mostly fragmented texts generally date between 150 BC and 70 AD, and are numbered according to the cave they were found in. While only Caves 1 and 11 have produced relatively intact manuscripts, Cave 4 discovered in 1952, produced the largest find of about 15,000 fragments, from more than 500 manuscripts. Most of the scrolls are made of dried animal skins (parchment), with some of the larger ones stretching as long as 30 feet.

Qumran yielded 9 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy, and 30 copies of the Psalms, plus fragments of every book of the Hebrew canon (Old Testament), except for the book of Esther.

The Isaiah Scroll, being complete from beginning to end, is the most complete scroll out of the 220 found, and the oldest complete copy of Isaiah known. It dates back to between 335 and 107 BC, which makes it about 1000 years older than the Leningrad Codex. [For More Detail See The Dead Sea Scrolls]


Introduction
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about the Bible is that it is, in some way, incomplete.

Because there are literally dozens of spiritual books that were written in the same time period as the books of the Bible, many people believe that, because they were unfairly prejudiced against the teachings in these books, church councils weeded those ones out, with the result that many books that should have been included in the Bible, were not. For example, on his radio program called Spiritual Awakening, James Bean said this... [All Emphasis Added]

    for centuries -- the early Church had no such concept as a closed canon of scripture, a collection of books that they viewed as the "final" or "only" revelation concerning spiritual matters. Rather, Christians during that creative period felt free to compose new scriptures, psalms, odes, proverbs, letters that they felt were inspired, and other documents of a spiritual nature.

    Christianity, like other religions, underwent the process of "mainstreaming" -- settling down or crystallizing -- into a standardized, organized faith. The mainstream consciousness came to believe that "the age of the apostles and prophets was now past." So, since masters and saints (who acted as oracles of the Divine) were no longer being recognized by the masses, some people started to look to past masters for guidance. Christianity entered the stage where the Book became the master, the Book became the guru. The state church of the Emperor Constantine created a fixed list of books which would serve for all time as the rule of faith. They also made lists of books that were to be weeded out of circulation, no longer to be considered as scripture. This process of canonization and censorship, for the most part, happened during the fourth century. It was during this time that most of the "other books" lost their status as scripture. Only a small number of books made it into the this fourth century Bible and sadly, many important mystical books were left out. [1]

It would be hard to find another couple of paragraphs so jam packed with misinformation, which, unfortunately, is broadcast from the treetops, and probably accepted as truth by many who hear, or read this bilge.

    The only books accepted into the canon were written by those whom God called to to do so, not any individuals who happened to feel "creative" and compose their own scriptures and psalms.

    Constantine had virtually nothing to do with the forming of the canon, which was not even an issue under discussion at the Council of Nicea. [See The Council of Nicea] http://www.inplainsite.org/html/council_of_nicea.html

    No book ever 'lost its stature as Scripture'. However, although they may have had a few proponents, many that were never widely trusted (for different reasons) were not included. For instance, books that had little basis in reality, or were were written by people lying about authorship.  However, the most important reason was usually because they did not conform to the teachings that God had already revealed, with the result that they eventually fell off the map.

    The "lost books" were never "lost", but were well known to both the Old Testament Jews, and the New Testament Christians, although they were never considered Scripture.  They never had to be 'removed' from the Bible, since they were never part of the Bible. In fact, the official declarations regarding the canon came so long after the books were written, because the books that were trusted were already widely known.

Finally

    There is no such thing as a "lost book" of the Bible, simply because it is an impossible concept, whether you believe the Bible is Divinely inspired or not, which, by the way, are the only two choices. If the Bible is Divinely inspired, then it is impossible to believe that God managed to lose track of the contents of His own book. And, if you happen to believe that the Bible is simply a product of the church, then it was the leaders of the church who had the right to determine which books accurately reflected their beliefs, and include these books in the canon. Any book they chose not to include, is by definition, not a part of the Bible. And, as said by Grek Koukl "It might be a lost book of antiquity, a great archaeological find, a wonderful piece of literature, but a lost book of the Bible? No". [See No Lost Books of the Bible] http://www.inplainsite.org/html/lost_books_of_the_bible.html

While there are several articles on this site regarding the so called "lost books" of the Bible, this one is confined to how the Hebrew canon (The Old Testament) and the Christian canon (The New Testament) were formed. In other words, what the selection process was that gave us our current 66 books of the Bible, and why certain books (called the apocrypha)are accepted into the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, but are not included in Protestant Bibles.

