Saturday, August 11, 2007

Evidence of Missing Scripture in the Bible

One of the objections made to LDS claims has been the “sufficiency of the Bible” theory. The idea is that the canon of the scripture is closed, and the Bible contains all revelation that is needed for our salvation, and that there will be no more need for God to add any more to it. As proof text, Revelation 22:18–19 is often quoted, ignoring the obvious fact that that passage refers to the book of Revelation itself, not to the whole of the Bible; and that a similar passage is also found in Deuteronomy 4:2, which likewise refers to that particular book only, not to the scriptural canon itself. Another scripture that is sometimes quoted in support of that theory is Hebrews 1:1, thus suggesting that there will be no more need for future “prophets,” hence additional revelations or “scripture” to add to the canonalthough I fail to see how that inference could be made from that verse. The Bible itself, however, tells us a different story. There are many telltale signs and obvious references to missing scripture in the Bible itself, both in the Old and the New Testaments. The Bible as we have it today is not complete. There is an awful lot of stuff that has gone missing from it, leaving their traces in the book. Here is a selected list of examples from the Old Testament:

1 Kings 11:

41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?

2 Chronicles 9:

29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?

2 Chronicles 12:

15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.

There are 6 sacred books of scripture mentioned in these verses (book of the acts of Solomon, book of Nathan the prophet, prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, visions of Iddo the seer, book of Shemaiah the prophet, book of Iddo the seer) that are no longer found in our Old Testament. In the past, when I have discussed this subject with LDS critics, their response have typically been, What evidence do we have that these books formed part of the original scriptural canon? The answer is, because there is a recognizable pattern of expressions within the Bible which describes the books which the original writers of the sacred books considered sacred, and to which they deferred. The following verses refer to sacred books that currently exist in the biblical canon. Note the common expression used in all of them:

1 Kings 14:29

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

1 Kings 15:7

7 Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.

1 Kings 15:23

23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.

1 Kings 15:31

31 Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

1 Kings 16:5

5 Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

1 Kings 16:14

14 Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

1 Kings 16:20

20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

1 Kings 16:27

27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

1 Kings 22:39

39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

1 Kings 22:45

45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 1:18

18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 8:23

23 And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 10:34

34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 12:19

19 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 13:8

8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 13:12

12 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 14:15

15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 14:18

18 And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 14:28

28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 15:6

6 And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 15:21

21 And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel

2 Kings 15:36

36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 16:19

19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 20:20

20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 21:17

17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 21:25

25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 23:28

28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Kings 24:5

5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah

2 Chronicles 25:26

26 Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel

These verses all refer to books that currently exist in the Bible. In these verses, the authors of the sacred writings are effectively referring the reader to those other writings for a more complete account of the events described, using a standard kind of phraseology to do so. Now contrast that with the following verses where exactly the same phraseology is used, referencing books that no longer exist in our current Bible:

1 Kings 11:41

41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon

2 Chronicles 9:29

29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat

2 Chronicles 12:15

15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.

We conclude that these are all sacred books which were considered by writers of the original holy writ to be inspired and canonical, or of the same standing with the rest (there was no such thing as “canon” in those days), but which no longer exist in our current Bible.

The evidence for missing scripture from within the Biblical text is pretty overwhelming. For further examples, consider briefly the following verses:

2 Chronicles 32:

32 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.

This obviously refers to the writings of the great prophet of Israel Isaiah, whom we are familiar with. Imagine how much worse off we would have been if his book had been missing from the Bible! Now contrast that with the following:

2 Chronicles 9:

29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat

2 Chronicles 12:

15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.

These verses clearly refer to whole books or writings of equally great prophets and seers and visionary men of Israel whose complete books have perished and are no longer extant, which the sacred writer considered of equal standing with the rest. Who can doubt that these writings must have been just as inspired, scriptural, and revelatory in nature as the other prophetic books in the Bible, and therefore equally valuable to us today.

The Book of Mormon also confirms this story. 1 Nephi 13:23 informs us that the book of Old Testament scripture which Lehi and his family took with them to the promised land, known in the Book of Mormon as the “brass plates of Laban,” had a much larger content than the volume that we know today; and 1 Nephi 19:10; Alma 33:15; 34:7; Helaman 8:20; 3 Nephi 10:16; also mention three other Old Testament prophets by name (Zenos, Zenock, and Neum), and quotes from them, that are no longer found in our Bible. 2 Nephi chapter 3 also quotes from the prophecies of Joseph (son of Jacob, sold into Egypt) recorded in the brass plates that are no longer found in our Bible.

Moving on into the New Testament, there are equally compelling internal evidence that the scriptural canon of the New Testament that we have today is not as complete as it had been originally. All the four Gospels are in fact abridgements of larger records the originals of which have now perished. The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were compiled from a common set of records, which is why they are called the “Synoptic Gospels”. It is possible to create a “synopsis,” or a side-by-side comparison, of the three books which shows passages that are practically identical with each other, and which could have only been copied from a common set of records. While at the same time, there are sufficient differences between them to prove that they could not have just been copied from each other; because each contains materials that is not found in any of the others. This can only be explained on the basis that they were all copied from other larger sources the originals of which have not survived.

The Gospel of Luke is particularly interesting in this respect, because at the beginning of his gospel he actually tells us that there were other sources from which he has compiled his information. The Book of Acts is a continuation of Luke; and both contain information relevant to this subject, so I will quote them both together:

Luke 1:

1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

2 Even as they delivered them unto us, [i.e. writing is implied] which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word [Apostles being implied];

3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order [i.e. make a compilation or abridgement], most excellent Theophilus,

4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

Acts 1:

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

In these verses Luke is making it unmistakably clear that he is using other sources available to him at that time to write a treatise about the life of Christ. He is acting as an editor to compile a short treatise from a larger source.

John’s Gospel originates from a different source from the synoptic Gospels; but internal evidence indicates that that too is an abridgement from a larger source. That is suggested by the following verses:

John 20:

31 But these are written [i.e. the Gospel of John as we have it—being an abridgement of a larger work], that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 21:

24 This [i.e. John] is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

From this passage we learn two things: Firstly, that the Apostle John was not the author of the Gospel of John as we now have it. Secondly, it is an abridgement of the record of John made by someone else.

The general conclusion that we arrive at from this analysis is that none of the four Gospels as we have them today are in fact the original records that were prepared by the original “eyewitnesses” of the events (i.e. the Apostles). They are abridgements of them made by others at a later period. Those original documents have not survived. Therefore what we have today is not the perfect record. They contain omissions and deletions—which is what modern LDS scripture informs us has happened.

A quick search on the Internet led to a couple of interesting articles on the Synoptic Gospels that are interesting to look at, the second of which is in fact from the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

http://www.cresourcei.org/synoptic.html

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14389b.htm

It is the sign of an apostate and dead religion to claim that the canon of scripture is closed, and that God will no more give us additional revelation and scripture to add to the canon. Because they do not have the divine power and authority to do so themselves, they get round the problem by declaring the canon to be closed, and claiming that it is no longer possible nor necessary to add to the canon. The truth is, however, that whenever God has had a true church and religion in the world which has been in communion with Himself, this power has always been evident and manifested itself within it, to add more scripture and revelation to the canon.

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