Gaps in the Bible…
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. (Psalm 19:1-3)
Notice the underlined words of communication: sheweth, uttereth speech, voice, knowledge, heard. God has been showing the people of every age and in every nation, certain things about Himself. “There is a God!” The prophet, Isaiah, wrote: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22)
TODAY'S ARTICLE IS A LETTER I WROTE today in answer to a recent letter, asking questions about “gaps in the Bible.” The questions are worthy of thought. This person writes:
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the “gaps” in the Bible and why certain things were put in and why others were left out. I’ve learned that in the New Testament, the books chosen were from men who were directly associated with Jesus. The Old Testament though is still unclear to me. What happened to the souls of the people who were born gentiles and not of God’s chosen people? During the years of exile, when the Jewish people were not always able to make their sacrifices, what happened to the souls of those people who passed before their sins could be atoned? I saw this link and it did answer some questions, but I wanted to get your opinion on them”
HI SUSAN! (NOT HER REAL NAME)
THANKS FOR YOUR EMAIL, sharing your questions about Bible gaps. I read the article behind the link that you included: https://redeeminggod.com/400-years-of-silence/
HIS WRITTEN REVELATION TO US IS COMPLETE. We can assume that God is saying to us: “Here’s everything I want you to know that you can’t figure out for yourself.” God has never left Himself without a witness of His existence and our responsibility to Him. God does not show us everything we may want to know, but He does show us all that He deems necessary for us to know and in keeping with His purpose. You are asking about the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.
THE SILENCE OF THOSE YEARS DOES NOT MEAN that God was inactive for 400 years, but that during that time He did not ordain any prophets to speak for Him. A much larger time of silence was the time before Moses, some 2,000 years. Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Another time of silence is the time after the New Testament was completed, another 2,000 years. The New Testament is in the Old, contained. The Old Testament is in the New, explained.
THE LONG PERIODS OF TIME between the utterance of prophecies and their fulfillment provide a means for proving the Bible to be the Word of God. The Book of Daniel is the key to understanding God’s hand in history, stretching from Babylon to the Roman Empire. Daniel tells us that the Stone that smashes the feet of the towering image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is the smashing of the kingdom of Satan and the entrance of the reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years and then there comes a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness…the eternal state. Thus, Daniel is relatively short by powerful!
WE HAVE ANOTHER WITNESS IN CREATION. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)
SOME OF THE PROPHETS WROTE MESSAGES to nations hundreds of miles away but the prophet did not get on a horse and take them a copy. Jonah did. Jonah walked through the streets of Nineveh for 12 days or so and gave them a short message: “40 days and God is going to destroy you.” Very limited. But it was enough to cause them to repent and God delayed their destruction for almost 150 years. It was the most powerful nation on earth at the time.
THERE ARE SOME PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION WITH GOD. Who takes the initiative: God or man? James wrote: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8) In this case, it looks like the initiative is with man, but other verses indicate that God has already taken the initiative. What is “drawing nigh to God?” He abruptly talks about cleansing hands and dealing with heart issues, avoiding a double-mind.
WHEN WE GET READY AND TAKE THE FIRST STEP, God will draw close to us in response. He has been waiting for us to respond to what He has already done. If we don’t want God, He will leave us alone. But, as we read the Bible, we also see this: We love him, because he first loved us. (1John 4:19) God has already taken the initiative.
ANOTHER PERTINENT VERSE IS: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) Must believe that God exists and that this God will reward them or respond to them if they diligently, sincerely seek Him.
A PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION WITH GOD is promised by Isaiah: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22) In principle, it is the same as 2Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:14)
JESUS AND HIS FATHER ARE ONE. Jesus saith unto him (Phillip), Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:9-11)
PAUL TELLS US IN ROMANS 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. McGee says of this verse: “This is a remarkable statement, which Paul draws from the Old Testament (see Joel 2:32), to enforce his argument that salvation is by faith. This makes it very clear that both Jew and Gentile are to call on the Lord. To "call upon the name of the Lord" means to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (McGee)
TO REPEAT: This verse is Old and New Testament. When one calls on the Father, one has also called on the Son, and I might add: has called on the Holy Spirit. Can one call on Jesus and not call on the Father? Can one call on the Father and ask Him to keep it a secret from Jesus or tell the Father that it doesn’t pertain to Jesus? (Father, don’t tell this to Jesus. This is just between You and me.) Deep water here, but very important. The same verse is used in Joel and Romans pertaining to how to be saved. When one calls upon the Father, one has called upon the Son. Those who were in fellowship with the Father, recognized the preaching of the Son. See the verses following that show the oneness of the Father and the Son.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:37-38)
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. (John 8:19) John 1:10 tells us that Jesus was co-creator of the world with God the Father: He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (John 1:10)
There is a timeline in God unfurling His communication to us and His dealing with us: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4) God’s communication with us is PROGRESSIVE and that process involves a timeline. In promising Abraham the land He was going to give Him, God said this: But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:16)
God was saying to Abraham that the land he was seeing would be his but not in his lifetime. God was going to give the land to Abraham’s seed, but He could not kill them and give their stuff to Abraham because they were not yet wicked enough, but they were on their way. When they were wicked enough, God would be just in giving Abraham’s seed the property of those wicked people. There was a timeline.