Perhaps we should begin by a short overview of what books are accepted by different traditions and churches.


The Canon In Different Traditions
Christianity is rooted in, and inseparable from, the Scriptures. Everything a Christian knows about God, everything he believes and practices, is based not on human knowledge, insight, or experiences, but rests solely on God's Word to man, recorded in the Scriptures.

Therefore, in order for us to know exactly what God has said, and be able to distinguish truth from error, it is crucial that we know which of the many books that were written during the period of both the Old and the New Testament, the approximately 400 years in between, and in the centuries after the birth of the early church, should be classified as Scripture, or God's authoritative revelation. The problem is that the Protestant Bible differs very greatly from the canon recognized by the Jews, the church of Rome, Eastern Orthodox churches, and by various other groups that claim to recognize the authority of the Scriptures.

    Judaism: The Hebrew Scriptures are made up of twenty-four books, beginning with Genesis and ending with 2 Chronicles.

      The Five Books of the Law (Torah) : Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy,

      The Eight Books of the Prophets (Nevi'im): Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve (twelve minor prophets),

      The Eleven Books of the Writings (Ketuvim): Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra/Nehemiah, Chronicles

    Protestant: The Protestant Old Testament contains exactly the same matter as the canon of Scripture in Judaism, except that the books are differently ordered, and some of them are divided so that the total number comes to thirty-nine, rather than the standard Hebrew twenty four. The Protestant Bible has divided the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books each. Ezra and Nehemiah, which are one book in the Hebrew Old Testament, are also separated into two books. Additionally the twelve Minor Prophets, which were originally one book in the Hebrew Scriptures, were divided into twelve individual books in our Bibles. This gives us an 'additional' fifteen books

    Catholicism: In the year 1546, the church of Rome, claiming that Protestants had removed seven inspired books, plus parts of Daniel and Esther from the Old Testament, officially declared them to be canonical. These books...1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith, are known as the apocrypha.

    Eastern Orthodox: The Greek Orthodox church recognizes all the books that the Catholic church does, but also accepts I Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees. Other Eastern Orthodox churches include 4 Maccabees in their canon. The canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is probably the largest of them all, since some methods of listing the books comes up with as many as 81 books, divided into "narrower" and the "broader canons. [4]

      Note: Esdras is a Greco-Latin variation of the name of the scribe Ezra. However a total of four books, sometimes referred to as 1, 2, 3, and 4 Esdras, have been associated with Ezra. However, the first two of these (1 and 2 Esdras) were included in our Bibles as Ezra and Nehemiah. The second two (3 and 4 Esdras) became known as 1 and 2 Esdras, which are generally recognized by the Eastern Orthodox churches.

    The Anglican Church: The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church, says the Apocrypha can be used in worship as providing examples of life and instructions in manners, but not for the establishment of doctrine. [5]

    Mormonism: The Mormons add the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to the canon.

    Christian Science: recognizes Mary Baker Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, perhaps not as canon, but certainly on par with the Scriptures.

All of which can get very confusing, and often prompts the question of whether any inspired books are missing from our Bibles, or, on the other hand, whether any books are included that should not be there. Is our Old Testament the same as the one the Lord used when He walked the earth, and is our New Testament the same as the one used by the church fathers?


Divine Providence and The Canon
Perhaps it is wise to first apply a modicum of common sense to the issue.

The Bible is not just a piece of ancient literature. It's 66 books were written by different authors, from widely diverse backgrounds, including a couple of kings, a general, at least two fishermen, a musician, a priest, a tax collector, a physician etc. who lived over a period of some 1,500 years, on three different continents, and spoke three different languages, Yet without possible concert or collusion, they wrote as one man, with one message. Such a book is a literary miracle, that could not have come about by ordinary means, without supernatural intervention. Certainly, no other book in history can make the same claim! As the Bible itself says

    knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. [2 Peter 1:20-21]

Not only does the Bible record important events in the history of His dealing with the human race, but it is also the only means by which we know who God is, what He is like, and what His eternal plans are. It simply and effectively presents God's revelation of Himself, and His will. It tells us how we have strayed from the paths He originally intended for us to walk in, and how He chose a nation to be the channel of His great plan of redemption. Reading and studying the Bible develops in us, a world view very different from that of most of humanity. In other words, we begin to see things the way God sees them.

The Bible begins with the creation of this planet and it's inhabitants, tells us where we are in history, and stretches into the future to the end of our present world, and the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth.

