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Instructor in Bible, Greek, and Philosophy

John Brown University






In the study of Old Testament theology an important place belongs to what the Old Testament teaches about God's self-revelation. Likewise, it is essential that we know what the O. T. discloses about its own inspiration and authority as a revelation from God. Clearly, these two subjects, revelation and inspiration belong together, as revelation pertains to that which God makes known at a particular time, and inspiration refers to the divinely controlled process of recording that revelation, so as to make an accurate record available to others who were not present at the time of revealing.




For the study of this important subject, then, revelation may be defined as "God's witness and communication of Himself to the world for the realization of the end of creation, and for the re-establishment of the full communion of man with God.”1 Inspiration has been defined as "a supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon divinely chosen men in consequence of which their writings became trustworthy and authoritative.”2 While this latter definition is not the best possible in light of New Testament emphasis on verbal inspiration, it is adequate for O. T. theology purposes, especially if stress is placed on the terms trustworthy and supernatural, so that inspiration as extending to the very words of Scripture is implied. Indeed, a complete definition of inspiration is quite lengthy and involved, as seen by the fact that Gaussen took an entire chapter to define what the term theopneustia means.3 


            The authority of the O. T. is a correlative of inspiration.  If the O. T. is a divinely given revelation to man which is so controlled in its process of recording as to be the very Word of  God, then it bears the very authority of God Himself.  If it is any less than inspired in such a sense, then its authority is diminished, in spite of modern attempts to have an authoritative Bible without verbal inspiration.

Divisions of the Doctrine of Revelation


The doctrine of revelation has two well-recognized divisions, general revelation, and  special revelation.  The former is termed “general” in that it is available to all men (cf. Romans 1:19-21 and John 1:9).  It is sometimes designated “natural revelation” because its source is in “nature,” including man himself who is made in the image of God. While the






doctrine of general revelation is grounded in the teaching of the O.T. (Genesis 1 and 2,

Psalm 19, etc.), it is not germane to the subject of this study.

The latter division of the doctrine of revelation is called "special" because it implies an active self-disclosure by God in contrast to the passive nature of general revelation, which must be gained by an effort on the part of man. But "special" also implies a limitation or particularization in the recipients of the revelation, in contrast to the universality of general revelation. "The Word of the Lord came unto me," wrote the prophet. It is the O.T.'s teaching concerning this supernatural divine communication which is the subject of this study of the Doctrine of Revelation and Inspiration in the Old Testament.


Factors in an Act of Revelation


A helpful analysis of an act of revelation has been presented by David H. Freeman. He writes:


An act of revealing takes place when X (the revealer - God] reveals S

[something, the content of the revelation] to Y [the recipient, who by im-

plication is ignorant of that revealed) for purpose (P) by means of M at a

time and place (T). What is thus transmitted to Y may then be referred to

as the revelation of X to Y.


The expression "the special revelation of God" can then be used to refer to

all such acts of revealing that satisfy the conditions X, S, Y, P, M, and T,”

where "X refers to God, S refers to what is made known, Y to those per- .

sons to whom S is made known, P, for the purpose X has in making S known

to Y, and M stands for the means used by X to make S known to Y, and T

stands for the time and place where X made S known to Y by means of M

for purpose P. 4


Related Disciplines


Using the above analysis, the companion disciplines to Biblical Theology may be related to the factors in an act of revelation.


1) The study of the content of revelation (S), organized as a function of time (T) is the study of Biblical Theology itself.


2) When the content of revelation (S) is organized logically the result is systematic theology.


3) The study of the Revealor (X), God Himself, through the revealed subject matter (S) is Theology Proper.


4) The study of the recipients of revelation (Y) is Biblical Anthropology.



5) The study of the purpose (P) which God had in disclosing Himself is Soteriology, as redemption and revelation are inseparable after Genesis 3.


6) Finally, the study of God's method (M) of making Himself known to man is the unique sphere for a study of the doctrine of revelation in the O.T. A brief survey of the method used is presented in part two of this study, followed by a consideration of the basis of the claim of the O. T. to inspiration.


