The Scriptures: No. 3

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In Hezekiah's reign, there was a remarkable turning to the authority of the sacred writings. They soon discovered that they had not kept the passover "for a long time in such sort as it is written" we are told therefore that the men of Judah had given them by God one heart to do the commandment of the king, and of the princes by the word of Jehovah. Moreover, Hezekiah appointed morning and evening burnt-offerings, and the burnt-offerings for the sabbath and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of Moses. (2 Chron. 30:5, 12; 31:35So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. (2 Chronicles 30:5)
12Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 30:12)
3He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 31:3)
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In the days of Josiah, king of Judah, the wonderful revival is traced to the practical acknowledgment of the divine authority of the scriptures. It was brought about by Hilkiah the priest finding in the house of the Lord "a look of the law of Jehovah written by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the hook of the law in the house of the Lord.... and Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass when the king heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes." The reason was that he learned from these writings that they were justly exposed to divine wrath, and the curses written in the book, because of their sins in having forsaken Jehovah their God, and having burnt incense to other gods. They, therefore, bowed to the authority of the sacred writings, and kept the passover according to the ordinance "as it is written in the book of Moses," which was accompanied with God's abundant blessing. They were so exercised by the authority of scripture about it, that we read that the king's commandment was, "kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of Jehovah by the hand of Moses." We are further told that the evil and " abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to Jehovah with all his heart, and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him." (2 Chron. 34:24, 14-19; 35:6, 12, 1824Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: (2 Chronicles 34:24)
14And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. 15And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. 16And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it. 17And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen. 18Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 19And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. (2 Chronicles 34:14‑19)
6So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (2 Chronicles 35:6)
12And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. (2 Chronicles 35:12)
18And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 35:18)
; 2 Kings 23:24, 2524Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. (2 Kings 23:24‑25).)
The return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, was also strikingly marked by their acknowledgment of the authority of the written law of Jehovah. We know that "Ezra was a ready scribe in the law of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given;" and so truly did he recognize the divine authenticity of the sacred writings, that we are told that " Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of Jehovah, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments." We read also that when they were gathered together as one man at Jerusalem, they " builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God.... they kept also the feast of tabernacles as it is written. Again, when the temple was finished, they dedicated the house of God with joy, they offered a sin-offering according to the twelve tribes of Israel, 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 3:2; 6:15-18; 7:6, 102Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. (Ezra 3:2)
15And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. 16And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, 17And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18And 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 6:15‑18)
6This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. (Ezra 7:6)
10For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. (Ezra 7:10)
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When Nehemiah was the king's cup-bearer, we read that he fasted, and wept, and prayed unto God, and pleaded the word which He had commanded by His servant Moses, and written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. And when the wall was completed, the people gathered themselves together as one man in the street, and spake to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which Jehovah commanded to Israel. This he did, and read therein, and all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, and others caused the people to understand the law.... so they read the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading.....And they found written in the law which Jehovah commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths; a for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. Also, day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God" Moreover, we are told, that after this " they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people, and therein was found written that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God forever.... it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude." (Neh. 1:9; 8:1-18; 13:1-39But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. (Nehemiah 1:9)
1And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street 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. 2And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. 4And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. 9And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. 11So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. 12And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. 13And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 14And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 17And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. 18Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (Nehemiah 8:1‑18)
1On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; 2Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. (Nehemiah 13:1‑3)
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It is most interesting to observe here that the faithful who returned from the captivity went back for divine authority to that which had been ordered of God from the beginning, and not to any particular period or revival, but stood for what had been written, apart from all traditions of men; and is not this always the path of the faithful in an evil time?