Few books have ever been written that were not intended to convey some message to the reader, and the Bible is no different. It's overwhelming message is one of hope that our sins can be forgiven, and that death is not the final destination of every one of us, provided we turn to Christ and away from sin. To this end the Bible gives us the basic instructions on how to live a life that is pleasing to Him. It teaches, instructs, rebukes, and encourages. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that the eternal destiny of each and every one of us is contained in the Divinely inspired words, recorded between the covers of the collection of books we call the Bible. As Paul said to Timothy

    But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. [2 Timothy 3:14-17]

That God places supreme importance upon His written word is abundantly clear. He said His Word would abide forever

    The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalms 12:6-7)

    Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Jesus Christ in Mark 13:31)

And warned the nation of Israel not to add or subtract from the commandments He had given them

    Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2) 

As the apostle James said, “Do not merely listen to the word; and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). In other words, we not only have to read, but obey His commandments. But, in order to do that, we have to first be sure we know exactly what His Word says.

With all that in mind, it is ludicrous to believe that God took the time over a period of 1500 years to convey His Word and message to us, but has since failed to ensure that what we have in our Bibles today, is exactly what He intended. It is completely senseless to believe that He has not taken an active role in the collection and arrangement of His Scriptures, making sure that no inspired book is missing, and no non-inspired book has been added.

Having said that, let us look at how the canons of the Old and New Testaments were formed and collected... beginning with the the process by which the Hebrew canon was established


Old Testament
The First Five Books... Where The Came From and How Authoritative They Were

Moses Received The Law Directly From God
The "law" referring to the first five books of the Bible, also called the Torah in Hebrew and the Pentateuch in Greek, was written by Moses. Several verses in the Torah specifically say that Moses recorded what the Lord revealed to him. For example

    And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the mount, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and be obedient. [Exodus 24:4,7]

    And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. [Exodus 34:27-28]

The "Law" Was Regularly Read To The Nation
This "law" was delivered to the Levites, who were instructed to read it to the people every seven years... on the feast of Tabernacles [Deuteronomy 31:9-13]. Between readings, the law was stored by the side of the Ark of the Covenant. [Deuteronomy 31:26].

    And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners that were among them. [Joshua 8:34-35]

    And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel. [Deuteronomy 17:18-20]

The public reading of the law was a practice followed at least until the time of the high priest Ezra, who lived some 450 years before the turn of the millennium. The Book of Nehemiah informs us that, as commanded, the high priest, Ezra, faithfully read the law to the assembly of people on first day of the seventh month of each year

    And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the broad place that was before the water gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women, and of those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. [Nehemiah 8:1-3]

The "Law of Moses" was Cited Throughout the Old Testament
beginning with Joshua, and continuing all the way through Malachi ...[See Footnote for other sample verses],

    Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. [Joshua 1:7-8]

    Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances. [Malachi 4:4]

The Kings of Israel and Judah were Judged According to Whether or Not they Obeyed the Law.
Jeroboam was judged for disobeying the Law of Moses.

    Go, tell Jeroboam, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Because I exalted you from among the people, made you leader over my people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David to give it to you; yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my sight" (1 Kings 14:7,8).

Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah were blessed for being faithful to the Law of Moses.

    They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the LORD with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people. The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands around Judah, and they did not make war against Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:9).

    He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses (2 Kings 18:6).

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did - with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses (2 Kings 23:25).


The Prophets
Unlike the Qur'an, which was the collection of the words of the one man who was the acknowledged leader, and sole prophet, of Islam, the books of the Old Testament, that came after the Torah, were written under many different circumstances, by men from widely divergent background, ranging from king and generals, to shepherds and priests. Yet, without any possibility of concert or collusion, they all wrote with the same air of authority, and all echoed the same basic message. This, in itself, is a literary miracle, which cannot be accounted for by any ordinary means.

After Moses, God used other prophets (those chosen to be God's mouthpiece and speak by divine inspiration) to continue communicating with His people. These prophets, often under specific instruction from the Lord, recorded the revelation they received, which became part of the canon. No other books qualified.

