[This is a review of Internal Evidence of Inspiration
by Dr. Harry Rimmer in 1938]
By John Henderson, November, 2013
We are still unpacking from having moved into our new home. Much of our stuff is from an accumulation of a very large attic in the former home. Sometime in the past, I had packed up a lot of my things in order to make room in our upstairs for someone to have a place to sleep. It might have been family or exchange students. I don’t remember who. There were boxes of “temporarily-stored” office things and many books that I was not ready to give away. I eventually forgot most of what was in those boxes, but sometimes remembered a book that I could no longer locate and thought was gone.
One of those books I re-discovered has the same title as this article. Written by Dr. Harry Rimmer and originally copyrighted in 1938 and published in 1946 by Eerdman’s Publishing, I was introduced to the topic that has once again become critical in this 21st Century. Nothing is new about those who deny and attack the Scriptures except the attackers are now more within the church whereas the attackers of Rimmer’s time tended to be more outside of the mainstream of the evangelical church.
This is the third of six volumes by the author on the proofs of inspiration. The other five deals with external proofs and this is the only one dealing with internal proofs. I hope to be able to locate the entire series.
I read this 1946 printing of the book in 1977. In going back and reviewing my markings on its pages, I realized that it must have had a lasting influence on my thinking. Concepts I thought I had somehow come up with through reasoning are expressed in the book. That is just fine. We are all the products of our surroundings and the things we let influence us.
It is my intentions to share a series of short articles that rely mostly on information from this book. I will honor the copyright by being clear about the author’s statements, mostly with direct quotes. Any other quotes will be footnoted for reference.
Rimmer writes in the forward about a formal series of debates on the inspiration of Scriptures with a renowned “infidel” who is not named. (Rimmer distinguishes atheists as one who believes there is no God and therefore could not have inspired any literature and the infidel as one who believes there is a God but that we cannot believe His records. Agnostic might be a better word in my mind.)
The infidel opened by demanding that Rimmer not be allowed to refer to the Bible as the source of the evidence of its own inspiration but only to external sources—which, based on his written series, he could have done effectively. Rimmer responded that would be equivalent to the infidel suspecting his sugar bowl was laced with potassium cyanide and demanding that the chemist not examine the sugar itself for the presence of the poison but to examine the salt shaker from the kitchen shelf for the substance. He used other illustrations in his rebuttal and the point was made.
Rimmer also referenced a picture of a Bible that had been destroyed beyond practical use by termites. “These invisible, insidious foes had worked though the closed covers of the Book. They had tunneled and devoured on their ravages of destruction in such fashion that the entire book was held together. Their work was so complete, however, that there was not one single page of this Book that could be read with any profit to the reader.”
He observed that termites are afraid of the light and this is the exact fashion that criticism of the Scriptures has bored from within. “It has preserved the outline and form of the Scriptures, but has ravaged every page with such a thorough emasculation as to make the entire Bible utterly profitless to needy humanity.” He included that picture as the front piece of the book and I have duplicated in this document. It tells its own story.
In opening chapter 1, the author states: “Christianity has nothing in common with the so-called ‘world religions.’
“A religion consists of a certain organized body of thinking concerning spiritual things.
“Christianity consists of a revelation of God’s Plan of Salvation” and that “Christianity differs from the world religions in that it is an historic faith, based upon credible documentary evidences.”
He further states, “It is axiomatic that nothing can endure if its foundation is destroyed” and that there is no external system outside of the Scriptures with accurate information concerning salvation through faith in Christ and the Cross.” Perhaps without realizing it, Rimmer provides a pragmatic argument against the false concept of what today is touted as soteriological inspiration because he clearly stands on the inspiration of every part of every book of the Bible.
“The Bible does not need defense as much as it needs exposition,” says Rimmer. Referencing Paul’s description of the Word of God as the Sword of the Spirit, he says, “No man defends his weapon! His weapon defends him!”
Making the point that we must be able to meet and help the spiritually blind who are in doubt, he emphasizes that “The one essential safeguard and weapon for every Christian in the world today, is the knowledge of the contents of the book itself,” because “every book of the Bible contains proof of its own inspiration!”
Interestingly, there were those in the modern church of his day who created uproar over what they called disturbers of the peace. Those were the “Conservatives”, “Fundamentalists”, and “Obscurantists” who were accused of “unsettling the peace of the modern church by the simple method of teaching that which the church has believed and held to be vital for nearly 2,000 years….Certain men have crept in privily who wish a new gospel. Denying the old facts of the faith and refusing us the privilege of propagating historic Christianity, they accuse us who remain true to God and His Word, of starting a fight!”
There is much more to come on this. It is too relevant to our situation today to let it pass.
“Jesus Christ is God’s last revelation to man….because Christianity is a personal revelation of a personal Saviour from personal sin, Christianity rests upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Continuing in the next paragraph, Rimmer further asserts: “But it also rests upon a documentary record. The sixty-six books of the Bible, as we now possess it, constitute the basis and foundation of Christianity.” As I quoted him above, “It is axiomatic that nothing can endure if its foundation is destroyed.”
The author makes the argument that with Christianity the foundation of our faith is the Bible because there is nowhere else where we can learn the precepts of Christ. External systems of accurate information concerning salvation in Christ do not exist. “It is folly,” he says, “for men to claim that they believe in Jesus Christ, when they reject the sole source of evidence that tells of Him.” He takes note of the criticism and the sneering about the Word of God in liberal pulpits, institutional classrooms, the daily press, and even Sunday supplements “with all the ghastly nonsense produced by a past generation of higher criticism.”
A study of so-called higher criticism is a task in itself and I must presume my readers either know something about it or can easily find out through Internet research. Suffice to say that it is still about and largely identifies the postmodern/New Age/emergent movement of today.
Rimmer assures us that it was never God’s design that His written Word stand on external evidence alone. Although natural sciences, when handled faithfully, always add luster and testimony to the value and integrity of the Book of God by providing supporting proof that constitutes them as reserve battalions in contending for the faith, the Bible—every book of it—provides proof of its own inspiration aside from all of that.
The enemies of biblical truth in the 1930s are apparently no different than those of our generation. Rimmer refers to Jude’s description in verse 4 as being prophetic: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Rimmer says that the term, “crept in unawares” is an odd and unusual Greek phrase which, literally, is “to creep in sideways.” He then says: “Just so in our generation, the church is troubled by men who are seeking to gain possession of the church and thus displace those who remain true to the ancient foundation of our historic faith.” He thus paraphrases the Jude verse, “’There are certain men who have crept in crab-wise,’” and comments: “These scuttling crustacea look one honestly in the eyes, as though they were coming one’s way, but sneak off sideways and go on their own way.” He adds that we are criticized for disturbing the peace when we raise an outcry against the presence of a burglar. [I have to keep reminding myself that Rimmer is not talking about the early 2000s, but the 1930s.]
Rimmer establishes four principles of inspiration:
- The Bible is a revelation from God and is, therefore, a supernatural Book. It is not an evolution of human wisdom but rather an involution by inspiration (God-breathed revelation).
- The content is verbal and plenary, rendering the Scriptures as hinging on the plenary authority of the Bible.
- The original manuscripts are inerrant—free from error of any kind, including historical accuracy and scientific credibility.
- Every book of the Bible is absolutely authentic (Moses did write the books ascribed to him; a man named Isaiah wrote the prophecy that bears his name; and so for every book of both Testaments). This point is vital because the credibility of Jesus rests on His accuracy in ascribing certain books of the Old Testament to their traditional authors.