General Content of Special Revelation


While the study of the total content of O. T. revelation obviously cannot be included in this paper, the general content of any revelation may be set forth as either a revelation of God's person (as in theophanies), of His acts (miracles and providence), or a revelation of God's thoughts or words. The latter includes the divine explanation of the meaning of His personal appearances and acts, without which they would be subject to mis-interpretation by finite sinful man. Indeed, as Thomson holds, without the explanatory word the event would not constitute a revelation.5 Edward J. Young writes concerning this point:


From the events themselves, it would not have been possible for the Israel-

ites to learn much about the workings of God. The events of the Exodus

were revelatory of God's power, but such revelation cannot properly be un-

derstood unless it also be accompanied by a revelation in words. . . . The

Israelites realized that God was delivering them because God told them that

it was so. Without a special communication from God to man, man cannot

properly recognize or interpret the workings of God in history.6


Young has previously cited G. Ernest Wright (God Who Acts), who holds that Biblical theology ". . . is a theology of recital or proclamation of the acts of God, together with the inferences drawn there from.”7 But Wright ignores the fact that the meaning of the acts is divinely given in Scripture, and not left to mere human inferences.

The three forms of revelation are grouped together in Exodus 3. God's person appears in the Angel of Jehovah in the midst of the bush. God's acts are revealed in the unconsumed burning bush and in the changing of the rod into a serpent, etc. God's words of explanation are given to Moses: "You are on holy ground, " etc.




The writer to the Hebrews tells us that God spoke in time past in "many ways.” These ways or methods of revelation are the subject for consideration at this point.


The history of revelation has been divided in various ways for consideration of the method of revelation. Probably at the extremes are Oehler and J. Barton Payne. Oehler sees only two divisions, the Mosaic and Prophetic, while Payne divides the same history into ten divisions.8 Because of the position to be set forth in the later discussion of inspiration, this writer uses the three divisions of Heinisch, Pre-Mosaic, Mosaic, and Prophetic.9



The consideration of the available material concerning this study leads one away from any attempt to be exhaustive. There is a vast amount of scriptural material to be subsumed in such a study, as well as a considerable number of studies of the doctrine in the literature available.


The Pre-Mosaic Period


1. The Primal Period - the Creation to the Flood

The revelation in the primal period, as Payne observes, is mainly on a person to person basis.10 God speaks directly and almost casually to man as need arises. The O.T. opens with God speaking. The voice of God (bat qol, the daughter of a voice, as the rabbis later called it) addresses matter --"Let there be " It is addressed to Himself in inter-

trinitary communion, "Let us make " It is addressed to man: "Be fruitful, " etc.

during the period before the fall God appears to man in the garden by a theophany each

day in the cool of the evening (Gen. 3:8). "Before the fall, " writes Vos,


there was such an abiding presence of God with man in paradise. After the

fall a certain remnant of this continued, though not in the old gracious

form. The throne with the cherubim still stood in the east of the garden of

God. God still walked with Enoch. With the flood all this is changed. God

has as it were, withdrawn this sacramental revelation-presence into heav-



Not to be overlooked are New Testament references to prophetic ministries in this period: Abel is included by Christ among the prophets who were slain for their testimonies (Luke 11:50, 51; cf. Hebrews 11:4); Jude declares that Enoch prophesied of the coming of Christ in judgment (Jude 14).


2. The Patriarchal Period


In this period revelation is less casual than in the preceding one,12 but may be characterized as more fleeting and ephemeral in its forms of manifestation.13 Revelation comes to Abraham and his descendants by theophany (Gen. 12 ff.), the Angel of Jehovah (Gen. 22:11, 12, etc.), dreams (Gen. 37:5), and by mighty acts, as the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 19). The fact that he is in the divine favor is revealed to Abram by the priestly blessing of Melchizedek. The principal names by which God makes Himself known in the patriarchal period are El-Shaddai, "God Almighty," and El-Elyon, "The Most-High God” (El is a shortened form of Elohim). The name Jehovah is known, but its full significance is to be made known later in the exodus period.14


The Mosaic Period


Geerhardus Vos characterizes the revelations of the Mosaic period as more permanent manifestations than in the previous period.15 Surrounded by the symbols of propitiation ac-