    So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. [Joshua 24:25-26]

    And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him along all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, Long live the king. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. [1 Samuel 10:24-25]

    And the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great tablet, and write upon it with the pen of a man, For Maher-shalal-hash-baz; [Isaiah 8:1]

    Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever. [Isaiah 30:8]

    The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. [Jeremiah 30:1-2]

    And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that 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 unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. [Jeremiah 36:1-2]

2 Chronicles 20:34 indicates that at least part of the book of Kings (First and Second Kings) was written by Jehu...

    Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the history of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is inserted in the book of the kings of Israel. [2 Chronicles 20:34]

....who was a prophet according to 1 Kings

    And moreover by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of Jehovah against Baasha, and against his house, both because of all the evil that he did in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and because he smote him. [1 Kings 16:7]
     

False Prophets:
Alleged revelations that contradicted previously revealed truths, or commands, were rejected, and false prophets were sentenced to death if their prophecy, or prophecies, did not come to pass.

    But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. [Deuteronomy 18:20]

    If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams: for Jehovah your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [Deuteronomy 13:1-3]


Later Prophets Cited Earlier Ones
In the days of Jeremiah, the elders spoke about the prophet Micah:

    Micah the Morashtite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Zion shall be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. [Jeremiah 26:18]

Ezekiel spoke about Noah, Daniel and Job:

    though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord the Lord. [Ezekiel 14:14]

Daniel read, and relied on, the prophecies made by Jeremiah:

    in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years. [Daniel 9:2]

The author of Chronicles spoke of the writings of the prophet Isaiah:

    The other events of Uzziah's reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz (2 Chronicles 26:22).

Although he did not specifically name them, Zechariah spoke of the "former prophets"

    Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord. Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? and they turned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. [Zechariah 1:4-6]

    Should ye not hear the words which Jehovah cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?... Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit by the former prophets: therefore there came great wrath from Jehovah of hosts. [Zechariah 7:7, 12]


The Miracle of Unanimity

However, that the writings of the true prophets came to be unanimously accepted as part of the Jewish canon is nothing short of a miracle, considering that many, if not most, of them strongly criticized the the people, the national leaders, and even the priests of the nation. For example, the priests of Jeremiah's time were furious at his radical message that the Lord would destroy the Temple, just as He had destroyed Shiloh. Jeremiah was a threat to their man made, feel good, theology, and they wanted him silenced.

    And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord: If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send unto you, even rising up early and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. And the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of Jehovah. And it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that Jehovah had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold on him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of Jehovah, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant? And all the people were gathered unto Jeremiah in the house of Jehovah. And when the princes of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house unto the house of the Lord; and they sat in the entry of the new gate of the Lord's's house. Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy of death; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. [Jeremiah 26:4-11]

Besides which, there was no shortage of other prophets whose "prophecies" were far more 'gentle', tickling the ears of the listeners. For example, Hananiah supposedly received a revelation from the Lord that in two years both the temple vessels and the captives, that had been carried off in the Babylonian invasion, would be returned.

Note the following conversation between the Lord and Jeremiah

    And the Lord said unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt-offering and meal-offering, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. Then said I, Ah, Lord! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake I unto them: they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their own heart. [Jeremiah 14:12-14]

Untold numbers of people in the 21st century accept the lies of false prophets, and innumerable unbiblical teachings, as the Word of God. Considering that human nature rarely seems to change, and then, as now, people wanted to be pandered to, and told "smooth things"...

    For it is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord; that say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits, [Isaiah 30:9-10]

...one can be sure that even back in Old Testament times, some groups would have accepted the writings of the false prophets.

That the writing of the true prophets were unanimously accepted as canonical, without the slightest evidence that this came about because of the influence of a particular leader, or the decision of any influential council, again speaks volumes about the providential nature of the collection, and preservation, of the canon.

Additionally...

Jesus and The Apostles' View of the Old Testament Scriptures

Jesus Referred to Old Testament as 'the Word of God'...

    But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, [Matthew 22:31]

    making void the word of God by your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things ye do. [Mark 7:13. Also See Matthew 15:6]

    Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), [John 10:34-35] [For more about this verse, see The Deification of Man]

He also quoted Scripture, or the entire Old Testament, in such a way as to leave no doubt that the Scriptures carried the authority of God Himself.

    Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. [Matthew 5:17-18]

    And he said unto them, O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! [Luke 24:25]

    Quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, Jesus said "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God".  [Matthew 4:4] [See New Testament quotes of the Old Testament]

The Authors of The New Testament
viewed the Old Testament scriptures as documents of Divine origin, this aptly demonstrated by Paul's phrase, 'the oracles of God' (Romans 3:2). The Old Testament is authoritatively quoted almost 250 times, and cited by the apostles many other times (some say over 1,500 times). Other designations such as “The Scripture”, “The Sacred Writings”, and "The Word of God" suggest a generally accepted Old Testament canon.