Having previously described the principle of scientific inquiry by verifying or refuting an hypothesis based on the evidence, and concluding that the inspiration of the Scriptures is beyond being an hypothesis, having provided its own proof, Rimmer describes the approach by “higher criticism” as an attempt to repudiate the texts of Scripture upon a basis of imagined errors in the structure of the text. He compares that to trying to study astronomy with a pick and shovel, and states: “The higher critical method is to presume that the Bible contains error and fallacy, and then seek to establish that premise.”
In other words, they seek to repudiate the supernatural element of the Scriptures with the laws of natural human reasoning and “scores of times their conclusions have been demonstrated to have been rooted in prejudice and error rather than in historical fact.” Even when faced with their own errors, they hold tenaciously to them, bitterly refusing to surrender to fact.
Betrayal is the most treacherous of the undermining of others. When Rimmer said that higher criticism’s second purpose was to pretend to be Bible-friendly but actually betray what it purported to support, he was describing the deepest sedition possible. Like Judas, higher criticism and its hell-impregnated whore-daughter, the emergent church, haughtily seek the downfall of the Scriptures only for its own temporal gain. Like Judas, the time will come when its own judgment will fall upon its head but it closes a blind eye to that as if that somehow will cause it to not happen.
Purpose is the core feature of intentions. Betraying the Scriptures through feigned allegiance is its design. It never intends to honor and support the Word of God in any way. So-called higher criticism may have presented itself as defending the Bible from the attacks of atheists and “radical rationalists” for a while but it actually became agreeable partners with them. Higher critics are ripe recruits for atheism and many of their number in the church have heartily joined them. Rimmer states that the Bible “would have suffered untold harm and eternal defeat from these false followers, had it not been the inspired, infallible Word of God.” Any other document could not have survived the attacks. God’s Word is undefeatable, thank the Lord!
While the methods of higher criticism (equivalent to modern neo-orthodoxy and postmodernism) are varied, their technique “is broad enough to embrace any procedure that eventually will discredit the text of the Scriptures.” The more in-and-among us they can be the more damaging they can be—much like the termites that destroyed that Bible in the picture.
Rimmer describes some and there are others we know of in our own times. They all follow the same pattern of using some method to discredit the Scriptures: language idiosyncrasies, incomplete and poor historical “facts”, false applications of scientific theory, etc. “So, in every case where higher criticism has depended upon literary peculiarity, external evidences, theories of science, and supposed history to discredit the Book, the critics have found a Waterloo in each of these chosen fields.” They ruled out God and the supernatural and judged His Book by natural means only. They were big game hunters armed with fishing rods.
The wise student of the Bible “proceeds upon the premise that this Book, being in a class by itself, must be studied by rules peculiar to itself….When a supernatural book is measured entirely by a natural standard, the inquirer remains in ignorance of its content and its purpose.”
The critic of the inspired Scriptures takes the first step towards repudiating the Bible by setting aside the doctrine of revelation. Truth is always revelational and that holds especially for the Scriptures. This step becomes the critic’s lynchpin for declaring the sacred record of God as myth, allegory, poetical imagination, etc. and thus declaring the whole Bible at great variance with modern science. I still hear exactly that today! As Rimmer boldly and accurately says, these wolves in sheep’s clothing seek to hand back to the Church an emasculated edition of the Bible that is robbed of its soul-saving and supernatural power.
Although the pattern of attack is similar among them, then as now, there has never been unanimity among them. The more radical critics admit to infidelity. They deny Christ’s deity and “offer us a humanistic personage who is the flower of evolution.” They ask us to “worship a defeated and baffled martyr whose tragedy eventuated because he was born centuries too soon.” Modernism (and now postmodernism) try to hand us a beautiful and appealing Jesus who is the leader of a lost cause and they are there to guide us into a “better” way. This leads to their also setting aside the atonement by calmly ignoring every element of the supernatural in the life of the Son of God.
The more “conservative” critics of the Scriptures will claim to believe in certain kinds of inspiration. “They even talk of the relationship of Christ to God and profess to see some measure of benefit in His atonement. They talk glibly of the spiritual benefit of the Bible, as seen from their point of view.” They stand in pulpits, sit in chairs of colleges and seminaries, and hold high positions in the church while “seeking to arm us with rubber weapons from an arsenal that no longer contains the sword of the Spirit. They offer a questionable Scripture as the premise of a possible salvation.”
They are void of legitimate logic and use false reasoning to undermine dependence on the Bible as the authoritative revelation from God. They diminish the records that tell of Christ into something bogus and thus present a faulty concept of Jesus. If what they claim should be true, the human race would still be lost in sin and we must wait for another Savior.
It comes to this. We have a choice between the orthodox (revealed truth in the Scriptures as self-evident) or the false premise of modernism, postmodernism, New Ageism, and the emergent church heresy concerning the Scriptures. The difference is this:
“The orthodox hypothesis [premise] is—Almighty God revealed the matter and inspired the writers of the Bible.
“The critical theory [guess] is—The Book is a natural development written by men more or less overruled by God. (It may be said in passing that the ‘more or less’ is determined entirely by the scholar’s own views.)”
There is evidence in the Bible itself, book by book, that proves its own genuineness as being the inerrantly inspired Word of God. It is a matter of seeing it for what it is and what is on its pages. It is a matter of being led and taught by the Holy Spirit as the legitimate Revealer of truth. One needs no other argument than the declaration of the Bible itself. Any honest and objective analysis of the Bible will support its right to its claim of divine inspiration.
To this point, we have sought to establish what the issue is—the question of divine inspiration and absolute authority of the sixty-six books of the Bible and its nature of internal evidence.
We now move to address six key sources of internal evidence under the topics as stated by Rimmer: Who chose the books of the Bible? The need of revelation; The claims of the prophets; The claims of the apostles; The testimony of Jesus Christ; and The voice of prophecy. I will try to condense key thoughts as much as possible so as to occupy as little space as possible while covering those things that matter most in understanding and internalizing the truth that the Bible proves its own divine inspiration.
Who Chose the Books of the Bible?
Dr. Rimmer asks the question: “… how may we know that we have the books [of the Bible] as God gave them to man?” He then states: “These books are not to be received as inspired because they are in the Bible, but rather they are in the Bible because they are believed to be inspired….The books that make up our Bible are each of them in that sacred collection because they could not be kept out.” He proceeds to provide a brief history of how each Testament came to be part of the sacred collection.
The Canon of the Old Testament that was gathered over thousands of years “was completed in the 5th century B.C., and nothing has been added to that sacred collection since. We also know that Christ and New Testament writers referenced several passages directly in a way it was understood they recognized the Old Testament as inspired of God. The Canon of the New Testament was gathered in far less time to serve as comfort and instruction of the Church and for use in Christian evangelism.
Although there were many spurious gospels and false epistles in circulation, it became apparent to the Apostles and the early apostolic fathers which books were the inspired Word of God and which were the works of man. Rimmer adds that no man or council of men ever decided which books should be in that collection, that the sole deciding factor was time and internal evidence. Later councils merely recognized what had already been established in the Early Church when the writers were alive and could testify to the source of their writings.
Dr. Rimmer makes the point of how the books of the Bible came together as essential to the understanding of the Bible’s divine inspiration. It was more than God speaking from time to time but there had to be a way to preserve them so they would be available to His Church and as a tool of evangelism. Its very collection was divinely guided.
Rimmer responded to a few of the common criticisms concerning translations and the languages. He makes the simple point that most of our translations, especially the English ones, were translated from the original languages and not from other translations as some would try to say. He says in effect that the translations were so faithfully done that they are highly reliable and that we have in our possession today a Book that is historic, authentic, credible, and reliable.