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complished, God dwells in the midst of His people in a specially prepared tabernacle, the

outward manifestations of His presence being the cloud and pillar of fire, the latter seemingly identified with the "Shekhina" in Exodus 40:34. Besides these, revelation came through these channels:


1) The Angel of Jehovah (Ex. 3:2). Note the problem of identifying this person, whether God Himself in His Pre-incarnate Son, or an ordinary created angel.16


2) The Name of God (Ex. 23:31). In contrast to the various personal appellations used in referring to deity, God's Name is said on one occasion to be in the Angel which leads Israel, and thus refers to His very being as that which is with them to lead them.


3) A similar expression is the face or presence of God, which is promised to be with His people.


4) In Numbers 11:17-29 the Spirit of Jehovah comes upon certain leaders of Israel, with the result that they prophesy.


5) With Prophetism thus introduced to Israel, chapter 12 of Numbers gives the locus classicus on the institution. Miriam and Aaron challenge the centrality of Moses as a prophet, saying, "Hath God not also spoken by us?" (12:2).  In response God sets forth Moses as the prophet par excellence of the O. T. and distinguishes His method of revelation to him from that to an ordinary prophet. Moses is to receive revelation by his ordinary senses. To an inferior prophet revelation comes by a form of super-sensory perception, as dreams, visions, etc.


6) The great redemptive act of emancipating Israel from Egypt is a revelation of God's power on her behalf which is to be remembered in all her generations, as celebrated by the annual Passover festival (Ex. 12:14). It is the occasion for revelatory psalms, as the Song of Moses (15:1-18), and of Miriam (15:20, 21). These are precursors of the inspired songs later to be gathered into the book of Psalms.


7) In the Law of Moses itself, besides the revelatory aspects of the tabernacle, priesthood and offerings, there is to be especially noted the use of the Urim and Thummim by the High Priest to determine God's will for His people in the ordinary questions of day-to-day life. Unusual also is the example of the original tables of the law, written by God's own hand.


The Prophetic Period


The remainder of the O. T. after the Books of Moses, or Torah, is usually divided up into the "Prophets" (Nebhiim), and the "Writings" (Kethubhim), although some scholars, as Laird Harris, argue that this division is late.17 Harris argues for an original two-fold division, reflecting the New Testament designation of the O.T. as simply "the law and the prophets." Merrill F. Unger18 and Edward J. Young19 on the other hand seem to regard the distinction as in use at the time of canonization, and hold that the distinction between the two classes of books may be that the former had the office of prophet, while the latter writers had the gift of



prophet, but not the prophetic office. Whichever position is held, the corresponding idea obtains: both the Prophets and the Writings were produced by men who had the prophetic gift. (A consideration of this in more detail will be presented in the section on Inspiration.)


1. The Prophets


The group which the Massoretic text calls the "Prophets" divides into two sections, the Former Prophets and the Latter Prophets.

In the Former Prophets, consisting of the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, there is usually the simple statement of fact, "The Lord said to Joshua, " or "The Lord said to Gideon," etc., without any explanation of how the revelation came. In Joshua 5:13-15 God reveals Himself as "The Captain of Jehovah's Army," and in Judges 2:1, etc., the "Angel of Jehovah" manifests Himself.

In Samuel, the last judge, comes the rise of the prophets. It was he who founded the "schools of the prophets." Early men who fulfilled this function along with Samuel were Nathan and Gad. Later men were the miracle-working Elijah and Elisha, called upon to counteract the rising Baalism.

The usual classification of these prophets as "non-writing" is not valid in any absolute sense in light of I Chronicles 29:29 which states that Samuel, Nathan, and Gad wrote histories which included the acts of David the King.

The Latter Prophets is composed of two groups, the Major Prophets, as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, so named because of their comparatively large books, and the Minor Prophets, often dubbed "the Twelve, “Hosea to Malachi. The words of Amos would express the conviction of these prophets, both major and minor, when he wrote of his calling: "The lion hath roared; who will not fear: The Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who can but prophesy?" (3:8).