When Luke wrote that Jesus... “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" He, obviously, meant the Old Testament as a whole, not just a few random prophecies about the Messiah.

    And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. [Luke 2:22-24]

    Then opened he their mind, that they might understand the scriptures; [Luke 24:45]

    And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. [2 Timothy 3:15-17]

    This is now, beloved, the second epistle that I write unto you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by putting you in remembrance; that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles: [2 Peter 3:1-2]

Revelation is filled with imagery largely from the book of Daniel.

But the question, yet unanswered, is which books made up the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures?


The Hebrew Canon
The current order, and number of books, found in our modern Old Testaments was influenced by the Septuagint (or LXX ), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which arranged the books in the sequence of law, history, wisdom literature, and prophets. However, although our Bibles follow the LXX's order and division of the books, the subject matter in the Protestant Old Testament is identical to the Hebrew Old Testament.

Josephus
Early testimony to the extent of the Hebrews canon was provided by the Jewish historian Josephus. Defending Judaism as a classical religion, and stressing its antiquity against what he perceived as more recent traditions of the Greeks, Josephus was very clear about the precise number of books in the Hebrew Scriptures, which effectively eliminated all the books of the apocrypha.. [All Emphasis Added]

    For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them. [Against Apion 1:8]

When Josephus said "history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time..", he was holding to the cardinal belief that no one could write inspired scriptures without being commissioned by God to do so.

In other words, Josephus is telling us that the Jews recognized the Old Testament canon as being complete after their return from Babylon in the time of Ezra, who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon in the seventh year of king Artaxerxes [Ezra 7:1, 8 2] around 400 B.C.

Josephus' Number and Arrangement: Note that Josephus mentions there being only twenty two books in the Tanakh, which is because the original division of the Scriptures was as follows

    I. THE LAW (Torah): 1. Genesis, 2. Exodus, 3. Leviticus, 4. Numbers, 5. Deuteronomy

    II. THE PROPHETS (Nevi'im): 6. Joshua/Judges, 7. The Book of Kingdoms (Samuel/Kings) , 8. Isaiah, 9. Jeremiah , 10 Ezekiel , 11. The Book of the Twelve (The Twelve Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malach) were known as The Book of the Twelve because they were all written on a single scroll)

    III. WRITINGS (Ketuvim): 12. Psalms, 13. Proverbs, 14. Job, 15. Song of Songs, 16. Ruth, 17. Lamentations, 18. Ecclesiastes, 19. Esther, 20. Daniel, 21. Ezra/Nehemiah, 22. The Book of Chronicles

Some saw this number as being significant corresponding, as it does, with the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Others are inclined to think that this division of the Scriptures was forced, to make the total number of books agree with the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Although the exact reasons are unknown, towards the end of the first century, or beginning of the second, the Jews changed the number of the books to 24, not by adding any material (which no Jew would have done), but by simply dividing Joshua-Judges into two separate books, and the Book of Kingdoms into Samuel and Kings. Modern versions of the Tanakh list 39 separate Books just like the Christian Old Testament, but maintain the traditional tri-fold division that begins with Genesis, and ends with Chronicles.

The question also arises as to why, in this account, Josephus not only ignores the traditional division of the Scriptures, but actually mentions the Hebrew Scriptures in a very odd arrangement. For example, there were never 13 books in 'The Prophets’, nor just 4 books in the Psalms. However, Josephus' apparent aim was to demonstrate the longevity of the Jewish culture and religion. And since he was was writing to Gentiles, who would not have understood the significance of the traditional order of the Hebrew canon, he used the common manner of classifying documents in a chronological order. The "four books he speaks about were likely to be 1) Psalms, (2) Song of Solomon (3) Proverbs and (4) Ecclesiastes.

Jerome
Although Jerome, who is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate), mentions a slightly different division of books, he also refers to the twenty two books of the Hebrew canon

    As, then, there are twenty-two elementary characters by means of which we write in Hebrew all we say, and the compass of the human voice is contained within their limits, so we reckon twenty-two books, by which, as by the alphabet of the doctrine of God, a righteous man is instructed in tender infancy, and, as it were, while still at the breast. [6]


Why Consider the Hebrew Canon?
The question could very well be asked.. why should we pay particular attention to the number of books the Jews considered inspired and, therefore, sacred? There is very good reason..