This Book of books has passed to us through a series of handwritten copies and then through the printed ones with the advent of the printing press in the early 1500s. In spite of attempts to burn and destroy the early manuscripts as early as the 4th century and the deadly persecutions against those even found with Scriptures in their possession, the Word of God was not vanquished. By the time Constantine in 330 A. D. desired that copies of the New Testament be made up for the churches in the Roman Empire, and that they be copied from any manuscripts that might be in existence, “it was credibly reported that fifty copies of the supposedly exterminated New Testament were delivered to his scribes for copying.”
The difficulty of ever destroying the Scriptures today is essentially impossible. “Suffice it to say that if the entire New Testament were destroyed today, we could reconstruct the whole volume from the writings of the early fathers, and find only eleven verses missing from the text.”
Each book of the Bible meets not only the historical and linguistic tests; it more than meets four essential and rigid tests for inclusion in the Canon. It meets:
- The test of genuineness and authenticity;
- The test that every book must conform to the general trend of biblical doctrine;
- The test that each book must prove to be a safe and reliable rule for life and conduct when translated into action;
- The test that each book must bear within its own structure the evidence of God’s inspiration.
Time has enhanced the internal evidence of inspiration. This Book has survived unscathed the pride and arrogance of those who would change God’s Word to suit their own theories and opinions. It could not have been permanently preserved by the best efforts of its friends. The supernatural power and origin of God was its preservative. Only these 66 books can make the legitimate claim of divine authority.
Personal note: I am very comfortable with this understanding. As a history buff of sorts, I know of no other document from history that is, at the same time, accepted as authentic and that also carries this nature of internal evidence.
The Need of Revelation
God has gifted mankind with amazing capabilities in astounding proportions. The five senses that we possess have served in discoveries and inventions that the common person can only benefit although not understand. “Great, however, as is the genius of man, it is limited by the power of perception manifested in his five senses.” Additionally, it all ends at the grave.
With all that mankind can understand and accomplish, he cannot, in all of eternity, comprehend the simplest of spiritual matters apart from revelation. Being limited to only his five senses, he is precluded from voyages of discovery into the realm of the spiritual. This is why we need revelation if we are to ever know God and the things of God.
It is in the innate nature of every person to want to know God. “Man was created with a craving for religion which he has never been able to lay aside or to lose.” As light is to seeing, air is breathing, food is to hunger, and water is to thirst, revelation is to the hunger of the spirit.
“God is not subject to the perception of the five physical senses, there is no ladder by which we can climb to an understanding of the infinite. Therefore, by revelation God must stoop to the level of man, if there is to be fellowship and understanding between beings as widely diverse as the Infinite God and His finite creature.”
There is a need to differentiate between the meanings of revelation and inspiration. They are not the same although they are inseparable and interlocking in understanding the work of God in providing us the Bible. Inspiration in the biblical sense “is the supernatural means that Almighty God employed to keep His record free from human error” while revelation is best defined as “that process by which God made known unto man things beyond humanity’s ability to search out or discover.”
While every chapter, verse, and word of the Bible came by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not all came by revelation. Moses, for instance, recorded the accurate record of creation through revelation. There are no human eyewitnesses to creation. The Apostles, however, wrote of what they witnessed. “As they wrote their own record of what they had seen, the Holy Spirit supervised their writings to keep them free from error or prejudice which otherwise might have crept into the writing.”
I should insert here that the Scriptures tell us in1 Corinthians 2:13-14:
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
This revelation from God is the one Book that satisfies every hunger of the heart and thirst of the soul for God and the things of God. Those who assume to search its pages for error can offer no crutch in its place for the sufferings and lost condition of humanity. Since the Bible is the Book that came by revelation, it is an exercise in futility to seek error in its pages. “It must be a debased and contorted conception of God that would ascribe falsehood to Deity…the search for error in the Scriptures can be made only from the viewpoint of a prejudice that desires to prove that the claim to revelation is a false one.”
We are faced with the indisputable fact that the Bible must be supernatural in its origin. It is inspired in the whole where inspiration came through the witness and experiences of men in instances and by direct revelation where there were no eyewitnesses to its truths, such as the creation account. In both instances, it is without error and is factual in all planes, temporal and spiritual.
This Bible contains startling information that no man by logic or reason could possibly possess. “It deals with the origin of matter, the formation of the present cosmos, and tells the orders of supernatural beings beyond the power of man’s comprehension.
“It tells of past events unknown to human wisdom and even dares to plumb the future to reveal events that have not yet transpired.”
That, alone, would be enough to establish its claim to supernatural origin. But, there is more!
The Bible also contains information that no man would tell if he could. Its incredibly peculiar honesty is a marvel in itself. Anthropology tries to offer small gradual changes of man as though he is the hero of the story and is in a sense his own creator.
The Bible, however, tells of a perfectly created man who by foolish and selfish choices “fell from that high and holy position, until he became morally lower than the beasts of the field. From that fallen condition he never succeeded in climbing until Jesus Christ came and lifted him by a process of regeneration.” This bleak and utter failure of humanity “that is so boldly and honestly told in the Scriptures was not conceived by human mentality.” This is a Book that deals with events that human reasoning could not have discovered itself. The events are told with an honesty that is more than human.
The position taken by Rimmer—not his own alone, but the orthodox position—is that “God revealed the matter and inspired the writer.” That leads into the vital question: Can the fact of inspiration be proved?
Rimmer begins the answer by considering the differing views about inspiration.
- The radical school flatly denies any supernatural influence; that the Bible is largely Hebrew folklore and tradition and is merely a human production. It fails to satisfactorily account for the phenomena of the Bible. Rimmer states: “Denial of a fact has no bearing upon the credibility of that fact, unless the denial is predicated upon satisfactory evidence.” Radicalism is a system of thought that is based solely upon prejudice.
- The second school “concedes inspiration to the Bible but denies a direct or supernatural method of inspiration. They claim that the Scriptures are the result of men’s thoughts as they have been somehow overruled by God in a general way. They will say that great principles of truth are contained in the Bible but are accompanied by many errors. “The errors spring from the fallibility of man and are a result of his human thinking.” While God is infallible, therefore, and gave a clear revelation, “the recorders erred and mixed divine truth with fallacious human opinion.” This is speculation at best because no evidence is used to support the idea.
- A third school of criticism “contends for the inspiration of the thoughts of the Bible but not of the words.” That is to say, “‘The thoughts of Scripture are inspired, but the words are left to the choice of the men who reduced them to writing.’” This notion overlooks such facts as it is impossible to think without using words to express thoughts or that the change of a single word can alter the meaning of an entire sentence. Neither does it explain how prophets often wrote things they did not understand; and sometimes the speaker did not want to deliver the message, nor that some revelations were given in vocabulary foreign to the writer.
- The fourth theory is “that the original autographs of the Scriptures were inspired of God and were, therefore, without error…that although the method by which the act is not known, the words, as well as the thoughts of the Scriptures, were inspired by God. It does not matter greatly how God did it, if the fact can be sustained that He did so accomplish.”
All other theories object to this fourth concept on the argument that we cannot know that our Bible is a correct copy because the original autographs are lost. That is not a credible argument for at least two reasons:
- The law of evidence that governs courts has found that the Scriptures meet the requirements for credibility of evidence on the principle that individuals are presumed to be conversant with their own affairs if there is no evident marks of forgery. “The integrity of the text of the Bible has been preserved, beyond any moral possibility of corruption, by the jealousy of opposing sects.” It is wrong to suppose the Christian is bound to offer greater proof than is demanded in civil law and governments. This holds true of copies. Copies and translations do not bear the direct quality of inspiration as do the original manuscripts, but is “reasonable to presume that if God inspired the originals He would have enough interest in the copies to guard them against errors so as to preserve their truth and power.”