The institution of prophetism forms the basis of a study vast in itself. Note may be made of it in all the standard O. T. theologies, and in particular in Edward J. Young's My Servants Prophets, and James G. S. S. Thomson's The Old  Testament View of Revelation.


2. The Writings


The “Writings" or Kethubhim consist of our "Poetical Books," plus the remainder of the historical books, Lamentations, and Daniel. These books seem to have been written by men who, while apparently not usually considered by their contemporaries as prophets - in the sense that men like Nathan, Elijah, or Jeremiah were so considered - yet had a divinely bestowed gift of prophecy. David exclaimed, "The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, and his word was upon my tongue” (2 Sam. 23: 2). The Psalms thus produced by the Holy Spirit through David were recognized as such by Israel and treasured as part of their scriptures. Other examples of this class include Solomon, also a ruler, but a recipient of revelation; Daniel, a statesman in the court of Babylon; and Ezra, a priest. A further consideration of this subject will be presented in the next section.



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Historically speaking, the institution of prophetism ceased with the passing of Malachi. But it was during the period of continuing prophetic activity that all of the books of the O. T. were produced, including the "Writings," unless we are to believe the destructive, unbelieving theories of the modern higher critics, who operate on the presupposition that the Bible is a wholly natural book, and that there can be no such thing as miracle or prophecy.




The inspiration of the O. T. is an intriguing aspect of O. T. theology, inasmuch as there is no chapter and verse in the O. T. that says even the equivalent of, "The O. T. is inspired!” Wherein, then, lies the foundation of its implied claim to be an accurate, God-given record of His self-revelation?


For Christian theology today the obvious answer is that it is established by the New Testament, - in fact, by Jesus Christ Himself, who declared that "Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). It is His Apostles who give the explanation of the origin of the O. T. the Scriptures are God-breathed, Paul tells us (2 Tim. 3: 16); the prophets were borne along by the Holy Spirit, says Peter, so that no word of prophecy originated within any prophet himself (2 Pet. 1:20, 21). But even before these things were spoken by Christ and the Apostles, wherein lay the claim to inspiration of the O. T.?


The Basis of O.T. Inspiration


The inspiration and thus the authority of the O. T. taken by itself lies in its own teaching, concerning the institution of prophetism: the prophets spoke the very words of God, hence, when they wrote down the message, that written record was the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

That the prophets claimed to convey the words of God is taught overwhelmingly. "Thus saith the Lord" occurs over 3500 times in the O. T.20 Jeremiah alone declares almost 100 times, “The word of the Lord came unto me.”


Some of the prophets, as Jeremiah and Isaiah, tell of their being commanded to commit the word of the Lord to writing (Jer. 36, Isa. 30). Thomson notes the advance: "The proclaimed word is now presented under the form of the written word.”21 Even Moses was commanded on one occasion to write "in the book" (ASV margin - Ex. 17:14).


Prophetistic Structure of O.T. Inspiration


The O.T. reveals a prophetistic structure, in the sense that it is entirely the work of

prophets, beginning with Moses.


1. Genesis


Moses, the pre-eminent prophet of his own day, was led by God to write Genesis as historical and preliminary to the record of God's dealings with Israel from Egypt to Palestine.



Indeed, the record of Exodus to Deuteronomy and even Joshua would be unintelligible without the book of Genesis. Contrary to the radical critics who date the book of origins much later and consider it to be a patchwork of conflicting records, the whole foundation of the exodus from Egypt would be sand without the historicity of the creation, fall, flood, confusion of tongues, and the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the isolation of the twelve sons of Jacob in Egypt by Jehovah.


2. Exodus to Deuteronomy


The inspired historian of his own day, Moses the prophet, wrote Exodus through Deuteronomy as God communed with him directly, "face to face" (Deut. 18, Num. 12). He wrote "in the book" both the events which happened and their divinely given meaning. Thus Moses directly authenticates the first five books as inspired.


3. Joshua to Malachi


The rest of the O. T. after the Mosaic books may be affirmed to have been produced by prophets. While this affirmation is subject to some dispute, it is held by many conservative O.T. scholars to be the key to the canonicity of the O.T. books.