The Jews Were Were Entrusted With The Oracles Of God
The Bible says [Emphasis Added]

    What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? Much every way: first of all, that they were intrusted with the oracles of God. [Romans 3:1-2]

Not only did the Jews have the privilege of being the keepers of the sacred books, and the responsibility to preserve them for posterity, but the Scriptures are very clear.... God Himself trusted them with His Word. The Greek word translated "intrusted" is pisteuo, which means to have faith in. If God had enough faith and confidence in the Jews to appoint them guardians of the Law, The Prophets, and The Writings, who are we to tell the Almighty that His faith was misplaced. 


The Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Though their eyes may be blind to the truth of the Messiah, the Jews guarded the text of the Old Testament with great devotion, which resulted in great accuracy.

The Old Testament that we use today is translated from what is called the "Masoretic Text" (Masoretic  comes from the Hebrew masoreth, “tradition”). Until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, the oldest Hebrew text of the Old Testament was the Masoretic Aleppo Codex which dates to A.D. 935. Sometime in the Middle Ages a group of Jewish scholars called Masoretes became concerned that the pronunciation of the words might be lost, since Hebrew was no longer a spoken language. They, therefore, became involved in developing a system for marking the vowels, and a way to mark punctuation, accents etc.

    The most popular system of signs was developed by the Ben Asher family, and it is their system that is preserved in the Leningrad Codex. If you look carefully at a page you can see that the consonants, or letters, have little marks above and below them. Some of the marks are called "vowel points," and some are called "accents." The accents both act as punctuation and as musical notation.

    The Masoretes were also interested in copying the biblical text very carefully so that it would be preserved from generation to generation. The way they tried to ensure this was the use of notes in the margins. In the margins beside the biblical verses they put little letters as symbols.  

    These symbols told the scribe copying the text information about unusual forms or words that should not be changed. For instance, they might put a circle over a word that occurred nowhere else in the Bible. In the margin they would then put the letter "l" which told the scribe, "yes, this is a unique word, but it is not an error, so just copy it the way it is." The notes at the top or bottom of a page would usually give more information about the symbols in the side margins. [7]

Working between A.D. 500 and 950, "This monumental work was begun around the 6th century ad and completed in the 10th century ad by scholars at Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine, in an effort to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament. Their intention was not to interpret the meaning of the Scriptures but to transmit to future generations the authentic Word of God. To this end they gathered manuscripts and whatever oral traditions were available to them" [3]. These scholars used extremely meticulous and painstaking procedures to ensure that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transcribed. Some of their methods are described by the Encyclopædia Britannica Online ...

    The Masoretic text that resulted from their work shows that every word and every letter was checked with care. In Hebrew or Aramaic, they called attention to strange spellings and unusual grammar and noted discrepancies in various texts. Since texts traditionally omitted vowels in writing, the Masoretes introduced vowel signs to guarantee correct pronunciation. ... In addition, signs for stress and pause were added to the text to facilitate public reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue.

    When the final codification of each section was complete, the Masoretes not only counted and noted down the total number of verses, words, and letters in the text but further indicated which verse, which word, and which letter marked the centre of the text. In this way any future emendation could be detected. The rigorous care given the Masoretic text in its preparation is credited for the remarkable consistency found in Old Testament Hebrew texts since that time. The Masoretic work enjoyed an absolute monopoly for 600 years, and experts have been astonished at the fidelity of the earliest printed version (late 15th century) to the earliest surviving codices (late 9th century). The Masoretic text is universally accepted as the authentic Hebrew Bible.  [3]

Additionally, to ensure accuracy they 

    "...developed a number of strict measures to ensure that every fresh copy was an exact reproduction of the original. They established tedious procedures to protect the text against being changed. For instance, (a) when obvious errors were noted in the text, perhaps because a tired scribe nodded, the text was still not changed. Instead, a correction was placed in the margin called qere, “to be read,” and that which was written in the text was called, kethibh, “to be written.” (b) When a word was considered textually, grammatically, or exegetically questionable, dots were placed above that word. (c) Minute statistics were also kept as a further means of guarding against errors: in the Hebrew Bible at Leviticus 8:8, the margin has a reference that this verse is the middle verse of the Torah. According to the note at Lev. 10:16 the word darash is the middle word in the Torah, and at 11:42 we are assured that the waw in a Hebrew word there is the middle letter. At the end of each book are statistics as: the total number of verses in Deuteronomy is 955, the total in the entire Torah is 5,845; the total number of words is 97, 856, and the total number of letters is 400,945.64 [8]

It has often been claimed that the Masoretes edited the texts to minimize, or even delete the messianic prophecies or types [See Typology]. However, the 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in caves in Qumran, gave us manuscripts that predate the Masoretic Text by about one thousand years. After years of study, it was found that the scrolls were almost identical with the Masoretic text, which substantially confirms that our Old Testament has been accurately preserved. In fact, it is a matter of wonder that the text went through so little alteration in over a thousand years.