- To the objection that thousands of various readings are found in the various manuscripts and we therefore cannot rely on their words, the fact remains “that if all the various readings were omitted, they would not affect one essential historical fact or doctrinal teaching of the Scriptures.” Any variance in the readings is generally idiomatic and is of extremely minor importance.
“We would still contend that it is far better to have a verbally inspired manuscript with a few copyist’s errors, than to have a fallible human document that still contained those admitted errors. Even though the revelation was given through fallible men, this alleged weakness of variation would count more against the ‘thought theory’ of inspiration than it would against the verbal theory.”
“The only method of inspiration that is suggested in the Bible itself is that God gave the words to the writers.” How He always gave them were not identical, by dictation sometimes and at other times by how they expressed things through their own experiences and personalities, but always by divine intervention so they remained without human error.
The Bible is highly diverse but profoundly unified and cohesive. The writings of non-Christian religions tend to be random collections of random thoughts at best. There is nothing random about the Bible despite its variety of writers, large span of time in the writings, and almost innumerable topics it covers. We are living in a time when new discoveries demand a revision of the way history is presented. That is not to mention the deliberate re-inventing of history to meet progressive purposes (which is not history at all). “It doesn’t matter whether it is oration, proverb, law or romance, you will find perfection in that field in the pages of the Bible!”
When it comes to prophecy, the Scriptures are no less perfect. No human mind working in the flesh can utter one word of prophecy and it be true. It might be a good guess based on experiences or reason, but no man can actually foretell one instant ahead of the moment. Even satanic “foretelling” is an artificial prophecy followed by an effort at self-fulfillment. Only God sees what is ahead in time and only He can reveal it to us. Both Testaments “are bound together irrevocably and finally by the fact of prophecy and its fulfillment” “The Old Testament contains the beginning of every doctrine and precept of the New Testament, while the New Testament contains the conclusion of every matter that is begun in the Old.”
The only possible conclusion is that only one Mind supervised or dictated the entire Record and kept it free from contradiction and error. This is a revelation that human reason could not and cannot produce.
“God who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets hath in these last days spoken unto us by His son” (Hebrew 1:1).
The Claims of the Prophets
The frequent “thus saith the Lord” is not an idle phrase of the Scriptures. “Without exception, every writer of the Bible ascribes his material to God, and states that the Spirit of God gave him the matter and the subject material with which the writer deals.” This is especially apparent in the Old Testament as a consistent and frequent claim by the writers. “The writers of the Bible said more than two thousand times, ‘God spoke these words.’”
That would certainly indicate that when God spoke, He actually spoke verbally. It may or may not have always been audibly as sounds in the air to the human ear but it is not known or stated that it was otherwise. It is highly likely that God’s speaking to the Old Testament writers was audible—at least in most instances. One might assume from passages such as “The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying…” as possibly non-audible in a human sense but nonetheless it was as though it was audible from any possible understanding of the human logic. (This, of course, is my own assessment of that because Rimmer seems to think it was literally audible in every instance. But that is a minor issue.)
We certainly know it to be literal in the instances God spoke to Moses and in other instances when He spoke to Elijah and others on several occasions. Of course, he spoke audibly with Adam and Eve. It is no marvel because the gift of speech is unique to mankind.
The point Rimmer is making is that the Bible consists of words and those words are inspired of God more significantly than just thoughts transmitted with human words arbitrarily chosen by the writers. However God may have spoken, it stands that His words as recorded in the Bible are inerrant. Exodus alone is forty-eight percent of the direct spoken words of God. That does not mean that fifty-two percent is not inspired because the narrative itself is equally inspired of God.
I want to interject a thought at this point. When the Scriptures say that God inspired the Scriptures, it does not say how they were inspired but that they are inspired. Rimmer, however, does make a sound argument by referencing the many instances recorded in which God actually spoke to Bible writers. He is not defending a dictatorial speaking in which God dictated every word, but rather that every word is under the control of divine inspiration however it came to be recorded. For instance, the Gospels and letters written in the New Testament do not come across as though the writers waited for God’s next word before recording it, but rather as the flow of communication in a human sense in which the Holy Spirit guided what was recorded, and thus without error.
In Moses’ situation, he apparently did not write them at the very moment God spoke them but at a later point while they were fresh on his mind. This could have been a fatal flaw had Moses not been under continuous guidance by the Holy Spirit who then gave him perfect recall in writing what God had spoken. This would be consistent with the claim of the Scriptures themselves.
This same logic can be applied concerning Samuel, King David, Daniel, Ezekiel, Hosea, and all of the Old Testament writers. Rimmer alludes to many of those same writers and more in making his point on inspiration by God’s speaking to the writers. He concludes a lengthy argument in this vein by saying:
“The conclusion concerning the Old Testament is final and inescapable. According to the authority of the writers of all Scripture, the Old Testament is the Word of God, which was imparted to chosen men who wrote under the supervision of the Holy Spirit that the Words of God might be given with authority, unchanged by the opinions of men.”
This means to me that God actually spoke, perhaps in ways we can never fully comprehend; taking a preemptive part in imparting His inerrant Word, so that His inspiration, guided by the Holy Ghost, was never touched by the crooked finger of carnality.
Rimmer maintains that the revelation of God did not fail because the Old Testament was replaced by the New. There is a divine unity of the entire structure of the Bible and “the contents of the Old Testament are but glorified by the revelation contained in the New Testament.” The terms of the older “contract” (testament, covenant) of law only gave way to the new “contract” (covenant) of grace. That contract will one day terminate at the coming of Jesus Christ as eternal King. Until then, we are under the contract of grace. The first contract or covenant was fulfilled at the coming of Christ as Redeemer. The second covenant will be fulfilled upon the return of Christ in judgment.
Part of the Bible’s internal evidence rests in the claims of the apostles. “Much of the New Testament revelation is contained in the literal words of Jesus Christ….practically 50 percent of the entire content of the four Gospels consists of a careful report of the spoken words of the Saviour.”
This leads to considering Christ’s promise of an authoritative revelation that would follow His ascension. Today, just as in Rimmer’s time, there are still those who “seek to weaken the authority of the New Testament, laying great stress on the words of Jesus and depreciating the words of the apostles.” It is equivalent to twisting the Scriptures to their own destruction. “While it is true that Jesus did speak certain words, it is equally true that the entire New Testament is an authoritative revelation from the Heavenly Father” as indicated in John 14:26 when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to teach and remind us of all that He had said. “This we might term the pre-authentication of the New Testament by the Lord Jesus Himself.”
This simple statement comprises two promises by Jesus:
- New revelations shall be made by the Spirit of God;
- It guarantees the historical and doctrinal accuracy of the Gospels, the epistles, The Acts, and The Revelation.
“As the apostles wrote their clear recollection of events they had witnessed, the Holy Spirit brought to their remembrance whatsoever they had heard the Saviour say. So by revelation, as well as by spiritually inspired remembrance, the apostles brought to us the contents of the New Testament text.” This is the fulfilled promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth. This was so significant that the Holy Spirit would not speak on His own authority, as though independent of the Godhead, “but that He would take the utterances of the Heavenly Father and speak them through men” and that He was coming also “to show through the apostles ‘things to come.’”
Not only is this the guiding principle in the recording of the Gospels, it also is true of the epistles so that everything we have as a Church by grace with all of our directives in these last days came by inspired revelation through the Holy Spirit. Remember that He is also the Agent of the Father for the Old Testament as well as for the New Testament.