In the study of canonicity a chief problem is that of the threefold division of the O. T. books. In brief, what is the determining principle which placed the non-pentateuchal books in either the "Prophets" or the "Writings?" Unger discusses three critical theories: that the division represents three degrees of inspiration, that it is due to different stages or time periods of canonization, or that it is based on differences of material content: He concludes that "the threefold division is due to the official position and status of the writers and not to degrees of inspiration, differences of content or chronology.”22 Unger holds that the "Writings" ". . . are thus grouped because the writers had the prophetic gift, but not the prophetic office (e.g., David, Solomon, Daniel and Ezra) [italics his].”23


Edward J. Young takes somewhat the same position. He holds that


the books which belong to this third division of the canon were written by

men inspired of God who nevertheless did not occupy the office of prophet.

Some of the authors, however, such as David and Daniel, did possess the

prophetic gift although not occupying the official status of prophet.24



Concerning the "Former Prophets, "Joshua through Samuel, which are actually historical books, Young writes,


When men of the status of prophets wrote an interpretive history of Israel,

it may readily be understood why such a history would be accepted by the

Israelitish church [sic.] as the Word of God. For in their interpretation of

history, these authors often profess to speak as in the Name of God. These

writings, therefore, are historical in character and profess to trace the

hand of God in Israel's history.25



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It is R. Laird Harris who develops most fully this prophetic basis of canonicity and inspiration. Central to his development is his insistence that proper attention be given to canonicity in discussing inspiration: “To show what is inspired is as vital as to know the nature of inspiration.”26 After showing that Moses produced the first five books, Harris emphasizes the on-going prophetic function in Israel which produced other books.27 He concludes that the chain of prophets evidently wrote a chain of histories from Genesis to Nehemiah and the writings of these prophets were accepted, one by one, through the centuries until, when the spirit of prophecy departed from Israel, the canon was complete.”28 He cites Josephus to this effect: "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.”29 Harris cites further evidence from I Maccabees, The Dead Sea Manual of Discipline, and the Talmud.

It must be noted that Harris has argued for a twofold division of the canon, holding that the division of the O. T. into the Law, Prophets, and Writings is late, and that it is simply “the Law and the Prophets" in the period of canonization down to New Testament times.

On page 170 and following Harris takes up objections to this position, the main one being that "one cannot prove that all the Old Testament books were of prophetic authorship.” He sets forth his disagreement with Edward J. Young, who, with Green (and Unger) suggests a distinction between prophetic office and prophetic gift. Harris challenges this distinction by noting that the New Testament writers regularly refer to the O. T. other than the Pentateuch as simply "the Prophets.” Of a dozen examples in the New Testament, half are in the words of Christ Himself, who groups in the same category as "prophets" Ezra, Samuel, Job, Isaiah and Daniel. "Daniel and David," writes Harris, "are specifically called prophets in the New Testament without a suggestion of any distinction between 'gift' and 'office' (Matt. 24:15; Acts 2:30).”30 In Matthew 26:56, as in other passages, "the scriptures of the prophets" refers to the O. T. as a whole. The criticism is also challenged on the basis of the Dead Sea Scrolls which use similar terminology of the O.T .31

A second stage in Harris' argument is that most of the books probably were actually written by prophets. David is twice called a Man of God in Nehemiah 12 (also in 2 Chron. 8:14), and this designation, as Beecher points out, is probably never used in the O. T. except as a synonym for prophet.32 Since God told Moses He would speak to prophets by a dream or vision, or through seeing the similitude of the Lord (Num. 12:8), Joshua, Solomon, Daniel and others would fit this description of a prophet, even by the evidence which has come down to us. And since this "practical and reasonable test of canonicity. . . could have been applied by all the generations of the Jews," we may assume that even Judges, Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Job were not admitted until such a test was applied in their day.33

By way of comparison, it may be seen that these men differ on whether there were originally two or three divisions of the Hebrew canon, and to what extent books now classified as "Writings" may be ascertained to have been written by "prophets,” and whether there were official and non-official prophets. On the other hand, they agree that the O.T. is essentially the production of men who had the prophetic gift, and were inspired to record the very Word of God. This latter concept, as we have stated, is the essence of O. T. inspiration.