So much so that, after examining the Isaiah scrolls found in Cave 1, Gleason Archer, professor of Biblical Languages at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California from 1948 to 1965, wrote [Emphasis Added]

    “Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The five percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.” [9]

Pre Dead Sea Scrolls?
We know that the Old Testament was preserved with near perfection, in the thousand or so years, from the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the earliest surviving Masoretic texts, but were the texts equally well preserved before the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Aside from some very tiny scraps [Brotz.OTTC, 38], we have almost nothing in terms of "hard evidence" regarding the text of the OT prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls, so that direct textual criticism is impossible. However, the principle of keeping a sacred text sound is found recorded in Egyptian and Mesopotamian texts as early as the 12th century BC. Scribal fidelity was emphasized, and texts bear indications of proofreading. Steps were taken to prevent "hypertrophic growth of the written corpus under inside pressure, especially to restrain the theologian from re-interpreting the sacred story, elaborating it, embellishing it, and destroying it." [Vash.OTOT, 6; see also Brotz.OTTC, ibid.].

    Therefore, while we have no direct textual evidence telling us that the OT text was accurately preserved, we certainly have direct evidence of a sociological model that emphasized the accurate preservation of texts in the ancient world, in societies with direct influence upon Israelite culture.

    As a practical matter, it should be added that an added encouragement to copy accurately was that mistakes were a big headache to correct. It was not exactly possible to run your scroll back through the word processor, and white-out was a couple of millenia in the distance. [10]


Jesus and The Canon of the Old Testament
Jesus Himself was very clear about the limits of the Hebrew Canon.

The Law and The Prophets
On several occasions Jesus, Luke, and Paul, referred to 'The Law and the Prophets', which, along with 'The Writing', was the Hebrew division of the Old Testament. In other words, it is an inescapable fact that Christ was addressing people familiar with the tri-fold division of the Hebrew Old Testament, since no known version of the Greek translation (the Septuagint) had any such division. Besides which, the Septuagint was categorized differently, arranging it's books in the order of law, history, writings, and prophecy, interspersed with the Apocryphal books.

    Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. [Matthew 5:17]

    All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets. [Matthew 7:12]

    And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets. [Matthew 22:39-40]

    And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. [Luke 24:44]

    And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. [Acts 13:15]

    But this I confess unto thee, that after the Way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets; [Acts 24:14]

    And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. [Acts 28:23]

It also speaks volumes that when in debate with different groups of people who tended to be hostile to both Him and the Gospel, Jesus still  appealed to 'the scriptures'. This clearly shows that acknowledgment of Hebrew canon, and rejection of the apocrypha was the same among all the Jews, regardless of whether they were friend or foe. For instance...

The Chief Priests and the Pharisees

    Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes? [Matthew 21:42]

The Sadducees

    But Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven. [Matthew 22:29-30]

The Multitudes with swords and staves, that came to arrest Him

    But all this is come to pass, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left him, and fled. [Matthew 26:56]

Also note Luke's references to the book (singular) of the Prophets. In the Hebrew canon the Twelve Minor Prophets were one book, since they were written on one scroll.

    But God turned, and gave them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, Did ye offer unto me slain beasts and sacrifices Forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? [Acts 7:42]

    Beware therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken in the prophets: [Acts 13:40]

    When in debate with Jewish theologians Jesus and the apostles appealed to ‘the scriptures’, they appealed to an authority which was equally acknowledged by their opponents”. In other words, there was universal Jewish rejection of the Apocrypha.
     

From Abel to Zachariah
Additionally, when Jesus said...

    "that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the sanctuary and the altar". [Matthew 23:35]

...He was referring to Abel's murder at the hands of his brother, which is recorded in Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, and Zachariah's murder which was commanded by king Joash, and is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22. Not only was Jesus excluding the other murders of God's messengers recorded in the Apocrypha, but since 2 Chronicles was the last book of the Hebrew Old Testament, Jesus was, in essence, saying, 'from the first murder to the last murder in the Bible'. This statement, which is the equivalent of someone today saying 'from Genesis to Malachi', clearly shows that our Lord considered the twenty four books of the Hebrew Scriptures to be the canon of the Old Testament.