We should remember Rimmer’s initial claim of the Canon of the Scriptures, that the books of the Bible were not chosen by men and thus included, but are there because they could not be eliminated.
Paul makes several assertions about the authority of God in things he both spoke and wrote. He spoke before Agrippa aware that he was under divine inspiration. It was one of the first fulfillments of Jesus Matthew 10:19, 20: “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Not only were those words of Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit—a promise we can all enjoy—but his testimony before Agrippa became part of the inspired Scriptures as well.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, Paul begins with the disclaimer of originality or that what he is saying comes from a source of human wisdom. By the end of the chapter, he boldly states: “But we have the mind of Christ.” Again, this is both inspired Scripture and a promise that spills over into everyday Christian privilege.
This leads us to seeing God’s revelation concerning the Christian system of doctrine “wherein salvation is resident for those who receive Christ as Saviour…:” “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we also speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
We can easily train the mind, as we might train an animal, to do everything but think. No one knows the exact mental processes of an animal and so we can only train them to react to the stimuli of commands and rewards. In the same way that the nature of an animal determines its comprehension so the nature of man also determines his understanding. Human nature cannot think spiritually, but humanly. We can only comprehend spiritual things through a spiritual mind and the spiritual mind does not come naturally. It is given to us by God, as Paul says: “We have received the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us from God.”
We can only effectively discuss and study spiritual things by comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Only the born again are enabled to have the mind of Christ. It is impossible for the unsaved to have that mind. It wouldn’t fit and would destroy them if they could.
Continuing with the claims of the apostles concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures, Rimmer points out that Paul specifically rules out the three ways that man may not learn supernatural things naturally because that which is not seen with the eye nor heard with the ear “must be mentally conceived, if it is to be expressed in terms of human comprehension.” He disclaims all three human sources of human knowledge in 1 Corinthians 2:9: observation by sight; observation by sound; and by philosophy, imagination, or any human reasoning process. Paul clearly makes the point that the only way man can understand the things of God is by the Spirit of God that is in a man.
In other words, if one is not born again and following Christ, it is impossible for that person to have any understanding of the things of God because the Spirit is not in him. When we debate the ungodly on spiritual matters, we are merely casting holy pearls before swine that cannot appreciate their worth and will only respond by attacking us. A pig can only understand pig things. For believers in Christ, “we have received the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us from God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).
The only possible explanation for receiving God’s revelation, therefore, as pointed out by Rimmer is:
- “Human nature can neither master nor comprehend the supernatural.”
- One must be regenerated to understand the things of the Spirit.
- “Heavenly truth looks foolish to men who are earth-bound.”
- “Spiritual mysteries are comprehended only by those who are spiritually minded.”
- “The mind of the Spirit is given only to those who have Christ as Saviour.”
- The greatest of human wisdom and intelligence is utterly worthless in understanding and explaining the Christian system of doctrine. The unregenerated have no authority to speak about the value of the revelation or the mystery of the Christian life.
In Galatians 1:11, Paul once again claims supernatural inspiration with emphasis. He speaks “in terms of absolute certainty, denying [personal] originality for his gospel:”
“But I guarantee to you, my brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not after man, for I neither received it from man, neither was I taught it, but it came by a revelation from Jesus Christ.”
In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul once again asserts claims to be writing and speaking by divine revelation:
“For this cause also we thank God without ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God which ye heard from us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the Word of God.”
Peter (2 Peter 3:15,16) ascribes Paul’s writing to being Scripture. Of course, his own writing in this instance was Scripture as well.
In The Revelation, John begins with, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” All that followed in that last book of the Bible became inspired Scripture.
No human writer outside of the Bible has ever been able to justifiably make the claim that they were empowered by divine inspiration to offer everlasting life to those who received their writings as literally and actually the inspired Word of God. It is without a doubt that the apostles who penned the epistles and The Revelation were inerrantly inspired of God Who revealed to them the matter and content of the portion of the Bible they wrote.
The Testimony of Jesus Christ
If there is anyone who can testify flawlessly to the authenticity and authority of the written Word it is beyond all doubt the living Word, Jesus Christ.
One may notice an eerie connection of those who deny the Scriptures and their denial of the divinity of Christ in some way. If they reject the Bible, they essentially compel themselves to deny its Author if for no other reason than to bolster their own arguments.
Those who seek to weaken the Scriptures almost invariably try to weaken the character and authority of Christ. One cannot lift up Christ for whom the Bible puts Him forth to be and at the same time discredit the Scriptures. Likewise, you cannot hold forth the Bible as the fully inspired Word of God and denigrate Jesus Christ.
Although Rimmer does not specifically say so, what he says throughout this chapter tells us that the testimony of Jesus Christ as to the authenticity of the Scriptures is pivotal to all other internal claims about them. What other Bible writers said would have no value unless Jesus verified what they claimed by His own testimony about the Word of God.
Rimmer does not use this reference, but I want to add it because the Lord made this vital statement concerning Himself and the Scriptures. He said:
John 5:39 – “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Consider that same verse in the Amplified Bible: “You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!”
The primary and all-encompassing purpose of the Scriptures is not about “our salvation” but about Jesus Christ. Those who try to parse God’s Word into such nonsense as to claim that only those passages that refer to our salvation are inspired don’t know what they are talking about. Their slip-up is showing.
Rimmer opening statement sets the tone for his showing that Jesus is the ultimate authority on the Scriptures based on two facts about Him— His absolutely sinless character and His eternal equality with the Father:
“If the Lord Jesus Christ is in truth and fact the Son of God as he claimed to be, He is then the highest authority on any subject of which He speaks. Not subject to the human limitations of human reason and the possibilities of human error, He could and does speak from the standpoint of omniscience. His statements are final, in a sense that human utterances can never become…He can speak from the source of divine wisdom, knowing that even the future cannot alter His teachings….So when we study the testimony of the Saviour concerning the nature and source of the text of the Bible, we are consulting the final and absolute witness. His statements should settle the question once and forever.”
So, Rimmer begins to show the full value and nature of Jesus’ testimony about the Scriptures in terms of His right to speak this way. Our confidence in Him is based on the grounds of His competency and character. His competency and character are established on eyewitness testimonies. His critics fall short because they go no further than resting their case against Him on unsupported and the bare word of fallible human beings who are self-styled authorities on questions that were settled centuries before their modern “evidences” ever existed.
Jesus is an historical fact of tremendous certainty. Jesus Christ cannot be ignored, He demands an explanation, and He demands an opinion of Him. Our opinion of Him determines our own eternal destiny. No one can stand aloof in some objective stance concerning Jesus Christ. If we accept Him as Savior from sin, that means eternal life. “If we reject Him, either actively or passively, there is nothing in store for us but a Christless eternity, cut off from God and hope forever.”
The question must and shall be answered concerning Him: “Whom say ye that I am?” That question can only be answered on the basis of some reliable information about Him. We cannot merely surmise. We must say one way or other that He is either the Son of God or something else. “The proper answer to the question not only brings salvation to the individual, but helps to rear a foundation of fact upon which we can rest our case for inspiration, and His right to testify for the integrity of the Scriptures.”
The question that must be answered is “Who is Jesus?” How does who He is mean He has the absolute right to say that the Scriptures are inspired and that they are authentic; what is His right to testify to the integrity of the Scriptures?
We mentioned in the previous article that Rimmer begins with first considering His character. If view of all of the evidence about Him, we may say in confidence that “Jesus was the only absolutely sinless person ever born in human flesh.” Another way to say that is that He was God in the flesh.
Sinless perfection by nature has never been claimed by any human being, including His own apostles. Speaking of himself, Paul said he was the chief of sinners. John says that if we say we have not sinned we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But Jesus “never confessed sin, nor apologized for it.”