Several things may be noted at this point. First, the fact that the Septuagint does not have the threefold division observed by the Massoretic text may be strong evidence that the distinction was not made at the time the books were recognized as canonical. Archer warns against making deductions concerning the canonization of the books based on the divisions of the Massoretic text, since this division "is obviously not pre-Christian in its origin.”34 Thus one might argue that the Massoretes merely organized the books into divisions based on the authors whom they recognized as being "official" prophets, and classified all they could not so recognize (with the exception of some such as Lamentations which was used for liturgical purposes and was therefore classed with the Megilloth, even though Jeremiah, an official prophet, was known to be its author) as being "Writings." Thus Unger's argument makes too much of the late opinion of Massoretes in determining the early process of canonization.35  There are, however, references in the pre-Christian Apocrypha which might be used to argue that besides the books of Moses and the prophets there were "other books of our Fathers."36

Another point is that it does seem to this writer that a case might be built for distinguishing between men like Daniel and David, who had a prophetic gift and were so used by God, while their main function lay in another realm, and men like Nathan and Isaiah, whom we can think of in no other official way but as a prophet to their nation. Whether this distinction can be shown to have been consciously employed in the minds of the Hebrew people from the time of Samuel to Malachi is another question.

A last point in this connection is that the words of Christ in Luke 24:44 do not necessarily demand a threefold division of the O.T. canon. Even Unger, who otherwise holds a threefold division, suggests the possibility "that Jesus used the terminology in special reference to the Psalms only, as containing notable Messianic prophecies.”37


The Centrality of Moses


The prophetistic structure of O. T. inspiration places Moses squarely at the center of O. T. authority. It has been previously noted that Moses directly attests the first five books of the O. T. He also predicted the on-going prophetic institution, with tests for determining a valid prophet! Deuteronomy 13:1-5 shows that a valid prophecy must agree with what has been previously revealed in the Law. Likewise, Deuteronomy 18:9-22 insists that some prediction of a prophet must be fulfilled to validate the prophet. Thus Moses indirectly validates or authenticates the continuation of revelation through the prophets who meet these standards and thus prove their genuineness.


A further evidence of Moses' centrality in this prophetistic schema is the fact that the prophets continually pointed back to Moses in their own messages. Their main function was not to add to or change the legislation, but to call the people back to the Mosaic Law (e.g., Mal. 4:4). Likewise, the great events of the future they predicted were seen to be on a par with the great acts God had done for Israel through Moses. They lived, as it were, in a valley between the peaks of Mosaic and eschatological glory.


Besides looking back to Moses the prophets saw in each other the very spokesmen of God. Throughout the prophets lies a silver web of cross-references in which prophets viewed  

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each other as speaking God's word. While a complete study of this phenomenon would require a volume, a few examples may be cited: Joel 2:32 quotes Obadiah 17, ''as Jehovah hath said.”  Isaiah 2:2-4 cites Micah 4:2-4 as the equivalent of a vision from God. Jeremiah 26:18 quotes Micah 3:12 as God's prophet. Daniel 9:2 cites Jeremiah as authoritative prediction. Jeremiah cites several Psalms.



Comparison of Old Testament and New Testament Patterns of Authority



The N. T. pattern of authority parallels the O. T. It likewise centers in one person,



1) Christ Himself validates the O.T. by such statements as, "The Scripture cannot be broken, " "The Holy Spirit by David said, " etc.


2) In His own prophetic ministry He predicted the writing of the New Testament, in particular, the record of His own ministry among His disciples. In John 14:26 He stated that the coming Holy Spirit is to bring to the remembrance of the Apostles all the things He said to them. To those later led to write the Gospels we can see in this the promise of a Spirit-enabled recall. In the case of Matthew and John this operated directly as they wrote. In the cases of Mark and Luke, it operated in those "eyewitnesses" from whom they received their information.