God also has a timeline in revealing things to individuals. Those who choose to walk with God will have things revealed to them when it is appropriate to do so. God does not show us the date of our death when we are ten years old. He merely tells us we are going die after a while. God showed me Shirley’s death ten days before it happened…not the death itself, but a very strong impression, like a curtain, that I could not go to Washington for the March for Life. He arranged for me to be there when she died.
God told Ezekiel he was going to take his wife: Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded. (Ezekiel 24:15-18)
You asked about gaps in the Bible. What is a gap in the Bible? There is a general understanding among Bible students about gaps in the Bible. It’s a period of time when God does not speak. But there is also a gap, or millions of gaps in people getting access to the Bible. Most of the people through history and to the present time have never had a Bible in their hands or heard anyone read a Bible verse. These are gaps of a different kind. Only a small percentage of earth’s population has ever entered the doors of a public place of worship. But, God has not left Himself without a witness.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. (Psalm 19:1-3) Notice the underlined words of communication: sheweth, uttereth speech, their voice, knowledge, heard. God has been showing the people of every age and in every nation, certain things about Himself. “There is a God!”
Then He says by the prophet: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22) OK, the message is to all the ends of he earth but Isaiah is one man without a radio microphone, not even a laptop to write an email. How does Isaiah get his message to all the ends of the earth? He doesn’t. He can’t get his message to the ends of the earth. But he is telling the ones who have access to what he wrote, “This is how you get saved!” “Look until me and be ye saved.” Who does that apply to? All the ends of the earth.
Who is going to tell them what God requires them to hear? Psalm 19:1-3 reveals that the heavens and the firmament above their heads told them what God wanted them to know: that He is God, the only God. The New Testament book of Hebrews ties into that when it says: “Must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Man is lost because he rebels against what God has shown him. It is God who has made every one of us, and 102 times the Bible declares that salvation is of the Lord. Since I got saved at age nine, I have been telling the story of Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead and that He is not willing that any should perish. But God has never turned over to me the job of being the main speaker for the gospel. I try to remember that the Gospel message goes to “every creature.” I speak a word or leave a tract or do what I can to carry out the Great Commission Jesus left with us.
But I must be honest and say that there have never been enough preachers to tell every individual on earth the story of the Gospel of Christ. There have never been enough church buildings to hold all the people on earth. A very small percentage of earth’s population has ever held a Bible in their hands.
But there has always been the sun rising and setting and the things that only God could make to declare His authority and Godhead over them. It is up to God to decide how much of the complete picture He is going to show each individual. He shows His power and Godhead to every soul on earth and they are responsible to respond in faith and submission to what God has shown them. If anyone responds to what God has shown them, He will show them enough for them to be saved. God convicted Peter through the crowing of a rooster. God spoke through the mouth of a donkey to Balaam. Notice what Paul said in Romans about God showing things to people:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:18-20)
God has two books: the written Word of God, and the display of His majestic and powerful creation! He has made it all and man cannot make it. That’s why the devil has worked so hard at trying to convince people to believe in evolution, that order can come out of chaos. I have never seen a new Thunderbird sports car drive out of a big pile of scrap metal. I have never heard of an unabridged dictionary coming out of an explosion in an ink factory. Only God can bring order out of chaos.
Only God can reach every soul He has made. Jesus said: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. (John 6:44-45)
There is not room in this brief article to explore this subject completely. But perhaps these references will help to put the “Bible gaps” in perspective. Thanks for writing and sharing. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 7, 2018 – FRIDAY
A.M. Daniel 9-10 P.M. 2John 1
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A Good Verse to Memorize: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
( Picture: Eli and Samuel)
Song for Today: No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus (2:27) ( George Beverly Shea)
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