He was and is the ultimate standard of all righteousness and “we are struck by the fact that no charges were ever brought against Him in open court, except those which enhanced His virtues.” He was charged with loving sinners and of healing the sick on the Sabbath Day. Hired perjured witnesses were unable to agree on their perjury and His words were distorted out of context. Yet, His integrity remained intact both in fact and legally.
No moral flaw was ever found in Him. If there had been such, His life was an open book and it would have been easily uncovered. His every action was scrutinized under the microscope of bigotry and hatred and nothing was found to condemn Him.
Jesus did not evolve (unfold, develop) into this moral perfection. He always possessed it. As God, He never changes. “He stands alone, unprecedented, without background or surrounding of likeness in the history of mankind!” Jesus Christ was an involution. He did not come up out of the race of men. He came down into the hearts of men by supernatural means. His life was our example of living and is the standard for all mankind to strive after. The character of Jesus is unparalleled.
Jesus’ wisdom is supreme. His omniscience may be challenged in vain, but He remains omniscient.
His power is above all other powers in Heaven and Earth. Men of great power are often narcissistic but Jesus left an example of humility that none has ever matched.
His love and altruism is the greatest example of self-sacrifice and love. All the good things we may do for others emanate from His nature granted to us in holiness.
Not only is His example of character unimpeachable, but the claims He makes of Himself are just as impeccable. He so much as claimed the power to do greater things than the Father had done up that point. “He stated that the race of men should see His ability to perform works that were high above the things God had already accomplished.
“He had power to put life in dead matter. With the exact language that admits of no other interpretation, He said that He possessed power to give life to anything that pleased Him. This, of course, is a power that is reserved to the Creator only.”
He capped all of that with the claim that He possessed the same kind of life that God possesses. No wonder His enemies were alarmed! He was claiming to actually be God! Rimmer reminds us there are two kinds of life: biologically imparted creature life that has the beginning of creation behind it and the inherent life that belongs only to the Creator. “As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.”
These were the stunning claims that appeared to fall from merely fleshly lips. No wonder His enemies were astounded and confused! They did not have the grace-imparted ability to comprehend such truth!
Jesus did not stop there. He then continued by saying, “…for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation.”
Despite the frantic efforts of those who would deny Jesus the right to divinity by trying to obscure the truth about Him, the fact of His promised second coming cements His claim to being God in the Flesh and coming King. Since no good and sensible man could with integrity makes such claims, there are only three possibilities:
- He was a blasphemous deceiver!
- He was a maniac! OR
- He was in truth and fact what He claimed to be—God manifested in human flesh!
To answer the question of who Jesus is, Rimmer states that we must acknowledge He historically authenticated every claim about Himself and proved by His resurrection from the dead all that He claimed to be. In light of the demonstrated claims of Jesus we will now examine His testimony to the sources and the authority of the written Word, taking His evidence as the voice of God. It is established as true because He said it.
Having established from both the Scriptures and historically that Jesus is indeed the divine Son of God—God in the flesh—and, based on that fact that what He says is conclusively true, we are enabled to confidently take His testimony on any matter as the voice of God, which it is. We can now ask the question, “What did He believe about the inspiration of the Scriptures?” Rimmer feels compelled to condense His testimony into a brief epitome that covers a vast amount of New Testament writing that is too extensive to properly handle in a short chapter of a book. He, therefore, divides Christ’s testimony into four types.
The first type is Jesus’ direct statements concerning the nature and source of the Bible—that is, the 39 books of the Old Testament in particular. When the Lord Jesus Christ referred to the Scriptures, He dealt with the section of the text that criticism has most frequently called into question.”
In Mark, chapter 7, Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for having voided the Word of God by their tradition. In doing so, He referred directly to Exodus 20 and 21, Deuteronomy 5, and Leviticus 20—all writings of Moses. Jesus referred to them as the Word of God.
In Mark 12, Jesus showed His own genealogy from Psalm 110, ascribing that psalm to David and saying that God spoke in that passage by the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 16, “He stated that One who rose from the dead could not speak with more convincing power than was possessed by the writings of Moses” and of the prophets. Still there are those who deny both the resurrection of Christ and the writings of Moses and the prophets in order to discredit the inspiration of the Scriptures.
In Matthew 15, “He definitely declared that Isaiah spoke of and to the people of Christ’s time. That was seven centuries before that Isaiah described the social and religious conditions of Israel in terms that were historically fulfilled. Since man cannot see the future and foreknowledge belongs only to omniscience, Jesus was saying that Isaiah was borne along by the Spirit of God.
Some say that Jesus had no more than human knowledge. There are those of the 21st century who make the unfounded claim that God does not know the future. A perfect response to this false premise is in Luke 24 when, after Christ was no longer in human flesh and in His resurrected form, “He set His seal upon the entire Old Testament in words that cannot be questioned.” On the Emmaus Road, He opened two disciples’ understanding of Himself from the entire Scriptures. He opened their minds that they might understand the Scriptures and followed that with a series of interpretations concerning His suffering, resurrection, and the consequent salvation that should follow. If only so-called leaders of today would come humbly to Him to have their eyes of understanding opened concerning the truth of the Scriptures!
The second type of evidence is connected to the first. Jesus considered the fulfillment of the Old Testament both necessary and certain. Human expressions are never necessary or certain but what God speaks must be accomplished. Jesus stated plainly in the Sermon on the Mount that he did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it—to accomplish what it had said. Then He added, “For verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away not one jot nor one tittle shall pass from the law, until it all be fulfilled.” The fulfillment of the Old Testament was more certain than the continuance of the physical creation! This contract that Jesus came to fulfill was fulfilled and it established the conditions for the new contract.
In John 10:35, Jesus referred to the Psalms as the Scriptures that cannot be broken. It is conclusive that “Jesus believed the fulfillment of the Old Testament text was necessary and certain, because God was their author.”
The third type of evidence is the use He made of the Old Testament Scriptures in His teachings. He used them in His itinerant ministry in four ways.
- He used them for illustrations. “In doing so, He authenticated the historicity [historical actuality] of the incidents to which He referred.” Those things actually occurred at a past point in time as He described them. They were not fables, traditions, or folklore passed down from generation to generation and embellished with the telling. When He referenced the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon, the Gentile widow in the days of Elijah, Naaman the Gentile leper, the brazen serpent in the wilderness, the manna, and others, He used them as facts to illustrate the important lesson He was presenting at the moment. He was stating a future fact made credible by an historical happening.
- He used them as a basis for arguments. When the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, tried to trap Him with their hypothetical case of the woman married to five brothers without ever having a child by any of them and asking whose wife she would be in the resurrection, Jesus took the occasion to set forth the certainty of the resurrection and life after death. He used the incident of Moses who talked with God in the burning bush by predicating His teachings concerning immortality upon the historicity of that event. He made a similar argument concerning disciples eating grain from a field on the Sabbath (David and his men eating dedicated food in a military emergency) and the sanctity of marriage concerning divorce (the special and specific creation of mankind).
- He used them as a source of warning. When He referred to flood in the days of Noah, He was not referring to a traditional character but to an actual figure of history. There was a literal flood. He should know. He was there. He used that point in history to warn that, in a similar way, the earth would be in such a spiritual condition so as to be caught unawares and unprepared at His second coming. Only those who believed God’s warning, looked ahead, and entered the ark were saved. Jesus is a type of that ark. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was an historical fact and served as a warning in the same way as the historical event of Noah.