3) Christ also seems to have predicted the writing of the epistles in this verse as well as in John 16:13 and following. He said of the Comforter, "He shall teach you all things;" "He shall guide you into all the truth. . . . He shall take the things concerning Me and declare (them) unto you." The truths concerning Christ's person and work as revealed in Romans through Jude are encompassed here. And in John 16:13 Christ also promises that the Holy Spirit will show them "things to come." Here is a promise of the eschatological features of such books as Thessalonians, Peter, and Jude, and supremely, of the Apocalypse.


The O. T. similarity to this pattern is striking:


1) Moses, the central figure, to whom God revealed Himself as to no other, wrote Genesis and thus directly validates the inspiration of the record of events before him.


2) He is the central figure of Exodus to Deuteronomy and himself wrote or directed the writing of these books.


3) Moses was divinely gifted to look ahead to the coming of more truth and predicted in Deuteronomy 18 the coming of a series of prophets who would continue to speak for God, in short, the on-going prophetic institution. Each true prophet who arose in Israel could thus, in part, at least, look back to Moses for his authority in speaking.

In keeping with this pattern with its centrality of Moses, it is interesting to note the "build-up" which Moses is given by God in the eyes of the people. In Exodus 33:7-11 every eye is upon him as he goes to commune with God. In the books of Exodus to Numbers God deals directly and immediately with every challenge to the centrality and leadership of Moses.


The key passages here are Numbers 12, where Miriam leads a challenge to his prophetic pre-eminence and is made a leper, and later in Numbers 16, where Korah and his company challenge his authority, with the result that the ground swallows them up.

A further validation lies in the specific comparison between Moses and Christ made in the New Testament. John 1:17 states that "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Here both sides of the comparison refer to a revelation from God, one centering in Moses, the other in Christ. Hebrews 3:2-6 referring to Numbers 12:7, declares that "Moses truly was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a Son. . . ." The teaching seems to be that as Moses, though a mere servant in God's "house," predicted the coming of more revelation which was authoritative, how much more to be heeded is that which Christ predicted would be given, since He is the Son over God's "house." Compare also Hebrews 2:1-4 for the same parallel of the revelation in the O. T. with the New Testament.




The inspiration of the O. T. is found in the O. T. doctrine of prophetism. Since God used prophets to speak for Him, when He led them to write, the product was the written Word of God. Like Christ in the New Testament, Moses authenticated by prediction the continuing prophetic institution. This continuing stream of prophets wrote the books of the O. T.





1. Gustav Friedrich Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament, p. 15.

2. Carl F. H. Henry, "Inspiration," Baker's Dictionary of Theology.

3. L. Gaussen, The Inspiration of Holy Scriptures.

4. Recent Studies in  Philosophy and Theology, pp. xxi and xxii.

5. James G. S. S. Thomson, The Old Testament View of Revelation, p. 24.

6. The Study of Old Testament Theology Today, p. 25.

7. Wright,  op. cit., p. 11.

8. J. Barton Payne, The Theology of the Old Testament.

9. Paul Heinisch, Theology of the Old Testament.

10. Payne, op. cit., p. 44.

11. Geerhardus  Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 121.

12. Payne, op. cit.,  p. 45.

13. Vos, loc. cit.

14. See O. T. Allis, The Five Books of Moses, pp. 26-32.

15. Vos, loc. cit.

16. See Payne, op. cit., pp. 167-70.

17. R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible, p. 171.

18. Introductory Guide to the Old Testament, pp. 55, 56.

19. An Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 41, 42.

20. Erich Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption, p. 11.

21. Thomson, op. cit., pp. 75, 76.

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22. Op. cit., p. 59, cf. pp. 56-58.

23. Ibid., 56.

24. Introduction, p. 41.

25. Loc. cit.

26. Op. cit., p. 7.

27. Ibid., pp. 160-64.

28. Ibid., pp. 168-69.

29. Ibid., p. 169, citing  Josephus, Against Apion, i., 8.

30. Ibid., p. 171.

31. Loc. cit.

32., Willis S. Beecher, The Prophets and the Promise, pp. 28, 29.

33. Harris, op. cit., p. 174.

34. Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 61.

35. Suggested by Dr. S. Herbert Bess in personal conversation with the writer.

36. Cf. Young, Introduction, p. 42, and Archer, op. cit., pp. 62, 63.

37. Unger, op. cit., p. 56.






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