Yet, the Council of Trent, the 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic church, held at Trent in northern Italy between 1545 and 1563, showed absolutely no regard for Jesus' clear indication of the limits of the canon, but made their own determination as to which books were to be accepted as God's Word.

Continue On To Part II HERE

 

 

Endnotes
[1] James Bean. The Lost Books Of The Bible. Spoken on his radio program called Spiritual Awakening.
http://godsdirectcontact.us/sm21/enews/www/081/l-1.htm

[2] Doubleday Religion (October 1, 1985). Henry Wansbrough General Editor. Pg 621

[3] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/368081/Masoretic-text

[4] R. W. Cowley. The Biblical Canon Of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today. Ostkirchliche Studien, 1974, Volume 23, pp. 318-323.

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/Canon/ethiopican.html

[5] http://www.anglicansonline.org/basics/thirty-nine_articles.html

[6] The Books of Samuel and Kings, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.vii.iii.iv.html

[7] The Leningrad Codex. West Semitic Research Project.... affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Religion and directed by Dr. Bruce Zuckerman. http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/educational_site/biblical_manuscripts/LeningradCodex.shtml

[8] The Bible: The Holy Canon of Scripture. Study By: J. Hampton Keathley, III. http://bible.org/seriespage/bible-holy-canon-scripture

[9] Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL.: Moody Press, 1985), Pg 25

[10] J.P. Holding. On the textual preservation of the Old Testament. http://www.tektonics.org/lp/ottextcrit.html.

    Brotz.OTTC - Brotzman, Ellis R. Old Testament Textual Criticism. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994. Pg 38

    Vash.OTOT - Vasholz, Robert I. The Old Testament Canon in the Old Testament Church. Lewiston: Edwin Mellon Press, 1990. Pg 6

 

Footnote I.. The Authority of The Law of Moses
The "law of Moses" was cited through the OT... beginning with Joshua, and continuing all the way through Malachi. For Example

    Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. [Joshua 1:7-8]

    as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of unhewn stones, upon which no man had lifted up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt-offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace-offerings. And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote, in the presence of the children of Israel. [Joshua 8:31-32]

    Therefore be ye very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; [Joshua 23:6]

    and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and his testimonies, according to that which is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself. [1 Kings 2:3]

    but the children of the murderers he put not to death; according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, as Jehovah commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall die for his own sin. [2 Kings 14:6]

    neither will I cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. [2 Kings 21:8]

    And Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of the Lord under the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt-offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. [2 Chronicles 23:18]

    And they stood in their place after their order, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites. [2 Chronicles 30:16]

    And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses. [Ezra 6:18]

    On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that an Ammonite and a Moabite should not enter into the assembly of God for ever, [Nehemiah 13:1]

    Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even turning aside, that they should not obey thy voice: therefore hath the curse been poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God; for we have sinned against him.. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet have we not entreated the favor of Jehovah our God, that we should turn from our iniquities, and have discernment in thy truth. [Daniel 9:11, 13]

    Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances. [Malachi 4:4]

     

Footnote II.. The Inspiration of the Biblical Prophets
There is a school of thought that believes that a writer might not know he was inspired. However, it is very apparent that the Biblical prophets were fully aware that God was speaking through them.

    Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. [Ezekiel 1:1]

    Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this selfsame day: the king of Babylon drew close unto Jerusalem this selfsame day. [Ezekiel 24:2]

    And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it. [Habakkuk 2:2]

    The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. [Hosea 1:1]

    The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. [Joel 1:1]

    Yet even now, saith the Lord, turn ye unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: [Joel 2:12]

     Thus saith the Lord: For three transgressions of Damascus, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron: [Amos 1:3]

    The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord concerning Edom: We have heard tidings from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. [Obadiah 1:1]

    The word of the Lord that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Inspiration of The Biblical Prophets [Micah 1:1]

    Thus saith the Lord: Though they be in full strength, and likewise many, even so shall they be cut down, and he shall pass away. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. [Nahum 1:12]

    The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. [Zephaniah 1:1]

    In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, [Haggai 1:1]

    In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying... [Zechariah 1:1]

    The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. [Malachi 1:1]

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Apocrypha, Lost Books, Gnostic Gospels

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