- He constantly used the prophecies about Himself. Jesus used Psalm 118 to foretell His own rejection as the stone the builders rejected that became the Cornerstone of our salvation. He also used to it to tell that the Kingdom of God would be taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles. History validated that! Jesus quoted from Psalm 41 to tell of the betrayal by Judas. He quoted from Isaiah 53 to tell of His own death on Calvary. Of course, He used the story of Jonah as a pre-figure of His own death, burial, and resurrection.
“Whether He used it for illustration, as a basis of argument, in warning, or as a prophecy fulfilled in Himself, He handled the ancient record with a holy reverence in the belief that it was the Word of God.”
Consider the manner in which Christ Jesus depended upon the Scriptures in His conflict with Satan. He defeated Satan by quoting Scripture—“it is written”. He said that heaven and earth would pass away but His words would never pass away. He said that the words He spoke were Spirit and Life. Why did Jesus rely upon the texts of Scripture? Instead of blasting Satan with the power of His own authority, He was setting us an example of how Satan can best be defeated.
Rimmer closes this chapter by saying: “The only alternative to the acceptance of the Bible as the Word of God, is to discredit the person of Christ and to discount His testimony.” This is a dilemma that has only two sides: to fully accept the testimony of Jesus concerning the Scriptures as divinely true; or to follow after some unprovable notion that wilfully chooses to reject both Him and His testimony.
The Voice of Prophecy
“One of the mightiest links in the great chain of evidence that sustains the doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible is that of prophecy and its fulfillment.” While there are countless volumes on biblical prophecy and numerous testimonies of conversion from seeing them fulfilled, Rimmer simplifies the argument by presenting selected examples of the proof of prophecy as an evidence of the plenary (total, complete) inspiration of the Bible. This is supported by the fact that God points to prophecy as the absolute proof that it is He who speaks, as in Isaiah 42:8-9: “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
God demonstrates His omniscience (something some current detractors say He does not have) in a way that no man, even those today, are able to compete with Him. He reminds Israel in Isaiah 44 that if there were other gods besides Him, they should be able to foretell coming events, as He has consistently done. A clear way to distinguish between the true God and false gods! “Indeed, God constantly challenges all other religions to foretell events of the distant future, if there is any power or authority in their teachings.” God emphasized His point in Isaiah 41 where He speaks to that very purpose and concludes in verse 22 that the false gods are all vanity; their works are nothing, and in verse 23 that their molten images are wind and confusion.
In chapter 45, God strengthens His statement in terms of absolute finality by challenging them to produce those “gods” who can make their own case. He declares that there are no other gods besides Him who can provide counsel, who was around in the ancient times, who could tell of the future, and who could offer salvation. That passage is capped with this marvelous invitation: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
A very important point Rimmer makes in this argument is one I was about to insert had he not done so. He says that it is perhaps the heart of all the Old Testament teachings on prophecy, and I fully agree. Deuteronomy 18:22: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” In other words, a true prophet from God is one-hundred percent right every time. Does inerrancy fit here? Yes, it most certainly does! Inerrancy is proof positive that God had spoken the thing. No man can peer into the future even as distant as mere moments. “Therefore, if events are set forth in writing centuries before they transpire, God must have inspired that writing. Only He can foretell the future.”
It should be noted that other religions, pagans, and secular oracles do not come close to comparing with the prophecies of Scripture. They are obscure, ambiguous and capable of being interpreted just about any way the wind of opinion blows. They are not vital to the salvation of mankind; tend to be trifling while dealing with greed, personal ambitions, and local subjects that are generally based on considerable local information and shrewd guesswork by well-informed “prophets”. When they failed (which they usually did) fantastic excuses were offered for the failures. I would add that any “acceptable” results are the result of what psychology calls self-fulfilling prophesies. That means that the information is carried out in order to make the prophecy come true rather than to wait for it to happen as the result of prophecy.
There is another class of demonic activity in this general realm. It is called divination. Divination uses such methods as astrology and haphazard maneuvers (throwing objects up or down and “reading” their meanings from random landing). This is used in an attempt to “prophesy” future events. By comparison to biblical prophecy:
- Prophecy speaks only of those people and matters connected with God’s plan of redemption and kingdom while divination knows nothing of those things.
- Prophecy is the work of the Holy Spirit and divination is a product of satanic counterfeiting.
- Prophecy gives only God’s words. Divination often communicates with “the dead” (actually demons), giving guidance from hell and the grave.
- Prophecy gives objective truth that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Divination is based completely on subjectivity (biases).
- Prophecy has Jesus Christ as its chief objective. It concerns every aspect the Scriptures reveal about Him. Divination is ignorant of Christ and offers no hope of salvation through Him.
There are four important tests or rules of true prophecy that sustain the infallibility (trustworthiness) of biblical prophecy:
a. “A prophecy must be an unveiling of the future that no mere human foresight could guess.”
b. “A prophecy must be spoken so long before the event takes place that the lapse of time will preclude the agency of the prophet himself in bringing to pass the fulfillment thereof.
c. “Prophecy must contain a sufficient number of details to exclude accident or guesswork.”
d. “A prophecy is fully accredited only by its historical fulfillment.”
Prophecy is never the shrewd predictions of man that are based on the correlation of advice, information, and records. For instance, one may predict the outcome of an election and it turn out right. However, it would be impossible to predict the participants and outcome of an election a hundred years from now. With that, Rimmer says:
“Every detail added to a prophecy further excludes accident or guesswork on the part of the prophet. It was comparatively simple for the prophets to say that some day a Saviour would come; but when they added three hundred and thirty-three specific details, all of which were fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of the Saviour, they built up a sustaining framework of certainty that cannot be refuted.”
Clearly and simply, it was impossible for anyone but God to so inspire the prophets to unerringly predict the events of future history in accordance with all the rules of prophecy. We today especially know by looking back at the fulfillments that it is established by records that cannot be questioned.
The Scriptures themselves bear this throughout its pages. Examples abound. Abraham’s promise of a son to make a nation when Abram and Sarah were beyond child-bearing age and owned no land; God’s telling Abraham that this nation would serve in bondage 400 years and their departure to the land promised him; that the same son would become the father of many nations and not just one. God predicted the Babylonian captivity of Judah and their return, even naming the Persian king, Cyrus who would restore them to their land, before Cyrus was ever born.
Besides prophecies concerning Israel, there were predictions concerning other nations who impinge upon the history, conduct, and development of the Hebrew people and those nations and people who felt God’s judgment because of their disobedience to His precepts.
Daniel’s prophecies concerning world kingdoms are probably the most obvious example of this kind of prophecy. His prophecies of the four great empires that succeeded one another is so historically confirming of the inspiration of the Bible that criticism has never been able to set it aside. Some have sought to discredit Daniel by imagining a later Daniel (as they will do) but their efforts have amounted to no more than mere wishful thinking with no basis in the weakest of evidence. Those kinds of argument amount to philosophical fool’s gold.
Rimmer details similar prophecies and their fulfillment recorded in the Scriptures. The destruction of mighty city, Tyre, is a prime example. This supposedly impregnable fortress was destroyed with fire and its ashes swept into oblivion under the hand of Alexander the Great. This was Alexander’s most difficult conquest but in the end more than 8,000 defenders died in battle and some 30,000 citizens was captured and sold on the slave market. The Bible’s prophets had accurately foretold her destruction centuries before it was accomplished. This island fortress was so powerful that it took Alexander seven months to reduce the city to ruins, but it was done just as God said it would be.
Similarly, Nineveh was graphically predicted by Nahum in 712 B.C. One hundred years after Nahum gave the details of the destruction of Nineveh, a contemporary, Diodorus Siculus described the city’s destruction in precise detail as had been foretold. At the time of the prophecy, Nineveh was the capitol seat of the Assyrian masters of the world. To have heeded Nahum was thought to be utterly insane but “…because God knows history before men begin to shape its direction, He inspired His prophet to detail certain events that constitute an unanswerable argument for inspiration.” Nahum foretold a literal event that actually occurred scores of years later to the final detail.
Note: I have tried to focus on the highlights but that has been difficult because of the richness of the content and the amazing application the writer has unwittingly made to the situation and attitudes of our times some 75 years later. It has not been prophecy in the biblical sense but more an indication that wicked and rebellious hearts are no different with the passing of time or human advances in education and technology. Nothing is more up-to-date than God’s truth and nothing is more unchanged than the devil’s opposition to Christ!
Recall the scriptural evidence of true prophecy described in Deuteronomy 18, “that if a prophet spoke in the name of God, and the thing transpired as the prophet described it, we would know that God was speaking through that man.” Consider that truth concerning the history of Babylon. While she was still in the greatness of her power with no signs of losing it, both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold her destruction in specific and detailed fashion. Isaiah even named the very nations that would destroy Babylon. Both Jeremiah and Daniel make corresponding prophecies.
20th century research has discovered the meticulous historical accuracy of these united prophecies, particularly in uncovering that Cyrus was born of Elamite ancestry. Cyrus succeeded Darius the Mede and Isaiah had stated that Elam would join Media in the destruction of Babylon.
When the prophecy was uttered by both Isaiah and Jeremiah, it seemed preposterous on the surface, given the power of the Babylonian kingdom. But as Belshazzar entertained his drunken guests, the finger of God warned him in writing that it was about to come to an end; and so it did that very night! This underscores the tremendous accuracy of biblical prophecy as later declared by Peter: “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Rimmer completes his argument for inspiration derived from the fulfillment of prophecy by focusing on the indisputable prophecies concerning Christ Himself. Before continuing, I must insert the preposterous postmodern claim that only those portions of Scriptures that refer to our salvation are inspired. Rimmer actually answers that argument many years before it emerged among evangelicals.
“Beginning with Moses and ending with Malachi, every prophet of the Old Testament tuned his harp to sing the theme of a coming Messiah who should redeem the race.” He continues by saying: “In every book of the Law of Moses, in the Psalms of David, on every page of the writing prophets, there is a prophetic portrait of the coming Redeemer.”
Two things are proved by the portrait of Christ:
- The Jesus of the New Testament is the Savior promised by the very voice of God, thus confirming His deity as attested by the fulfillment of those prophecies.
- The anticipation of the coming of Christ by hundreds of years in detailed forecasts was fulfilled in every detail when Christ came.
Not only are there direct predictions of Christ, but there are innumerable types, symbols, and parallels of Him in every aspect about Him.
Concerning types, there is the Passover lamb—the Lamb of God. Revelation alone calls Him the Lamb twenty-seven times.
Concerning symbols, He is Christ the Rock; He is the Ark of Noah; and He is the Candlestick, the Gate, the Laver, the Light, the Manna, and the Veil.
Concerning historical parallels, He is the Second Adam as well as other parallels we can easily find in the Old Testament.
He is the seed of the woman, meaning there would be a mingling of Deity and Humanity in the coming Savior. He was not the seed of man. He is also the Seed and not seeds as promised to Abraham. He was of the tribe of Judah just as predicted. The virgin miracle of His birth was exactly as predicted by Isaiah. His forerunner, John the Baptist, was predicted. Christ’s mission and the area of His ministry was accurately predicted and fulfilled.
The details of His arrest, trial and crucifixion were foretold by Isaiah and fulfilled precisely as predicted. He remained silent, He was scourged and he hung as an innocent man between two criminals. He was crucified just as predicted when crucifixion was not known by the Hebrews as a means of execution. Stoning was their method.
Besides Isaiah, other prophets spoke of Christ’s triumphant entry and His betrayal by Judas; the thirty-pieces of silver, the purchase of the potter’s field with the money, and the fact it would not be done by His enemies but by His own people.
The Psalms are replete with details of the coming Christ. Psalm 22, the Psalm of Crucifixion, contains thirty-two predictions that were fulfilled on Calvary: the jeering throng, his bones not broken, the suffering of His flesh, His thirst, the piercing of His hands and feet, the parting of His garments, the casting of lots for His vesture—all are contained in that one prophecy!
All of this and more support the truth of supernatural inspiration of every portion of the Scriptures by the evidences of prophecies and their fulfillments.
Summary and Rimmer Biography
Beyond rational doubt, the future is unveiled in the Scriptures and made known to mankind during a period of five hundred to two thousand years before the events transpired. Equally, there are enough details in the predictions to preclude the possibility of human foresight or shrewd guesswork. The writers were historically real as stated in the Scriptures in spite of the imaginary inventions of later writers in some cases by the Bible’s critics. There has been no argument or evidence ever set forth in writing, orally, or by discovery that can begin to set aside the force of evidence of prophecy, the testimonies Christ and the Apostles, and of the entire Book of God. Every bit of the Bible’s internal evidence is just that—irrefutable evidence.
All of this supports the logical conclusion that what we call the orthodox position of inspiration is not a position of hypothesis. It is established proof so strong and so overwhelmingly abundant from just the pages of the Bible that honest reasoning cannot deny it. It is fact that must be accepted as true because there is not and has never been evidence produced to overturn its demonstration of absolute certainty. The Bible’s critics hope for and seek out in vain for such evidence, even to this day. They become increasingly desperate and plunge more and more into ungodly denial to a point that they are damning their own souls and the souls of those who trust them. Rimmer’s closing remarks make the point well:
“The Bible shines today with a luster more brilliant and a radiance more powerful than it has ever possessed in ages past.
“For these reasons, we have confidence to believe that in its present form, the Book that men call the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God, a safe guide for our conduct and a sure highway to life everlasting.”
Who Was Harry Rimmer?
Born in 1890, Died in 1952. A former Quaker pastor turned Fundamentalist Presbyterian minister and writer and itinerant preacher for the Y.M.C.A. An eager debater on issues concerning creationism and the inspiration of the Scriptures, he would take on any challenger and would debate even fellow fundamentalists on issues.
Wikipedia states that “He was the founder and President of the Science Research Bureau, Incorporated, a corporation set in Los Angeles, California, whose purpose he established as to prove the veracity of the Bible through studies of biology, paleontology and anthropology. He later became a field secretary of the World Christian Fundamentalists Association in the 1920s. He was said to be a fellow member of the American Geographical Society.”
Rimmer authored at least 14 books as well as pamphlets, primarily about creation, Christ, and biblical inspiration—all in the fundamentalist frame of reference that took the Scriptures at face value. They can still be purchased through the Alibris website: http://www.alibris.com/search/books/author/Harry-Rimmer
The internal evidence book reviewed in these articles is priced at a $6.50 starting bid and the other books are inexpensive as well, except the collection of pamphlets and one other publication. Many of the books can also be found on Amazon for higher prices than posted on Alibris.
 A phrases formulated to supposedly define an idea that only certain passages that refer directly to salvation are inspired while those that are not “soteriological” are questionable.
 Traditionalists, dogmatists, reactionaries, die-hards
 This continues the discussion from Dr. Harry Rimmer’s book, “Internal Evidence of Inspiration,” with all quotes from his book unless otherwise indicated.
 Plenary = full, complete, unlimited, entire, whole
 Radical rationalists = and extreme form of the theory that holds that reason alone, unaided by experience, can arrive at basic truth.
 The writer is not referencing dictation verbal inspiration but, as already stated earlier and in the following paragraph, a form of plenary inspiration that includes the protection of the words of the Scriptures.